Category Archives: devotional thoughts
There’s nothing like a little stress and business to thwart a good evangelistic effort. Many of us start off our days with good intentions. We know the great commisison, but sometimes we get too busy to share God’s plan of salvation.
The Great Commission: Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen (NKJV).
“Follow me,” Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “and I will make you fishers of men.” But are we really doing our job as fishermen? If the earth is our big fishbowl, and if God peeks in, how many of our fish would he find dead in sins? Are we doing enough to keep them alive?
We interact with dozens, maybe even hundreds of people in a single day. How many of them know we are Christians? How many of them have seen a glimpse of our faith?
It’s hard, sometimes. It’s hard to remember all the steps and all the relevant verses. So, here’s a little summary for you, to help you share your faith.
The Lord’s Plan of Salvation
- We are to HEAR the word of God, and let it be the foundation of our faith: Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
- We are to BELIEVE the Bible, particularly that Jesus is the Christ, our savior, and the Son of the living God, and that through his death, we obtain salvation from our sins: John 8:24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He,you will die in your sins.
- We must REPENT of our sins, meaning that we choose selflessness over our sinful desires, and choose instead to serve God and others. Luke 13:3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
- We must CONFESS our faith before men. Matthew 10:32-33 Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
- We must BE BAPTIZED for the remission (forgiveness) of our sins, not as a work of man, but as a symbolic showing of our clean conscience toward God (I Peter 3:21). Remission is like the cancellation of our debt, which Jesus paid with his own blood. When our body is immersed in the waters of baptism, we are symbolically renacting the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and we come out of the water a new creature. Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- We must REMAIN FAITHFUL, even in a world where we are constantly assaulted with temptation from the devil, and it feels we will always have to struggle against our sin. Remember God’s promises, which are new every morning. Revelations 2:10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Photo by Régis Lachaume (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The best part of waking up is ______________.
I bet I know what you’re thinking. How many of you would have filled in that blank with the rest of that old Folgers commercial even if I hadn’t posted the YouTube link?
That, my friends, is how easy it is to get the world ingrained into our minds. One little jingle, one little endearing picture of a puppy or a horse, one catchy lyric.
This is a post for me as much as anyone. I need to work harder to be of the world and not in it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t even turn the TV or my radio on anymore. It’s nothing for the DJ to play a song with an inappropriate sexual theme or one filled with curse words. Notice–not just with “a” curse word, but filled with them. One of these is the insanely popular “Uptown Funk.”
I see Christian friends post links to videos with people dancing to this song on Facebook all the time, and I just ask–have you seen the lyrics? I didn’t really pay much attention until my son came in one day singing the first line. Of course, I went right away and listened to the song, and I was like, wait a minute! But the damage is done. Whoever has played that song in front of him has already put that song in his head. And not only that catchy tune–lines like “Girls, hit your hallelujah, ’cause uptown funk gonna give it to you,” “I’m too hot (hot d___),” and “Got to kiss myself, I’m so pretty.”
Here’s another one. It’s hard not to like Taylor Swift. And my six-year-old daughter LOVES her. She wants to BE her. And at first glance, the song “Shake it Off” has a pretty decent theme. But even sweet and innocent Taylor sings about the “fella over there with the hella good hair.” Yes, hella, which from research seems to come from “helluva”, or “hell of a.”
Even “Our Song,” which seems so cute and harmless, can pose a worldly threat. One of my daughter’s favorite lines is that one where she says, “’cause it’s late and his momma don’t know.” I keep telling her that’s not really acceptable–if it’s late and this momma don’t know, when I find out (and I will), there will be consequences.
So, rant over. Back to the blank. Here’s mine. The best part of waking up is that God’s promises are new every morning. I continually mess up with this whole worldly thing. Sometimes I get distracted by funny videos or catchy songs with inappropriate themes. But God has given me this awesome gift–a daily reset. And that’s something I can teach my children.
Lamentations 3:22-24 says this:
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
Thank goodness for this hope. If I’ve made the choice to fill my mind with garbage yesterday, I can wake up this morning with a clear, fresh start.
Where are your thoughts this morning? Hope you have a blessed day!
I’ve noticed a shift in the last few years after the popularity of Twitter and Facebook and other such apps exploded. As many English teachers have lamented, students rather enjoy conversing in text speak. No idea how to answer a question on a test? IDK It was funny? I LOL’d at that.
And my personal pet peeve? IMHO. First, even though IMHO is supposed to mean in my humble opinion, I’d argue that for many, it should be IMNSHO–in my not-so-humble opinion. Because let’s face it, when a lot of us get to spouting off our opinions, humility becomes scarce.
Especially, and unfortunately, when it comes to spiritual matters. When did it become acceptable to make a defense for our religious beliefs based on our own “humble” opinions?
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us all scripture is God-breathed. All scripture, not just the parts we want to accept as his Biblical truth.
And His truth is simple. God create man. Man sinned. God offered Jesus as our savior, and He died for us on the cross.
1 John 5:3 says God’s commandments are not burdensome. That’s not my humble opinion, that’s His majestic one.
My prayer for today is that we can all stop being self-centered about our own opinions about religion and turn to the Bible to see what His words truly say.
It must annoy God, how we insist on continually carrying the weight of His world on our shoulders when He’s got things under control. Our worry surely grows tiresome, and our need for endless compassion and mercy must surely be a heavy demand. How grateful should we be that His grace endures?
Exodus 14:13-14 gives the words of Moses to his people:
Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.
I never noticed the following verses in context before, when the Lord asks Moses, “Why do you cry to me?” It’s almost like God says to stop whining. Trust me. I’ve got this.
I can think of numerous instances in Scripture where someone is given a message of “I’ve got this” from God. Consider stories like Jesus calming the storm, Peter walking on water, Zechariah laughing when he finds out he’s going to be a father. Every time someone’s worry or skepticism takes over, they get a gentle reminder that God is in control.
We always talk in church about how God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. Why, then, is it such a stretch to believe in our hearts that He’s really in charge?
The problem arises when we try to choose the outcome. We don’t trust God to deliver the answer we want. But, we have to remember we belong to Him. He loves us, and we are His children. He knows what’s best for us, which may or may not be the outcome we desire. And He will fight for us. In fact, He’s already fought and won in His resurrection.
Consider I Peter 5:6-7:
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.…
In a world full of evil deeds and bad news, we should pray for patience and humility, so we can wait for Him to exalt us such that it glorifies Him. We should humble ourselves under his mighty hand, rather than striking out rashly in fear over the acts of men. How often we forget that the battle belongs to the Lord.
Instead, we walk around trigger-happy, both with our words and retaliation.
So strive then, when the enemy rises up against you, to hold your peace.