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When His Words Remain In Us
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing… If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. – John 15:5-8
I have a friend who has the most remarkable testimony of being born again that I have known. He and his whole family had a deadly disease. He was deeply involved in illegal activities and was addicted to drugs. Then he surrendered his life to Jesus and everything changed.
His life and the lives of his wife and children were radically affected by Christ. They were in the vine. Then came a great surprise. He got a job that exposed him to a lot of people and he began to change.
This person who had not only been freed from sin and addictions but who had been healed from a disease which carried a death sentence, and he was letting it all slip through his fingers as he began to dabble in the world again.
He left his family was again involved with drugs and other sins. He disconnected himself from the vine. He severed himself from the life God had given him.
This tragic story is repeated time and again by people who begin to look back to the world and begin to listen to the words of the enemy as he says to them, “Go ahead, just a little bit of fun isn’t going to hurt you.” They listen to wrong words.
Jesus said, “If my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.” The world speaks enticing words offering what it can’t deliver. Jesus always delivers on his word.
Jesus has proven over and over that his words are true and if we continue in the vine, and we continue to listen to his words, then our desire will be for him and his righteousness and all that we desire and ask of him will be given to us.
Prayer: Lord, help me to always stay in the vine and listen to your words. Help to not listen to the enticing words of evil which are trying to draw me away from your abundant life into a life of false hopes and lying promises. In Jesus name. Amen.
Message: Jesus has proven over and over that his words are true and if we continue in the vine, and we continue to listen to his words, then our desire will be for him and his righteousness and all that we desire and ask of him will be given to us.
Affirmation: While I am in the vine God's favor rests upon me and he grants my hearts desire. That is why I remain in the vine.
Reflection: When Jesus instructed his disciples to stay in the vine he was telling them to continue in obedience to the words he was speaking. How does this passage relate to Joshua 1:8? There is a principle in both of these passages relating to the effect of abiding in the words of the Lord. What is that principle?
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I have been teaching a series at First Baptist Church Clearlake titled “Changing Your Paradigm” or “Changing Your Lifestyle Patterns”
We have explored 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 where Apostle Paul gives the process of changing our patterns of undesirable behavior. That process includes:
Tearing down strongholds – patterns of undesirable behavior
Destroying arguments – components in our belief system that are not consistent with what God has revealed.
Taking Captive every thought – taking control of your patterns of thought.
Making your thoughts obedient to what God has revealed as truth.
Today we are exploring how Righteous Rejoicing is connected to Righteous thinking and how Righteous Thinking leads to a Righteous Attitude. We will conclude by showing how the Righteous 3R’s produce Righteous Contentment and Righteous Provision.
This message today is the first in a sub-series titled “The Righteous 3Rs”
Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5)Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6)Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7)And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Rejoice in the Lord Always
Do not be anxious about anything
Present requests as prayers and petition
And the peace of God…
Here is the message – Part One in the series The Righteous 3Rs: Righteous Rejoicing:
The Kingdom of God is Like Yeast in Dough
To illustrate how the Kingdom of God works in individuals he uses the analogy of making bread. Yeast is the active ingredient which works in the rest of the ingredients to prepare them to be transformed in bread... watch the video below to get the message of this devotion.
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Do Not Be Afraid, Little Flock
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Luke 12:32-34
Some heard the message of surrendering to God all that they were and all that they had. And some were offended by his way of refuting their philosophies. The throng which gathered around him was mixed, but there were enough angry men among them to cause concern in those who were believing what he was saying.
Discerning the atmosphere of anger and the tension that was building around them Jesus speaks to the believers, “Do not be afraid, little flock.” When it seems all the forces of hell are being released upon us and we feel like a sparrow caught in a storm with lighting flashing, thunder rolling, and rain pelting on us, then we remember that Jesus is watching over even the sparrows and says. “Do not be afraid, flock of little ones.”
I know a man that God had blessed to make millions of dollars. He invested in a company that was growing and multiplying his money. He took all that he had and invested it in that company. In just a short time that company went bankrupt and his millions were gone. What did he do? He continued to trust God because his security was not in his riches but in the God who gives and takes according to his own purposes.
This man knew that God had given him the kingdom and that the kingdoms of this world, financial kingdoms, political kingdoms, and all other kingdoms, would fall before the Lord God but the kingdom of God is forever and ever.
His worldly wealth has not been restored but it is evident that his treasure in heaven has increased. God has given him a ministry of teaching people to be set free from strongholds in their life and many thousands are getting free. What a treasure.
Prayer: Lord, help me not to look with envy at the wealth of the world, grant me the grace to build treasure in your kingdom. Amen.
Message: The kingdoms of this world, financial kingdoms, political kingdoms, and all other kingdoms, will fall before the Lord God, but the kingdom of God is forever and ever.
Affirmation: I hold my possessions loosely because my hope is not in them and they are not my treasure. My treasure is in heaven where it cannot be destroyed or stolen.
Reflection: Was Jesus really telling people to sell all that they have and give to the poor? And, how can we provide, "purses for ourselves that will not wear out?" How can we live out this instruction from Jesus in our daily walk?
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Turn The Other Cheek
Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. – Matthew 5:29-42
There is a truth hidden in this passage that when understood and practiced will turn any person into a peacemaker. See if you can detect this divine principle in this devotion.
People in the western world spend massive amounts of time, energy and money to combat evil and the result is that prisons house more inmates and communities have not been made safer. Why is that? Are we perpetuating violence rather than stopping violence?
Take 12 people and line them up. Instruct the first to slap the second, the second to slap the third, etc. through the entire line. If that continues you will have 12 angry people who are probably busy slapping each other. But let's say that the first person slaps the second and the second slaps the third. The third looks at the second and says, “This has got to stop and it stops with me. I will not strike number four.” The violence has ended.
I know that is simplistic but it is at least a beginning. Suppose we change the way we think about the aggressor. Suppose that instead of responding with appropriate retaliation we respond with, “What can I do to make things easier for you?”
Jesus said, “If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” What would compel a person who has just received an injustice to be more generous than was asked of him?
In Jesus day a Roman soldier could require a local citizen to carry his gear, but only for a mile. What would happen if the citizen said, “Sir, I would be willing to carry your gear for another mile?”
Have you figured out the principle? God employed this principle when he gave us Jesus. “For God so loved the world that he gave…” Think about how you can love and give.
Prayer: Father, help me to love others as you have loved me. Amen.
Message: Suppose we change the way we think about the aggressor. Suppose that instead of responding with appropriate retaliation we respond with, “What can I do to make things easier for you?”
Affirmation: Rather than think of how I can retaliate against an aggressor I consider how I can help relieve the cause of his aggression.
Reflection: God knew what would happen to Jesus when he came to earth preaching the kingdom and Jesus knew his destiny. That fact gives meaning to his teaching about turning the cheek and going the extra mile. So how do we do that? The same way he did: "For God so loved the world that he gave..." Think about it.
The Will Of God Made Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. – John 1:1-2
The logos, the expression of the mind of God, has been with God from before the beginning, and in fact is God. The thought of God can no more be separated from God than our own thought can be separated from ourselves. No one better explains this than Bishop Fulton Sheen in his book, “Life of Christ.” Read what he has written:
Whatever there is in the world, is made according to the thought of God, for all things postulate thought. Every bird, every flower, every tree was made according to an idea existing in the Divine Mind… Prior to his earthly existence, Jesus Christ is eternally God, the Wisdom, the Thought of the Father.. In His earthly existence, He is that Thought or Word of God speaking to men. (Sheen, Life of Christ, Image Books, p25).
Throughout the history of God dealing with man he has revealed his will. On Mount Sinai he revealed his will through the law he gave to Moses. His will for man was in opposition to the will of man. Man’s will was all about how he could be fulfilled. God’s will was to bring man to ultimate fullness through being restored in right relationship to him.
This conflict of wills continued for centuries. Then God sent forth his word in the flesh of Jesus. “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). All that Jesus said and did was a direct expression of the will of God. He came to earth to reveal the will of the Father.
The purpose of Christ was not to bring upon man the bondage of buckling to the law, but it was to change the will of man to reflect the will of God. In that way he would change the world.
Jesus, in the flesh was the word of God manifest. Holy Spirit in the heart of man is the word of God reiterated. Reconciled, renewed and restored man is the word of God manifest in the earth.
Prayer: Father, in my natural stat my will is to fulfill the desires of my flesh; grant me the grace of having your will in my heart. Amen.
Message: Jesus, in the flesh was the word of God manifest. Holy Spirit in the heart of man is the word of God reiterated. Reconciled, renewed and restored man is the word of God manifest in the earth.
Affirmation: As I submit to Holy Spirit, God's word in me, I am becoming the word of God manifest in the earth.
Reflection: This is a powerful concept. If in fact Jesus the Christ is the Logos, the manifest word or thought, of God, and that same Christ, or Logos, dwells in us, then does it follow that as we live the Christ life we are to be the manifest word of God on earth today? Give some thought to this.
The Lineage of Christ: A message to the Fallen
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.. Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar… Salmon, the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab… Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth… David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife… and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. – Matthew 1:1-16
Five women are mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Four of them, according to the law, were disqualified from being a part of the chosen race, but the fifth, his mother, conceived a child in a supernatural manner. It was the child conceived in her that sanctified all the failures of the past.
There is no greater message to those whose lifestyle declares, “I am unworthy” than the message of the four women who were mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Let’s look at them:
Even before the fall of man God had a plan to restore him. No one has fallen so far, or sinned so grievously that the love of God and the blood of Christ cannot reach them. A passage in Romans tells it more plainly than any other: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Prayer: Thank you for grace. I was fallen, but in my fallen state I reached out and you reached down to me. Thank you. In Jesus name, amen.
Message: No one has fallen so far, or sinned so grievously that the love of God and the blood of Christ cannot reach them. Romans5:8, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
Affirmation: The love of God reaches through all of my sin to grant me the opportunity to be reconciled to God, renewed, restored.
Reflection: Today gives some thought to the idea that God has shown himself to be the giver of second chances then think about how that applies to you.
Call Him Jesus, Savior
After he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said… “Do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. – Matthew 1:20-21
Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes. You are engaged to the love of your life and she comes up pregnant, and you know you are not the father. Then she comes up with this wild story about some angel and God and being overshadowed and conceiving. You set there, broken hearted, asking yourself, “How can I ever believe that story?”
He went to bed thinking on these things and trying to decide what he would do. In his sleep an angel appeared to him and said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Then he understood. Mary was telling the truth and this child would be born of the Holy Spirit.
The message from the angel to Joseph was two-fold. First, it was to confirm that he was to be married to Mary. The second was that the name he was to give the child was Jesus. He was to be called Jesus because he would save his people from their sins.
Jesus, just the sound of the name brings comfort to those who believe. The name simply means “The Lord has become my salvation.” Jesus brought with him the hope all men have; that they can be lifted up from the morass that life has become and be reconciled to peace with the God of heaven.
The prophecy given by Isaiah some 700 years before his birth was coming to pass. “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” – Which means, “God with us” (v23). God himself became man so that man could be reconciled to God. The hope of the world was carried in the womb of a virgin.
Who is this one who dared to let others call him Lord? Who is this one who, without force, has established his kingdom in every corner of the globe? He is Jesus and he rescues us from our sins. Hallelujah!
Prayer: Lord, I have heard, I have believed, and I have received Jesus the Christ of Redemption. Thank You for the opportunity. Amen.
Message: The name "Jesus" simply means “The Lord has become my salvation.” Jesus brought with him the hope that all men have; that they can be lifted up from the morass that life has become and be reconciled to peace with the God of heaven.
Affirmation: Jesus, my Lord, my Savior has lifted me out of the life I once had and has given me a brand new life; eternal life. I've been born again.
Reflection: "The Lord has become my salvation." What a promise! Every time we speak his name we are affirming that the Lord God himself has become our salvation. Give some thought to what that actually means to you.
A New King and a New Kingdom
But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected but they have rejected me as their king.” – 1 Samuel 8:6--7
God’s best was given man in the Garden. It was a time that trust, faith and love ruled. Then the will of man raised its head and declared, “I can be like a god.” God’s original plan was thwarted by the will of man.
In the process of time God began to call prophets and priests to lead his people, and that worked for a while, but again, the will of man was in rebellion against God.
It is ironic that man rejects God’s best for a cheap imitation then blames God for the outcome. So, when Samuel was old the people said, “Give us a king. We want to be like the other peoples of the world.” God finally said, “Alright, you want a king to lead you instead of following me alone, you can have a king.”
God then told Samuel to warn them what would happen when they had a king like the other nations. Samuel told them that a king would take their sons to war and would take their harvests for himself. He will tax your increase and you will be in poverty when he lives in luxury.
Again, the plan of God was rejected and supplanted by the rule of man, but God was not finished. He had yet another plan to put in force. Every kingdom up to the time of Christ depended upon the rule of man, but God’s plan was to reinstitute theocratic rule. God’s plan was to again be the king man would look to.
This new kingdom he had in mind was not to be kept in boundaries drawn up by men. The throne room of this kingdom was not to be in palaces made by the hands of man. This new kingdom that God was to offer man was to be established in the hearts of all those who would believe upon the Prince of Peace who would become Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
The kingdom of God is a kingdom of the heart and spirit.
Prayer: Lord, grant me the grace to always be sensitive to your guidance and not to seek my own way. In Jesus name, amen.
Message: This new kingdom that God was to offer man was to be established in the hearts of all those who would believe upon the Prince of Peace who would become Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
Affirmation: The kingdom of God is a kingdom of the heart and Spirit. I submit to Christ and the authority of His kingdom.
Reflection: The reason Israel felt they needed a king was that they did not have faith in God and they did not trust him, his word, or his prophets, to lead them. It was their lack of faith in God which ultimately led them into poverty while their kings lived in luxury. Was the trade worth it?
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Paul Smith: Husband, Grandfather, father, writer, preacher, pastor, servant of God... and hopefully thought of as a Christian.
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