Posts made in June 2020

Daily Devotional ~ Thursday, June 25, 2020

WHO YOU ARE CHILD OF GOD… LOOKING AT EPHESIANS 4
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”-Ephesians 4:32.

Now Paul instructs us in how we are to relate to one another. The Holy Spirit working freely and ungrieved in us will produce these things in our lives. To be kind is to extend Christian courtesy to one another. We are told to be kind to each other as we walk in this unkind world. Our brothers and sisters ought to be able to find a refuge with us…a refuge of kindness. I love the thought of the church as being a spiritual and emotional hospital…a place of healing for the Christian who has been mistreated by the world. Jesus told us how the world would treat us…”And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.”-Luke 21:17. In the church we need to be kind to one another…we need to have a refuge from the unkindness and hatred of the world. Paul expands the kindness we are called to by telling us to be tenderhearted to one another. To have a genuine heart of love, care, and empathy for one another. It is the thought of a deep affection for each other…we are family and we love and care for each other like family.

This chapter ends with Paul telling us that we need to forgive one another. Again, he is not telling us to be like the world…but to forgive the way God forgave us in Jesus Christ. How did God forgive us in Jesus? Well we could say He forgave us completely…and that would be true. When God forgives He also forgets…He never holds against us what He has forgiven. We are called to forgive each other that same way. Now it must be said that God’s forgiveness is conditional, not universal. God only forgives through His Son Jesus…and He only forgives someone who comes to Him with a broken repentant heart, and asks for forgiveness, putting their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Complete forgiveness requires both the one being forgiven and the one forgiving to be involved. While it is true we can forgive someone who has done us wrong even if they don’t acknowledge their wrong…that kind of forgiveness releases the forgiver…sadly the one forgiven never experiences the reality of the healing power of forgiveness. The Bible says that God loved the whole world that He sent His one and only Son…Jesus died in our place that we might know the forgiveness and salvation of God. Sadly though most will not receive for themselves what Christ did for them on the cross…so they will spend eternity without ever experiencing the wonderful blessing of knowing the forgiveness of God.

Daily Devotional ~ Wednesday, June 24, 2020

WHO YOU ARE CHILD OF GOD… LOOKING AT EPHESIANS 4

“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”-Ephesians 4:31.

If we are to keep from grieving the Holy Spirit in our lives there are some things we must get rid of. Removing these things from our lives will lighten our load… and will make the testimony of our lives reflect the life of Jesus. This is a good list to stay as far away from as possible. Look at it! Bitterness is an irritable state of mind which produces harsh and hard opinions of others. Wrath and anger are outbursts of passion. Clamor means the bold assertion of supposed rights and grievances. Evil speaking is blasphemy, but it also means all kinds of slander and malice. All of these things need to be put away from we followers of Jesus.

I hope you noticed that this list is the way the world deals with issues and just life in general. It seems the more bombastic and cruel a person can be in today’s world the more admired they become. There is little civility today… yet that is what we are called to…even, and maybe especially so, when we are in disagreement with each other. I have even seen people try to promote that people who use vulgar and ungodly language are somehow demonstrating their great intellect. Jesus stood against evil and injustice all during His ministry… but He never lost His testimony by giving into bitterness, wrath, clamor, or speaking evil. As the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in us, and we do not grieve Him, the world will see the reality of Jesus in us. It is too easy to give into the methodology and ungodliness of the world…but we are called to walk in the Holy Spirit, and He will produce the fruit of the Spirit in us… and in Him we will glorify Christ in our lives.

Daily Devotional ~ Tuesday, June 23, 2020

WHO YOU ARE CHILD OF GOD… LOOKING AT EPHESIANS 4

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”-Ephesians 4:30.

Is it really possible to grieve the heart of an all-knowing, all-powerful God? Paul says it is. He gives us the command to not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is God and we can actually grieve Him. The Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity…and as such He can be grieved. What is it that grieves Him? It is the offenses that have been listed. When a Christian lies…it grieves the Holy Spirit. When a Christian has dirty thoughts…it grieves the Holy Spirit. What happens when any person is grieved? It harms, or breaks the fellowship that once was there. The Holy Spirit cannot work in our lives when we have grieved Him…when our fellowship with Him is broken. Not because He is made impotent…but because when our fellowship with Him is broken, we place ourselves in a position that is unavailable to the Spirit of God.

Paul goes on to tell us in this verse that we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. This means that though we can grieve the Holy Spirit…we cannot grieve Him away! Why? Because we are sealed by Him…and there is no one big enough or bad enough to break that seal. At the moment you responded to the call of the Holy Spirit and trusted in Jesus as your Savior, you were sealed. How long does that seal last? “Until the day of redemption”…He seals you until the day He will present you to the Lord Jesus Christ. Once you with Jesus…you no longer need to be sealed…for the purpose for which you were sealed will be accomplished. Even the true believer cannot unseal what the Holy Spirit has sealed…though we may grieve Him. The great difference in the lives of believers today is that some live with a grieved Spirit and some live with an ungrieved Spirit.

Daily Devotional ~ Monday, June 22, 2020

WHO YOU ARE CHILD OF GOD… LOOKING AT EPHESIANS 4

“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”-Ephesian 4:29.

To edify is to build up…you cannot build up with that which is corrupt. Construction crews use the best materials to build the best buildings…it is dangerous to use material that is filled with flaws and corruption, for the building won’t stand. If the wood in your home was infested with termites, before long the corruption done by these pests would cause your home to deteriorate. To fix that deterioration and repair and rebuild may take some sawing, hammering, and throwing out the corrupt parts…but the intent of all that work, as hard as it is, is to build up that which corruption has torn down. In the church we have the teachings of Christ, the Scripture, which we are called to speak and teach in order to build up the body of Christ. When corrupt words are taught they always bring destruction. False teachers and their false teachings are dangerous…they are designed by the enemies of God to tear down the church and destroy precious souls for which Jesus died.

We genuine followers of Jesus are called to speak and teach that which builds up the body of Christ. Sometimes like the sawing and hammering to fix the corrupted buildings, it is hard to repair the corruption that has found its way into the body of Christ. Sound doctrine is necessary in order for the church to be built up and be stable and strong. We are called to speak that which is genuine and true…for the purpose of speaking in the church is to edify, to build up the body. We cannot impart grace to hearers if what they are hearing is corrupt, perverted, apostate, or false. We impart grace by sharing the words of life…the very Word of God which is infallible, inerrant, and everything we followers of Christ need in order for us to be everything God has called us to be.

Daily Devotional ~ Wednesday, June 17, 2020

WHO YOU ARE CHILD OF GOD…LOOKING AT EPHESIANS 4

“Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need.”-Ephesians 4:28.

Work is good…sadly we live in a time when this actually may be seen by some as a controversial statement. Some spend their days just existing and living off of other people. The Scripture has much to say about those who are lazy and will not work…everything from describing them as sluggards in Proverbs to Paul who says, “if you don’t work you won’t eat.” The Bible is not speaking of those who cannot work, but those who will not work. People are pushing systems today that promise the government will take care of everyone…people are describing things that we used to work for as basic human rights…therefore requiring that government provide them. Biblical compassion requires that we minister and take care of those who for some legitimate reason cannot take care of themselves…but if never promotes laziness or the abdication of personal responsibility. Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:8…”But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” There is nothing godly or admirable in laziness, and living off other people when you have the ability to work.

Paul in our passage speaks of the wrong of taking that which does not belong to you. We all have watched looters raid stores during demonstrations in recent days. For some reason they believe that they have a right to take, to steal, things…that they are owed. What an incredible time we find ourselves in…the only thing someone is owed is what they have earned through work, not what they can steal. We work to take care of our families, and we work in order to give to those who have legitimate needs. Once again there are those promoting an economic system that makes all people equal in what they have regardless of people’s willingness to work for what they have. The Scripture teaches us to give out of a heart of genuine concern for others…but if we buy into the lie that no one needs to produce and work…what will we have to share with those in need? Some of the most generous hard working people I know follow the biblical mandate to work hard…take care of your family…and meet the needs of the genuinely poor. The Scripture calls all people to work for what they have…it condemns slothfulness and stealing from others. There is virtue in hard work…there is no virtue in being lazy and living off others when a person is able to work

Daily Devotional ~ Tuesday, June 16, 2020

WHO YOU ARE CHILD OF GOD…LOOKING AT EPHESIANS 4

“Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.”-Ephesians 4:26-27.

Anger is not a sin on its own…both God the Father and Jesus the Son exhibited anger. There is a place for righteous anger…when we see people’s lives being destroyed by evil, there is a reason for anger. When we read of children being kidnapped and sold as sex slaves…there is reason for anger. When we read and see literally thousands of innocent souls destroyed daily in the abortion industry…there is reason for anger. When we hear and read of false teachers and preachers adulterating and perverting the Scripture…there is room for anger. When we see both the racists and the race baiters leading people astray, and destroying our country…there is reason for anger. Where there is no truth, but lies are presented as truth…there is reason for anger. When we see people misusing the Name of the Lord for their own personal agenda, their own personal gain, their own personal power…there is reason for anger. Righteous anger is being under the control of the Holy Spirit…the Spirit causes us to see things the way God see them…and to act and react the way God does.

Paul warns us though that we are to be angry, but not to sin. If we let anger consume us and take control of us…we have sinned. Human wrath is sinful…for it is out of control anger. James 1:20 says…”for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Not only do we need to be careful not to enter into human anger, which leads to wrath…but we need to take care of our anger today. Paul tells us not to let the sun go down on our wrath. We either need to deal with the issue today…or leave the issue in the hands of God. We are not equipped to remain in anger of any type. Sometimes we are able to express our anger…change what needs to be changed and then move on. Other times we may not have the ability to change anything or even express our anger in order to correct a situation…in those cases we need to give the anger over to the Lord before the day is over. Carrying anger in us all the time gives place to the devil. We open ourselves up to giving him a place in our lives that he should not have. We are called to be filled with the Spirit of God…if we are there is no room for the devil.