~Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

My Shepherd guides me and provides for me – not just my physical needs, but also my emotional and spiritual needs. I shall never lack anything as long as I stay close to my Shepherd. James 4:8

~Psalm 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

I find rest for my weary body, spirit and soul when I search His word – when I glean from it and apply it.  He provides water from His word which gives me everlasting life.  John 4:10

~Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

My soul could not be restored unless it was lost to begin with.  I was born a sinner (Romans 3:10) – we all are. However, at the moment of salvation, Christ restored me and placed His righteousness upon me.  Colossians 1:20 and Colossians 2:14

~Psalm 23:4 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.

God removes the sting of death for me, therefore I have no need to fear evil because Christ conquered sin and death. I Corinthians 15:55  The Lord guides me and directs me.  When I fall into sin, He uses His rod to correct me. When I stray from the path I should be on, He guides me with His staff!

~Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

One day I will eat at His banquet table at the marriage supper of the Lamb and I will be in His presence forever! Luke 22:30  I am so overwhelmed at God’s goodness! Praise be to God in the highest!

~Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Because I am a child of the King, His mercy and His goodness are always with me.  I have a promise that I will dwell with Him forever!

Thank You, Lord!

Psalm 119:89-96

LAMED
89 For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.
90 Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
91 They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
92 Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction.
93 I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
94 I am thine, save me; for I have sought thy precepts.
95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
96 I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.

Journaling:

1. Find all the things the Bible will do for you
2. Find the things you are suppose to do with your Bible
3. Find the things the Bible is likened to

The Psalmist opens this next section of Psalm 119 with an emphatic verse.  He has complete and unshakable confidence in his statement.  Along with Psalm 12:6-7, these verses support the fact that God can and did preserve His word throughout the ages!

God does not preserve His word for a period of time; nor is His word preserved through the capability of man or his intelligence! God’s word is settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).  I see several things, just in this one verse:

  1. Who:  Whose word is referenced in Psalm 119:89?  Thy word – God’s word, not man’s.  The Devil’s desire is to corrupt the word of God for several reasons: to remove the deity of Jesus Christ and, therefore, so man cannot find salvation, and so he (the Devil) can take God’s place.  The only time Lucifer is mentioned in the Bible is in Isaiah 14:12.  But don’t go finding his name in the NIV, NASB, ESV, etc.  It can only be found in the King James Bible!  Why?  Because the Devil, Lucifer, does not want man kind knowing the truth about him or about Jesus Christ, the Saviour.  If the Devil can place doubt in man’s mind about the inspired and preserved word of God, he has succeeded already.  He removed his name from Isaiah 14:12 and replaced it with “morning star,” which is a name for Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:16).  Ask yourself, Christian, “Who stands to gain from changing God’s word?” Satan stands to gain – and he has succeed in producing over 200 different versions of the Bible.  Is it any wonder the world is falling apart at the seams?!  Is it any wonder that the world doesn’t think God’s word exists today?
  2. What:  What is spoken of in this verse?  God’s word is what is settled.  God’s word is what shows man his sin.  God’s word is what leads man to salvation. God’s word speaks about His Blessed Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Psalm 12:6-8 give us a clearer picture about the purity and eternality of God’s word and what happens to the “scholars” who change His word:(6) The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. (7) Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (8) The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted. God’s word is perfect. He has promised to preserve those words for us for ever!  It’s settled! The men who are responsible for the corrupt translations have done a horrible act. They have followed their father, the Devil, and have taken down many souls with them. Oh the price they will pay throughout eternity for changing God’s word! It is a frightening thing to be in the hands of an angry God: ~Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.  No author on earth would appreciate someone else changing their writing.  In fact, there are laws against it and it is called plagiarism!
  3. Where:  Where is God’s word settled?  Heaven!  Heaven is the perfect dwelling place.  No sin can enter Heaven.  No corruption can enter Heaven. God’s plans for mankind were spoken, written and settled – PERIOD.  Once a court of law in our land reaches a settlement in a trial, it cannot be changed.  It is final! This is what the word means.  It’s not rocket science and even a child can understand it.
  4. When: How long is God’s word settled? FOR EVER! It will not change – it cannot be changed. The Devil has changed it through the years by using his minions. However, God’s word is settled forever and we know Who will win in the end! Ignorant man, despite his knowledge and Ph.D.’s, has been the puppet of the all-time Deceiver, the Father of Lies, Satan! But the Victor is Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords and King of Kings! He preserved His words for us through the uncorrupted King James Bible. We do have God’s word in the English language. All others are heretical attempts to discredit the blood of Christ, His virgin birth, His deity, and His triumpant return!
  5. For How Long: Psalm 119:90-91 give us an answer!  God is faithful – His word is faithful – His promises are for ever!  The faithfulness of His word continues to ALL generations (verse 90) and they continue according to His word!

God’s word existed before the creation of all things. His word spoke everything into existence. His word is as much with us today as much as it was with people living before, during and after Christ!  How strange it is that people can believe that God created all things in the universe yet He is not able to keep His word from corruption!  You limit God by saying such things!  God’s abilities are limitless and powerful – just read and enjoy the following verses:

Deuteronomy 3:24,
Deuteronomy 9:3,
II Samuel 22:32-34,
I Chronicles 29:12,
Psalm 18:1-2,
Psalm 62:7-8,
Psalm 68:35,
Luke 1:37,
Isaiah 40:28-31,
Job 9:4,
Jeremiah 5:22,
Jude 1:25.

It’s settled, my friend. God has settled it!

Psalm 119:49-56

49 Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
50 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.
51 The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.
52 I remembered thy judgments of old, O Lord; and have comforted myself.
53 Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
54 Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
55 I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law.
56 This I had, because I kept thy precepts.

Journaling:

1. Find all the things the Bible will do for you
2. Find the things you are suppose to do with your Bible
3. Find the things the Bible is likened to

As I read today’s text, I couldn’t help but notice how active God’s word truly is! Each verse put to reality exactly what God’s word did for the Psalmist. Let’s take a look:

  1. God’s words bring hope! ~1 John 3:2-3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
  2. God’s words quicken us (makes us alive). ~Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
  3. God’s words bring judgment. ~Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
  4. God’s words are not to be taken lightly. ~Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. )
  5. God’s words bring comfort. ~Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
  6. God’s words bring song. ~Psalm 42:8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
  7. God’s words are ever present. ~Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Is it any wonder that it is called the “living word of God”?  Here are seven perfect reasons why we should love the word of God!  Would you not absolutely cherish a love letter you received (and, yes, even all the letters) from the love of your life?  Would you not read them over and over searching for something you may have possibly missed at the last reading?  You would hold that letter near to your heart – it would be a treasure to you.

How much more the words of God, dear friend?  God’s love letters to us are contained in one book, our Holy Bible!  The Holy Spirit desires to teach us and reveal to us what we need each and every day.  Glory!

~Psalm 119:25-32

DALETH
25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.
31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O Lord, put me not to shame.
32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

Journaling:

1. Find all the things the Bible will do for you
2. Find the things you are suppose to do with your Bible
3. Find the things the Bible is likened to

Where do we turn when we are at our wits end? What do we do when our spiritual life seems as dry as the desert? The Psalmist, again, has the answer! I can see him in my mind’s eye now, telling the Lord how barren his heart is and asking God to make him alive through His word (Psalm 119:25)!  It’s like needing a spiritual defibrillator to make you spiritually alive so you can “hear” God’s word!

I especially love the next verse, Psalm 119:26. Talk to God and tell Him what you are going through and acknowledge your situation to Him. This verse clearly says that He hears you! Praise the Lord! We have access to our Heavenly Father at any time we want because of what Christ did on the cross! The believer is made alive through the new birth and all obstacles which prevented us from entering into one-on-one dialogue with our Heavenly Father were removed! Glory!

~Colossians 2:13-14 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

Furthermore, the Psalmist asks God to teach him His word and to help him to understand His way (Psalm 119:25-26). As a result of sitting at the Master’s feet, he will share God’s wondrous works with others. What a great verse to encourage us to share what we learn with one another!

Because the Holy Spirit wrote the Bible, He can teach us and reveal to us what we should know! We don’t need a priest to interpret His word if we are a born again child of the King. Why would God give His word to the world to point them to salvation if they can’t understand what it says? Why a cruel God that would be indeed!

~2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The Psalmist knew who to ask and what to ask for (Psalm 119:27), didn’t he? The Holy Spirit will teach us, show us and guide us through His word. With God showing us the way, we do not need to worry about our path as it will always be truth (Psalm 119:30)!! As we heed His word, our hearts are convicted and taught the way we should go. Praise the Lord for this Psalm! We can see how important God’s words were to this Psalmist and so should it be for us!

Psalm 119:9-16

BETH
9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes.
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Journaling:

1. Find all the things the Bible will do for you
2. Find the things you are suppose to do with your Bible
3. Find the things the Bible is likened to

The second letter of the Hebrew alphabet’s verses open with drawing the reader to God’s word and to seek salvation in them. When one desires to be saved, he can find salvation within the blessed pages of the Bible! The Lord Jesus Christ desires to save us – after all, that is the reason He came to earth so we could accept His precious gift to us, repent and be saved!

~Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

Once repentance and salvation are settled, we can keep from sin by following Psalm 119:11 and putting it to use! Our Heavenly Father did not leave us to our own devices. He has a clear cut plan for us that leads us along the way. Repeatedly throughout this Psalm, you are encouraged to dig into your Bible and find the Father’s instructions!

~Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

~Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Psalm 119:12 reveals to us that our Father desires to teach us through His Holy Spirit! The believer has the precious indwelling of the Holy Spirit who is responsible for teaching the child of the King of Kings!!

~John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

~Luke 12:12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Once we are taught, we are not to keep it to ourselves.  Psalm 119:13-14 encourages us to speak to others about what the Lord has shown us and done for us! What is joy if it is not shared with others? What are blessings if we keep them to ourselves? We glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by talking about the gifts He has given to us! Did He meet a financial need at the last minute? Shout from the rooftops! Did He bring a child into your life after years of being barren? Rejoice and share it with the world! Did He bring you comfort in a desperate time? Glorify Him by sharing it with someone else who needs comfort! Don’t keep His blessings to yourself – it is a grateful heart that brings the Lord much glory!

The next verse, Psalm 119:15, explains how meditating on God’s word will lead us to obey it and respect it. Have you ever been under conviction about a sin but you didn’t want to give it up? I think we’ve all been in that boat. But once you’ve read God’s word and thought about the consequences of the sin and how it hurts your Heavenly Father, did you not desire to give it up? Of course you did! It is by meditating on what God shows us that we realize the futility in continuing in it. The Holy Spirit takes those verses we are meditating on and does a work of conviction in our hearts.

~John 16:7-8 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Lastly, the Psalmist says that he delights in God’s word and won’t forget it. Committing the word of God to memory helps us to live day by day. Circumstances come up and immediately a Bible verse comes to mind that instructs us in the way we should go.  That is why the words of God are “living” words – they have been speaking to souls for thousands of years!

What powerful verses these eight verses are – they are packed with fuel for the believer’s life!  Now, take a few minutes and mediate on what you have read 🙂

Psalm 119:1-8

ALEPH
1 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.
2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.
5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!
6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.
7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.
8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

We will be covering this Psalm over the next few weeks so I wanted to share a little introduction. Not only is this Psalm the longest of all the Psalms but it is the longest chapter of the Bible. Psalm 119 is called an alphabetic acrostic. In Hebrew, the first eight lines of the psalm all begin with the letter aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The next eight lines begin with beth, the second letter, etc. The whole Psalm magnifies the word of God repeatedly by using different words: (1) law (2) testimony, (3) judgments, (4) statutes, (5) words, (6) precepts, (7) commandments, (8) promises, and (9) way. I have these underlined in my Bible.

God’s word is not only our bread – our life – but our very foundation! How appropriate that the longest chapter in the Bible would revolve around His word! I found notes by a preacher about this particular Psalm. He suggested that as we read through each of the alphabet sections, we should ask ourselves the following (I will repeat this “assignment” with the next 22 devotionals). Write in your Bibles or in a journal as you meditate over these verses:

1. Find all the things the Bible will do for you
2. Find the things you are suppose to do with your Bible
3. Find the things the Bible is likened to

God’s words are a very light in the Christian’s life. They illuminate our hearts and show us His will for us – they brighten our hearts in our darkest hour – they shine on our sin exposing it so we can confess and forsake it – they enlighten us and teach us! God’s word lives and never grows old! It breaths afresh upon us every day!

As I read the first eight verses, immediately I’m led to search for salvation. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. Are there any who are undefiled? Even the “religious” are defiled. Our own righteousness is as a filthy rag! The best “religious” day we could possibly have is filthy in God’s eyes. All are defiled.

~Isaiah 64:6 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.

~Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Psalm 119:2 shows the way! The one who seeks the Lord with his whole heart will be blessed!

~John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The Word (John 1:1) leads us to everlasting life because of what He did on the cross for us! When we seek Him diligently and with our whole heart, He is faithful to forgive us and to cleans us from all our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We have Christ’s righteousness when we get saved, not our own. (Romans 4:22-24) Praise the Lord that the Father sees His Son and not our own righteousness when he gazes upon us!  Thank You Lord Jesus for taking my place on the cross!

God’s word is so important in our lives. The Psalmist surely recognized this!  What a blessing this entire Psalm is!  I hope you will glean from it as I am!

~Psalm 117

1 O praise the Lord, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. 2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.

Today’s text is so short but it is packed with blessing! The Psalmist is exhorting us to praise the Lord. Why? Psalm 117:2 says that God’s merciful kindness is great toward us! Amen to that! If it weren’t for the Lord Jesus Christ saving my soul over 30 years ago, I would be dead and burning in Hell! That’s great mercy! But the latter part of verse 2 says that the Lord’s truth endures forever! Then the Psalmist tells us to praise the Lord again! We ought to praise God for showing His great mercy toward us by preserving His truth – His word!

God’s truth will endure forever! Endure what?  Let’s stop and meditate on these verses as the Lord reveals His word to us, amen? I am currently doing a study on Bible versions and the history of God’s words preserved through these thousands of years. Countless men and women have been killed over the preservation of God’s word. It did not take Satan long before he started corrupting the word of God – in fact, he began this corruption by causing doubt and actually changing what God said in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1).

It amazes me that you can discuss the preservation of God’s word with Christians today and they doubt that there is a true copy God’s word available to us today. Yet these same Christians believe that God created the universe and all that is in it. Why does their faith stop with creation, I wonder?  Can not this same God preserve His word?  God tells us that He can in His word so why are there doubts today?

Jesus said that God’s word is true and sanctifies (sets apart) the believer.

~John 17:17-19 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19

Is it any wonder that the devil would try to corrupt it or have people wonder if it even exists?  Satan does not want Christians to be sanctified.  He wants Christians to be powerless.  Furthermore, he does not want anyone coming to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, he has succeeded in producing 200+ bible versions out there which could not lead a horse to water, let alone a man to salvation.

God is not a liar, like man (Romans 3:4). He speaks the truth through His word. In fact, His word is more important to God than His very name!

~Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Since God holds His own word above His own name (He magnifies it), it stands to reason that He would preserve it through the centuries and make sure that His creation would have His true words so they could find His blessed gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ!

~Psalms 12:6-7 The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

I encourage anyone who is reading to do a study on the history of God’s word and the corruption of the texts through the ages. You must know that God would not give us 200+ versions of His word to cause confusion for His creation.  That has never been His intention. It is, however, the intention of Satan to change, pervert and corrupt (Genesis 3:1).  He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he hates truth!  It is not rocket science – this should be evident to all Christians yet many are convinced that we cannot possibly have the preserved words of God!

The Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. It is also found in Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33.

Christian, you believe that God can keep your salvation – why can you not believe that He can keep His word? You cannot escape God’s truth. The devil wants you to but you cannot escape God’s word.

~Hebrews 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

I encourage each reader to study the history of the words of God as I have. We have God’s word in the English language and it is not contained in 200+ versions. Men and women died preserving the manuscripts throughout the years and, yes, God’s word does exist in the King James Bible. Don’t be deceived that you have to have a modern English translation to understand. That is just another ploy of Satan’s to keep you from the truth. God can preserve His words – don’t buy that lie from the pits of Hell.

A closing thought – as I was studying, one of the defenses used by those pushing the modern versions was that their manuscripts were in excellent shape and older than the manuscript used for the Kind James translation.  Friend, pause for a moment – do you have a favorite book on your book shelf that you have read over and over?  You’ve dog-eared the pages and the pages are worn from reading over and over.  A well read manuscript would be worn out – after all, they were written on papyrus.  It would not be in perfect condition.  I would be more concerned about a manuscript that was in mint condition – which would tell me it was never used. Is it any wonder that the manuscripts from the Authorized Version (AV) are newer than the corrupt manuscripts because the older ones were so used they fell apart? A well read and beloved book does not stay on a bookshelf! Many have died making sure that God’s word would be preserved through the ages.  Yes, man can fail – but God cannot fail – He is perfect!

Psalm 111

1 Praise ye the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. 2 The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. 3 His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. 4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the Lord is gracious and full of compassion. 5 He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant.6 He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. 7 The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. 8 They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. 9 He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

As Christians, what comes out of our mouths? Are we constantly complaining or moaning about our circumstances? If an unbeliever were listening to our conversations, would they be able to tell that we are children of the King of Kings? These are pretty poignant questions, aren’t they?

No matter what our lot is in life, we have so much for which to be thankful! Just take a look around you. Psalm 111:2 says that those who have pleasure in God’s good works seek out His works. The Lord must delight in His children’s praises as they sit in awe looking out the stars, don’t you think? The Lord made all these things just for us so that we could behold their beauty and remember Him (PSalm 111:4)! Even in our day-to-day needs, we can see how He has provided (Psalm 111:5). Every time I think of His blessings in my life, I am reminded of:

“Great is Thy Faithfulness”

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

As the heart is prepared by praising the Lord for His marvelous blessings, Psalm 111:9 then leads us into the ultimate blessing, our salvation! Even the most pessimist Christian must acknowledge this blessing! We deserve judgment and Hell because the Lord’s words are truth and He will carry out those judgments (Psalm 111:8).

The child of God who obeys God’s Word is wise and will have His praises on their lips (Psalm 111:10). So Christian, how’s your mouth today? (Matt. 15:18 and Luke 6:45) Better yet, how’s your heart?

Nativity Scene Pictures, Images and Photos

Since this is the day set aside to honor the birth of the Saviour, I believe It is fitting, to read about the prophecies regarding Jesus Christ, the Messiah:
Born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2
National Identity & Authority will not end until the Messiah comes – Genesis 49:10
Messiah will have a ministry in Galilee – Isaiah 9:1,2
Messiah will have a ministry of miracles  – Isaiah 35:5, 6; 42:7; and Isaiah 53:4
Messiah will preach good news to poor, encourage the brokenhearted – Isaiah 61:1
Rejection by Jews & Gentiles – Psalms 2:1-2; Psalms 118:22-23
Messiah would be persecuted – Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 53:3
Triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey – Zechariah 9:9
Zeal for God’s house would consume Him – Psalms 69:9
Betrayal by close friend – Psalms 41:9; Psalms 55:12-13
Betrayal for 30 pieces of Silver – Zechariah 11:12
Purchase of the Potter’s Field with 30 pieces of Silver – Zechariah 11:13
Desertion of the disciples – Zechariah 13:7
Silent under accusation – Isaiah 53:7
Mocking – Psalms 22:7-8
Hands and Feet Pierced – Psalms 22:16
Patience under suffering – Isaiah 53:7
Crucified – Psalms 22:14
Offer of gall and vinegar – Psalms 69:21
Cries upon the Cross – Psalms 22:1
Death with the wicked and transgressors – Isaiah 53:9, Isaiah 53:12
Casting of lots for His garments – Psalms 22:18
Bones not broken – Psalms 34:20
Pierced – Psalms 22:16, Zechariah 12:10
Suffered for us, suffered in our place – Isaiah 53:4-6
Born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14
Messiah will have a forerunner – Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5
Buried with Rich – Isaiah 53:9
Specific time of arrival – Daniel 9:24

Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 outline in more detail about the Saviour:

~Isaiah 53

1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

~Psalm 22

To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David.
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. 9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. 10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. 16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. 19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. 22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the Lord’S: and he is the governor among the nations. 29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

~Psalms 37:3-8

3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. 6 And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.

Just like Psalm 1, this Psalm is believed to have been written by Solomon because of the way it is written like the verses in Proverbs.

~Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Israel used today’s Psalm for instruction, and rightfully so. It is filled with wonderful lessons for me on how to improve my walk with the Lord.

  1. Verse 3 – “Trust in the Lord and do good.” I thought of Abraham when reading this. God called Abram to pack up everything and move his family to a place that he wasn’t familiar with. Abram trusted God to pave the way for him and to work out all the details. Furthermore, God provided for Abram’s needs and all those who went with him. The land they lived in prospered and so did all that Abram touched. But this all began with Abram trusting God. Do I trust Him with my life’s needs as well?
  2. Verse 4 – “Delight thyself also in the LORD” How do I delight myself in the Lord? I cannot without first being a part of His family. After all, a total stranger cannot delight himself in my family because he does not know us. Therefore, if I am not a child of the King, how can I delight myself in Him? But as a child of the living God, I can delight myself in Him by reading His Word, talking to Him, sharing with Him every detail of my life, doing His will, etc. These all put together keep Him at the center of my life and He is a rewarder if I diligently seek Him.

    ~Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

  3. Verse 5 – “Commit thy way unto the LORD;” When I am uncertain of what path I am to take, I must commit it to Him and let Him lead me. After all, He has seen the future and knows what is awaiting. How comforting this is to me. Resting in God’s care and knowing that whatever happens is His will is the best place to be when I am unsure.
  4. Verse 7 – “Rest in the LORD,” There are times when I feel as though God is not working quick enough in a certain area. I see others moving forward but I am at a stand still. This is where the “rest” comes in! I noticed the second half of the verse says for me not to fret because of those who prosper. In due time, the Lord will work in my situation and to my benefit. Such rest is valuable when I am trying to defeat the devil’s attempts to discourage me or to cause me to worry.
  5. Verse 8 – “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:” Some things in life are a temptation for me to be overcome with anger. I see where the sinner prospers and gets what he desires while I am pleading to God for help or reprieve and not seeing His hand at work. But it shouldn’t be my concern as to whether another person succeeds or not. My thoughts should be focused on what God’s will is for my life. Whether or not I agree with God, His will is always best for me. It is not for me to disagree and be angry with God, although I can share my frustrations and doubts with Him. There is no rest in anger for me. However, there is rest when I trust Him as Abram trusted Him.

I’m currently unemployed – a state I’ve not found myself in for many, many years. Knowing the financial demands that we have as a family, I was beginning to take that burden upon me and fretting. Praise the Lord for today’s Psalm!

I noticed there were five areas in life that I need to focus on so I can keep close to the Lord.  Five is the Bible number for God’s Grace!  Praise the Lord that I can delight myself in Him and He lifts me upon a high place spiritually! There is rest in Him because He holds me in His hand. I am under His wings and I am His child to protect. His grace is sufficient!  Therefore, as Abraham trusted, I will learn to trust in Him!

Psalm 6

To the chief Musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith, A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. 2 Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord, heal me; for my bones are vexed. 3 My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O Lord, how long? 4 Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake. 5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks? 6 I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears. 7 Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies. 8 Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping. 9 The Lord hath heard my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. 10 Let all mine enemies be ashamed and sore vexed: let them return and be ashamed suddenly.

This morning’s Psalm is not only heartwrenching to me but what a beautiful depiction of repentant sinner! This Psalm was written when David had committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband, Uriah, killed! At this point in time, Bathsheba had given birth to the baby but the baby had yet to die. Today’s reading reveals a repentant David who is praying and seeking forgiveness. I think of Psalm 51 as well, another one of David’s beautiful Psalms of repentance.

I picture David on his knees pleading with God to forgive him! I see him crying and torn before his God and pleading to Him to save his son, even if it is the smallest possibility! I know that his son was not spared, yet David accepted God’s judgment and continued on. David truly repented of his sins and turned his life around.

I have been there right along with David. My sins have been forgiven but they also brought repercussions that will never go away. This is not the result of a merciless God, by all means. These repercussions are a result of my rebellion and my sins. God has forgiven me indeed but my sins have brought about an outcome that I cannot change.

Reader, are you wandering today? Maybe you are a woman who, like Bathsheba, has been unfaithful and is now expecting a baby. God has forgiven you but your baby will be a constant reminder of your sin. How about the believer who use to be a thief prior to salvation and in a moment of weakness steals again after salvation? If you are caught, you will suffer the legal ramifications and possibly have a criminal record. That record will follow you all your life and will affect your ability to get loans, jobs, etc. Repentance is a must but the repercussions of your sin will continue. It is no different with David’s situation in today’s text.

I know that my God stands ready to forgive me – He wants to forgive me! However, when I lead my life according to my own worldly desires, I will suffer the consequences as a result. God’s mercy comes shining through when one recognizes His judgment! How can one experience mercy if one doesn’t realize God’s judgment? There is a price to pay for sin for the believer. Yes, our sins are forgiven in a split second and remembered no more. But the results of a moment’s pleasure and weakness may last a lifetime.

Are you wayward today? Have you wandered far from God? Follow David’s footsteps and call on God for forgiveness and restore your fellowship with Him!

Psalm 4
To the chief Musician on Neginoth, A Psalm of David. 1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. 2 O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah. 3 But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him. 4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah. 5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord. 6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. 7 Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.

Picture if you will, King David, running from the battle rather than fighting a war with his own son! This is a continuation of Psalm 2. David’s own flesh and blood is waging war against him. What is a father to do? I try to put myself in David’s shoes and I can’t help but think that I would do the same thing. How can a parent enter a battle with his own child knowing that he could harm his child? I would rather run away from the situation than to chance killing my son! I can almost feel David’s pain as he penned these words, can’t you? What a broken heart David must have had!

~Psalm 34:18a The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart;

I feel his pain and distress as he cries to his Heavenly Father! Can’t you feel it as well? He’s pleading with every fiber of his being, “Oh God, hear me, have mercy on me! But wait, look at what begins to happen after the first pause (Selah)! David begins to focus on God – he is remembering how the Lord has been there for him in the past and how God had never let him down. Notice his words: the Lord will hear when I call unto him! What confidence!  What results this Selah/pause had on David’s attitude!

~Psalm 37:7a Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him:

It doesn’t stop there – next David’s meditations begin. It’s as if he is reminded just who God really is!  Stand in awe, David,  of your God and do not sin the sin of doubt. There is nothing like meditating on God’s Word, His works in my life, and His goodness when I am laying on my bed waiting to go to sleep. What a beautiful way to enter into rest for the night!  And here again, another rest is added in the Word (Selah). Hmmmm, I am beginning to see a pattern!

~Psalm 63:6 When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.

David recognizes that God wants the sacrifices of righteousness, not the sacrifices of animals. God wants the sacrifice of obedience (1 Samuel 15:22b). When I obey, I can confidently trust in the Lord and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He will help me through… yes, even in the darkest of hours in my life. What can be darker than my own child turning against me?  Conflict in my family can easily take my thoughts where they should not go!  I can easily become overwhelmed!  This is the perfect time for me to get a hold of myself, lay on my bed of meditation and focus my thoughts on my God.  I must remember that my God is the same God who created the universe, after all.

As a result of his meditation on God’s goodness, David was able to say that God had put gladness into his heart and finally, David had that peace that only God can give. David finally found rest in his God!

~Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

What does this beautiful Psalm have for me today? Am I confused? Am I at a complete loss as to what to do? Is my path foggy instead of clearly lit? Can I say with David that I have found rest in God? When I lay on my bed at night, what consumes my thoughts? Are they thoughts filled with worry and anxiety or are they thoughts focusing on what God has done for me up until this point? God has always “come through” for me. It may not have been in the timing that I had hoped for but it was always perfect! Why should this time be any different? From this day forward, I will lay on my bed at night and focus my thoughts on only those where my Heavenly Father held me in His arms. I will see only those events where I felt as though I could not walk one more step without fainting and yet there was my Father bringing me comfort and assurance! This is where my worries will be turned into faith and I will have songs in the night!

~Psalm 77:6a I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart:

Psalms 3
1-8 Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah.

David had many enemies throughout his lifetime. My heart ached as I read these words because David was speaking of his own son, Absalom! How very sad indeed when a parent has to fear his own child! I can almost sense his fear and anxiety as he prayed this prayer!

As I meditate on this Psalm, I see David’s anxieties and fears turn into praise. His lips speak of his worries. He turns them over to his God and then he pauses to think on what he has just said. That is what Selah means – to pause and meditate on what has been said. After his contemplation over his complaint to God, I noticed that David stopped his complaints and replaced them with sharing his heart with the Lord. What beautiful words to convey to God just what He means to him. David acknowledged just what God meant to him. Not only was God his shield but he knew that his life existed because of God. God was his protector. David knew that God would hear him when he cried out to him. Furthermore, David was able to rest in those thoughts and sleep without worry because he knew that His God was on watch!

Rather than take matters into his own hands and rush into a battle that would not be blessed by God, David made sure to take these matters before his God. He shared with God his need for justice and vengeance. But in the end, David submitted and said that salvation belongs to God. It was as if he was saying, “OK, now that I’ve vented, let it be your way Lord.”

Oh how many times I have seen injustices! Maybe not in a real battle as David, but in spiritual and physical battles. I have cried out to my Heavenly Father and He heard me, just as He heard David! It’s not wrong to express our displeasures or fears to God. After all, Christ spoke to His Heavenly Father about the work of the cross at hand. But in the end, it was His Father’s will that He wanted (Luke 22:42). We are truly blessed in this day and age in America where we do not suffer the persecutions that our forefathers did. There are those believers in countries today that die for their beliefs. The most we suffer is ridicule for the cause of Christ but there is coming a day in our country when all of our freedoms of speech will be taken away and this will no longer be the case. Will we turn to David’s Psalm and be able to lay down at night and sleep without worry as David did?

Praise the Lord that we are not left thrashing about in water deep over our heads but have a compassionate God who loves us and is there to help us at exactly the right time!

Psalm 1

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

What wonderful instructions for daily living for the child of God! The Lord does not leave us in darkness when it comes to His will for us. He makes His will known in great detail. The Bible as a whole is a beautiful depiction of His love toward us. From the beginning where He creates man to share in His beautiful creation all the way to Revelation where He cleans up the mess man has made through the centuries and returns us to His beautiful peace and rest!  I’m so thankful to have God’s Word to guide me!  Each morning, I find something to encourage me and to feed my spirit!

Today’s reflections show me that we can receive blessings in this lifetime if we follow God’s wisdom.   Every area of m life is affected if I choose to follow counsel from His Word! The unsaved will not give me spiritual advice. Their thoughts revolve around “the world” and will not guide me to the Word of God or provide me with Godly counsel. We should not allow the lost to be our closest friends or to have the most influence in our lives. When you hang around a skunk, you will smell like a skunk. When your closest friends are unsaved, you begin to take on their habits. It’s easy to do.

~2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Noah Webster defines “scornful” to be:

Holding religion in contempt; treating with disdain religion and the dispensations of God.

What is a born-again believer doing with people who treat our faith with disdain (hatred)? A person who hates Jesus Christ and all that He stands for will not listen to the Gospel. He will strive to make a mockery of Christ and you. Granted we are not to back down when confronted and we must be ready to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with all who cross our path. But there are those who will mock God at every chance.

~Job 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

How many of us actually delight in reading the Bible? Is it a chore? Is it a routine? Do you read it because it’s the right thing to do? Or do you look forward to your Heavenly Father revealing Himself to you in the Bible’s precious pages? This exhortation is to meditate on what we have read both day and night. Mulling over what we’ve read will keep our heart and mind focused on the things of God. It will keep us from sin!

~Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

As a result of following God’s instructions in today’s Psalm, the Lord tells me that I will be rooted and firmly planted in His Word. God will not leave me in the dark when He has a child who wishes to learn from Him. It is up to me to read the Word and heed God’s instructions. He has provided us with the instruction manual of life! How great is that?

A few years ago, I was approached by someone who tried to convince me that Christians should honor the Sabbath, just as the Jews do, on Saturday and not on Sunday. I prefer to go to God’s Word than man’s. In my findings, I discovered this about the Sabbath:

1. God rested at the end of the six days of creation, not man. I could not find one single solitary verse about people keeping the Sabbath before it was given to Israel in the wilderness.

2. Once this occurred, it was given to Israel by God as a sign to them that they would be His people.

~Exodus 31:13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.

This sign was for Israel, not the rest of mankind. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did not keep the Sabbath but yet they were righteous.

If the Sabbath is to be kept by Christians, the New Testament would be strewn with verses regarding it.   There would be as many comments on the Sabbath in the New Testament as there were after the Law was given to Moses in the Old Testament.  However, instead of seeing verses that support Christians keeping the Sabbath, we find verses that claim that Christians are not bound to keep the Sabbath.

~Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Jesus kept the Sabbath because He was born a Jew under the Law and He kept all the Mosaic laws!

~Gal 4:4-6 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

I found an interesting comment made in Warren Wiersbe’s Bible Commentary on this subject:

The sabbath relates to the old creation and was given expressly to Israel; the Lord’s Day relates to the new creation and belongs especially to the church. The sabbath speaks of law as six days of labor which are followed by rest, but the Lord’s day speaks of grace, for we begin the week with rest that is followed by works” (Wiersbe’s Old Testament Outlines).

There are countless verses depicting worship and special events occurring on Sunday.  Here are a few verses supporting why a Christian sets aside Sunday as their day of rest – each of these occurred on Sunday:

~Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

~John 20:19, 22 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (22) And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

~Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (Pentecost was always on a Sunday)

~Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

Sunday is the day that the Lord rose from the dead. Since then, Christians have observed this day to worship, the Lord’s Day. It is in honor of His resurrection, not in honor of the sun god as was told to me by Sabbath keepers.  There is historical proof of early Christians worshipping on Sunday. The earliest I found in my research on the web was around A.D. 100 when Barnabas wrote:

Wherefore, also we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead.

There were a few more in that second century:

Be not deceived with strange doctrines, nor with old fables, which are unprofitable. For if we still live according to the Jewish Law, we acknowledge that we have not received grace … If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death. The Epistle of Ignatius (about A.D. 107)

He, in fulfillment of the precept, according to the gospel, keeps the Lord’s Day … glorifying the Lord’s resurrection in himself.Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 194)

Again, I repeat myself from previous posts. Read the Word of God for yourself. Galatians is filled with verses about Christians not being under Jewish Law. Why would we want to entangle ourselves with this?

~Galatians 5:1-6 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

It has been man’s desire from the beginning to “get to Heaven” on his own terms. Yes, we have choices but the born-again believer does not have to make the wrong choices in life. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit of God to successfully live separated lives. Again, it is choice! Today’s preaching from the pulpit rarely speaks of living a separated life. Instead, today’s preaching concentrates on God’s love and goodness (which is all true) but leaves out His judgment and chastisement. This type of preaching has been going on for quite some time and we are seeing the effects of this preaching in the lives of Christians.

~Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I’m currently reading Sacred Betrayal by James R. Beller. It is an excellent book on Baptist history – and not only Baptist history but the decline of separated living. How sad to see where biblical doctrine has been watered down throughout the centuries. Is it any wonder that the believer is weak? Granted, we are responsible for our own spiritual growth. It is not up to the preacher to spoon feed us, Christian! Even a baby learns to feed himself, after all. As believers, we should be growing in the Lord at a steady pace. The preaching of God’s Word should be enforcing what we have already learned from the Word. The preaching should be the glue that binds all that we’ve learned together!

~2 Corinthians 2:11-15 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia. Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:

So why then do we see so many misguided and weak Christians? If they are truly born again, they are failing in a few areas. You can read your Bible until the cows come home. But if you are merely reading for the sake of reading, you won’t glean a thing. The Holy Spirit may have brought out a couple of verses for you to glean from but you have ignored His prodding. The Apostle Paul exhorts us not to quench the Holy Spirit.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.

Jesus called believers to a higher standard, don’t you see that? He didn’t give believers an open door to sin! This is what is being taught in churches today! How sad is that?  Baptists are looked upon with disdain because it is said of them that they claim salvation but live like the world!  Christ must be looking down from His Heaven and shedding tears at the perversions being taught in the Church today – all under the guise of “freedom” and “grace”!  Is it any wonder that some believers look to other “religions” that will help them to “feel” saved?  One will doubt their salvation if one is not in God’s Word being fed by the Master.  One will doubt their salvation if one isn’t led by the Holy Spirit.  How can you doubt your salvation when you are being obedient to God’s Word?  You are only as “spiritual” as the amount of time you work at listening to God and obeying His Words. The truth from God’s Word sets us free. We no longer live in doubt, shame, and bewilderment. We are secure in God’s love because of what Christ did. As a result of our salvation, we desire to follow after Him and do what pleases Him – not what pleases man!

~John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

In kind, one will look to other doctrines if one isn’t grounded in what he has been taught by God – not by man, but by God!  Why does a Christian stray and try to live by religious laws again?  For example, if a person is born again, why would he want to go back to the Catholic church and see his Saviour being sacrificed in the mass day after day?  Why would a person who is born again want to follow  Levitical laws that placed burdens from which Christ freed us?  Why would a person who is born again be side tracked into a religion that requires you to not have electricity or phones.  Is it just so they can say they are separated?  Is it because they need this “extra” doctrine to prove to themselves that if they keep it they are truly saved?  God knows the heart, Christian!  God wants obedience to His Word.  If we are truly living according to His Word, we won’t need the religious bondage to make us “feel” saved.  If we are truly living according to His Word, we won’t doubt our salvation.  Obedience brings peace and leaves no room for doubt.

~2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ

Furthermore, following after false teaching brings burdens that cannot be carried.  Christ gave us freedom with our salvation.  It is a freedom from sin and an ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to say no to sin.  This is where Christians have dropped the ball.  They have become so complacent to sin and not living a separated life that they feel as though they can not conquer sin.

~Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

We are held to a higher standard, not an open ticket to sin.  Do Christ’s words sound like an open ticket to sin?  Does this sound like an open door to enjoy the things of the world?  The Christian is called to live with higher standards than the Ten Commandments!  These higher standards cannot be done in the flesh. They cannot be upheld by unbelievers. Only a yielded Christian can live by these standards – yielded to the Holy Spirit of God. But it takes a committed believer! It takes a believer who seeks after God’s will and applies what he has learned.  The Jews could not keep the Law and that is why our Lord and Saviour came to save them from their bondage of sin!  But here in Matthew, Jesus is adding that not only should they NOT commit adultery but they in fact commit adultery just by looking on a woman with lust in their hearts!

Christ taught separation. When a believer says he loves the Lord, then let him live like he does. The more a Christian dabbles in the world, the harder it will be for him to stay away from sin.  Eventually, that Christian will smell and act like the world.  Is it any wonder Christians are weak today? They are being fed man’s garbage, not God’s Word!  Whatever happened to comparing God’s Word to what the preacher says?  Whatever happened to the Christian spending quality time in his Bible and learning at the feet of Christ?  There are too many Martha’s and not enough Mary’s!  The more we separate ourselves, the closer we get to our Saviour and the less we love the things of this world.

Sit at Christ’s feet and learn from Him.  After all, the Holy Spirit penned His words for us to be able to glean from its blessed pages!  We are to study for ourselves (2 Tim. 2:15), not be spoon fed by the preacher!  We are to learn from Jesus, not from man! Man can deceive us but God will not.

~Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

No where in the Bible does it encourage to be of the world. No where in the Bible does it say that it’s OK to act like the world. No where in the Bible does it say to live like everyone else does. We are suppose to be (Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9) different, not like the rest of the world.

This is what is preached in today’s church: “We have to go into the world to win them.”  True, we do. However, no where does the Word say to be like the world – quite the opposite – we are to be “peculiar.” Christians who are not living separated lives are going to doubt their salvation and seek to find that peace within from something. Christians who are not living separated lives are going to be looking for “more” out of their Christian walk because they are not at peace in their spirit. They’re not at peace because the Holy Spirit is trying to convict them and guide them but they are quenching Him.  Be at peace by being in the Word and obeying what the Holy Spirit points out to you.  He’ll clean you through and through and you will never have to seek confirmation of your salvation.

~Psalm 18:2 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.

Picture this in your mind’s eye as you read about the Psalmist’s description of his God. Mind you, David had just been delivered from the hands of Saul and he knew exactly Who had helped him!

1. God is his rock. David didn’t say that God was “a” rock but “his” rock. That’s personal – that says that David knew that his ground was solid – his ground was sure because of his personal relationship with God. God was David’s rock and his God was unshakable – solid – unwavering!  The Word says that Christ is our rock.

~1 Corinthians 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Our Rock, Jesus Christ and His work on the cross, is unshakable, solid and unwavering as well.  Hallelujah!

2. God is his fortress. Again, David personalizes this statement. God wasn’t just any fortress, but “his” fortress. Have you ever seen pictures of biblical fortresses? A fortress sat upon a hill so the people could see whatever was coming their way from far off. What a beautiful depiction this is! We see that nothing takes God by surprise as He sees everything!  He is omniscient and omnipresent, therefore He knows what is coming in ten years from now and He will protect me!  I picture a mother hen in my head as she sees the enemy afar off and gathers her chicks under her wings to protect them. Just as the people would run to the fortress for protection!

~Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!

Our God desires that we run to His fortress, Jesus Christ.  The prophets of old penned time after time warnings to the Jews but instead they killed their prophets.  In Christ, we can hide and He will protect us!  It is His salvation that has been given to us and it is safe in His care!

3. God is his deliverer. Once again, another personalized characteristic of God from David. Do you remember when Moses delivered the Jews out of Egypt? They called Moses their deliverer. Moses saved the people from slavery and bondage at the hand of Pharaoh! David’s God delivered him from the enemy as well. God, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, delivered us from eternity in Hell through His work on the cross!

~Romans 11:26 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:

This same Rock and Fortress is our Deliverer!

4. God is his strength. David recognized that his own strength was nothing. His enemies were many and they were indeed strong. He needed God to take charge here and provide him with exactly what he needed for that moment.  David knew his weaknesses and was well aware that he had no power over his enemies.  David believed this so much so, that he trusted in the Lord. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that his God would come to the rescue and strengthen him at the time he needed it most.  Just as God did for David, Christ does for us!

~Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

There is nothing we can’t do for the work of Christ that He won’t equip us with!

5. God is his buckler. Just what is a buckler, anyway? Noah Webster defines it as:

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.

I absolutely loved this! David compared his God as a buckler! His God was David’s defensive armor and shield in the time of war. We battle a spiritual warfare every day. But God is the one who protects us! Just as the mother hen noted above, He covers us under His wings just as the buckler covered the whole body. The devil does not have power over the believer because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit!

~Ephesians 6:12-13 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Who knows, maybe the day is coming where Christians may have to fight a physical battle against the enemy. We know the end times are here and our time on earth is short.  In the mean time, we can trust God to strengthen us in time of need and to be our Buckler!

6. God is his horn. Have you ever seen a Texas Long Horn? Oh my word! A full grown bull is as tall as I am when he stands erect! The horns can have a seven-foot spread from tip to tip! You wouldn’t want to mess with those horns, that’s for sure! The horn is a sign of strength and David used that comparison in this verse. There’s nothing that would be able to defeat his God. Christ is our horn of salvation! The devil cannot defeat the born-again believer! Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost as the time he made the statement that Jesus would be the horn of salvation for His people.

~Luk 1:69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

How wonderful!! David knew that his God was his own “personal” horn of salvation. I immediately thought of my upbringing where I was taught that salvation came from the “church.” Salvation can only come from God and then we are added to His church. Salvation is of the Lord (~Psalm 37:39), not of man or of a “church.”

7. God is his high tower. I picture a high tower to be an extremely inaccessible place – one protected from the enemies of life. David personalized this characteristic of God as well. Again, his God was so high and so mighty that nothing could reach Him and pull Him down or defeat Him. When I think of this high tower, I think of Christ being in Heaven awaiting His return in the clouds to rapture His children to be with Him!

~Ephesians 2:4-7 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

These seven characteristics of God, our Saviour, are so potent to me! They comfort me because I know that my salvation is not dependent upon me – it is all about God through Jesus Christ! My salvation cannot be taken away from me because He purchased it and keeps it safe. He guards my salvation – He is my buckler. He is my fortress and protects my salvation! He is my strength and my high tower and one day I will meet Him face-to-face and sit with Him in that Heavenly place!! Praise the Lord!

Act 24:24-25 And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

When someone hears about righteousness, temperance and judgment, the first reaction is to sit up straight and do one of two things:

  1. Be thankful for God’s chastisement, repent and take heed to the warning; or
  2. Get offended at the message

In today’s text, Paul was witnessing to Felix and his wife.  Paul spoke of righteousness, temperance and the judgment to come without salvation.  The message must have cut to the core because verse 25 says that Felix trembled.  The Holy Spirit was working in Felix’s heart, obviously, but Felix chickened out for some reason.  The verse goes on to say that Felix told Paul that when it was a more convenient time he would call for him.  I wonder if Felix was embarrassed to get saved because his wife was there.  Or possibly he had other friends at the gathering and was “put on the spot.”  No matter what the reason, when the Holy Spirit of God convicts you to the point of trembling, you should not ignore it.

The topics Paul preached on were enough to cause Felix to tremble.  We all know what righteousness means – anything that revolves around God, His Holy Word and Godly things is considered righteous.  The judgment to come would cause Felix to tremble as well.  After all, when you hear that you are heading to Hell and eternal burning from one of the greatest preachers that ever lived, how can you not tremble?  Could it possibly be the other topic, temperance, which caused Felix to change his mind?

Just what is temperance?  Temperance is moderation.  Moderation covers a multitude of areas, doesn’t it? Our society today has no discipline over moderation. Americans over indulge in every area of life possible – every sin imaginable!  I think of someone with a hot temper – he should practice moderation or temperance.  I think of someone who loves his job so much that he neglects his family.  How about someone who loves to drink alcohol?  Or even drugs? Pornography is a booming industry!  Hollywood’s movies today would have been rated X even just 40 years ago!  One is hard pressed to find a teenager who has not had sex!  Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines temperance as:

1. Moderation; particularly, habitual moderation in regard to the indulgence of the natural appetites and passions; restrained or moderate indulgence; as temperance in eating and drinking; temperance in the indulgence of joy or mirth. Temperance in eating and drinking is opposed to gluttony and drunkenness, and in other indulgences, to excess.

I believe that Felix could have been offended in this area of Paul’s message.  He could have been a glutton or given to too much wine.  Who knows!  But when someone confronts you with one of your faults, you don’t readily give him the time of day, especially if you are a man of wealth and power.  In fact, you avoid that person.  You want to hear the Gospel in your “own” time, if at all – when it’s convenient for you, just like Felix.

Where are you today, reader?  Has someone talked to you about true Christianity?  Not the watered down Christianity being pirated today but a true born-again experience with Jesus Christ?  Jesus Christ changes lives.  He does not “save” someone only to have them continue to live their lives like they use to live.  This is what gives “Christians” a bad name today!  People claim they are Christians but yet they live like the devil and make a mockery of Christianity altogether.  The world sees these “professors” and they lump them all in with the true born-again believers.  A truly born-again person is a new creature – totally!  His life shows it – his heart shows it – his actions show it!

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Are you a homosexual who is fighting the Gospel of Jesus Christ?  You cannot be living in a same sex relationship and claim to be a Christian!  God destroyed an entire city for this sin – why would He allow it now?  To think that God allows this horrible sin and condones it is to deceive yourself!

Are you saying you are a Christian yet you are living with someone without being married?  Are you saying you are a Christian yet you consistently indulge in pornography?  An apple tree cannot grow oranges. You either produce Christ-like fruit in your life or the fruit of the devil. You cannot do both, at least not without conviction from the Holy Spirit and chastisement from God.

~Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

The true born-again believer loves God’s Word, loves other believers, loves assembling with other believers, and loves the things of God. When he sins, he falls under great conviction and repents. The person who is not truly born again continues in his sinful lifestyle not wishing to stop, has no conviction to change and really doesn’t care. That is not the Christianity and holy living depicted in the Bible says.

~2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Christians are held to a higher standard than the religious person. The Ten Commandments say we should not commit adultery. The Christian is told by Jesus that anytime a man looks upon a woman and lusts after her, this man has committed adultery already in his heart. Therefore, if you see a “so called” born again Christian who has not changed his sinful lifestyle, chances are they professed salvation but never possessed it in their hearts.

I just want to make you think!  Where do you stand today?  Will you be like Felix and tremble?  Will you ignore the warning and wait?

~2 Corinthians 6:2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

~Romans 1:29-32 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Today’s text pretty much covers all types of sins. The last verse states that those who know God’s judgment and still commit such things are worthy of death. Furthermore, those who are guilty of supporting those sins are just as guilty of the same judgment! Wow! :shock: Do you see this?  Are you guilty of this, Christian?  Take a step back and look at your life.

When you go to the polls and vote, do you vote for someone who will support the abortion agenda yet you are against abortion?  You’re just as guilty as if you had done the abortion yourself!  Do you have friends or relatives who live a life of sodomy and they don’t know your stand on the issue?  Have you confronted them about it and told them they are living in sin?  If not, you’re as guilty of that sin!  How about couples who are living together?  Do you have friends you entertain in your own home and have not spoken to them about this?  How about if it’s your own child?

I believe you understand where I am coming from today.  If you think back on the morality of our beloved country 50 years ago, none of the sins I’ve just outlined were even spoken about in public, let alone encouraged or looked upon with complacency!  No – in fact, quite the opposite.  What has changed?  The Bible says that God never changes so His judgment will still be dispersed upon this wicked generation just as much as it was 50 years ago.

~Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

God never changes! What has changed is the heart and mind of man.  Man has allowed the sin of this world to harden his heart. After all, the more you sin the harder your heart becomes to sin and the less you are convicted of it.  What God considered sin thousands of years ago is still sin today.  What God considered an abomination thousands of years ago is still an abomination today!  It is man who has strayed and has hardened his heart to the point where sin is no longer considered sin! To abort one’s child was considered murder – now it’s considered an inconvenience! To be a homosexual was considered an abomination to God – now it’s a lifestyle.

I was having this same discussion with a dear friend last week. I told her that when I was a young teenager, the world was disgusted by the sodomite’s sin! Today the world is not even mildly annoyed – in fact, laws are being passed to protect them.  Those who speak out against it are considered haters and charged with a hate crime. The world gets further and further away from the Word of God. Should the Lord tarry His return, I would not be surprised that in 50 years, pedophiles will no longer be viewed as disgusting and horrible sinners but will be an accepted lifestyle of society – or it will be stated that it is a “disease” – or they will say ‘the poor dear is sick’!  Oh deceived generation of blind hard-hearted sinners! This generation no longer recognizes sin but, instead, calls sin “good” – all under the title of “tolerance”!!

~Isaiah 5:20-21 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

Judgment is coming. God does not change, dear soul. God will judge according to His Word, not according to what feels good or what other people say is right. How can one say he is a Christian when he is committing sin that God has said is an abomination or he is supporting the very same sin? Turning a blind eye is equal to supporting that sin – can’t you see that? How can you allow yourself to be so deceived by the god of this world, the devil, the father of lies? It is a choice that you will have to make and I pray your choice is made before it is too late.

If you are a Christian, then act like one! Stand up for Christ and what He has taught us. Don’t try to smooth ruffled feathers in a family when there is sin running rampant. Stay away from it – do not support it – do not condone it! And worse of all, do not be silent! The devil has his way with his children.  Why not allow the Holy Spirit of God to have His way with you?  How will they (the world) know what the Bible says on this topic except you tell them? Don’t sit on the fence – after all, the fence belongs to the devil. That’s what he wants you to do!  Jump off that fence and run as fast as you can to the Word of God! Then stop being ashamed of what He has taught you and start shouting His judgment from the rooftop!

~1 Samuel 15:22 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.

The religion of my youth was filled with “try too’s” and failures. As much as I tried to be good and not to sin, I failed daily. The guilt was unbearable! Granted, I found myself in the confessional trying to appease my guilt but I always turned around afterwards and repeatedly sinned. Obedience to my “faith” and its teachings was impossible! Why? Because I had not received my new nature. My inner man was not sincerely interested in walking with God or living for Him. I was not willing to repent. I merely wanted to have religion but did not want to practice it with sincerity nor did I desire true repentance. This was no different than the sacrifices offered in Samuel’s day for sin. I was no better than those that the Word is referring to in today’s text! I did my religious duties but was not obedient to the point of salvation nor was I willing to let go of my sinful ways.

This soul is no different than Cain of old whose sacrifice was of his own creation. He chose to disobey God – and the Word tells us that he never repented, even after God confronted him with his sin. God gave him the opportunity to repent, but Cain chose not to do so! Choice – do I obey God or not? Do I repent or not? It’s left up to the individual as God does not force His will on us! So how do you know whether you are practicing religion or not? The Word says that you must repent and believe:

~Mark 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Simply believing does not do it. The devil’s believe but that does not make them Christians!

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Repentance is the key! Repenting means a turning away from the former sinful life and living for God! This is true conversion! Without repentance one will be no better than Cain with his own idea of religion and no obedience! That is why the devils will never enter Heaven! Rebellion thrives when there is no obedience!

Once we desire to repent from our wicked ways and are truly born again of the Spirit of God, our desire will be to obey God and His Word. We will not always be successful and we will be filled with remorse when we do sin. But we will not stay in that sin and will be quick to get back on the path. This daily renewal of the mind, this obedience to God’s Word, is what God wants from us.

~2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

~Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

~Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

God does not want sacrifice – He wants obedience! Putting obedience to practice daily will change that inner man. He will grow from a tiny mustard seed to a strong tree in his faith! Let your obedience speak for your actions and not the sacrifice of Cain. It is this obedience to repent and believe the Gospel that converts the soul and renews the spirit!

~Mark 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

One cannot put this verse into practice without true conversion. Without obedience, there is no repentance. Without obedience, there is no salvation. Without obedience, one is offering the sacrifices of Cain.