Maranatha Devotionals


I thought it would be a blessing to spend the next thirty days looking at God’s Goodness through His creation. The Lord loves stories and analogies – He used so many when teaching His disciples. One of those heard often is Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Mat 7:15) Can you just imagine an actual wolf dressed up like a sheep and what the impact is? What can we learn from this? What can we learn from the characteristics of a species? God’s Goodness is revealed through all of His creation. So for the first in our series of God’s Goodness, let’s take a look at the wolf.

As we observe the wolf’s habits, we can apply teachings and warnings to our own Christian lives. Wolves live in packs with the alpha male and female leading the way. Where they go, the pack follows. As the Pastor leads the church he has been called to under shepherd, the church follows, as long as his leading is scriptural. Does this mean that a church can follow a female pastor (the alpha female)? The Word says that a pastor is the husband of one wife (1 Tim 3:2). No where is it recorded that she is the wife of one husband.

The wolf pack follows the alphas by instinct. If Christians followed by instinct, we would be easily deceived. However, Christians have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We are warned to beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing but are ravenous wolves. Whatever this wolf in sheep’s clothing is saying, it can be compared to what the Word of God says – the Word is Truth. Jesus is the Word and is there to guide us – to be our Shepherd. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. (Joh 10:14) We that are His, hear His Spirit guiding us and He keeps us safe from these wolves.

An interesting trait of the wolf is his hunting habit. The hunting habits revolve around the chase. They are able to run for long periods of time before giving up on their prey. There are two ways we could look at this characteristic. The Christian should learn from this wonderful trait and be long suffering as they work toward winning the lost to Christ – not giving up quickly. But on the flip side, the devil is relentless in his attacks. He will attack (run) for long periods of time before he gives up on the Christian. He will keep after us until he sinks his teeth into us. The more prepared and vigilant the believer is, the better prepared he is to see ole slew foot’s attacks coming!

As I searched the Scriptures for the words “wolf” and “wolves,” I discovered there were twelve verses dealing with this species – ten that dealt with that of devouring the weaker animals. There were, however, two encouraging verses in Isaiah depicting the millennium period:

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isa 11:6) and The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isa 65:25)

Isn’t this exciting? I love the fact that although this animal was depicted in a negative way in the Word, the Lord portrays the wolf in a peaceful way when Christ’s reign here on earth brings peace, even to nature. Once again like in the Garden of Eden, carnivores will become herbivores and will no longer be a threat. It will be a joy to walk up to the wolf and be able to pet him, won’t it?

I’m looking forward to focusing the next thirty days on the Lord’s creation and how He speaks to us through it! I hope it will be a blessing to you as well.

Dear God…
All creation has a story
Where we learn a truth
Each one unique in his own way
Each pointing toward You

Maranatha Devotionals

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (Psa 91:13)

Today’s Goodness from God revolves around the lion. What a majestic animal this is! What beauty this animal possesses. The Word has so much to say about the lion. As I read the verses, many compared the lion to the devil. The devil’s tactics to prey upon the believer are very much like the lion’s tactics as it preys on the weak and defenseless.

Let’s look at some of the lion’s characteristics today and be blessed. The Lion is the King of the Jungle. My Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Juda: And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Rev 5:5) My Lion is the ultimate of lions.

The female lions hunt at night or before sunrise and they hunt in packs. This reminded me of the darkness of sin and that Satan abides there. He and his minions do not cut any slack but come and attack in packs. Lions also steal food from other predators. Isn’t that just like Satan? He doesn’t play fair. He will take whatever he can get no matter what the expense. At times, lions prey on the younger of the species and the infirmed. The devil gets believers when they are at their weakest. He can attack a full grown spiritual adult but he cannot succeed because the Christian has the Shepherd watching out for him. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Pet 5:8 )

Lions can reach speeds of about 37 mph! However, they cannot run for long distances because they don’t have the endurance. Therefore, they have to get really close to their prey before they can attack. The other lions circle around the prey to prevent escape. Doesn’t that just sound like the believer’s life under attack from the devil? We are attacked in spurts, from all around at times – never for the long haul, however, because our Father wouldn’t allow that. Our Precious Father allows a way of escape for us – oh His wondrous love for us! There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1Co 10:13)

The Book of Psalms uses lion(s) eleven times to depict the behavior of the lion and how it relates to the believer’s life. Yes, we have our bouts with ole slew foot, but the Lord has the victory over him! Each verse shows the desperation felt – placing the lion here as an example truly depicts where we are at times!

Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver. (Psa 7:2)

He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. (Psa 10:9)

Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places. (Psa 17:12)

They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. (Psa 22:13)

Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. (Psa 22:21)

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (Psa 91:13)

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. (Psa 34:10)

Lord, how long wilt thou look on? rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions. (Psa 35:17)

My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. (Psa 57:4)

Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. (Psa 58:6)

The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. (Psa 104:21)

We may not have the enemies David had but we do fight against the flesh, evil and the devil. Everyone’s battle may be different but they are battles nonetheless. We should not underestimate the devil’s power. He is not compared to the lion for nothing. The devil waits to devour us – he waits until we are weak and never, ever plays fair.

In the end, however, the lion will be brought down from being a predator to being a big cat. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD. (Isa 65:25) He will no longer devour flesh but will eat straw! The devil will be brought down by the King of Kings, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda and He will defeat sin once and for all.

Dear God…
Your creation amazes me
I stand in wondrous awe
Each creature You designed
For enjoyment one and all

Maranatha Devotionals

Psalm 120-1-4, 7 [A Song of degrees.] In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me. (1) Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. (2) What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? (3) Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. (4) I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. (7)

Have you ever been in a quandary like this psalmist? Have you ever been in a situation where lies were spoken against you yet the liar refused to see the error of his ways? If so, how did you handle it? Who did you run to? Did you run to others to gather your defenses? This psalmist ran to the Lord and cried unto Him. This is the perfect place to start. God will deal with this offender – God will allow judgment to fall on this offender. God is not mocked.

The Lord is clear in His Word as to how to deal with liars – with those who seriously offend us. Matthew 18:15-18 outlines it out for us:

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (Mat 18:15)But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. (Mat 18:16)

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Mat 18:17)

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mat 18:18 )

There is proper order to follow in Christ’s church. Go to the offender alone. If he doesn’t listen, take one or two with you. If he doesn’t listen, bring them before the church. If they still do not listen, they are to be regarded as a “heathen” (Matt. 18:17) or a “publican”! Verse 18 is even more interesting. Matt. 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. The Lord says that the offender may have moved on from your church to another, but if he still has not repented, his actions are “bound in heaven”! Once this offender repents, it is loosed in heaven. This offender may have moved on, possibly serving in another church, but his actions are still recorded and are still bound in heaven. How can his ministries be blessed? They can’t, not until he repents and his actions are loosed in heaven. I have read these verses many times but never associated verse 18 with the previous three verses. This is serious business!

Our Pastor just preached on this yesterday morning. I think this is the first time I ever heard a message on church discipline! I’ve been saved for over 26 years! It is a needed message in today’s world. Our churches are filled with lackadaisical Christians. They come once a week and think they’ve given God their all. You also have those Christians who are whited sepulchres – they appear righteous on the outside but their insides are like dead men’s bones. One of Pastor’s comments stuck with me. He said that the Lord put these verses on church discipline there so that we would learn to fear Him. Surely, we cannot believe that we can continue in our sin and get away with it. No, no one is perfect. We all sin. However, Matt. 18:15-18 deal with those who offend another and are confronted with it.

Have you been offended by one of your brethren? Have you told them so? It could very well be that they haven’t a clue that they have sinned against you. Before you complain about it, you have clear instructions on how to deal with it in Psalm 120 and in Matt. 18:15-18. When you have gone to the Lord first and asking Him for wisdom and a heart for reconciliation, then you can follow the principles outlined in Matt. 18. With this inspired process, you chance to win a brother over. That teaches those who are spiritually immature to grow in the Lord. It teaches us to give grace to those who see their error and forgive them.

But, on the other hand, if that person is unrepentant, the Lord provides direction in how to deal with that as well. God does not leave His children in the dark. He is the God of light and truth. He provides the proper guidelines for us. I’m so thankful that we do not have to react as the world.

Early in my Christianity, I was overheard by a believer when I spoke what I then thought was one of those “little white lies”! I praise God for that believer’s boldness toward me. She pulled me aside and corrected me and showed me in the Word what I had done wrong. She was not kind but she was not rude either. I remember that to this day. I remember how convicted and embarrassed I was and the Holy Spirit used that to grow me. If I had been prideful and refused to listen, I would have hurt not only myself but those I affected with my “little white lie.” Of course, there aren’t any little white lies – they are all lies. That would be what the father of lies would have us to believe. A lie is a lie and I found that out quickly.

I praise God for pastors like mine who do not fear to preach the whole counsel of God! I can’t help but think of Ananias and Sapphira and how Peter discovered their lie and they were struck down dead because of it. Did it stop there? No. God used it in His church. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. (Act 5:11) As a church, we must fear the punishment that comes from sin and allow it to put fear into us of the judgment the Father would lay on us if we continue in sin. Pay day some day! The born again believer’s eternal security is secure but punishment will come even more severely if we go unrepentant. Whew! This taught me not to mess around with God.

We don’t hear messages like this very much and we truly need to. The church no longer fears – we have lost our testimony to the unsaved world – we live like them and think that we will go unpunished.

Thank You, Lord, for your Word and Your guidance through it. Help me to make the right choices according to Your Word because I fear the repercussions. I know this will keep me in the center of Your will.

Maranatha Devotionals

(Psalm 86:11) Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. As we instruct our little children in our home, we are teaching them to walk and abide by our rules. In turn, they learn to obey Mommy and Daddy and their hearts learn to fear the punishment that they will receive should they choose to disobey. Oh Father in Heaven, thank You for providing the basic fundamentals of our spiritual walk through our own children!!

Our Father does not want to discipline us, but He will have to if we choose to disobey Him. Disobedience is a choice. We can’t claim that “the devil made me do it” because the devil didn’t! We are in charge of yielding to temptation. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16) That word “yield” is an interesting word. It means to give up, to surrender, to resign! Do you surrender to temptation quickly – after a long battle – after much convincing? Does a General surrender his army because he has no choice? Of course not. He surrenders because he chooses to surrender. The enemy has overcome him. If you give up the battle, the enemy will overcome you, my friend.

That’s why Psalm 86:11 speaks of letting God teach you through His Word, walking in His truth and fearing His name – fearing the consequences when you choose not to obey Him. When we choose to obey the Master and Creator Himself, the battle becomes His and He never loses (1 Sam. 17:47). It’s God’s battle at that point and He will keep you from falling. We don’t have to fall, my friend. Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 1:24)

Don’t want to fall? Walk in truth – be in the Word – stay in the Word – Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17) God’s Word will sanctify us – set us apart and keep us from falling! Thank You, Lord, for loving us so much that You have provided a light for us through Your Word. Thank You for providing a balm that heals through Your Word. Thank You for giving us comfort knowing that our eternal security is kept by You and not by my actions.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.(3 John 1:4)

My King James Bible
Kate Plourde

Just reading Your Word is a privilege
I never dreamed would be
So much a part of my daily life
And impossible to shake free.

It’s become a vital food for me
To feed my hungry soul
It quenches the thirst I have for truth
And Its mysteries unfold!

It ministers to every single need
Not one does He overlook
Our questions have all been answered
In this Solitary Book!

My King James Bible, a miracle indeed
The way it all seems to flow
The Spirit authored every word
So we may be free to grow!

If you want wisdom then read God’s Book
And He’ll never let you down
Be persistent in your search for truth
And your foundation will be sound!

Maranatha Devotionals


Psalm 51:10, 12-13, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (10) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (12) Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (13)

Our daily prayer should start with the verses in this beautiful Psalm! The Christian praying these words sincerely cannot help but start off the day on the right track. The believer with a clean heart has already had his time with the Lord and has confessed his sin and repented. Only in so doing can we experience the true joy of our salvation daily because there is nothing separating us from our God. This does not mean that we lose our salvation each time we sin. It means that our fellowship is once again restored.

A good illustration is when one of my own children lies to me. My child will be punished and our fellowship won’t be the same until it is made right. Until my child confesses to me that he has lied and it is evident that he is truly repentant, the fellowship between us is broken. My heart is broken while our fellowship is broken. It’s not the same between us – he can’t look me in square in the eye and we can’t seem to enjoy that closeness we once had. However, once he repents and asks forgiveness, I can then hug him and that sweet fellowship is once again restored. What a joy it is to be able to fellowship is we once did. He now is not ashamed to look me in the eye and he is confident because he has been forgiven. My son knows that there’s no longer anything that separates us. At any point during this broken fellowship, did my son cease to be my son? Of course not. He was still my son, my flesh and bone – we just did not have the same relationship we had prior to his lying to me. Our fellowship was not the same until he experienced true repentance and asked forgiveness. After he did, he knew that his mother would be waiting to forgive him with opened arms, ready to restore our relationship.

I’ve heard preached that our accounts with God should be kept short – meaning, don’t let a day go by without confessing your sins and being truly repentant. This restores your fellowship with the Lord and all is well. Only then can we be effective soul winners according to verse 13 and win others to Christ. The lost can spot a hypocrite a mile away. If we try to lead someone to the Lord and our lives are filled with unconfessed sin, our efforts will be in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Just as our children, we must turn to our Heavenly Father and confess to Him our sin. Only then can we be free to witness to others without hypocrisy and without hindrance.

It’s so important that we have a clean heart before the Lord so that we do not hinder His Spirit’s work in the lives of the unsaved. I know that there will be some whom God has placed in my path and that I have not been able to effectively witness to them because I have not been right with Him! I dread the day that I stand before the Lord and He shows me those who are lost for all eternity because I did not take this seriously. Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, so I may be a better witness for You!!!

O For A Heart to Praise My God
Charles Wesley

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy tender heart is still the same,
And melts at human woe:
Jesus, for thee distressed I am,
I want Thy love to know.

My heart, Thou know’st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Fruit of Thy gracious lips, on me
Bestow that peace unknown,
The hidden manna, and the tree
Of life, and the white stone.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

Maranatha Devotionals

The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Psalm 18:2

The combination of these words is used multiple times in the Word of God. Usually when the Word tells us something twice, we are to take notice. But note how many times these words are used:

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. (Psa. 31:3) Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. (Psa. 71:3)

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (Psa. 91:2)

My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. (Psa. 144:2)

O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. (Jer. 16:19)

Do you think our Heavenly Father was trying to communicate something to His children? I surely do! Let’s pick out the specific terms used and meditate on them a bit.

God is our Rock. I think of a rock as stable, solid, immovable. And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. (1 Cor. 10:4)

God is our Fortress. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines a fortress as:

1. Any fortified place; a fort; a castle; a strong hold; a place of defense or security. The English have a strong fortress on the rock of Gibraltar, or that rock is a fortress.

And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; (2 Sam. 22:2) God is our defense and our security. When we are walking in Him (not the world), we can be assured of this!

God is our Deliverer. Christ has rescued and delivered us from an eternity of burning in hell’s fires, total darkness and separation from God! And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Rom. 11:26) He also delivers us from evil as He taught us in His example of how to pray.

God is our Strength. Noah Webster defines this word, strength, as:

Support; that which supports; that which supplies strength; security.

The Lord supports us, supplies us with His strength and gives us security in those times when men fail us! And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2Co 12:9) Oh thank You, Lord!

God is our Buckler. I had a mental picture of what a buckler was but reading Noah Webster’s definition made my heart leap!

A kind of shield, or piece of defensive armor, anciently used in war. It was composed of wood, or wickers woven together, covered with skin or leather, fortified with plates of brass or other metal, and worn on the left arm. On the middle was an umbo, boss or prominence, very useful in causing stones and darts to glance off. The buckler often was four feet long, and covered the whole body.

Notice how the buckler was worn on the left arm – protecting the heart of man. This same buckler causes the enemies darts to fall off. I love how the Lord is our defense – our buckler – protecting us from the enemy! When we abide in Him, we have His protection over us. I think of being under His wings at this point!

God is the Horn of our Salvation. Horns were a big part of the Bible. They sounded for danger, they were used for heralding an event, etc. Jesus Christ is the only One who can provide us with salvation – there is no other. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; (Luke 1:69) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:12) I am so thankful that my salvation rests in Jesus Christ. He is the only One – no other!

God is our High Tower. When I envision a high tower, I see a building that is taller than the others around it. This tower allows one to see from all around when danger is coming. This same tower also provides protection to those who are within its walls. Our Lord is our High Tower – He protects us from the enemy. We can rest knowing that He is on the tower watching out for us. What comfort this brings me! My God cares for me! Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:7)

We have a God who sits atop a high tower watching out for us, shielding us and protecting our hearts from the enemy. Our salvation is secure in Him and He provides us the strength we need to deal with the enemy. He delivers us from the temptations that He sees coming. As long as we stand on His Word (His Rock), we have no need to fear. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Heb. 13:6) Oh thank You, Lord, for this blessing today!

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
Martin Luther

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Maranatha Devotionals

He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. Psalm 103:10,11

Praise the Lord that our Heavenly Father does not reward us according to our sins the way we deserve to be dealt with. Had it not been for our Saviour’s work on the cross, we would all be gonners! But the fact that we no longer have to worry about spending eternity in hell’s burning flames does not mean that it stops there.

A good study on hell and what it has in store for those who are not born again and blood bought is so needful today! I can probably count on one hand the number of times the topic of hell has been the center of conversation in those Christians around me. I have maybe heard two messages in my 26+ years of salvation on the teaching of hell. Why is that? Not only do the lost need to hear where they will be spending eternity but I believe the saved would be more challenged to be soul winners if they had a clear understanding of where these lost souls are going!

What is hell all about? The Bible mentions the word “hell” 54 times. There are three terms that are used to reference hell: Sheol, Hades and Gehenna. Most of Christ’s accounts of hell were referring to Hades and Gehenna. The most popular use of Hades was the account of the rich man in Luke 16:22-24. Here all of the rich man’s natural senses were affected by being in Hades. The account shows that the rich man could see what was happening, he spoke to Father Abraham, he could hear Father Abraham’s response, his mind was clear because he recognized where he was and where Father Abraham was, he cried to him for mercy, he asked Father Abraham to help his family on earth, he felt the pain because he thirsted and asked for water. All his senses were affected, as well as his emotions. He was so aware of his surroundings and what he was suffering that he did not want his family to go through the same thing. He knew he could not escape the torment he was in and it was too late for him, but not too late for his family. It was too late for him to be a soul winner at this point.

Gehenna is another term for hell which refers to the Lake of Fire after Great White Throne judgment. Rev. 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. The souls in hell (Hades) will experience a second death at this point and be thrown into Gehenna (the lake of fire). Gehenna’s fires are so real that Jesus warned that it would be better to lose an eye or other part of our bodies than to be whole in the Lake of Fire! (Mark 9:43-48 ) That’s pretty serious stuff – to be told to cut off a part of your own body! Jesus said it is better that we cut off a hand and enter heaven a partial man than to be in that Lake of Fire with a whole body!

Jesus also said in Matt. 18:8 that the flames are everlasting! Have you ever burned yourself on the stove or with a hot iron? The first thing I do is run to get a cold glass of cold water filled with icecubes and dip my finger in it until the pain subsides. But this won’t be an option to the unsaved person who is cast here! Matthew 3:12 also says that the fires are unquenchable. It’s not like a campfire that dies down after a while. These flames keep going.

The Bible shows us that the Lake of Fire will have different degrees of punishment also. God’s punishment will be given out to the lost in same degree that they denied His Word. Luke 12:47-48 describes it well: And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (47) But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (48 ) I also think of Rom. 2:5-6, But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (5) Who will render to every man according to his deeds:(6)

My friend, all will stand before Christ and give an account of every action we have done. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10) It’s reiterated in Rev. 2:23, And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

I look at it this way, those unsaved who get “few stripes” will burn for all eternity at a level like being burned all over with the most horrible sun burn he’s ever had. The unsaved who gets “many stripes” will be burning at a level of being totally engulfed with fire!! Both will be suffering but at different degrees. However, they will all share equally in hell’s permanence (eternity) and its unquenching flames – there will be no reprieve – there will be no death as a result of these burns. Granted, there is no way for me to know exactly the pain levels the lost will experience – this is just my interpretation which helps me to imagine. Whatever it takes for you to get a burden for the lost soul, do it! This is just my way of keeping myself motivated to win the lost.

The unsaved stand no chance. Luke’s account of the rich man says it all. Once the unsaved dies, it is too late. There is no going back and changing one’s mind. The Hitlers and Neros of this world will suffer greater punishment once they are released from Hades and cast into that Lake of Fire. In my soul winning efforts, I’ve come across people who just don’t see their sin. They can’t be saved if they don’t know they are lost. But upon death, it will be a horrible awakening in a place where the worm dieth not. Christ spoke this statement three times in Mark 9:44-48. Not only is there no escaping hell’s fire for the unbeliever, but the pain and torment of being burned continuously goes on for all eternity. I cannot even begin to imagine what it will be like for a person to be engulfed in flames and to continuously be burned and their body not turning to ash – just continuously burning and burning and burning. Not for just an hour, a day, or a week – but forever!

Christian, have I helped you to realize your need to tell your lost loved ones about where they will be spending eternity if they don’t repent and get saved? Prayerfully, this has renewed your zeal for lost souls! If not, shame on you.

If you are reading this and you are not born again, won’t you reconsider what you believe today? You may not believe in a literal hell. Many may say that hell is here on earth. But Jesus did not preach that at all. Don’t take what others say and make it your belief. Could you possibly be wrong? Have you been right about everything in your life? What if you’re wrong about this?

God created hell for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). It is your choice to remain in the lost condition you are in right now. No one is forcing you to get saved. But admit this one thing … deep down inside you, you’re wondering if what I have said is even remotely true. I would rather exercise my little faith, be saved, and find out when I die that the Bible was true than to ignore my little faith and enjoy life full of sin only to find out that everything about hell was true and now I have to spend an eternity burning, writhing in pain for all eternity.

A wise Senior Saint once told me, “Hell’s fire is too hot and eternity is too long for me to ignore salvation!”

Dear God…
Please open the heart of the one who reads
What You have laid on my heart today
Create in me a burden so heavy and great
That I need to show someone salvation’s way.

Maranatha Devotionals

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 16:11

God is the one who brings salvation. Without the Holy Spirit pricking the heart of man and leading to conviction, there can be no salvation. But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. (Psalm 37:39) Salvation is of the LORD. (Jon 2:9b)

There is no greater joy and no greater pleasure than to be at the right hand of the Lord for ever more! There is something about the term “at the right hand” that struck me this morning. In America, it is common knowledge that the conservatives are “right-wingers” and the liberals are “left-wingers.” The right hand of the Lord is referenced in Scriptures. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. (Psalm 118:15) The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly. (Psalm 118:16)

I did a search for the phrase “the right hand of God” and found it interesting that it appears eight times. All eight occurrences are in the New Testament. All eight occurrences refer to Christ being at the right hand of God. Christ’s blood convenant was a new beginning for mankind. We no longer had to sacrifice animals but had the Perfect Sacrifice covering our sin and making payment for our punishment! The number eight is commonly known to mean “new beginnings.” How appropriate it is that there are eight verses referencing Christ!

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (Mar 16:19)Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. (Act 2:33)

But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, (Act 7:55)

And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Act 7:56)

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (Col. 3:1)

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (Heb. 10:12)

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Pet. 3:22)

Doesn’t that excite you? It does me!! There are no coincidences with God’s Word. Everything in God’s Word is there to excite us, teach us and keep us fed!

Father, God, We Glorify
John & Charles Wesley

Father, God, we glorify
Thy love to Adam’s seed;
Love that gave Thy Son to die,
And raised Him from the dead:
Him, for our offenses slain,
That we all might pardon find,
Thou hast brought to life again,
The Savior of mankind.

By Thy own right hand of power
Thou hast exalted Him,
Sent the mighty Conqueror
Thy people to redeem:
King of Saints, and Prince of Peace,
Him Thou hast for sinners giv’n,
Sinners from their sins to bless,
And lift them up to Heav’n.

Father, God, to us impart
The gift unspeakable;
Now in every waiting heart
Thy glorious Son reveal:
Quickened with our living Lord,
Let us in Thy Spirit rise,
Rise to all Thy life restored,
And bless Thee in the skies.

Maranatha Devotionals

~Psalm 51:13 [Then] will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Not everyone is a good teacher. Students are quite aware of the methods and practices used by teachers, whether they are genuine or ‘forced.’ Students can tell whether or not their teacher is well prepared. In fact, the amount of time the teacher puts into preparing prior to the class will directly affect the outcome of the class. I’ve heard that a teacher isn’t really a teacher until a student has actually been taught.  💡

As I apply today’s text to my Christian testimony, I ask myself if I am a good teacher to those around me ❓  Do I contradict my words by my actions, which in turn reflects hypocrisy? Do I “practice what I preach”? Do I put the cart before the horse in my words instead of getting to the point of what is important: the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

Do I teach sinners about their sin? Pointing the unsaved to the Law allows them to see the Ten Commandments as their schoolmaster, just as we did. One cannot know he’s going to go to Hell until he realizes he has broken the Law and is lost, correct? The Law reveals the sin in the heart of man. But the good news follows in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

What are God’s ways? God’s the master teacher, amen? He gave us the Law to see our sin – then He gave us His Son to pay the penalty for that sin. It’s ALL provided by God and nothing man can do will add anything to what has already been done  😀

Maranatha Devotionals

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalm 32:8 ) I’m sure we can all say that we’ve been to a similar cross-roads in our life, can’t we? I know I can. It seems like just when I thought I was on the right path, the rug was pulled from underneath me and wham! I didn’t know in which direction I should go! Or just when life was smooth sailing and there were no obstacles in the road, hurdles arose and I felt like my world was falling apart!

I’m so thankful for my salvation! I’m so thankful for God’s Holy word which encourages my heart through these obstacles and hurdles and shows me that my Heavenly Father loves me and will help me through these difficult times. And you know what, my friend? He’s there waiting to do the same for you! Our Heavenly Father loves us so much! He does not want to see us in a state of confusion. The Christian needs to be a testimony to a lost and dying world. The world is confused and they are the ones that need direction. How can we show them the way if we are living in confusion? How can we be a testimony to them if we do not have the peace that passes all understanding?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (5) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (6) What do you “look” like when you’re going through trials and tribulations? What does the world see in you when your life is filled with confusion? Do you look like our friend here? Or are you secure in the Lord, knowing that He will work out every situation in your life? There is no greater testimony than when the world sees us rise above chaos. They don’t understand how we can do it. Are you going through family problems right now? How are you dealing with it? Are you going to work complaining to your unsaved friends at work? Or do they see you calm and collected because you started your day off with the Lord and laid those cares at His feet?

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22) Our Father wants to be there for us and He is there for us. He is able and desiring to take on our burdens. Don’t you want your children to come to you with their cares? You would hate it if you knew they were keeping everything inside and they were miserable, wouldn’t you? Our God says to cast our burdens on Him and He shall (not maybe) sustain us! The Lord does not stop there either! He continues on to say that He shall never allow the righteous to be moved! Notice this refers to the righteous. None of us are righteous. All our righteousness are as filthy rags according to: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6) But because of our salvation, Jesus’ righteousness is what the Father sees. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Corinthians 1:30) When we abide in Him and in His word, the Lord encourages our hearts. We cannot do it apart from the word of God, my friend. Without spending time in the Bible, one cannot expect to be encouraged in a time of confusion.

God wants to give us strength through the wisdom of the Bible. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. (Isaiah 40:29) If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5) How can you pass a test without studying? How can you know the end of that novel you’re reading without first reading it? How can you glean from the blessings of the promises in the Scriptures when you don’t spend time searching for them? A baby can only drink milk for so long. He then must move on to baby food then solid food. Without this natural progression, the baby will grow very slowly and will be sickly. Paul compared believers in this same light. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (Hebrews 5:13) My friend, God says you are “unskilful” in the Bible because you are a spiritual baby. Does this not shame you? It should!

There are so many promises in God’s word to the believer. Confusion should not be part of our daily lives – instead we should have peace because we have given our cares to the One who not only can handle them but can solve every problem. God waits to show us the way to go. We don’t have to go down the path of confusion. God’s way may not always be clear but His way always brings peace if we go to the one map that guides us without error – the Bible. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalm 32:8 )

Maranatha Devotionals

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; (Psa 149:6)

Today’s unbeliever looks at “Christianity” and mocks it. We see it on television, books and movies all the time. The Christian is depicted as some lunatic. Even more as of late because of the false prophets predicting the end of the world and it does not happen! 🙁

Yes, the world probably has always viewed the believer in this light. But I believe we are viewed in this way much more today. Why do I think this? All I have to do is to look at those professing Christ around me. They do not have the praises of God in their mouths. They don’t have their two-edged sword in their heads and mouths, let alone in their hand. The topic of Jesus Christ does not come up in general conversation amongst believers – why should His name be spoken of them in the presence of unbelievers?

I’m saddened by the lack of testimony our church holds today. No wonder the world laughs. No wonder they do not want what we have. My heart aches. We can’t agree on a Bible, we can’t agree on basic doctrine – even amongst the fundamentals – we argue amongst ourselves. Our pastor preached that more churches are started today due to splits rather than from a new work. How sad is that?

If the born again believers were busy praising God with their lips and their actions, as well as using the Word of God to lead souls to Him, they would be vessels unto honour instead of dishonoring Him. 2 Tim. 2:20-21, “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. (20) If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (21)

What can we give our Saviour in honor of His birthday this year? When was the last time you led a soul to Christ? What a gift that would be!!!

This is Jesus’ Precious Bible
Richard Davies & Thomas Levi

This is Jesus’ precious Bible,
This the gift of God’s right hand;
Teaching how to die triumphant,
How to live His pure command;
This reveals the loss we suffered
When in Eden sin enticed;
And it shows the way to glory
If we follow Jesus Christ.

Precious Bible! in my bosom
Thy dear words a home shall find.
Countless blessings are, with beauty,
In Thy promises assigned;
My poor heart once roamed a desert,
Vast and dry, of withered sod,
Till Thy guidance brought me through it
To the living stream of God.

I will hide Thy words within me
Deep, where time cannot delete;
Thou art light upon my pathway,
And a lamp unto my feet;
Friend Thou art on life’s long journey
Biding through my hours of care,
And through heaven’s eternal ages—
Thou my treasure ever there.

Maranatha Devotionals


Psalm 51:10, 12-13, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (10) Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (12) Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (13)

Our daily prayer should start with the verses in this beautiful Psalm! The Christian praying these words sincerely cannot help but start off the day on the right track. The believer with a clean heart has already had his time with the Lord and has confessed his sin and repented. Only in so doing can we experience the true joy of our salvation daily because there is nothing separating us from our God. This does not mean that we lose our salvation each time we sin. It means that our fellowship is once again restored.

A good illustration is when one of my own children lies to me. My child will be punished and our fellowship won’t be the same until it is made right. Until my child confesses to me that he has lied and it is evident that he is truly repentant, the fellowship between us is broken. My heart is broken while our fellowship is broken. It’s not the same between us – he can’t look me in square in the eye and we can’t seem to enjoy that closeness we once had. However, once he repents and asks forgiveness, I can then hug him and that sweet fellowship is once again restored. What a joy it is to be able to fellowship is we once did. He now is not ashamed to look me in the eye and he is confident because he has been forgiven. My son knows that there’s no longer anything that separates us. At any point during this broken fellowship, did my son cease to be my son? Of course not. He was still my son, my flesh and bone – we just did not have the same relationship we had prior to his lying to me. Our fellowship was not the same until he experienced true repentance and asked forgiveness. After he did, he knew that his mother would be waiting to forgive him with opened arms, ready to restore our relationship.

I’ve heard preached that our accounts with God should be kept short – meaning, don’t let a day go by without confessing your sins and being truly repentant. This restores your fellowship with the Lord and all is well. Only then can we be effective soul winners according to verse 13 and win others to Christ. The lost can spot a hypocrite a mile away. If we try to lead someone to the Lord and our lives are filled with unconfessed sin, our efforts will be in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Just as our children, we must turn to our Heavenly Father and confess to Him our sin. Only then can we be free to witness to others without hypocrisy and without hindrance.

It’s so important that we have a clean heart before the Lord so that we do not hinder His Spirit’s work in the lives of the unsaved. I know that there will be some whom God has placed in my path and that I have not been able to effectively witness to them because I have not been right with Him! I dread the day that I stand before the Lord and He shows me those who are lost for all eternity because I did not take this seriously. Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, so I may be a better witness for You!!!

O For A Heart to Praise My God
Charles Wesley

O for a heart to praise my God,
A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels Thy blood
So freely shed for me.

A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
My great Redeemer’s throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone.

A humble, lowly, contrite, heart,
Believing, true and clean,
Which neither life nor death can part
From Christ who dwells within.

A heart in every thought renewed
And full of love divine,
Perfect and right and pure and good,
A copy, Lord, of Thine.

Thy tender heart is still the same,
And melts at human woe:
Jesus, for thee distressed I am,
I want Thy love to know.

My heart, Thou know’st, can never rest
Till Thou create my peace;
Till of mine Eden repossest,
From self, and sin, I cease.

Fruit of Thy gracious lips, on me
Bestow that peace unknown,
The hidden manna, and the tree
Of life, and the white stone.

Thy nature, gracious Lord, impart;
Come quickly from above;
Write Thy new name upon my heart,
Thy new, best name of Love.

Maranatha Devotionals

There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health. (Pro 12:18 )

Today’s topic won’t be long as I feel one verse can best describe the tongue. There are many verses we could read about the tongue and I’ve listed them below for you to look up on your own. I believe that today’s verse best describes the tongue because it is two-fold. It discusses the proper and improper uses of the tongue. The picture of this man speaks volumes. It depicts someone who has been on the receiving end of one who used his tongue like a sword.

Picture this sword for a moment. A sword is used to cut – plain and simple. It serves no other purpose, except if one uses it as a trophy for show. It stands to reason that when a sword is just for show, then it is not in use. It is proper that this verse would compare the tongue to a sword. How many times have you been cut by words spoken by an angry person? How many times have those words cut so deeply that you have found it difficult to forgive a person? We have all been there at some point. Does this justify the person’s use of their tongue like a sword? Not at all.

The verse goes on to say that the tongue of the wise is health. Good health is such a blessing, isn’t it? No pains, no sicknesses – we cherish each day that we can get up and not feel a twinge! A wise tongue is the same as good health according to the Word. The words of a wise person help another to good health – not in the physical sense but in the emotional and spiritual sense.

What words do you speak to others? Do you come bearing health to some and a sword to others? Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? (Jam 3:11) It should not be so for believers. We should have sweet water all the time. Our words should bring health to others all the time. If bitter water flows from our mouths and our words cut like a sword, can we honestly say we are walking with the Lord? No, we surely cannot say that. A person who reacts this way with his tongue is one who is not yielded to the Holy Spirit of God.

Have you been hurt by someone’s words? Have they cut you deeply? Remember where those words came from. This hurtful person could be unsaved. If so, they are doing a great job serving their father, the devil. He is the epitome of self-centeredness and they have learned from him well. It helps you to understand why they are the way they are. It does not take the pain away, but it sure does help you focus your thoughts on why they have a need to hurt you. Give God the glory and move on. If this person is a born-again Christian, they are not yielded to the Holy Spirit in their lives, nor their tongue. Forgive this brother and pray for an opportunity to help this brother in this area. Pray for a peaceful time where you can share how the comments hurt you. If this brother is repentant and won, this is a blessing and you have exhorted this brother to righteousness. If this brother is unrepentant and uses his tongue as a sword once again, we are commanded in Matt. 18:22 to forgive our brother (another believer) as many times as it takes. Then ask the Holy Spirit to give you exactly what you need to love this brother the way God loves him.

I have personally been in a situation of this type. Just today alone, I’ve heard from two ladies who are going through similar trials. A sword produces bleeding, wounds and scars. The one on the receiving end will never be the same because wounds leave scars. Can we who have been wounded recover? Absolutely! How? By yielding our tongue to the control of the Holy Spirit. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (Jam 3:13) (Emphasis mine) When we are in the Scriptures seeking after knowledge and wisdom, we put to practice what we have learned and show forth good conversation. Is it easy? No. Is it do-able? Yes! I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. 4:13 This is yet another burden to lay at the Saviour’s feet, my friend. We are not alone in our struggles but we have each other – the brothers and sisters in Christ who can exhort us unto righteousness and pray for us. Praise the Lord for being a part of this wonderful Family. Christ died for each of us, while we were yet sinners! If anyone had reason to be offended by the tongues of man, it was He.

Extra Verses on the Tongue:

Prov. 10:20
Prov. 11:12
Prov. 13:3
Prov. 14:25
Prov. 15:1, 4, 23
Prov. 15:28
Prov. 16:24, 28
Prov. 18:8, 13, 21
Prov. 21:23
Prov. 25:11
Prov. 26:17
Prov. 26:20
Prov. 27:2
James 3:5
James 3:8

Dear God…
May my tongue be controlled
Each day as I yield to You
Help the living waters flow
So others may see the Truth

Maranatha Devotionals

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Cor. 2:9)

I love this verse, don’t you? Many times when I need to encourage my own heart, I think of this verse. I remind myself that despite all the beauty around me, Heaven will have more. I can’t even fathom this in my finite brain!

I remember when I was first saved, how I looked for the rapture to happen at any moment! I looked up so often then. I have thought about the rapture every day since my salvation, however, not with the same enthusiasm. I’ve allowed the cares of this world to slowly quench my enthusiasm. Forgive me, Father. So I sit here this morning, renewing my strength and renewing my enthusiasm.

1 Cor. 15:51-55, Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Titus 2:13, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

Acts 1:11, Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

So once again, I am looking up!! Our Blessed Saviour’s return is imminent because the Word says so. Our Saviour’s return can be at any moment so I need to be busy doing His work and leave the cares of this world in HIS care.

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2Ti 2:15)

Whenever I study the scriptures, I use Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. I stay away from commentaries because I don’t want someone else’s gleaning but my own. On occasion, I like to look up the modern-day definition of a word and am so surprised at how “diluted” the definition has become through the years. In fact, at times the definition is far from what was intended when the King James Bible was given to us in 1611!! I thought I would share with you some examples, which I believe will surprise you. I did not alter the definitions at all but simply copied and pasted it.

I will list Merriam Webster’s definition first (in blue) and then Noah Webster’s 1828 definition (in red). I’ll then put a Bible verse using the word. I’ll let the definitions speak for themselves and you can draw your own conclusions. I hope this speaks to your heart as much as it did mine. I PRAY that it encourages you to study your bible instead of assuming that the definition in your head is the truly the one God intended.

Sin

1 a: an offense against religious or moral law b: an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible – it’s a sin to waste food c: an often serious shortcoming : FAULT
2 a: transgression of the law of God b: a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God
synonym see OFFENSE

1. The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. 1 John 3. Matt. 15. James 4. Sinner neither enjoy the pleasures of nor the peace of piety. Among divines, sin is original or actual. Actual sin, above defined, is the act of a moral agent in violating a known rule of duty. Original sin, as generally understood, is native depravity of heart to the divine will, that corruption of nature of deterioration of the moral character of man, which is supposed to be the effect of Adam’s apostasy; and which manifests itself in moral agents by positive act of disobedience to the divine will, or by the voluntary neglect to comply with the express commands of God, which require that we should love God with all the heart and soul and strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This native depravity or alienation of affections from God and his law, is supposed to be what the apostle calls the carnal mind or mindedness, which is enmity against God, and is therefore denominated sin or sinfulness. Unpardonable sin, or blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, is supposed to be a malicious and obstinate rejection of Christ and the gospel plan of salvation, or a contemptuous resistance made to the influences and convictions of the Holy Spirit. Matt.12.

2. A sin-offering; an offering made to atone for sin. He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin. 2 Cor 5.

3. A man enormously wicked. [Not in use.]

4. Sin differs from crime, not in nature, but in application. That which is a crime against society, is sin against God.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

Sacrifice (noun)

1 : an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially : the killing of a victim on an altar
2 : something offered in sacrifice
3 a : destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else b : something given up or lost
4 : LOSS
5 : SACRIFICE HIT

1. An offering made to God by killing and burning some animal upon an altar, as an acknowledgment of his power and providence, or to make atonement for sin, appease his wrath or conciliate his favor, or to express thankfulness for his benefits. Sacrifices have been common to most nations, and have been offered to false gods, as well as by the Israelites to Jehovah. A sacrifice differs from an oblation; the latter being an offering of a thing entire or without change, as tithes or first fruits; whereas sacrifice implies a destruction or killing, as of a beast. Sacrifices are expiatory, impetratory, and eucharistical; that is, atoning for sin, seeking favor, or expressing thanks.

Human sacrifices, the killing and offering of human beings to deities, have been practiced by some barbarous nations.

2. The thing offered to God, or immolated by an act of religion.

My life if thou preserv’st, my life thy sacrifice shall be.

3. Destruction, surrender or loss made or incurred for gaining some object, or for obliging another; as the sacrifice of interest to pleasure, or of pleasure to interest.

4. Any thing destroyed.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (I Samuel 15:22)

Repent

1: to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life
2 a: to feel regret or contrition b : to change one’s mind
transitive verb
1: to cause to feel regret or contrition
2: to feel sorrow, regret, or contrition for
– re·pent·er noun

1. To feel pain, sorrow or regret for something done or spoken; as, to repent that we have lost much time in idleness or sensual pleasure; to repent that we have injured or wounded the feelings of a friend. A person repents only of what he himself has done or said.

2. To express sorrow for something past.

Enobarbus did before thy face repent.

3. To change the mind in consequence of the inconvenience or injury done by past conduct.

Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return. Exo 13.

4. Applied to the Supreme Being, to change the course of providential dealings. Gen 6. Psa 106.

5. In theology, to sorrow or be pained for sin, as a violation of God’s holy law, a dishonor to his character and government, and the foulest ingratitude to a Being of infinite benevolence.

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
(Luke 13:3)

Please take special note at Merriam Webster’s definition of sin – “fault”??? Can you wonder why the world today does not see sin the way God sees sin? Also compare the definitions for “repent”!

I pray this encourages you in your own personal study time. If we received God’s word in our hearts with the same fervency with which it was translated in 1611, I dare say there would be no question as to what the words “sin” and “repent” mean. In so doing, our personal relationship and fellowship with the Lord would be more precious and sweet.

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (Exo 3:5) Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. (Exo 3:6)

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Rom 14:11)

We have all heard that “actions speak louder than words” – or “actions speak volumes”! What do my actions speak about my love for the Lord? More importantly, do I hold God in a place of honour in my life above any other? What does God deserve? Why does He deserve this place of honour?

Do I truly view God as Moses viewed Him in Exodus 3:5-6? Do I stand on holy ground when I am doing my devotions? Or have I taken the worldly Christian’s view of “Abba Daddy” too far? Do I give God the reverence that is due Him? Or have I “trivialized” His position in my walk and worship?

Yes, our Heavenly Father IS our Abba, Father. But do I speak to my earthly Dad with disrespect? Do I put my Dad on the same level as my friends? Of course not. My earthly father is respected and has a “higher” place than my friends. I don’t speak to him in the same manner as I would my friends. The average Christian has removed this respect and honour for God from their lives. They’ve “buddy-fied” (excuse my new term) God. They’ve lost that proper fear and respect. Is it any wonder that there is hardly any wisdom amongst Christians today? The proper fear of God brings wisdom in a Christian’s life. If we look at God as just “one of the guys,” we reveal just how little reverence we have for Him and, therefore, we won’t receive the wisdom He wishes to give us! (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 9:10)

The phrase, Abba, Father is mentioned three times in the word of God. All three times they are in the New Testament and were spoken by the Lord, Jesus Christ:

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mark 14:36)

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom 8:15)

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Gal 4:6)

Whenever we want to learn what the scriptures have to say about a certain topic, the best Teacher is Christ Himself. Christ revered His Abba, Father to the point of praising and reverencing Him (all things are possible unto thee), petitioning Him (take away this cup from me), and finally submitting to His will (nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt). Christ did not treat His prayer as though it was a talk with one of His friends. He recognized His position as being under submission but yet as a Son speaking to His Father. What a great teacher, amen?

Why doesn’t God work through men and women today as He did with our forefathers? Could it be because we have allowed the devil to dilute God’s holiness and position in our lives? Do I “take off my shoes” in my heart as I enter into my prayer closet to spend time with the Lord? Do I hide my face because I am not worthy to look upon the face of God?

If not, why not? More importantly, if not – then what are my actions revealing? God is not just “one of the guys”! God is not my “buddy”! God is not “the Man upstairs”! How dare we trivialize God! How dare we put God on “our level”!

Yes, the scriptures do say that God is our friend. And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. (Exo 33:11a) But Moses didn’t take advantage of his relationship with God by disrespecting Him. Would you treat your friend with disrespect? Then why do you watch movies or listen to jokes that dishonor God? Do you lie to your friend? Then why do you try to weasel your way out of telling the whole truth about missing church services? Do you steal from your friend? Then why do you steal from God by withholding your offerings? Do you find every excuse under the sun to avoid being with your friend? Then why do you skip your devotions and prayer time? Do you throw your friend’s letters away or leave them unopened? Then why don’t you open your Bible except in church? Ouch!

What the average Christian needs today is to set aside the “emerging church’s” view of God and get back to the old fashioned principles taught in the scriptures. If you want to be God’s friend, then pattern your life after Moses – And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. (Exo 3:5) Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. (Exo 3:6)

Jesus Christ is our King of Kings! Let’s treat Him like one!

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Can we truly say that God’s rod and staff comfort us? The rod was used by the shepherd on his sheep for discipline at times. I began to meditate on why God’s rod would be a comfort to me. As God’s child, there are many times that I must be corrected. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him. (Proverbs 22:15)

David was quick to add “and thy staff” immediately afterwards. The staff was used as a walking stick – this is a wonderful picture of God’s direction and guidance! David did not insert this in the next sentence but placed it right along with “Thy rod”! I wondered why? God’s correction and chastisement is always followed with direction and love. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5) Can you just picture the Lord as our Shepherd using the rod to discipline us and then using His staff to guide us and direct us back on the right path?

A shepherd uses his rod to chastise his sheep into staying with the herd. His staff then guides and directs the sheep in the direction the shepherd wants them to go for their own protection. What a beautiful picture of Jesus, our Shepherd!

Our Father in Heaven is the ultimate Father! In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8 )

Father, I welcome thy rod and thy staff in my life. Without Your correction and guidance, I would wander aimlessly. Thank You for Your everlasting kindness and mercy, my Redeemer and King!

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies


Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. (Proverbs 31:10)

Is my personal “virtue” worth more than rubies? Or is my personal “virtue” a fake like cubic zirconia? Only I can answer that question honestly.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (Proverbs 31:11)

Does my husband know that I will be frugal with the money he works hard to bring home? Or do I spend it without prayer or forethought and end up with too much week at the end of his paycheck?

She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:12)

Do I do my husband good ALL the time? Or only when I feel like it or if he’s nice to me?

She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. (Pro 31:13)

Do I willingly work with my hands for the benefit of my family? Or do I complain of the mending that is sitting in the basket waiting to be mended?

She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. (Proverbs 31:14)

Do I try to help out when finances are tight? Or do I complain to my husband that there’s not enough money (all hubby hears in my complaint is that he is an awful provider!)?

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. (Proverbs 31:15)

Am I in control of my schedule to the point that I can get up early to take care of my time with the Lord and the needs of my family before they rise and the hussle bussle of the day takes over? Or do I hit the snooze button a couple of times only to have my entire household in a rush. I am in charge of setting the “tone” in my home.

She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. (Proverbs 31:16)

Do I consider what I buy and spend the money I make from my “craft” (whether that be from my garden or sewing, etc.) wisely? Or do I buy on impulse and hide it away in a drawer or closet and never use?

She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. (Proverbsv31:17)

Do I exercise to keep myself physically fit for my family’s sake? Or do I indulge and overeat only to put on more weight? Too much weight reduces my stamina, adds stress to my heart and my legs, and plays havoc with blood pressure. My family needs me strong and healthy to be able to meet their needs.

She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. (Proverbs 31:18)

Do I make sure that the products I sell are done to the best of my ability? Or do I try to get away with providing lesser quality for the same amount of money? Do I do just enough to “get buy”? Am I so well organized so that I do not run out of oil for my candle during the night? In the days of the Proverbs 31 wife, no light in the window usually meant something was wrong, like a death in the family.

She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. (Proverbs 31:19)

Do I learn to use the talents that God has blessed me with faithfully? Or do I make excuses that I simply just can’t learn?

She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. (Proverbs 31:20)

Do I care for the needs in my own church as I should? Or do I turn my head and hope that someone else will take care of those needs?

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (Proverbs 31:21)

Do I plan ahead and buy winter clothes on sale in the Spring to prepare for the needs of my family? Or do I end up buying winter clothes at top dollar value in the Fall? Are buttons missing from last year’s clothing? Are holes in need of mending?

She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. (Proverbs 31:22)

Am I watchful as to how I dress so I can represent my husband properly? Or do I leave the house to go shopping wearing my grungiest jean skirt and no make-up? Do I look nice when he comes home from work or am I less than desirable to look at?

Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. (Proverbs 31:23)

Are my deeds such that someone who knows my husband would say “He sure does have a good wife!” Or do his friends see a man whose shirt has not been ironed and his pants look like they sat in the dryer for a few days? Are the children so well behaved that people know he is a good leader?

She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. (Proverbs 31:24)

Are my creations done to the best of my ability where they are a wonderful example of Christ through my work? Do I search out new ideas on how to sell my goods?

Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. (Proverbs 31:25)

Am I clothed inwardly (spiritually) as well as I am clothed outwardly? Or am I guilty of hypocrisy?

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. (Proverbs 31:26)

Do I think before I speak making sure I have a kind response? Or do I blurt out the first thing that comes to mind and have to clean up my mess later? Do I try to disguise my unwise speech with “Oh well, I guess am just too honest at times.”?

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 31:27)

Do I make sure that my list of chores for the day are accomplished? Or do I procrastinate on a few of those chores so I can watch something on TV?

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Proverbs 31:28)

Do my words and actions warrant receiving praise from my family? Or do I become bitter because they don’t praise me, not once thinking that it is I who needs to repent?

Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. (Proverbs 31:29)

Do I strive to excel in my spiritual walk? Or do I do just enough to get by? Do I give my husband and family my all? Can my husband brag on me and say that I’m the best wife he could have?

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)

Do I fear (and honour) the Lord enough for it to guard all my words and actions? Or do I leave those things undone and concentrate on appearing spiritual?

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:31)

Do I let my spiritual walk and work speak for itself? Or do I look for praise from others?

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies


Luke 10:38-42, Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

I love how God puts examples in the Bible that help us to learn His lessons for us. Here are two women, both raised in the same family but yet very different. There are a few spiritual applications we could glean here, that’s for sure. Martha could be an example of a person who is not saved and does not desire the things of God. It could be that Martha represents the saved woman who has not studied to show herself approved unto God. As well, she could represent the woman who has been saved a long time and has become comfortable in her Christian walk and feels she doesn’t need to grow spiritually anymore so she “works” a lot. Which Martha are you today, ladies?

Luke points out that Martha was “cumbered, careful and troubled about many things.” She was expecting Jesus and many others in her home. She was busy in her thoughts, laying out plans, what dishes to use, what meal to make, housework needed to be done, and everything in its place. In fact, these thoughts obsessed her so much so that she went to Jesus saying, “There’s so much to do, tell Mary to come help me!” Think about this for a minute. If you were receiving guests in your home and your sister wasn’t helping you with preparing, would you go to your guest and ask them to tell your sister to get to work? Is it me or was this a strange request to make? I think this goes deeper than meets the eye, don’t you? I think Martha wanted to draw attention to herself and all the work she had done by herself. SHE wanted the credit, in my opinion.

Jesus saw through this and told her that she was caught up in what needed to be done but was leaving the more important matters aside – her spiritual life. He came right out and told her that Mary had chosen the good part and that this spiritual nourishment would not be taken away from her.

Is your spiritual housework all done, ladies? Is your house nice and spotless but your Bible study life is not? Do you put emphasis on cleaning your house but you leave your spiritual housework undone? What can we do to have a spiritually house clean?

1. Ask God to show you those secret sins in your heart and confess them.
Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. (Psalm 19:12)

2. Ask God to show you all your sins and to wash you thoroughly from them so you don’t repeat them. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:2)

3. How can we continually cleanse our hearts? By taking HEED to the word. Not just reading it but taking HEED to it. BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. (Psalm 119:9)

4. Again, the word of God washes. It helps us to stay clean. What happens to water as it goes into a colander? It goes through the colander, right? But the colander is cleaned by that water, even though the water does not stay contained in it. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, (Ephesians 5:26) The same with our spiritual lives. We may not remember everything we read in the scriptures or study, but continual reading and studying helps us to stay clean.

5. Getting closer to God will clean our hearts. It will bring conviction, repentance and a need to ask forgiveness from the Father. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. (James 4:8)

6. Abstain from worldly lusts. The things of this world have a lot to offer the flesh. Think in your hearts today what worldly things God is revealing to your heart right now. Is it TV? Is it music? Is it a book? Is it a distraction that keeps you from His word? Any of these things distract. (II Corinthians 6:18) Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

Are you having difficulties saying no to the things this world offers? Are you having difficulties in your spiritual walk in general? Do a spiritual house cleaning today. Ask God to show you what He wants cleaned out. You probably already know what needs cleaning. Then ask the Lord to help you keep your spiritual house clean. He can, He will and He promises to help you. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4)

Maranatha Devotionals, Bible Studies

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (Romans 2:13)

Oh how these two verses pricked my heart this morning. Often I say “amen” to the preaching of the scriptures, or blogs I’ve read, and posts on my favorite boards. But can I truly say that I “practice” the content of the messages? Self examination must be done daily and we must ask, “Am I a doer or am I deceiving myelf”?

According to Romans 2:13, if we are hearers we are not justified! Praise God for Romans 5:9 otherwise we would be in BIG trouble. Praise God that because we are born again, Jesus’ righteousness is all the Father sees and we are justified because of His shed blood! We are not condemned! And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (Romans 5:16)

Are we doers of the word of God? We can try to fool those who “watch” us but can we fool our own selves? More importantly, do we honestly believe we can fool God? But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22) James says that we deceive our OWN selves! Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary has an excellent definition for the word deceive: “To mislead the mind; to cause to err; to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose on; to delude” We’ve all heard the old saying that we see life “through rose-colored glasses.” This expression goes back to at least 1861. It means that one has the attitude of cheerful optimism, of seeing everything in an attractive, pleasant light. Good night! What an eye opener that was! Do we see our own selves through these same rose-colored glasses? Do we see our sin for what it really is?

The bottom line is this … if we hear a message that points out sin in our lives and we do not heed that message, we are guilty of being a hearer of the word only. We are misleading ourselves – we actually convince our minds to believe that which is false or disbelieve that which is true! What is scarey here is that if we become hearers only, what false doctrine will we fall for? If we are hearers only, what effectiveness does our testimony have on the unsaved? Does our testimony give them vinegar rather than the water of life? When I think of what vinegar is, I shudder to think that my testimony would have this affect on others. Again, Noah Webster’s definition of vinegar is: “Vegetable acid; an acid liquor obtained from wine, cider, beer or other liquors, by the second or acetous fermentation. Vinegar may differ indefinitely in the degree of its acidity. When highly concentrated, it is called radical vinegar.” The soldiers tried to give Jesus vinegar as He hung on the cross and was thirsty. Matthew 27:34 says that once Jesus tasted it, he would not drink it!

Jesus provided “living water” to the thirsty soul. He did not give them vinegar. What are we producing? If we are hearers of the word only, we will be giving the world vinegar – why would they want that? If we are doers of the word, however, we are giving the world what their soul is thirsting for – living water!

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (John 4:10)

The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? (John 4:11)

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38 )