Category Archives: Devotionals

Judging and The Cross of Christ

Who art thou that judges another man’s servant? to his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)

As a believer in Jesus Christ I am to carefully consider myself as His servant. He is my Master and my Judge, I am His to command. Sometimes I forget this when it comes to other believers and I tend to make myself their judge when they don’t meet my standard of holiness.

Mishandling of differences can become a serious bone of contention between believers causing the strong to despise the weak, and vice-versa. Instead our hearts should be set on helping one another. To the strong Paul warns that knowledge puffs up, and to the weak he warns against harsh criticism. He exhorts both groups to a love that builds up.

I believe that the key to help us towards that end is to focus on the Cross of Christ where God’s love was poured out. I find that when I look away from myself and others and keep looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, then I become focused on His interests. Then my judgments are simply based on cooperating with God’s purpose and intention in Christ.

God is able to make every true believer stand for ever. Always remember that God is good, and He accepts every honest and humble heart even when there may be weak thinking in the head. He is able to hold us up and keep us from falling into condemnation. God is able.

The River of Life

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. (Revelation 22:1-3)

In these verses from the Book of Revelation we have the wonderful hope and promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like a mighty river the hope of the Gospel cannot be stopped, it brings life to all that it touches, eternal life in Christ.

The river of God’s blessings flow through Jesus (Psalm 36:8), the streams make the Church glad (Psalm 46:4), and even the dry desert of a lost soul becomes like a pool (Isaiah 41:18).

The tree of life grows by this river, bringing healing to all nations, food for every hungry soul. Those who love Jesus have the right to eat from this tree of life and enter the gates of the city of God (22:14).  Our love is demonstrated in obedience to His commandments.

The curse of sin is lifted in Jesus Christ our Lord, all who are in Him dwell in safety, Christ has won the victory and built the city of God!

Whoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely (22:17). Jesus has finished the work and calls all men to come to Him, enter His gates and eat of the tree of life and truly live!

New Life

For many people Easter is about bunnies and egg hunts and for some this will be the only day that they go to church all year. But there are those who are interested in knowing the deep significance of this special day and to such people this short note is written.

This is a day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is a day when all heaven and earth shout and sing songs of joy and triumph. Some may ask, “Why should He be so celebrated? ”

He is celebrated because loves redeeming work is done, Jesus fought the fight and won the battle, He died in our place on the cross. You may ask, “How can death be victorious?”  This power that death has over all life here on earth is fierce, no man can conquer it.  But the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, He did it! For Jesus death was not final, death and the grave could not hold Him. This is good news indeed!

Jesus Christ our great King lives again, He has promised that those who will put the trust of their whole life in His hands will partake of the same overcoming life. No wonder the Apostle Paul wrote, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Christ has opened paradise for mankind, we can now follow Him in victory over sin and death. As Charles Wesley wrote in a beautiful hymn;

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Can you begin to see why He is so celebrated, not just this one day but every day. He has given Himself fully for us, He is worthy of our all.  Ours is now to know Him and to prove His mighty resurrection power in this life and beyond, So we sing, and so we love the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ.

Roots and Shoots

Have you ever looked at a beautiful lily and considered not only what is above ground but also what lies beneath? In the example of this flower we can see two contrasting characters in the child of God.

Above ground, as it were, is the simple unsophisticated life of trust and faith as represented by the lily that God has planted. That is what men see. Yet buried deep out of sight, giving to this lily unsuspecting strength, are deep roots. Outwardly the Christian life is fragile like the flower, but secretly there is a hundred times more underground.

How much of my life is seen? When people look on the surface have they seen the whole or is there something more? Do I have an unseen history with God? There is a big difference between what the world sees and how it measures things, and what God sees as fruitfulness from His viewpoint.

“…he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;  his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon.
(Hosea 14:5-6)

Rock of Ages

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee.  Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:  (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Jesus Christ is my strength, a mighty Rock of Refuge in every circumstance. In Him I can stand in the battle, the weapons of my warfare are mighty in God to the pulling down of strongholds. Take the following Scriptures into the prayer closet with a heart submitted to the Father’s will, the enemy must flee before Him…

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

It is my responsibility to put to death the deeds of the body. Through the death of Christ, God has crucified me as well, the whole race of Adam was brought to an end there. It is my duty now to respond to this truth in faith, putting the deeds of the body to death as the Holy Spirit works in me, bringing new life.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2) Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (I Corinthians 9:24)

An Olympic runner trains himself diligently to win. Theirs is a matter of a medal, ours is a matter of life and death.

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)

The appetites and desires of the godless human nature are put away, nailed to the Cross. Affections speaks of passionate desires. Lusts speak of evil desires ready to express themselves in bodily activity. There is a natural tendency towards evil things, but in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings we put off this old way of living and thinking and put on the new man created in the image of Christ. The mind of Christ was to patiently suffer rather than to displease God. The earthly man seeks only to please self and the world.

Jesus Our Provision

Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for [things to be made] of gold, and the silver for [things] of silver, and the brass for [things] of brass, the iron for [things] of iron, and wood for [things] of wood; onyx stones, and [stones] to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colors, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. (1 Chronicles 29:2)

The verse above records the words of David, king of Israel, when he had made all the preparations for building the temple of God in Jerusalem. He carefully gathered together all the things that would be needed, and his son, Solomon, would actually complete the building of the temple. So also, Jesus has provided all that is needed to build God’s dwelling place in our hearts.

David’s delight was in God’s house, his desire was to always dwell there, this is why he was called a man after God’s own heart. Now Jesus asks us, who is willing to consecrate themselves to build my house? In David’s day the people of Israel also gave willingly and with their whole heart, and they all rejoiced!(v.9)

David then prayed a beautiful prayer in which;

1. he gave praise and thanksgiving to God.

2. he acknowledged that all that was given came from God in the first place.

3. he pleaded that this willing, whole-hearted spirit would abide forever.

4. he worshipped God.

Let Your Hands Be Strong

Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Let your hands be strong, you who in these days have been hearing these words from the mouth of the prophets who were present on the day that the foundation of the house of the LORD of hosts was laid, that the temple might be built.
(Zechariah 8:9)

The verse quoted above speaks of the house of God that was being built in Jerusalem. God was encouraging His people, through the prophet,  to finish the work. Today God’s house is not made of stone materials like that one was, nor is it found in a particular city or nation but it is a spiritual house made of living stones and is found in all nations. It is the Church of Jesus Christ, His faithful ones.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of this house, the first Apostles then layed the foundation in building local churches throughout the world. Today men build upon that foundation until the temple of living stones is complete. According to God’s Word we are co-workers with Him, ministering life by the power of the Holy Spirit. God does the work of salvation, I must simply trust and obey Him when He speaks.

God went on to instruct His people in Zechariah 8:16, “these are the things you shall do”;

1) Speak the truth to one another – let the words of Christ be in our hearts and on our lips.

2) Render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace – not only good words but good deeds that work by love for truth and for peace.

3) Do not devise evil in your hearts against one another – pride, greed , jealousy, envy, unforgiveness: all these cause a man to love a lie and hurt his neighbor. But Christ cleanses the heart of these things.

It’s time for us to hear His words and thus let our hands to be strong in this work and bring the temple to completion; no half-hearted effort will do. We must not look to human strength or reasoning, God will do it, ours is to pray and seek Him with our whole desire. Who knows but if we have come to such a time as this so that the last stone can be put into place?

That The World May Believe

That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.  (John 17:21-23)

The verses above are taken from an amazing prayer that Christ prayed the night before His crucifixion. Christ’s prayer for His Church is that we would be so spiritually united with Him that the glory of the Father would continue to be revealed to the world, beyond the Jews, into every corner of the globe.

The love of God is meant to be felt in this world as Christ dwells in His people. There was a special union between God the Father in heaven and God the Son on earth; Jesus did many miraculous works as a demonstration of that union and spoke many wonderful things concerning the loving heart of the heavenly Father towards us. Now Christ is returned to the Father and He asks us to believe that He will work in us just as the Father worked in Him when He was on earth. Can I really love as Jesus loved? Yes, that is the promise of Scripture and the power of Christ’s life in those who believe.

It is so very important that the believer understand his union with Jesus, in death and in resurrection life. When Christ died, I died there with Him; so also when He arose to life again, I arose with Him. This is how God sees me, and how I now need to see myself. Dead to an old way of living and thinking, alive unto God so as to glorify Him and to bless others. What an incredible life He gives us!

God bestows many gifts upon His people but by far the greatest gift is love; love for God, love for mankind. Without love we are nothing.

Love…

1. suffers long and is kind, patiently enduring and believeing
2. does not envy or boil over with jealousy
3. does not vaunt itself or display itself haughtily
4. does not behave unseemly, never rude or crude
5. seeks not her own, never insisting on our own rights or our own way
6. is not easily provoked, not touchy, resentful, or fretful
7. thinks no evil, paying no attention to a wrong suffered
8. rejoices not in iniquity, injustice and unrighteousness are hated, right and truth are loved
9. bears, believes, hopes, endures – love never fails!

Lord, whatever may come and go, please give me love.

Faith Which Works By Love

For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love. (Galatians 5:6)
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (James 2:14)

Have you ever considered the practical outworking of faith in Christ? The first verse that we have quoted in this study points out that faith works, and it works by love. As I read God’s word and as I observe those who have faith in Christ, I see that the faithful are marked by their labor of love and their hope is fulfilled. They feed the hungry, satisfy the thirsty, entertain a stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and go to the prisoner. This is the natural outworking of divine love: he who is forgiven much, loves much. God came to a needy people, so will the man or woman of faith.

Faith that does not result in an outworking of love for God and men is not saving faith. Therefore, faith in Christ cannot be mere mental assent to doctrine; it must be living, accompanied by love and hope that take action. Profession is always accompanied by practice in the Christian.

Christ’s love compels and controls us to love others, He is love, let His compassion be ours. If we love Him we will keep His commandments, it’s quite simple really, love seeks to please its object. God has promised to give the believer the grace to love as He loves if we will simply trust that He is working in us moment by moment. He alone is our strength and He leads us in the way we should go. God is love!

In the Song of Solomon, God gives us a wonderful picture of a bridegroom calling his bride to rise up and come away with him. This is a picture of Jesus Christ’s loving call for us to come to Him. The Bridegroom calls, action is required. The man or woman of faith is one that has forsaken an old way of living and thinking and has taken Christ’s Name upon themselves, following Him in newness of life. The bride is devoted, fully consecrated to Him. Are you a part of the Bride of Christ?

The Heavenly Minded Man

And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. (Mark 3:32-35)

Jesus was so incredibly heavenly minded, His life was lived so completely in union with God the Father in heaven that every word He spoke reflected that fact. At first glance the verses above may seem to indicate a disrespect by Jesus for His relatives. Christ loved His earthly family and died for them, but He saw beyond earthbound limitations into the heavenly places, there was His eternal dwelling place and there He saw that the Father desired a vast family of sons and daughters according to the pleasure of His will.

When Jesus Christ came to earth He humbled Himself and was fully dedicated to that heavenly vision of the Father and His whole earthly life was devoted to fulfilling His Father’s will and so He spoke very dearly of those who would follow Him in fulfilling God’s will.

Just think how close and dear his ties must have been to his mother and brothers and yet He here describes even closer ties and love for His disciples, those who would forsake all to follow Him and be united with Him forever in the Father’s presence.

Jesus came that we might have life and be part of a heavenly family. God has spoken in many ways down through the years but He has spoken fully and finally in the Heavenly Man, Jesus Christ. In Him we have a glimpse into the heavens and what a marvelous sight it is!

God seeks those who will take heed to the words of Jesus Christ and perceive the reality of Who He is, our Creator, our Redeemer, Our Savior, our God.