“WHO?”

“Though seeing, they do not see; ‘This is why I speak to them in parables: 

though hearing, they do not hear or understand.'”  Matthew 13:13 NIV
Read:  Matthew 13:1-13

“Who?” is not about the wise old owl, although we may write a devotional in time about wisdom which we all need.   Today, we are going to study “Who?”.  Whenever we question GOD, our friends, even the action of others the question can come back to what we would do ourselves.

JESUS taught us through HIS  parables.  Some parables were difficult to understand.  That is because JESUS was reaching those who were believers.  HE was teaching to those who could teach others.

 

One of the most read and remembered parables is about the farmer casting seeds.  As the farmer cast his seeds the wind would put most on fertile soils, some were deposited on rocky ground and some were blown along the adjoining road.

Many lessons can be learned of this parable.   The seed can be simply the introduction of the gospel to those who do know JESUS is their LORD.   Maybe, they have heard, but still do not understand.

That’s why today we are talking about the “Who?”.   One will be as the farmer scattering seeds.   Some will see the seeds of the gospel being devoured by the evils of this world and will do nothing.  Another will simply watch seeds sprout and wither as those who heard are influenced by their non-believer friends and associates.  Then, there are the ones who hear the word and believe.

Which “Who?” is you?   Will you be the “Who?” whom sees the scattering and just watches, doing nothing as the seeds of the gospel are devoured by the evil of this world?   Maybe you are the “Who?” whom watches the seed of the gospel sprout in a new believer, doing nothing but watching the seed wither?   Or are you the “Who?” whom cultivates, waters and cares for the new believer?   Which “Who?” are you?

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for saving me from a life of turmoil.  Help me to be the one ‘who’ just not watches but helps others to know YOU will take away their sins and give them eternal life.  Amen.” 

“MORE THAN YOU DESERVE!”

“For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed-a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.'”

Romans 1:17 NIV

Read: Romans 1:11-17

We all get more than we deserve.  This biggest problem is we so often take most we have for granted.   Yes, we may mumble a prayer of thanks now and then.  But, do we really take the time to be thankful for all GOD has provided?

One thing we all can receive is the GRACE OF GOD.   GOD’S GRACE comes to us without costs and is always more than we deserve.   As undeserving as we are, GOD has love and forgiveness for each of us.
Do you feel unrighteous?   As unrighteous as you may feel, GOD is righteous in HIS forgiveness of all you have done or will do…if you have accepted HIS SON as your LORD AND SAVIOUR.

GOD’S righteousness is so unfathomable, HIS perfection so beyond any thought we could possibly grasp in our limited and sinful minds.   GOD’S righteousness is so magnificent, we sometimes doubt HIS absolute mercy.   Since, we cannot duplicate HIS mercy, we have difficulty understanding GOD’S righteousness.

When was the last time you showed mercy, true mercy, to someone?  Can you grasp the righteousness of GOD when you feel unrighteous yourself?   Take a deep breath and feel the righteousness of GOD.   Then, take that feeling and be merciful to someone else.   Hold onto that thought each day.   The righteousness of GOD will help you be righteous to another.

Today’s prayer:  “MY RIGHTEOUS GOD, Thank YOU for YOUR grace and mercy.   As undeserving as I am, YOU alone make me deserving of YOUR love.  Use me, as you desire, to bring YOUR grace and mercy to others.  Amen.”

 

“IF THE SHOE FITS . . . “

“IF THE SHOE FITS…”

 

“But the Lord said to Ananias, ‘Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.'” 

Acts 9:15 NIV  

 

 

Read:  Acts 9:1-30

“If the shoe fits, wear it!” is an old expression which usually is meant to be slightly accusatory.  It probably comes from one or two sources.  In England, a similar phrase is ‘if the cap fits, wear it’.   It is a slanderous term referring to a dunce cap.   It may also refer to a term in World War I…”If the boots fit, wear them.”   Soldiers had times of little supplies.  If their boots were worn out and no replacements were available, soldiers would remove the boots from the deceased (even the enemy) and if the boots fit, they were told to wear them.

Have you ever been told; “If the shoe fits, wear it!”?   Do you feel you were deserving of the criticism?   It is difficult to accept criticism, even if it is all too accurate.  Accepting our faults is easier said than done.

Paul was a great preacher of the gospel and builder of the gentile churches.   As we read his writings, we see a man who loved his LORD and was passionate to teach others the way to salvation.   But, he was not always that way.

Paul had been a hater of Christians and responsible for the murder of Christ’s followers.  Paul was led by the spirit of CHRIST to turn from his ways and to spread the gospel of the LORD.

Are you like Paul?   Have you led a life against or indifferent to following CHRIST?   Have you proclaimed to be a CHRISTIAN, but little you did would have led anyone to believe you were faithful?   Paul wore the shoe that fit and turned his life around.

Are you wearing shoes of sins that no longer fit?   You can walk in the shoes of  a believer in the RISEN LORD.   Ask JESUS that you may come back into the life HE has for you.   Like Paul, you can turn your life around today.

Today’s prayer:  “MY RISEN LORD, Thank YOU for forgiving me of all my sins.   I want to wear the shoes of thanksgiving and faith that only come from YOU.  Help me live my life as YOU have chosen.”

 

“IT COSTS TOO MUCH!”

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23 NIV

Read:  Romans 6

 

This past summer, my eldest grandson did odd jobs in his neighborhood to earn extra money.   He earned more than money.   The experiences were a growing time for him as well.   He realized that money is a reward for hard work and some work was harder than others.   He also understood that we are not always compensated equally for our hard work.  Some of his ’employers’ were more generous and others more demanding.   All good lessons.

Another lesson was the value of a dollar when it came to spending what he made.   Exchanging that hard work for an item to purchase was more difficult when he was spending his own money.  When you purchase something, do you think about how much work you had to perform in order to have the money?

 

As you look around at all you have accumulated, is it all worth the effort?  How much have you thrown away or donated in the last year?  Could you have spent some of that money differently?

Are you sharing your success, no matter how small, with others in need?  Are you sharing enough?  The answer is between you and GOD.  What is HE telling you?

Do you know what is the most expensive thing in the world?  It is not precious gems, precious metals, castles, cars or ships.   The most expensive thing you can buy is sin.   It is not the dollars you spend that makes it expensive.   It is the cost of living and dying with the sin.

The effects upon you, your family and others have costs that we can never calculate in dollars and cents.   Sin costs too much.  The costs of sin is death…eternal death.   Isn’t it time to trade eternal death for eternal life?  Ask JESUS to be your healer.  HE paid for all your sins and bought you life for all eternity.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for paying the price for all my sins.  Help me to live my life free of the sins of this world.   Guide me to the life YOU want for me.  Amen.”

 

“WILL YOU FALL FOR ANYTHING?”

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”  Exodus 20: 5-6 NIV

Read:  Exodus 20: 1-22

There is an old saying: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!”  How about you?   Have you stood up for something or turned your back on what you knew is right?  You knew better.

What do you stand for?   With our society crumbling around us, isn’t it time to stand up for your faith and all GOD has done and is doing for you?  If you live in a city of one million people, imagine 58 cities of one million people who do not exist.   Imagine the cities with all the roads, buildings and houses but without the people.   Since the Supreme Court ruled on abortion, 58 million children were murdered.   That is the equivalent of those 58 cities being empty of any person.
So many of GOD’S laws are being replaced by the evil laws of man.   Politics have taken the place of all GOD has told us.  Judeo-Christian values are being removed by lawmakers and courts.

Our Bibles are GOD’S absolute word.   There are not exceptions to be debated by politicians and courts.  We are seeing people leaving the graces of GOD in favor of allowing others to do anything they want.   Abortion, homosexuality, pornography and more are now accepted by hundreds of millions.

Did you stand up against these things or did you fall for these evils that GOD warned us about?   It is not too late.   Today, you can stand up for something.   Don’t be silent.  Do what GOD has told you to do.   Stand up for something, or fall for anything.  If you don’t, you will not have a country to stand up in and before long even a church or home that is not controlled by politicians and courts of those with no values.

Today’s prayer:  “DEAR LORD, Thank YOU for giving us YOUR ways to live our lives.  Please forgive us for all the things we do against YOUR will.  Give us strength to stand up for the things YOU have told us to do and not do.  Amen.”

 

“FALSE FRIENDS?”

“Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.  Job 6:14 NIV

Read:   Job 6:14-25

Have you ever been taken advantage or disappointed by someone you thought was your friend?   Has someone told you they were your friend, but when you really wanted a friend, a kind voice or a caring ear, they were not there for you?  Expectations can disappoint all of us at one time or another.   What we want for ourselves at a time of despair or trouble is often very different than what others want for us.

 
Make a note of this:  ‘Our greatest disappointment is our own failed expectation of one we thought was our friend.’  What we want, our greatest perceived needs of the moment, is not always what others care to give of themselves.  Don’t assume because you did for someone else, they feel the want to share the same level of friendship with you.

 
It is said that during our lives we have only two or three real friends.   We have people we call our friends but they are really people we know, work with, worship with or maybe live next door.  Your real friend is for life.   Real friends do not come and go and will always be available to be your friend.

At the same time, if you are their friend…a real friend… there is nothing you will not do for them.   Are you a false friend or a real friend?   When another’s needs come before yours, then you are a real friend.  If you are a friend only when you have time or when nothing else is more important at the moment, you are an acquaintance but you are not a real friend.   You may have known someone for 20 years, been a Bible study partner or helped them out numerous times…but that does not make them a real friend.   A real friend loves you from the depths of their heart.

How many real friends do you have?   Who will come to you at 2 a.m. if you call and don’t even tell them why?   Who would you go to if they asked without telling you why?   False friends are plentiful.   Real friends are treasures.   If you have a real friend, tell them how important they are to you…often.   Appreciate your real friends but beware of those who claim to be your friend and will only let you down.  Your emotional well being is more important than a false friend.

If you need a friend anytime, anywhere, JESUS is there for you.   JESUS has the power to give you any help you need.   Nothing is too great, too small or too personal for JESUS.  HE knows always what you really need and what is best for you.

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS, Thank YOU for being my friend.  Help me be aware of those who truly want to be my friend and give me the strength to be the best friend to those who need a best friend.  Amen.”

 

“STOP SIGNS!”

“Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God-I say this to your shame.” 1Corinthians 15:34 NIV

 

Read: 1Corinthians 15:33-58

Have you ever driven to an intersection and realized, as you entered, there was a stop sign you were passing?   You step on the brake about the time you are in the middle of the intersection.  Thankfully, there were no other cars and no accident.  So, you back up a few feet, stop and then proceed with a little more caution.

Stop signs are viewed by many as slow and go signs.   They slow down to an almost but not quite stop, glance for cross traffic, then accelerate on through. Since, right turn on at a stop sign or red light is usually legal after a stop, it is now estimated that as many as 80% of those turning right never come to a full, correct stop.   They slow down enough to make the turn and continue on without ever stopping.
Many live their spiritual lives the same way.   GOD tells us there are times to stop what we are doing.  Yet, many will continue to pass HIS stop sign and continue doing what they want.  This has probably happened to each of us.  For a time, we think we know what we are doing and refuse to hear GOD.

As believers, when we accepted JESUS as our SAVIOUR, we were blessed with the HOLY SPIRIT coming into us.  During these times, that little voice we hear and too often ignore is the HOLY SPIRIT warning and guiding us with HIS warning signs.  Do you treat GOD’S stop signs as just slow down and then go on ahead with your plans?

Are you prepared to listen to GOD and HIS stop sign commands?   Stop simply means stop.   When GOD tells us to stop, HE is not telling us to stop when we think it is the right time.  Stop means stop instantly.   Looking back, when was the last time GOD told you to stop doing something and you continued?   Hindsight tells us all too often, we should listen to our LORD and not the temptations of this world.

Today’s prayer:   “HOLY SPIRIT my LORD, YOU know much better than I do what is best for me.   Thank YOU for YOUR leading.  Help me to listen and be more obedient when YOU tell me to stop doing against YOUR will.  Amen.”

“614 LAWS?”

“Jesus replied,’Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.'” John 3:3 NIV

 

Read:  John 3:1-15
Would you trade 614 laws for only three?  Three easy ones?  Oh, you say the laws of Moses (Mosaic laws) number 613 not 614.  That is the reason for our devotional today.

How well do you know the Mosaic laws?  The laws given to Moses by GOD started out with the Ten Commandments. With the people asking for clarity of this situation and that situation, GOD provided Moses a total of 613 laws.   These laws were to be lived out so that GOD’S people could receive their just rewards.
The Pharisees were the known experts of these laws…all 613 of them.   This legalistic society studied each of the Mosaic laws and were judged and judged others by the way an individual lived the laws on a daily basis.

So, why 614 when GOD only gave Moses 613 laws?   In John we are introduced to the law of absolute truth.  In John 3:3, JESUS told Nicodemus: “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of GOD unless they are born again.”  Will you see the kingdom of GOD?  You will with this one law given to you by JESUS himself.

 

Can you trust in just three laws?  1.   Exodus 20:33 “You shall have no other gods before me.”   2.  John 3:3  “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of GOD unless they are born again.”  3.  John 3:16  “For GOD so loved the world that HE gave HIS one and only SON, that whoever believes in HIM shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Today’s prayer:  “JESUS MY LORD, Thank YOU for YOUR sacrifice so that I may have eternal life.  I have been saved by YOUR grace and I will see GOD’S kingdom because I have been born again.  Amen!”