Daily Devotions – 2021 3rd Quarter

Between June 17th to July 3rd Marshall took two weeks vacation. During his break we replayed:

PSALM 91: – 16 Daily Devotions: The first was posted on January 2, 2021. CLICK LINK: Psalm 91 eBook

https://www.redthreadpoets.com/ebooks/

 

Jul 4, 2021 – Proverbs 10:3 – the LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish

Hi Everyone!

I have truly learned over the last 13 years just how much my needs matter to God. Looking back over my entire life, I can see how God stepped in at the nick of time with the provision I needed to carry me through a rough patch in my life. Sometimes, in the midst of struggle, we may find ourselves questioning if God truly hears our cries, or if He is going to provide the answer to our prayers. If our struggles send us into a tailspin, then the reason is because we trusted in our circumstances over trusting in the Word of God, and we haven’t accepted His promises as reality for our lives. If we accept the Word of God as truth and reality over our circumstances, then we will find ourselves praising God for the victory that is sure to come. God never leaves His children hanging, and today, we will look at Proverbs 10:3 to confirm this truth.

“The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”

The phrase “suffer … to famish” means “allow to go hungry, or allow to starve”. In Psalm 34:9-10, the Bible says, “O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” We must understand that there are conditions all through the Bible to unlock the promises of God in our lives, and if we don’t fulfill our end, then how can we ever expect God to keep His end. We have to “agree” to the terms and conditions of the promises by action, not just by oath. In Psalm 37:3-4, the Bible says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” We have to align our hearts, minds, and bodies to the will of God in order to be in the right position to receive His provision. The Word of God holds so many promises that should give us comfort in struggle, and if we will trust in the Lord, we will definitely have everything we need. In Philippians 4:19, the Bible says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Our God is beyond mere capability, because our God not only is capable of satisfying our hunger in all areas, but He WILL do it according to His Word. The question is, do we believe that His promises apply to us? In Matthew 13:58, the Bible says, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”  Our belief can and will determine what mighty works God will do in our lives. We can’t blame God for what we fail to believe. If we are famished, then we must ask ourselves, are we aligned with the Word of God?

The word “soul” refers to the vitality of a person. The word “righteous” means “just, those who are in conformity to the Word of God, and to the standards God sets”. The famed verse in Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Look at the word “But”. This is a word connected to a previous thought. In Matthew 6:31, Christ says, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” The phrase “take no thought” means “don’t worry”! If we are seeking the kingdom of God first and His righteousness, not our own, then there is no need to worry because what we need, God will provide! In Psalm 37:25, the Bible says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Sometimes, we have to look back and see the goodness of our God to truly understand that our needs matter just as much to God now as they did before. The question is, do we believe this?

“But he casteth away the substance of the wicked”

The word “substance” means “desire or cravings”. The word “wicked” implies the morally wrong, the enemies of God and His people. In Proverbs 1:26-28, the Bible says, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me.” God sounds pretty brutal here, laughing at calamity, mocking a person’s fear. There is always a reason why. In Proverbs 1:29-30, it says, “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.” The wicked doesn’t care for the things of God or the Word of God, so it is comical to God for a person to try to access the promises of God without receiving the Word of God as truth and the standard for their lives.

If we hunger and thirst for the Lord, we’ll never hunger or thirst again. God will never allow His children to starve!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 5, 2021 – Isaiah 31:1 – they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD

Hi Everyone!

When we are in trouble where is the first place we turn for help? If we are honest with ourselves, most of us will say, “Depends on the type of trouble.” As believers, we are given the Word of God, which has many Scriptures leading us directly to the help we need. We no longer have to figure things out on our own, nor do we have to turn to the world to receive the help we are looking for. I remember I fell on hard times a couple years ago, and someone very close to me offered me something illegal to make some money to get me over the hump. I politely refused his offer, telling him, “I’m not that person anymore.” As a child of God, I don’t have to rely on Egypt for my safety or my provision because my God takes very good care of me. Sadly, there are many believers turning to the world to receive the things God is more than willing to provide. Today, we will look at Isaiah 31:1, relying on the provision of God.

“Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!”

The word “woe” implies a warning for someone to pay attention, because their actions aren’t pleasing to the Lord. The phrase “go down to” suggests that a person is turning towards Egypt, instead of turning to the Lord. In Jeremiah 17:5, the Bible says, “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” In order for us to turn to Egypt for help, we must trust what they have to offer, and if that be the case, then this shows that we haven’t trusted in the Lord for the help we need. Jeremiah says the man that trust in man is cursed. The word “help” means “aid”. Because we are believers, our perspective has to change about where to find our help. In Psalm 121:1-2, the Bible says, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” It is completely absurd to bypass our God’s help who created everything in the world, to go after the help of the creation! Egypt represents the world, full of its ill-gotten gains, mankind operating on their own power, strength and money, completely separate from how God desires for things to be done. We have been delivered from Egypt, turning to God as our Father, Lord and provider, and it would be an insult to God for us to turn back. Sadly, many of us fall prey to this, me being one of them.

“And stay in horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen because, they are very strong”

The word “stay” means “to support oneself upon, to rely on, to rest upon, to lean on”. It is a deliberate act to position ourselves to depend on the support of the world instead of in God. In Psalm 20:7-8, the Bible says, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.” The people who depend on Egypt will ultimately suffer defeat, but those who trust in the Lord will be left standing. In Psalm 33:17, “An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.” Vanity implies the absence of God, as if to say, “I don’t need you God. I have this horse”, or ” I don’t need you God. I have this money.” No matter how strong the resource may appear to be, it is incapable of giving up the help that God will give. In Isaiah 37:20, the Bible says, “Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.” King Hezekiah received threats from the King of Assyria, and feared defeat. He could’ve asked Egypt for help, but he sought the Lord! We must rely on the Lord for our help. There is no other way to have real victory!

“But they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the Lord”

The word “seek” means “to inquire of”. It also means “to worship”. It is an intentional act on our part to show God that He is our first and only option, that we only desire His help. In 1 Samuel 30:8, the Bible says, “And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” David and his men were off fighting and came back to find their home burned down and the women taken. David was a mighty warrior of many victories, but he abandoned his experience and inquired of the Lord before he went to pursue the Amalekites. God’s direction and help was more important to David than his abilities. Because David looked to God and sought Him out, he was given the victory over His enemies.

One of the greatest acts of worship is entrusting our health, safety, provision, and direction to God. Who is our first choice, God or Egypt?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 6, 2021 – Isaiah 32:17 – the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever

Hi Everyone!

Our work should always bear fruit. There should be evidence as to our faith, and also evidence as to the work we are doing both inside and outside of the Church. The evidence should really point to God being at work, and should manifest His power and characteristics. If someone is surprised to hear that we are believers, then we must ask ourselves, “Are we doing enough to present God through our interactions with people and through our deeds?” Even if a person doesn’t know about Christ well enough to understand this question yet, there still should be a difference in who we are and what we do. “Working righteousness” isn’t about what we are able to do on our own apart from God, but it is about letting God’s righteousness work through us. God will never allow His work in us to be fruitless, and the evidence can and will produce a harvest fit for an abundant life. Today, we are going to look at Isaiah 32:17, the fruit from God’s righteousness in our lives. 

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”

The word “work” means “product”, usually implying an end result. The word “righteousness” means “justice and moral virtue”. In Psalm 72:7, the Bible says, “In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.” Righteousness will always produce evidence of blessing in a believer’s life, and when we flourish, it suggests that we have a harvest that far exceeds our need. In James 3:17-18, the Bible says, “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. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” God’s righteousness works from the inside first and manifests itself on the outside, but peace comes when we make peace. The goal of God’s righteousness working in us is so we can bear our Father’s attributes, and when people experience us, they can experience a little bit of the Father as well. In Philippians 1:11, the Bible says, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ allows us to experience the righteousness of God, and bear fruit for His kingdom. It is all done so God will get the glory. If our motives are selfish, then we can’t fully experience the righteousness of God. Christ is the gateway to the fruit of God’s righteousness.

The word “peace” refers to good health, safety, and prosperity. Please don’t mistake prosperity as merely financial, because it is much more than that. In Psalm 1:2-3, the Bible says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  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.” When we pursue the Word of God vigorously, and incline ourselves to God’s righteousness, whatever we DO shall prosper. It means we will find success in our relationships, in our ministry, in our homes, on our jobs, and as recipients of God’s righteousness. In Matthew 10:13 Christ says, “And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.” God will visit our “homes” as well! He will take what He sees in us into account and if we are worthy then He will let His peace come upon it.

“And the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever”

The word “effect” means “service, or administration”. The word “quietness” means “security and tranquility”. So not only will the end result of God’s righteousness working in us will be peace for others but as we are working God’s righteousness we will have peace as well. In Psalm 85:8, the Bible says, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.” God gives us a peace and security in Him that should keep us moving forward to things He has for us, not backwards to things we experienced before. The word “assurance” means “confidence and the feeling of trust”. God’s righteousness working in us will also give us more reason to trust in God, because the fruits are the evidence that His purpose works! “Forever” means “without end”. In Ecclesiastes 3:14, the Bible says, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” Our God isn’t a part-time God, happy if we allow His righteousness to work in us for a short season. God designs us to use what He gives us as long as we live, and desires for us to experience peace, security, and confidence as a result.

May we become empty vessels for God’s righteousness, producing fruit for the Kingdom of God.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 7, 2021 – Romans 2:21 – teachest thou not thyself?

Hi Everyone!

Do we practice what we preach? There are many times in my life as a believer where this question would feel like a punch to the gut, because in my heart, I knew my actions sometimes were inconsistent with the things I told others. If we look at it correctly, any time we sin, we are actually being counterproductive to the gospel, especially when someone else sees us. We bear immense responsibility when sharing the Word of God, because there are people who look to us to embody what they believe the faith does. If we are careless with this responsibility, then we can unwittingly cause someone to go astray, doing a huge disservice for the kingdom of God. Whether a person is a preacher or just a member, the same rules apply. Both are commanded to share the Word, and both are commanded to do what the Word says. Today, we will look at Romans 2:21, living out the gospel we preach.

“Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?”

The word “teachest” means “instructs, tutors, to put in mind”. A teacher takes a person, puts this new information in their mind, teaching them also how to apply the knowledge as well. There has to be a trust between the teacher and person being instructed and herein lies the importance of teaching itself. Teaching builds trust, but teaching the truth keeps the trust. If I teach the Word of God, but live in direct opposition to the Word of God, then I make my teaching a lie! In Matthew 23:15, Christ says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” Hypocrisy leads people astray, and causes them to be led further away from God. It was happening before Christ walked the earth, it was happening when He walked the earth, and it is definitely happening now. Christ spoke against the Pharisees and Scribes, because they represented the teachers and preachers of the Word. In 2 Corinthians 11:13, the Bible says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.” There are already people teaching false doctrine, leading people astray. Satan has people planted in the Church to do this. Believers should not be getting some of this same treatment from our own. In Jeremiah 50:6, “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.” There is so much responsibility we have when sharing the Word of God. Making sure we are living out the Word of God is one of the best ways to secure our testimony, and keep trust with the people we teach. In Jeremiah 23:4, the Bible says, “And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.” Those who keep the Word they teach give the people taught security, it eliminates their fear, and it also ushers in the provision of God in all areas of their lives. We have to hold ourselves MORE accountable when teaching the Word of God because we could rob someone of the abundant life promised by Christ.

The word “preachest” means “to herald or proclaim divine truth”. In James 3:1, the Bible says, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” The responsibility we have in effectively preaching the Word of God is huge, and it carries consequences if we cause someone to fall. In Mark 9:42, Christ says, “And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” Ouch! The office of a preacher is that important, and the consequences that severe, because whether we see it this way or not, we are seriously jeopardizing someone’s eternity when we don’t practice what we preach. In 1 Timothy 4:6, the Bible says, “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.” We have to remember that if we are in a position to teach or preach the Word of God, it is because someone taught and preached the Word of God to us. We live out a good example of the faith when we see others doing the same. In 1 Peter 5:3, the Bible says, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” Preaching and teaching is not about controlling the people being taught, but it is about teaching and preaching the truth of God by the Bible and living the life we live as believers.

Sometimes, we are the only “Bible” someone will encounter in their lives. What will they see?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 8, 2021 – Isaiah 55:3 – I will make an everlasting covenant with you

Hi Everyone!

Our God is an awesome God, full of love, abounding in favor, having an undying desire for His children to fellowship with Him in Spirit and in truth. How is our attitude when we study and hear the Word of God. Are we intentional hearers, awaiting a Word from the Lord with a readiness to obey? Do we hear the Word with nonchalance, allowing this precious food to go through one ear and out of the other? How SHOULD our attitude be? God’s Word has power, and in this power lie promises and agreements that if followed exactly, are irrevocable. When we fulfill our end of a promise, God’s faithfulness completes it, setting in motion things that no man can change. If we don’t hear the Word of God with the intention of becoming one with its truth, then we won’t come to an understanding that these promises are intended for us! Today, we will look at Isaiah 55:3, life through the everlasting covenant of God.

“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

The word “incline” means “to offer, outstretch, cause to yield”. The word “ear” refers to an ear as “an instrument of obedience”. It is an intentional act on our part to receive the Word of God with a receptive mind, heart, and spirit. In Proverbs 4:20-22, the Bible says, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” Not only are we to hear with intention to obey, but we are to store the Word of God in our hearts at all times. In Proverbs 3:3-4, the Bible says, “Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.” Our spiritual, and sometimes even our physical health is at stake. Do we understand that the state of our good spiritual health begins with the Word of God, and being people who stretch our ears towards the Lord positions us for the type of success God intends for us to have?

The phrase “come unto me” implies a drawing near to God, to receive His Word as not only a child of God but also as a soldier in God’s army. ” In 2 Timothy 2:4, the Bible says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” Because God has chosen us, it is vital that our lives should be lived to please God. In James 4:8, the Bible says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” When we come to the Lord with every intention to please Him, we are going to present ourselves to be cleansed and purified by our Lord, so that we will have one mind ready to serve Him! The phrase “shall live” means “being made alive, healed, able to flourish, and safe”. In Romans 6:11, the Bible says, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” We are alive through Jesus Christ, which gives us access to the kingdom of God.

“And I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David”.

The word “everlasting” means “time out of mind, enduring for an eternity”. The word “covenant” means a compact between two parties. Even when we were separate from God due to our sin, God still is ready pour out His mercy unto us to establish a covenant without end. In Isaiah 54:8, the Bible says, “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.” Redemption is in God’s covenant, peace is in God’s covenant, provision is in God’s covenant, and eternal life is in God’s covenant. There are so many amazing promises we have access to because of the covenant God made with us. In Hebrews 13:20-21, the Bible says, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” God’s covenant gives us the ability and power to please Him by the life we live. The topic where Scripture uses David as a reference to the power behind a covenant with God, shows us an example of what he will do for us. In 2 Samuel 7:16, God says, “And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” David always inquired of the Lord, ready to hear and obey the Word from the Lord, and God made an everlasting covenant that paved the way to Christ. We must be people willing to do the same!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 9, 2021 – Isaiah 55:6 – seek ye the LORD while he may be found

Hi Everyone!

I loved my church growing up. It was an atmosphere of love, and I was met with tons of hugs and kisses as I made my way through the sanctuary. Given the turmoil my young life had experienced then, this was always a place of safety, a place where I could be myself and it was welcome. As I got older, problems at home altered my perspective, and while I still saw church as a place of love, I began to attend less and less. In hindsight, I was merely a “church goer”, seeking and enjoying the fellowship of people rather than the intimacy with my God, so when hard times came, I quickly fell away. I never sought the Lord! Seeking the Lord is vital to every believer’s relationship with God, because we position ourselves to receive a Word from Him, and in His presence we have both power and provision to live as children of God. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, and we don’t want to leave this earth without salvation. Today, we will look at Isaiah 55:6, realizing today is the day to seek the Lord’s face.

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near”

The word “seek” means “to follow after, to worship”. Following after the Lord has some conditions, but they are all doable. In Psalm 32:5-6, the Bible says, “I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.” Following after the Lord requires us to confess our sin and acknowledge our need for forgiveness and salvation. We are to do this now, not putting it off until a later time. A later time may be too late! In Matthew 16:24-25, the Bible says, “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” Following after Christ also requires us to abandon our way, our thoughts, our ambitions, declaring them all to be lies compared to the will of God and His intentions for us as His children. We exchange the life we once knew for the life God has for us, seeing His way as the only way. Seeking the Lord is worship, an action that shows we entrust our knowledge and our direction to God. We bring ourselves low so God can lift us up.

The word “found” implies God coming forth and appearing. People are living their lives like God will always remain available to us while we choose to live in sin, absent from redemption. In John 7:34, Christ says, “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.” Do we really want our God to be nowhere we look for Him? Do we really want to be left behind, because we took the invitation of God for granted? In Matthew 25:11-13, Christ says, “Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” There was a time in 2001 when I was shot and my life could’ve been taken before I came to true repentance. I would’ve been like the 5 foolish virgins, having no oil to keep my lamp burning, and I would’ve missed the call to the wedding feast. It is a scary thought to beat on a door, hoping God opens and He doesn’t, because it is too late.

“Call ye upon him while he is near”

The word “call” means “to summon, to bid to come, to address by name”. This means we are not silent! In Mark 10:47, the Bible says, “And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.” Blind Bartimaeus heard that Jesus was coming and screamed for Jesus. People actually tried to shut him up! In Mark 10:48, the Bible says, “And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.” How relentless are we to call upon the name of the Lord? Bartimaeus met Jesus when he was blind, but in Mark 10:51-52, the Bible says, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” When we come into the presence of the Lord, He changes things in us! Blind Bartimaeus didn’t bypass the opportunity to cry out to the Lord when He was near, and neither should we! In Matthew 7:7, Christ says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” When we seek the Lord, our search will always bear fruit, so what are we waiting for? Today is the day!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 10, 2021 – Isaiah 55:7 – for he will abundantly pardon

Hi Everyone!

It’s time to leave it all behind. There are so many things the world takes hold of that keeps them out of the fellowship and presence of our Lord. Oddly enough, the same thing exists with believers as well, where we embrace things that stunt our growth and relationship with God. One of the biggest things that keep us from growing is our failure to abandon our will, way, and thoughts for the will of God. In those respects, many are no different than the world in trying to be the masters of their own lives. God wants a people that are relentless in their desire to serve and commune with Him, a people ready to repent and be pardoned. A pardon is the best possible scenario that can happen for a prisoner, but it is absolutely nothing compared to the pardon God gives His children. His pardon ensures we will live with Him forever! Today, we will look at Isaiah 55:7, a mighty return unto the Lord.

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

The word “wicked” means “morally wrong, transgressors, ungodly”. Please don’t mistake this as people exclusively in the world. Isaiah is giving a word to Israel, God’s chosen people. The word “forsake” means “to relinquish or abandon”. If the word of God is admonishing us to forsake our way, then that could only mean that we think we know better. In Isaiah 1:16, the Bible says, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil”. Do we really understand that when we sin, we are doing it right in the presence of God? God clearly sees our wrongdoing, yet some of us think our indiscretions go unnoticed.  In Proverbs 5:21, the Bible says, “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” God sees everything, and also considers the path we choose to take. In Proverbs 15:3, the Bible says, “The eyes of the LORD are in EVERY place, beholding the evil and the good.” So those secret sins we all are guilty of are on full display before the Lord, so let us all do a better job at being children who please our Father openly and behind closed doors.

An “unrighteous man” is a person who of inquiry, completely absorbed in sinful conduct. In order for a believer to be an unrighteous man, they would have to make a break from this new nature we have in Christ to continue in the nature of the world, causing them to see no difference. The word “thoughts” means “intentions and purposes”. In Zechariah 8:17, the Bible says, “And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD.” Our God knows us inside and out, and He is calling for His children to abandon not only the sinful nature, but also the sinful thoughts and imaginations that well up in our hearts. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, the Bible says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”. God not only wants us to abandon those evil ways and thoughts, but He also desires for us to wage war against that nature!

“And let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him”

The word “return” means “to turn back, to repent”. The word “mercy” means “compassion to not render what may be due”. In Matthew 9:13, the Bible says, “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.” What an amazing God to be so merciful unto us that, despite our iniquities, despite our poor choices, despite our failures, He still calls us to repentance! In Acts 2:38, the Bible says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” God also allows repentance to pave the way for baptism in Jesus’ name, which will position us to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Turning back to the Lord restores our benefits in more than one way!

“And He will abundantly pardon”

The word “pardon” means “forgive”. The word didn’t just say “pardon”, but “abundantly pardon”! In Luke 15:21-22, Christ says, speaking of the prodigal son: “And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet”. Totally restoration, as if he never sinned against his father in the first place. God gives us this and more, giving us the joy of our salvation and both of the gifts of abundant and eternal life.

It is time to leave it all behind and return to the Lord. He has the best kind of pardon, unconditional!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

July 11, 2021 – Galatians 5:13 – ye have been called unto liberty

Hi Everyone!

Being in both maximum security and medium security prisons over the last 17 years, I have heard different brothers’ perspectives on what they would do with their freedom once released. Some spoke of working jobs, going back to school, reuniting with their children, and finding a Church home, while others spoke of selling more drugs, robbing more people, and getting into more shootouts. It is a sad thought to lose our freedom only to position ourselves once again to put our freedom in jeopardy. In the faith, salvation is freedom, and some people use their spiritual freedom to once again satisfy the flesh, placing themselves back under bondage to sin. This isn’t the type of freedom the Lord intended for His children. God desires us to use our freedom in Christ Jesus to do as He has done, and that is serve others in love. Today, we will look at Galatians 5:13, using our liberty in Christ Jesus in a manner that pleases God.

“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

The word “brethren” is metaphorically one who is connected to another in intimacy and fellowship. In this case, brethren are believers unified together in Christ. This is a message from Paul to Christians. In Romans 8:16-17, the Bible says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Our salvation immediately places us into a family of people, unified in Christ, sharing in both the blessings and the sufferings. As children of God we also receive access to the Holy Spirit, which was sent to dwell within us, teaching us how we are to operate in the full power of God here on earth as Christ did. In John 14:12, Christ says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” Our freedom as believers gives us a new identity and new power, so that makes God’s family powerful as well!

The word “called” means “invited into repentance and salvation”. In John 12:32, Christ says, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” Christ signified what type of death He would die, but He also ensured that none would be left out of His invitation to salvation. In Revelation 3:20, Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if ANY man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” ANY MAN! Our God calls us all but how many accept the call? The word “liberty” means “freedom, especially from the yoke of the Mosaic Law”. In John 8:36 the Bible says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Salvation gives us a freedom that can’t be taken away, sealed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. In Romans 8:2, the Bible says, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Christ’s death fulfilled the law, giving us freedom from the bondage or sin and death. Freedom in Christ gives us a second chance at life!

“Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh”

What do we do with this liberty, now that we are partakers of it? Serve the flesh? The word “flesh” implies “sinfulness, proneness to sin, the carnal nature, sinful appetites and desires whether physical or moral”. When we were set free it was because of the grace of God, clearing our sin debt. In Romans 6:1-2, the Bible says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Our liberty shouldn’t give us more opportunity to sin more. It should give us more opportunity to enjoy our freedom, enjoy our salvation, and enjoy the privilege of experiencing the Holy Spirit. We have a new life, and with a fresh start, why not maximize every moment to live a life pleasing to our Lord?

“But by love serve one another”

The word “love” here is that Godly love, love in its purest form. The word “serve” implies our providing voluntary serve to one another. In Galatians 6:2, the Bible says, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” God desires us to use our freedom to love and support each other, which strengthens the Church. In 1 John 3:17, the Bible says, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” When we use our freedom as THE opportunity to love and lift up others from their bondage, a “love feast” is being put on display, not out of obligation, but out of voluntary service to others out of love!

How are we using our precious freedom in Christ? To engage further in sin, or to introduce others to God by our love?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 12, 2021 – Galatians 6:1 – if a man be overtaken in a fault

Hi Everyone!

As believers, we have the ability to walk in the spirit, to live our lives for the Lord, but occasionally, we have fallen short. People mistakenly perceive the Church to be a place with perfect people, but the Church is really a place where the imperfect people are being perfected by the power of the Holy Spirit. What if we see a person heading towards self-destruction, what are we supposed to do? Warn them or stand silent, letting them learn the hard way? When a believer falls short in our midst, what are they met with? Compassion? Mercy? Love? Judgement? Disdain? Anger? We should never forget who we once were, because that memory should allow us to exercise the mercy and compassion necessary to help our brothers and sisters get back on track. No one is to be left behind in the faith. Today, we will look at Galatians 6:1, restoring our fellow man with love and meekness.

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

The word “brethren” lets us know that Paul is speaking towards the Church, and this word is directed towards believers. The word “man” doesn’t mean “male” in this sense, but rather means “a human being”. The word “overtaken” means “to anticipate, to lay out in advance”, so the phrase “overtaken in a fault” implies that we see a person drawing closer to transgression out of ignorance or carelessness. Imagine seeing someone heading towards a cliff and they don’t know the cliff is there. It is our jobs to warn them that destruction is imminent. For those who think that it is not our business, look at Ezekiel 3:17-18, which says, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him NOT warning, NOR speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” We have a responsibility to warn people about their impending doom, whether we feel like it is our business or not, because a person’s life and eternity is at stake! In Ezekiel 3:21, the Bible says, “Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” We have to remember that someone once cared enough about our life and future to warn us of our need for a Savior, so why wouldn’t we return the favor when given the opportunity? God has allowed us to go through our experiences to show others how to do things better, how to see a better way!

“Ye which are spiritual, restore such as one in the spirit of meekness”

The word “spiritual” speaks of people under the influence of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 8:14, the Bible says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” When we allow the Holy Spirit to lead we are operating in our rightful place as children of God. The word “restore” means “to set right or repair what is broken”. Do we understand that there is something broken inside of people that causes them to walk in sin? In Jude 1:22-23, the Bible says, “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” We have to have compassion for others, seeing them in the fire and reaching for them to help pull them out of the fire. If we say, “Not my problem”, then how can the love of God dwell in us? In 1 John 3:17, the Bible says, “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” This “need” isn’t exclusively material or financial, because there are wealthy people who are spiritually impoverished! Shutting up our bowels of compassion is watching people approach destruction and saying nothing, watching people suffer and not offering encouragement in the Lord. The phrase “in the spirit of meekness” means “with a disposition of gentleness”. We can’t be overbearing when restoring our brothers and sisters. They must always experience our love!

“Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted”

In straight talk, we have to make sure we don’t drown while trying to pull someone out of the water, which means, we shouldn’t ever engage in sin to help someone overcome sin. In 1 Corinthians 9:22, the Bible says, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” This means we try to understand where they are so we can show them the way, not become as they are!

May we exercise the boldness to talk our fellow brothers and sisters away from the cliff, giving them the ability to see love and faith in action!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 13, 2021 – James 4:8 – draw nigh to God

Hi Everyone!

How intimate is our relationship with God? Is it dry, superficial, something forged out of ritual or to keep appearances or is it powerful, meaningful, and life changing? Do we go to church services just to look the part rather than go to fellowship with other believers as we worship the Lord together? The amount of God’s presence in our lives strongly depends on how deeply we have sought His presence, and there are tons of believers who have an empty relationship with God because they have kept God at a safe distance. I have discovered in my faith walk that there is a difference between religion and having a relationship with God. Relationships are built through intimacy, trust, communication, commitment, and vulnerability, but sadly, so many in church have barely scratched this surface with God. What stands in the way of us having an amazing relationship with God? Sin? Too much mixture of flesh and spirit? Brokenness? Today, we will look at James 4:8, a word on drawing near to God.

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

The phrase “draw nigh to God” means “to approach, come near, to worship God with a pious heart”. All of these meanings require intention on our part, and a drive to see this happen. A lot of believers wait on God to come near without taking a step in His direction, expecting to receive the fullest of His presence and provision. That is not how it works. In 2 Chronicles 15:2, the Bible says, “And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” Our disposition towards the Lord determines the extent of His presence in our lives. Our God is a gentleman, and won’t plow His way into our lives, nor force us to come near to Him. He leaves that choice to us. In Zechariah 1:3, the Bible says, “Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will turn unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah makes it crystal clear that it is the Lord talking to us. God extends the invitation, but who takes it? In Matthew 14:28-29, the Bible says, “And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” When Christ calls for us, we will have the ability to do incredible things under His instruction! We will have the ability to walk in power and in the purpose of God.

“Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded”

The word “cleanse” mean “to free from filth, to purify in a moral sense”. This is once again an intentional act on our parts to be pleasing in God’s sight. In 1 John 1:9, the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. We have to acknowledge the sin in our lives, confess our sins to God and ask God for His forgiveness and His cleansing. In Isaiah 1:16, the Bible says, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil”. We have to remove the sin and the things from our lives that will keep God’s presence far from us. We are incapable of cleansing ourselves without God, because it is Him alone who does the cleansing. In Psalm 51:7, the Bible says, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” We have to present ourselves to the Lord to be cleansed, trusting in God to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves. We have to come near to Him to receive it!

The word “purify” means “to reform, to sanctify”. The word “heart” refers to the seat of one’s desires, feelings, affections, passions, and impulses. In 1 Peter 1:22, the Bible says, “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”. Coming to God, cleansing and purification begins in the heart, the deepest part within us and springs forth. It comes by the truth, which is the Word of God, and is displayed through the love we show God and our brothers and sisters. The word “double minded” means “inconstant, wavering”. In James 1:8, the Bible says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” God wants His children to come near to Him, purified by Him, reformed by the Word of God, with our minds focused SOLELY on communion with Him. In Luke 9:62, the Bible says, “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” An undivided mind is something God can work with!

May we come near to God with our eyes, mind, and heart stayed on Him! The time is now!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 14, 2021– Ephesians 3:8 – the unsearchable riches of Christ

Hi Everyone!

It is truly a gift to receive a word from the Lord, to experience His revelations which pour out His truth. In order for us to be able to understand the Word of God, the Holy Spirit must be at work in us, teaching us both the mysteries and the simplicities of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is by the grace of God that we are able to understand the Word, and it is by the same grace of God that we are able to teach and preach the Word to others. Nothing we could ever do in our own power or know in our own mind could ever teach us the Word of God the way He intends for us to know it. The person who receives, teaches, and preaches the Word of God should become more and more humble in what they know, because it is only by God’s grace that we can grow in knowledge and in truth. We all should ask ourselves, “Who am I that you would choose me to reveal your Word to and through?” Today, we will look at Ephesians 3:8, the humility of the servant of God.

“Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”

The word “saints” refers to the morally pure, purified and sanctified by the influences of the Holy Spirit. The “saints” are Christians, saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul, one of the top pastors in the world, responsible for spreading the Word of God farther than anyone, is saying he is less than the least!! In James 4:6, the Bible says, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” The reason why Paul grew in stature is because God’s grace was upon him, and also because Paul never let it go to his head! In 1 Peter 5:6, the Bible says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time”. In “due time”, meaning in the time that God appoints! God’s grace determines our growth, not us! Paul didn’t try to operate in His own power after conversion, and God’s grace also kept his meteoric rise in the faith in check, by allowing things to happen that caused him to see how he needed God at every junction of the ministry. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, the Bible says, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” God allowed this thorn in his flesh to remain, but to offer His grace and His strength as the remedy! Paul continued to realize through the ministry just how awesome God’s grace was to the least of the least. In 1 Corinthians 15:9, the Bible says, “For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Paul remembered who he used to be, and understood that he was unworthy of the position God has placed him in. Have we gotten so arrogant in our progress that we have failed to see that God has given us something we don’t deserve?

“Is this grace given”

The word “grace” means “divine favor manifested in the benefits bestowed in and through Christ and His gospel, allowing a believer to receive the gift of the apostolic office.” Simply put, God takes people like us who were greatly unqualified, completely sinful, and cleans us up, placing us in a position to share the Word of God given by the Holy Spirit. Grace is a bridge between where we are and where we need to be to do what God ordains. In Galatians 1:12, the Bible says, “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Paul realized that everything he had for ministry came by the grace of God and by the revelation of Jesus Christ. This grace is something we couldn’t earn, but is something that is given, even gifted to us!

“That I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”

The word “preach” means “to proclaim or announce the good news of Jesus Christ”. The phrase “unsearchable riches” means “untraceable abundance”. In 1 Timothy 2:7, the Bible says, “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Even though Paul desperately wanted to preach to the Jews, he was ordained to preach the gospel in faith and in truth to the Gentiles. God’s grace is also dispensed in obedience to His command. Paul realized that, only by the grace of God, was he ordained to preach the Word of God, but he also realized that it also was by the grace of God that he was saved! In Galatians 6:3, the Bible says, “For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”

We are gifted something truly amazing by the grace of God, and we have the ability to receive and share the Word of God with others. May this revelation humble us, causing us to give thanks to God for His gifts.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 15, 2021 – Ephesians 4:29 – minister grace unto the hearers

Hi Everyone!

What comes out of our mouths is extremely important, especially as believers. I used to say pretty hateful things to people in anger, and some of my words hurt people for a long time after the words were uttered. Long removed from hateful speech, I still recognize that the words I speak can drastically affect someone’s life for good or for evil. Being an outspoken Christian in prison, my words are constantly under the microscope, with some people laying in wait, hoping I say something that would tarnish my image as a believer. They are really teaching me a valuable lesson about the power words have. As believers, we have to make sure that the words we speak build others up, encourage them in the Lord, and empower them to go after the goals they have set. People should walk away from a believer better than they were before they met! Today, we will look at Ephesians 4:29, the power of an edifying word.

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

The word “corrupt” means “morally bad, rotten, or worthless”. The word “communication” refers to speech, conversation, or utterances. In Colossians 3:8, the Bible says, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” This word is written towards the Church, so there were obvious problems with the types of speech that came out of believers’ mouths. By telling believers to “put off ” filthy communication, it means that this type of speech was in use. In Matthew 12:33-35, Christ says, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” People make determinations of our identities based on the things that come forth out of our mouths. Christ also expresses that what comes out of our mouths paints a bigger picture of what is inside of us. If I tell my brothers and sisters that I love them and then curse them the next minute, which one will they believe? In James 3:9-10, the Bible says, “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” As believers, like it or not, we represent our God in everything we do and everything we say, just as children reflect the image of their Father. When we talk with disgusting speech, we are sending the message that our God talks the same way! As Paul said, “these things ought not so be.”

“But that which is good to the use of edifying”

The words “good” here means “profitable or valuable”. Good is a word that expresses God’s approval that His word is being followed according to His intention. The word “edifying” means “building up in faith and in the advancement of divine life”. Our speech should encourage people to become believers or become better believers. In Colossians 3:14, the Bible says, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” It all begins with love, and love begins with God because God is love. In Romans 15:2, the Bible says, “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” Our love extends to our neighbors, building them up in the faith. In Proverbs 27:17, the Bible says, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Our communication should build up the countenances of others around us, even if a little friction comes as a result. Edification isn’t always easy, especially when it doesn’t depend solely upon us. Lasting edification can only occur when the foundation in Christ is planted first. How can we ever allow horrible communication to ruin such a life changing event?

“That it may minister grace unto the hearers”

The word “minister” means “to deliver up, to bestow or to present”. The word “grace” means “joy, pleasure, or graciousness”. In Proverbs 27:9, the Bible says, “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.” We want to have communication that is true and pleasing to the ears as well. In Proverbs 15:23, the Bible says, “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” Don’t we want to be people whose words incite joy within people as the words also point to Jesus Christ? Wouldn’t it be beneficial for everyone if our speech matched our identity in Christ?

May the words we speak reflect the awesome God we serve, encouraging others in His power!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 16, 2021 – Ephesians 5:11 – have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness

Hi Everyone!

What do people see in us when we are in a crowd of people? Do we blend in? Do we stand out? Are people surprised when we profess that we are believers? There must be a difference between how we are and how the world is, how we act and how the world acts, and how we respond versus how the world responds. Sadly, many believers partake in the same activities as the world does, blurring a line that is supposed to keep us separate from the world. When Christians live according to a “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” motto, we set ourselves up to disappoint our God and destroy any semblance of our witness. When I began to walk in my salvation, it wasn’t easy to stop being worldly, or answer to the impulses of the flesh, but as time progressed, I began to let things go that jeopardized my walk with the Lord. Every day, we have to make the same choice as believers, to choose the Word over the world, taking a bold stance against the world. Today, we will look at Ephesians 5:11, breaking fellowship with the world.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

The phrase “have fellowship” means “to share company with, to be a partaker of, or co-participate in”. In 1 John 2:15, the Bible says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” We tend to fellowship with the things and people we love, and when we love someone or something, we tend to form a union with that. In 1 Corinthians 10:21, the Bible says, “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” There are no gray areas when comes to the “Word versus the world”, neither is there any gray areas between sin and holiness. There is a clear divide so it can be made manifest exactly what side of the coin we fall on. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-15, the Bible says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” Some people are under the mistaken belief that we can be believers and still keep ALL of our old friends and alliances. Sometimes, we are going to have to let people go because they don’t line up with what God designs for our lives. In 2 Corinthians 6:17, the Bible says, “Wherefore come out from among THEM, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean THING; and I will receive you.” God doesn’t want mixture in His Church, so He is calling for us to separate ourselves from people and things that displease our God.

The phrase “unfruitful works” means “barren deeds”. The word “darkness” implies a moral darkness, absence of light and truth, including the idea of sinfulness and consequent calamity. In Romans 6:21, the Bible says, “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” Nothing grows in darkness, and we can’t expect to cleave to sin and a sinful nature and expect to bear fruit for the kingdom of God. There are tons of believers cleaving to their old man without any appreciation that they have been delivered from sin and the hold it had on our lives, then wondering why there is no victory present. In Romans 13:12, the Bible says, “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.” This verse tells us to “cast off”, so this naturally implies a choice that we must make daily. It doesn’t say that the choice will be easy, but the choice is absolutely necessary. In 2 Peter 1:5-8, the Bible says , “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 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.” God created us to be fruitful and to multiply, and in faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness and love, there is absolutely no room for us to work the works of darkness, or attach ourselves to those who do.

“But rather reprove them”

The word “reprove” implies bringing something to the light to convict it of sinfulness. In John 3:20, Christ says, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” The light reveals what manner of thing it is, flesh or spirit, and the Word of God is what we weigh everything against. We must exercise the courage to call sin what it is, and stay away!

May our fellowship be consistent with our identities as children of God.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 17, 2021 – Mark 11:25­ – that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses

Hi Everyone!

Forgiveness is a powerful gift. In forgiveness lies freedom, the power to release baggage and dead weight from our shoulders. God gave us the best example of forgiveness when He gave His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross so we could have eternal life through faith in Him. God gave us something we could never replace in order for us to attain something we didn’t deserve.  How many of us read our Bibles daily, pray daily, and attend Church services weekly all while holding grudges, hatred and unforgiveness towards others? The thing God so graciously did for us is the very thing we so easily refuse to do for others. Is our pride more important than Jesus Christ? Is our anger more painful than the nails driven into His hands and feet? How could we receive such a gift and refuse to share this gift with others? Today, we are going to look at Mark 11:25, the path to true forgiveness.

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

The word “praying” means “to supplicate to worship”. Praying is always done towards God, bringing our petitions before Him earnestly and boldly. Think not? In Luke 11, when the disciples asked Christ to teach them how to pray, as John taught his disciples how to pray, Christ replied in verse 2, “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, OUR FATHER, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” We have to first make sure we are praying to God. In Hebrews 4:16, the Bible says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” As believers we have to come to God in assurance that He not only hears our prayers, but will provide the answers we seek from Him. Christ said in Matthew 11:27-28, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” We have been given access to pray to God and in prayer lies rest for our souls. We come to God afflicted and we leave our prayers at peace. In Philippians 4:6-7, the Bible says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” When we pray, we receive an unexplainable, immeasurable peace that comes from a place that we can’t fully fathom. Prayer cleans and clears our atmosphere of anything that isn’t of God, replacing it with the things of God.

The word “forgive” means “to LET GO from obligation to oneself, to remit a debt or offense”. The reason we as believers can’t forgive is because we hold on to the offense, hanging it over the offender’s head just like they hung charges against Christ over the cross. In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” We cast the offense before the Lord, entrusting our hurts into His very capable hands, and we leave it there. How do we prepare ourselves so much to enter prayer, receiving freely of His Spirit, but refuse to entrust the offense to Him. How can we say we trust God to change our lives when we won’t trust Him to change our hearts? Our refusal to forgive is also our refusal to trust God with our pain, so how can the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avail much, when we are withholding this from God? “Against any”, means that if we have to forgive everyone! In Matthew 18:21-22, the Bible says, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”  70 times 7 is 490, so Christ is telling us that we will lose count before we lose forgiveness!

The word “trespasses” means “deviations (from holiness), errors, side-slips, faults out of ignorance or carelessness”. In Colossians 3:12-13, the Bible says, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” We have to always remember our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who hung on the cross after being beaten beyond recognition, our Great Example of the faith. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do”. Remember that part in Luke 23:34? If our Savior could let go of His pain in order to offer us forgiveness for our sins, then what is our excuse?

Will our lives remain clouded by offense, or will our lives thrive through love and forgiveness?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 18, 2021 – Jeremiah 15:19 – thou shalt be as my mouth

Hi Everyone!

When in ministry, the proper focus is absolutely necessary. God’s direction is the only direction, and His Word is the standard by which we weigh everything. There is no compromise when it comes to the flesh, and it our job as believers to steer clear of any semblance of the flesh. The world has to change its standards to conform to the will of God, not the Church conforming its standards to appease the sensibilities of the world. We think this should be a no-brainer, but the Church is becoming more worldly as the truth is being practiced less and less. Our leadership is preaching messages that are inconsistent with the Word of God, and some of our pastorate look no different than the world they are commissioned to help lead to Christ. Today, we will look at Jeremiah 15:19, returning unto the Lord, leaving the world in our rearview.

“Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.”

These are the Lord God’s words. The word “return” means ” to turn back to be restored or re-established.” In Matthew 3:1-2, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” John the Baptist preached for the world to repent, but this includes the pastorate as well! When Jesus’ ministry began what was His opening message? In Matthew 4:17, the Bible says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus preached the exact same message! There should be consistency in the message that is being preached, and as long as the ministry preaches the Bible as the Holy Spirit leads and teaches, the messages will all share the same foundation, no matter the depth of revelation. When people were pricked at the heart and asked Peter what shall they do, the first thing Peter told them to do in Acts 2:38 is “Repent”. Repentance turns us away from the world, and turns our attention to God, being ready to receive and carry out the things He ordains. Repentance assures us that we can “stand” before the Lord, which means “to dwell among or abide in”. in John 15:5, Christ says, “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.” Standing before our God allows us to receive power to bear fruit for the kingdom of God.

“And if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth”

Standing before for the Lord is going to cause some separation. The word “precious” means “valuable to God”. The word “vile” means “morally loose, worthless, or prodigal”. In Malachi 3:3-4 the Bible says, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” God is the fire that separates the impurities from us that keep us out of the perfect will of God. Not only will we be able to present our offering to the Lord, but it also pleased the Lord this way. Jeremiah had to go through this fire in order to maintain his position as the prophet of the Lord, speaking the very words that God uttered to Him. The phrase “be as my mouth” means ‘to become an instrument of speech for God.” In Jeremiah 1:9, the Bible says, “Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” Jeremiah was chosen by God to speak His words, and here he was in Chapter 15, speaking words of self-pity and impatience, words that didn’t come from God. God had to return Jeremiah back to “default settings”! God’s words are enough for us to perform His purpose in our lives.

“Let them return unto thee, but return not thou unto them.”

Simply put, this means we don’t become the world while trying to help change the world. As believers, we don’t compromise our values to please the world or anyone in it. In James 4:4, the Bible says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” For those who thought adultery was exclusively tied to sexual extramarital affairs, we would be incorrect. Infidelity can be spiritual as well! Sin is adultery against God, a turning away from God to serve other gods. It is time we as the Church leave that all behind us to serve our God faithfully, becoming His mouth in a world in desperate need of God. The time is now to return to the Lord!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 19, 2021 – Philippians 2:15 – that ye may be blameless and harmless

Hi Everyone!

God shined His light so richly upon us, so we can point the way to Christ. Light stands out, attracts the attention of passerbys, and it clears darkness away, giving us the ability to see. The world we live in is overcome by darkness, by the impulses of sin acted upon, by the infestation of lawlessness, and by the godlessness that is bleeding through our society. We are definitely in need of light to transform this world, but we are in greater need of believers to step up and take their rightful places as the light of the world. Christ said nearly 2,000 years ago that the harvest is great, but the laborers few. This shouldn’t be. Our salvation should make us desire to see others saved, and be willing to do more than wish it to be so. It’s time for us to embody the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, in our homes, in our communities, and in our interactions. Today, we are going to look at Philippians 2:15, being a light in a world of darkness.

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world”

The word “blameless” means “having nothing that defiles, unpolluted, unsoiled, or pure”. The word “harmless” means “without deceit, innocent”. Ephesians 1:4, the Bible says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” God chose us to be holy and without blame in love. If love is in our hearts and comes out into our lives, then people will experience the power of God in our lives. Imagine our God creating us to step into our roles as believers, only to see us walk in fear and reluctance to perform what God has already empowered us to do. For anyone who thinks that they aren’t equipped to be who God ordains us to be or live according to the Word of God, 2 Peter 1:3 says, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”. There is no excuse why we can’t live a Godly life. God has given us the power to do it! In Luke 1:6, the Bible says, “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” When we “walk in” something, it means this becomes a lifestyle, something that becomes as common and regular in our lives as eating, working, sleeping. In Galatians 5:16, the Bible says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Our focus as believers should be on walking according to the Spirit and living according to the Word of God. If I focus my efforts on walking in the Spirit, I am allowing the Spirit to make the necessary changes in my life, changes that make me blameless and harmless.

“The sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of crooked and perverse nation,”

The phrase “sons of God” refers to children of God, those who God loves and cherishes as a Father, the devout worshippers of God, the righteous, saints, Christians. These are people who have an established relationship with our God. In John 1:12-13, the Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” We have to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order to receive the power to become children of God. In Matthew 5:44-45, Christ says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Being children of God isn’t just a title we can profess without our actions fulfilling our profession. We have to live it out, and our actions will make us stand out in a morally corrupt world.

“Among whom ye shine as lights in the world”

The word “shine” means “to give spiritual light and truth”. The word “lights” means “moral and spiritual light and knowledge which enlightens the mind, soul and conscience.” In Matthew 5:16, Christ says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The light that God shines on, in, and through us should cause great Godly conduct in us, which will bring God glory in everything we do. So God shines His light so we can put a spotlight on Him, allowing people to experience our God and see their own need for salvation and relationship.

God gave us the gift of becoming the children of God. Would we really rob someone else of that same opportunity because they don’t hear the Spirit in our mouths or in our lives?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 20, 2021 – Proverbs 11:28 – he that trusteth in his riches shall fall, but …

Hi Everyone!

This world seems to be ruled by money. We tend to throw money at our problems, relationships and even marriages are governed by money, and children are being raised by money. The “haves and the have-nots”, diminishing a person’s worth based on their earnings. We have richer countries unwilling to help poorer countries, because there is nothing to be gained by it. We as a society have lost our understanding that money is merely a tool and not a gauge of someone’s worth, and more and more people are desperately trying to get rich quickly, hoping to keep up with a fast-paced world. Our loving God, the Creator of the whole world, is being replaced with something man invented as a tool for trade. This world is broken structurally because God isn’t the foundation, and it is time for us to gain wealth in the things of God, in knowing our Lord, in communing with Him daily. Today, we will look at Proverbs 11:28, breaking fellowship with money and re-establishing fellowship with the Lord.

“He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.”

The word “trusteth” means “to hie for refuge, to place feelings of safety and security into something or someone”. The word “hie” means “to instinctively run towards in danger or fear”. In Psalm 49:6-7, the Bible says, “They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” People trust in money because of the power they believe it can give them, but that perception of power is extremely deceptive, and most come to find out that money is incapable of providing the things that truly count in a believer’s live. In Matthew 6:24, Christ says, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” The world has made money and material things just some of the gods that are worshipped by so many, and money is exalted more than righteousness, more than love, and more than God Himself. I am pretty certain God was very clear in Exodus 20:2-3 when He said, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” When a person instinctively runs towards money, when a person relies on money first, and when a person seeks money first, then money has essentially become ‘God’ in their lives.

The word “riches” means “wealth”. There is a major difference between being rich and being blessed. In Proverbs 28:20, the Bible says, “A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.” The person of faith, the one who trusts in the Lord solely, the one who seeks the kingdom of God instinctively is the person that will abound with blessings, not the person who is desperate for riches. Eventually the person’s tireless pursuit of money will lead to sin. The word “fall” means “to be overthrown, to be cast down”. The person that chases after riches is headed for destruction. In Proverbs 28:22, the Bible says, “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” The sad thing is, the wealth chasers don’t realize that they are headed off a cliff! In 1 Timothy 6:10, the Bible says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” The people who place their trust and their love in money have “erred in the faith”. We are to seek the kingdom of God, not the kingdom’s treasure! Wealthy chasers are selfish, only after their own personal gain. We can’t please the Lord when we are too focused on pleasing ourselves.

“But the righteous shall flourish as a branch”

The word “righteous” means “just, due to conformity to God’s will and standards”. In Psalm 1:2-3, the Bible says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 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.” The people who place their full trust in the Lord are the people who will continue to be fruitful, and what they DO shall prosper. The word “flourish” means “to break forth as a bud”. Not only will we grow, but we will produce seeds for future growth. In Proverbs 11:30, the Bible says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” What those made righteous by God will produce is sustenance for other people to feed from. Our prosperity should always be to advance the kingdom of God.

May our trust be in God alone, and may we seek real treasure in a relationship with Him.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 21, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 1 of 10 parts – Matthew 5:3 – blessed are the poor in spirit

Hi Everyone!

Self-sufficiency is not a requirement in the kingdom of heaven. This world is driven peoples insatiable desire to “make their own destiny”, to become “self-made successes”, and to author their own story. There are tons of best-selling self help books that teach these principles, but all it is doing is teaching people to push God out of His rightful position as Lord over all. This world is driven by selfish people with no desire for God’s authority to have reign, and while our world increases in wealth, it is decreasing in the faith. God is looking for people who desire to be led by Him, people dependent upon the Lord for everything they need to live the life He intends us to live, and people who understand that they are completely nothing without Him. God is looking for a people willing to relinquish their will for His will, and believe His will to be the only way. Today we will begin a study into the Beatitudes, in Matthew 5:3, becoming the poor in spirit to inherit the kingdom.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance”. These are the words of Christ, and if He determines someone to be blessed, then that’s exactly what they are. In Isaiah 55:11, the Bible says, “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.” God created the world with His word and the world became exactly what He spoke it to be. There is no denying God’s word. In Numbers 22:12, the Bible says, “And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” When God declares us blessed, no one can speak against it. In this world, people correlate blessings with finances and what finances can do, but blessings are regardless of what you have, but rather WHO you have. In Philippians 4:11-13, the Bible says, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Christ’s strength gives us the ability to be content in all situations, and in it, we understand that God’s blessing has nothing to do with our financial circumstances. In Ephesians 1:3, the Bible says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”. The person who is declared blessed is blessed with ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS. When we are looking for our blessings to come from the world, we have completely missed the mark.

The word “poor” means “helpless, a beggar, people of low estate”. The phrase “poor in spirit” refers to those who have a deep humility, understanding that we are spiritually bankrupt without God. These are the people who understand that we are completely hopeless and lost without the Lord God’s presence and leading in our lives. A beggar is hungry, willing to ask for what they don’t have from God, recognizing He is the only person who can provide it. In Psalm 51:17, the Bible says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” The poor in spirit come before the Lord broken, understanding that only God can heal us and transform our lives. God will not despise the person who is humble before Him. In Luke 18:13-14, Christ says, “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 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.” Unless we are poor in spirit to understand that we don’t deserve to be in the presence of the Lord, and that we don’t deserve to even look towards heaven, we miss that God’s love and mercy justifies us, making us acceptable. It is only by Him!

“for theirs in the kingdom of heaven”

The word “kingdom” means “realm of dominion where we have access to privileges and rewards as being children of God.” Heaven is the abode of God and His glory”. In 1 Corinthians 15:50, the Bible says, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” When we cry out for our Father in our spiritual poverty, seeking His salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, He responds with His Spirit, empowering us to experience the kingdom of heaven right now!

Do we recognize our desperate need for God, or do we still think we can do it alone?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 22, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 2 – Matthew 5:4 – blessed are they that mourn

Hi Everyone!

When we reflect on our former selves before salvation, what thoughts come to mind? I still cringe when I think about how far I was from God, how horribly I disappointed Him, and how lost I was. I really couldn’t see how bad I really was then because my mind and heart was so warped by sin. It was only as God held a mirror up, showing me who I allowed myself to become that I saw my need for true repentance and restoration. That moment in my life made me fall to my knees, and I cried out to God, asking Him to change my heart. Oddly enough, it was during the time I was mourning a death in my family, the murder of my older cousin. At the same time I was in mourning over Angelo’s passing, I was in mourning over my sin, how it was destroying my life and relationship with God. Today, we will dive deeper into The Beatitudes, looking at Matthew 5:4, our mourning turned into comfort.

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored by God regardless of circumstances”. In Deuteronomy 28:1-2, “And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:  And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.” The verses didn’t say just “hearken”, but it says, “hearken diligently”. Our ears are to be tools of obedience, so when we hear, we are hearing for the purpose of carrying the Word out. In James 1:21-22, the Bible says, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” When we receive the Word of God, we not only take it in, but we associate ourselves with the Word of God. In order to do so, we must lay anything aside that will interrupt our fellowship with God and our association with the Word of God. When we hear the Word and don’t carry the Word out, we think that we are safe like any other religious churchgoer, but our life doesn’t change, because we don’t see the mirror God is holding up to us. In James 1:23-24, the Bible says, “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.” Our identities are engrafted into the Word of God and if we are not doers of the Word, then we will easily forget who we are! Deception is inevitable when a person doesn’t know who they are!

The word “mourn” means “to grieve, to be sad or sorrowful, to beat the breast as an outward sign of inward grief.” This grief is because of our sin that causes disappointment to God and separation from His presence. In Isaiah 61:1-2, the Bible says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” Sin causes separation, broken hearts, captivity, and creates prisons for people enslaved by sin. In Luke 15:21, Christ says speaking of the prodigal son, “And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.” When we mourn over our sin, we understand that we have been sinning against God, under His eye, and we don’t deserve the title of being His children. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, the Bible says, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” This mourning produces our desire to race after God’s forgiveness.

“For they should be comforted”

The word “comforted” means “to invite to help, encourage, to aid”. In Revelation 21:4, the Bible says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” God responds to our mourning by wiping our tears, and removing the consequences of our sin from our presence, allowing that old nature to pass away. In 2 Corinthians 1:4, the Bible says, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” We are to take the comfort we have received, and show others how to be comforted in repentance and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

When we mourn over our sins, God responds with the help we need to overcome.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 23, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 3 – Matthew 5:5 – blessed are the meek

Hi Everyone!

I used to think there was something wrong with gentleness. In some of the neighborhood I’ve lived in, a gentle person was taken advantage of, was the target of bullies, and always seemed to be on the bottom rung of the ladder. In my neighborhood, it was expected that we would be tough, that rebellion was second nature, and fights were inevitable in keep “respect” between its members. Looking back, that was one of the biggest lies we received into our minds, and the enemy has had a field day on urban communities everywhere. Meekness isn’t the sign of weakness I once thought it was, but it is a symbol of great strength. As believers, our conduct has the ability to point the way to Christ, and our conduct bears testimony of what spirit is at work within us. Meekness is allowing the Holy Spirit to have reign over our attitudes so that we resemble Christ in our lives. Today, we will look at Matthew 5:5, an inheritance through meekness.

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

The word “blessed” means, “happy, fortunate, or favored regardless of circumstance”. People incorrectly tie blessing to circumstance, like everything has to be going great in order for us to be blessed. If life is going bad, how can a person be blessed? In Proverbs 20:21, the Bible says, “An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” A person’s financial portfolio isn’t what makes them blessed. In Jeremiah 17:7, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” A person who is blessed is one who places their full hope and trust in the Lord, being confidence of the Lord’s presence being with and in us everywhere we go, and under all circumstances. It is important that we see blessings correctly. Is giving a drug addict a million dollars cash a blessing? More like a curse, right? In Proverbs 30:8-9, the Bible says, “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” What the world deems to be blessings can actually be things that threaten to break the fellowship between God and us. We, as believers, have to come to an understanding of what blessings truly are, or we will become ensnared in the world’s perception of blessings and curses.

The word “meek” means “mild, gentle, or humble, the result of a strong man’s choice to control his reactions in submission to God. It is a balance born in strength of character, stemming from confident trust in God, not from weakness or fear”. This debunks everything the streets have ever taught me about toughness, aggression, and how to handle conflict. In Proverbs 16:32, the Bible says, “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.” A meek person is one that isn’t easily angered, someone who can remain rooted in Christ no matter what comes their way, and no matter who comes their way. Not fighting is better than winning a fight. In Proverbs 25:28, the Bible says, “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” A person who is easily angered is the most vulnerable to attack, but the meek remain under the protection of a loving God, operating within the space He gives us. In Psalm 25:9-10, the Bible says, “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” The meek present themselves as willing to be taught and guided by God in everything we need to live a Godly life.

The word “inherit” means “to obtain, acquire or possess”. In Psalm 95:6-7, “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice”. The meek humble themselves before God, receiving a place in the kingdom as children of God. In Galatians 5:22-23, the Bible says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” The fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence within us. The meek display the evidence of the indwelling Holy Spirit at work within us. In Galatians 4;7, the Bible says, “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Our inheritance as the meek is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, giving us the power to become the children of God, operating in the earth as Christ did.

Sounds like the meek are exceedingly strong, doesn’t it?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 24, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 4 – Matthew 5:6 – they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness

Hi Everyone!

What do we hunger for? What are the deepest yearnings in our heart? As believers, what are we supposed to hunger and thirst for? Did anyone just feel the gut shot I did with that last question? Truth be told, unbelievers aren’t the only ones that hunger and thirst after the wrong things, but we must take a real assessment of our desire to make sure that they are in line with what God desires. Our loving God desires us to hunger after His righteousness, to live a life pleasing to our God. Our loving God wants to see His children appreciate our salvation by bringing glory to His name through the things we say, the way we treat others, and through the Word of God that flows from our hearts towards others. The person who hungers and thirsts after righteousness is the one who constantly stays at the feet of our Father, looking to be led and guided by the Holy Spirit in all aspects of their life. Today, we will look at Matthew 5:6, and insatiable appetite for righteousness.

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance”. In Proverbs 10:22, the Bible says, “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” Do we really understand that true wealth has nothing to do with money, but it is the power and the presence of the living Word of God working within us, giving us the power to be the children of God? What good is a royal that doesn’t have or operate in their authority? They would be no different than anyone else in the world, correct? In 1 Peter 2:9, the Bible says, “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 us, He made us priests and kings in a world ravaged by sin, and He called us to walk in His light. We are blessed by the Lord, so we are supposed to be different, think differently, and live differently from the world around us.

The word ‘hunger” means “to famish or to crave”. Hungry people desire food, but do we feed? We have the Word of God available to us in almost any form possible, but how often do we study? The amount of study ultimately paints a picture of our level of hunger. Do we make adjustments to our schedule to accommodate our study time? How hungry are we? In Proverbs 10:3, the Bible says, “The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.” The soul of the righteous doesn’t famish because they are filled with the Word of God. In Mark 8:7-8, the Bible says, “And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them. So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.” When God’s blessing is upon something, it multiplies, and people are filled as a result. Christ is the bread of life, the real food that satisfies our hunger. Here’s why? In John 6:51, Christ says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” What type of bread do we hunger for, something that fills for a moment, or something that fills for an eternity? The Word of God fills for an eternity.

The word “righteousness” means “justification, having our hearts right towards God, piety towards God, or Godliness”. In Romans 10:10, the Bible says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Our hunger for righteousness has to come from the deepest places in us because in Matthew 6:20-21, Christ says, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” When the Holy Spirit fills our hearts, we receive true treasure from heaven, and God’s Word is the righteousness that we must hunger and thirst after. The word “filled” means “supply food in abundance”. God gives us more than enough of His Word to feast on! What are we supposed to do with the excess? Share it! In Ephesians 3:19-20, the Bible says, “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” The fullness of God fills us by the Holy Spirit, allowing us to do the unfathomable, accomplish the impossible, all because of the power working in us!

Kinda brings new meaning to ‘Give us this day our daily bread’, doesn’t it?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 25, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 5 – Matthew 5:7 – blessed are the merciful

Hi Everyone!

I know what it feels like to be in need of mercy, and I also have the experience of being blessed by the mercy of someone else. The salvation we walk in is the result of God’s mercy upon us. Ever experience the favor of someone when we had no right to experience it? Ever received love from someone when we ourselves felt most unlovable, or given kindness at the precise moment we needed it? There are tons of ways we can experience mercy in our lives, but we are never to forget these moments when it comes time to be merciful. God pours His mercy upon us so we will develop the desire to do the same for someone else. The mercy we show someone else can ultimately lead to their salvation, painting a clear picture of the gospel through our actions. The mercy we refuse to show others will also become the mercy we are not shown in our time of need. Today, we will look at Matthew 5:7, the merciful obtaining mercy.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance”. In Romans 4:6-8, “Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” We have received the righteousness of God without having to earn it. We have received salvation when we did nothing to deserve it. We have received the forgiveness of sins, having the gift of salvation made available to us while we were still in our sins. In Proverbs 8:33-35, the Bible says, “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.” Hearing the Word of God, with the desire to obey it, and those who seek the Lord’s face daily are the ones who are considered blessed, because we seek to remain in the presence of our loving God. In Psalm 34:8, the Bible says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” The blessed are the ones who experience the Lord and place their trust in Him. Money and materialistic things do not amount to the blessings of our God. The blessings of our God are rooted in love!

The word “merciful” means  “compassionate in thought and in action”. Acts of mercy are displayed in our treatment of others, and God is definitely watching our hearts and our movements to make sure that our intentions are pure. In Psalm 41:1, the Bible says, “Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” The word “consider” means “to ACT with insight or wisdom”. Praying for the poor is cool, but what good are our prayers if the poor never receive our mercy when it is time to act? We can’t be lip-service Christians, who talk the part but refuse to live the part out. The “poor” aren’t necessarily impoverished financially, but spiritually as well. Do we expose people’s poverty or do we cover it in love? In Matthew 18:32-33, speaking of a certain king, Christ says, “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?” Do we so easily forget that we were once people needing compassion, needing the mercy of God and others? Were we received in love or were we turned away empty-handed?

In prison, there is a “pecking order”, and a lot of times, it is usually by the crime one has been convicted of. The murderers are held to a higher esteem, while the people who commit crimes against children are deemed the lowest form of life around here. How can any believer in Christ adhere to a pecking order that is so strongly against the love and mercy we are called to walk in? In Hosea 6:6, the Bible says, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” What good are our offerings and sacrifices when we are not showing people the mercy God has commanded us to? In Hebrews 6:10, the Bible says, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” When God sees us be merciful unto others, He will be merciful to us. I make it a practice to lovingly interact with anyone society deems undesirable. In Lamentations 3:22, the Bible says, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that WE are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”. We all stand a huge chance of being consumed, no matter what our backgrounds are. His unfailing love and mercy are the reasons we have access to eternal life.

Would we be so unmerciful to rob someone else of the mercy they need?

God Bless!  

Marshall

 

Jul 26, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 6 – Matthew 5:8 – blessed are the pure in heart

Hi Everyone!

Being washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ changes all parts of our lives. Not only are we redeemed from the penalty of death, able to experience new, abundant, and eternal life in Jesus Christ, but we also have direct and unlimited access to God in prayer, receiving His promised Holy Spirit to dwell in us forever. Having our hearts cleansed is a very important experience, but keeping our hearts cleansed is just as important, because it keeps our access to God intact. We want to be people who can remain in the presence of God, and experience a relationship with Him that will grow and have power. We are unable to have that fellowship if we remain defiled by the flesh after salvation, allowing sin to have reign over our members. Today, we will look at Matthew 5:8, a pure heart experiencing the presence of our Lord.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance”. In Psalm 24:3-5, the Bible says, “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” Do we as believers see that being able to be in the presence of our Lord makes us blessed? The thing that makes us blessed costs us absolutely nothing, while it costs Christ His life. Is fellowshipping with our God a gift, or do we take this for granted, allowing this invitation to go through one ear and out of the next? In Psalm 67:1-2, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.” Being in the presence of God will cause us to know His way, which will allow us to walk the way He ordains for us to walk. We will understand that it is truly a privilege to dwell in the presence of the Lord and hopefully, that will cause us to live in greater appreciation. In Psalm 72:19, the Bible says, “And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” God desires to fill the world with His glory, but we have to desire to reside in His presence, allowing Him to work in us for His glory. The person who is blessed is the person who is able to dwell in the presence of our Lord.

The “pure” means “clean, in a moral sense, sincere, upright, void of evil”. In Psalm 15:1-2, the Bible says, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” We can’t abide in the presence of the Lord and do whatever we want to do. There is a difference between coming to the Lord and dwelling in His presence. In Hebrews 12:14-15, the Bible says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”. Our attitude towards God isn’t the only thing that has to be upright, but also our attitude towards our brothers and sisters as well. In Galatians 5:14, the Bible says, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” We must have hearts of love in order to dwell in the presence of the Lord. The world “heart” refers to the seat of the desires, feelings, affections, and passions. So our love and sincerity must come from the deepest part of us. In Joshua 24:14, the Bible says, “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.” God knows the difference between the true believers and those merely “playing church”.

The word “see” means “to gaze at with wide open eyes at something remarkable, to be in awe of”. In 1 John 3;2-3, the Bible says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. “When we come into the presence of our Lord with a pure heart, the Lord shows Himself to us, giving us the opportunity to reflect His image. We will have the ability to be like Him, and see God perfectly! This is why our loving God desires communion with us, so we can become children who bear our Father’s image!

Let us present ourselves clean and undefiled before the Lord, able to experience His awesome presence.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jun 27, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 7 – Matthew 5:9 – blessed are the peacemakers

Hi Everyone!

The world is stripped of its peace. A 30 minute news show will depict a worldwide pandemic surging yet again, threatening the Olympics in Tokyo, a shooting outside of a baseball stadium, cyber attacks on United States’ computer systems, a cold case murder trial beginning, and one of many wildfires raging in the western part of the United States. Where are the peacemakers, the people willing to mediate between parties at odds, the people willing to represent peace in their lives? In a world that is becoming more and more Godless by the second, it is no surprise why this world is becoming void of peace. There is no peace without the Prince of Peace, there is no peace without the God of peace, and there definitely won’t be peace without peacemakers, people who are willing to display and teach God’s love to all they come across. Most say, ‘Not my problem’, but I beg to differ. Today, we will look at Matthew 5:9, the blessed peacemakers of God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance.” Our amount of finances or material wealth does not make us blessed, because there are people in poverty who are more blessed than billionaires. In Genesis 39:2-4, the Bible says, “And the LORD was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.” Joseph was sold in slavery by his own brothers, but he is depicted to be prosperous and he was made overseer over Potiphar’s house. What made a slave “blessed”? God was with him, and God’s presence with Joseph made Potiphar’s house blessed as well, because the presence of God allowed him to find grace! In Proverbs 10:6, the Bible says, “Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.” When we do right by the things God places in front of us, we will be blessed. Violence is the absence of peace. God took Joseph and transformed his circumstance into blessing. When we start placing value in our relationship with God, valuing His presence to dwell within us, when our desire is to know His word and His will better than we know ourselves, then our perception of His blessings will change.

The word “peacemakers” means “peaceable, an ambassador for peace, a mediator”. In Matthew 5:44-45, Christ says, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” The road to peace begins with the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit inside of us, and it extends through our interactions with others. Who is the hardest person to have peace with? The person who has hurt or offended us! If we can love people who hurt us, pray for those who despitefully use us, and do good to those who hate us, then being peacemakers in others’ lives should be easy! In Romans 12:18, the Bible says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” The verse sounds like God is giving us a cop out, but actually, He is giving us no way out. If Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me,” then it all “lieth” in us as believers!  In Hebrews 12 :14, the Bible says, “Follow peace with ALL men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Yes, even the ones we feel we can do without! When people see our example in Christ, it will become contagious.

The word “children” refers to those who God loves and cherishes as a Father, the pious worshippers of God, the saints.” In Galatians 3:26, the Bible says, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Our faith in Jesus Christ makes us children of God, but we must display our faith. In 1 John 4:7, the Bible says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” We must bear the attributes of children of God by love being the expression in our relationships with people.  In John 8:39, the Bible says, “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” Replace “Abraham” with “God”. As children of God, we do what our Father does! It is our jobs as children of God to reflect our Father by obeying His Word.

If we are commanded to love people as we love ourselves, then we should desire peace for all people!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jun 28, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 8 – Matthew 5:10 – blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake

Hi Everyone!

As believers, it is inevitable that we will experience some level of persecution in our walk of faith. As we draw closer to God, we are going to experience some people that will resist the work that God is doing in our lives. We may become the victims of vicious gossip, people may lobby campaigns against us, and the pressure may get to be so much where we may want to retreat. It is when we experience the heaviest amounts of persecution that we must draw even closer to the Lord, seeking His comfort, His perspective, and His direction. The enemy attacks the flock, hoping to scatter the sheep, and through divide and conquer, can more effectively cause believers to stray and become consumed. If we are facing persecution as believers, then we must be moving in the direction God has ordained for us to go. Today, we will look at Matthew 5:10, enduring persecution for righteousness’ sake.

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance”. Under what type of circumstance do we consider ourselves blessed, when everything is going well? In Numbers 22:6, the Bible says, of Balak king of the Moabites who wants to engage the prophet Balaam, “Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.” Man thinks that because we may have the power to bless and curse, that our determination of what’s blessed and what’s cursed is supreme law. That couldn’t be more false. In Numbers 22:12, the Bible says, “And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” What God determines as blessed is blessed, and there is nothing man can do to overrule His determination. The question is, will we believe in His Word over the unpleasant circumstances we face as believers? Which perspective do I cleave to, God’s blessings or my own grief?

The word “persecute” means “to cause to suffer, to cause to flee, to pursue with adverse intentions”. Persecution is an intentional act on a person in order to cause them harm. Christ tried to warn us that we wiill suffer some persecution as believers. In John 15:18, He said, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” Let us first get the thought of always being liked or loved out of our heads, because sometimes, being a believer is going to make us hated, whether openly or secretly. Why is this? Well, Christ says, in John 15:19, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” We are not of the world, so the world hates us because we are different. Believers are special, set apart by God, and not designed to fit into the world’s system. In John 15:20, Christ goes as far as to say, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” Strangely, our sufferings are on full display, and the world is watching, waiting for us to crack under the pressure. If He endured persecution, then why should we ever expect a free ride in the faith?

The phrase “righteousness’ sake” means “on the account of Godliness”. In 1 Peter 3:14, the Bible says, “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled”. There is a difference in suffering for righteousness’ sake and receiving the penalty for the wrong we have done. Persecution and punishment are two different things. In 1 Peter 3:17, the Bible says, “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”

The phrase “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” ensures that there is an inheritance waiting for us who endure persecution. In 2 Timothy 2:12, the Bible says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us”. We will be able to walk in authority with Christ when we endure suffering. In Romans 8:18, the Bible says, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  No amount of persecution suffered can be compared to God’s glory revealed in us! We endure persecution so God’s light can shine in us even more, pointing to the way of Christ. In 2 Corinthians 4:17, the Bible says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh FOR US a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Who ever thought that persecution actually worked FOR US?

If that doesn’t make us blessed, I don’t know what will!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 29, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 9 – Matthew 5:11 – blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you

Hi Everyone!

Having a person accuse us of doing something we haven’t done is an emotionally unsettling experience, mostly without any way to correct the record in people’s minds. Having a person speak ill of our salvation, call us stupid or naive for serving the one true God, consider us weak for believing in our God can damage us inside. I remember a time a couple months ago, where a guy on my unit, who complimented my commitment to my faith and the changes I’ve made in my life, called me a “fake Christian” because I disagreed with a point he was making. This is light compared to real suffering, but every believer is to expect some form of this to happen in their walk of faith. If they did it to Jesus Christ, then we will definitely face false accusations. In the face of this suffering, we have the opportunity to hold our peace and display true faith and love by our response. Today, we will look at Matthew 5:11, making our case for Christ in the court of false accusation.

”Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance”. Our blessings do not depend on the opinions and accusations of others, but our blessings completely depend upon the favor God so richly pours upon His children. In Genesis 12:2-3, the Bible says, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” What God has to say about us as His children is far different than what the world has to say about us. God promises to defend and protect us no matter what the world’s opinions may be of us. In James 1:12, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” As easy as it would be to react to the accusations of the world, God determines us blessed if we endure, and has a crown reserved for us.

The word “revile” means “to defame, rail at, to taunt”. The word “persecute” means “cause to suffer, to cause to flee. When a person reviles us, they are purposely spreading a false report upon us with the intention to changing our identity and causing us harm in the process. In Luke 6:22, Christ gives more depth to Matthew 5:11 by saying, “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” The person who reviles us is the person who hates us, intending on causing division between us and the people we love. Why would someone desire a believer to become divided from people? The Word of God can’t go out and be displayed! In 2 Timothy 3:3, the Bible speaks on some of the “last days” behaviors, and it says, “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good”. The Bible is written to prepare us to live in a world that will lie to us and hate us for being believers. In 1 Peter 3:15-16, the Bible says, “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: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ”. Despite the false accusations of this world, God is calling for our response to be meekness and Godly reverence, meaning we respond to the world the same way we will respond to God.

The word “evil” means “a charge or accusation”. The world “falsely” means “to utter an untruth or deceive by falsehood”. 1 Peter 4:13-14, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” Wait a minute, these aren’t “our” sufferings? Doesn’t the Scripture clearly state “Christ’s sufferings”? So, this means that it is not about us at all, but about Christ, and if we endure, then God’s glory will rest upon us! John 15:21 says, “But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” They are doing it because they don’t know better! Knowing this should cause us to view those who falsely accuse us and speak evil about us with compassion, not with contempt.

Who knows, maybe our response may cause them to reconsider their stance and open the door for God’s truth to come in!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

July 30, 2021 – The Beatitudes Part 10 and Last Part – Matthew 5:12 – for great is your reward in heaven

Hi Everyone!

What is our disposition like when we find ourselves under persecution? Do we break down, give up, give in, or do we question God for allowing this to happen to us? How should our disposition be when under persecution? I am not the only person who raises an eyebrow when I see what is expected of me when afflicted by persecution. It is like we have to do the exact opposite of what our first mind used to do (remember that, used to!), and a lot of times it makes absolutely no sense to us whatsoever.  How we respond testifies to what power is at work within us. If our disposition remains one of victory, no matter what happens to us, then the power of the Holy Spirit is at work mightily in us. Today, we will wrap up our study on The Beatitudes with Matthew 5:12, rejoicing under the trials of persecution.

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

The word “rejoice” means “be cheerful or happy”. In every part of this complete study, I have described the word “blessed” as meaning “happy, fortunate, favored regardless of circumstance”. I purposely drove this point home because I want us to understand that these are the words of Christ, declaring that we are blessed, not because of our circumstance, but because of the presence of the Lord in us. Now, Christ tells us to “rejoice”, which is another way of telling us to live, think, and move as blessed people. In Luke 6:46-48, Christ says, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” When we receive instruction from the Lord, and we carry it out, we build upon a firm foundation that won’t allow our structures to be shaken in any storm that comes our way. That firm foundation is Christ! Christ establishes our state of spirit as “blessed”, and now by telling us to rejoice, He is encouraging us to live out His word. In Acts 5:40-41, the Bible says, “And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” The apostles were confined and beaten for teaching in the name of Jesus Christ, and the walked away rejoicing, blessed to be chosen as worthy to suffer for His name. How many of us see persecution as a privilege to suffer for His name?

“be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:”

The phrase “exceeding glad” means “jump for joy, to leap out of happiness”. People jump for joy when something amazing happens, when it is a cause for celebration. Persecution is a cause for celebration? Ouch! In Philippians 2:5, the Bible says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. This means we have to think the way God thinks, and approach matters the way God intends for us to approach them. Christ is spurring us to live from victory, but we must understand that God’s thoughts are on a level that is beyond our comprehension. The word “reward” means “payment for service’. In Matthew 25:21, Christ says, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” We want to be believers who get to experience a proud Father, who gives us heavenly rewards, not only in heaven, but on earth as well. Will He find us faithful under persecution, though?

“for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”

The word “prophets” means “foretellers, or inspired speakers”. Christ is telling us that we are not alone in our sufferings, that this has also happened to the prophets before us. A lot of their accounts are in the Bible! In Hebrews 12:1, the Bible says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”. We have examples from the prophets, from the apostles, and from Christ on how to endure the sufferings of persecution, which gives us a clear example of how we must respond and perceive persecution for Christ’s sake, and that is from a stance of victory!!! Sometimes, knowing we are not alone makes a world of difference!

May our rejoicing in the Lord become a shining example of how believers respond to all things in our lives!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Jul 31, 2021 – Jeremiah 42:6 – we will obey the voice of the LORD our God

Hi Everyone!

Obedience to the Lord is mandatory. When we come to obedience, we are testifying that our God knows what is best for our lives, and His direction will bring the best possible outcome for us. Obeying the Lord isn’t always easy, because sometimes, it may come at a cost to us. I have had to walk away from people I love and built lifelong bonds with, I have had to change things I was doing in my life to become in line with His plans for my life, and I had to shed some weight I held on my shoulders. Obedience requires sacrifice, but it also requires an undying trust for the Lord. That trust is built by carrying out the Word, no matter the consequence or outcome. From this, God reveals His faithfulness and we then discover why obedience to God works so well for our greater good. It becomes easier and easier to do what God calls for us to do, because with every act of obedience, we experience an understanding of why he required us to make these steps. Today, we will look at Jeremiah 42:6, obedience no matter the cost.

“Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God.”

The word “good” here means ” that which is appealing and pleasant to the senses, fruitful”. Our definition of good and God’s definition of good are two different definitions. We attach the word “good” to our feelings and emotions, while God attaches the word “good” to His purpose being fulfilled. In Genesis 1:3-4, the Bible says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Do we really understand that the first time the word “good” was used was when God’s word was obeyed as He called for it? It wasn’t about feelings or emotions. God spoke and it was done, simple as that. In Romans 8:28, the Bible says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The word “good” is always attached to the purpose of God, no matter what twists and turns may come our way in the process. The thing with a lot of people, me included, that makes obedience so hard is we haven’t submitted to God’s meaning behind the word “good”, despite everything we may have experienced from God’s moving hand in our lives. “Good” has to “feel good” to compel our obedience and that shouldn’t be!

The word “evil” means “disagreeable, unpleasant, harmful”. How is it ever possible for us to construe God’s intent for our lives as evil? In Jeremiah 29:11, the Bible says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God said He doesn’t have evil thoughts towards us and our God doesn’t lie. In context, this verse was uttered concerning the upcoming 70 year captivity of the children of God by the Babylonians. God is assuring them that He still doesn’t have evil thoughts concerning them, even though they are about to be enslaved. God saw the end result, not the immediate circumstance. Joseph had the right idea when speaking to the brothers who sold him into slavery. In Genesis 50:20, the Bible says, “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.” Joseph understood his experience from God’s perspective not His own, and he saw the bigger picture, that God used him to save his family. His brothers had fear, but Joseph had faith and forgiveness.

The phrase “obey the voice” means “to hear attentively, with the intention of carrying out the call or proclamation of the Lord”. In 1 Samuel 15:22, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” God desires for us to obey His Word, not give Him what we think He will desire. In Philippians 2:8, the Bible says, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Christ our Perfect Example was obedient to God knowing full well He was going to suffer and die on the cross. God’s Word was more important than His feelings or His pain. The phrase “may be well with us” means “to benefit or cause to be successful.” Look at the verse. It says it may be well with us WHEN we obey. Don’t expect the benefits without the obedience! In Psalm 31:23, “O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud DOER.” The rewards of obedience are cool, but obedience is the most important thing, because it produces the will of God in our lives!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 1, 2021 – 2 Thessalonians 3:3 – the Lord is faithful

Hi Everyone!

We have a firm foundation in the Lord. We didn’t just receive salvation when we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but we also received the power to become the children of God. Within this power, we will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which will teach us God’s word and guide us into all truth, and as we abide in the Father and He in us, the fellowship allows us to move in the earth as Christ did. Somewhere along the line, many believers stopped believing in this power, incorrectly believing that this power was only available to the Church in Acts and not to us. This is the precise position Satan loves to see us in, because a believer without a foundation is someone that can easily be led astray. Today, we will look at 2 Thessalonians 3:3, being established in the foundation of Christ.

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.”

The word “Lord” means “Supreme in authority, controller, head over all things to the church”. This is speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ. Is Jesus Christ Lord over our lives? Most would quickly say, “yes”, me included. In Luke 6:46, Christ says, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” If Jesus Christ is Lord, then why are His commands so hard for us to follow? Why do we refuse to believe in the Word of God? In Matthew 7:21, Christ says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” We can’t profess that Jesus is Lord, but not do God’s will. God isn’t looking for lip-service Christians who won’t step into the authority God has given us to have dominion in the earth. The first command God gave mankind was in Genesis 1:28, which says, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and SUBDUE it: and have DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” God blessed us first, then gave us a charge to be fruitful and multiply, then He uses the words “subdue’ and “dominion”. God created us to have dominion, but how many fill the churches all over the world overcome by the things in life? If Christ is Lord in us, then we will do what He commands, so that means we will walk in His power that He has given us.

The “faithful” means “trustworthy in duty to oneself and others, especially to His promises”. In 1 Corinthians 1:9, the Bible says, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” His faithfulness allows us to experience fellowship with Him and the Lord Jesus Christ. His faithfulness makes the gift available, but it is our jobs to receive it! In Hebrews 10:19-20, the Bible says, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh”. If the blood of Jesus Christ shed for the remission of our sins has given us the power to come into the holiest, then where is our boldness to do so? Christ paid the cost and made the way to Him holy. In Hebrews 10:23, the Bible says, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”. We have to solidify our faith by action, not by words without power, because on the other end of this is  God’s faithfulness, ready to take us the rest of the way! God promised, and He will do it!

The word “stablish” means “to set fast, to confirm, or to strengthen”. We make the mistake of thinking that it is our faith solely that brings God’s will to pass, but it is His faithfulness that makes us rooted and unmovable in Him. In Colossians 2:6,7, the Bible says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Our Church is filled with people who have received Christ as Lord, but have yet to allowed Him to root us and build us up in Him. Why is this? Because we have failed to allow the Holy Spirit entrance within us to teach us who we are and who our God truly is. The phrase “keep you from evil” means “preserve in safety from moral and spiritual wickedness that can cause harm to oneself or others.” In John 17:15-16, Christ says, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” Christ prayed to God concerning us, that we would remain under His protection, yet many walk in fear instead of faith, failing to trust in the faithfulness of our God.

Our foundation is secure in the Lord and we have the power to display the faithfulness of our God in this world by living according to the Word of God. The question is, will we?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 2, 2021 – Genesis 15:1 – Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Hi Everyone!

God has a Word for His children. In the Word of God lies our direction, our purpose, and the instruction we need to be exactly who He called us to be. Sometimes, this Word is written, experienced through reading Scripture, or by having Scripture read to us. Other times, this Word is spoken by the Holy Spirit into the deepest parts of us or by people who God put His Spirit in to share a Word of life with. Since creation began, God has had a real desire to communicate with His children, and everything that has transpired since creation has been to bring us into this open communication and fellowship with Him. God also speaks through visions, through very real manifestations God sends to reveal Himself to us. No matter the method God uses, the motivation is the same, to take us from where we are to where He designs us to be. Today, we will look at Genesis 15:1, the Word of God securing promise in our lives.

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

“After these things.” What things? This means there is something else connected to this verse. Abram here encountered Melchizedek King of Salem, who blessed him with material goods, bread and wine, but also blessed him with safety from all of his enemies, and Abram then assured the King of Sodom that he or his people didn’t desire anything belonging to Sodom. So Abram was blessed and he then was able to make an agreement with The King of Sodom to ensure they lived in peace. The phrase “word of the Lord” refers to a spoken word or speech coming from God. The word “came” means “brought into existence or made manifest”. In 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, the Bible says, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” When the word of the Lord comes, it is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, who ensures the message is delivered exactly how God intends. In Matthew 11:25-26, Christ says, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.” God didn’t choose the smartest people, or the most saved people to reveal His Word to. He revealed it to people who would receive His Word in full trust, just like a babe would.

A vision is a physical picture God gives to usher in a divine truth. Visions are intentional and are perfectly timed. In Habakkuk 2:2-3, the Bible says, “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” There are precise times for the visions of God to be manifested, and all the pieces came together first before the vision came to Abram. We can’t rush the vision of God. We just have to receive it when it comes by faith.

The phrase “fear not”, means “don’t be frightened or afraid.” Our God knows our deepest feelings! In 2 Timothy 1:7, the Bible says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God telling us “fear not”, implies to us that we need to clear out anything that is not of God in order to receive His Word clearly. Fear blocks our faithful hearing of the Word of God. The word “shield” means “protector, ruler, or defense”. In Psalm 5:12, the Bible says, “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” God protects His children! We don’t have to look for a better defense, because our God defends us better than anyone. Knowing we are under God’s protection gives us no real reason to be afraid. In Psalm 91:2, the Bible says, “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” God said to Abram “I AM thy shield”. Imagine our God standing in front of us, protecting us from everything that comes our way. Awesome, right? The word “reward” means “benefit or payment for service”. In Ruth 2:12, the Bible says, “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” Don’t think for a second that our God won’t reward us beyond our service or expectation, because our God exceeds our understanding of what a reward is!

There is real benefit to serving our Lord with boldness and faith, receiving His vision with babe-like obedience. Abram received the vision of the Lord, and the fatherless turned into the father of many nations! What can our faith allow God to conceive in us?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 3, 2021 – 1 Timothy 4:6 – nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine

Hi Everyone!

It is our jobs as believers to make sure the Word of God goes out and spreads throughout the earth. Most don’t realize it, but what we teach, we are able to retain more because the repetition of the Word allows the Word to plant itself deeper within us. Too many of us both fear and are reluctant to share the Word of God, or even fellowship with other believers about the Word, and it stifles our own growth in the process. God gives us simple instructions when it comes to His Word, but most of us refuse to obey, becoming stagnant in our knowledge of the Word and in our impact as believers. How can we become the ministers God ordains for us to be when we won’t conform to His Word? Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 4:6, conforming to the ministry of Jesus Christ,

“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”

The word “brethren” means “people connected in intimacy and fellowship with another, people of the same faith”. In Colossians 1:12-14, the Bible says, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins”. We have this amazing gift that ties us all together; a shared experience with our heavenly Father through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and power through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This shared experience should give us the attitude of wanting to see others receive what we have, and also see this gift grow in other believers. The word “remembrance” means “to place underneath as a foundation”. In John 14:26, Christ says, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” The Holy Ghost brings the Word to our remembrance, and we must do the same for other believers.

The phrase ‘good minister” refers to any virtuous teacher, pastor, deacon or servant who speaks the Word and carries out the intended purpose of God. In Acts 1:8, the Bible says of Christ speaking, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” A minister is no different than a witness, testifying to the things we have seen, heard, and have been given by the Holy Spirit to share with others. In Ephesians 3:6-7, the Bible says, “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” Believers share in the same body, the same promises, the same gospel, and the same ministry, all of which is given by the same grace of God, which is a gift. With this gift, comes the power of God at work in us and through us. Why would we be disobedient, and cut off the access to God’s power to others because we won’t share? Ministry is not about us, but those we are serving by sharing the Word to them.

The phrase “nourished up” means “educated”. The phrase “words of faith” refers to the Word of God, Christian doctrine, the gospel, and all that we as believers in Christ stand for. In 2 Timothy 3:14-15, the Bible says, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” The Holy Spirit has taught us everything we know about the Word of God, and we then should feel led to share this word with others. The word “doctrine” means “instruction from God”. The word “attained” means “to conform oneself to”. In Romans 12:2, the Bible says, “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.” This renewing process is a constant feeding of the Word of God, bringing ourselves into conformity to it. In Matthew 28:20, Christ says, “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.” When we refuse to share the Word of God with people, we are disobeying the Word of God, and hindering the growth of the body of Christ.

May we become generous with the Word of God, being transformed into the good ministers God ordains us to be.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 4, 2021 – 1 Timothy 5:8 – but if any provide not for his own …

Hi Everyone!

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” I remember being asked to speak at the memorial service for a young brother who committed suicide in January 2018, and this was the first thing I asked. This brother received some devastating news, and felt like he had no one to vent to on the new unit they placed him on, so he went to his cell, covered up his window and hung himself. He was 26 years old, a father of two. In that moment, I realized how important being there for people in need is, how being a Christian is about looking after the needs of others, and I recommitted my resolve to leave no person behind. This level of support should begin at home and extend to our faith community and also to nonbelievers as well. How can we effectively display Christ in our lives, while ignoring the needs of people we should hold near and dear to our hearts? Today, we will explore 1 Timothy 5:8, providing for the household of faith.

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

The complete phrase “provide .. for” means “to consider in advance, to see to beforehand, care for”. The word “own” means “pertaining to self, especially the home”. In 1 Peter 5:2-3, the Bible says, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” There is a deliberate generosity that believers must possess, a willingness to see to the needs of the people around us, and if we are to consider them in advance, then the Bible is calling for us know what is going on with the people around us, especially the people in our own house. “I didn’t know” is no longer an excuse, because we are to find out! In John 21:15, Christ is posing a question to Peter. The Bible says, “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.” We display our love for the Lord by providing for those who can’t provide for themselves. A lamb is an animal that can’t protect itself, and is classified as an animal that has to be led to their provision. If we as believers do nothing to provide for others, we send a message that it is okay for someone to starve. This shouldn’t ever be present in the faith, but sadly, it is.

The phrase “of his own household” means “relatives”. How we treat our family is an example of how we will treat others. If a person rolls out the red carpet for a stranger, while leaving their own relatives to starve, then it shows how they feel about their household. In Matthew 25:44-45, Christ says, “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” Do we realize that when we fail to meet the needs of people in our home, and also others that need us, we are essentially doing the same thing to Christ Himself? What does that say about our love? What does that say about our faith? in James 2:15-16, the Bible says, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?” The level of love and faith can only be shown by action, by purposely tending to the needs of others.

“he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”

The word “denied” means, “to desert, to reject, to contradict, declaring it untrue” In 2 Timothy 3:5, the Bible says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” When we make the faith a lie, when we display a lack of love towards believers and unbelievers, we give the Christian faith a black eye, which could cause others to turn away from the faith. In Titus 1:16, the Bible says, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” What we do gives the clearest testimony of who we are, and who we are in the faith. The word “infidel” means “heathen, pagan, disbelieving, untrustworthy”. The person who puts their faith to shame by withholding provision from people in need is worse than someone who rejects the gospel! In Galatians 6:7, the Bible says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” If we turn our backs on people in need, whether they be relatives, people in the faith, or the faithless, God will turn His back to our needs.

Are we our brother’s keeper? Yes we are!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 5, 2021 – Proverbs 28:13 – whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy

Hi Everyone!

There is a television show I watch from time to time that shows video clips of pets. Quite frequently, they show a house completely trashed, garbage everywhere, a pillow shredded to feathers, and shoes chewed on. The owner comes home and walks through the carnage only to find their precious dog hiding in the corner facing the wall! They ask the dog did they do it, but the dog won’t even turn its head to face the owner! A dog acts completely outside of its nature to greet its owner at the door, all because they have done wrong! Sadly, we aren’t much different, committing gross sins against God and then we hide from His presence, even going as far as to cover up our wrongdoing. The evidence against us is overwhelming, but we won’t even face up to it, and ask for God’s forgiveness. God knows we are going to mess up, sometimes royally, but His love is ready to forgive us if we come before Him repentant and just ask. Today, we will look at Proverbs 28:13, receiving God’s forgiveness and mercy through confessing our sins before Him.

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

The word “covereth” means “to conceal, to hide from plain sight”. This is no accidental act. When we try to cover our sins, we are intentionally trying to hide them from God and from others. In 2 Chronicles 16:7, the Bible says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” God sees everything, including the things we intentionally try to hide. The word “sins” means “transgressions, trespasses, to revolt morally or religiously”. When we sin, we are in utter rebellion against the will of God, choosing to live in a manner that is the exact opposite to what He desires and commands for us. In Exodus 2:12, the Bible says, “And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.” Moses sees an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew, one of his brethren, so he stepped in and killed the Egyptian. Moses was the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but he knew the murder he committed was wrong, so he tried to cover it up. In Exodus 2:15, the Bible says, “Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” The truth will always surface, no matter how well we try to hide it. Pharaoh found out and Moses fled. The phrase “shall not prosper” means “will not be profitable, will not advance”. Moses lost everything he had, home, status, power when he covered up his sin, and it caused him to flee from the kingdom he served under. We lose hugely when we conceal our sins.

The word “confesseth” means “to acknowledge as wrong”. Another definition is “to throw a stone at”. In Psalm 32:4-5, the Bible says, “For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” Confession comes from conviction, and when are convicted by sin, we experience a detachment from God that is very unsettlingly. In 2 Corinthians 7:10, the Bible says, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” It is that Godly sorrow experienced that compels us to confess our sins before God. The word “forsaketh” means “relinquish, to separate oneself from”. In Isaiah 55:7, the Bible says, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Do we realize that when we sin, we go our own way, completely abandoning the way of God?

The word “mercy” means “divine compassion”. This compassion isn’t because of any worthy thing we have done, but it’s solely because of God’s sovereign freedom and love to bestow it upon whom He chooses. In Lamentations 3:22-23, the Bible says, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” God’s mercies meet us in the morning when we awaken, and his compassion can’t fail. He is ready to receive us and forgive us if we let Him. In 1 John 1:9, the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God offers an immediate remedy when we confess our sins before Him. He forgives us and cleanses us from ALL unrighteousness, making us good as new!

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but have all confessed our sins?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 6, 2021 – Psalm 55:22 – cast thy burden upon the LORD

Hi Everyone!

Too many believers are trying handle the pressures of life alone. I used to be one of these people, putting everything on my shoulders, bottling up my hurts and frustrations, reluctant to entrust any of this to anyone else. I used this as an excuse to not let anyone else in, including God, so I became an island unto myself. It wasn’t until I developed a real relationship with the Lord that I began to understand that I never had to handle anything in life alone. God is always here for us, ready to help us, or allow His presence to provide the comfort we need to persevere through any trial. Too many believers clutch their burdens to their chest, unwilling to give it to the Lord, and the Church is crumbling at massive rates, because the Body isn’t whole. Today, we will look at Psalms 55:22, casting our burdens before an all powerful God.

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

The word “cast” means “to throw out, throw, throw down, or throw away.” We cannot control what happens to us in life, but we can control where our burdens go. In Matthew 7:6, Christ says, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” The problem with a lot of believers, me included, is we tend to cast our burdens, our wealth, and our identity unto the wrong people and the wrong things, not giving God what He asks us for. God wants our burdens! In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible says, “Casting ALL your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Do we really understand that our God loves us and cares about what we go through? God never designed us to live without His presence or His help, but if we won’t come to God, how can we ever expect Him to respond? In Matthew 7:7, Christ says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”. Another one of our problems is we somehow believe that God is too busy dealing with important matters to bother with our “little problems”. That is a lie from the enemy. God says, ‘Cast ALL your care”, so nothing is too small or too big for our God.

The word “burden” means “something given, a lot that is dispensed”. Simply put, sometimes life hurts, and we are given things that are painful to endure. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul writes of his own experience, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was GIVEN to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” This thorn was given to him to endure, and in his displeasure, Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:8, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” Paul asked God three times to remove the thorn. It is during this time of asking God that we feel like He’s not hearing us, because the answer doesn’t come right away. When it does come, it is Christ who sends the answer! In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Bible says, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” The answer is for us to rely on the grace and strength of God, and not on our own power and ability to endure. Whether the answer requires us to rely solely upon God or to do something ourselves, the answer has to come from God. We have to bring it to Him first! The word “sustain” means “to feed, guide, or nourish”. In Matthew 7:9, Christ says, “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” God is not going to allow us to ask Him for help and not give us the help we need.

“He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

The word “suffer” means “to grant permission”. In order for anything to happen to us, God has to give permission, but it goes deeper. The word “moved” means “to cause to permanently decay, fall or slip”. Here is the condition. The word “righteous” refers to believers who are in conformity to God’s standards and His Word. In Psalm 37:23-24, the Bible says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” So God won’t give permission for the burden to be permanent IF He is ordering our steps! In 2 Corinthians 4:17, the Bible says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. Our burdens as believers conformed into the standards of our God are temporary, but this will only happen when we cast our burden unto the Lord. If the process doesn’t begin with God, it will not end in our favor.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 7, 2021 – Lamentations 4:2 – the work of the hands of the potter

Hi Everyone!

The Church is suffering an identity crisis. God created us to reign, only to find His children subjecting themselves to bondage and fear. Instead of beholding a Church that brings us into conformity with the identity God placed within us, we have accepted the lies of the enemy, and titles that grieve our loving God. As the world becomes more and more Godless, people are going further and further away from the people God created us to be. Our identities are in the Word of God, and if we go any other place to receive our identity, we are going to be grossly misled. The level of brokenness, poor self-esteem, and hopelessness that exists in the Church behind closed doors is heartbreaking, and we have to establish ourselves in the Word of God to re-establish our identity in Christ. Today, we will look at Lamentations 4:2, who we really are in Christ.

“The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!”

The word “precious” means “valuable or honorable”. The word “son” doesn’t just pertain to male children, but to children period, especially the adopted ones. A son is the builder of the family name. In Genesis 1:27-28, the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Firstly  God created us to have dominion and subdue the earth. God created us with authority! It is a symbol of complete trust in our capability to give us the whole earth to have dominion in and to subdue. How many people on this earth would we trust with all of our banking information, identification information, or anything of immense value? That person would have to be someone we think incredibly highly of, correct? How can we as a Church ever have a poor self image when we have such an amazing God who entrusts the whole world to us! In Exodus 19:5-6, the Bible says, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” God deems us to be a unique possession of immense value, priests in a kingdom, and a nation holy and set apart by God. Why is the Church filled with people who don’t understand just how precious we truly are?

“comparable to fine gold, how are they esteemed as earthen pitchers,”

The word “fine’ means “good”. The word “good” expresses the fulfillment of God’s intended purpose from the beginning. In Job 23:10, the Bible says, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Fine gold is tried, which means it goes into the fire, where all the impurities are burned off it, leaving the gold undefiled. In 1 Peter 1:7, the Bible says, “That the trial of your faith, being much MORE PRECIOUS than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”. So if faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, which means our faith is tied to the Word of God, then we have to securely place our trust in who God says we are. That is more precious than even we are! The word “esteemed’ means “considered, fashioned, or invented”. The word “earthen” means “any vessel made from clay”. The word “pitchers” means “vessels, especially a vase”. In Genesis 2:7, the Bible says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The word “dust” means “clay or mud”. Please understand this. We are the ONLY thing God created that HE TOUCHED!! Everything else, He spoke and it emerged, but He TOUCHED us!

“The work of the hands of the potter!”

The word “work” means “product”. The word “hands” means “power, means, and direction”, but it also means our hands because He formed us with His hands. The word “potter” refers to our God. In Jeremiah 18:6, the Bible says, “O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.” We can’t establish our own identity as clay in the hands of the Potter. We are who He created us to be! in Ephesians 2:10, the Bible says, “For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” We are the prized possession of God, His crowning achievement. That is who we are!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 8, 2021 – Titus 2:12 – we should live soberly, righteously, and godly

Hi Everyone!

God desires for His children to live Godly lives. He gives us His Word, so we can use it as the standard for our lives, and be an example of Him in this world we live in. Free will has caused people to make choices to not follow the Word of God, people make the conscious decision to live their lives to fulfill the lusts they have burning inside of them. There must be something different about the Church, and the Body should be a constant representation of the attributes of Christ. Too many times, there are more scandals within the walls of our congregations instead of manifestations of the Holy Spirit, and we as a Church are losing the war against the world. This shouldn’t be. Today, we will look at Titus 2:12, living a Godly life in an ungodly world.

“Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

The word “teaching” means “to educate, to instruct, to train up, to admonish by word and deed”. A big part of our instruction is by actions, by showing people how it is done, rather than just telling them. In Proverbs 22:6, the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Training up people is a very hands on experience, where we not only teach by example, but we follow through by making sure they can apply the teaching to their lives. Jesus told the disciples in 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.” This means the Church has to be diligent in making sure that people are being taught how to live the faith out. Too many people are just told what to do and what not to do, and the faith is misconstrued as a bunch of rules instead of a developing relationship with a loving God.

“denying ungodliness and worldly lusts”

The word “denying” means “to reject or contradict, to declare as untrue”. The word “ungodliness’ means “impiety towards God in thought or action”. In 2 Timothy 2:15, the Bible says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” It begins in the Word of God, where we plant the truth in our hearts, so we will clearly see a lie when it presents itself. Study means we do more than just read the Word of God. We break down Scripture to allowing the Holy Spirit to produce the meaning. In James 1:5, the Bible says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” We have to ask God for the wisdom we need to receive His Word in truth. If we can’t, or won’t, receive the Word of God in truth, then how can we ever expect to live it out? The phrase “worldly lusts” means “conforming ourselves to long for what is forbidden and corrupt.” We can’t blame Satan for the corruption we receive and live out. The devil didn’t make us do anything! We also can’t blame God for the temptations we find ourselves under. In James 1:13-14, the Bible says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” We have to hold ourselves accountable for the lusts that we are enticed by. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Bible says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God, in His abounding love and infinite mercy, gives us the ability to escape and triumph over temptation.

“we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world”.

The world “soberly” means “of sound mind”. The word “righteously” implies living in conformity to God’s will. The phrase “present world” refers to the system of the world, the moral and physical evils, cares, desires, and temptations. in John 16:33, Christ says, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Christ overcame the world, and in doing so, gave us the ability to do the same through Him. In Titus 2:7, the Bible says, “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity”. The Word of God gives us everything we need to live a Godly life, and the Holy Spirit both leads and convicts us as we live our lives unto the Lord. A believer should only focus on living a life for the Lord, not living a life of sin, because darkness can’t exist in the light. The power of sin is broken!

Let us live as shining examples of victory over the world through Jesus Christ our Lord!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 9, 2021 – Titus 3:1 – to be ready to every good work

Hi Everyone!

God institutes order in our world, and part of that order is obedience. There are authorities in place that are selected by God to be exactly where they are, and whether we like it or not, we as believers must obey their directives. The only exception is, if they are ordering us to NOT worship our God through prayer, fellowship, praising God, or carrying out His will. In prison, where I am currently housed, there are officers who work here who don’t handle themselves well. The staff may be nonbelievers, but the position they have is ordained by God, and we must respect that. Also It is not easy, but God never said it would be. In difficulty, we sometimes have the greatest opportunity to make a strong case for the faith, and our obedience to authority is received by our God as obedience to Him. Today, we will look at Titus 3:1, submitting to authority.

“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work”

The phrase “put them in mind” suggests that we must leave a reminder with people, causing them to consider the message. In Romans 15:14, the Bible says, “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” God equips us with His goodness and His Word, to be extended to others, so we can build each other up in knowledge and in correction. As believers, we should desire that the people around us are at their best, thinking at their best, and also living the lives God intends them to live.

The phrase “to be subject” means “to subordinate, to obey, to submit oneself to, and to place oneself under the authority of.” This requires a conscious decision, and it is not automatic. In Romans 13:1, the Bible says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” This is why the Word of God is so important, because if we don’t study the Word, we probably won’t understand that the authority we place ourselves under is of God and ordained by God. God is essentially telling us that if we obey them, we are obeying Him. On January 6, 2021, groups of protestors stormed the United States Capitol in an act of sheer defiance to the laws of our land and the powers God ordained to be in place. In the process, many people were hurt, some died, and many were indicted. Most of the protestors thought they were doing the right thing, doing what’s best for our country, and some were professed Christians. In Romans 13:2, the Bible says, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” The authority politicians are under, whether we like it or not, is ordained by God, and God is looking for His children to obey, unless the authority is telling us to not worship and serve our God. In Acts 5:28-29, the Bible says, “Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Any authority that tells us to not serve our God is not obeying the will of God. In that respect, we have to obey the Word of God.

The word “principalities” means “rulers, authorities, people of power.” The word “powers” speaks of those who have been entrusted with power over us. This just doesn’t mean governmental bodies, but it also means our bosses on the job, the teachers at school, the offices of the Church, the hierarchy in the home, or the rules and laws that govern us. In 1 Peter 2:13, the Bible says, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme”. Our obedience and subjection is not about us, but about God. The phrase “obey magistrates” means “conform to the advice, counsel, or orders of the rulers in place.” In Hebrews 13:17, the Bible says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” We want to make the jobs of the people in easier by our obedience.

“to be ready for every good work”

This means we have adjusted ourselves and prepared ourselves to labor effectively for the will of God to be done. In Colossians 1:10, the Bible says, “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”. God desires us to be fruitful in our work, but we must be obedient and place ourselves under subjection to powers God has ordained.

If we can’t obey men created in the image of God, then how can we ever obey God?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 10, 2021 – Hebrews 2:8 – Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet

Hi Everyone!

As believers, Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. It is by Him that salvation is attained to all those who believe on His name and receive Him as Lord and Savior. It is by Him that we are able to partake in the divine nature, and also by Him that we receive the Holy Spirit, which gives us access to the same power He possessed when He walked the earth. This is the same Christ who, by His death and resurrection, took the power of death from the enemy and the consequences of sin from us. If we are at war, would we ever want to be under the direction of someone who has never triumphed, or under the Headship of someone who doesn’t have power? If the Name of Jesus Christ is all-powerful, then surely He must be all-powerful as well. Today, we will look at Hebrews 2:8, the might and power of Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

The word “Thou” is referring to God. God is the Creator of the world and everything in it, and it is His purpose being fulfilled on this earth. Nothing happens in this world without God knowing about it beforehand. This world we live in belongs to God. In Psalm 24:1, the Bible says, “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” Everything belongs to God, and there is not a thing on this earth that doesn’t belong to Him. He created everything for His glory. In 2 Samuel 22:33, the Bible says, “God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.” There is only one God, and He is the one that gives the power for us to operate in this world as children of God.

The phrase “put..in subjection” means “to bring under the control our power of”. The verse says “all things”, so God took His power and gave it to someone else to rule in His place. Who is that person? Jesus Christ! In Colossians 1:15-17, the Bible says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Jesus Christ fulfilled the initial design God had for us since He created mankind, given in Genesis 1:26, which says, “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.” Who better than Christ to surrender all control to, the person who overcame the world?

Christ says in Matthew 28:18, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Christ acknowledged that the power He had, ”ALL POWER,” was given to Him. What is the first command He gave right after He proclaimed that He had all power? He commanded the disciples to go and make disciples to all the nations, baptize them, and teach them to follow the Word of God. Christ commanded that we serve! If we received all power, what is the first thing we would do with it? Ouch! Here what Christ did with this power. In Philippians 2:6-7, the Bible says, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men”. Christ knew who He was, and the power He possessed, but instead of taking the position of a king, He took the form of a servant, trading His Deity for the flesh of men. How many of us would use this power to serve others, live without sin, and then give ourselves to die for the sins of mankind? In Philippians 2:9, the Bible says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name”. Because Christ humbled Himself, He was highly exalted, and was given a name above every name.

“But now we see not yet all things put under Him”

The key to this part of the verse is “we see not”. In 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, the Bible says, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” This means that Christ still reigns today! The promises He has given us, the words He spoke, and the commands He has given us are still active. We have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit, and also to the power of God allowing us to conform into the image of Christ. This is how it will be to the end!

Let us use the power we have received through Christ to serve others as He did!

God Bless!

Marshall

  

Aug 11, 2021 – Hebrews 2:17 – that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest

Hi Everyone!

Do we really understand what Christ did for us? I know for me, it doesn’t always stay “fresh” in my mind, but there come moments where I study the Word, or hear the Word preached, and it brings a completely new understanding, causing me to be in awe again at the undying love God has for us. Today, I came to an understanding about Christ that made tears well up in my eyes. He HAD to come and take on flesh and blood so He could be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. He desires to completely understand us at our level in order to know exactly how to deliver us from our bondage. Imagine the richest person in the world stripping themselves of their wealth to live among the homeless, to experience their kind of living so they can deliver them from homelessness! That’s what Christ did for us, and that attitude was already present in Him before He came! Today, we will take a look at our awesome Savior in Hebrews 2:17, and understand the magnitude of His love for us.

“Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

The phrase “in all things” suggests that there is nothing that is not covered by what Christ did for us. In Romans 8:37, the Bible says, “Nay, IN ALL these THINGS we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Nothing on this earth stops us from being MORE than conquerors through Christ Jesus. In 2 Peter 1:3, the Bible says, “According as his divine power hath given unto us ALL THNGS that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue”. Whatever we need to live a Godly life has been freely given to us as children of God through Christ Jesus our Lord. Whatever God does for us through Jesus Christ is complete and is all-encompassing.

The word “behoved” means “necessary, or of necessity”. So if it “behoved Him”, then that is saying that Christ believed it to be absolutely necessary to “be made like unto His brethren”. Do you know what this means? It means Christ made the decision to come down to earth and robe Himself in flesh, and He made the decision BEFORE He came! In John 8:56-58, Christ says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Christ existed before He was born of Mary, and came to this world and intentionally took on flesh and blood for us, but not JUST to be our atoning sacrifice.

“That he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God”

The word “merciful” means “compassionate”. The word “faithful” means “trustworthy in performance and duty.” In Hebrews 4:15-16, the Bible says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Christ felt it was necessary to come down, robe Himself in flesh and blood, and experience life through our eyes, through our mind, and through our heart. Christ lived on earth so He could understand us better, so He could use this understanding to be compassionate to us. In 1 John 2:1-2, the Bible says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” An advocate is like a lawyer who defends us and speaks on our behalf, so Christ came down here to be able to defend us better to God! A High Priest was responsible for offering the sacrifice for sins, but Christ became both the High Priest AND the sacrifice!

“to make reconciliation for the sins for the people”

The word “reconciliation” means “atonement, or propitiation.” In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Christ took on flesh and blood, but ultimately took on the sins of the world, all to satisfy the debt of sin upon us. in Romans 5:10, the Bible says, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Christ died on the cross to bring us into full forgiveness for our sins, saving us from the penalty of death. Christ wanted to reestablish our relationships with God and invite us into the kingdom of God as children and heirs, as kings and priests, as people who will become witnesses in all the earth!

Christ deemed it necessary to come down in order to set us free! How powerful is His love for us!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 12, 2021Philippians 2:12 – work out your own salvation with fear and trembling

Hi Everyone!

Who are we when no one is around to correct our behavior? Every believer is responsible for their own salvation. Sure we have an obligation to spread the Word of God to all we can, pointing them to the way to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, but the salvation part is completely up to them. We can’t force salvation upon anyone who doesn’t want it, nor can we force anyone to live a holy life. There comes a point in time where we have to live out what we were taught and trained up to do, a time where the training wheels have to come off. Will we hold onto our faith? Will we cleave to obedience? Will we continue to progress in the absence of our pastorate? Who are we when no one is around to correct our behavior? Today we will look at Philippians 2:12, walking out the faith for ourselves.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

The word “beloved” refers to the Church, Christians united with God and one another in bonds of holy love. As believers, do we really understand that we are connected to God and each other by Christ? In Ephesians 4:3-6, the Bible says, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” The key word to this is “endeavoring”. This requires an effort on everyone’s part to keep the unity God ordains us to have. He won’t force us to be family, neither does He want us to force unity among the Church. The Bible says we are a body, and a body is designed to work together to perform the functions God intends.

“As ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now more in my absence”

The word “obeyed” means “to heed or conform to the authority of God or our spiritual leadership”. In Ephesians 6:5-7, the Bible says, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” When we are obedient to our spiritual leadership, it is the same thing as if we are obeying God. Obedience should be sincere, from the heart, and because we desire to obey our God.  In Romans 1:5, the Bible says, “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” God gives us the grace, the training and ability to be obedient to Him, and from that provision, people then make the choice to obey or not obey the Word of the Lord. In Romans 15:18, the Bible says, “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed”. We are only supposed to give others what God gives us to help them obey Him, and that is found in the words He gives us to speak and the work He has required us to do. The spiritual leadership trains us believers to live holy lives, and we are to live that out even more when the leaders  aren’t around.

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”

The phrase “work out” means “accomplish, finish, to continually labor to bring into completion.” In Romans 6:19, the Bible says, “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Each day we must choose to live holy lives and, yield our members (parts of people) as servants of righteousness. No one can make that choice for us. The word “salvation” means “deliverance from sin and its spiritual consequences, and admission to eternal life”. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, the Bible says, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” We work out our salvation by keeping our body, mind, and heart under subjection to the Word of God. “Fear and trembling” implies a deep reverential sense of accountability. If we are afraid of anything, it should be of offending our Lord by our words or deeds. In Isaiah 66;2, the Bible says, “For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” When we are taught the Word of God, we should be taught to develop our own relationship with God, where we seek and obey Him for ourselves. It is only through our own relationship with God that we develop the deepest Godly reverence we need to finish our race.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 13, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 1 of 19 Parts – Psalm 51:1 – have mercy upon me

Hi Everyone!

We all have done things in our lives that we aren’t proud of, and we definitely all have done things in our lives that have sorely displeased God. We have all sinned, we have all come short of the mark God has set for us, and we all need God, who is more than willing to forgive us of our sins. We live in a society where a person’s sins and shortcomings are put on open display, but our God wants to forgive us and wipe our slates clean. The way God deals with sin and the way we deal with sin are sometimes two different ways, and that shouldn’t be. We are more reluctant to forgive than our God, even after receiving forgiveness ourselves. Today we are going to look at Psalm 51:1, a study into the life changing forgiveness of our God.

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.”

David wrote this Psalm after coming to the realization of his sin, when he slept with Bathsheba, tried to cover up the sin, and when he was unable to do so, had Uriah the Hittite killed, taking Bathsheba to be his wife. God identified David as being a man after God’s own heart, someone who fellowshipped with God daily, who inquired of the Lord about all things. He was someone God doted on and loved immensely, and yet he sinned terribly. In Romans 3:23, the Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” No matter what our status is in society; king, priest, believer or nonbeliever, we are all going to sin and come short of God’s glory. No one is exempt, everyone will sin, but what happens next means everything. In 1 John 1:9, the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God has provision in place for those believers who sin and come short, but what about the unbelievers? In Romans 5:8, the Bible says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God also has provision in place to forgive the unbeliever too!

The word “mercy” means “to bend or stoop in kindness towards an inferior, to be gracious toward someone in need.” David humbled himself as a king, asking God to step in and show Him grace as a sinner. In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” We have to believe that God is capable of forgiveness and willing to do it for us in order to have the confidence to come before Him. The word “lovingkindness” means “goodness and faithfulness to preserve our lives, and redeem us from sin.” There is no true forgiveness without love. in 1 Peter 4:8, the Bible says, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” God’s love and mercy opens the floodgates for forgiveness when we humble ourselves and come before the Lord with a sincere heart.

“According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies,”

The word “according” refers to the standard by which a command or promise is governed by. The word “multitude” means “abundance.” The phrase “tender mercies” means “compassion like a mother cherishing the womb.” In Psalm 69:16, the Bible says, “Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.” Our sins cause us to turn away from God, and also causes God to turn away from us. Asking for forgiveness is our turning back to God, asking Him to turn back to us. In Psalm 106:45, the Bible says, “And he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.” When we turn back to the Lord, humble ourselves and ask for His forgiveness, God remembers his promises and removes the penalty behind our sins. To repent implies a changing of the mind.

“blot out my transgressions.”

The phrase “blot out” means “to erase, or wipe out”. In Isaiah 43:25, the Bible says, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” God alone is the one who blots out our transgressions, erasing them from His memory. How many of us are capable of forgiving someone on this level? The word “transgressions” means “a revolt or rebellion against God and His commands.” When we sin, we are sinning against God first! In Isaiah 44:22, the Bible says, “I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.” God forgives us so we can return to Him, serving Him with our entire hearts, without our sins hindering our fellowship with God. He doesn’t desire us to hold on to our sins, neither does He desire to hold our sins against us. Our God is mighty to save and redeem those who are lost.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 14, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 2 – Psalm 51:2 – wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin

Hi Everyone!

Sinfulness creates filth in our lives. Every time we sin, it is like we are taking something from a landfill and throwing it into our homes. The more we sin, the more our homes fill up with filth, and eventually our homes will be deemed inhabitable and subsequently condemned. Christ came to this world to live and to die, allowing His shed blood to be the substitute for our sins, clearing the filth from our homes and making them brand new. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us fully, but sadly, people try to cleanse themselves, operating on their own righteousness, and find themselves only adding to the filth that is heaping in their lives. It is only when we humble ourselves before God, acknowledge the sins that we have committed, and ask Him for His forgiveness that the cleansing process will begin. We can’t miss a step in this process. Today, we will look at Psalm 51:2, the cleansing power of God.

“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

The word “wash” means “God’s internal cleansing of the heart”. The key word is “God’s”. Some people have this almost insane mentality that doing good will cleanse them of the filth they have carried around, that doing good will balance out the wrong they have done. It is God’s INTERNAL cleansing, spiritual cleansing that makes us clean. The word “throughly” means “completely or entirely”. God doesn’t miss a spot when He cleanses us. In Hebrews 9:13-14, the Bible says, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” The old testament required blood sacrifices of bulls, goats, cow and sheep for purification, but this process would have to be repeated year after year because the sacrifices were only for a limited time. Their blood could not fully satisfy the debt of sin. In 1 John 1:7, the Bible says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from ALL sin.” Man is incapable of cleansing himself from ALL sin, but the blood of Jesus Christ can!

The word “iniquity” means “perversity, moral evil, conscious and deliberate wrongdoing.” I remember when I lived in iniquity, choosing to involve myself in gangs, choosing to pollute my community with drugs, choosing to get involved in shootings, and the list goes on. I was the worst of the worst, and there is no way that I deserved forgiveness of my sins and cleansing of my iniquity. In Isaiah 1:16, the Bible says, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil.” God’s cleansing allows us the ability to walk away from that iniquity, from the life of sin that kept us in bondage. In Isaiah 64:6, the Bible says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Man loves to condemn us for living a life that doesn’t please God, instead of helping us find our way back to Him, but our best efforts at righteousness are still filthy rags to God. In Titus 2:14, the Bible says, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” ALL iniquity. This means that the blood of Christ will cleanse us from everything we have ever done. God’s cleansing is complete.

“Cleanse me from my sin”

The “cleanse” means “to be pure, to be emptied.” In Revelation 1:5-6, the Bible says, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Do we understand that God’s cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ was the greatest act of love, and also positioned us to be a part of the kingdom of God, as kings and priests? We went from filthy to favored, from sinful to saved, from horrible to honored, all because of the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ to all who believe on His name. In Jeremiah 33:8, the Bible says, “And I will cleanse them from all their iniquity, whereby they have sinned against me; and I will pardon all their iniquities, whereby they have sinned, and whereby they have transgressed against me.” The word “sin” means “offense or habitual sinfulness.” God is ready to cleanse us but we have to come to Him and ask, then get out of His way, and allow Him the room to do it. The question is, will we trust him with our filth?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 15, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 3 – Psalm 51:3 – for I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Hi Everyone!

It can be hard to admit that we are wrong. The majority of our relationships suffer because we fail to admit we are wrong and humble ourselves to ask for forgiveness. My sister Angela, who passed away in 2017, felt she wronged me since we were kids, blaming herself for every bad thing that happened to me thereafter. She came from Florida to visit me in prison just to apologize and make things right. What happened in that visiting room July 16, 2016 is etched into my mind forever, and has really governed my life ever since. There IS no tomorrow when it comes to asking for forgiveness, or for forgiving those who have wronged us. Tomorrow may never come. My sister told me she HAD to come make things right with me, not knowing she would get diagnosed with cancer a couple months after the visit and go to be with the Lord 10 months later. God is standing right here, ready to forgive all who come to Him confessing sin, and seeking His mercy and forgiveness. The question is, will we swallow our pride and admit to our faults? Today, we will look at Psalm 51:3, acknowledging our sin before God.

“For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”

“Acknowledge” means “to discern, to perceive, or to confess.” In 1 John 1:8-9, the Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Have we noticed the word ‘IF” in this verse? The word “if” expresses a condition in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing. When we acknowledge our sin, we are bringing it to the surface, and calling it what it is, sin. Without this acknowledgement, forgiveness can’t begin. In Psalm 32:5, the Bible says, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.” The word “transgressions” means “revolt or rebellion against God and His commands.” Acknowledging our sins before man is okay, but acknowledging our sins before God is the key. He is the only Person who can completely forgive us from sin, and restore us into right standing with Him. Hiding our sins does nothing because God sees everything. In Psalm 38:18, the Bible says, “For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.” When we confess our sins, we should have the right attitude. It should bring us sorrow to displease God, and we should be genuinely sorry for what we have done. As people, we won’t accept an insincere apology, so do we honestly believe God will?

“and my sin is ever before me”

The word “sin” means “offense against God.” The word “ever” means “continually, or constantly”. This is showing us that our sins will hang over us until we acknowledge them and ask God for forgiveness. In 2 Corinthians 7:9-10, the Bible says, “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Sometimes we are convicted when someone else points out the sin within us. Sometimes, their merely sharing the Word of God is sufficient to convict them of sin. I know this very well, because many times, it felt like the pastor’s message was directed at me, addressing some fault I needed forgiveness for. In Isaiah 59:12-13, the Bible says, “For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.” When we sin against the Lord, it presents clear testimony of our actions before God, showing how apart from God’s presence we are through our sin. As representatives of God on this earth, we reflect God’s light, and when we sin, we make God out to be a liar. In Genesis 4:7, the Bible says, “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.” God knew Cain’s heart and knew he had a heart fast approaching sin. He tried to warn Cain, but Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel. In Genesis 4:10, the Bible says, “And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Our actions will always give testimony, and our charges cry from the ground!

Let us acknowledge our sins before a merciful God who will wipe our records clean!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 16, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 4 – Psalm 51:4 – against thee, thee only, have I sinned

Hi Everyone!

Do we really understand that when we sin, it is God who is the most offended? We may hurt people, and the scars may be extensive, but it is God who we have to seek forgiveness from in order to experience full and complete restoration. People may never forgive us for what we have done, and many of us still carry “Scarlett Letters” in the sight of others, but God wipes away our sin with His endless love for us. We as believers have to keep the proper perspective about sin – who our sin is actually against beneath the surface, if we are to ever be free of the burden sin carries. I remember apologizing to my family more times than I can count for the way I acted and treated them when I was in the world, but many of them still hold my faults against me to this day. The day I realized that seeking God’s forgiveness would wash away the offense some of my family never forgave me for became the most liberating day of my life. The weight was gone! Today, we will look at Psalm 51:4, the real victim behind our sin.

“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”

The word “sinned” means “missed the mark.” In Genesis 1:27, the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” We have to first realize that mankind was created in the image and likeness of God, so we are to be both the physical and spiritual representation of God on this earth. Here is why, even when we sin against man, it still gravely affects our God. In 1 John 4:12, the Bible says, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” No one has seen the physical person of God, but we experience God through our love for our brothers and sisters. Here’s where it gets real. In 1 John 4:20, the Bible says, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” The way we treat each other is an example of how we will treat God. Man was created in the image and likeness of God, so when we sin against man, it is just as if we we’re looking in the face of God and committing the sin against Him. Here is why our sins hurt God more than man. 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” God does not sin, has nothing to do with sin, and even sent His son, who knew no sin to become sin for us, so we can become righteous in God’s sight. God has done so much to give us the outlet of forgiveness from sin, so it grieves Him to continue to witness us sin before Him.

“And done this evil in thy sight”

The word “done” means “performed or accomplished”. The word “evil” means “moral or ethical wrong, something disagreeable to God.” The phrase ”in thy sight” pertains to being in the presence of God. Putting all of this together, David, the writer of this Psalm, recognizes that he has performed a moral wrong, something that sorely displeased God, and he committed the act right in the presence of God. Ouch! In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Bible says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” God doesn’t miss anything that we do, good or bad. This is why bad things happen, because of the sin that is in the world. When we realize that it is God we are ultimately sinning against, it should convict us. In Acts 2:37, the Bible says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Our conviction should always push us toward making things right with God.

“that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest”

The word “justified” means “declared right or innocent”. This means we can’t blame God for the sin we commit. In Romans 3:4, the Bible says, “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” The word “judgest” means “to pronounce a sentence to either vindicate or punish”. In Psalm 119:160, the Bible says, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” God calls it as it is, and whatever He declares has always been true since the beginning. There is no getting around it!

If our God declares that when we sin, we are actually sinning against Him, then let us approach sin from that standpoint.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 17, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 5 – Psalm 51:5 – behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Hi Everyone!

Since Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the fruit of the tree that God expressly told them not to eat from, mankind has been the heir to a sin nature. Sin becomes this natural occurrence in our lives, where we don’t have to be prompted to do wrong. That attribute is in all of us, and no one is exempt from it. As people, we like to rate sin according to our personal convictions instead of rating it to the Word of God. There is no such thing as a little or big sin, because all sin carries the same stench to our Father’s nostrils. Even in prison, one can chronicle the lives of brothers and there was always some level of negative influence that exposed us to things that are unnatural to God, and these behaviors can be traced back for generations. We were born with this sin nature, but it doesn’t have to remain that way, because by salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, we are born again with a new nature, born of Spirit instead of flesh. Today, we will look at Psalm 51:5, the nature of sin in us.

”Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

The word “behold” is a word expressing emphasis that is needed to be placed upon a thought or statement. It can also be used to express surprise, as if one received an epiphany. In Genesis 1:31, the Bible says, “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” I see the word “behold” in this verse and I see it hitting – God just how awesome His creative hand is, and how proud He is of what He created.

“I was shapen in iniquity”

The word “shapen” means “twisted or formed.” This isn’t God’s fault, nor did He create us like this. This is the nature of sin that has passed from generation to generation since Adam. In Job 14:4, the Bible says, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” No matter how good we act, there is still a sin nature that must be eradicated from everyone’s life, and my parents’ salvation is not sufficient to pay for the sin nature I was born with. Everyone must receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order to be born again and not be in dominion to the sin nature we inherited. In Psalm 58:2-3, the Bible says, “Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” Our sin nature is rooted in the deepest parts of us, causing wickedness to spring forth, estranging us from God from the womb! Ouch! The word “iniquity” means “perversity, moral evil, and conscious wrongdoing.” In Job 15:12-14, the Bible says, “Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at, That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth? What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?” When we lived in iniquity, there was a rebellion in our heart towards God that made us disobey Him. Our hearts were tainted, our speech was sinful, and we didn’t have to be taught this. Our sin nature was attracted to disorder, and addicted to lawlessness. In Psalm 5:4-5, the Bible says, “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” Just because God knows we are born with this sin nature, doesn’t mean that He is okay with it, nor will He ever condone it. Fortunately for us, Hebrew 8:12, the Bible says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” This is done when we come to God in faith, accepting His gift of forgiveness and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

“and in sin did my mother conceive me”

The word “sin” here speaks of the accumulated shortcomings that ultimately leads to sin. In Romans 5:12, the Bible says, “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.” We have to understand as believers that we did nothing to inherit the sin nature given to us through the disobedience of Adam. It was a generational curse, penalizing us for sin we have nothing to do with. Here’s the good news! In Romans 5:17-18 the Bible says, “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Our sin natures aren’t final!! Through salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, we are born again of God to experience grace and life, and able to experience the spiritual nature!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 18, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 6 – Psalm 51:6 – behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts

Hi Everyone!

Truth is something uncomfortable to those who has no desire for it, but for believers, it is woven into the tapestry of our faith. We cannot have faith without truth, and we cannot have truth without the Word of God. When we came into the faith, we had to acknowledge our shortcomings, had to confess the sin that had severely broken our lives, we had to express our understanding that we could do nothing to pay for the debt of sin we carried, and we had to understand that forgiveness could only come by God, and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Our God only accepts truth as we come seeking His forgiveness. How many of us can fully accept the wrong what we’ve done as wrong, without making excuses for why it was done? Today, we will explore Psalm 51:6, the necessity of truth.

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.”

The word “behold” is once again mentioned in Psalm 51, and this word is used, to beckon someone to pay attention to whatever is said or revealed, but it also expresses surprise, like one who has received an epiphany. It seems like, as David is praying, he is receiving revelation, giving him an understanding into God and how He works. David openly fellowshipped with God, and inquired of Him for any question, comment, or concern he had, and God gave him the answers He was looking for. David wasn’t the only one! In Psalm 73:1-3, the Bible says, “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish ….”. Asaph, another writer of the Psalms, was disheartened when he saw the wicked parading their wealth around, mocking God as they did it. He felt they didn’t deserve any of the blessing they received, and he let God know how he felt. Asaph had to get to a place of complete honesty with God about how he felt. God requires brutal truth, but He will respond with the answers we need for our peace to return to us. In Psalm 73:16-17, the Bible says, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” God allowed Asaph to see that the material possessions of the wicked are short-lived, because they are on their way to destruction. In Matthew 16:26, Christ says, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” God gives us the unfiltered truth, real truth.

The word “desireth” means “to incline to, to bend towards, also implying attraction.” The word “truth” means “faithfulness, stability, and certainty.” The only way we can be faithful, stable, and certain is by the Word of God. That is the only truth in this world. In John 14:6, Christ says, ” … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The truth is the only way to God, and also the only way to forgiveness. In John 1:14, the Bible says, “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.” We can only become what we are full of, and if we aren’t full of truth, then we can’t be full of forgiveness. In Proverbs 16:6, the Bible says, “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.” Sin can’t be removed without truth, because in Proverbs 28:13, it says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Let us not give God half of the story. Let us trust God with the full truth. The phrase “inward parts” implies our innermost thoughts, the deepest parts of us, from the place we love to keep buried.

“and in the hidden part, thou shalt make me to know wisdom”

The phrase “hidden part” means “the secret portions.” The word “know” is a relationship/marital term, that expresses us becoming one with what God reveals, so in this case, we become one with the truth. The word “wisdom” is the manifested knowledge and fear of God, given by Word and displayed through His will. in Proverbs 1:23, the Bible says, “Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” The truth is designed to show us where we are both right and wrong, and if we allow the truth to correct us, then we will receive the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the Word of God. In Proverbs 2:6, it says, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” When we become one with the truth, acknowledging our sin before God, He will begin a change in us from the deepest part of us that will give us His Spirit, His wisdom, and His truth to live abundant lives with.

Our God delights in truth. Do we?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 19, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 7 – Psalm 51:7 – wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow

Hi Everyone!

In prison, when I invite people to attend church service or when I talk to brothers about the faith, I frequently hear the same type of responses from brothers who don’t want to make the step towards God. They tend to say that they want to make sure they are all the way right before they come to church because they don’t want “to be playing with God,” or they say they don’t want to be a hypocrite like others they have seen around here. Some have said that they have gone too far and they are beyond saving. It is kind of odd that they are saying this to someone convicted of murder, serving a life sentence (at the current moment-God is at work on my freedom as I type!). There are too many people who won’t come to the faith because all they see is the daunting task of trying to clean themselves up to come before God, and don’t realize that it is the blood of Jesus Christ that God has given us that cleanses us. When God cleanses us, we are clean, but will we forsake the mentality that tells us we have to clean ourselves up first? Today, we will be looking at Psalm 51:7, the cleansing of our Lord.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

The word “purge” means “purifying, to free, to refine.” The idea of purging is to pull out impurities from a substance or person in order to make them pure before God. Last time I checked, we can’t pull anything out of ourselves. In Psalm 73:13, the Bible says, “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.” One of the major problems that prevent people from coming to the faith fully is we are trying to cleanse ourselves, we are trying to purge the filth from ourselves, and we are leaving God out of the equation. In Acts 10:15, the Bible says, “And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” What GOD hath cleansed, not us! If we could cleanse ourselves, or purge the filth from ourselves, then Jesus Christ dying on the cross was for no reason whatsoever. in Malachi 3:3, the Bible says, “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.” The results of the purging process are similar to the refining process, where the substance that touches us pulls the impurities from us, making us pure and clean. Only God can do this, so if we are looking to operate in our own strength and righteousness, we will fail miserably.

The word “hyssop” speaks of a leafy plant with a hairy stem, which could be used for brushing. Examples would be an Egyptian marjoram and thyme. In Exodus 12:21-22, the Bible says, “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.” The first mention of the word hyssop was during the first Passover, when they used the hyssop to dip into the lamb’s blood and strike the lintels and side posts, so when the Lord passed through Egypt to smite the firstborn, those who struck their side post and lintels were passed over and saved. In John 1:29, the Bible says, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Christ’s blood cleanses us from the curse of death, purging iniquity and sin from us. The word “clean” means “unadulterated, uncontaminated, and holy (both moral and spiritual).” In Matthew 8:2-3, the Bible says, “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” Leprosy was incurable, but a word from the Lord made him clean.

“Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

The word “wash” implies God’s internal cleansing of the heart. We try to cleanse ourselves by removing things from our lives, but God removes things from our hearts. In Isaiah 1:18, the Bible says, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” When God washes us, it changes our appearance completely! In John 15:3, Christ says, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” We try everything under the sun to make ourselves clean but only when God sends a Word do we become pure and holy. The effects of our cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ not only makes us whiter than snow, but gives us eternal life!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 20, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 8 – Psalm 51:8 – make me to hear joy and gladness

Hi Everyone!

Forgiveness is designed to change our hearts and minds. We commit offences against God, we realize how far we have slipped from God’s presence, we acknowledge that we sinned against God and we humbly ask for His forgiveness. This should not only change our ability to fully experience the presence of God, but it should also give us a heart of joy again. Joy and gladness is something very important to a believer’s life, and it is something that is constantly attacked by the enemy, and also something we relinquish every time we step outside of the will of God. As believers, we should desire happiness in our lives, but we should also want to continue to experience the joy that only God can give through our relationship with Him. Today, we will look at Psalm 51:8, experiencing the joy from the result of forgiveness.

“Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.”

The phrase “make me” isn’t a demand as much as it is a request. David is asking God to “cause him to hear”, or “position him to hear”. This implies that David doesn’t feel like he is in the right place to experience joy because of the sin that has damaged his life. In Isaiah 59:2, the Bible says, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Our sins separate us from the presence of God, and turn His hearing off us. This is not a good thing for anyone, but especially for a believer, because our faith and knowledge of the Word of God grows through our relationship with God. If communication is shut off in a relationship, the relationship will begin to lose power until it ultimately dies. God allow us to feel this separation so we can cry out to Him. In Matthew 27:46, the Bible says, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Christ experienced this separation from God when He took on the sins of the whole world, as He hung on the cross. At Christ’s worst possible moment, He no longer felt the presence of God, which is the first time in His whole life! It never once says anything about Christ complaining about the pain, which was extensive and unimaginable, but His complaint was about God’s presence leaving Him. When will we see God’s presence within us as the one of the most important aspects of our faith?

The word “hear” means “to understand, to witness, to regard, or to conform to.” The word “joy” means “welcome cheerfulness.” The word “gladness” means “glee, rejoicing, pleasure, blithesomeness.” Blithesomeness means “having a cheerful, carefree disposition.” This means we don’t have to worry about the ultimate penalty of our sins, even if we may face some consequences as a result of our actions. In 1 John 4:17-18, the Bible says, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” To want to hear joy and gladness is to not be overcome with guilt about what we have done, to not be afraid of God’s punishment because we are residing in His presence. In Isaiah 35:10, the Bible says, “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Does the thought and understanding of our salvation give us an attitude of joy, and does it give us a cheerful, carefree disposition about where we stand with the Lord?

The word “bones” means “body or the substance a body consists of.” The word “broken” means “collapsed in contrition”. In Psalm 6:2, the Bible says, “Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed.” Our sin should cause us to tremble and become afraid, and the more we grow spiritually, then more out of place we feel when we step outside of the presence of God. In Matthew 21:43-44, Christ says, “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Imagine that God is telling us that He is going to remove His presence from us and allow others to experience the blessing of His presence instead. He then gives us a away back in, by telling us that if we fall upon “this stone”, which is Christ, we will be convicted and restored unto God without being utterly destroyed by this same stone falling upon us. Shouldn’t this give us a real reason to rejoice?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 21, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 9 – Psalm 51:10 – create in me a clean heart

Hi Everyone!

Sin taints our hearts. Those little indiscretions that don’t seem like much on the surface actually cause spiritual heart issues that disturb our relationship with God. The ultimate goal of forgiveness is restoration into a right relationship with our God, to be able to hear from Him and for Him to hear us. Do we realize that we must not only stomp out the sin in our lives, but the heart behind it? If you remove drugs from someone, they won’t use any in that moment, but if you remove the heart for drugs from someone, and they will never use drugs again. Not only is forgiveness essential, but restoration of our hearts is as well, because we must return back to God’s default settings if we are to ever become victorious over sin. We have to acknowledge that our hearts aren’t right before the Lord because of the sin that tries to take over our lives, and we must come to God and ask Him to make our hearts new again. Today, we will look at Psalm 51:10, becoming new in God.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

The word “create” should be looked at the same way it was applied in the beginning. In Genesis 1:3, the Bible says, “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” God spoke and it was. David is asking God to “create” in him a clean heart, so he is essentially asking God to speak to his heart, that it may become exactly what He has created it to be. We have to believe that the Word of the Lord is enough to cleanse us from sin and to heal our hearts. In Matthew 8:7-9, the Bible says, “And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” The voice of the Lord will bring about anything He desires to happen, but are we willing to allow God into our space to reset our hearts the way He desires? We live in a world where so many feel like they have do everything themselves, but if that is the mentality, how can we ever get to the point where we rely solely on the Lord to repair what is broken?

The word “clean” means “morally pure”, so one can intimate God. Default settings. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible says, “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.” God created us to bear His image and His likeness, essentially becoming representatives of Him. Sin completely tarnishes God intention in creating us, and it mars our appearance. The word “heart” means “seat of one’s inner nature”. In Acts 15:8-9, the Bible says, “And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” God knows our hearts, and who better to fix our hearts but the Creator of our hearts? Self-help books may offer perspective, books by Pastors may even tell us what we must do, but until we cry out to God, asking Him to “create’ in us a clean heart, we are just receiving information  to no avail.

“And renew a right spirit within me”

The word “renew” means “to rebuild or repair”. In Romans 12:2, the Bible says, “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.” Being renewed by God continually will allow us to fully establish, by evidence, what the will of God is. In order for us to understand God’s will, we have to have our ears, mind, and heart open to receiving His Word, and the best way of doing that is if God creates in us a clean heart. The phrase “right spirit” means “to be upright, constant, and steadfast in the seat of our emotions, mind and will.” In Mark 14:36, the Bible says, speaking of Christ , “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Christ cast His will away to do the Father’s will, knowing death was His fate. Why do we have the hardest time allowing God’s will to be done in the smallest of matters? The word “within” implies our innermost being, so David is asking Good to give him the type of spirit that will give him the desire to remain close to God and obey His Word, and to give him that spirit in the deepest places in him.

We as the Church must allow God to return us back to default settings, so we will always have a desire to dwell in His presence and follow his Word.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 22, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 10 – Psalm 51:11 – cast me not away from thy presence

Hi Everyone!

It is a real scary thought for God to pull His presence from me. I still remember clearly the life I once lived, completely apart from God, and I cringe at the fought of being apart from Him. I remember when I was in a maximum security prison in 2016, just blessed with a security downgrade to medium security, and the thought of me going to a medium security prison and messing up terrified me. One of my “Big Brothers” told me that I was going to do well because of that same fear of messing up, because it shows that I respect the blessing God has given me so much that I don’t ever want to jeopardize it. We have to be the same way with our faith, where we have such an appreciation and respect for what God has provided for us that we are unwilling to jeopardize our faith for anything in the world. Losing God’s presence in our lives is the same as dying, because there is no life without God’s presence. Today, we will look at Psalm 51:11, remaining in the presence of our God.

“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”

The word “cast” means “to throw or toss”, so to “cast away” something means “to throw out, to toss aside, to throw away.” Kinda sounds like something done to trash; correct? When we allow the “world” to become God, when we allow sin to have authority over our lives, we become no different than trash in God’s sight. Kinda harsh, isn’t it? In Genesis 4:13-14, the Bible says, “And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.” God punished Cain for killing Abel by not only casting him from his land but casting him from His presence as well. Cain couldn’t bear the thought of this punishment, and immediately, the peace and safety he once felt by the presence of God was gone. Cain was terrified and outside of the presence of God, there is much to fear. A far cry from Psalm 91:2, which says, “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” The protection of God leaves with His presence. David understood that his sin could’ve resulted in God removing His presence from him, which led to his repentance, unlike Cain, who was sorry for what was going to happen to him as the result of his sin. There is a difference between true repentance and being sorrowful of the punishment. Trust me, I know this well.

The word “presence” means “face.” In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the Bible says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This is the type of attitude we must have if we want to keep the presence of our Lord in our lives. In Psalm 80:7, the Bible says, “Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.” Salvation is made available to us because God chose to make His face shine upon us. When God’s face shines upon us, we have a glow because of His light. In Psalm 67:1, the Bible says, “God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.” God’s mercy and blessings come as the result of his face shining upon us. There are great benefits to being in God’s presence. In 2 Kings 13:23, the Bible says, “And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.” God’s grace, compassion, and respect await those who are in the presence of God, yet, so many people would rather be outside of the presence of God in order to experience the pleasures of a sinful life.

“And take not away thy Holy Spirit from me”

The Holy Spirit’s anointing was upon David, and that was something he did not want to lose, neither should we. In John 14:16-17, Christ says, And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” God not only desires for his spirit to be WITH us, but IN us as well. David understood what he stood to lose as the result of his sin, and we have to be people who desire God’s presence so much where we don’t want to ever break fellowship with God again, causing His presence to leave us. That is like a car trying to run without an engine.

May our desire to please God and dwell in His presence outweigh the consequences of being without His presence.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 23, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 11 – Psalm 51:12 – restore unto me the joy of thy salvation

Hi Everyone!

There comes a time in every believer’s life where restoration is needed. No one is exempt, because as we acknowledge and confess our sins, asking God to forgive us, there is a restoration process that takes place. This can be a daily part of a believer’s life, because there is always some area in our lives where we fall short. I know for me, as I have grown more spiritually, when I fall short, it bothers me a lot more, and it robs me of my joy. David was broken behind his sin, and feeling out of alignment with God, he cried out, asking God to repair what was broken in him. Sin produces guilt in a believer’s life, and guilt will destroy all parts of a person’s peace. God doesn’t want His children walking this earth downtrodden, void of hope, fearful about condemnation, and He is the only Person that can restore our joy. Today, we will look at Psalm 51:12, a full restoration by God.

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

The word “restore” means “to turn back, to bring back, to re-establish.” It implies a return to a former or normal condition by means of repairing, rebuilding, or altering.” What is that former or normal condition? In Genesis 1:26, the Bible says, “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.” Mankind is supposed to bear God’s image and likeness, and have dominion in the earth. That role is jeopardized by sin, because sin separates us from God. David realizes that he is in need of restoration, so he is asking God, not trying to fix himself. We try to go at changing ourselves alone without realizing that we are only digging ourselves deeper into a hole that only God could dig us out of. In Joel 2:25-26, the Bible says, “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.” When God restores us, when He restores our years, there is much to praise the Lord about, and that fellowship returns between God and us.

The word “joy” means “welcomed cheerfulness, or gladness.” In Psalm 122:1, the Bible says, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.” When we fall short, guilt doesn’t allow us to be glad to be in the house of the Lord or in His presence. In Genesis 3:9-10, the Bible says, “And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Sin makes us want to hide from the presence of our Lord, so the person that hides from God can’t be filled with His joy. In John 15:10-11, Christ says, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Our joy is full when we keep the Lord’s commands and abide in the love of Christ. The word “salvation” means “liberty and deliverance.” Salvation should produce joy within our spirits. When was the last time we walked in joy solely because of the understanding that we are saved? In Psalm 13:5-6, the Bible says, “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” We can sing knowing that we can rest in God’s mercy, can celebrate the fact that we have passed over from death to life, experiencing the true benefits of a great relationship with God.

The phrase “uphold me” means “to lean one up against, to take hold of”. The phrase “free spirit” means “willing or generous Holy Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, the Bible says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.” We have freedom through our salvation, to experience the glory of God, and also experiencing the change God’s glory makes in our lives. In Psalm 119:116, the Bible says, “Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope.” We are held up and secure by the Word of God, and that provides a real reason to hope. When the Holy Spirit is upholding us, we are secure in the power of God, able to be exactly who He created us to be; the children of God!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 24, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 12 – Psalm 51:13 – then will I teach transgressors thy ways

Hi Everyone!

Our God has every detail of our lives figured out, and our God is in full control of everything that is happening in our lives. God allows the harsh lessons we receive from our sin to be the teaching lessons we give others, so they don’t fall into the same traps as we have. I look back on my past life, and all the wrong I have done, and now that I have been saved, restored, and filled with the Holy Spirit, the past I have been delivered from is now the testimony I give to show people that it is not too late for them to cry out to God. If we slipped on a wet floor, wouldn’t we want to warn someone else, so they don’t fall? Our God uses all parts of our lives to produce something for His glory, but we have to allow God to use us how He sees fit, and that is to advance the Kingdom and bring glory to God. Today, we will look at Psalm 51:13, experience becoming a great teacher.

“Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

The word “teach” means “to goad, instruct, to train, especially for war.” In Exodus 4:10-12, the Bible says, “And Moses said unto the LORD, O my LORD, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Our eloquence, our intelligence, or experience means absolutely nothing to God, because God qualifies the people He calls, and gives them the words that He desires for them to speak. God gives us the word, and we teach others what God gives us. In Proverbs 22:6, the Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Our past experiences should make us even better teachers, because we have been brought back from the brink of destruction to experience the salvation, restoration and power of the Holy Spirit having reign. That is a wealth of experience that can help someone else triumph over sin. The word “transgressors” pertains to rebels, people who apostatize, people who revolt against God, people who practice iniquity. In Mark 12:14, the Bible says, “And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” Christ didn’t care who the person was, what their background was, and He didn’t discriminate who He made teaching available to. We have to have the same mind and teach from the same perspective, giving everyone a chance to know who Christ is through us. We like to pick and choose who we speak to based on our own personal sentiments and convictions, but that is not how God works, and that is not how He will work in us. The person who has been delivered from sin should have a desire to see others be delivered.

The word “ways” means “road, course of life, or mode of action.” In Psalm 25:4-5, the Bible says, “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” We can only teach a person what we ourselves learn from God. David assured God in Psalm 51:13 that his experience would not be vain because he is going to use his fall, and what God has taught him, to make sure others didn’t fall behind him. In Proverbs 16:23, the Bible says, “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.” Whether we agree or not, we are giving sermons every time we open our mouths. What type of message are we teaching, one of hope and deliverance, pointing the way to Christ, or one of the world, pointing the way to death?

“And sinners shall be converted unto thee.”

The word “sinners” means “criminals, one accounted as guilty and subject to the wrath of God”. The word “converted’ means “to turn back in repentance.” In Luke 22:31-32, the Bible says, “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Our repentance should pave the way for others to seek repentance, because we should not only be willing to share our testimony, but also show them how to live a holy life in Christ. In James 5:20, the Bible says, “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Even our failures aren’t about us, but about how God can use them to help turn someone’s life around!

Who would’ve thought God could take our worst moment and turn it into someone else’s best moment?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Aug 25, 2021 – The Forgiveness of God Part 13 – Psalm 51:14 – deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation

Hi Everyone!

How did you feel when you were delivered from the penalty of your sin? Are we really appreciative of what God has done for us, or do we have this nonchalance about God’s forgiveness, like it’s nothing more than receiving a warning when stopped by the police for speeding? What happens after forgiveness? Do we go on living without understanding the sacrifice that was made so we can have forgiveness, that blood was actually shed, so we could have a clean slate? Many will never have the understanding that David has about his forgiveness, deliverance, and restoration, primarily because they haven’t committed the type of sin he has. Murder, the killing of someone created in the image and likeness of God, is like staring at the face of God and taking His life. To be forgiven of that should make anyone proclaim God’s goodness and righteousness to the ends of the earth. I tell people all of the time that if God forgave me, a former murderer, then He can and will forgive anyone. Today, we are going to look at Psalm 51:14, proclaiming the deliverance of God everywhere we go.

“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.”

The “deliver” means “to snatch away, to rescue.” Deliverance often indicates the power of one entity overcoming the power of another. In Hebrews 2:14-15, the Bible says, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Christ took on this flesh and sacrificed Himself on the cross, that through His death, He would destroy the enemy, who held the power of death. This means Christ, in taking away the power of death from the devil, is now the only one who can convict and condemn a person of sin! In John 8:10-11, the Bible says, “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Christ didn’t come to condemn the world of their sin, but to save the world from their sin. Everything Christ did through his life, death, and resurrection paved the way for the provision of forgiveness and restoration, whether we take the gift or not. God loves us so much that He doesn’t want to hold our sins over our heads, like the charges they hung over the head of Christ when He was hung on the cross. In 2 Peter 3:9, the Bible says, “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.” When we change our hearts and our impression about who we think God is, maybe our hearts and impressions will change about the provision of deliverance he bestowed upon us.

The word “bloodguiltiness” means “bloodshed causing death, violence causing death.” The word “salvation” means “help, safety, victory, and deliverance.” In Matthew 5:21, Christ says, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment.” Murder had a penalty, and it was subject to judgement and death. However, in Colossians 2:13-14, the Bible says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you ALL trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Through Christ, we have forgiveness and salvation from ALL our sins! In John 12:47, Christ says, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” Our belief doesn’t change the fact that Christ came to save.

“And my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.”

The word “sing” means “shout for joy.” The word “righteousness” speaks on the justice and will of God in our lives. In Psalm 35:27-28, the Bible says, “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant. And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.” Does the thought of us being forgiven and saved cause us to shout for joy? How is our attitude towards God pertaining to our forgiveness? In Psalm 71:15, the Bible says, “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.” How appreciative are we of our salvation? Well, who has heard about it?

God Bless!

Marshall

These Daily Devotions are a Red Thread Poets daily offering initiated and written by Marshall Jones as a devotional study of God's Word as a 'verse of the day'. Marshall's Bio and a sample of his poems can be seen on this website, also a link to his published book of poems, A Raven's Meal. The Daily Devotional is dated as seen each day on the Red Thread Poets Facebook page.