Question of the Day

This one-month devotional was written in 2012 to cover popular questions posed by those who are seeking for truth. The world today is being bombarded with distractions. Social media and the internet are popular ways to distract. If the devil can distract a person enough, he succeeds in keeping that person from seeking the One true God and Savior of mankind, Jesus Christ. Please give this devotional a chance to encourage your heart and if you find the truth and receive Christ’s wonderful free gift of salvation, please comment and let me know. I would love to rejoice with you!

Day 1 – How can a loving God send people to Hell?

~Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

~Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

~Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Man was created in the “likeness” of God. Man had the choice between good and evil. However, since man was not God, or a god (as some religions teach), he was not able to say no to sin when given that choice.

God gave Adam and Eve the awesome privilege of living sin free as long as they obeyed one rule: not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. At this point, Adam and Eve only knew “good.” You would think that they would understand how great their life was and they wouldn’t want to do anything to jeopardize that life. However, they were easily deceived by Satan. He cast a shadow of doubt on God’s words (much like today’s attacks on the King James Bible). In Genesis 3:1, Satan said, “hath God said”? It caused Eve to question what God had told them. It further caused her to add to God’s words with ” neither shall ye touch it”. God didn’t say not to touch the tree but merely not to eat of it.

So from the beginning of man, it has been man’s choice to disobey God. Initially, Hell was created for the devil and his angels, not man. Hell was there before Adam and Eve came along.

~Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

However, because man has chosen to sin, man has also chosen to go to Hell.

~Ezekiel 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

~Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

~Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God provided a way for man to go to Heaven, but again, it is man’s choice – as it always has been. We do have a loving God. Sending people to Hell isn’t what He wanted. He gave man a choice from the beginning. God’s choice is for man to live a wonderful, sin-free life, just as Adam and Eve had the opportunity to have!

Why would God create man if all He wanted were robots who always did what they were told without choice? It’s evident that God wants us to love Him by choice, not because we have to. God gives us every opportunity to be saved from the choice of going to Hell. However, it is the hardened heart that refuses God’s love and His Heaven.

It is man’s natural instinct to blame someone else for his undoing. Adam blamed, Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. Today, man blames God for sending people to Hell rather than praise God for providing a way to Heaven through Jesus Christ! It’s man’s choice to sin that takes him to Hell, not God.

Day 2 – What is considered the truth?

Just what is the basis of truth? How can anyone really know that they are reading and hearing the truth when they go to church or open a Bible? What and/or how do we measure the truth? These are all vital questions and there are answers!

In the Christian faith, the standard of truth sets on the Bible. We know this because Jesus Christ Himself quoted the Scriptures throughout His ministry. In fact, He said:

~John 10:35b … the scripture cannot be broken;

Christ laid the foundation for truth to His disciples and pointed them to it. He was qualified to do so because He was the Word of God, made flesh, so He could convey those words to man. Throughout Christ’s ministry, those words were revealed and recorded by men through the power of His Holy Spirit.

~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.

Christ also prayed that His disciples would be set apart and grounded in this truth then pointed them to what was considered to be the truth.

~John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

God’s Word not only is the truth but it contains the only truth for anyone who wishes to find it. It is our plum line – our standard – our tool for measuring everything we hear. The Scriptures are the inspired words of God.

~2 Pet 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 Bible alone is our ultimate authority. Jesus Christ quoted it repeatedly to correct the Pharisees. He also quoted Scriptures when He was tempted of the devil in the wilderness. Christ used the Scriptures to ostracize the Pharisees and He also used the Scriptures to battle Satan in the desert. The Bible is the final judge for all of man’s thinking and all of man’s traditions.

Because the Scriptures are the very words of God, we are commanded not to add to it or take away from it. To do so opens the door to error because sinful man is in charge of the change.

~Proverbs 30:6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

~Revelations 22:19 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.

Our Bible is the final authority – the ultimate authority of God and it meets all of the Christian’s needs in his walk. All we encounter in life can be measured according to God’s Word.

~2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

In the early church, man-made traditions became the standard for the “religious” and the Word of God lost its place as the only measuring stick. But just as Jesus Christ rebuked the Pharisees for putting tradition on equal ground as the Scriptures, so does God’s Word rebuke those religions today of the same thing.

~Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

This is found in many religions but most prevalent in the Catholic Church where it teaches “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together and communicate one with the other … And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God, which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. … As a result the [Catholic] Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence”.

Jesus Christ said that God’s Word is made ineffectual through tradition. There isn’t any tradition that can overpower what the Holy Spirit conveyed through the Holy Scriptures. (2 Peter 1:29) He is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17, John 15:26, John 16:13) and He conveyed God’s words through the Scriptures. Because the Holy Spirit is God, there is no one more qualified to write the truth. Because the Holy Spirit wrote this truth, He is more than qualified to teach this truth to believers – He is the ultimate authority. That is another one of the Holy Spirit’s missions.

~John 16:13-15 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew [it] unto you.

Popular religions of the world have their own “standards,” and some even place that standard on their leader. Leaders are all sinners (Romans 3:23), unlike Jesus Christ who knew no sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21) The sinless Saviour used the Scriptures as His plum line to instruct, correct, and lead. Unfortunately, those religions who place their standard on a leader will be sincerely disappointed. These same leaders in church history passed laws/rules which were later dismissed by their current leader. Where is the plum line? What is used to prevent error? How can the common man trust leaders who negate what a leader in history said was from God? Why isn’t it “from God” now? Did their leader from years ago make a mistake? How could he if he was considered infallible? Man cannot and must not be used to BE the standard or the plum line because man is sinful.

~Psalm 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.

~Psalm 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.

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

~Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Only God is qualified to BE our plumb line and standard for truth because He is truth. The Scriptures contain the truth and it is by this truth that we will be judged.

~Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

~Psalm 33:4 For the word of the LORD [is] right; and all his works [are done] in truth.

~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.

~Proverbs 22:21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

~Ecclesiastes 12:10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and [that which was] written [was] upright, [even] words of truth.

~Isaiah 39:8 Then said Hezekiah to Isaiah, Good [is] the word of the LORD which thou hast spoken. He said moreover, For there shall be peace and truth in my days.

~John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

~John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

~John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

~2 Corinthians 6:7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

~Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

~Colossians 1:5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

~1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received [it] not [as] the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

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

~James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

It is this truth, God’s Word, that Christianity must base all doctrine. Not traditions of men. If there are questions as to whether or not a certain “tradition” be of God, seek the truth in His Word because all truth is contained therein and it is our plumb line.

~Romans 3:4 … yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, …

Day 3 – How can God love and hate sinners?

~Psalm 5:5 — “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.”

~Psalm 11:5 — “The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.”

~John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I’m sure this sounds “contradictory” but it really isn’t when you view it as God hates the sin but loves the “person.” God could not possible hate the sinner because it would contradict:

~Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

If God hated sinners, He would not have sent Christ to die for us “while we were yet sinners.” However, I believe it is quite clear in the above text that God does hate those who are wicked, work iniquity and love violence. God doesn’t have any problem with casting those into the lake of fire unless they repent and believe on the Lord Jesus! (Acts 16:31)

It is still man’s choice to go to Hell, not God’s. Man can choose to continue being wicked, continue working iniquity and continue to love violence. It is these types of sinners that God hates. God is omniscient (all knowing), therefore, He knows if this sinner will come to repentance or not. Once man chooses not to repent, then God in His righteousness must judge that sinner.

God’s love is so great that He sent His own Son to take on the penalty of man’s sin. How great is that love?! Would you give up your own child for the same of someone else?

Day 4 – What is the Trinity

I don’t claim to have all the answers – especially to a foundational doctrine such as this. However, what I can do is to provide and point you to the Scriptures, which will help to explain what the Scriptures have to say about the Trinity.

The Scriptures teach there is one God (Ephesians 4:6). However, God shows Himself to us in different ways: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

~Matthew 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

~Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

There are so many verses which point to a Trinity. We are not left to imagination or invention:

~2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, [be] with you all. Amen.

~1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

~Jude 1:20-21 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. 21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

One of the best verses, in my opinion, which portrays the Trinity is found in the King James Bible. All other versions skip right over this verse and make a comment that it is not found in the “originals.” How convenient! Satan has attempted to corrupt the word of God since the Garden of Eden and hasn’t quit yet.

~1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

I once heard a message on this topic which really helped me to understand the concept of the Trinity. Just as I have a body, soul and spirit, I am still one person. I have three roles, I am a daughter, I am a mother and I am a grandmother. However, I am still one person. Another good example is water. Water contains two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. When water is exposed to high temperatures, it becomes steam. When it is exposed to low temperatures, it becomes ice. All three have two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen, right? All three are water – some form of water but yet each has a different role.

So is the Trinity. There is one God: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is referred to as the Son. He is God manifested (1 John 4:9) in the flesh to be our redeemer. In this manifestation, Christ was also referred as the Word of God (John 1:1). Christ brought God’s words to man kind by becoming man. He brought mankind salvation through His birth, life, death, and resurrection!

When Christ left this earth, the Father sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell amongst us (John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:7). It is this Holy Spirit who dwells within the born-again Christian – He teaches us – He comforts us – He reveals God’s will to us – He prays to the Father for us when we can’t seem to find the words! He is with us always and never leaves us!

Was the Trinity present in the Old Testament? I respond with an emphatic YES! Genesis 1:26 reveals this in “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”! Genesis 3:22 also reveals this “Behold, the man is become as one of us”. Another is Genesis 11:7 “Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language”. Isaiah 6:8 reveals “Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

So many verses reveal God’s triune nature. We may not fully understand but we can believe by faith. (Romans 1:17) The Bible leads us to the truth – then it’s up to us to believe by faith.

Day 5 – Question of the Day – How can a loving God send people to hell?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

A common statement heard today is that “If God is such a loving God, how can He send someone to hell?” Today’s text is a wonderful depiction of God’s love. He didn’t wait until we “cleaned up our lives.” He knew that if Israel could not live by the Law, neither would we. In fact, if we could clean up our lives, Christ’s death would not have been needed.

Hell was not originally created for mankind. It was created for Satan and his angels

~Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

God’s love for His creation went so far that He provided a way to Heaven for mankind. He went to great lengths, as a matter of fact.

~John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

~John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

~1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

~1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

These verses provide man with a choice to make: (1) he that believeth on Christ and (2) he that believeth not. It is plain and simple and quite obvious that God loves His creation and provides a choice for them to make. He won’t force Himself on us. God gave us a free will with the ability to seek things out and decide for ourselves.

By not accepting Christ, one has chosen to go to hell – he has made his choice and, therefore, is responsible for sending himself to hell.

~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.

So in closing, God is a loving God and He does not choose to send anyone to hell. He leaves that choice up to us. He provided a way for us to avoid punishment for our sin through His precious Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. The rest is up to us. It is a choice! It is our choice!

Day 6 – What does it mean to overcome the flesh?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The flesh contains no good thing, according to Paul. We are born sinners and we do not need to be taught how to sin. Look at any toddler and you will see the evidence of this statement.

~Romans 7:18a For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:

The first step is to be able to recognize these things in our lives. How can one recognize them if one is knee-deep in the world? I have seen what allowing the world into one’s life can do to a person. I know someone personally who use to live right. Somehow the devil has gotten compromise in this brother’s life and now he is doing things I never dreamed I’d ever see him do. He still goes to his church and serves in different ministries there. The sad thing is he no longer views these compromises as sin but as his “right” and “liberty” in Christ! It grieves me to see someone use Christianity as an excuse to do whatever they want. (Romans 6:1-2) There’s no consideration given to the weaker brother who is watching and may be pushed right into sin because of the poor testimony displayed by this man.

I find this type of worldly behavior by Christians as immature. They are like toddlers who keep saying, “Mine!” “Give me!” “I want!” “Don’t tell me what to do!” A human being’s growth from baby to adult is very much like the spiritual life of a Christian. A dear friend wrote the following and I’ve used it a few times in my blog. However, it is so relevant to this topic I thought it was worth repeating!

Spiritual Growth Chart


Pacifier – Always needing to feel like you are eating but happy with just going through the motions and not really having to swallow anything or digest any truth.

For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. (Hebrews 5:13)

Diaper Changes – Making messes uncontrollably that must be cleaned up by other more mature people.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

Crying for attention – Crying not because of pain or hunger, cold or hot, or any other discomfort but because you want attention. Babies lie to get attention!

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11)

Thoughts – They know that they exist and they begin to learn.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (Psalms 139:23)


Banging Heads – They see what they want and plunge in after it but they never see any danger.

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Proverbs 4:19)

Poison – They will put anything in their mouths.

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Falls – They will walk right off of the edge or trip over the most obvious hazards.

But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him. (John 11:10)

Undisciplined – This is the age where discipline must be taught, this is where we learn what no means.

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. (Proverbs 13:24)

Learning – Begin to learn the first hard lessons of life usually the hard way.

Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. (Psalms 25:4)


Newness – Everything is new and must be discovered. This is where the greatest learning takes place.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

Recognition – We begin to recognize what causes sickness and pain, joy and pleasure.

I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. (Psalms 119:7)

Socialization – We learn to play with others and learn from someone other than our parents.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Independence – We can feed ourselves and maintain ourselves with only a little help and nudging. We begin to make decisions.

I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:14)

Education – The beginning of a formal education they learn the basics from adults.

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. (Psalms 111:10)

Pre-Teen – Teen

Assertion – We begin to assert ourselves as individuals and demand some control over our lives.

Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. (Deuteronomy 8:6)

Rebellion – We rebel against the authority of others over our life.

For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1 Samuel 15:23)

Individuality – We begin to show our individuality and uniqueness.

But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. (1 Corinthians 12:18 )

Abilities – We now have the ability to do constructive work or to destroy the work of others.

If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? (1 Corinthians 12:17)

Pride – We gain pride thus reaching the age of accountability.

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 )

Self centered – The world is there to serve us. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:4)

Knowledge – Begins to become knowledgeable of the deeper things of the World around them.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)


Responsibility – Takes responsibility for his own actions good or bad.

He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. (1 John 2:10)

Wisdom – Understands truth and his own limitations thus reverences the Creator.

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)

Service – Works for the benefit of others and not just for self.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (2 Timothy 2:24) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (2 Timothy 2:25) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:26)

Sacrifice – Gives of themselves for their family and the ones that they love.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1)

Diligence – Does the routine things and the things that are expected of them.

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. (Proverbs 22:29)

Higher Education – They can now gain that higher knowledge of the mysterious things of creation and beyond.

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. (Psalms 143:10)

So, my friend, where are you in the Spiritual Growth Chart? Are you as far away from the stench of worldliness or have you hung around it long enough that the “scent” is all over you? This need not be your story. Paul said you can turn it around by living soberly, righteously, and godly. Get in the word of God, Christian. Stop quenching the Holy Spirit of God and allow Him to prick your heart and point out the areas of compromise and worldliness you to need to work on. It’s never too late to turn your life around and be at peace once again. If you were to be totally honest, you cannot say that your worldly life has brought you any true peace. Won’t you turn today and serve the Lord again?

Day 7 – Why are our words compared to apples of gold?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Proverbs 25:1 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Don’t you love Solomon’s style of writing? Can you just picture in your mind’s eye what apples of gold in pictures of silver look like? No matter what it looks like, it appears “regal.” But what’s the true meaning behind it? How can our words be compared to apples of gold?

The whole point of this Proverb is to bring your attention to a word that is fitly spoken and its value – words that are spoken at the right time. These apples apparently have much value in God’s eyes and, therefore, must be referencing valuable words. I believe these valuable words reference the Christian who guards his tongue and makes sure that he always has the words of hope and kindness ready for all to hear.

There are surely various scenarios in life but each requires that words be fitly spoken. The first scenario I think of is during an argument.

~Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this soft answer qualified as a word fitly spoken. Speaking kindness also qualifies in this category.

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

How about speaking the blessed Gospel to the lost? Oh, how fitly spoken are they?

~1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

But wherever you see something referencing what God loves, you don’t have to go too far in your reading before you find what the world loves. The world’s apples are quite the opposite. The wicked are known for their tongue.

~Proverbs 50:19 Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.

~Psalm 10:7 His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.

~Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

Where do your words fit? Are they apples of gold or apples with worms? As disgusting as that sounds, I’m sure our Heavenly Father looks upon His children’s unfit words much in the same way.

Which would you rather be known for? Someone who spoke kind and uplifting words which the Lord likens to apples of gold? Or someone whose words are unkind, venomous, and filled with worms? We have the words of life for a dying and lost world. We have the words that change lives for those who are going in the wrong direction. This is an awesome responsibility and one not to be taken lightly.

Day 8 – What does it mean to be clamorous?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Proverbs 9:13 A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.

Proverbs is such a great book – full of instruction and wisdom! Why don’t more people heed to its precious instructions? What is in this proverb that can be applied to our own lives?

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary’s definition is way more than what I thought clamorous meant! I thought it meant “noisy.”

CLAMOROUS, a. Speaking and repeating loud words; noisy; vociferous; loud; turbulent.

Now that it’s put that way, can you imagine living with someone like this? Do you recognize this in your own life? As you look at today’s photograph, it appears “busy” with the different variations of dull colors. The leave are dying and winter is just around the corner. I liken clamorous speech to dead leaves. The words are not uplifting… in fact, they destroy.

Unfortunately, clamorous women probably have no clue that they are this way – or they probably don’t care. Solomon says that these women are not only loud but repetitious! That means they are naggers and complainers and they do it loudly! I don’t know about you but I truly do not want to be known as a clamorous woman! Nor do I think a man would want to live with one either.

Solomon goes on to say that the clamorous woman is simple and knows nothing. Noah Webster defined “simple” as being weak in intellect. This person is not wise in God’s word but simple. James says that this type of person’s ‘wisdom’ does not come from above but is devilish.

~James 3:14-16 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual, devilish. 16 For where envying and strife [is], there [is] confusion and every evil work.

I believe Solomon means that the clamorous woman is simple in the word of God. You can “know” an instruction but it does not mean that you have applied it to your life. Any believer who spends daily time in the Bible seeking the Holy Spirit’s will is going to be convicted of sin in their lives. So, obviously, this woman does not make the Scriptures part of her daily life. If she does, she is reading for the sake of reading and not for the sake of growing spiritually. She is most certainly quenching the Holy Spirit.

I surely feel badly for the man who is married to such a woman.

~Proverbs 25:24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

How sad it is when a women is so prideful that she does not allow the Holy Spirit to work in her life. She prefers to dwell in a home filled with strife!

The Lord has much reward in store for the woman who can be taught. Let’s look at the flip side.

~Proverbs 9:13 A prudent woman is quiet: she is wise, and knoweth the will of God.”

This woman’s wisdom produces the fruit of the Spirit. She puts into action what God’s word has revealed to her and yields herself to the work of the Holy Spirit in her life.

~James 3:17-18 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, [and] easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Women are not the only ones who can be clamorous. I personally know men who are this way. It is an equal opportunity sin and one that fills a home with strife. No one wants to come home to this type of environment. Instead, a home filled with peace, gentleness and evidence of good spiritual fruit is a home that brings joy!

Day 9 – How can I learn to control my mouth?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Proverbs 10:20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.

The tongue is such a small member according to the Apostle James.

~James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

It’s amazing how such a small member can wreak so much havoc one moment and yet be sweet as honey the next. Should this be the normal way of life for a believer? Absolutely not! The believer who is being led by the Holy Spirit, producing the fruit of the Spirit, does not struggle with his tongue but has command over it. He has learned to control the sin of gossip.

The weak minded believer, however, does not share in this. Not only is this weak minded believer allowing the devil to control him, he does not have the sense to get into the word of God and allow the Scriptures to keep him from sin.

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

Instead, this weak minded believer relies on what is in his heart to guide him. If the heart is ruled by sin, it won’t guide this person to anything but trouble.

How can a heart filled with gossip allow the tongue to speak gracious words? The weak minded believer thinks he can fool those in his church by pretending to be a good Christian but then gossip and strife come out of his mouth only to reveal his true colors. God’s word says that this is wrong!

~James 3:10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

This gossip stirs up strife and sows discord. I’ve yet to meet a gossip who has not caused much problems. How can the church have a sweet spirit when there’s a gossip in its midst? How can a church attract visitors when there’s a gossip in its midst? A busy body does so much damage to everyone she comes in contact with!

That gossip not only hurts people with his tongue, but he is also known as a sower of discord! If you want to see just how God feels about a gossip, a sower of discord, all you have to do is search for verses with the words “God, hate” and it will be an eye opener! God hates the sower of discord! It does not say He hates the sin – but he hates the one who sows discord. In fact, it is an abomination to Him.

~Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

A gossip is not only a liar but that gossip is also one that sows discord among the brethren (meaning in church).

~James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

James continues to say that the tongue is like a fire! Fire destroys and kills. This little member of the body can do so much destruction if it is allowed to continue. We cannot sweep a sower of discord’s actions under the rug. It must be dealt with, swiftly, or the church body will be destroyed. What better testimony for the devil than to allow this sower in the church! This should not be so. What a sad day it is when families are destroyed by this person! This gossip and sower of discord is at war with everyone around him, except other gossips. Darkness fellowships with darkness.

~Psalm 55:21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.

I have witnessed this gossip in action. I have witnessed this sower of discord in action. These “supposed” Christians have allowed the devil to rule in their lives. Yes, the devil can rule in a Christian’s life. Even Jesus had to rebuke Peter and tell him that the devil was ruling.

~Matthew 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Jesus was not saying that Peter was possessed by a devil. Jesus was stating that Peter was allowing the devil to rule in his life and Peter’s words were evidence of it. Jesus did not mince words. He did not sweep Peter’s conduct under the rug. Instead, Jesus brought it out and exposed it.

The words of a gossip are wicked, wicked, wicked! There is no life in them but only destruction. Guard your tongue, oh Christian. Be careful what you expose your heart to. What is in your heart will come out of your mouth.

~Matthew 15:18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

So, what is considered gossip? If you want to steer away from even the appearance of evil on this one, consider gossip as anything that is said about someone that is not gracious and kind. Many disguise their gossip with statements like, “Bless her heart, she just doesn’t have enough money to buy a dress that would cover her whole body!” My friend, don’t be fooled.

You can’t Febreeze a skunk – it will still be a skunk and it will still stink! Don’t allow the devil rule over your mouth. Yes, I said “allow”! It is our choice to gossip. Recognize the sin of gossip … repent … confess it … seek forgivness from those you have hurt … forsake it. Then fill your heart with the precious Scriptures and allow it to cleanse you, keep you clean, (Psalm 119:9) and prevent you from falling.

Day 10 – What does it mean to be fruitful?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we buy our fruit in the grocery store, we don’t stop to think about where the fruit came from or the work it took the fruit farmer to get that fruit to us. A tree can only produce plenty of fruit – good fruit – when it is properly cared for and has all the right “ingredients.” It needs the right amount of sunshine, rain, fertilizer and pruning. A healthy tree produces a good crop of fruit.

It is the same with our Christian lives. Without the Son-shine in our lives, we cannot bear fruit. One must be born again to produce spiritual fruit. Without Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we cannot possibly be fruitful nor can we make it without Him. Without getting to know Him better through the word of God, we cannot grow.

~John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

At times we need pruning so we can be more fruitful. Pruning comes in various ways – through trials, through the Scriptures, and through the preaching. God uses multiple things in our lives to get our attention if we are being disobedient to His word. A tree doesn’t have much choice but to be pruned. But we do! We don’t have to be pruned by the Lord. We can resist the devil (James 4:7) and the temptations by removing ourselves from the situation that is tempting us. God provides us with a way to escape temptation so we do not fall. (1 Corinthians 10:13) However, when we don’t, we can be sure we will not grow properly. This is why we won’t produce the fruit we could produce.

~Psalm 1:2-3, 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.

Notice that verse 3 says that his leaf shall not wither. If I water my plants regularly, they stay looking nice. If I miss a week or two, however, the leaves start to droop and they “scream” for water. So should Christians scream for the living water of the Word. Daily reading, studying and submitting to God’s word is what will produce good fruit.

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

Don’t allow yourself to go one day without gleaning from the Scriptures. This is our spiritual food which will produce good fruit. One cannot walk away from the Scriptures without being changed. The word of God is the fertilizer that every Christian needs to be fruitful!

Day 11 – Why shouldn’t Christians concentrate on self esteem?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

I truly believe that the worse “new teaching” from the world today is the one of self esteem. This teaching is definitely not scriptural and it has done so much damage to the Christian. It is not a new teaching but it is certainly more prevalent in today’s world than in the past. Everyone is focused on me, myself and I. What’s in it for me? You offended me! You hurt my feelings. You’re no better than I am. Don’t tell Johnny, who’s in the tenth grade, that he is reading at fifth grade level, you’ll ruin his self esteem! No where in God’s word does it say that we should esteem ourselves! Why do you think people are conceited and full of themselves? Why do you think there is so much concentration in the church to “feel good about themselves”? They have been “self esteemed” ad nauseum!

Noah Webster’s definition of the word esteem is SO very different from today’s.

To set a value on, whether high or low; to estimate; to value. Then he forsook God who made him, and lightly esteemed the rock of his salvation. Deu 32. They that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Sam 2.

To prize; to set a high value on; to regard with reverence, respect or friendship. When our minds are not biased, we always esteem the industrious, the generous, the brave, the virtuous, and the learned. Will he esteem thy riches? Job 36.

Merriam-Webster’s definition

is the regard in which one is held; especially : high regard

Merriam’s definition is quite diluted, isn’t it? What things in God’s Word are we to esteem?

Job 23 12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Psalm 119:28 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

God’s word should be esteemed. If you were to place the emphasis of Merriam’s definition for esteem to God’s word, you would not be totally convinced that it deserved such a high rating, right? But if you put Noah’s definition, you see that the Bible is to be prized and reverenced. This is a much different viewpoint! No wonder the worldly Christians do not look to the Word of God to change them. They don’t revere it, therefore, it’s impact on their lives is minimal.

Does God regard esteem as sin?

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (emphasis mine)

God considers it an abomination if you esteem that which is ungodly.

Whom should we esteem?

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

We should esteem the brethren better than ourselves and we should esteem those who are over us – our deacons and our Pastors. No where in my of salvation have I ever read in God’s 1ord that I should think highly of myself. If I love the brethren, they will always take precedence over me.

1 Corinthians 3:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Paul says that our love for each other will cause us to be longsuffering with each other, be kind to each other, not envy one another, and not think highly of ourselves. Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

My friend, these are not the Bible verses encouraging us to have self esteem! These verses are encouraging us to be humble, meek and low in pride. What will happen to the one who thinks highly of himself?

~Job 40:11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.

~Ezekiel 21:26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

~Daniel 4:37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.

~Matthew 23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

~Luke 14:11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

~Luke 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

None of these verses sound like words from a support group for self-esteem. Quite the opposite. We should humble and be promoted to the front of the line by the Lord than to think more of ourselves rather than have Him tell us to get to the back of the line. If anyone had reason for self-esteem, it was the Lord Jesus Christ. But He humbled Himself to the point of dying for you and I. If we are to walk in His footsteps, how can we possibly have self-esteem and say that it comes from God? This is hypocrisy – we should do well to learn from the account of the Pharisee and the Publican.

Day 12 – Are Men Superior to Women According to the Bible?

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~1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Not everyone is an engineer, doctor, police officer, etc. Each person is drawn to an occupation by the individual’s uniqueness. The Bible absolutely recognizes uniqueness and equality amongst Christians:

~1 Corinthians 12:14-20 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where [were] the body? 20 But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.

Paul explained how the church, made up of individuals, could not all be doing the same “job.” Each unique person was needed and there weren’t any which were more important than the other. They were equal in their importance – all had a specific job to do and all were needed to make the body “whole.”

As it relates to husband and wife, as in today’s text, we note that they are heirs together. As one reads Scriptures relating to husband and wife, it is clear to see that the husband is responsible for his household by providing for it and the wife is to submit to his Godly leadership. Each has a different role. On the most part, she bears children and cares for them. Although we see some homes where the husband has to stay at home and care of the children while the wife works. Either way you look at it, it does not mean that the husband is better than the wife – it means that they are equal in their Christian walk as Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 12:14-20. The emphasis lies in the different roles in their marriage, just as they do in the body of Christ, the Church. It does not lie in whether one is better than the other. Not everyone in a place of business can be the president. Not everyone can be the janitor. Each is necessary. Despite the different roles, the husband and wife are joint heirs together. Paul did not outline different requirements, correct?

We know that Paul also told the Ephesians that the husband is to love his wife as he would his own body (as Christ loved the Church). A man would not belittle his own body. A man would not treat his own body unkindly. This clearly depicts equality. (Ephesians 5:28)

As well, the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31) suggests equality. Whatever we would not have done to us, we must not to do someone else. If we do not want to be treated inferior, we must not act superior. Adam tried to pass the blame for his own sin on Eve, but God punished them equally. Adam would have to toil the land dealing with weeds and Eve would have pain in bearing children. Both have different jobs but both were treated equally for their sin.

The world attaches a person’s “role” in life to equality. For example, the janitor is less important than a doctor. However, that is the world’s view. The world is most certainly caught up in social hierarchy. But the Bible does not support this amongst members of the church. We are considered the body of Christ. As Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 12:14-20, there is not a part of the body that is not necessary or that is more important than the other. What a beautiful depiction of all being equal!

Day 13 – What Does it Mean to Circumcise the Heart?

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~Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked.

Beginning in Genesis, God established a covenant with Abram and his people. This was the beginning of the Jewish people. The covenant was defined as:

~Genesis 17:10 This [is] my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

The physical act of circumcision defined a “setting apart” of a people for the glory of God. Just because they were physically set apart for the glory of God, they were not acting like it spiritually. God wanted them to be a holy people – a special people – above all people on earth.

~Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth.

However, they were not obeying the Lord’s statutes and, therefore, became stiff-necked. God wanted a people that desired to obey Him out of love. But the people refused and their hearts were hardened. These people were serving God by the letter of the Law rather than with their hearts. They were viewing their works as their own righteousness and, therefore, “working at being righteous.”

~Deuteronomy 6:24-25 And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as [it is] at this day. 25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us.

In other words, they were serving God in the “flesh” and not serving Him with their hearts. That is why God told them to circumcise the foreskin of their heart. This cuts away at what makes them the same as everyone else and causes them to be different – to be set apart in their hearts. It is the heart that reveals what kind of person one is – it is with the heart that one comes to salvation:

~Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

One can be circumcised in the body but not of the heart. In other words, a person can be circumcised but not have a circumcised heart – born again through repentance and faith (Acts 20:21). Once a person is truly born again, a miracle happens. A spiritual circumcision occurs in that person’s heart. He is now set apart! The Christian is to be different from the world. The foreskin of our hearts has been circumcised and we are set apart for God’s use!

~Romans 2:29 But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.

~Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

~Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

The Christian is now holy to God because Christ’s righteousness and holiness is what God sees!

~1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

~Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

~1 Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

God chose a special people – a people that were not just to be set apart through the physical circumcision, but a people that served Him with their heart.

Day 14 – Why Should the Bible be our Final Authority?

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~John 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Jesus spoke the words in today’s text. He made it very clear that it was by His words that would pass judgment on man kind. Those who reject Him and do not receive His words will be judged according to His words. (John 1:1) Since mankind will be judged according to what is in the Scriptures, then it must be our final authority in all matters.

When we break the law of the land by speeding, we will be judged by a paragraph and section in the book of statutes for that jurisdiction. The ticket issued lists the section of the code of law that has been broken. I imagine Judgment Day to be the same. The books will be opened and man will be judged according to the Bible book, chapter and verse which has been broken.

God’s words have been present amongst mankind for thousands of years. God’s words were initially entrusted to the Jews and then to the Christians.

~Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit [is there] of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Man’s argument is that the Bible was written by man. But God knew this would be an argument and He included the Scriptures to refute them.

~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.

One of the Holy Ghost’s tasks was to record God’s words in a book by working through men. The mention of God commanding to write things “in a book” occurs 12 times throughout the Scriptures. His words are important and are not only to be used to judge us when we die, but also to help us while we are living.

~2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture {is} given by inspiration of God, and {is} profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

We are to apply God’s words to our everyday lives in order to become more Christ-like in our walk. It is the word of God that cleanses us and it should be our plumb line in our decision making. (Psalm 119:9) I’ve been told by religious people who do not believe that the Bible is our final authority that I am interpreting my way. However, God’s word contained Scripture to refute them:

~2 Peter 1:20-21 (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (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.

It amazes me that the religious crowd can adopt their church’s traditions as their final authority but yet they cannot read 2 Peter 1:20-21 in context. These verses are not difficult to understand. The fact of the matter is that those who do not hold the Bible as their final authority are those who are afraid of what it contains. The exhortations in Scriptures put man-made laws and religious works in the light in which they should be viewed – evil and from the devil. Man-made religion does not want its followers to read the Bible because they will receive God’s words and HE will expose religious heresies!

~Hebrews 4:12 (12) For the word of God {is} quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and {is} a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

God promises us that none of His words will return empty and fruitless. There is power in His words and they have the power to draw one to salvation despite of man-made religion. (Romans 1:16)

~Isaiah 55:10-11 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: (11) So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper {in the thing} whereto I sent it.

As well, those who do not believe in the Bible as their final authority also do not want their followers to search the Scriptures because their false doctrine will be exposed. The Scriptures lead us to see our sin (the Ten Commandments) and they also lead us to salvation.

~John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

The Bible says that we must be born again, plain and simple. Not born again at birth (John 3) but born again to a new life. When one says they are born again after their physical birth when then they are baptized, they are ignorant of the word of God. God says that we must repent and have faith. (Acts 20:21) A baby cannot repent of its sins and have faith. This is the corruptible seed of false doctrine which results in religion that does not hold the Scriptures as their final authority.

~1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

David knew the importance of God’s words. He realized that there was nothing that could refute what God had spoken. God’s words are forever settled.

~Psalms 33:8-11 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. 11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

~1 Peter 1:24-25 For all flesh {is} as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: (25) But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

~Psalms 18:30 {As for} God, his way {is} perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he {is} a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Nothing will supersede the word of God: not government’s laws, not man’s laws, not your church’s traditions, not your parents’ religion … nothing! God’s words are eternal and will be what is used to judge all mankind. I don’t know about you, but if I am going to be judged by something, I would want to know what it was. I keep the laws of my State because I know most of the laws. However, I will still be judged and held accountable for those laws which I don’t know. For example, it is against the law in my State for someone to spit on the sidewalk. Just because I didn’t know about it when I spit on the sidewalk, does not mean that I am exempt from that law. Absolutely not! I am accountable because I am a citizen of that State.

We will be held accountable according to the words of God written in our final authority, the Scriptures. You can’t hide your head in the sand and say you didn’t know. It won’t matter because God gives everyone an opportunity (especially today when there’s a Bible in every household) to know His word.

~Mark 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Day 15 – Why Does God Allow Children to Die?

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~Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

A young friend in the Lord asked me this question and I’m glad that she did. It caused me to dig into the Scriptures! 🙂

One of God’s characteristics is that He is merciful.

~Luke 1:77-78 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

~Luke 6:36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

~Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

As well, He is a God of love.

~1 John 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

~1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

He is also a God of judgment.

~Revelations 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

These are merely three areas of God’s character. We must understand that we can’t possibly understand God’s reasonings behind everything that happens in our lives. His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). There is nothing more heart wrenching for a parent than to see their own child suffer and die. There are two replies to this question. One reply is for those parents who are not true born-again Christians and the other is for those who are.

Let’s look at when a child dies whose parents do not know Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. God’s word says that in order for one to be saved, one must repent and believe.

~Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

A child who has not reached the age of reasoning [where he understands what sin is and that he is a sinner] cannot repent from his sin and have faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when a child dies before the age of reasoning, he goes to Heaven. Once you understand this, it makes it easier to comprehend why God would allow such a tragedy. Unsaved parents who lose a child will be grieving and searching in their hearts for comfort. This allows the Holy Spirit of God yet another opportunity to reach them with the Gospel so they can be saved. So where’s the mercy, you ask? God could have taken the parents instead of the child. But where would their souls have gone if He had? They would have been condemned to an eternity in Hell. (John 3:18) Do you not see God’s mercy now? Instead of losing these precious parents to the devil, God chose to take their child because that child would be with Him. This is just another attempt by God to give the parents another opportunity to come to Him.

Then there are those times when God takes away the child of a saved couple. However, He promises to be in the midst of the trial by providing comfort (Psalm 23:4). This couple knows where their child is and they are encouraged because that child is with Christ and they will see their child again (John 14:3). Why would God take away a saved couple’s child? Missionaries to Cuba (the Cretzmans) recently lost their daughter in a car accident. You can Google their name and read article after article about the outpouring of love that was shown to this couple – it was amazing! As a result of their daughter’s death, opportunities for ministering to a lost and dying world arose and this grieving family was able to share the Gospel with others. God was glorified through it all and the name of the Lord Jesus Christ was lifted up – as they witnessed the strength in this couple’s lives. That precious child’s death brought glory to God! In that trial, God comforted this family and showed His love and compassion through others. That precious family showed a dying world just how personal God was to them!

We cannot always understand God’s ways. But we know that all those things He allows in our lives is for our good. (Romans 8:28) For example, we read that Jacob was distraught when he thought that Joseph had died. (Genesis 37:34-35) We know by this account in Scriptures that Joseph had not died but went through years of imprisonment and suffering. In the end, God used this situation for the good of his people. It was because of Joseph that the Israelites were brought to Egypt and saved from famine. As well, later in time, Moses led these people to the Promised Land! God had a plan that wasn’t visible at the time but in the end, it became evident.

~Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

God doesn’t want anyone to perish and go to Hell. He provides every opportunity for man to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus, the Christ, Saviour and Lord of mankind. It is more merciful to take a child from his parents and allow the parents to come to salvation than to take the parents in their lost condition. That is true mercy!

~2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Day 16 – What is the Romans Road?

Photography by Cecelia Becker

The Romans Road to salvation is a term used to reflect the Bible verses used to lead someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Most of the Bible verses used can be found in the Book of Romans.

I actually like the term “Romans Road” because it speaks of a path that every man and woman must walk. God wants everyone to find the path to Him. It’s also interesting that there’s an old saying that “all roads lead to Rome.” However, this Romans Road is not leading to a religion but to a relationship with Christ!

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

Christ taught that the road to Him is narrow and not everyone will find it. So where is this road? How does one find it?

~Matt 7:13-20 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

The road to Jesus Christ and the salvation He purchased for us can be found in the Book of Romans. If you walk this road, you will learn what it means:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.

There are no exceptions here. This verse says that all have sinned. It does not leave room for any one person. We are all born under the control of sin in our lives. You don’t have to teach a child to misbehave. It comes “naturally.” So the person who reads this verse must admit that he/she is a sinner.

~Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There are repercussions to sin and that is death – an eternity without God. This penalty is what we deserve for sin. We choose to sin and, therefore, there must be payment for that. The latter part of the verse says that salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord gives us eternal life! It also says that it is a gift of God – you cannot earn a gift – you cannot purchase this gift otherwise it is no longer a gift.

We must acknowledge our sinfulness, repent from that sin (Acts 20:21) and accept God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

We cannot wait until we have “cleaned up our act” before accepting Christ. For the Scriptures say:

~Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

When Jesus died on the cross He paid that penalty for sin. We no longer need to be slaves to sin. Christ paid the cost and we are, therefore, no longer under the bondage of sin.

Repentance is key (Acts 20:21) because we can say we are a sinner but unless we repent, we will all likewise perish (Luke 13:3 and Luke 13:5).

Once one has repented and accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he/she is then saved! This verse does not say, “might be,” but shall be saved!

~Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Remember, the devils believe and tremble (James 2:19) but they are definitely not saved. They cannot call Jesus Christ their Lord. But we can:

~Romans 10:9,10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

All that we need is contained in the Scriptures, friend. It is the Scriptures which will lead man to repentance and salvation:

~Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

One can’t forget that salvation is not simply a repeating of words as many churches teach today. There is a cost and that cost is repentance. You can recite the words but if the heart is not changed, the words are for nothing.

2Co 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.

Don’t let modern-day religions or tele-evangelists suck you in by their false doctrine of blab it and grab it. This type of profession is dangerous and leads many to hell. Re-read the scriptures listed above. Once a person is truly born again, there is a change. Their “new tree of faith” should be bearing good fruit as stated in Matthew 7:13-20. Your old lifestyle should be diminishing and your new lifestyle in Christ should be increasing. Reading your Bible every day helps to train you and cleanse your heart from the evil it once knew.

Please reach out to me if you would like some help with growing in the Lord. You can leave a comment here or you can email me at k8plord @ gmail.com

Day 17 – Why Didn’t God Accept Cain’s Sacrifice?

Photography by Cecelia Becker

~Genesis 4:2-7 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

From the beginning of man’s fall, God provided a way for man to have an acceptable sacrifice for atonement for man’s sin. The sacrifice had to be the shed blood of a spotless animal.

~Leviticus 1:3 If his offering [be] a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD.

Granted, at the time of Cain’s life, the Oracles had not been written down. However, the same God that required a perfect sacrifice during Moses’ time, set the ground rules for offering such sacrifices during Adam and Eve’s time.

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

~Malachi 3:6 For I [am] the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

We know that Adam and Eve passed on the sacrifice requirements to their children because of Genesis 4:4. Abel brought the “firstlings” of his flock for a sacrifice. Because God is the same and does not change, the same process of sacrifice was given to Moses for the Israelites (Deuteronomy 12:6). Therefore, Cain had was taught this by his parents.

But what did Cain bring for an offering? Genesis 4:3 says he brought the fruit of his crops. Cain knew what was required. He knew that nothing would do but the shedding of blood of a spotless lamb. However, Cain chose to disobey God. Instead, he wanted to gain access to God his own way and through another door!

The shedding of the blood of a spotless lamb was a picture of what was to come. Jesus Christ left Heaven to take on human form so He could live a sinless life and shed His blood for the remission of sins. Just as Christ is the only way to Heaven, so was the sacrifice of a spotless lamb in Cain’s time.

~John 14:6-9 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Cain was so jealous of his own brother for doing what was required that he did not even want to go buy a lamb from Abel so he could have a sacrifice to give to the Lord. Instead, he wanted to do it his way. However, God’s response to Cain’s offering was not favorable and Cain was upset! Here Cain did what was wrong yet he was upset with Abel, who did what was right! So much so, he killed Abel! We know that Cain knew to do the right thing by Genesis 4:7. God asked Cain that if he did what was right, wouldn’t it be accepted? Cain didn’t do what was wrong out of ignorance.

It amazes me that this same “attitude of Cain” is alive and well today. People get angry when they are told that there is only one way to Heaven, as the Scriptures dictate. So much so, they kill true born-again Christians in the name of religion!

Day 18 – What does it mean to spare the rod?

Photography by Cecelia Becker

Biblical discernment is important and very much needed in this area of chastening. Chastening is not a “right” to physically abuse a child. God forbid! Abuse is not what the Scriptures endorse. We must remember that anger is the root of abuse. Love is the root of discipline. The Bible says that a parent who does not chasten his son, hates him. Yes, that’s harsh but it’s truth! God teaches us that He chastens us because He loves us in Hebrews 12:6. In turn, the same applies to earthly parents toward their own children.

~Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Betimes here is defined as “early, before it’s too late.” It is while our children are still young that we must discipline. For wee little ones, like toddlers, “pats” are needed. But save these for major offenses. Their behavior is developed early. But again, chastening is not always necessary. I watch my daughter-in-law with our 18 month old grandson. He understands what “time out” means and she uses it with much success. She is wise and “chasteneth him betimes.” Why? Because she loves her son and does not want a toddler who throws temper tantrums in public. Saving spankings for serious matters will make an impression in that child. To chasten doesn’t always mean to spank. There are many ways to deal with a child and a parent knows what way is best for each of their children.

As the child gets older, chastening is needed less and less. You can use restriction to a room or have them copy Bible verses like the ones below. For example, if you tell your daughter to clean up her room and she does not, have her write out Ephesians 6:1 and Colossians 3:20 multiple times each. Explain why God wants children to obey their parents. Even parents have to obey – they must obey God (Acts 5:29). While she is doing something that is time-consuming, she is learning Scripture.

In my opinion, some things that do deserve spankings would be outright rebellion (temper tantrums) and lies. Lying is a serious sin – Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead when they lied to God (Acts 5:1-10). Again, relate the act with the Scriptures that tell us that these things are sin. Then explain the virtue which should be displayed rather than the sin. For example, if a child tells a lie, show that child the Scriptures dealing with honesty and the blessings that come with honesty like Proverbs 10:9 and 12:17. These instructions take time but they produce eternal results.

The verses below are not everything the Scriptures give us on discipline but they will teach the parent what God says about this:

~Proverbs 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

~Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

~Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

~Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

~Proverbs 29:17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

~Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

~Colossians 3:20-21 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

~Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

~Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

~Proverbs 15:20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

Proverbs 29:15 shows us what happens when parents are too lazy to discipline a child. They bring shame and it is shame to the mother because the mother is the one who is with the child the most, usually. I’m sorry if this rubs someone the wrong way but what other reason would a parent have for not taking the time to teach their child to do what is right? When parents are not consistent in their discipline, I hear them say it is because the timing “was not convenient.” I dare say that their child’s temper tantrum will not come at a convenient time either.

Children are not a convenience but are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3). They are a heritage – the way they act is a direct reflection on the parents.

Day 19 – Explain the Parable of the Ten Virgins

Photography by Marlene Haines

MATTHEW 25:1-13 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh

When reading Scripture, one needs to remember who God used to write the book, who the book was written for, and the message that God desired to communicate. Matthew was used to write this book and it was written to the Jews. Chapter 25 discusses Christ’s coming and His establishing the kingdom of God in Israel (Matthew 25:31-34).

The virgins were divided into two groups: the foolish virgins and the wise virgins. What differentiates the two? The answer is the oil which was needed for their lanterns. The foolish virgins didn’t have any oil for their lanterns (Matthew 25:3-4) and were caught unawares without oil. As we read the passage, we can see that the foolish virgins were not saved and the wise virgins were saved. The saved virgins had oil for their lamps and, therefore, did not miss the bridegroom’s return.

When oil is spoken of in Scripture, it is known to mean one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit – the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

~Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Jesus said,

~Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

~Hebrews 1:8-9 But unto the Son [he saith], Thy throne, O God, [is] for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness [is] the sceptre of thy kingdom. 9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, [even] thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

~1 John 2:20, 27 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

The Holy Spirit, then, is known as the “anointing oil” given to the believers to teach us (1 John 2:20, 27); to heal those who are sick amongst us according to the will of the Father (James 5:14-15); and to be our Comforter (John 14:16-17, John 14:26, John 15:26-27, and John 16:7).

In closing, the foolish virgins did not have the anointing of the Holy Spirit and, therefore, were not saved. The wise virgins, however, did have the anointing oil of the Spirit and were ready when the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, came. What a beautiful picture of the saints who are alive at the time of the Rapture! 🙂

Day 21 – What Does it Mean to Walk in the Light?

Photography by Bob Sabo

In today’s obsession with the paranormal, you read statements about people who have had near-death experiences and how they walked “toward the light.” Let’s not be deceived by the “feel good” stories out there. Rather, we must compare these stories with the Scriptures where all truth lies.

The Bible says that the devil is deceiving and appears as an angel of light. Therefore, we must compare stories and phenomenons with God’s word before putting our trust and faith in it. The devil wants nothing more than to deceive the masses so they won’t be searching for salvation through Jesus Christ, the Saviour. Jesus told us to beware of those false prophets who are led by the devil.

~Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

~2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

The Lord gives us the Scriptures so we can be armed with power to overcome these deceptions.

~Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

The Bible is the armour that protects us from the enemy who works evil and promotes the works of darkness.

~Ephesians 6:11, 13 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 13 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.

Walking the Christian path is like walking in the dark with a flashlight. It’s a great comparison, actually. When one walks with a flashlight, only what is seen in the light’s path is our line of vision. However, with a map of the roadway, one can know the turns up ahead. As well, with warnings from those who have walked the same path in the past, we are alerted to what is ahead. This is what the Scriptures do for us. They lead us to salvation and have the power to save the lost (Romans 1:16) and lead the Christian in the way he/she should go.

~Romans 13:12-14 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to [fulfil] the lusts [thereof].

Our flashlight is only as strong as its battery. We get our fuel from God’s word (1 Peter 2:2) as we get nourishment and physical fuel from food. As we charge our spiritual battery through reading the Scriptures, we can clearly see what things in our lives we are to eliminate and what hurdles may lie ahead of us. Romans 13:13-14 give us an idea of those things we should remove from our lives: rioting (indulging in excessive feasting), drunkenness, chambering (immodest behavior), wantonness (sportiveness, frolicsomeness, negligence of restraint, lewdness), strife, envying, and fulfilling the lusts of the flesh.

Whatever I choose to do, I should see if it falls under any of these categories. If it does, I am to stay away from it. If it reflects Christ, then I am walking in the light of His word.

~John 8:12, 9:5 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

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

Day 22 – What Does it Mean, “Many are called, but few are chosen?”

~Matthew 22:1-14 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and [my] fatlings [are] killed, and all things [are] ready: come unto the marriage. 5 But they made light of [it], and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6 And the remnant took his servants, and entreated [them] spitefully, and slew [them]. 7 But when the king heard [thereof], he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast [him] into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few [are] chosen.

This parable from Jesus is a beautiful depiction of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being preached to all. Whosoever believes the precious Gospel shall be saved.

~Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It is no mystery that Israel is God’s chosen nation and the Jews are His chosen people.

Deuteronomy 7:6 For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth.

Those who were first called to the wedding feast were the Jews. God’s special people were entrusted with His oracles:

~Romans 3:1-2 What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit [is there] of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

They were given every opportunity to believe in Jesus Christ. God’s word says that the Jews look for a sign and Christ gave them many miracles – He gave them every opportunity to recognize their Messiah spoke of in those same Oracles.

~1 Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

Instead, most refused to believe and, therefore, they killed God’s messenger, Jesus Christ.

The parable continues on to say that because of this, God said to His servants to go into the highways and find as many as possible to come to the marriage. This a wonderful depiction of where God opened up salvation to all (Matthew 22:10).

~John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

~Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

~1 Timothy 2:3-4 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

~2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

~Revelations 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The wedding guests were all furnished with a wedding garment (Matthew 22:12). Through Christ’s shed blood, we are clothed in His righteousness in robes of white.

~Revelations 7:14b … and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

~Revelations 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

Some try to come to salvation by another method, but cannot and, therefore, cannot wear the wedding garment. Only those whose robes are made white in the blood of the Lamb can wear these garments.

What happens if one doesn’t want to be saved? Matthew 22:13 says that those without the wedding garment, will be sent into outer darkness, where that shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 22:14 states, “For many are called, but few [are] chosen.” Only those who have the wedding garment on can enter in. There is only one way to Heaven and that way is not going to be walked by many.

~Matthew 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

There is only one way to Heaven and that is to wear that precious white robe, the wedding garment, that is washed in the blood of the Lamb.

~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.

~Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

The way is narrow because there is only one way to Heaven and that is through repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ.

~Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Day 23 – What Does it Mean to Sacrifice Myself?

~Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

There are many religions today that misinterpret this verse and it is so sad. To harm or mutilate and punish one’s own body because of sin in order to bring the body under subjection is absolutely wrong teaching. Christ paid the price for our sins. He took the punishment. Bringing our bodies under subjection is a figure of speech which encourages us to transform our minds! It is possible to sin less – we must view sin the way God views it!

~Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

We do not need to do anything for our sins over and above what Christ has already done. This desire to do so is as old as Cain! Nothing we do will wipe away our sin. It is all God’s doing through Christ’s death. After we, through repentance and faith, accept the fact that Christ is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6), we can then and only then start working at putting to death our old man and giving up sin (2 Corinthians 5:17)!

~1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Offering up spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to the Lord is our calling to put to death the worldly things in our lives and replace them with that which is holy and acceptable! Just as the priests of the Old Testament offered up sacrifices, we are to offer up our own selves, if you will – yielding ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit as He molds us into the image of Jesus Christ.

~2 Tim 2:19-20 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

How do we offer spiritual sacrifices to the Lord? It is a daily work – yielding ourselves to what is good and right and forsaking what is sin. It’s a choice, friend! Notice the word “yield” in the verses below – yes, we make the choice to yield!

~Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.

~Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

If you are consistently committing the same sin over and over, you’re not yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit but to the devil. When a child of God continues in sin and chooses to disobey, God will do as any good parent would do and He will chastise His child (Hebrews 12:6 and Revelations 3:19). As well, it stands to reason that if you are yielding yourself to the Holy Spirit, you are sacrificing those things which you know offend God. You are putting your body to death toward the things of the world.

~1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

Why would we let sin dwell within us? We are the temple of God! We have the power to say no – we have the ability to overcome because the Holy Spirit of God dwells in us! The unsaved cannot at this because they don’t have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to help them. We have no excuse – we have the Holy Spirit and, therefore, have the ability to say no to sin. Granted, there will be times when we will have to ask for forgiveness (1 John 1:9). However, this will occur less and less as we heed the Holy Spirit’s prodding in our lives. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Day 24 – Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Death and suffering were not God’s intentions from the beginning. It is not God that causes the suffering. God created (Genesis 1:1) the heavens, the earth and everything in and on the earth – they were made perfectly by a perfect God. When He saw all that He had created, He said that it was very good (Genesis 1:31). Man had everything he needed in the Garden of Eden. There was no death or sickness. However, man wanted more and by choice, man sinned. God didn’t keep it a secret as to what would happen if Adam and Eve disobeyed – He didn’t generalize either – He was very specific. But Adam and Eve did disobey and, again, it was by choice. According to today’s text, this is where pain and suffering began and it is because of their disobedience that we experience it today. Man brought on the curse of death all by himself with no help from God. It is not God that caused man to disobey. The devil was at the root of it and man’s will fulfilled that disobedience.

Now that we know the how’s, where’s and why’s of suffering, we can deal with the question of the day. God is not responsible for the outcome of bad choices. The choices are ours to make and the outcome is a result of those choices. We have the opportunity to walk alone during suffering or we have the choice to have the Lord be a part of our lives and, therefore, reap the benefit of His peace during the suffering! Despite man’s disobedience, God’s love for us was so great that He provided man with the blessed opportunity to seek Him, find Him and believe in Him. (Romans 6:23)

God has left His light for us through the Bible so that we can find Him. The Bible has been translated in almost 2,500 different languages. Throughout its pages are God’s words leading us to Him, despite man’s rebellion and his sin choice.

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

It’s our choice to sin and it’s our responsibility to seek God for forgiveness.

~Acts 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

He shows the way through the Scriptures. Some will read the words of God and accept them, and some will reject His words. Some also do not believe there is a God. It’s man’s responsibility to respond to God’s word, not God’s. God does not force Himself on anyone. The seed of faith is planted and then man must make a choice (Matthew 13:18-23). Those who desire to seek after God will be shown the way. The Ethiopian eunuch desired to know what God’s word said so God sent Philip to show him (Acts 8:26-40).

You can speak to any Christian who is strong in his faith and he will tell you that without the Lord, he would be nothing. He would say that without the Lord, he would not be able to go through the trials that come his way. The trials of suffering build the Christian’s faith and that Christian rests in His care. However, the unbeliever reacts differently and blames God for those trials. We can’t speak for God – we can’t know His thoughts or His ways for they are a mystery to us. But He does choose to reveal things to us through His word.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

God may allow trials to strengthen our faith so that we may act according to His word. To the unsaved, trials and suffering may be allowed so that they can turn to Him and come to know Him. We can’t know all of God’s thoughts. It is not for us to know at times.

~Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

I heard this story once about a man and his little boy walking in the woods side by side. The little boy slipped on wet leaves and fell down an embankment, tearing his pants and scraping his knee. The father picked him up, comforted him, wiped away his tears and cleaned his scraped knee. That father was walking right beside his son but yet the accident still happened. However, it is the outcome to which you must take notice. Had the child been walking alone, he would not have had his father to comfort him. Suffering happens in our lives, but God picks us up, comforts us, wipes away our tears and cleans us up. Walking with the Lord provides us with a constant companion – One who desires only the best for us.

Will suffering continue to happen? Absolutely! Some suffering is due to our own stubborn will (like smoking). Some suffering comes from a total accident. However, all the results of our suffering come by choice. We can choose to suffer alone without God or have Him present with us. (Psalm 23:4)

Day 25 – Why Don’t People Believe the Bible?

Photography by Bob Sabo

~Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

I became a born-again Christian at the age of 25 – nearly 32 years ago. I totally understand today’s text because it speaks of me personally. If I compare myself to God and His holiness and righteousness, I definitely am wicked. God is our plumb line – HE is the definition of holiness and we are the definition of sinful – God is THE measuring stick to which we should compare ourselves. I am not a scholar but I do understand God’s word.

Think about it for a moment, if every person on earth was sinless, there would be no death, no crime, no need for prisons, etc. The earth would be a perfect place. However, God’s word says that men’s hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked! Furthermore, sin darkens the heart – blinds it from that which is holy and righteous.

~Romans 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

People don’t believe the Bible because they are blinded. I remember before I was saved, I would open the Bible and it was all mumbo jumbo to me. However, after salvation, it was as though a veil had been removed from my eyes and I was able to understand what I was reading. The unsaved have “spiritual cataracts” covering their eyes of understanding.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

The god of this world is none other than the devil, Satan. He convinces people that they are on the right track so they do not pursue after Christ and spiritual matters. He puts just enough “spirituality” in what they hear at church or he keeps people thinking they are O.K. just the way they are. He won’t reveal his true nature because people might recognize what he was trying to do.

~2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Satan blinds their minds. Those who are not saved are under his power. However, once we are born again, we are no longer – we are free and are no longer blind.

~Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Those who do not believe the Bible are growing in numbers because of the times that we are in. The devil knows his time is short and is doing all he can to discredit the Bible. There are over 200 versions of the Bible out there – all since 1900. If the devil can succeed in causing people to believe that God’s word is not really with us today, then people won’t have the faith needed to believe what is written in their version!

~2 Peter 3:3-7 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

These last-days-scoffers are willingly ignorant. Their sinfulness prevails in their lives and, therefore, they do not wish to follow after righteousness. Instead, they soothe their consciences by following what the world says about the Bible, rather than studying it out for themselves. As long as sin rules in their lives, they will not believe the Bible.

Day 26 – What is Sin?

Photography by Cecelia Becker`

~Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Today’s photograph is a wonderful depiction of sin. Sin is appealing and, therefore, mankind succumbs to it because it appeals to them. However, just this one sin will keep a person out of Heaven. That is because we inherited a sin nature from Adam and Eve.

God’s word tells us that there is a penalty for sin in our lives and that is the penalty death. So exactly what are we going to be penalized for? Let’s take a look at what sin is according to God’s word.

The definition of sin according to Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is:

The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not action only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. 1 John 3. Mat 15. James 4.

The very first mention of the word sin can be found in Genesis 4:7a If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.

This passage deals with Cain and Abel. It was time for them to bring their lamb for sacrifice as they were taught by their parents. Abel offered a lamb; however, Cain didn’t. Instead, he decided that he would give the fruit of his own labor. Maybe he was jealous of Abel … maybe he didn’t want to have to go buy a lamb from Abel’s flock. We aren’t told. What we are told is that Cain didn’t do as God wanted him to do. When God rejected his offering, Cain was wroth (Gen. 4:6) – meaning he was very angry. Why? He was angry because his offering of the works of his hands was not an accepted sacrifice by God. God told Cain in verse 7 “If thou does well, shalt thou not be accepted?” In other words, had Cain obeyed and followed God’s process taught to him (just as it was taught to Abel), his offering would have been accepted by God. God also says, “and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Cain’s offering was not accepted – he sinned against God by trying to get to God in his own way. In fact, the spirit of Cain is alive and well today. People try to get to Heaven by the work of their own hands.

What does the Bible say about sin? There are 1292 mentions of sin in the King James Bible. I can’t cover each verse but we can get an idea of how God views sin. The second mention of sin is found with the account of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen. 13:13 and Gen. 18:20) We, therefore, see two areas we know God considers to be sin, even before the Ten Commandments were given: (1) the sin of trying to get to Heaven by any other way than what God has provided in His word; and (2) the sin of sodomy (homosexuality) – in fact, this sin is said to be very grievous according to Gen. 18:20.

When the Ten Commandments were given, they formed the foundation for civilization as we know it. Many courthouses still have the Ten Commandments on their walls. Sadly, liberals are working desperately to have them removed. It’s so very sad because this is what God considers to be sin! The exact wording can be read in Exodus 20.

A brief paraphrased outline of these Ten Commandments are:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy
  5. Honor thy Father and thy Mother
  6. Thou shalt not kill
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery
  8. Thou shalt not steal
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor
  10. Thou shalt not covet

It’s not rocket science to understand what God considers to be sin. These same are still considered sin by God today. He does not change! (Malachi 3:6a For I [am] the LORD, I change not;)

It doesn’t end there. James says in

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.

If man knows to do good, then it must be ingrained in man to do good. When man does not do what he knows in his heart to be good, then he has committed sin according to God’s word.

It’s pretty overwhelming to the one who has not accepted God’s gift of salvation. God’s word says in

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, one must repent toward God and have faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer do we need to offer sacrifices for our sins as in the Old Testament! Now we have the opportunity to have our sins forgiven through Jesus Christ (John 3:16, John 14:6, John 3:3, Romans 6:23)

Until we recognize that we are sinners and we need to repent, we will be a slave to sin.

(Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

There is no other way to Heaven except by repenting toward sin and having faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21, John 14:6).

Day 27 – How do I Cope with Anxiety?

Photography by Cecelia Becker

~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.

My fear of heights would give me cause to worry when I look at today’s photograph. There’s a bit of a railing but not enough to entice me to go up. Plus the stairway looks very unstable to me. And if I were to go up, being at the very top looking down would stir fear in my body.

Christians are not exempt from anxiety and stress in their lives. However, unlike those who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, Christians do have the wonderful capability of leaving those stresses and anxieties with the Lord. Today’s text reminds us that our relationship is now that of a child of God! He truly cares for His children as a Father cares for his child!

~1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Because of our special relationship, we know that we have a compassionate God who cares for every detail – every anxiety – every stress! Are you experiencing life’s burdens today? Are the stresses and anxieties of your life robbing you of the peace that the Lord promises can be yours? Take comfort from God’s very words in the Scriptures!

~John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

~Psalm 4:8 I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

~Psalm 29:11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

~Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

The Lord can calm your storms just as He calmed the winds. Notice the verse – it says there was a great calm! This same God will give you a great calm if you let Him.

~Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

~Hebrews 13:5b …for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Heavenly Father,

I am filled with stress and anxiety and I need Your help! Thank You for the Scriptures where I can be comforted. I place each of my anxieties and burdens at Your feet, Lord. Please take each of them and carry them for me. Replace my fears with Your wonderful gifts of peace and comfort! I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Thank You, Lord, for keeping me in palm of Your hand and in Your perfect peace!


Day 28 – What is Perseverance?

~Ephesians 6:17-20 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

We hear how the Christian must persevere – but just what does that mean? The word perseverance appears only once (in any of its forms) in Scripture. Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines the word as:

PERSEVE’RANCE, n. [L. perseverantia. See Persevere.]

Persistence in any thing undertaken; continued pursuit or prosecution of any business or enterprise begun; applied alike to good or evil.
Perseverance keeps honor bright.
Patience and perseverance overcome the greatest difficulties.

In theology, continuance in a state of grace to a state of glory; sometimes called final perseverance.

Verses 17-20 speak of spreading the Gospel, watching, persevering, and praying for all the saints. The spreading of the Gospel back in Paul’s day came with a cost – many times the saints died for their effort. Is it any wonder that Paul encouraged them to persevere? Those were difficult days indeed. Thirty years ago, it was easy to spread the Gospel. People were more open to listening and very gracious. However, those times are quickly coming to an end. People are much less tolerant and consider those who spread the Gospel as “haters and intolerant.”

~Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Today’s text on perseverance is, once again, becoming a “life lesson” to the believer. We can’t give up – not now after we’ve been through so much. We can’t give up telling others about Jesus Christ! We can’t give up on someone’s soul!

~Luke 18:1 And he spake a parable unto them [to this end], that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

We are in the end times spoken of in Matthew 24, friend. As the end draws nearer, the saints are going to need to persevere. Our tribulations are only the beginning of sorrows – we mustn’t give up or faint! I totally believe that our time is short to tell others about salvation through Jesus Christ. Given a few more years, the little bit of tolerance left will be totally gone. In fact, it will probably be against the law to stand on the streets to share the Gospel. Evangelists and soul winners in Michigan are experiencing that right now and being arrested for preaching on the streets because it offends Muslims. In a few more years, this will be true all over our country.

As the world worsens as Matthew 24 warns, our testimony during trials and tribulations will speak volumes to the unbelieving world. Therefore, we must keep ourselves ‘fed’ in the word of God. The Scriptures are filled with encouraging words to help us! God’s spoken words are all there in one place, the Bible, ready to equip the saint and train them in perseverance (Ephesians 6:13).

The picture above was taken by a sweet friend and used here with her permission. Her pictures are from all over and many show God’s glorious creation! Thank you, Jill, for allowing me this opportunity to use your work!

Day 29 – What’s Considered a Cult?

Photography by Jill Petrillo

Today’s picture is also from my dear friend, Jill. The different shells are all very beautiful and each has its own purpose in God’s beautiful creation. A cult is very much the same as these shells. How, you may ask? All cults claim to lead followers to a peace that is lacking in that follower’s life. However appealing their teaching is, the Bible states it is wrong. So let’s find out why.

A cult is any religious group (“Christian” or otherwise) that denies one or more of the fundamentals of the truths from the Bible and results in causing one not to be born-again according to the Scriptures. One of the more common teachings of a cult is that Jesus Christ is not God. In my opinion, this is the most important one.

Two good examples of cults that deny Christ as God are the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons. Both of these cults believe similar teachings of the Bible but these two very important foundational elements are not taught. Some cults have “extra” revelations left behind by their founders. The leadership of these cults use these extra revelations or teachings as a means to supersede the Scriptures and, therefore, their members are leery about reading the Bible because they have been taught that the extra books or teachings were also given by God. This is also true of Judaism and Catholicism.

~Revelations 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.

God does not contradict Himself. His word is true – from beginning to end. (John 17:17) What does the Bible say about cults? Let’s look deeper at the first obstacle that Jesus Christ is God. If the Bible cannot prove that Jesus Christ is God, then all the other obstacles are obsolete. However, if the Bible can prove that Jesus Christ is God, then it stands to reason that salvation is through Him and He is God.

~Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

~Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

~Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

~Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

~John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

~John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

~Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.

~John 5:17-18 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

~John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

~Exodus 3:13-14 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

~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.

~John 20:28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

~Acts 4:10-12 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. 12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

~Philemon 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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

~1 John 5:7-9 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

These verses are merely a few – there are over 100 verses prophecies of Christ’s deity, His purpose to save mankind, and of His death and resurrection. Cult leaders don’t want their members to find the truth in the Scriptures and that is why they distract them with “extra” doctrine through other writings. All, I might add, are written by man – God’s word says that all men have wicked hearts (Jeremiah 17:9)! Better to trust in God and His word than man.

When it comes to the truth and the Scriptures, Peter said to obey God rather than men!

~Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.