Daily Devotions – 2021 4th Quarter

Oct 1, 2021 – Isaiah 43:19 – behold, I will do a new thing

Hi Everyone!

God is doing something new in us. He desires to take us to heights we have never experienced, places we have never gone to before, and He wants us to learn of his Word in ways we never have before. God just doesn’t want us to be His children in title, but He desires for us to walk in the fullest of His power, to move in the earth under the authority He has given us. There is a life that we, as children of God, must leave behind us in order to seize this new thing that God has planned for us, but sadly, so many of us are reluctant to relinquish our comforts. It is a sad sight to behold when someone won’t step out of God’s way and allow Him to break forth healing, freedom, power, and restoration in our lives. It’s time to let go, and allow God to do all that is in His heart to do, because He has the absolute best plan for us, far better than anything we can do on our own. Today, we are going to look at Isaiah 43:19, experiencing this new thing God has prepared for us.

”Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

The word “behold” is a word spoken or written with intention so that we pay close attention to what is being said. 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.” Christ is telling us to pay attention to the fact that He is looking to dine and fellowship with us. Christ wants us to see that He has come wherever we are at, and has knocked on our door. In Luke 17:21, Christ says, “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” Christ wants us to pay attention to the fact that the kingdom of God is within us, so we don’t have to look at the world or anything it has because God has built the kingdom inside of all of His children! The word behold is designed to catch our attention and that is because something important is about to be said.

The phrase “will do” means ‘to accomplish or complete, conveying the central notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view.” The phrase “new thing” implies a fresh event or occurrence coming by the hand of God. 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.” When God does something new, He doesn’t do it once, but He continues this newness every day. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” When God makes us new in Jesus Christ, He doesn’t use anything old, because it clearly says, old things are passed away! God isn’t trying to allow us to experience a cleaned up old thing, but rather a new thing altogether. I grew up in church, loved the church, and loved serving the church as a child, but the Church wasn’t in me. There is a difference! I showed promise, but I ended up straying from the church, turning to the streets, becoming a disappointment to God, my family, and my church. When I committed my life to the Lord instead of the church, Christ built the Church within me, and everything has been new from that point forth.

The phrase “spring forth” means “to sprout, to make to grow”. In Isaiah 42:9, the Bible says, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Please understand that the Word is going to come before the growth becomes visible. We can’t expect growth outside of the Word of God, and we definitely can’t expect a new thing to spring forth from something old without God’s involvement.

“Shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

The word “know” here means “to become one with by observation, experience or recognition”. This suggests that we will see the evidence of this new thing God is doing, and it will be indisputable that it came from Him. In Isaiah 35:7, the Bible says, “And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.” God is going to cause growth to spring forth from places that people thought growth could never come from. In Isaiah 41:20, the Bible says, “That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.” God is going to make roads appear in the midst of a wild forest, and bodies of waters to arise from the driest desert. This is this new thing that God is trying to do in our lives, taking those people doomed for destruction and transforming them into living, breathing epistles of Jesus Christ.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 2, 2021 – Joshua 22:5 – take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law

Hi Everyone!

When it comes to serving the Lord, what is the state of our heart? Do we serve the Lord out of obligation, doing it solely because we owe the Lord everything? Do we serve the Lord out of fear, being afraid of the consequences of not making the decision to serve the Lord? Do we serve the Lord for appearances, so we can appear to live a holy life in public while we secretly enjoy the pleasures of sin? Is our service to the Lord sincere, giving ourselves completely to the Lord because of the love that flows from our hearts towards the Lord, obeying the Lord solely because we love doing what our Father says? As believers, our service should reflect the relationship we have with God, and the fruit will definitely reveal what type of service we are offering. Today, we will look at Joshua 22:5, having the correct heart of service.

”But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

The phrase “take diligent heed” reflects the attitude we must have when it comes to our service. If obeying the Word of the Lord isn’t a priority in our lives, and it doesn’t immediately cause a desire to move in response to the Word, then there is a problem. In Ephesians 6:6-7, the Bible says, “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.” The person who has their heart in the right place, taking diligent heed, is the person who only sees what the Lord wants and then has an immediate desire to please God. There are people that “do good” but have the wrong hearts, only doing good to win the approval of men.

The word “do”, means “to accomplish or complete.” The word “law” means “precept, statute, especially the Decalogue and the Pentateuch”. The word “charged” means “ordered, directed, or commanded” Moses gave Israel the command that God gave him to give Israel, which is the same command God gives now. In Deuteronomy 6:5-7, the Bible says, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt TEACH them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” If we are obeying the command of the Lord, then our first attribute is love, a deep Godly affection for who God is and who God is TO US. We then should have an attitude to plant the Word in our hearts and share it with our family, our neighbors, our community, and with strangers. The phrase “walk in all his ways” implies that we live as God desires for us to live. The only way we are to know how we are supposed to live is by the written and spoken Word of God. 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.” God is not going to allow us to live a Godly life without his Word and without examples to fall upon. God wants us to succeed in obedience as well as ministry.

The word “cleave” means “to join oneself to, to stick to, to follow hard, or to adhere”. God desires a people who want to become one with Him. In John 17:23, Christ intercedes on our behalf by saying, “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” God wants us to be one with God so people will see us and know that we came from Him. A bride happily desires to show people who her husband is, so we have to be people who will show people who Christ is, from the deepest joy in our hearts. In Psalm 103:1, the Bible says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” God wants our all; our hearts, our souls, the breath that is in our bodies, because He will take our offering and produce something that will be valuable for kingdom building. The word “serve” means “to labor with joy, to worship.” Not only does God want everything within us, but that is what He wants us to extend to people as well. Romans 12:1, the Bible says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” We don’t serve an unreasonable God so our service to God is never unreasonable. How we approach the Word of God will become how we approach service, and if we approach God’s Word with our entire being, then our service will come from that same attitude!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 3, 2021 – Acts 20:35 – It is more blessed to give than to receive

Hi Everyone!

We must never forget where we have come from. Too many of us receive our salvation, and forget about the times we were lost, the times when we needed a helping hand, times where we couldn’t find a way out of crisis and God sent someone to help us through. In a world that seems to shift more and more towards how the world can benefit them, believers have to go into the world seeking to be a benefit to it. Ministry is tiring at times; but the benefits behind ministry are that souls will be saved, lives will be transformed, people in bondage will be set free, and the newly saved will spread the joy of their salvation everywhere they go. At times, we will feel weak, but we have to remember that there are others who are weaker, in need of a Savior to renew their strength. Today, we will look at Acts 20:35, a word on the blessing in giving ourselves fully in order to help build up the kingdom of God.

”I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The word ”shewed” means ”to exhibit under the eyes, to exemplify, instruct, or admonish.” This is more than just telling someone what to do and not do, but showing them how to do it. 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.” When a person trains someone, they not only tell them what needs to be done, but they also show them, practicing the skills WITH them until they are mastered. Then, they send them out, to figure out how to use their training in the world. 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.” Ministry is not about the minister but who is being ministered to. In Romans 12:10, the Bible says, ”Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Love has to be the driving force behind ministry, and we have to love those we minister to, because we will easily go the extra mile for someone we love. Christ displayed that by His death, so we must show the same love by our life.

“How so laboring ye ought to support the weak”

The word “laboring” means “to work hard until fatigued”. In Romans 15:1-2, the Bible says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” God gives us our strength, our Biblical knowledge and the ability to use both, not so we can appear better than the next person, but so we can help someone experience triumph in the face of their sufferings. in 1 Corinthians 3:9, the Bible says, “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” Do we realize that when we minister to someone for the kingdom of God, we are really working WITH God to ensure that salvation comes to as many people and homes as possible? God isn’t someone who is sitting there, doing nothing, but receiving all of the benefits. God is working with us step by step, lovingly providing for us everything we need to do His will. The word “support” means “aid, protect, or relieve”. The word  ”weak” means “afflicted, distressed by lack, oppression, or calamity.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:14, the Bible says, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.” We have to use our new positions to help others find their way. Sadly, people are unfairly judged and put down for being weak in the faith instead of being loved and supported. This makes an already weak believer weaker.

“And to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The word “remember” means “to exercise memory, to recollect.” This is an intentional act of putting in our mind and hearts the example of Christ. In 2 Thessalonians 3:9, the Bible says, “Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” Christ has all the power in the world, but His whole life on earth, His whole ministry, and everything He contributed was to build up those around him for the kingdom of God. In Matthew 20:28, Christ says, ”Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” If the Savior of the whole world, God robed in flesh, came to minister unto others, becoming a sacrifice for us, then who are we to act like we can’t serve others as well? What if there was someone hanging off a ledge, sure to fall if we don’t step in to help. Do we help or do we let them fall?

Are we doing the same thing when we withhold the Word of God from someone?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 4, 2021 – Proverbs 3:3 – let not mercy and truth forsake thee

Hi Everyone!

It is imperative for us to plant the Word of God in our minds and hearts. The Word of God is supposed to be experienced in our lives, and manifested through our character. Do people see the Word of God when they see us? Do we convey mercy in our interactions with people? Truth when we share the Word with others? God created us to love on higher levels, to live from victory, to experience the power and movement of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives. We are to carry the Word of God everywhere we go, not just for our own benefit, but to be a benefit to others, helping them come into the knowledge and relationship with the Lord as we have. It first begins with us, and the way we project the Word of God in our lives becomes the way people perceive that faith in the world. We want to paint an accurate picture of the God we freely serve, and of the faith we place great value in. Today, we will look at Proverbs 3:3, storing the Word of God in our hearts.

”Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart”

The word “mercy” means “lovingkindness, piety, or love.” In Micah 6:8, the Bible says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” God wants us to love to be kind to others, He wants us to love loving others, and He wants us to love living Godly lives. He desires a people who serve Him because we love Him. In Ephesians 2:4-6, the Bible says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” God’s mercy extended to us when we didn’t deserve it, when we were dead in our sins, but there are many in the Church right now who refuse to show mercy to people in need of mercy. God’s mercy gave us access to eternal life, to sit in heavenly places with Jesus Christ, so how can we ever walk this earth, so endowed with blessings, and withhold the very gift from someone else that God bestowed upon us?

The word “truth” means “faithhfulness or stability.” In John 16:13, Christ says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” God is not only going to give us truth but He will guide us into ALL truth. Truth is a requirement for a successful life as a believer, because John 14:6, Christ says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” We can’t make it to experience the presence of God without truth, and we most certainly can’t remain in the presence of God without truth. The word “forsake” means “to abandon, to leave, to relinquish.” God wants mercy and truth to remain with us, and for us to never let them go. These qualities in us are the pure essence of God, and He desires for them to be our pure essence as well. Remember, we are created in His image and in His likeness.

“Bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thy heart”

The word “bind” means “to tie, or to join together.” We are to become one with mercy and truth, so when we speak, when we move, and when we minister unto others, mercy and truth is always present. The word “neck” means “throat, as in rumination”. Rumination means to chew on, break down, but from the spiritual standpoint, rumination means “to meditate upon, or turn over in the mind.” In Psalm 1:2, the Bible says, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” It is our job to receive the Word of God with cheerfulness and meditate on it day and night. The word ‘heart” refers to the center of our being. In Psalm 119:11, the Bible says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Meditating upon the Word of God keeps the Word fresh and alive in our lives, and it becomes easier for us to refer to when in need. God desires for mercy and truth to become second nature to us, similar to breathing, eating and drinking. In Joshua 1:8, the Bible says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Some people think that God is some unreasonable judge, hard-pressed about every rule, destroying all of the fun from a person’s life, but that is a lie. God desires for us to experience GOOD success in this world, and is giving us every tool to become successful in Him.

Isn’t this a good reason to live in mercy and truth?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 5, 2021 – Joshua 23:10 – He it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.

Hi Everyone!

As believers, we will find ourselves under warfare. The Lord will always fight our battles when we surrender ourselves completely to Him, positioning ourselves to hear His Word and to obey it. When the Lord fights our battles, victory is inevitable, but will we trust the Lord when the enemy is mounting an offensive on every side, not giving us a way out? The enemy boasts of numbers, swords, and armies, but the Lord has His Word, and whatever His word says, it will come to be. I have legal fight going on in my life, fighting to one day regain my freedom from the life sentence I received. Naturally, one would think I would need the best lawyers, the word of some powerful politician, a bunch of money, or all of the above, but all I need is the Word of the Lord telling me that the victory is mine and I will win! Today, we will look at Joshua 23:10, a battle fought and won by the Lord.

”One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.”

The word ”chase” means ”to run after with hostile intent, or to pursue in order to destroy.” How many of us have gone through some level of warfare, and were content with just enduring the ordeal? Here, God is saying that we will chase a thousand! Have we ever mounted an offensive against the enemy who tries to entangle us in warfare? In Leviticus 26:7-9, the Bible says, ”And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.” News flash: we aren’t powerful without God, and we don’t attain victory without His Word going before us! It is only by the Lord that we have victory, which clears the way for us to experience peace, growth, and the establishment of God’s covenant in us. In Deuteronomy 32:30-31, the Bible says, ”How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.” The world has their protection and we have ours! I remember a day when I thought a gun was my sole protection in the street life, until I heard story after story of people being shot and killed while they had their guns on them. This world can never give us the victory that God does, and David knew this best. In 1 Samuel 17:45, the Bible says, ”Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” A boy defeated a giant that day, someone who has been fighting wars his whole life, and in 1 Samuel 17:52, the Bible says, ”And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.” A boy’s faith in the Word of God caused God to fight this battle, because in 1 Samuel 17:47, the Bible says, ”And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.” Too many believers try to take matters into theand own hands, fighting wars with the wrong weaponry, operating on our perception of our own strength and not trusting in God’s strength. God desires a people who will present the battle to Him, and allow Him to not only show us, but show our enemy what a mighty God we serve!

”For the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.”

The word ”fighteth” means  “to battle, or to prevail.” The word “promised” means “to utter, to say, or to declare unto”. In 2 Corinthians 1:20, the Bible says, “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” God declares His word and His Word does exactly what He ordains it to do. “So be it” is another way of saying “Amen”. Kinda makes us think twice about what we say “amen” to in Church, doesn’t it? In Exodus 14:13-14, the Bible says, “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” God wants us to allow Him to fight our battles for us, so that we can see that salvation comes from the Lord and only by Him. In Romans 4:21, it says, “And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” 

How persuaded are we that the victory is already ours? Will we chase after a thousand at the Word of the Lord?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 6, 2021 – Philippians 4:9 – and the God of peace shall be with you

Hi Everyone!

As believers in Christ Jesus, we have the Word of God as a living manual for how to build our lives the way God has ordained for us. Ever try to put a crib together without instructions or at least a picture of how it is supposed to look? Ever disregarded the instructions, thinking that you knew enough to build it, only to find out that you have something built that is missing a couple of pieces? I learned the power of following instructions down to the letter doing electrical work. They have a schematic for a reason! One day I wired up a small transformer to a heating unit, but didn’t pay attention to the schematic, which caused an explosion and a small fire! Because I didn’t wire up the transformer properly, it exploded and became defective! That is what is happening to the Church, because we are trying to build marriages, families, businesses, and ministries without the Word of God being followed. With obedience to the Word of God and to the examples of faith that God places among us, we can experience a peace that passes all understanding. Today, we will look at Philippians 4:9, following God’s great example.

”Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

The word ”learned” means ”to understand morally from experience, with an idea to do habitually”. We’re not to become Bible scholars who are disobedient to the Word of God. God doesn’t care about how much Scripture we know, but He does care about how much Scripture we follow. We learn the Word of God by living it out. In Philippians 3:17, the Bible says, ”Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” God is not only going to provide us with His Word, but He will also provide us with people who will teach us by Word and example. The best way to learn the Word of God is to experience it and see it experienced in others. Not only does it give us an earthly example to follow, but it also shows us that this life can be lived. When I was in the world, I couldn’t fathom living for the Lord like I do now, but through my walk, I have seen examples in the faith that showed me His life is doable. Great shepherding is key. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul writes, ”Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Our Example is Christ, who followed God’s Word to the letter. Our Example should always lead us right back to God.

The word ”received” means ”to associate with oneself, to have relation with”. This implies that the Word we read or are taught becomes something that we believe applies to us. What does the gift of salvation do for the person who never receives it? There are so many people who won’t come to the Lord because they feel they have done too much wrong. But if they read the Word of God, they will see murderers, thieves, harlots, and sorcerers receive salvation for their souls. I am a convicted murderer, serving life imprisonment, and look at what God is doing in my life!

In Mark 11:24, Christ says, ”Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” We have access to the promises and provision of God, especially the wisdom God freely gives to those who asks Him in faith. In John 20:22, the Bible says of Christ, ”And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”. Christ implores us to receive the Holy Spirit into our being to allow the Holy Sport to lead us. Our examples have done it and so must we.

The word ”heard” means ”to give audience to, with the intention of obeying”. The word ”seen” implies us observing with the intention of following”. The word ”do” means ”to practice, perform repeatedly or habitually, to execute continually”. In Acts 26:20, the Bible says, ”But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Our salvation should be reflected in our actions, in the Word of God we live out daily and repeatedly. What people should see in us is a constant application of the Word of God in our lives.

The ”God of peace” is the God who gives us tranquility arising from reconciliation with Him through salvation in Jesus Christ. In John 14:27, Christ says, ”Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The peace God gives when we live out His Word entirely is unmatched by anything the world has to offer. When we follow the Word of God, and the examples of faith He plants among us, we have immeasurable access to the kingdom of God and its privileges. We can experience victory like no other!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 7, 2021 – 3 John 1:11 – follow not that which is evil, but that which is good

Hi Everyone!

When people see our daily walks as believers, what do they encounter? Are they met with love? Do they see graciousness, peace, humility, and kindness? Is what they see in us similar to what they heard about Christ, and do we embody what the Church is supposed to represent? There is a lot evil in the world, and it has gotten to the point where evil seems to be acknowledged more than good! A little evil is being sprinkled into the lives of believers, and slowly, many are being led astray. We seem to have forgotten that God’s intention for us from Creation day-one is to bear God’s image and likeness, be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion in the earth. The pleasures of sin have sidetracked the Church and less people are seeing God in us. Today, we will look at 3 John 1:11, becoming the Church who truthfully displays our loving God and Creator.

”Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”

The word “beloved” means “dear, spoken of Christians as united with God or each other in bonds of love.” In Deuteronomy 33:12, the Bible says, “And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” ”Beloved” is a term of affection, letting us know the overwhelming amount of love God has for us. There is true safety in the love of the Lord, a real covering, and that covering ensures that we will have everything we need to triumph over whatever comes our way. In John 15:12-13, Christ says, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” True love is sacrificial, and it says, “I will do anything for you.” Being loved like that is powerful, and that is what this whole world has access to, even though many don’t accept it.

The word “follow” means “to mimic, to imitate.” In Psalm 37:27, the Bible says, “Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.” Not only are we to not mimic evil, but we are to completely leave the presence of evil. We are not supposed to be seen in the presence of evil, where people can’t distinguish the difference between the world and us. We are not supposed to just do good, but dwell in good. In Romans 13:14, the Bible says, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” We aren’t supposed to make opportunities for evil to have residence in our lives, and if we are living by the Word of God, clothing ourselves in the Lord Jesus Christ, then what people will see is God working in and through us. The word “evil” means “worthlessness, wicked, vicious, bad in heart, conduct, and character. In 2 Peter 2:14-15, the Bible says, “Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” This is a glimpse of the people who follow after evil. There is no stability, there is no power, and there are no blessings, only curses.

The word “good” means “virtue or beneficial.” ”Good” expresses the fulfilled intention for our conduct, our behavior, and our identity. Virtue refers to moral excellence, so God desires for us to go beyond! In 1 Peter 3:11-12, the Bible says, “Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.” Everything we do is under God’s watchful eye, and when we walk as God desires for us to walk, He will not only hear our prayers, but answer them as well!

“He that doeth good is of God, but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.”

Obedience is the main characteristic of someone who “doeth good”. In Luke 6:47-48, Christ says, “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.” If we obey the Word of God, we “do good”, and we become the express image of God on this earth. We will withstand the storms that come our way. The phrase “seen God’ means “perceive with mind and senses, to know God and His character, or to experience God.” In 1 John 2:29, the Bible says, “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.”

What we do, represents who we are, and who we belong to. How do we want to represent God, who has done everything for us?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 8, 2021 – James 1:25 – this man shall be blessed in his deed

Hi Everyone!

We have been given true freedom in Jesus Christ, a freedom no one can take from us. What do we use our freedom to do? Do we forget what we have been taught? Do we lose sight of the road God has paved for us to experience liberty, forgetting the sacrifice made so we can enjoy the privilege of salvation? There are many people that display a change in prison, only to falter and backslide upon release from prison. Why is that? People typically experience freedom and get away from what actually worked when they were confined. God didn’t give us a Promised Land for us to turn back to Egypt. He desires for us to continue in the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ, given by the Word of God and the teaching of the Holy Spirit. God wants our actions to reflect the freedom He has given us. Today, we will look at James 1:25, being a doer of the work God desires for us to do.

”But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

The word ‘looketh into” means “to peer within, to bend besides”. This isn’t a fleeting glance, but a deeper view into what God reveals to us. In 1 Timothy 4:14-15, the Bible says, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.” Just like we can neglect the gift in us by not using it for God’s glory, we can neglect the Word of God by not giving our undivided attention to it. Does our commitment reflect where we truly want to be spiritually? Do we desire to become more knowledgeable of the Word of God, all while refusing to study His Word? If we want a superficial relationship with God, never experiencing the power or the promises of God, then we are going to give His Word a quick glance and let it leave our minds the minute we receive it.

The phrase “perfect law of liberty” refers to the true freedom given to believers from the dominion of sin , enabling us to obey God’s Word and apply its promises to our lives. In John 8:32, Christ says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth is in the Word of God and God’s Word is perfect. God’s Word points to Christ, who died on the cross that we should have permanent freedom from the bondage of sin, redemption from the penalty of death and also eternal life! The Word of God reveals this, but if we don’t look deeply into the Word of God, we will look over the promises that will save our souls!. In John 8:36, Christ also says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” This is a freedom that can’t be taken, but we can relinquish it. 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.” When we look into this perfect law of liberty, we will understand that we have been set free from the bondage of sin and no longer have to walk in it.

“And continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

The word “continueth” means “to remain, or stay near”. This implies that we keep the Word of God in us! In Psalm 119:11, the Bible says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” This means we meditate upon the Word of God, keep the Word of God present in our minds, in our hearts, and in our speech. In 1 Peter 2:16, the Bible say, “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” Even though God has given us freedom in Jesus Christ, He still gives us the power to choose what we use our freedom for. We can either use our freedom to serve God, or we can walk this earth like we have never been redeemed. The phrase “forgetful hearer” refers to a person who handles the Word of God with negligence. This means they don’t place value in the Word. In Proverbs 7:2, the Bible says, “Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.” We will abuse anything we don’t place value in. The phrase “doer of the work’ refers to the person who hears the Word and performs what it says. In Matthew 7:24, Christ says, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock”. The doer of the work has a solid foundation and that foundation is Christ! The word “blessed” means “happy, fortunate, favored despite the circumstances.” In John 13:17, Christ says, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” It isn’t about what we know, but it’s about doing what we know! There is a blessing in store for those who perform these things commanded by God in His Word.

True freedom is given to us through salvation, by faith in Christ Jesus, but it remains by putting the Word of into practice.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 9, 2021 – Hosea 4:1 – there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land

Hi Everyone!

God doesn’t ask much from us, yet we have the hardest time giving God what He desires. He desires to be our Father, yet we don’t take the time to communicate with God and allow Him to communicate to us. He desires for us to have His image and likeness, to be fruitful, multiply and have dominion in the earth, but we live in fear, we bury our talents, we assume identities that aren’t who God created us to be, and we alter our appearance so much that people can’t see God in us. God asks us to put Him first, but money, ambition, our habits, and even our spouses have become first in our hearts. God has made a case for His love since the beginning, and hasn’t given up on us yet, but we can’t expect Him to not make a case against us when we keep living lives displeasing to Him. Today, we will look at Hosea 4:1, God’s case against His children.

”Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.”

The word ”hear” implies listening intelligently with the intention of obeying what we hear. We can’t equate the Word of God we hear to a car backfiring, where it causes an immediate reaction without any lasting effect. Just hearing the Word of God isn’t good enough. In Luke 11:28, the Bible says of Christ, ”But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” God is concerned with us not hearing nor putting the Word of God into practice, and not observing His Word in our lives. In James 1:19, the Bible says, ”Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”. We have to have a desire to hear the Word of God, being ready to act upon it. Sometimes, we can’t receive God’s word because we are too busy talking, and even busier acting on impulse. God desires His children to be ready to receive His Word. The phrase ”word of the Lord” means ”the divine communication and commands that God has for his children.” This is a language of love, and God desires for us to understand Him. In Mark 4:14-15, Christ says, ”The sower soweth the word. And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.” Satan tries to come against every word God speaks to us, so it never becomes planted nor bears fruit. The Word of God provides everything we need for repentance, salvation, and forgiveness of our sins, which allows us to become the children of God in not just creation, but in identity.

”For the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land”

The word ”controversy” means ”quarrel, dispute, contention or case”. Think about a courtroom where God is the judge, and the prosecutor. There is no defense against a case made by God against us. In Hosea 12:2, the Bible says, ”The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.” There is not only a case against us according to our sins, our choices, and our actions, but there is also a penalty that can be enforced against us. Fortunately for us, there is another person in a legal case besides the judge, prosecutor and the accused. 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.” Christ is our defense, and His intercession ensures that we won’t receive the penalty from sin that we deserve, but the people who qualify for this defense are ONLY those who believe on His name as Lord and Savior, receiving redemption from death and bondage.

”Because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land”

The word ”knowledge” suggests that we become one with the Word of God by obeying God’s word. In Hosea 4:6, the Bible says, ”My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” The reason why there isn’t any truth, mercy, or knowledge in the land is because people have rejected the Word of God in their lives. There can be no faithfulness, piety, compassion or discernment without the Word of God, because we reject the very thing we need. Including our Advocate, Jesus Christ. How can we ever stand against a case God makes against us, especially when we have flat out rejected the Word of God?

Now is the time to turn to the living Word of God in obedience.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 10, 2021 – Acts 10:15 – what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common

Hi Everyone!

There is a lot of mudslinging going on in the church. The person who is redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, made new by the Word of God is frequently met by people who make judgements on their identity based on who they used to be. I have listened to professed believers say what sins deserve death by firing squad, creating a list of what sins should carry no forgiveness. When this happens, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not being taught, and people have taken God’s place on what is acceptable, and what isn’t. The Church shouldn’t be a judgement seat, and the Church should never deny someone the Gospel of Jesus Christ because they feel the person isn’t ”clean enough” to receive it. This isn’t love and this isn’t the service God desires from His children. What God declares us to be, we are, and no man can ever undermine the Word of God. Today, we will look at Acts 10:15; being declared cleansed by our loving Father.

”And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.”

The word ”cleansed” means ”purified, made free from filth, to declare lawful”. This declaration not only abolished the Old Testament dietary restrictions, but it also put a stop to racism, stereotypes, and bias in the Church as well. We have to look at people through the eyes of the Lord. In Ezekiel 36:25-27, the Bible says, “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” There is a complete transformation that takes place inside us when God cleanses us. We will be pure from our filthiness, we will get a heart transplant, and we will receive the Holy Spirit so we can live Godly lives. Imagine receiving such a powerful transformation only to have someone in the Church take it upon themselves to declare us filthy all over again. Isn’t that like saying Christ’s blood isn’t powerful enough to be the price for our sins? 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.” We have to believe that Christ has the power and authority to cleanse us, and we also can’t be so ”holy” in our own cleanliness that we can’t believe that God will do the same thing for someone else. In John 15:3, Christ says, ”Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” We have to leave our feeble minds out of the equation when the Lord declares someone or something to be clean. Peter was the top pastor of the Church and he had these issues!

”That call not thou common”

 The word ”call” means ”to declare”. The word ”common” means ”unclean, defiled, or polluted”. In Acts 10:28, the Bible says, ”And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Before Peter could go a step further in his ministry, he had to address the uncleanliness inside of himself.  In Matthew 7:5, Christ says, ”Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Before we can begin to help someone with their new identity in Christ, we have to experience it fully for ourselves. Peter would have continued to deny people access to the Gospel because they were Gentiles had not God caused Peter to experience this vision. In Titus 1:15-16, the Bible says, ”Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” The people who truly realized they have been made pure in Christ Jesus, declared clean by God despite the filthiness that threatened to separate us from His presence and inhabitation, are the ones who then look at others like they are and can be cleansed as well. Some people will always view me as a ”murderer”, ”scum of the earth”, or ”evil incarnate” but their declaration of me isn’t who God declares me to be. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the Bible says, ”Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Who are we to say anything different?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 11, 2021 – Proverbs 30:5 – he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him

Hi Everyone!

I am a firm believer that the Word of God is everything we need to live lives of victory in this earth. The Bible is truth, whether we place our trust in it or not, and God’s word has stood soundly even before the world began. I have heard people profess to have no peace but I then ask them have they cast their cares upon the Lord? If they have, I then ask them have they brought their prayers and petitions before the Lord in thanksgiving? Some of them answer that they have. Finally, I ask them do they then focus their minds on the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praise worthy, and I tend to get silence. The Word of God works in a person’s life if they place their trust in the Word enough to do what the Word says. There is vulnerability when it comes to trust, a complete surrendering of our will and power in order to be led by the purpose of our God, but many don’t believe in God’s word enough to activate its power. Today, we will look at Proverbs 30:5, placing our full trust in the pure Word of God.

”Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”

The phrase ”word of God” refers to the commandments, utterances, and divine communication God makes with His creation.  In John 1:1-3, the Bible says, ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” The Word of God is responsible for all of creation, and there is nothing in creation that can’t be attributed to the Word of God. Why do we doubt the Word of God’s power when this world wouldn’t exist without it? In Hebrews 4:12, the Bible says, ”For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Word of God is as alive today as it was when the world was created by it, and it is not only powerful, but it is also capable of cutting into us to display our real thoughts, beliefs, and feelings.

Think not?

In Mark 9:22-24, the Bible says, ”And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” The father of the child with the dumb spirit wanted healing for his son, and his desperation was loud and clear. Christ looked into his heart and saw his unbelief, the real cause of the miracle not being done. The Word of God is powerful in itself, but we have to activate the Word of God by faith.

The word ”pure” means ”refined or tried”. It describes the purifying process of a refiner, who heats metal, takes away the dross, and is left with a pure substance. The reason the Word of God isn’t powerful in a lot of believers’ lives is because it has been diluted by traditions, by people adding falsehood to the Word of God, and omitting truth from Scripture. In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, the Bible says, ”For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” This is not only happening in believers’ lives but this is also becoming prevalent in Church. Pastors who unapologetically preach the truth instead of making the Church happy are becoming less popular while there are mega churches who have standing room only that are sprinkling in lies, blanket blessings, and false prosperity doctrine aimed at pleasing the broke and money hungry. The Word of God has been proven to be truth all by itself, producing sound doctrine to all who seek the Word in truth.

”He is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”

The word ”shield” means ”defender, or protector”. The word ”trust” means ” to flee for protection or to place confidence in”. 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.” Our actions will show what we place our confidence in, because the first thing we turn to is what we trust. In Psalm 59:9, the Bible says, ”Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.” If we believe God’s Word is pure and true, then we know that we can have rest in God’s strength, assured that He is our protection from everything that comes out way. In Proverbs 2:7, the Bible says, ”He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.”

When the Word of God is pure in our lives, we will walk in it, and it will be evident to all!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 12, 2021 – Romans 2:4 – not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Hi Everyone!

We tend think we are in full control of our lives, especially our moment of repentance. We also tend to think that we made the choice for Christ completely on our own. Many people in the Church don’t believe that every minute detail of our lives God had full knowledge of before we were even born. God knew every decision we would make, and He also knew the precise path He would have us take in order for us to come into true repentance. Sadly, we say God is Omniscient, but don’t believe it. Imagine a loving God sitting back watching His plan for our lives unfolding, knowing that we were going to mess up in the process so badly that we wouldn’t deserve the forgiveness or the favor we so richly received. Imagine the level of patience God had to exhibit for us just so we could get to the point He ordained for us to get to. Maybe we will come into another level of knowledge of God’s all-surpassing love for us. Today, we will look at Romans 2:4, the goodness of God leading us into repentance.

”Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?”

The word “despisest” means “to think against”. This is the person who discounts, discredits, or devalues the provision of God. In Proverbs 15:5, the Bible says, “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” We have to place great value upon the Word of God, and greatly consider the promises of God as well. The Bible tells us about God’s plan for salvation, but it also tells us about His character, about the qualities God possesses that allow us to experience the promises He has for us. The word “goodness” means “usefulness or moral excellence”. Usefulness also implies value, and that is why 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The Word of God is not only valuable, but it has a purpose to equip us to perform the purpose of God. in Exodus 34:6, the Bible says, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”. God has more than enough goodness to dispense to all He desires to bestow it upon, yet there are people who think against the goodness of God, people who actually devalue His goodness. Ouch!

The word “forbearance” means “to exercise self-restraint or patience”. The word “longsuffering” means “patient endurance when others make it hard to do so”. In Romans 9:22-23, the Bible says, “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory”. So instead of desiring to use his power to destroy us for the sin we so proudly carried, God used that same power to exercise patience with a bunch of people who have been pushing Him to destroy them. In Exodus 32:13-14, the Bible says, “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever. And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” Other translations use relented rather than evil. God gave His word to creation that they could become exactly who they were created to be, but even God gets fed up with us. Praise God that He is so faithful, patient, and longsuffering.

“Not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.”

The phrase “not knowing” means “not comprehending or not understanding”. The people who think against the goodness, patience, and longsuffering of God have no real clue of the gift they have been given. The “goodness of God’ is God’s good nature to furnish our needs, even the ones we don’t think 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.” God’s provision touches every part of our lives if we let it. The word “leadeth” means “to guide, incite, or induce”. The word “repentance” means “pious sorrow for unbelief and sin, and a turning away from that to God and the Gospel of Christ.” 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.” God’s goodness allows Him to be patient with us until the precise set of circumstances happen, causing us to turn to HIm in need of salvation. How can we ever despise the goodness of God, knowing it leads us into eternal life?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 13, 2021 – Romans 3:24 – justified freely by his grace

Hi Everyone!

It is such a beautiful gift to receive forgiveness of our sins, and salvation for our souls. Our God loves us so much and didn’t want to see the sins of Adam to be a constant reflection on who we are as God’s creation. Since creation, God desired us to commune and fellowship with Him … with Him as our God and King … and we being His children. It had to break God’s heart to provide such a beautiful garden only to have his children choose death over life. Despite our failures, God provided us with an atoning sacrifice for our sins, Jesus Christ, who redeemed us from the penalty that we so richly deserved. I remember who I used to be in the world, and in tears, I appreciate who I am in the Lord now, knowing someone died so I could live. Who am I to deserve something so valuable? Today, we will look at Romans 3:24, redemption through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”

The word “justified” means “to render innocent or righteous, spoken especially of the justification bestowed by God on men through Christ, in which He is said to regard and treat us as righteous, absolving us from the consequences of sin and admit us to the enjoyment of the divine favor.” 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.” The person who is justified understands that their own righteousness is not going to suffice, that they don’t even deserve the right to look towards heaven. We must be broken by our sins, and cry out to God for His mercy. In Romans 5:1-2, the Bible says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” There are many that won’t come to the faith because they mistakenly believe they have to “clean themselves up first”, thus misunderstanding that our behavior will never justify us before God. But it is by our faith in the provision of grace, forgiveness, justification, redemption and salvation freely given through Christ Jesus by our loving God. This gift was available before we were born and God is just waiting on us to receive it!

The word “grace” means “the unmerited favor of God, which He shows by saving us from sin”. We can’t earn what God has freely provided for us by because we all have fallen short by sin. Romans 3:23 says, “For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. Do we have the right to ever look down on someone else who has yet to receive this gift that we have, knowing we were once as they were? In Ephesians 2:8-9, “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 can never advance so far in the faith that we forget that this beautiful life we live now through salvation was handed to us by God, made available to us when we didn’t deserve to ever be forgiven. So many people walk into a church and experience judgement, and instead of warmth welcoming them, they are met with suspicious eyes and whispers from the congregation if they don’t look like they “belong” in the Church. This shouldn’t be. in Titus 3:7, the Bible says, “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Not only do we have justification through the grace of God, but we are also solidified as heirs of God, ensuring us eternal life.

The word “redemption” means “ransom paid in full, delivering us from the power and consequences of sins”. The word comes from the ancient slave market, where one would pay the necessary ransom to obtain a prisoner’s or slave’s release. In John 8:34, the Bible says, “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” The sin nature we inherited from Adam put us in bondage, and our own sin nature kept us in bondage. Nothing we can do can release us from the bondage we were under until Christ Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. In Matthew 20:28, Christ says, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

Christ came to earth with redeeming us from bondage in His mind!

In Hebrews 9:12, the Bible says, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Only the blood of Christ could secure our freedom, not our works, not church going, not living a good life. Only by faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and Redeemer are we made free indeed!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 14, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 4:17 – worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory

Hi Everyone!

Sometimes, trouble seems to endure forever. Believers can experience pressure so severe, that some have fallen away as a result. God never promised that we wouldn’t experience trial, that life as a believers would be easy and carefree. When we expect to not have struggle, we are setting ourselves up for major disappointment. God wants to be our God in the midst of every circumstance, no matter how good or how pressing, and He wants to establish His purpose in all circumstances of our lives. Through the midst of the heaviest ordeals of my life as a believer, I experienced the greatest level of peace, and I know that is available to all who call upon the name of the Lord in faith. We endure seasons of afflictions, but the beauty about the season is that it will end, and there will be a harvest of wisdom available to us from God. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 4:17, enduring affliction to the glory of God.

”For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.

The word “light” means “easy, or a weightless trifle”. The word “affliction” means “pressure, tribulation, trouble, or persecution”. The reason our burdens feel so incredibly heavy is because we are looking at it from ground level, not being able to comprehend the way out or through the ordeal. In Matthew 11:28-30, Christ says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” God commands us to come to Him with our burdens, with our troubles, with our afflictions, and He will give us rest for our souls. I have been guilty time and time again of trying to go at my problems alone, without anyone’s help, and I have crashed and burned when my own strength failed. In Philippians 2:5, the Bible says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. We have to have the mind of Christ in order to see affliction the way God wants us to look at it. God wants us to surrender our understanding to receive his understanding. Christ said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden light”, so God is not going to place something upon us where we fold under its weight. 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.” The word “temptation” is not talking about the enemy soliciting us to sin, but it is speaking about trials where God brings His people through adversity and affliction in order to encourage and prove our faith and confidence in Him. That easy in fact, but intense pressure has major purposes, one of which is to establish our faith and confidence in God.

“Which is but for a moment”

The word “moment” means “at the very instant”. In Psalm 30:5, the Bible says, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Even discipline is momentary, so our affliction definitely has an expiration date to it. God never designes our afflictions to extend indefinitely. In Isaiah 54:7-8, the Bible says, “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 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.” Sometimes, when we experience affliction, whether self-induced or otherwise, we will feel like God has forsaken us, but He hasn’t! In Daniel 10:12, the Bible says, “Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the FIRST DAY that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.” Daniel experience terror from a vision he saw, and cried out to God for answers. He sat in agony for what seemed like an eternity, but it was only 21 days before the answer came. When we are going through affliction, it doesn’t seem to end, but God already has the answer for us.

“Worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight in glory”

The word “worketh” means “accomplishes”. The word “eternal” means “perpetual, speaking of the blessedness of the righteousness in God.” The word “glory'” speaks of the exalted state of blissful perfection of glorified saints in salvation and when we dwell with God in heaven. In 1 Peter 1:6-7, the Bible says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 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”. If we are looking at our afflictions the way God desires us to, we will see them as something temporary, something we have already been empowered to endure. We will see our affliction as something God has allowed us to go through to strengthen and to further establish our faith, and the purpose of our affliction is going to bring glory to God. We have to see affliction from the position of victory, that someone else is going to be blessed besides us because of what God has allowed us to go through. Maybe then, our anguish will turn into praise!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 15, 2021 – Acts 26:16 – for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness

Hi Everyone!

God has done so much for us, far too much for the little He is asking of us. One of our obligations as believers is to spread the Word of God, the goodness of God, and the testimony God has given us to as many people as we can, but this is one of the things that believers find the hardest time doing. Maybe we, like I have myself at one time, put our own spin on what God actually wants from us, and we bow out from the pressure we have placed on God’s command. Whatever God places upon our hearts to speak won’t be difficult for us to do, because He will appear unto us, giving us what we need to say. In addition to that, we have the testimony of what God has done in our lives, how we were saved, and how God continues to lead us as a perpetual message and our most powerful sermon. Today, we will look at Acts 26:16, becoming the ministers God has called us to be.

”But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee”

The words “rise and stand” signify a call to obedience from us by God, for us to be ready for a word from Him. 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.” As believers, we are looked upon as soldiers, and soldiers always are ready to receive a command. The world around us doesn’t matter, just the Word that comes from our Master. A person who stands, awaiting a Word from the Lord is the person seeking to carry it out. In Ezekiel 2:1-2, “And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.” Something amazing happens when the children of God stand at attention, awaiting a word from Him. We position ourselves to receive his Spirit, and with his Spirit, comes the power to do that work God calls for us to do. In Philippians 2:13, the Bible says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God gives us exactly what we need to perform his will, pleasing him in the process.

The word “purpose” means “intent”. This means God shows up at the appointed time for His will to be done. In Daniel 10:10-11, the Bible says, “And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.” When God touches us, He gives us the power to stand, but sometimes He takes us through a process of maturation first, a period of humility and brokenness before his Word brings us to our feet. I love how God is specific, visiting each of us individually, showing us that the Word coming from the Lord is for us. In Ephesians 1:11, the Bible says, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will”. God is not going to send us to do anything that we won’t prevail in according to His will. 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.” Everything God commands us to do is a part of His will, and His will will be done where it goes forth. He doesn’t send us out on losing battles.

“To make thee a minister and witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things which I will appear unto thee”

The word “minister” means “subordinate, servant, or attendant”. Remember, as believers and soldiers, we live to please our Commander. The word “witness” means “one who testifies truthfully to what they have seen, heard and know”. God is never going to have us do anything that we are incapable of doing. In Mark 5:19-20, the Bible says, “Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.” This man just received deliverance from a legion of demons, and wanted to go with Christ, but Christ told him to stay home and witness to his friend what God did for him. He witnessed in Decapolis(which means TEN CITIES) all God has done for Him. God gives us a testimony that can be used to witness to others and brings glory to God in the process, and He will also supply us with everything we need to minister to the needs of others. The question is, will we stand, ready to obey the command from the Lord?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 16, 2021 – Psalm 40:8 – ‘I delight to do thy will, O my God

Hi Everyone!

The Word Of God is powerful, able to transform lives, save souls, heal the sick, and raise the dead. The Word of God also shares with us what God has desired from us since the beginning, and how He has set His purpose in motion to reconcile us back unto Himself. As we read the Word, we are further acquainted with the intentionality of our God to make every provision for us to live in the world as children of God, experiencing the provision of the Kingdom of God right here on earth. We are introduced many times to God’s all-surpassing love for us, we also receive God’s plan for salvation, and we also discover His will for our lives There is real treasure in the Word of God, but what does it mean to us? When the Lord speaks to us, what is our attitude? Joy? Rebellion? Excitement? Resentment? What should our attitude be when it comes to the Word of God and the will of God? Today, we will look at Psalm 40:8, delighting in the will of God.

”I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”

The word “delight” means “to incline to bend towards”. Imagine a plant that is placed into the window where the sunlight is coming through. The plant will bend towards the light, knowing the sunlight is vital for survival. Do we as believers bend towards the Word of God, knowing it is vital for our survival? In Psalm 119:15-16, the Bible says, “I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” When we delight to do God’s will, we have to position ourselves to receive the Word of God with an open heart and mind, treating it as life-giving food to our hungry souls, and we have to lock the Word of God into our hearts, minds, and in our thoughts. In order for us to delight in God’s will, we have to know what the will of God is in our lives. in Psalm 119:24, the Bible says, “Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.” The Word of God is true testimony, and it is the best counsel we can ever receive. This means the Word of God will cover every possible situation that comes our way, and it also means that the Word of God will ultimately lead us to the purpose God has for us. In Psalm 119:47-48, the Bible says, “And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved. My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.” We should also incline ourselves to whatever God tells us to do, no matter where it leads. His commands aren’t overbearing, and God doesn’t require anything more from us than our labor of love, loving God and loving each other. In Psalm 119:92-93, the Bible says, “Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.” The Word of God saves our lives, and prevents us from dying in our afflictions. Because of the Word of God, we can be brought back to life!

The word “will” means “pleasure, anything pleasing to God.” In John 4:34, “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Christ knew that the will of God was (and still is) more important than the needs we have as people. Is the will of God food, a necessity for survival and longevity? In Matthew 16:24-25,  “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.”  When we incline ourselves to pleasing God, God comes first, and we must leave ourselves out of the equation. We go from being individuals, living to serve ourselves, to transformed people who live to please God. In Mark 3:34-35, which follows Christ’s question “Who is my mother, or my brethren? “And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.” When we do the will of God we get to experience this kingdom family that gives us direct and unrestricted access to God.

“Thy law is within my heart”

The word “law” means “instruction, precepts, or statutes”. The word “heart” refers to the deepest, innermost parts of us where our emotions and desires come forth. In Psalm 119:10-11, the Bible says, “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” We must seek God with our whole heart, undivided, and plant God’s word in our heart, because from this, we have the ability to be led by the Holy Spirit into the full will of God for our lives.

We were bought with a price; and we belong to our Redeemer. Let us live our lives on purpose, and intentionally incline to the will of God.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 17, 2021 – 1 Thessalonians 5:14 – warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak

Hi Everyone!

Our brother Andy lies in the hospital right now, convalescing after a drug overdose. He suffered some pretty brutal side effects, and where it stands right now, he experienced kidney failure, his heart took a hit, both his arm and leg are severely swollen due to something called ”compartment syndrome”, as he was not receiving blood circulation to these limbs. Not only is he fighting for his life still, but he is fighting for his limbs as well. He is in bad shape, in need of our prayers, and greatly in need of God’s grace to heal his body and his heart. It is easy for someone to cast judgements upon someone who is suffering due to their own choices, but what Andy needs is our love, our compassion, our encouragement that he can be transformed by the power of God working mightily in him. Andy’s addiction is no different than my issues with anger, and someone else’s idolatry, someone else’s adultery, someone else’s stealing. We’ve all done wrong in our own way, but when we fall, what type of Church do we hope to see, one that is compassionate, loving, encouraging and edifying or one full of haughtiness or judgement? Me, Jessica and our family humbly ask the Church for your compassion and prayer during this difficult time, because Andy needs our support. Today, we are going to look at 1 Thessalonians 5:14, building a Church of love, compassion, and encouragement.

”Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.”

The word ”exhort” means ”to call near or invite in order to comfort or encourage”. People who are struggling in sin need to KNOW we are here for them. How can we ever exhort our brothers and sisters in silence? In Hebrews 3:13, the Bible says, ”But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” We are supposed to be a daily encouragement to those in need. I try to build an environment in every prison I’ve been housed in that anyone can come to me if they need to talk, vent, or if they need help. I know what I have been delivered from by God, and I want the people around me to receive the same healing. They only know I am here for them because I go to them. The word ”brethren” refers to the Church, the body of believers in Christ Jesus, or Christians. Paul is encouraging the Church to be a source of encouragement and comfort in their communities, thus taking the Church outside of its walls.

The word ”warn” means ”to put in one’s mind and heart, to caution, or to reprove GENTLY”. People who have fallen short do not need a bunch of people jumping on their backs. They need to experience loving guidance into the way they should take in truth spoken in love. He word ”unruly” means ”disorderly or insubordinate”. In John 16:8, Christ says, ”And when He is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment”. ”He” is referring to the Holy Spirit. In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says, ”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. The Word of God should be the foundation of our reproof of those who are subordinate, but we should never beat someone over the head with the Bible. They don’t need our judgement, but rather they need our encouragement and guidance into the choices they need to make.

The word ”feebleminded” means ”low-spirited, fainthearted, discouraged”. Do we really understand how hard it is for someone struggling in sin to break free from that level of bondage? Fainthearted people will give up under pressure, and discouraged people will relapse into their sinful, but they will do it faster without our comfort, without our love, without our guidance. In Galatians 6:1, the Bible says, ”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.” It was easier for me to change because I was met by people who saw what I could become in Christ Jesus instead of who I was in my sin. I was encouraged by people who remember the times when they needed mercy instead of judgement.

The word ”support” means ”faithfully attach to, or faithfully care for”. In Romans 15:1-2, the Bible says, ”We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.” As the Church, the strong have to be the strength for the weak. People afflicted may not be able to ”see” God in their state, but they can see us and we must reflect the kingdom of God and be ”little Christs”. We have to be patient, loving, and a source of Godly counsel and perspective to those who need us.

Andy needs our prayers and support in this time of need. Who do you know that needs the same from you?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 18, 2021 – Philippians 3:13 – forgetting those things which are behind

Hi Everyone!

The goal every believer should have is to become one with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This oneness causes us to experience God in a way we never have before, and allows us to walk in great power and purpose. God created us in His own image and in His own likeness, but He gave us the choice – whether or not we would live our lives in that manner. Even though Paul was the chief Pastor of the Church, he didn’t hold his position or accomplishments for the gospel to any esteem, because His goal was to live a sinless life of sanctification and power. Every day, he was given a new opportunity to race after Christ-likeness, and he wanted to seize it for himself. Yesterday meant nothing, because the only thing that mattered was abiding in the Lord daily. Every day, we have the opportunity to reveal who we are and what we are racing towards, and God desires children who race after Him with everything they have. Today, we will look at Philippians 3:13, seizing oneness with Jesus Christ.

”Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”

The word ”brethren” refers to the body of believers in Christ Jesus, the ones sealed with salvation and the gift of eternal life, and of course, Christians. It means ”one connected with another in any kind of faith, intimacy, and fellowship.” In Colossians 1:2, the Bible says, ”To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The brethren are going to have the character as believers and it will be evidenced in their lives. The word ”count” means ”to take inventory, to estimate”, also meaning, ”of the result of reasoning; to conclude, to judge”. This is the person who weighs the Word of God to whatever circumstance they face and declares that the Word of God is the only conclusion, the only answer to the issues we face. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Bible says, ”Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” The Word of God is the gauge by how we examine ourselves, because 2 Timothy 3:16 says, ”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Paul weighed himself daily against the Word of God and concluded that he was short of what God desired of him. The word ”apprehended” means ”to take eagerly, to seize, or to possess”. Paul desires oneness with Christ Jesus, to conform his life to the Word of God, being in the image and in the likeness of God. In Colossians 3:1, the Bible says, ”If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.” We have to pursue Godliness in our daily lives, striving to obey the Lord in all things. This isn’t about religion or works, but this is about growing into a loving relationship with our God, and developing the desire to please Him in all things. Paul knew he would come short, but he still lived His life to serve God faithfully and he strived to reach the goal of oneness with Christ. His shortcomings didn’t stop him for continuing to try.

”But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”

The word ”forgetting” means ”lose out of one’s mind, to neglect”. When we neglect something, we don’t feed it, take care of it, or allow it to grow.” What is behind us is of no importance compared to what lies ahead. In Luke 9:59-60, the Bible says of Christ, ”And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”  Christ isn’t telling us to not care about or care for our loved ones, but what he is saying is that nothing, or no one, should come before the Word of God. If God says, ”Follow me”, then the priority is where God is leading us. 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.” The only way we can successfully plough is if we look ahead and keep ourselves focused on what lies ahead. The phrase ”reaching forth” means ”to stretch oneself upon”. In Hebrews 6:11-12, the Bible says, ”And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” We are to press forward in faith and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, looking to experience newness in God as we experience oneness in Christ.

Every day provides a brand new chance to abide in the Lord. Will we seize it?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 19, 2021 – Matthew 11:29 – and ye shall find rest unto your souls

Hi Everyone!

We have the greatest example of how to live a Godly life on earth in Jesus Christ. The Word of God shows how he conquered opposition, illness, demonic forces, sin, and the grave. In Christ lies everything we need to be conquerors as well, but do we truly believe? When God asks for our obedience, for us to heed His instruction, do we listen, knowing it is the best thing for us? In obedience, we will have rest, knowing we are doing what our God requires, and if we follow the example of Christ in this world, then we will live lives of victory. God wants us to be willing servants for Him, fully understanding that by being servants of the Lord, we will begin to bear more and more of His image in the process. Christ came to earth and had every opportunity and right to be a King but took the form of a servant. This is an example of putting service ahead of status. Today we will look at Matthew 11:29, receiving the yoke of Christ.

”Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

The word ”take” means ”to bear up or carry”. The word ”yoke” means ”a coupling, or servitude”. A yoke is placed upon oxen, usually two are attached, and straps are attached to them so they can be handled by whoever is driving them. The yoke ensures that the oxen move in the direction the driver desires them to go, and also in the same direction as each other. This requires complete surrender, so when we take Christ’s yoke upon us, we are completely surrendering our will, desires, and goals to God. In Philippians 2:4-5, the Bible says, ”Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. The first thing we must do in order to take the yoke of Christ on us is to stop being selfish. We must develop a mind of service rather than living our lives looking to be serviced. In John 13:14-16, Christ says, ”If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” Another thing we must understand when we take on the yoke of Christ is we are not too good or too advanced for the work the Lord has for us. Christ, who is God robed in flesh, washed the disciples’ feet, just to give an example of what they also must do. Taking the yoke of Christ upon us is the same and telling God, ”Wherever you lead me, I will follow”.

The word ”learn” means ”to understand by study and observation”. In 1 Peter 2:21, the Bible says, ”For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”. We never got the opportunity to physically walk with Him and learn of him in the physical, but He left us a pretty pronounced example in the Word of God and walking with Him by the leading of the Holy Spirit. 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.” We have the Word of God to take upon us, allowing it to lead us wherever God ordains. Being able to rightly divide the word of truth ensures we will move in the direction God desires for us to go. We have to completely surrender ourselves to the Word of God in order to learn of Christ.

”For I am meek and lowly in heart”

The word ”meek” means ”gentle or humble”. In Matthew 5:5, ”Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” When we take the yoke of Christ upon us, we take up the example of Christ, and also partake in the victory. We become partakers also of the divine kingdom which gives us the divine nature. The ”lowly in heart” are the ones that bring themselves to a low estate so God’s power can take over. In Philippians 2:7-8, the Bible says, ”But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Christ was and is the greatest example of meekness and humility in the earth, and the Word of God is urging us to strive for this as well.

The phrase ”find rest” means ”to obtain quiet from occupation, oppression, or torment”. 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.”

Because Christ overcame the world, we have access to peace and rest in God. When we allow God to direct us as He wills, He will give us his peace to handle everything that will come our way. Our minds and hearts will have true rest, and we will find comfort in serving the Lord.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 20, 2021 – Romans 10:14 – how then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed

Hi Everyone!

Hearing the Word of God is vital for salvation. Many are being ”saved” in feeling but not in truth, and as a result, many churches are lacking power because the Word of God isn’t mighty in its members. This shouldn’t be, because every believer should be able to give their account of how the Word of God was spoken, written or read which led to their salvation. The preacher and teacher have the responsibility of making sure that people receive the truth, which is able to save our souls, and lead us to lives of victory. There are members who don’t know the promises of God in order to believe in them, and there are some believers who have no clue of how to call upon the Lord. How can people believe in the Word of God, when they aren’t being taught the Word of God accurately? Today, we will look at Romans 10:14, the power of preaching the Gospel.

”How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”

If we look at this verse correctly, we would see that the end result is at the beginning of the verse, so we will start from the end and work our way to the beginning. The word “preacher” means “someone who publishes or heralds religious truth, the Gospel with its attendant privileges and obligations.” In Titus 1:3, the Bible says, “But hath in due times manifested His word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour.” When the Word of God is preached, it is revealed to the preacher just as it is revealed to the hearer. The preacher is telling people what God tells them to preach. In Jeremiah 1:7-9, the Bible says, “But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.  Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 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.” God is not concerned with what we feel are our limitations, because a preacher only preaches the Word of God they have been given, and so they become the mouth of our God in the process. At least 100 times in this process of putting together these devotionals, I had a plan, verses listed, and an idea of what direction I was going to go in, but God adjusted my plan on a moment’s notice and sent me in a completely different direction. God revealed the verses He wanted used by putting them on my heart, and even the points of reflection. Sometimes, I even asked God, “Is THIS what you want me to say? Ouch!” A preacher or teacher is only supposed to speak the words God commands them to speak.

The word “heard” means “to understand, to learn by hearing, to know, to be informed of.” In Romans 10:17, the Bible says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith comes from the Word of God, so if we encounter a faithless church, then one can assume correctly that the Word of God isn’t being received as truth, and people aren’t governing their lives by the Word of God. In Ephesians 4:21-23, the Bible says, “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind”. Then there will be evidence that the Word of God is being preached in truth, because it will begin a radical change in the lives of those who receive the Word, allowing it to renew their minds and hearts. Hearing the Word of God isn’t the same thing as hearing a noise. We hear with the intention of following the Word.

The word “believe” means “to entrust, to be firmly persuaded, to have faith in”. In Acts 13:38-39, the Bible says, “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” When we believe in the Word of God, we have access to the power we need to live holy and victorious lives. It doesn’t matter what we hear if we don’t believe it. The question is, will we believe in the Word of God and allow it to transform our lives? The word “call” means “to invoke for aid or worship.” In 2 Timothy 2:22, the Bible says, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Hearing and believing the Word of God will cause us to desire a life without youthful lust, giving us the desire to live a life pleasing to God.  Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

When the Word is preached, people hear it, believe in it, then call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and salvation comes to them. The power of preaching!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 21, 2021 – Acts 10:34 – of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons

Hi Everyone!

Our God is not a respecter of persons. He is willing to forgive all, save all, and redeem all from the curse of sin, and He is also willing to bestow His grace upon us, so we can become exactly who He ordains for us to be. We live in a society where people have developed a hierarchy: the “haves” and the “have-nots”, the saved and the unsaved, and it threatens to keep us divided as a people. Even in prison, there is a perceived hierarchy according to what crime a person has been convicted of, and what types of things a person was doing when they were free. I blow up that hierarchy on a daily basis, by openly conversing with everyone no matter their background. God has to be sorely displeased with us, because the more we look at who we feel is qualified to receive the Word of God, the less people find themselves at the feet of our Father. Today, we will look at Acts 10:34, true equality in the Gospel.

”Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons”

Are we supposed to stand silent, when God is calling for us to speak? The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONS, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 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.” Christ laid the groundwork for the Word of God to go everywhere, years before Peter had this vision which finally opened up his eyes to the stereotypes he had towards Gentiles. This vision had to be done three times with Peter, because he was hard-headed, but eventually he conformed to the will and the Word of God. in Acts 10:44-45, the Bible says, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Because Peter was finally obedient to the word of God, his heart of stone was replaced with a heart of flesh, and he saw the power of the Holy Ghost fall freshly upon people he assumed didn’t qualify. Other Jews were there too were astonished, so we can assume that more people changed their stances.

Christ didn’t give us a directive that He Himself didn’t follow. In John 4:9-10, the Bible says, “Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” Even when Christ walked the earth, He was breaking down the stereotypes, and also offering salvation to all he came into contact with. Now, if we are to live as Christ lived on earth, and we are to think as Christ thinks, then how can a Church have stereoptypes, bias, or racism in it? Christ came to tear the walls of the church building down in order to build a real Church of people. How can we fulfill the vision Christ has if we don’t see each other as equals?

The word “perceive” means “to seize with the mind, to comprehend”. There’s more to this definition because we have to attach the word “eagerly” to it. This means there isn’t an inner conflict anymore with Peter. He is excited to receive this revelation! In Matthew 26:41, Christ told the disciples, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The flesh is going to always tell us to remain divided, or give a reason for why “they” need to stay “over there” and “we” need to stay over here, but the spirit knows the truth! We have to mortify the flesh in order to receive the things of the Spirit, and that requires us to admit that our way is not going to cut it with God.

The phrase “respecter of persons” means “to be accepting of a face, to exhibit partiality.” God will use anyone and allow his Word to be spoken by anyone, or anything. Think not? In Numbers 22:28, the Bible says, “And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” Don’t think for a second that God “needs” us to speak His Word. We are His choice. Still not convinced? In Luke 19:39-40, it says, “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” Trust me when I tell you, God choosing us to speak his Word is an honor and privilege that we don’t deserve, but if we are unwilling to open our mouths like Peter, God is not without a suitable replacement.

God chose us, so who are we to withhold the Word from someone else?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 22, 2021 – Romans 8:13 – but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live

Hi Everyone!

Life is through the Spirit of God. I sadly hear the lies that there are many roads to God, that people can do what they want, worship whoever and however they want, because ”it’s all the same anyway”. It shows me how Godless this world is becoming by the second, and how badly we need God in all facets of our lives. A life of sin and living after the flesh is a one way trip to death, and where death is, God isn’t. Many are going to be stubborn and reject our loving God until they meet God, only to see that they believed the lie in vain and now are subject to the eternal wrath of God. I don’t want this for anyone, to live a life absent the Lord, but we must put the flesh to death in order to experience life. God didn’t send Christ to die for us to not receive life through His death, and when we reject Him as Lord we are testifying that He died in vain. Today, we are going to look at Romans 8:13, putting our flesh to death through the Spirit.

”For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

The word ”live” means ”made alive by salvation, and the indwelling of the Spirit of God, sealing us for an abundant, eternal life.” In John 6:63, Christ says, ”It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

There are people who think they are ”living” because they have an abundance of worldly possessions, their ideal mate (or mates), a great job, but this isn’t living at all.

The Spirit of God is the only thing that can give life.

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.” Man’s life began when God breathed in man the breath of life, not when we were formed. There are too many people that won’t let God breathe His breath, His Holy Spirit on and in them, so they are essentially the walking dead. We can’t live outside of the Word of God, because the verse says the word Christ speaks IS spirit and life.

If the Spirit is what makes us alive, then how can we live without it?

The phrase ”after the flesh” refers to sinfulness, proneness to sin, the carnal nature, the seat of carnal appetites and desires, of sinful passions and affections whether physical or moral. In Romans 8:6-7, the Bible says, ”For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” The flesh is in direct opposition to God. A person can have a world’s worth of possessions, but do they have life and peace?

Why do people race after the flesh, ignoring the life that is in the Spirit and Word of God?

In Hebrews 11:25, the Bible says, ”Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the PLEASURES of sin for a season”. If sin wasn’t pleasurable, no one would do it. If the high from drugs didn’t feel good no one would use drugs and if sex didn’t feel good, people wouldn’t cheat and displease God by having sex in a way God didn’t ordain.

Which dog are you going to feed, flesh or Spirit?

In Romans 8:5, the Bible says, ”For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” Whatever we follow after is the nature we subject ourselves to, but there are consequences if we make the wrong choice.

The word ”die” means ”to die forever, to come under condemnation of eternal death, i.e. exclusion from the Messiah’s kingdom, and subjection to eternal punishment of sin.” In Romans 6:23, the Bible says, ”For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”, but Romans 8:1 says, ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Which dog are we going to feed, flesh or Spirit?

”But if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”

”Through the Spirit”! People think they can ”be good” and it will be sufficient, but without the Spirit working in us, there is no life!

The word ”mortify” means ”to kill off or put to death”. The word ”deeds” means ”practices or acts”. Galatians 2:20 says, ”I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

When we live through the Spirit, we have the power to put the deeds of the flesh to death. It isn’t our holiness that does it but it it is Christ living in us, giving us victory over the power of sin. It is our job to use this power to put the flesh to death by following after the Spirit.

God Bless!

Marshall                 

 

Oct 23, 2021 – Romans 12:1 – that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice

Hi Everyone!

What are we willing to do for the kingdom of God? What can we offer God that would be pleasing to Him? Jesus Christ gave a sacrifice that was totally pleasing to God, and that was Himself, His death being the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world once and for all. No other sacrifice give before Him was sufficient to pay the cost for our sins, and no sacrifice after His sacrifice will ever be sufficient to pay the cost. We as believers have received a gift that cannot be reimbursed, receiving redemption from the penalty of death and the bondage of sin. We have the ability to live amazing lives in the Lord, experiencing the privilege of partaking in the divine nature. God doesn’t ask for much in return, just that we give ourselves totally to Him for Him to use us in a way that brings glory back to Him. He wants us to live lives that are pleasing to Him. Today, we will look at Romans 12:1, being living sacrifices pleasing to the Lord.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

The word “beseech” means “to call near or invite in order to encourage or admonish”. The word ‘brethren” refers to believers, Christians connected to each other in intimacy and fellowship of God.  Paul is speaking to the Church. The phrase “mercies of God” means “loving compassion of God”. 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.” Paul is encouraging the Church to recognize that we ourselves were not consumed because of the Lord’s mercies, and we still are not consumed because of the same mercies. In other words, Paul is urging the Church to remember the times God’s mercies were mighty in our lives, ultimately leading us to salvation, to not forget where we have been brought from. 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”. Because of the mercies of God we have boldness to come into the presence of God, by the way He prepared for us. God provided the sacrifice, and He also provided the way for us to partake in the divine kingdom. We have to remember that when we were at our worst, God prepared us a way to receive salvation and entrance into the kingdom.

“That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice”.

The word “present” means “offer up, to exhibit”. The phrase ‘living sacrifice” refers to people who are saved, made alive by the Holy Spirit making themselves available to God in service and obedience. Recognizing God’s mercy in saving us should give us the mindset to want to help advance the kingdom. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, the Bible says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” When we received salvation, our bodies no longer belonged to us, but rather to the Lord who redeemed us. We have to live in appreciation for what Christ has done for us, and we must have the right attitude in service and obedience to God. In 1 Corinthians 13:3, the Bible says, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” Sacrifice without love has no value, and it does no one any good. Christ sacrifice involved His death, but God is asking for us to sacrifice our time, our will, and our selfish ambitions to serve Him completely. In John 3:16, the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Love was the motivating force behind the sacrifice Christ made for us, the desire to see us become better than what we were. This should be our motivation as well.

“Holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

The word “holy” means “pure or clean by God”. The phrase “acceptable unto God” means “well-pleasing to God.” Romans 6:13, the Bible says, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” We gave ourselves totally to the world, now we must give ourselves totally to the Word of God, yielding everything we are in service to God and others. The phrase “reasonable service” means “rational ministration to God.”

How can we experience such a priceless gift from God and then act like the little He asks of us is too much?

What are we willing to sacrifice to ensure that the will of God is done in the kingdom?

Good bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 24, 2021 – Romans 13:13 – let us walk honestly, as in the day

Hi Everyone!

When people see us, what do they see in us? Do we reflect the Word of God as Christians, truly saved and redeemed by our loving God? Do we live our lives as if we have the “second chance” we have always hoped for, using this amazing opportunity to serve the Lord? Our conduct is a reflection of what nature is at work in us, and we have to make every effort to make sure that we are living lives that don’t resemble the world. This world is filled with every kind of evil, and sadly, that evil is seeping into the Church, which is becoming more and more tolerant to sin. We must get back to living Godly lives, representing our God accurately through our behavior and interactions with people. If people see us and are surprised that we are believers, then we aren’t living our faith out loud, or do we look so much like the world that people can’t see God in us. Today, we will look at Romans 13:13, walking in the light of the Lord.

”Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”

The word “honestly” means “decorously, decently, or properly.” “Walking honestly” means living a life pleasing to God, a life that reflects God’s presence in us and our understanding that we have been redeemed. In Romans 6:4, the Bible says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” When we were saved, the old life we lived was left behind, buried unto death, but we have to make the decision daily to not dig that nature back up. Once we seize the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, we will make a deliberate effort to live a unholy life, against the new standard and nature in us. In 1 Peter 2:12, the Bible says, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” The world can try to discount who we are in the Lord, but at the end of the day, our behavior can and will cause people to glorify God. No matter what the world says or does, we have a responsibility to reflect the Gospel in everything we do.

“not in rioting and drunkeness”

The word “rioting” means “letting loosing, carousing, usually indicating wild parties, orgies, brawling, or actual civil unrest.” The word “drunkenness means “intoxication”. In Proverbs 23:20-21, the Bible says, “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” We are not to be among these type of people, because it will become hard to distinguish us as believers from the world who practice lawlessness. The drunkard and glutton won’t just suffer financial poverty, but will experience moral and spiritual bankruptcy as well. In Galatians 5:21, the Bible says, “Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” These are the ones that practice these evils freely – there are grave consequences for those who do.

“Not in chambering and wantonness,”

The word “chambering” means “cohabitation”, or in other words, “lying with someone sexually who is not your wife or husband, playing house, or sleeping around.” The word “wantonness” means “lasciviousness, or in other words, sexual promiscuity”. In 1 Corinthians 6:18, the Bible says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” Sexual promiscuity violates the command God gave us. In 1 Corinthians 7:2, it says, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” The Bible gives us a clear provision to enjoy a fulfilling sexual relationship that he approves of, but sadly, many follow after their flesh.

“not in strife and envying”

The word “strife” means “quarreling or contentious debating”. The word “envying” means “jealousy which produces anger”. In James 3:14-16, the Bible says, “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” These attributes display a lack of God’s presence because these attributes come from the Satan’s influence in the world. If Paul spoke of all of these evil qualities, and he is speaking to the Church, then one can only imagine how the Church is now. Ouch!

May we come to live boldly as children of God and heirs to the promise, being separate from the world and its evils.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 25, 2021 – James 1:19 – let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath

Hi Everyone!

Anger is an issue affecting a lot of people’s lives, and believers are no different. Many of times in my life, I wouldn’t have had the trouble I did had I listened more and been less reactive in the midst of disagreement. Most of the time, had I just shut my mouth and not said anything, the problem would’ve solved itself. In the midst of anger, a few things happen. One, the mind becomes clouded by what we feel, and we can’t think as clearly. Two, we tend to have selective hearing while angry, looking to only hear things that will essentially fuel the fire. Three, we tend to say things that are hurtful, and are bound to destroy relationships. I know this well, because anger used to be a real issue for me and it has caused me extensive damage throughout all my life. God desires a church that is positioned to hear, people ready to obey, rather that people who are angry and impulsive. Today, we will look at James 1:19, weakening the power of anger in our lives.

”Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath”

The phrase “beloved brethren” is spoken of Christians united with God and each other in bond of holy love. When Paul says this, he is displaying just how much the Church means to him, and how much he desires for the Church to be it’s best. In Ephesians 4:15-16, the Bible says, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Love is always the foundation for every message Paul spreads to the Church, even when he has to correct their behavior. Paul is hoping that, by his letters to the Church, that God will cause growth and interconnectedness to come from the word God has given into share. When a person truly loves you, and speaks words that are meant to help, we receive them better. 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.” Paul desired to see people saved, and see lives transformed. I believe the Church had full confidence that Paul held their best interests in his heart. If you ever want to make an impact in someone’s life, love them first!

The word “man” here doesn’t speak of males, but it means “human beings or mankind.” this message isn’t directed at one person, but to “every” person. This shows that we all have the ability to either get it right or wrong. The word “swift” means “prompt or ready”. The word “hear” means “to give audience to in order to heed or obey”. It is using the ear as an instrument of obedience. In 2 Corinthians 10:5-6, 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; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.” In order for us to be swift to hear, we must clear away any thought that keeps us from obeying the Word of God, cast away every feeling that shuts our ears to the Word of God. It takes diligence. in Ecclesiastes 5;1, the Bible says, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.” God doesn’t care if we preach the best sermon in the world, or give everything we have to people in need. God wants us to be ready to heed and obey His word.

“slow to speak, slow to wrath”

Thw word “slow” means “dull or not hasty”. The word “speak” means “to talk or utter words”. In Proverbs 10:19, the Bible says, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” A verbally impulsive person is someone who says the first thing that comes to mind, which can be extremely harmful, because the wrong thing tends to come out. In Proverbs 17:27, it says, “He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” This means to make what we say count for good! The word “wrath” means “passion, violent commotion of the mind, also meaning anger, indignation including a desire for punishment or vengeance.” In Proverbs 14:29, the Bible says, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.” I know by experience the consequences of an impulsive, rash decision, but I also know that being slow to wrath can open the doors of understanding and pave the way for peace.

The enemy enjoys an impulsive believer, but God desires believers who exercises self-control and are able to communicate in a manner that pleases Him in all situations.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 26, 2021 – James 1:12 – blessed is the man that endureth temptation

Hi Everyone!

In our lives as believers, we are going to experience trials. Sometimes, the trials are easier to endure, but at other times, they are uncomfortable, painful even, when we need to cleave more to the Father in order to endure them. God never promised us a life that is easy or pleasant, but Christ did say that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

When going through trials, we must ask ourselves,

”Am I trying to endure the trial in my own power and strength, or am I relying upon God’s strength, enabling Him to equip me with everything I need to triumph over that trial?

In my own life, I have discovered the completion of a trial to be a great blessing, because God always lets me know why He allowed me to go through that trial from some event that occurs after the trial is over. Nothing God does or allows us to go through is without an ultimate purpose.

His ultimate purpose in all trials is to refine us and make us ready to receive eternal life when our lives on earth are over. Today, we will look at James 1:12, enduring perishable trials for a crown that doesn’t perish.

”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.”

The word ”blessed” means ”well-off, receiving God’s favor regardless of what the circumstances may be.” Our state of blessing is not dependent upon outside circumstances or financial provision, but rather upon the Word of God’s declaration of who is blessed. In Matthew 24:45-46, Christ says, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” The person who does the will of God, tending to His people and helping to build his Kingdom is the person who is blessed. In Romans 4:7-8, the Bible says, “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.”

The person whose sins are forgiven, allowing them to receive the gift of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is the person who is blessed.

Eternal life is ours, which is more than enough of a reason to be blessed. 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.” God doesn’t promise believers an easy pass through life, but says we “shall have tribulation”. To me, it is a blessing to be given advanced notice!

The word “endureth” means “remain patient under, or to persevere”. The word “temptation” actually means “a state of trial in which God brings His people through adversity and affliction in order to encourage and prove our faith and confidence in Him.”  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.” There is purpose behind our trial! A lot of times, when we are facing trial, it is extremely hard to understand the reason or purpose behind it. That is why it is important for us to be patient, to persevere, to trust in God to see us through. The word “tried” means refined, proved and found to be acceptable”. In Job 5:17, the Bible says, “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty”. Sometimes, trials are going to redirect us, even when we feel we are going the right way. When the Church was persecuted in Acts, that had to be awful trials, but what happened? The Church was scattered, but every place they were scattered, the Word of God was spread! The Church grew exponentially all over the world because of the trials the Church suffered. God is more concerned with His will being done than he is with the trials we suffer as believers.

“he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love him”

The word “receive” means “to obtain”. The phrase “crown of life” refers to the eternal life of bliss and glory in the kingdom of God which awaits the true disciples of Christ after the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 9:25, the Bible says, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” The crown we will receive will remain forever! In Revelations 1:6, it says, “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” We are destined to reign with Christ and preach with Christ as kings and priests in heaven, but why isn’t His will being done “on earth as it is in heaven”? The ones who “love Him” are the faithful disciples and followers of Christ. God assures us that when we remain faithful under trial, that we will obtain eternal life crowned as the favored of the Lord. Sounds like a great benefit to me!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 27, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 1:18 – but unto us which are saved it is the power of God

Hi Everyone!

No matter how clear and accurate our message about Christ is, there will be people who don’t believe it and won’t believe it. On my unit, there are guys that are completely against the Gospel, but believe in things that resemble the truth in a lot of ways. Their explanations of their beliefs make no real sense to me, but to them, my faith doesn’t make sense either. In that moment, it is like we are speaking two different languages, and in essence, we are! There are going to be people who will perish, only to find out the God we serve, and the Savior we believe in was the real Gospel this whole time. By then it will be too late! This is why spreading the Gospel is extremely important, because people are at least given the chance to receive the Word of God as truth in their lives. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 1:18, preaching the Gospel’s miraculous message of power to both the living and the dying.

‘For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

The word “preaching” implies a spoken word manifesting a message from God to His people. In 2 Timothy 4:2, the Bible says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Sometimes our preaching and sharing the Word of God will come at the precise time someone needs to hear it, and other times, it will feel we are preaching and sharing the Word of God to a “brick wall”. God commands us to preach and share the Word of God in all seasons, not just the ones that are easy, but all in seasons of difficulty. In 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, the Bible says, “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are CALLED, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Our message is Christ and Him crucified, but the ones that are called to receive this message are the ones who will experience its wisdom and power. If we worry about what side of the coin people are on before we preach and share the Word of God to them, then we are trying to serve our own opinion and not God. The phrase “preaching of the cross” refers to God’s total revelation, the Gospel in all its fullest, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, and the entire divine plan and provision for the redemption of sinners. We preach and share an amazing benefit to mankind!

“To them that perish foolishness”

We can’t control what side of the coin people are on, before and after we share the Word. The word “perish” means “to destroy fully, speaking of the unsaved slated for eternal death unless they receive salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.” The word “foolishness” means “silliness, absurdity”. In 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, the Bible says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The ‘god of this world’ is Satan. Before we begin to judge someone for being in the world, for living a life of sin, let us consider that the enemy is trying to keep the unsaved blind, trying to keep them in a state of darkness so they can’t see the light of Christ. It’s not just a life drug addiction, or promiscuity, or murder, stealing, or evil, but the unsaved are living a life where they have been unable to receive light. If Christ says in Luke 13:5, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” The unsaved are dying, and unless they repent, that death will be permanent. If someone was dying right in front of you, wouldn’t you try to help them live?

“But unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

The word “saved” refers to those saved by Christ and are kept by Him. The word “power” means “miraculous force of God”. In Romans 1:16, the Bible says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” We know the Gospel’s message to be real power, but we had to come to a place where we believed it to be truth, and received Christ as Lord and Savior. We are continuing to be refined daily by this same Gospel. Imagine the person who has never known this, who has never experienced this power at work. Ephesians 1:18 says, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints”. We have a privilege the world doesn’t have; the gift of salvation, eternal life, and a real hope not defined by the standards of the world, a real miracle.

With this knowledge, let us look to the world with compassion, as Christ did, and make a better effort at winning souls for the kingdom of God.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 28, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 2:4 – but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power

Hi Everyone!

I used to have the wrong impression of my calling, that I was going to have to go to a seminary for 4 years, learn all of this stuff about the Bible that I was going to have to remember, and speak in the way I hear preachers around me speak. Ouch! I made it impossible to do in my mind, primarily because of the baseless expectations I placed on my call. I thought I would be doing the teaching, but I was terribly wrong! I am merely nothing but a mouthpiece that God is using to share HIS message. Even though I study God’s Word daily, everything I thought I would have to learn has been provided by the Holy Spirit. I realized that I have to forsake my knowledge, and take on the knowledge of God, and surrender my speech to take hold of the things God wants me to say. The world is going to try to mesmerize people with astounding speech, of great eloquence, of mighty oration, but without the Holy Spirit giving the words life and power, it will be to no avail for the kingdom. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 2:4, demonstrating the Holy Spirit’s power through the speech He gives!

”And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”

The word ”speech” means ”communication or utterances”. The word ”preaching” means ”to cry out, to proclaim, to herald the Gospel, or to publicly instruct.” Paul was one of the lead Pastors of the Church, with an extensive knowledge of Scripture. In Acts 26:5, the Bible says, ”Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.” Before Paul was converted, he lived his life as a Pharisee, which means his knowledge of the Scripture had to be great. In Acts 22:3, the Bible says, ”I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.” So in essence, Paul could hold his own in a room of religious scholars easily, and before conversion, he was leading the charge to persecute the Church. Imagine the irony, that some of same people he led to persecute the Church were later the some of the same people who persecuted him!

The phrase ”enticing words” suggest a ”persuasive eloquence”, but here is Paul, a former Pharisee leader turned Christian Pastor, saying that he doesn’t use enticing words of man’s wisdom. This means he had to abandon what he thought he knew to seize the things of God. In Philippians 3:8-9, the Bible says, ”Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith”. When we follow after the Lord, speaking the message He gives us, He doesn’t need what we know. We need what God knows! Paul, one of the smartest religious leaders, forsook all he knew and had so he could win Christ, so he could experience a life of faith, not one of knowledge. The phrase ”man’s wisdom” speaks of the learning and philosophy current among the Greeks and Romans in the apostolic age intended to draw away the minds of men from the divine truth, standing in contrast to the simplicity of the Gospel. In 1 Corinthians 1:17, the Bible says, ”For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” In other words, intellectualizing spiritual truth is counterproductive to the Gospel!

”But in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”

The word ”demonstration” means ”manifestation”. The word ”Spirit” refers to the empowerment imparted by the Holy Spirit on and after the Day of Pentecost, by which the apostles and early Christians were endowed with high supernatural qualifications for their work. In Romans 15:18-19, 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, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” When we speak the words the Holy Spirit gives us to say, our words now possess the power to reach hearts and minds for the glory of God and for the spreading of the Gospel in earth. The word ”power” means ”miraculous force”. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to teach and move, there will be evidence of healing, of transformed lives, of saved souls, and a growing church in truth and power! It doesn’t take man’s wisdom, but the power of the Holy Spirit moving in our lives, also in our pastors.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 29, 2021 – 1 Samuel 16:7 – the LORD looketh on the heart

Hi Everyone!

Looks are very deceiving. The outward appearance is like art, always subject to interpretation, and the wrong interpretation can lead to disappointment. In the Church, we can sometimes place an expectation on what we see on the outside of someone and assign positions in the Church to someone who seems to fit our impressions of ministers, teachers, and preachers without looking within. How do you think the tares get sown among the wheat – the enemy has planted his people in the Church to lead people astray? We’re not paying attention to what really counts about a person. While the worldly mind looks at outward appearance, which has no real definition, God looks at our heart to make the determination of our fitness to serve Him. Today, we will look at 1 Samuel 16:7, a heart fit for anointing.

”But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

The word ”look” means “to gaze upon intently, to regard with pleasure, to favor, to have respect.” In 1 Samuel 16:1, the Bible says, “And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.” See, God already had his pick for king. He knew what household, what city, and what person He had in mind. Samuel was merely the person who was carrying out the wishes of God, and even His idea of who God selected was wrong! This was the man of God and he didn’t know what God knew. In Isaiah 55:8, the Bible says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” Our positions in the Church mean nothing if we are not being led by the Lord, making the decisions He desires us to make. Understand that God provided a king for himself to carry His Word and people through the generations leading to Christ. God desired a man after His own heart.

The word “countenance” means “appearance, also spoken of comeliness”. Physical beauty is very deceptive. In 2 Samuel 14:25, the Bible says, “But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him.” Absalom was extremely attractive in appearance, but He killed his brother, tried to overthrow David’s kingdom, and had sex with David’s concubines in open display of all Israel. Appearance doesn’t speak on the things God looks for in a leader. In Psalm 147:10-11, the Bible says, “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” God seeks the things that count; deep moral reverence, those who seek His mercy, those who desire to abide in his love.

The word “refused” means “to reject as an offering.” In 1 Samuel 15:22-23, the Bible says, “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. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” God is only concerned with His will being done, and David was the man for the job, someone who wouldn’t go his own way or seek his own power, but someone who would inquire of the Lord before he made a move. David was the youngest son, the 8th son of Jesse, but he was chosen to be king.

“For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart .”

The word “seeth” means “to look, regard, or perceive”. The phrase ”outward appearance” implies something pleasing to the eye.  The word “heart” refers to the entire disposition of the inner man. in Jeremiah 17:10, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” God created David knowing fully well that he would be anointed to be king. He knew his heart, knew his ways, and knew he could be led by Him. 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.” God desires people who surrender themselves to God to be shaped and molded into the vessels God desires for them to be.

There can be a huge difference between our impressions of those called by God and who we would consider called. This shouldn’t be. Let God’s thoughts become our own by inquiring of Him for the direction and perspective we need as believers.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 30, 2021 – 1 Samuel 17:37 – go, and the LORD be with thee

Hi Everyone!

If we look over our lives, we have an extensive record of God’s deliverance over many situations that we couldn’t see a way out of. People always tell us to not look back, and even the Bible says in Luke 9:62, ”And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look back to recall the goodness of God, the deliverance of God, or the love of God because our testimony consists of what He has already done for us. The Word of God and people who tell us to not look back usually mean that we shouldn’t yearn for our past lives or hold onto past hurts or past sins that can today keep us in a state of bondage. When we need encouragement in the midst of a trial, sometimes a great encouragement is remembering when we were in a similar situation, but God delivered us from it. Today, we are going to look at 1 Samuel 17:37, encouragement of deliverance from a trip down memory lane.

”David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.”

There was a battle going on. Goliath, a giant and seasoned fighter, was challenging Israel to fight. Saul and Israel were “dismayed and greatly afraid” according to 1 Samuel 17:11. The fear of Saul shouldn’t surprise us, because he was always hiding when he was supposed to step forward. In 1 Samuel 10:21-22, the Bible says “When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold he hath hid himself among the stuff.” Saul hid when it came time for him to be declared king, so it doesn’t surprise me that he was hiding in fear here. The irony was Saul was extremely tall compared to everyone else around him, but he was willing to allow a boy to fight a “man’s battle” by sending David to the front lines.

The word “delivered” implies the power of one entity overcoming the power of another, but it also means, “to snatch away or to rescue”. The word “paw” means “hand, or means of strength and power”. David remembered God delivering him from two beasts who are well known to prevail over people. In my opinion, the key to the topic verse is the first three words, “David SAID moreover”. In Proverbs 18:21, the Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” If we speak words of defeat in the face of our giant, we can’t expect to win!

In Mark 11:22-23, the Bible says, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he SAITH shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he SAITH.”

Not only do we have to have faith, but we have to boldly speak out our faith!

No matter the mountain, no matter the giant, we must speak life and victory. David not only remembered God’s deliverance, but He also remembered that he was also anointed to be king before this incident happened! In 1 Samuel 16:13, the Bible says, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD CAME UPON David FROM THAT DAY FORWARD. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” No matter how valiant David was, his victory against Goliath was because of the Spirit of Lord was upon him. Do we attribute credit for our victories correctly?

“He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the Lord be with thee.”

The word “hand” means the same thing as “paw”, meaning “the means of strength or power”. Goliath fought from experience, equipment, and size, but in 1 Samuel 17:45, the Bible says, “Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the NAME OF THE LORD OF HOSTS, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” David knew his weaponry was in the name of the Lord. Even with everything at his disposal; the Spirit of the Lord upon Him, words of faith and victory, David still couldn’t step into battle until Saul gave the okay! Humility and obedience!

Replace Goliath with that sin, or that sickness, or that infirmity, or that affliction that has kept us in bondage. In Psalm 34:19, it says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.”

Can we recall a time when we were in warfare against a seemingly insurmountable opponent and God delivered us? Will we trust in God’s deliverance now?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Oct 31, 2021 – John 5:39 – search the scriptures

Hi Everyone!

Here in prison, I am often confronted with people who tell me they ”know” the Bible, that they read it through a couple times and know what it is all about. I’ve had conversations with Muslims and people that practice the Native American faith, and some of them say that they have a Bible and they read it. There are, in fact, a lot of people that read the Bible in prison, some you’d never expect. Having knowledge of the Word of God isn’t enough, and a person can read the Bible day and night and still end up in the lake of fire when all said and done. Why is that? The Bible gives us the perfect plan and roadmap for salvation, but reading the Bible in itself can’t save anyone from their sins. Imagine Jesus’ bewilderment with the Pharisees and religious leaders, who were the ”representation” of the Word of God but who didn’t know the way to salvation. Today, we will look at John 5:39, becoming people who live out their knowledge of the Word of God.

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

The word “search” means “to make an inquiry of, to investigate”. The word “scriptures” means “Holy Writ” referring to the Old Testament. Christ was still alive, so we know this isn’t referring to the New Testament. In Hebrews 9:15-16, the Bible says, “And for this cause he is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.” So, because Christ hadn’t died yet, and the New Testament hadn’t been written yet, the only “scriptures” Christ could be referring to was the Old Testament. Christ is telling the people who think they know it all that they don’t know what matters! Acts 17:11-12, the Bible says, “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.” The Bereans searched the scripture daily, with a mind ready to receive the true and living Word of God, and because of it, many people were saved. If what you know about the Word of God doesn’t lead you or anyone to salvation, then does what you know really matter to God?

The word “think” means “suppose or assume”. The phrase “eternal life” refers to the life of bliss and glory in the kingdom of God which awaits the true disciples of Christ after the resurrection. In Romans 10:17, it says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”. So faith comes by the Word of God, which brings credence to Hebrews 11:8, which says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Abraham received the Word of God, believed, and carried it out. Because of his faith, he received the promise. In Hebrews 5:9, the Bible says, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him”. Christ is the author of eternal salvation, just as He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Salvation is available to those who believe in and carry out the Word of God. The people talking with Christ thought what they knew gave them eternal life, but the “Way to salvation” was standing right in front of them, and they didn’t know who He was!

In Acts 9:4-5, it says, “And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Paul was a religious scholar, trained by the best, but He didn’t know Christ’s voice, nor knew who He was. In John 1:10-11, the Bible says, “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto his own, and His own received Him not.” We tend to know those who we are in a relationship with, but because some people desire knowledge over a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, He stands right before them unacknowledged. The word ‘testify’ means “give evidence, acts as a witness”. In Luke 24:44-45. the Bible says of Christ, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures”. Knowing the scriptures means nothing if the Holy Spirit doesn’t open up our understanding to them.

Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ is the most important thing we need to know about the Scripture, for in Him we have salvation!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 1, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 4:6 – to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God

Hi Everyone!

 

When God created the heavens and the earth, He wanted a place where mankind could live, enjoy and have dominion, but He also wanted to commune with us openly and freely. God never created us to walk in darkness, but due to the fall of Adam, we were born into a darkness that can only be healed by God’s precious light. Since the beginning, Light has triumphed over darkness, and Christ dying on the cross ensured that we can once again enjoy the privilege if walking in the Light. There is a condition to this. We have to receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, believing that His shed blood was the perfect atoning sacrifice for our sin in order to experience the joy of God’s light in us and upon us. Sadly, we live in a world that is becoming more and more Godless, and in the process, people are enjoying darkness more than light. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 4:6, the defining, revealing light of God.

”For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

The word “God” here means “Supreme Divinity”. The word “commanded” means “to speak or say, to call, or bring forth”. 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.” Not only did God command for light to come forth, but he also immediately separated it from darkness. Whatever God commanded, it became exactly as he intended. In Psalm 33:8-9, the Bible says, “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” God’s commands are powerful and everything in the world conforms to the commands of God. In Mark 4:39, the Bible says, “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Christ has the same power God has, because He is Emmanuel, meaning “God with us”. There should be a great assurance that we have in God’s Word, especially when He commands something … it will be what He says it will be.

The word “light” refers to moral and spiritual light and knowledge which enlightens the mind, soul or conscience. That includes also the idea of moral goodness, purity and holiness, and of consequent reward of happiness. It also refers to the true knowledge of God and spiritual things, Christian piety. In Colossians 1:12, the Bible says, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”. God made us ready and able to partake in the divine inheritance of salvation, eternal life, and the beautiful process of sanctification here on earth. The word “shine” means to beam, or radiate brilliantly.” In John 1:4-5, the Bible says, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” God has shined His light in us, a light that darkness has no understanding of. What He has given us is a gateway into the kingdom of God, to experience not only his Word but the benefit of being children of God.

The word “darkness” speaks figuratively of moral darkness, the absence of spiritual light and truth, including the idea of sinfulness and consequent calamity. In Acts 26:18, Christ says, “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” God never created us to walk in darkness, but now He desires our eyes to be opened, so we can see our sinfulness and our need for salvation. God desired a people that walk in faith, that live according to His Word, that keep the darkness of the world outside of them.

“Hath shined in our hearts, to give light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”.

The heart refers to the center of man, the seat of the desires, feelings, affections, passions, and impulses.” When God’s light shines in our hearts, these qualities change for the glory of God. The word “light” here refers to moral or spiritual illumination.

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.”

 

God wants to make us people who not only walk in the light, but become people who truly enjoy the light! God put his light in us so we can know that Christ is God incarnate, and as children of God, we no longer have to answer to darkness. Colossians 1:13 says, ‘Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”.

With the light of God shining brightly in us, we can live lives that bring glory to God, that honor Him in all we do.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 2, 2021 – 1 Peter 5:9 – resist stedfast in the faith

Hi Everyone!

As believers we are expected to face persecution in our lives. It can come in different forms, some catching us so off guard that it can knock us around a bit. Persecution doesn’t feel good, nor does it make a person desire to press forward, but as believers, we have the privilege of being partakers in the divine privileges as children of God with the sufferings. We must press forward, we must endure trial when it comes our way, and we must cleave to the faith when times get hard. Our faith is the solid foundation under our feet, it is the counsel we need in affliction and it is the strength in the face of weakness. Our faith comes by hearing the Word of God, so if we abide in the Christ in all situations, we will be able to weather any trial that comes our way. We are not alone, because believers everywhere are going through the same struggles.

Today, we will look at 1 Peter 5:9, remaining steadfast in the faith when afflicted.

”Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

The word “resist” means “to stand against, or oppose”. The word “stedfast” means “to be solid or stable”. Putting these two words together, it is the person who firmly stands in opposition. The phrase “in the faith” means “the object of Christian faith, meaning the doctrines received and believed, Christian doctrine, the gospel, and all Christianity stands for.” This means we aren’t using anything outside of the faith to stand in opposition to the enemy.

In 2 Corinthians 10:4, the Bible says, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”. If the weapons of our warfare aren’t carnal, then we can’t resist the enemy with carnality.

When in resistance to the enemy we have to be equipped.

In Ephesians 6:11, the Bible says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:13 also says, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Taking up the whole armor of God is all we need to do, and when we have done all we can do, we dig our heels into the ground and stand.

In James 4:7-8, the Bible says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” The enemy is looking for someone who is unarmed, unprotected, someone who is trying to operate in their own power. When we resist the enemy with the Word of God, wearing the whole armor of God, and we refuse to give up our position to the enemy, he has to flee! God still desires for us to cleanse our hearts and hands, ensuring we don’t receive or touch anything that can give the enemy a way in.

The word “knowing” suggests a full understanding of what is going on. This means we are aware of what is going on around us at all times.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:5-6, the Bible says, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” It is our job to pay attention, because God has assured us that, by us being in the light, that things are way more visible to the believer.  The word “afflictions” means “hardships, pain, suffering”.

In 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3, the Bible says, “And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” God has also assured us that we will have people in place that will help encourage and comfort us, so when afflictions come, we can have a solid foundation to stand on. The phrase “are accomplished” means “have undergone, endured”.  Sometimes, when we are under affliction, we feel like we are the only people in the world going through it, but the Bible says differently.

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.” The word “temptation” here means “a trial God allows us to go through in order to sharpen our faith”. The word “brethren” speaks of the Christian fraternity or family. God wants us to be assured that not only are we not alone, but the whole body of Christ suffers affliction in some way.

In 1 Peter 2:21, the Bible says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”. God has provided for us examples of the faith, so when we are under affliction, we will know how to persevere.

This validates God’s word when He promised to never leave us or nor forsake us. We are never alone!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 3, 2021 – Galatians 6:7 – God is not mocked

Hi Everyone!

There are consequences for every decision we make, either good or bad, no matter how small or big our choice may be. Our choices make ripples, and those ripples can affect others, can change lives greatly, and either please or displease God. A lot of times, we make these types if decisions without considering how it could affect someone else or affect our witness, and that shouldn’t be. As believers, we want to sow seeds that produce a harvest of righteousness, seeds that will help change lives for the better, seeds that God can use to produce an extraordinary increase. We don’t want to plant seeds that spring up, leading to horrible consequences that it takes a lifetime to rectify. We don’t want to be a people of God who make decisions without considering God, or considering whether or not our decisions bring glory or shame to Him. Today, we will look at Galatians 6:7, reaping what we sow.

”Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

The word “deceived” means “to cause to roam from safety, truth, and virtue”. The enemy loves to deceive the children of God by sprinkling in a little lie within the truth. If he can get you to question the Word of God as being true, then he has a playground to run amuck in.

In the beginning, in the garden, when the serpent deceived Eve in Genesis 3:4-5, it says, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Deception comes when a person is caused to consider something other than the Word of God as truth. When a lie has reign, then there is no room for the truth to bear fruit. Since the fall, the enemy has used deception to keep people away from the kingdom of God and also uses deception to keep believers away from spiritual maturity.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, the Bible says, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” The enemy uses deception to tell unbelievers that God’s grace ensures that no matter what they do, they will still go to heaven. The enemy is handing out free passes for people to practice lawlessness without consequence, and they are being led further from the mercy seat of God.

In John 8:44-45, Christ says, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” It is extremely difficulty for a person who is deceived to receive the truth. They are conditioned to receive a lie.

The word “mocked” means “to ridicule, to make mouths at”. 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.” We are not to be deceived into thinking that we can be wicked, or vile, or do things that sorely displease God and expect no consequence.

In Jude 1:18-19, the Bible says, “How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” These are people who aim to put the Lord to shame by doing whatever they “feel” like doing, instead of doing what the Lord tells us to do. Their actions put God to shame and paint a horrible picture of the faith.

“For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

The word “soweth” means “to scatter seed”. The word “reap” means “to bring in a harvest”. In Romans 2:5-6, the Bible says, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.” We may think we are getting away with something, but God knows and He sees, and He will produce the appropriate consequences for our behavior.

In Hosea 10:12-13, the Bible says, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.” God gives us a choice of where we will sow, either to righteousness or evil, but it always comes back.

There is always a harvest wherever we sow our seed, and the harvest will reveal the manner of our seed.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 4, 2021 – Galatians 6:8 – he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting

Hi Everyone!

When I lived in the world, I was slowly wasting away. I willingly fed my flesh and answered to every desire I had, and I suffered some very real and extensive consequences for my actions. No matter how bad it got, I fed my flesh even more and chased after the world harder. I rationalized that if I committed harder to the street life, to the drug trade, to gang activity, I would eventually get the reward from my loyalty and efforts. I was arrested 18 years ago and that debt is still outstanding! Thanks be to God, that when I committed my life to chasing after the Spirit, I have been rewarded with salvation, eternal life, the leading of the Holy Spirit, and I have been able to accomplish more for the glory of God than I ever have trying to gain my own rewards from sin and iniquity. There is a world around us that is wasting away because they are still seeking an awesome harvest from the flesh that they will never reap. Today, we will look at Galatians 6:8, sowing and reaping in the Spirit.

”For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

The word “soweth” means “to scatter seeds”. The word “flesh” means “sinfulness, proneness to sin, carnal nature, the seat of carnal appetite and desires, sinful passions, and affections, whether physical or moral.” The person that soweth to the flesh is the person who willfully engages and practices in a sinful life that is displeasing to God. In Job 4:8-9, the Bible says, “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.” People don’t either realize or appreciate the fact that living a life of sinfulness and iniquity has direct and indirect consequences. People think that because they seem to have gotten away with their actions, that their day of accountability isn’t coming. In Proverbs 13:13, the Bible says, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.” God gives the Word so we can follow it and experience success, but many disregard the Word, the messengers God sends, the warnings God commands people to give.

When the gavel finally came down on my actions, I was without excuse, because I could name at least a 100 different instances where someone tried to admonish me, but I refused to hear. In Proverbs 22:8, it says, “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.” Not only did I refuse to hear, but I also became arrogant that nothing was going to stop me from living the life I wanted to live.

“Shall of the flesh reap corruption”

The word “reap’ means “to bring in a harvest”. The word “corruption” means “to suffer decay or ruin”. This means the flesh we sow into will be the same flesh that ruins us. In Romans 8:12-13, the Bible says, “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” God gives us a choice of what we will live for, the flesh or the Spirit. If we make the wrong choice, He still gives us provision to get back on track, by repentance, turning away from the flesh and turning to the Spirit. 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.” What did we accomplish living in the flesh, and what do we have to show for our lives of sin besides pain and horrible consequences?

“But he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

The word “Spirit” speaks of the Holy Spirit, so those who “soweth to the Spirit” are those who walk by the holy Spirit, who live in obedience to the Spirit’s leading. In Galatians 5:16-17, the Bible says, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” There is no straddling the fence between flesh and Spirit. We have to choose!

The phrase ”life everlasting” speaks of the life of bliss and glory in the kingdom of God which awaits the true disciples of Christ after the resurrection. This is the greatest harvest imaginable. In Ephesians 1:13, the Bible says, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” When we sow in the Spirit, we will be sealed by the same Holy Spirit for the promise of eternal life, but we will also experience the power of the kingdom of God while still on earth.

In the flesh, I had to work for a harvest that never came, but living in the Spirit, I can experience my harvest right now!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 5, 2021 – Micah 6:8 – walk humbly with thy God

Hi Everyone!

God desires His children to live lives to please Him. He not only requires this, but He loves us so much that He actually equips us to be able to reflect Him in our actions, in our behaviors, in our attitude, and in our hearts. When people see us, it is supposed to make perfect sense when they find out that we are believers. I remember a time in my life when people couldn’t believe that I actually read my Bible, because of my bad behavior. Praise God that He continued to mature me, that His Word has life in me, because now, it makes perfect sense that I am a believer. The more I grew spiritually, the more I wanted to live my life to please God, and I became even more grateful, because I understood that’s what God requires of us, and He has already provided us with the means to fulfill it. Today, we will look at Micah 6:8, walking humbly with the Lord.

”He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

The word “shewed” means “to reveal, to explain, to make manifest, to make known, or to cause to see”. This suggests God has gotten our attention in order to direct it to something He wants to reveal to us. 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.” God has things available for us that our minds are unable to comprehend, but He equips and prepares us because He loves us and we love Him.

In John 15:15, Christ says, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for ALL THINGS that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Christ is revealing all things given to Him by God for the people He calls friends, so the amount of revelation we receive depends on the level of the relationship we have with God. in Matthew 13:11, the Bible sspeaks of Christ, “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Because we are the children of God, heirs of the promise, and because the Holy Spirit is guiding us into all truth, we have access to the mysteries of God.

Now that we understand that God has revealed to us His mysteries, how does this apply to our lives. The word “good” means “well-pleasing, morally correct, or fruitful.” The word “good” expresses the Word and command of God being fulfilled because in Genesis 1:3-4, it 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.” Why was the light “good”? Because God commanded for it to come forth and it did, exactly as He commanded it to. So, from this we can understand that the will of God is good, and if we can receive God’s will into our lives, our lives will be good as well as pleasing to Him.

The word “require” means “to seek or ask of for worship”. What does the Lord require? In John 4:24, Christ says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” We can’t worship God from a worldly perspective, nor can we sprinkle in lies and expect to please God in our worship. In Deuteronomy 10:12-13 the Bible says, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” When we love the Lord, and walk in the Lord’s ways, keeping His commands, and serving Him with an undivided heart and soul, not only will we experience a God who is well-pleased with us, but we will also come to the understanding that this is all of our good!

“but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

The phrase “do justly” means “to live righteously unto others.” This means we treat people how God wants us to treat them.

The phrase “love mercy” means “to join oneself to another, in order to imitate God in compassion, in love, and in kindness towards our brothers and sisters.

The word “humbly” means “lowly, not considering oneself, but what is pleasing to God.” In Hosea 12:6, the Bible says, “Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on thy God continually.”

When we set our hearts to serve the Lord completely, justice, mercy, and humility will be natural attributes of our character that points to God’s presence in our lives. God shows us what He requires, and He also shows us that He will prepare us to perform what He requires, so if God doesn’t get from us what He requires, then the blame is solely on us!

God bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 6, 2021 – 1 Corinthians 11:1 – be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ

Hi Everyone!

Our greatest sermon is our conduct, how we carry ourselves as believers in the world. People will forget sermons, won’t receive teachings, but they can recall our character at a moment’s notice. What does our character reflect? Does the love of God come off in our interactions with people, and in the midst of conflict, does self-control and gentleness project from our persons? When our behaviors line up with the Word of God, it makes our witness more effective, and it also makes the Holy Spirit’s work in us more visible. Everything we are and do should point to Christ, because whether we are on the pulpit, or the last row, last seat in the congregation, our message has come from our mouths and also our lives. Our pastorate should actively pursue Christ, we should actively pursue Christ, and those who follow us should actively pursue Christ. The Church should be one movement towards Christ. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 11:1, leaders being followers of Christ.

”Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

The word “followers” mean “imitators”. This is where we get a variation of the word “mime” in the English language, which suggest that a person follows the exact movements of the person they are observing. 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.”

The word “observe” mean “to obey, to keep watchfully and vigilantly”. In order to be taught to observe something effectively, we must hear the instruction and be shown how to do what is being asked of us. The disciples had Christ’s teachings, but they also saw Christ work, so when Christ left this commission, he was certain they could perform all that is commanded. 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.” We also have the Holy Spirit, which will lead us into living the life God intends us to live. We are never without the Word of God as believers, because God wants to ensure that we have everything we need to follow Him.

In 1 Corinthians 4:16, the Bible says, “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.” Paul followed Christ, Timothy followed Paul, and now Paul is encouraging the Church to follow Timothy, giving them the assurance that he has been taught by Paul and of The Holy Spirit. All teaching is supposed to show people the way to Christ, and all teachers must be followers of Christ.

In Ephesians 5:1-2, the Bible says, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” When we follow God, our walks should be one of love and sacrifice, lives that are pleasing to God.

In John 13:14-15, Christ says, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” What we have been given by Christ, we have to give to others as well. No job was beneath Christ, including washing His disciples’ feet. We must be willing to give what we have to those in need.

In Acts 3:6, the Bible says, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” What we don’t have means nothing when it comes to our following Christ. In 2 Corinthians 8:12, the Bible says, “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” Christ’s only desire was fulfilling the Word of God and doing the things that pleased God. Christ was provided everything He needed to please God. So are we!

In Philippians 3:17, the Bible says, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” As followers of Christ, it would be in our best interest to seek a community of people who are following Christ as well, so we have a constant flow of spiritual examples for us to reference. Sometimes, we have to be shown how to love our wives, how to raise our children, how to pursue friendships by watching those in the faith.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:5, the Bible says, “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” Followers of Christ have power, the Holy Spirit, and faith. When we share the faith, this same power can be transferred!

May our following Christ lead to others doing the same.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 7, 2021 – Nahum 1:7 – The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble

Hi Everyone!

During the course of my life as a believer, I have encountered some amazing moments in the faith. Even in prison, I have been the recipient of God’s favor continuously, no matter how hard times have gotten. I have been in moments and times where I had no idea how I would make it through, but God stepped in and worked everything out, turning the test into a testimony. Brothers have seen me endure loss from deaths to family members, and the same day, I am helping someone else work through their pain. When asked how could I put someone else’s pain above mine in the moment, I could only point to God’s strength, to God’s power, and to God’s peace. In my darkest moments, I cleaved to God and He worked everything out on my behalf. Experiencing the Word of God’s in my life causes me to fully understand that God really has my back! Today, we will look at Nahum 1:7, the great defense of God.

”The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.”

The word “good” means “kind and benevolent”. In Psalm 25:8-9, the Bible says, “Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way. The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.”

God had an intention for this world when He created it. He intended to create a world for mankind to have dominion over and more importantly, God desired us to fellowship with him openly and freely. Despite our sin, God’s intention is still the same, and He still is trying to teach us His way. In Psalm 33:4-5, the Bible says, “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.” We can look at the earth and behold the goodness of the Lord. We can experience truth, righteousness, and the moving hand of the Lord and see the goodness of God. In Lamentations 3:25-26, the Bible says, “The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” The word “wait” speaks of an expectation of His promises coming to pass. The word “seeketh” means “to pursue or follow in order to worship”. God responds to our faith and our worship with His goodness, and we should hope and patiently expect God’s salvation to come.

In 1 Chronicles 16:34, the Bible says, “O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” We should always have a heart of gratitude when we experience the goodness of God, because His goodness and mercy are available to us forever. Don’t think so? In Psalm 23:6, the Bible says, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Believers have eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord, so if goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives, then it has to be forever!

“a strong hold in the day of trouble”

The phrase “strong hold” means “a fortified place, a place of defense, a place of strength”. In Psalm 46:1-2, the Bible says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.” God IS, not WAS, but GOD IS! There are too many people who say they are believers but don’t believe that the miracles God performed through His children back in the “Bible days” are still available to us today. This verse says, “a very present help”, so this means we can call on God’s help and He will respond today! The word “day” means time, and the word “trouble’ means “distress, adversity, or affliction”. In Psalm 62:6-7, the Bible says, “He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” The key word in these verses is “ONLY”. There is no other defense, refuge, or strength in the time of adversity or affliction but the Lord. If we look in another direction, we will be sorely disappointed.

“And he knoweth them that trust in Him”

The word “knoweth” is relational, not only meaning “to regard or consider” but it also suggest that God abides in us or becomes one with us.” The word “trust” means “to flee for protection, to confide in”. God knows the faithful from the unfaithful, knowing those who trust in Him. in Psalm 37:3, the Bible says, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” God takes care of those who place their full trust in Him. In Psalm 40:1, the Bible says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.” God is always going to prove himself true, but it is our job to trust in Him.

I am trusting in the Lord for something great, and I have full confidence that God has already answered my prayer and is responding on my behalf. Are you?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 8, 2021 – Micah 7:5 – trust ye not … put ye not … keep the doors of thy mouth from

Hi Everyone!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is life-changing in more than one way. It will lead someone to the knowledge and love of our God, which caused Him to sacrifice His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, for the sins of the world. He did this to give us another chance at a right relationship with Him if we believe in the Word and receive Christ as Lord and Savior. The Gospel also establishes our new identities as sons and daughters of God, friends of Jesus Christ, and shows us that we have inherited the gift of eternal life. Christ assured us that after He left, we would receive the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, to guide us into all truth. Amid such amazing promises The Bible also reveals that the Gospel at work in us will cause divisions within the family structure, separation from the people closest to us, and that our foes can be in our own house. Are we prepared for the day our family and friends despise us for seizing the Gospel? Today, we are going to look at Micah 7:5, the destruction of our support system for the sake of the construction of the Gospel.

”Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.”

The word “trust” conveys a notion of faithfulness and trustworthiness such as one can depend on. The word “friend” means “an associate, acquaintance, or companion”.  This isn’t saying that we shouldn’t trust our friends, but it is saying that our trust for our friends should not outweigh or replace our trust in the Lord. In Jeremiah 17:5-6, 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. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” The person who trusts in a friend over God is the person that places a curse upon them and departs from the presence of the Lord. That person is going to experience dry places, hard times, and all of their attempts to grow will be in vain. In Hosea 13:9, the Bible says, “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.” If we look to a friend for help first instead of God, we are setting ourselves up for failure, because 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.” Trusting in creation instead of the Creator is not wise, and it will only lead to us not getting the help we need.

‘Put ye not confidence in a guide.”

The word “confidence” means “to hie for refuge, having a feeling of safety and security, or relying on”. The word “hie” implies we instinctively run towards someone or something at the first sign of trouble. The word “guide” means “a leader of a nation or group”. This leader could be in our or outside of the Church. Not every leader is going to have the right motives and intentions for the people under their leadership. In Jeremiah 50:6, the Bible says, “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.” We have to place our full trust in God and in His Word, instinctively running to the presence of the Lord in all situations, not just trouble. In 1 John 4:1, the Bible says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” We have to be careful with whom we place our trust, Not everyone has our best interests at heart.

“Keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.”

The word “keep” means “watch carefully over”. The word “mouth” is referred as an instrument of speech. This once again is speaking of those who talk to, and entrust their cares to their spouses ahead of talking to God. In Judges 16:15, the Bible says, “And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.” In Proverbs 31:3, the Bible says, “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.” We have to be careful who we entrust our strength to, who we share our vision with. Even our spouse can despise what God is doing in our lives, and plot against us. Didn’t Michal despise David, when he danced with all his might when the Ark of the Covenant came back to Israel?

In Matthew 10:36-37, Christ says, “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

God isn’t asking us to not love or trust people. A life without trust is a prison in itself. God is commanding that we put nothing in front of HIM!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 9, 2021 – Judges 18:5 – ask counsel, we pray thee, of God

Hi Everyone!

As a newly committed believer, I used to have it bad, always going my own way instead of seeking God’s direction. I was so excited to be serving the Lord, so excited to be reaching after all of the untapped potential I had when I was free that I put grind above God. Many times, I placed myself in situations where I had to turn back and go to the spot where I decided to veer off from where God was directing me, and then go in the direction God desired for me to go. Sometimes, the direction we want to take isn’t bad in itself, but what makes it bad is if we go at it in our own strength, without seeking the Lord’s guidance. Seeking God’s guidance and moving according to God’s leading is vital in all believers lives, because the only true success is given by the Lord. Today, we are looking at Judges 18:5, inquiring of the Lord to make our journeys prosperous.

”And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.”

The phrase ”ask counsel” means ”to inquire, or to request the perspective and direction”. The phrase ”we pray thee” means ”to say please, to beg”. Seeing God’s direction is extremely important, and if someone has to be begged to inquire of God, then it must be vital. When David and his men were at war, the Amalekites invaded Ziglag, David’s home, and burned it with fire, also taking their families. David and his men came home to find destruction. In 1 Samuel 30:7-8, the Bible says, ”And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 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.” Despite David’s anguish, despite his anger, David still stopped and inquired of the Lord before he went after those responsible. This was a mighty warrior of God, but he knew his strength meant nothing without God’s leading.

Let’s look at something else here. In 1 Samuel 30:6, the Bible says, ”And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” David was not only in great distress, but his men wanted to stone him for something he had nothing to do with. Even in the midst of struggle, David ”encouraged himself” in the Lord, which means ”to strengthen oneself, to fortify oneself” in the Lord. David knew where his strength came from, and instead of moving, he reached after God. In Isaiah 40:31, the Bible says, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” David knew nothing else could strengthen him at this very perilous time in his life, so he leaned on the Lord for strength and guidance. How many of us are shaken by adversity so deeply that we won’t ask God for help?

The phrase “may know” means “to discern, to recognize, to understand”. This phrase suggests that we position ourselves to not only receive the Word from the Lord, but we become one with it in order to carry it out.

The word “way” means “a road, a course of life, or a mode of action”. In Proverbs 19:20-21, the Bible says, “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.” We have to come to the Lord and ask of Him where we should go, how shall we do it, and whether we will get victory when we go there. Our own way will fail if we aren’t led by the Lord, but however the Lord directs us on will stand against anything.

In 2 Samuel 22:31, the Bible says, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” When we surrender our way to receive God’s way, we will see just how faithful God is, and we will discover just how perfect God’s way is. God knows exactly what we are to do and how to position us for the success he wants us to have.

The word “prosperous” means “profitable”. In Genesis 24:56, the Bible says, “And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the LORD hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.” We shouldn’t allow anyone or anything to hinder the way that God has made for us. We also should never embark on any journey without being assured that God has directed it.

In Genesis 39:3, the Bible says, “And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand.” When we go our own way instead of the way God desires for us, we won’t prosper, but if He sends us, He will be with us every step of the way to ensure we prosper!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 10, 2021 – Jeremiah 18:6 – behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand

Hi Everyone!

God formed us with a distinct purpose, something only we are able to do. We were created with an innate uniqueness, and God created to be set apart, able to be guided into the calling He has over our lives. Sadly, in our rebellious nature, we work against the purpose of God by trying to shape our own direction, by trying to blaze our own trail, also by trying to declare to God who we are and will be. Some of us run like Jonah, fearful to face up to what God has for us. God desires for us to submit ourselves completely to Him for Him to have reign and dominion in our lives. This is the only way we can truly be successful, if we allow God to shape and mold us into who He has created us to be. People judge success by money, job, or fame, but God judges success by our willingness to become everything we were created to be. Today we will look at Jeremiah 18:6, clay in the Potter’s hand.

”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.”

The word “potter” speaks of a person who squeezes clay into shape, someone who moulds something into form”. God was growing weary of Israel, because they were going at things their own way, trying to order the course for their life. In Psalm 37:23, the Bible says, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” A “good” man, someone who is performing exactly how God created them to perform. Remember when God called for light in the beginning and the light appeared, how did God feel about it? In Genesis 1:4, the Bible says, “And God saw the light, that it was GOOD: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Good is a word that shows the pleasure God takes in something becoming exactly what it is created to be.

In order for us to be moulded into form, squeezed into shape, and for God to make a determination of what we will become, we have to believe that He had this in mind since the beginning. 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.” In the beginning, we were in the Father’s hands, being moulded into form. We are the only thing in creation that God actually touched with His hands when He created it. Imagine the amount of love God put into his creation, in making us special, forming not only our bodies, but his good purpose in us.

In Ephesians 1:4-5, 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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”. He purposed us to be holy and without blame from the beginning, knowing full well we would be adopted into the family by the salvation of Jesus Christ. God created us miraculously from such a simple substance, dirt, and put His whole purpose for mankind in us! In 1 Corinthians 1:28-29, the Bible says, “And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” God takes us from such humble beginnings so one can say that they are the reason for their “success”.

The word “clay” means “mire of the earth”. The word “hand” means “power, means, or direction”. In Romans 9:20-21, the Bible says, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” Why do we speak against God, like He doesn’t know exactly what He is doing when He created us? I could easily say, “God, why did I have to come to prison in order for You to form this ministry in me?”, but the life experience I have is unique, and many don’t make it back from the pits I became stuck in. I can talk to both the saint and sinner, and clearly relate to both. Praise God for forming me with my disobedience in mind, using the harsh lessons learned for His glory!

In Psalm 37:4, the Bible says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” The word “delight” means “be pliable, able to be formed”. When we allow God to form us into who He has called us to be, we will be able to access the provision of the kingdom, because His desires will then become our desires!

In Isaiah 64:8, the Bible says, “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” When we declare to the Lord that He is our Father, and we are the work of His power, it is the same thing as presenting ourselves to the Lord, saying, “Use me!”

May we become clay in the Potter’s hands, able to be used by our loving God!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 11, 2021 – 1 John 5:14 – he heareth us

Hi Everyone!

God is our Father, and as our Father, He loves to give us what we ask for. Sometimes, we are disobedient, other times we lack faith, we ask for things that complete our selfish desires, or we ask for things that God doesn’t want us to have according to the purpose He has for our lives. God is never going to give us something that will block His purpose in our lives. Too many people don’t get what they asked for and then blame God for what they didn’t get, but our God has a greater plan in place, one that is not only going to bless our lives, but is going to bless the lives of people we touch. I thank God for telling me ”No” and ”Not now” when it came to certain prayers, because I wouldn’t have been ready to receive what God would’ve given for the purpose He intended. Sometimes, we aren’t ready for what God wants to give us. Today, we will look at 1 John 5:14, having confidence in asking God for what we want.

”And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us”

The word “confidence” means “assurance, all-outspokenness, or frank reliance”. This isn’t just being sure, but this means that we have no problem with boldly professing our faith out loud. In Mark 11:22-23, Christ says, “And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he SAITH shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he SAITH. God is not looking for “closet Christians” who are unwilling to experience God’s faithfulness out of fear of disappointment. Sometimes, God will tell us to leave the confines of our comfort in order to experience the higher level of His comfort. Will our mouths profess that God’s will is perfect at times of great inconvenience? Where is our confidence; is it in the circumstances we face, or is it in God, who holds both the strength to endure and the keys to deliverance?

In Hebrews 10:35, the Bible says, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.” There is a reward because of our confidence in the Lord. The Lord loves those who place their trust in Him.

Think not?

In Jeremiah 17:7, the Bible says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” The Lord is ready to rain down blessings upon those who trust in Him, but do we have that outspoken faith, that frank reliance upon God? 

In Ephesians 3:12, the Bible says, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” We get our boldness not from arrogance, but from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by cleaving to the Word of God in truth. Romans 10:17 says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith is only in the living Word of God.

“If we ask any thing according to His will, he heareth us.”

The word “ask” means “to beg, to desire, or to require”. The key word to this second half of the verse is “IF”. How many of us don’t ask God for what we desire out of fear we won’t get it? “If we ask”.

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”. Now on the surface, it seems like this is all inclusive, that we can just ask God for anything, and He will give it to us. Here is where common sense comes in, because God isn’t going to give us something that is going to ruin the purpose He has for us. In James 4:3, the Bible says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” Sometimes, God says “no” to save us from ourselves! Other times, He says “no” if our hearts aren’t right. Would you hand your car keys to a ten year old and tell them they can go on a cross country road trip with their friends?

The phrase “according to His will” is another key, because God’s will comes first. The word “according” implies a “oneness” with God’s will. His will becomes our will! There is always a condition we must meet in order for God’s will to be dispensed. The phrase “His will” means “the determination, purpose, or pleasure”. Have we taken the time to ever inquire of God what His will is before we asked for whatever we desired of Him?

In 1 John 3:22, it says, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” Another condition. Are we following the Word of God? If we aren’t aligned with the Word of God or the will or God, then how can we ever expect God to “hear” us, meaning ‘to regard and listen in order to answer our prayers”?

The Word of God comes first, the will of God is then received, and then we can ask God in confidence, because what we ask God for will be aligned with His will. Watch how many prayers get answered this way! 

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 12, 2021 – 1 John 5:15 – and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask

Hi Everyone!

Do we believe that when we pray for something according to the will of God, that our prayers are already answered? God desires this level of confidence from us, that we carry ourselves as if the prayers we offer up already belong to us, and celebrate the victory as if what we prayed for is in our hands. That is like the runner who celebrates winning the race before they enter the starting blocks, fully confident of the ending. This is true faith, that full assurance that God not only hears our prayers, but He responds in His own perfect timing that will greatly benefit His purpose in our lives. Many of us pray for something, and then worry about what we pray for, as if we won’t get it. God wants children who place their full trust in Him in prayer. Today, we will look at 1 John 5:15, a confident prayer life.

”And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

The word ”know” doesn’t just imply that someone is ”fully assured or confident.” When we know something, it becomes a part of who we are, and what we know becomes second nature. This is why we need to cleave to the Word of God, and understand what the Bible says about prayer, belief, and faith. All three should bring us right back to the Word.

The word ”hears” means ”to heed, listen to, regard in order to answer our prayers.” We must first believe that God wants to answer our prayers. In Matthew 7:11, Christ says, ”If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Christ gave us something we can understand, being parents, giving good gifts to our children who ask us. There is nothing we don’t want to do for our children, and it bothers us when there is something they want that we can’t do. 

In Matthew 7:8, Christ also says, ”For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” God wants to grant our requests, and open up the provision of the kingdom to us. In John 9:30-31, the Bible says, ”The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” This blind man was blind from birth, and was healed by Christ. He never asked for healing in the text, but Christ saw him, had compassion on him, and gave him his sight. He understood that if a person does the will of God, God will hear him, and now he was sharing this testimony with the Pharisees! God sometimes will give us things that we never asked for!

Here is an example of someone who got what they asked for.

In Mark 10, blind Bartimaeus was by the highway side begging. He heard Jesus was walking by, and in Mark 10:47, it 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.” Have we ever cried out to God in prayer? Have we ever ignored the people telling us to hold our peace when we were crying out to God? 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.” Blind Bartimaeus cried out, ignored the people trying to silence him, and when Christ asked him what we wanted, he made his request. Did this text say anything about Bartimaeus’ belief? Not one thing! His faith and belief was projected in his actions!

”Whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.”

”Whatsoever” sounds all-inclusive, but remember, we must ask God according to His will.

In Mark 11:24, Christ says, ”Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” The word ”ask” means ”to beg, to request, or to desire.”

The word ”petitions” means ”objects sought”. In John 15:7, Christ says, ”If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” When we become one with God, our priorities, our desires, and what we ask for changes. We become children who desire to please our Father, and God responds by answering our prayers, knowing they are prayers according to His will. In John 14:13, Christ says, ”And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.’‘ God’s answered prayers bring glory back to Him, allowing us to reveal His power to others through our testimony. 

Blind Bartimaeus cried out, God heard him and responded answering his prayer. May we have his level of confidence in our prayers too.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 13, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 3:6 – the Spirit giveth life

Hi Everyone!

As believers, all things become new. Gone are the day of trying to do the right thing to make oneself square with God, gone are the days of trying to keep the law that is impossible for us to keep, and gone is seeking our own righteousness. As children of God, we are partakers of the new covenant, one where the blood of Jesus Christ has freed us from the law of sin and death, where we have the beautiful opportunity to experience life and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. God already has provision in place for us, ready to bestow it upon all who receive Christ as Lord and Savior, but some of us will receive Christ as Lord and Savior, but still cleave to the provisions of the law. There is a difference in doing right out of God’s love in our hearts and out of God’s love for us, and us doing right on our own hoping to be made righteous in the sight of God. The law exposed our sin, but the Spirit of God exposed life and freedom. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 3:6, the power of the new covenant to make us able ministers in the Spirit.

”Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

The phrase “hath made us able” means “to enable or to qualify,” The word “ministers” means “an attendant, a Christian teacher or preacher, teaching the divine things of God.” The “Who” is God, because it is God that enables and qualifies us to share the Word of God with others. In Jeremiah 1:6-7, the Bible says, “Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” The first thing the majority of us say when we are commanded to speak the Word of God to someone else is, “I don’t know enough Bible to do this”, or “I’m not ‘that’ saved yet”, or yet still “I am too jacked up to help someone else.” We immediately go to our qualifications, but what we see in ourselves is way different than what God sees in us.

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.” When God qualifies us to be servants of Him, He will give us the Words to say, the people to say it to, and His power is going to work mightily in us. All we have to do is trust God enough to show up ready!

The “New Testament” is the new covenant that provides the forgiveness of sins, salvation from the penalty of death, eternal life, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, allowing us to operate in the earth as Christ did. The word “new” implies something not known before, something newly introduced, and it also implies better. The word “testament” means “covenant, or contract”. 

In Hebrews 9:16-17, the Bible says, “For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.” The New Testament didn’t activate until after Christ died, but it was in place before Christ walked the earth as God robed in flesh.

In Jeremiah 31:31, the Bible says, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah”. God already prepared this covenant for us through the death of Christ. In Hebrew 8:6-7, “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” The new covenant provides us a better position and better promises, allowing us to operate according to the spiritual nature that works in us!

“not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.”

The “letter” refers to the writings of the Mosaic law, but the “spirit” refers to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, by which the apostles and early Christians were endowed with high supernatural qualifications for their work, remaining with us, imparting to us spiritual knowledge, aid, consolation, sanctification, and making intercession with and for us. This is the gift that Christ has given us by His death. In Romans 7:6, the Bible says, “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” God ensured that through salvation by Jesus Christ, we now have access to live according to the spirit and have deliverance from the curse of the law.

In John 6:63, Christ says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” If Christ came so we can have life and that more abundantly, then abundant life has to come through the Spirit of our Lord.

In Romans 7:9, it says, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” The law only reveals the sin that is in us, and the awareness that there is nothing we could do to pay for our sins. The law showed us that we need a Savior and perfect sacrifice for sins, that through faith in Jesus Christ, we can have real life for the first time. 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.” When we understand what Covenant we are under, that we have life through the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, that we have ministry through the Word the Holy Spirit gives us to say, we will become able ministers of the new covenant.

Let us lay down the law and take up the spirit, receiving life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 14, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 4:2 – commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God

Hi Everyone!

We have been given an incredible responsibility when we became children of God. Not only must we live in love as children of God but we have to receive and convey God’s Word in truth. There is a lot of mixture in the Church, a lot of people mishandling the Word of God, treating the traditions of men like sound doctrine of God, and people are being led astray in the process. We must renounce every shameful thing, every lie, and every misdeed that keeps us from the full fellowship of God. God desires us to walk in truth, confident that the Holy Spirit working in us produces a righteousness in us that we can’t do alone. If we know that something we are practicing is not Biblical, then it is time to let it go, because by our behaviour we project the Word of God to be a lie. Today, we are going to look at 2 Corinthians 4:2, renouncing a shameful life to seek a life of truth.

”But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

The word “renounced” means “disowned”. The phrase “hidden things” implies things private or concealed, something one doesn’t want revealed.  The word “dishonesty” speaks to those things that are shameful or disgraceful. 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.” The word “repent” means “a pious sorrow for unbelief and sin; and turning from them unto God and the gospel of Christ”. It also implies a change of place or condition. In order for someone to renounce something, they must believe that what they believed before was completely false, and not in keeping with who they are now.

In Acts 19:18-20, the Bible says, “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” The Word of God, the true and living Word of God, is the thing that causes true repentance in people, causing them to renounce their past, their poor decisions, and their shameful thoughts. This means no more secrets, no more hidden sins happening while projecting the image of salvation and power. In Romans 6:21-22, the Bible says, “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” When we renounce the shameful, hidden things that stunted the growth of our relationship with God, we no longer have any fellowship with that old life, nor are we to identify with it anymore. That life is behind us, where it belongs.

“not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully”

The phrase “walking” means “to follow after, to tread all around, or to live as”. The word “craftiness” means “subtlety or trickery”.  When we repent or renounce the old life, it also means that we live differently, and live according to how God desires us to live. When Jacob lived, his name meant “trick or trickster”, and he lived his life accordingly, even cheating his brother Esau out of his birth right and blessing. Esau wanted to kill him, but Jacob fled. When it came time for Jacob to meet Esau again fear caused him to take many precautions to keep himself and his family safe. Right before he meets with Esau, he wrestles with God. In Genesis 32:27-28, the Bible says, “And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” In order for God to lead Jacob into this new season, Jacob had to renounce his identity. In order for him to do that, he then must accept the name God has given him.

The phrase “handling the word of God deceitfully” implies that a person tampers with the Word of God which brings corruption to the Word and to the faith. This is the person that dilutes the Word of God, the person who twists the meaning of the Word causing people to be led astray. in Matthew 24:24, Christ warns “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Christ knew the day would come when people would preach false doctrine and deceive the church, and now Paul is admonishing the Church to make sure that it isn’t us doing the deceiving!

“But by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

The word “manifestation” means “an exhibition or bestowment by God”. The phrase “commending ourselves” means “to present oneself as worthy”. In Colossians 1:28, the Bible says, “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”.  Here is the responsibility portion and how it extends to our fellow brothers and sisters. We are to teach and receive the teachings of the Word of God in truth and “all wisdom”, so that the people we teach can stand before God as the righteousness of God in Christ.

The word “conscience” means “the faculty of the soul which distinguishes between right and wrong and prompts one to choose the former and avoid the latter.” The truth God exhibits in us allows us to be presented as worthy vessels of God by not only God, but by the people that lay their eyes upon us.

In 1 Timothy 4:12, the Bible says, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” The world will see us and know that God is at work in us. When we repent, renouncing those hidden things, we receive the bestowed truth of God, which not only allows us to receive and convey the Word of truth to others, but it changes our life to the point that it becomes obvious to others.

May our repentance lead to an accurate exhibition of the Lord’s presence and power in us.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 15, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 5:17 – if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature

Hi Everyone!

When we became believers, everything about us is changed! We not only have been forgiven of our sins, but our sin debt has completely been paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ. We now have true redemption from the penalty of death for our sins, and we can fully experience the newness of life by the Holy Spirit of God. Everything is new now, because our old life, our old means of doing things, our old way of responding to situations, and our old selves are now buried. Sometimes, we don’t always feel saved, or feel different, but how we feel is not always real! The Word of God declares us new, and also declares that old things have passed away. Yet there are believers in the Church who can’t move on with their lives to experience this new thing, because they still cleave to what is dead and gone. Today, we are going to look at 2 Corinthians 5:17, being new creations in Christ.

”Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

The phrase ”any man” is all-inclusive, meaning everyone has access to this promise, but the condition is that we are believers. In John 3:16, the Bible says, ”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’‘ God made this provision available to everyone, but we have the responsibility to receive the truth into our hearts and minds and accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

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 didn’t wait until we were first changed for this promise to be available to us. God made this promise available to us before we were even born, so God took our sin into account when Christ died for us and made certain His death would pay the cost for everything we have done. Please trust the Bible when it reveals that debt was paid and the gift was available before we arrived on earth to commit our first sin!

The phrase ”in Christ” is spoken of believers who receive salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, and become one with Christ relationally by our allowing our Triune God to made His abode in us. In John 15:4, Christ says, ”Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” A branch relies on the vine to supply everything it needs to survive, and as believers we attach ourselves to God by faith in Jesus Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to supply everything we need to live Godly lives in Christ.

In Romans 8:9-10, the Bible says, ”But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” When we became believers, God attached us to the Spirit, so the Spirit could dwell in us. Something spiritual took place at salvation, and a death occurred, but will we believe that in order to fully seize the promises of God?

The phrase ”new creation” speaks of new Christians who are renewed and changed from evil to good by the Spirit of God. The word ”creation” means ”formation”, so salvation takes us right back to the beginning, where we were formed in the image and likeness of God, having His breath, that is His Spirit breathed into us, making us living souls! Hence the term ”reformed”! Titus 3:5 says, ”Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”.  God’s work, not our righteousness, is what makes us new creations in Christ, but yet we have a Church full of people who still claim that they are unqualified, not good enough, not saved enough, still answering to the old man.

”Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new”

The phrase ”passed away” means ”to perish”. The word ”become new” signifies an activation of newness due to our being in Christ as believers. We become new after we accept Christ as Lord and Savior and are saved by His blood. In Isaiah, 43:18-19, the Bible says, ”Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.’‘ God didn’t ordain this new thing to spring forth so we would continue to cleave to the old man, the old life, the old way. God didn’t make us new to remain stagnant in the faith. God made us new so we would answer to our new names, to our new identities, to our new lives in our promised land.

Will we accept our rightful place as children of God led by the Holy Spirit to live powerful lives here on earth? Salvation is only the beginning of what God has planned for us as new believers.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 16, 2021 – Zechariah 1:3 – Turn ye unto me, saith the LORD of hosts

Hi Everyone!

God has always sought His people to turn to Him. He has always desired relationship with us, one of open communication, one where we have direct and unrestricted access to God. Sin drove a wedge in between us and God but Christ’s death on the cross permanently broke that wedge, giving us the ability to once again commune with God again. God even did one better, allowing His Holy Spirit to dwell within us so we have God’s truth, His protection and His provision inside of us. Everything we need for the Godly life God desires us to live is now inside of us, and we have the kingdom of God inside us. If we keep a broken, dejected, pessimistic stance towards life, then it is now a choice, because God has given us every chance to experience life and peace by remaining in Him. Today, we will look Zechariah 1:3, turning to our loving God

”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.”

The phrase ”Lord of hosts” refers to God as being the Commander of the angelic armies, but it also expresses God’s sovereignty over the entire earth. 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 on the earth and in the earth belongs to God, because He created everything.

In Ephesians 1:4-5, 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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” God not only created us, but He chose us to stand before Him holy and in love, even the Gentiles, who were already chosen for adoption by Christ unto himself. The world and its occupants being exactly who God created them to be greatly pleases Him.

When David fought Goliath, Goliath fought from experience, but in 1 Samuel 17:45-46, the Bible says, ”Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” David didn’t fight from experience, but instead, he fought Goliath in the name of the ”Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel”. David knew that his power came from God, and there would be no victory without God.

The phrase ”turn ye unto me” speaks of repentance, when we try to go our own way, chart our own course, live apart from God. There has to be a realization that the way we are going is wrong and displeasing to God, and this sorrow should make us desire to come back to the Lord. 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.”  God desires for this sorrow to turn into repentance leading to salvation, not just sorrow without fruit. I used to always be sorry for the things I have done, but I always went right back out and did those same things I was sorry for all over again. I was convicted but there was no change. Why? Because there was no repentance. In Luke 13:3, Christ says, ”I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Because I refused to repent, choosing to remain sorry instead, I was headed for death, a life separate from God instead of with God.

In Matthew 3:8, the Bible says, ”Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance”. Repentance isn’t lip service. Fruit is what we see, and if a person is still acting like the world does, then where is the repentance? In 2 Corinthians 6:17-18, 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. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” There must be a physical turning from sin and turning to the Lord, a ”re-turning” to the Lord, and God will receive our repentance and re-establish us as children of God.

The whole point of repentance is for us to become children of God and God to be our Father, as God intended from the beginning. In Luke 15:7, Christ says, ”I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”  

Heaven rejoices because when someone repents, they become exactly what God has created them to be; children of God. If there is joy in heaven, then that means that God is pleased by our repentance.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 17, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 9:7 – God loveth a cheerful giver

Hi Everyone!

God has given us everything, including His only begotten Son, so that we may have eternal life through faith in His name. He did it from a place of love, and from a heart of willingness. What can we do to repay God for bringing us back from the dead? How can we extend our appreciation to God for all he has done for us? The greatest commands are to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. So if we can extend our appreciation to God by obeying His word, by loving Him and loving our neighbors, why don’t we? Our love begins in the heart, our generosity begins in the heart, and our giving should carry the right motivation. What would be the purpose of giving when our heart is conflicted, holding on to the offering after we hand it to someone? Does that type of giving please God? Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 9:7, being a cheerful and loving giver.

”Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”

“Every man” is all-inclusive, it means that this applies to all of us. In Mark 12:31, Christ says, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Christ didn’t tell us that we can pick and choose here. If love is in our heart, then our neighbor is anyone, and we can’t pick and choose who we love and be in obedience to God in the process.

The word “according” implies the standard behind an action, the thing that drives our giving. “Purposed in his heart”, means “intend with one’s first mind, a premeditated, predetermined mindset.” When we make a decision to give, we should make this decision without a second thought. In Deuteronomy 15:7-8, the Bible says, “If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.” Love does not cause us as believers to shut our eyes to the needs of those around us. If we are able to give and we don’t, then what does that say about our love? What does that say about the measure in our hearts towards our brothers and sisters?”

In Romans 12:10, the Bible says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”. Romans 12:13 says, “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.” We are to esteem our brothers and sisters in Christ and our neighbors as well, and we are to do all we do with love, from the deepest place within us, which is the heart.

The word ”give” means “to bestow upon or offer up”. In John 3:16, the Bible says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive, His precious Son, and there are people who still reject His gift. He gave it because of the love in His heart toward us, to not see us die in our sins, but have the gift of eternal life.

There was no conflict in His mind about this gift because Isaiah 9:6, the Bible says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is GIVEN: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” God’s mind was made up before Christ walked the earth as the Lamb of God.

The word “grudgingly” means “having an attitude of regret, reluctance about something done, usually out of a sense of obligation”. God doesn’t not want us cleaving to our gift, unwilling to let it go. In Exodus 25:2, the Bible says, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.” When our hearts are right before God, there is always a willingness to give and serve others.

The word “necessity” means “out of constraint, compulsion, or distress”. It also suggests giving done under pressure or legalism. In Luke 21:3-4, Christ says, “And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” The widow gave two mites but it spoke louder because of her attitude about it. She gave more because her heart was in the right place.

The word “love” means “to regard with a strong affection”, and a “cheerful giver” is someone who willingly and enthusiastically bestows gifting upon others. It should make us feel good to give, to reach into our bounty and help someone out in need. It can be time, money, or our skill, but whatever it is, may we be cheerful givers!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 18, 2021 – Zechariah 3:4 – Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee

Hi Everyone!

I have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ! Somebody died knowing He was dying for me, knowing that by faith in His name, I can receive salvation, redemption, and eternal life. He died, knowing I was a murderer, knowing I was a robber, knowing that I sold drugs, stole cars, and engaged in gang activity. He saved me knowing I knew better, knowing I grew up in Church and went astray, living a life of lawlessness, knowing that I would lose myself in the process. To know that even when I lost myself, God never lost me, and no matter how bad I got, God wrapped His arms around me and welcomed me home when I repented of the evil I have done and sought His forgiveness. Me wearing the clothing of minister, counselor, friend, brother, and believer means so much to me, because I am truly reminded of the cost of this outfit I now wear. Today, we are going to look at Zechariah 3:4, being robed with new, clean clothing by God.

”And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”

The phrase “take away” means “to remove”. The word “filthy” is one of the worst, vile terms that can be used to describe one’s uncleanliness. It means “soiled, as if excrementitious”. The root word “excrement” refers to bodily waste, so the level of spiritually uncleanliness has gotten to this point. The word “garments” means “clothing or a covering”. 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.” When we allow God to remove our filthiness from us, we will be clean. When we try to clean ourselves up, we will find our efforts futile. 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.” Our best efforts as believers to be righteous still amounts to filthy rags, something soaked in bodily waste! Please understand something in this topic verse. Joshua is the High Priest, and his garments are filthy.  This is indicative of the wave of priests and people that were constantly defiled throughout Israel’s history. We all can find ourselves in a state of defilement is we don’t allow God to reign in our lives.

The angel of the Lord commanded that the garment be removed from Joshua, which is further testimony that it is God who cleanses us and not anything we do. 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.” See, when God cleansed me from my filthiness, it was for God’s sake, not my own, and He cleansed me so He wouldn’t have to ever hold my past filth against me anymore. I am only who I am now because God ordered the angels to remove my filthy garments from me.

Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee,”

The word “behold” suggests that God desires us to make a mental observation of something, that God really wants our attention. 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.” John the Baptist was determined to take people’s attention off him and onto Christ, the purpose behind his ministry. He boldly declared that Christ takes away the sins of the world, that Christ removes the filthy garments from us!

The word “iniquity” means “perversity, or moral evil”. Iniquity causes guilt within us that we can’t justify or remove  without Christ, and that guilt causes bondage. The phrase “to pass” means “to remove itself”, so God allows our iniquity to remove itself the same way clothes are removed. Micah 7:18-19, the Bible says, “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” We are incapable of cleansing ourselves of our unrighteousness. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us, causing our iniquity to be removed in the process.

“And I will clothe thee with a change of raiment”

The word “clothe” means “to wrap around”. In Luke 15:22, Christ says, “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.”  See, this verse means everything to me and as these tears are falling, I thank God for cleaning my filthiness, for changing my heart and life, from removing the stench of my sin from His nostrils. Praise God for clean clothes, to be clothed by our awesome God, turning a prodigal into a son!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 19, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 9:12 – is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God

Hi Everyone!

Our ministry brings glory to God. When we present ourselves to God in willing obedience, in selfless service, and with a heart to see people grow and prosper, God can make amazing things happen through us. How willing are we to love out loud, and tend to the needs of someone around us? When God has been so faithful to us, so giving and generous to us, will we pay this great deed forward by using our abundance to meet the needs of someone else? It doesn’t have to necessarily be money, because there are people in spiritual poverty, emotional poverty, and relational poverty, unable to break free on their own, unable to see that we have a God that is more than willing to give the kingdom of God to the poor in spirit. How thankful are we to God when we make conscious decisions to allow the people around us to suffer? What does that speak of our faith. Today, we are going to look at 2 Corinthians 9:12, a ministry of service that brings glory to God.

”For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God”

The word “administration” means “ministry, aid, attendance of alms collected.” The word “service” refers to public service. There has to be a certain attitude when it comes to giving, one that desires us to all be as equals. In Acts 2:44-47, “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” See, when believers come together, and everyone is on one accord, we will see each other the same way we see ourselves, and other people’s needs will matter to us the same as ours do. Gladness will flourish through the Church through giving, and people will praise God in thanksgiving for all He has provided. God desires for our service, no matter what that service may be, to bring edification to the body of Christ for the glory of God.

In Mark 10:43-44, Christ says, “But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.” When we come together as one, the only thing that matters is the God we serve faithfully, and the people that will receive our ministry. Do you see that the individual isn’t in the equation? Our ministry, just like our love is about God and about people, not about us! We are conduits and vessels, conduits because the Holy Spirit flows through us like electrical pipes providing service to an appliance, and like vessels because the Holy Spirit fills us like cauldrons which can then be drawn from. This is why Romans 12:1 is so important when it says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Living sacrifices do not care about themselves, but they give themselves up for others.

“Not only supplieth the want of the saints, also by many thanksgivings unto God”

The word “supplieth” implies provision, something that is needed and profitable by someone else. The word “want” means “deficit, lack, and poverty”. The word “saints” refers to believers of Jesus Christ, the saved of the lord, the ones purified and sanctified by the influence of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 4:34-35, the Bible says, “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” See, when the Holy Spirit moves, and the Church is operating according to the Gospel of Christ, no one is going to go without! God gives abundance to some to balance out those who don’t have. This isn’t just about money, because believers have a lot more issues in their lives than just money. God created the Church to fill gaps from what He has bestowed upon all of us.

In Acts 3:6, the Bible says, “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” Peter was the lead pastor of the Church, and he told the lame man he didn’t have the money he was looking for, but he had something better, The Name of Jesus Christ, which caused the lame man to walk. What did the lame man do? Acts 3:8 says, “And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”

Our contributions to the faith will cause the ones we give to, to give God the praise, and glory is brought to God through our giving.

What is our giving producing?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 20, 2021 – Proverbs 11:27 – he that diligently seeketh good procureth favour

Hi Everyone!

I once asked a brother on my unit a simple question, ”What do you want out of life?” It is a very loaded question because the brother was involved in some activities that weren’t becoming to his character. The next question I would’ve asked is, ”Are the things you are doing consistent with what you say you want out of life?” In prison, it isn’t wise to tell people that their direction in life is the wrong path to take, so one has to ask questions that will get them to admit within themselves that they aren’t doing things consistent with what they truly want. We as believers are supposed to pursue good, the things God has ordained for us, because when we pursue good, it pleases our God and it brings us into His divine favor. When we seek evil, then our pursuits will eventually land us under horrible circumstances with even more worse consequences. Today, we will look at Proverbs 11:27, what are we in pursuit of?

”He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.”

The phrase ”diligently seeketh” means “to be early at any task, to search of painstakingly.” This isn’t someone just haplessly looking for something, but someone turning over stones, looking in caves, someone determined to find what they are looking for. In Jeremiah 29:13, the Bible says, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” We can’t be divided in any part of our search when it comes to the things of God. When we give our all to learning of the Lord, He will reveal Himself to us. In Hebrews 11:6, the Bible says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”  God rewards those who search Him out painstakingly.

The word “good” is a term that expresses God’s pleasure behind something becoming exactly what and who He created it to be. This is the will of God, for us to become exactly who we were created to be. So when we “diligently seeketh good” we are racing after the things of God, the things that God created us to experience in Him. God becomes the priority, what He wants and what He expects from us. In Matthew 6:33, the Bible says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Our search should be into what pleases God first, above anything, and that can be found in the Word of God, through prayer and through listening to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

The phrase “procureth favor” means “to strive after divine goodwill or God’s delight”. This also means that we are to seek the things that please our God. 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 pursuit of God and the things of God should come from the deepest part of us, and when we strive after mercy and truth, to embed them in our minds and heart, we will find divine goodwill from God that will be visible to all.

In 3 John 1:11, the Bible says, “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.” What we do and what we race after is a clear representation of what is at work inside of us. In Proverbs 12:2, the Bible says, “A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.” People want the favor of God, but won’t do the things that please Him. How can we say we are the children of God but the things of God are the last thing on our minds?

“But he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him”

The word “mischief” means “moral evil or trouble”. In Psalm 10:2, the Bible says, “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.” The enemy will not only plot against the weak, poor and vulnerable, but they also aim to weaken the strong. If we attend to the enemy’s agenda, then we will aim to weaken ourselves and others as well, so our pathway to God becomes filled with hindrances and obstacles. Evil will always come back to the person who practices it. In Esther 7:10, the Bible says, “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then was the king’s wrath pacified.” Haman hated Mordecai because he wouldn’t bow down or reverence him, so he plotted to not only have Mordecai killed, but all the Jews living in the kingdom of Ahasuerus. Be careful to never plot against people who are favored of the Lord, because God not only rescued Mordecai, who diligently sought good, but He allowed Haman to be hanged in the same gallows that he had constructed for the death of Mordecai!

There is reward or retribution from what we painstakingly search out. Is it evil or good?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 21, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 12:9 – My grace is sufficient for thee

Hi Everyone!

God did not promise us a free ride filled with fun, wealth, and a care-free attitude. God assured us that we would have trouble, persecutions, afflictions, and struggles, but God also promised us that He would never leave us nor forsake us. Sometimes, God isn’t going to give us a way out of what we are going through, no matter how difficult it may be. Sometimes, our struggles are meant for us to endure as believers, so that we will understand that there is a power at work within us that far surpasses the power of our struggle. If God won’t remove our struggle, then He has already given us the provision to endure the struggle we face. Praise God for His provision under all circumstances, because His grace extends to much more than just salvation! Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 12:9, God’s grace being sufficient under affliction.

”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.”

A little back story. Paul had a thorn in his side, what he believed to be a messenger of Satan, which came to struggle with him to keep him humble. Paul did what any believer should do, ask for help. In Psalm 121:2, the Bible says, ”My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.” So Paul knows his help comes from the Lord, so he is looking for his help to come. Nothing. Paul asked again, because surely God will hear him if he asks twice. This was one of the lead pastors of the Church, a person who spoke directly with the risen Lord, but he still didn’t get an answer. Paul asks again, and then he got his answer, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” On the surface, to someone who doesn’t know God, this doesn’t sound like a good answer, but to someone who walks according to the Spirit and not of the flesh, this is the only answer that makes sense. Christ is telling Paul to experience His grace, to be a partaker of His strength.

Why? Because in Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ALL things, include enduring a thorn in the side, something that won’t go away. The word “grace” speaks of the divine and unmerited favor as exercised in conferring gifts, graces, and benefits on man, but it also pertains to God making up the difference from what we lack so we can be complete in Him. Think about the phrase “grace period” (for those who sometimes can’t make ends meet). A grace period gives us more time to make things right, but in God’s case, grace bridges the gap between where we are and where we need to be.

The word “sufficient” means “enough or satisfactory.” In Ephesians 2:8, the Bible says, “For BY GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”. If grace was enough for salvation, then it is enough for thorns in the side and for sanctification as well. Christ said His grace was sufficient “for thee”. That is telling us that we already have what we need to endure affliction in Christ.

“for my strength is made perfect in weakness”

The word “strength” means “miraculous power”. The phrase “made perfect” means “accomplished, completed, or fulfilled”. The word “weakness” means “moral frailty or feebleness”. See, Paul asked the wrong question in asking for the thorn to be removed. Christ wants to do a miracle in the face of our frailty, and show Himself power in the midst of our affliction. Why? In 1 Corinthians 2:5, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” Sometimes, God requires us to abandon our path of what we think will work, and exchange it for His power to move mightily in us. God wants to leave no question that it is Him that carried us through our thorn.

“Most gladly therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”

The word “gladly” displays an attitude that makes Paul receptive to the suffering because he gets it now! The word “glory” means “to rejoice”. The word “infirmities” means “moral frailties”. 1 Peter 4:14, the Bible says, “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.” We must understand that when God allows us to experience affliction, it is so His power can work in us.

The word “power” means “miraculous force”. The word “rest” means “to tent upon, or abide”. Sounds a lot like a covering, right? In Ephesians 3:16, it says, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man”. This is true wealth, knowing that the power of Christ makes the difference, that it conquers suffering and affliction, giving us the power to not only endure but triumph!

Isn’t that something to be glad about?

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 22, 2021 – 2 Corinthians 12:10 – for when I am weak, then am I strong

Hi Everyone!

How is our response when trouble comes? Do we hide in a cave somewhere, fearful of the devastation, or do we see affliction as a way for God to manifest His strength and power in us? The truth is, no one in their right minds wants to endure suffering if they don’t have to, but if we are able to view our sufferings through the eyes of Christ, we would see that our faithful endurance under trial pleases our God. God doesn’t allow trouble to arise so we can suffer, but that through the experience, we can see what a mighty God we serve, because His grace fills the voids caused by the suffering. Our perspective in the face of trouble determines what we learn from our trouble. God gives us the privilege of seeing our weaknesses turn into strength, for us to declare God’s strength in the face of weakness. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 12:10, taking pleasure in the strength of God, despite the experience and appearance of weakness.

”Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

The word ”pleasure” means ”to think well of, or to view with favor.” Paul had a thorn in his flesh, something that had to be a struggle to experience as evidence by him asking the Lord to remove it three times. Christ responds to his request, actually responds, and tells Paul to take hold of His grace, and to rely on His strength. See, we have to see beyond what is happening to us, and leave behind what we think would work against the ‘thorns’ in our flesh.

In Romans 5:3-5, the Bible says, ”And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” So in the midst of our trial, there is a process that happens inside and outside of us that produces a hope in the Lord, and an outpouring of love in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Don’t think that when we are under some form of affliction, it is for no reason? There is always a reason behind anything that God allows us to go through. In James 1:2-4, the Bible says, ”My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” God sees fit for us to go through turbulence so we can build patience. This isn’t the ”waiting” kind of patience, but the ”I am going to remain rooted in the Word and relationship with God no matter what” kind of patience. This patience ensures that we will be complete in God, lacking nothing we need to be who God has called us to be. Who would’ve thought that trials build a resiliency in us as believers to be thoroughly equipped for everything that comes our way?

The word ”infirmities” means ”moral frailties”. Paul’s real struggle was within, because he writes in Ephesians 6:12, ”For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Spiritual battles have to be fought in the Spirit.

The word ”reproaches” means ”insolence, harm or injury”. The word ”necessities” means ”unavoidable distress or calamity”. There are going to be things in life that we must go THROUGH, but note in Psalm 34:19, the Bible says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” When we understand that we have real victory in Jesus Christ, then we know that our afflictions, our distresses, our calamities, and our trouble has a spiritual expiration date, even when the physical situation doesn’t change. The word “distresses’ means “calamity or the narrowness of a room”. This is a time when the walls close in around us and we feel trapped, but in 2 Corinthians 2:14, the Bible says, “Now thanks be unto God, which ALWAYS causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” When the walls close in, we have freedom and victory in Christ!

“For when I am weak, then am I strong”

The word “weak” means “feeble, or impotent”. Impotent is a term that expresses a person’s lack of power to procreate, a direct contradiction to God’s command for us be fruitful and multiply. The word “strong” means “powerful or capable”. In 2 Corinthians 13:4, the Bible says, “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.”

Only God can turn our weakness into strength, but we must faithfully endure the struggle, viewing the thorns in our flesh with favor. It truly changes our perspective, knowing we can still be strong no matter how afflicted we may be.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 23, 2021 – Deuteronomy 4:6 – keep therefore and do them

Hi Everyone!

Our obedience to the Word of God pleases God, and establishes us as the children of God in the world. The world watches believers ever so closely, to see if we are really of the faith, or if we are Christians who pay more ”lip service” than true service to God. Do we realize that, as believers, we represent our Father and we represent the Word of God’s power and authority over our lives. How can we ever get a world to love and obey God when they can’t see these traits in us? As representatives of the kingdom of God, it is important that we display the truth, in not only our speech, but in our conduct, because the world will see it and give God the glory for establishing a people set apart for Him. We can only become a great people by living the Word of God out loud. Today, we are going to look at Deuteronomy 4:6, the worldwide impact of our obedience.

”Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”

The word “keep” means “to observe, to take heed, to obey”. The word “do” implies that we accomplish or perform the Word of God. The only way we can keep the Word of God is if we do what it says. In Luke 6:46-48, Christ says, “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.”

Who we are as believers is connected to what we do as believers, and our identity in Christ is in our obedience to His Word. Our stability in our faith is the result of our obedience to the Word of God. In Deuteronomy 30:20, the Bible says, “That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Our love for the Lord comes through our relationship with Him, where, through His Word, we discover His love for us, the sacrifices made for us, and the plan God had that included us when we were severely broken and flawed. How can we not love God, and cleave to Him in spiritual marriage when we come to an understanding of his love for us? It should make it easier for us to desire to obey Him in all things.

The word “wisdom” means “skillfulness, and experience”. The word “understanding” means “comprehension or discernment”, and even though mankind can make this quality fallible, we can always ask God for guidance in any matters we have questions about. In Proverbs 1:7, the Bible says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Where we stand in the faith will become obvious to the eyes of anyone watching us, because in Matthew 7:20 Christ says, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” What are we displaying as believers? In Psalm 19:7, the Bible says, “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” The Word of God changes people and changes things in people. These changes become a living testimony of God’s work in us, sometimes confounding people as to how we are able to do the things we do and know the things we know.

“Which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.”

The word “hear” means “to listen, to regard, to discern, or to give an ear intelligently to.”  See, we are only wise and understanding because of the Word of God at work in our lives. When we can directly connect our behavior, our attitude, our knowledge, and our perspective to the Word of God, then God gets the glory, because it is obvious that we aren’t doing this on our own.

In Psalm 19:8, the Bible says, “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” The Word of God has the power to not only open up our eyes, but open the eyes of those who watch the Word at work in us.

The word “understanding” here has a slightly different meaning. It means “distinguished, intelligent, or mentally separate.” Our obedience to the Word of God and our submission to the Lord’s work in our lives separates us from the world. 1 Peter 2:12 says, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” We want our speech and conduct to reflect the power of God working mightily in us, so they too will give God the glory. Ministry is in obedience too!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 24, 2021 – Galatians 3:8 – in thee shall all nations be blessed

Hi Everyone!

God didn’t just have a plan for the Israelites when He created the world. He had a plan for the Gentiles as well, the worldly people who haven’t yet come into salvation by Jesus Christ. Just knowing God had a plan to adopt us into the kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ, lets me know how deep His love is for His creation. I remember having a long season where no one wanted me, where I experienced more closed doors than smiling faces, and through the midst of my constant rejection, I just wanted someone to want me. Spiritually, there are many people walking the earth seeking acceptance instead of rejection, but do they know that they have a God that has desired to love and accept them with wide open arms? Have they been told? Today, we will look at Galatians 3:8, a beautiful adoption by God of a wayward, heathen people.

”And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”

The word “scripture” speaks of the written word of God, the “Holy Writ”. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” The scripture of God has great purpose, to make a people ready to be in the presence of the Lord, to also equip a people to serve the Lord with all of their hearts.

The Bible accurately displays God’s plan for mankind, and also shows His intention to bring salvation to the world. In Acts 18:28, “For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.” The Scriptures of God also point to Christ, the Savior of the world, the foundation that our faith is built upon.

In Colossians 1:16-17, the Bible says, “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.” To experience Christ as king, we must know that He is God robed in flesh, and everything in the world was created by Him and for Him, including us! The word “consist” means “set together”, so everything pertaining to our faith is set together by Christ.

The word “foreseeing” means “to see beforehand”. You are not a mistake! You are not some chance happening, nor did you come to the faith by accidental occurrence. We are included into the design and creation of God’s kingdom! In Romans 8:29-30, the Bible says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” God foreknew us, God did not just stumbled across us and then offer us salvation because we were standing there. He always knew that we were going to be counted in the number of saved, the ones who will be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ.

The word “justify” means “to render free”, spoken of the justification bestowed by God unto men through Christ, absolving us from the consequences of sin and admitting us into the enjoyment of the divine favor. God bestowed it upon us, meaning that it was Him that gave us salvation, not our goodness. In Romans 3:24, the Bible says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In order for us to be RE-deemed, it means that we are being bought back. If we are bought back, then that means we must have belonged to the Lord initially!

The word “heathen” refers to the Gentiles, the people part of the pagan nations. 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.” The love of God ensured that we as Gentiles would have access to salvation by Jesus Christ through “faith”, which means “assurance or confidence in the doctrines received and believed, the Christian doctrine, the gospel, and all that Christianity stands for.”

The phrase “preached the gospel” means “to announce the good news in advance”. The word “blessed” means “to confer a benefit on”. In John 10:16, Christ says, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Christ already made room for us in the kingdom, knowing we were not a part of the fold.

In Ezekiel 37:22, the Bible says, “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.” God’s design was always for the Jew and the Gentile to become one in Christ, meaning that God has always had a place secured for us in His kingdom. May we operate in this earth like the children of God and not like people who have no place in the kingdom.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 25, 2021 – 2 John 1:8 – but that we receive a full reward

Hi Everyone!

What we have in the Lord is precious, and we have to value our walk with the Lord. God has rewards in store for us if were faithful with what He has blessed us with. With a bestowment of gifts, of favor, of ministry, and most importantly, the Word of God, there has to be a fair expectation by God that we are going to use what we have to advance His kingdom. What He bestows upon us is also crucial in us knowing the truth, so that we are not led astray in the process. We have a responsibility as believers to guard the Word of God in our hearts and minds, and also not give up any ground to the enemy. The enemy would love to see us stagnant in the faith, never allowing God to work a mighty work in us, but God calls us to mature as believers and to help mature other believers as well. Today, we are going to look at 2 John 1:8, securing our rewards as believers in Christ Jesus.

”Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”

The phrase ”look to yourselves” means “to watch, to guard, or to examine yourselves.” We have to check ourselves, to make sure that we are aligned with the Word of God at all times. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Bible says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” We have to be on watch, because the enemy is looking to remove the truth from our faith, the same way he did to Eve in the garden.

In Genesis 3:4-5, the Bible says, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Sometimes, the enemy will trick us by making something seem pleasant that God has told us to not partake in, which can alter our perspective towards it. When the enemy can get us to reconsider, we have set ourselves up for failure. In 1 Peter 5:8, the Bible says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

We have to not only examine ourselves, but we have to examine our adversary. Being “sober and vigilant” are terms used for soldiers keeping watch, especially at night where our visibility is diminished. The enemy works best when we are not on guard, and when we are not wearing our armor. That is why Ephesians 6:11 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”, because the enemy’s job is to find vulnerability.

“That we not lose those things which we have wrought”

The word “lose” means “to destroy fully”. 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?” Our souls are extremely valuable to God, which is why He sent Jesus Christ to die for the sins of mankind, to save our souls from an eternity of damnation. We have to place the same value upon our souls as God does, and guard them from the offensives of the enemy.

The word “wrought” means “earned, accomplished, labored for, or engaged in”. This means God made an investment in us, and we have to do our part to protect this investment. In Luke 8:12-13, the Christ says, “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” When the Word of God is sown into our hearts, we have to make sure the environment the seed is cast in it is conducive for growth. If not, the enemy can come and take the Word of God from our hearts, or the Word of God can’t grow and bear fruit because it doesn’t grow deep enough to have roots. We don’t want to become believers who lose ground in the faith because we don’t allow the Word of God to grow and bear fruit in our lives.

“but that we receive a full reward”

The phrase “full reward” implies being paid back for our labor completely and perfectly. In 1 Corinthians 3:8-9, the Bible says, “Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” When we exercise our faith, we are essentially teaming up with God to not only advance the kingdom, but bring God’s will to pass. Our work is subject to test, and in 1 Corinthians 3:14, it says, “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” When want to be the believers that our God is proud of, calling us “good and faithful servants”.

Let us serve the Lord, never losing a step, securing our heavenly reward in the process.

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 26, 2021 – Lamentations 3:22 – because his compassions fail not

Hi Everyone!

I know for a fact that it is only because of the Lord that I didn’t die many times over. I lived a life of lawlessness, completely in opposition to the things of God, all while telling myself I still believed. I was a mess, looking for an even greater mess to find myself in, and I disobeyed God more times than I can count. Almost losing my life didn’t change me, and losing my freedom didn’t change me, and I was headed for destruction. It wasn’t until I had my moment of clarity, not only seeing the sin that has separated me from God, but also seeing the love God had for me to restore someone like me into His kingdom. Then, I looked back and saw many other instances where I knew God was standing right there protecting me, loving me, digging into me and fertilizing the soil around me, all so that I can grow and bear fruit! I might have failed God, but He never failed me! Today, we will look at Lamentations 3:22, the unfailing mercies of God.

”It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”

The word ”mercies” means “piety, or lovingkindness”. I love how the word mercies is plural, because God is a God of abundance, not giving us exactly what we need but more than we need. In Psalm 23:5-6, the Bible says, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” God not only anointed our heads, but His oil (Spirit) ran over us, and goodness and mercy didn’t just appear, but it follows us all the days of our lives. Do we really understand that God’s Word is more than enough for what we need?

In Ephesians 3:20, the Bible says, “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,” When God gives us anything, He always goes beyond what we can ever expect! In Romans 5:19-20, the Bible says, “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world, and even the ones yet to come! God, being completely holy and pure, without sin, desires to fellowship with us, despite the sin that has kept us separate from Him. That is like the richest man on earth purposely seeking out the homeless to befriend, to love, to save and to restore.

“that we are not consumed”

The word “consumed” means “to utterly destroy or ruin”. This verse is really a love letter to mankind. In Ezekiel 37:4-6, the Bible says, “Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” God took a valley of dry bones and brought it back to life, building an army in the process. How did He do it? He told Ezekiel, the man of God, to prophesy to the bones!

In John 6:63, Christ says, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” God had a plan in place to ensure that when we fell, that our fallen state was not the final verdict. Just as this life sentence I am serving is not my final verdict, my past sinful life wasn’t the final verdict. I have new life as a new creation in Christ and Romans 8:1 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” There is no condemnation to us in Christ Jesus so we will not become utterly destroyed!

“because his compassions fail not”

The word “compassions” means “love and tender mercies”. The word “fail” means “to end, to cease, or to perish”. 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.” God has patiently waited for us to give ourselves totally to Him, and He continues to wait for those who will also join us in the fold. In Jeremiah 3:12, the Bible says, “Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.” God is always giving us opportunities to return to Him, and the reason behind it is love. God loves us so much and desires us to be whole in Him.

May we come to appreciate His mercies and return to His embrace. God is waiting!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 27, 2021 – Proverbs 20:6 – but a faithful man who can find?

Hi Everyone! 

Arrogance is a quality that not only robs the church of power, but it blocks our access to God. In the substance abuse recovery community, arrogance is the leading cause of relapse, because recovered substance abusers feel like they have done enough and are now strong enough to handle a life of sobriety. There is a major difference between someone who us confident in the Lord and in what God has given, and someone who boasts of themselves, like they are responsible for the favorable state they now reside in. There is no such thing as a ”self-made success”, so no one has any right to boast in anything, but Christ. God doesn’t look for a bunch of accomplished Christians patting ourselves on the back for where they are and what they have accomplished, but He looks for obedient believers who live their lives to bring glory to His name. God wants people He can entrust His will to. Today we will look at Proverbs 20:6, forsaking our own goodness for the goodness of God. 

”Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”

The word ”proclaim” means ”to accost a person in order to announce”. The word ”goodness” means ”piety, or kindness in deeds”.  The verse says ”most men’, so it shows a danger trend of people in the Church patting themselves on the back. In Romans 12:3, the Bible says, ”For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” Arrogance in not from God, and in fact, it robs us from operating according to the will of God. Everyone has access to the measure of faith, so even if our roles as believers are different, God has given each the measure of faith to walk in.

In James 1:17, the Bible says, ”Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’‘ Our gifts come from the Lord, and He doesn’t discriminate who He bestows His gifts upon. We are ”special” only because we are children of God, only because He bestowed His gift and His identity on us.

When the disciples came back from their ministry mission in Luke 10, they were excited that the power of God moved through them. In Luke 10:19-20, Christ says, ”Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” The power we have as believers is nothing to rejoice about, but just being the children of God should be something to rejoice.

In Ephesians 2:8-10, 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Our salvation doesn’t come from us. Even the faith we have doesn’t come from us, because according to Romans 10:17, it says, ”So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’‘ Our faith comes from the Word of God, so our faithfulness doesn’t come from us either. We are the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus, so we aren’t a self-made success. We are only able to walk in the Lord because God gives us the authority to do so, and our best efforts still couldn’t save us. How are we any better than our fellow man when we have been given the same Word, to walk in the same measure of faith, and God gave us salvation to become the children of God.

In Luke 18:11, Christ says, ”The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.” Even in prayer, the Pharisee patted himself on the back before God, and even cut down the publican who couldn’t lift up his head. What happened to the Pharisee? He didn’t leave his prayer justified, because he trusted in his righteousness and not the righteousness of God.

”But a faithful man, who can find?”

The word ”faithful” is a term that expresses a rare, beneficial quality from the trustworthiness of one to God. In Job 13:14-15, the Bible says, ”Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand? Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.’‘ God doesn’t care about how holy we think we are. He is concerned with us doing His will, with us moving on His Word, no matter where it leads. The word ”find” means ”come forth to appear”. God is looking for a faithful people to appear, leaving our egos behind and to seize the will of God. The faithfully humble will be exalted…

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 28, 2021 – John 1:1 – Jesus Christ: The Mystery Uncovered Part 1 – In the beginning was the Word

Hi Everyone!

The life of Jesus Christ didn’t begin at his birth in Bethlehem. Most people consider Christ to be separate from God, like He was a totally different person than God. A lot of other religions classified Christ as a prophet, as a powerful person, but don’t consider Him to be God. There are even factions from the ”Christian” umbrella that classify Christ as the Messiah, but not as God. Because Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith, knowing exactly who Christ is, begins everything we will know, learn, and understand about the Word of God, and God’s plan for mankind. If we don’t know who Christ is, then our faith in God is suspect, because everything we have, and are as believers comes through Him. If we don’t understand who Christ is, then it makes understanding the Bible difficult, because there are things in scripture that we won’t be able to receive because we haven’t come to know Christ. Today, we will look at John 1:1, the beginning to the series, ”Jesus Christ: The Mystery Uncovered”.

”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The word ”beginning” means ”commencement of all things”. We think if the word commencement, and some of us think of college graduation ceremonies, which signify the ”beginning to our entry into society”. In Genesis 1:1, the Bible says, ”In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Where we come from is just as important as where we are going, and in fact, where we come from becomes the foundation for what we build upon it. ”Know thyself” is a powerful statement because if our foundation isn’t the Word of God then what we build on it won’t stand.

In 1 Corinthians 3:11, the Bible says, ”For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” In construction, the foundation is the beginning of the structure, so is Jesus Christ that foundation we are to build our lives on, likewise Christ HAS to be the beginning. If God says in Exodus 20:3, ”Thou shalt have no other gods before me”, then why would God have us build on any other foundation but Him? Why would God have us declare anyone else but Him to be our beginning, especially one believed to come after Him?

In Proverbs 8:22-23, the Bible says, ”The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.’‘ This part of Proverbs dealt with not only wisdom, but it also represented Christ being in existence since the beginning. To know Christ is to understand His beginning, and not only was Christ there from the beginning, but he was also there from everlasting, meaning Christ was there before time existed!

The word “Word” means “the Divine Expression”. This is speaking directly of Christ, so in the beginning, Christ was the Divine Expression of God. In Colossians 1:16-17, the Bible says, “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.” All power and authority was established by Christ from the beginning, and He is also the mastermind of everything setting together perfectly.

In 1 John 1:1, the Apostle John goes further to write, this time from a deeper experience, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life”. The phrase ”have handled” means “to verify by contact”. This means it is time to not only know who the “Word of God” is, but it is time to experience the Word of God, as in Psalm 34:8, where it says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

The word “God” here means “the Supreme Divinity”. Not only is Christ with God, but Christ is God. In Isaiah 9:6, the Bible says, ” For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, The Prince of Peace.” This was prophecy concerning Christ, and this establishes Christ as God some 700 years before Christ actually appeared in the flesh.

In Revelation 19:13, the Bible says, “And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.” Christ still iss the Word of God. From the beginning to the end, He never stopped being the Word of God.

In John 20:28-29, the Bible says, ”And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Christ didn’t deny that He was indeed God to Thomas, which means that it must be true! Jesus Christ is God!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 29, 2021 – John 1:14 – Jesus Christ: The Mystery Uncovered Part 2 – and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us

Hi Everyone!

Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the Word being with God, and the Word being God, became flesh and blood for us! God knew from the beginning that there would be no payment for our sin debt that we could offer up sufficient to pay the cost, so He arranged for us to experience salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In order for Christ to shed His blood for us, He had to be here on earth to do it. It also goes deeper than salvation, because Christ coming to the earth gave us the perfect example of how we are to live on this earth ourselves. Christ came and experienced this world on our level, so He can show His Church how to do the same thing, but He also can then serve as our Intercessor, able to identify with our struggles here on earth. This is all-compassing love, and it is something we have the privilege of walking in. Today, we are going to look at John 1:14, the power of the Word of God becoming flesh for us!

”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.”

The word “Word” means “the Divine Expression of God”, speaking of the pre-existent nature of Christ, that spiritual and divine nature spoken of in the Jewish writings before and about the time of Christ. The phrase “was made” means “became, came into physical existence, generated, and came to be”. In 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. When the Word of God became flesh, He brought the divine living expression of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness in the earth. Christ showed us how it was done, how to live according to the Word of God.

The word “flesh” speaks of the incarnate human nature of Christ. This doesn’t carry the same meaning as “flesh”, the sinful nature that keeps us separate from God. In 1 Timothy 3:16, the Bible says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” The Bible is always going to confirm its truth in multiple verses , especially of Christ being God manifested in the flesh. 

In John 14:9, in response to Philip asking Christ to show them the Father, the Bible says, “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” Christ seems a little frustrated with Philip, because he walked with the Lord, heard His teaching, saw the miracles, but still didn’t connect the dots. That is an example of our having the truth right in our faces but still not seeing it clearly.

The word “dwelt” means “to encamp, to tent upon, to occupy, and to reside in and with.” Not only does God desire to live with us, but He wants to live in us. Imagine this along with me. God came down and took on flesh, just so He could reside in us, and then offer Himself up as the only perfect sacrifice so we could receive the Spirit of God, which dwells in us. He wants to live with us, live in us, and be a covering for us. In Psalm 91:1, the Bible says, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  “The shadow” is a covering! In John 14:17, Christ says, “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’s precise purpose for Christ’s presence on earth was to be a conduit to produce God’s intended purpose for us as believers.

“(And we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.”

The word “beheld” means ‘to perceive, or to look closely at”. The word “glory” refers to internal character: glorious moral attributes, excellence, infinite perfection, divine majesty, and holiness.” The phrase “only begotten of the Father” refers to Christ being the only one born of God. In Matthew 1:20-21, the Bible says, “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” To experience this is far better than just knowing it.

The word “grace” speaks of God’s divine influence, and the word “truth” speaks of God’s divine truth. Christ didn’t possess anything that wasn’t directly of God and the word “full” means “abounding or complete”.

There is no emptiness in Christ Jesus. His flesh was a shell for the fullness of God to dwell in Him!

God Bless!

Marshall

 

Nov 30, 2021 – John 3:31 – Jesus Christ: The Mystery Uncovered Part 3 – he that cometh from heaven is above all

Hi Everyone!

Jesus Christ came from heaven. That is His origin and He was there from the beginning. Because Christ came from above, the language He speaks, the things He does, the authority He walks in is the product of who He is and where He comes from. Christ is The King, and even though He lived in the earth, He knew who He was and where He came from. Our Church suffers from identity issues, because we have the Word of God declaring who we are and where we came from, yet we walk as if we are still of the earth, like we aren’t royalty. Jesus Christ wasn’t just some man who walked the earth and did some cool stuff while He was here. Jesus Christ came from Heaven on a Godly mission to save the world from sin and redeem the lost who have faith in Him. Because of where He comes from and the authority He walks in, we have a sure guide into the kingdom of God! Today we will look at John 3:31, where our Christ comes from.

”He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.”

The word “above” actually means “from the first, or from the beginning”. John the Baptist is attesting that Jesus Christ, the Person, and His ministry is paving the way for is from the beginning, so to come “from above” is to “come from the beginning.” In Revelation 1:8, Christ says out of His own mouth, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus Christ is the first and the last word!

The second word “above” pertains to the authority Christ has in and over the earth, and if He is “above all” that means His authority is The Authority. In Matthew 28:18, the Bible says, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL POWER is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Not ‘some’ power, but Christ has ‘all’ power, so the Word of the Lord is the final word. How many people in the Church believe this in theory, but not in faith?

In John 1:13, the Bible says, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Christ was born of God, as the only begotten of the Father, He stands alone in power and majesty. Even John the Baptist knew Christ’s place in the kingdom, because in John 1:15, he said, “John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.” To “bear witness” means to “give testimony concerning Christ”. John the Baptist experienced Christ to give testimony of who He is and where He came from, and we must do the same thing! John the Baptist was ‘older’ than Christ, in earth terms, but he says that Christ was before Him, and has a higher rank than him. Christ speaks of John the Baptist in Matthew 11:11, saying, “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Christ says that John the Baptist was the greatest on earth, but the person that is on the lowest peg in the kingdom of God is greater than him. If Christ came from the earth, His authority would only go so far, but because He is God and came from heaven, there is no limit to the extent of his power!

“he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth.”

The word “earth” means “of human nature and birth, pertaining to worldly things.” The word “earthly” means “worldly, according to the flesh”. In Romans 8:7-8, the Bible says, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” The person that lives according to the flesh is only living to do what pleases themslves. This person is going to always be in contention with the things of God, never being able to be in God’s will.

In John 8:29, Christ says, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” Even though Christ came to earth, He never lost sight of who He is, and He never stopped being God.

In Matthew 12:34, Christ says, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” We are going to speak from the nature at work within us, and Christ spoke the refreshing Word of God. If you want to know what a person’s nature is, listen to the place their conversation comes from!

The word “heaven” speaks of the upper and superior heaven, the abode of God and His glory, of the Messiah, of angels, everything said to be of God. In John 6:33, the Christ says, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.”

Christ came down from heaven to give us eternal life through Him. He left the place of eternal life to bring this beautiful life to us on earth, and because of it, He is THE AUTHORITY above all!

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 Devotions are dated as seen each day on the Red Thread Poets Facebook page.