Jan 1, 2022 – Hebrews 1:3 – upholding all things by the word of his power
If we need a clear reference to a perfect Godly life on earth, we need not look any further than Jesus Christ. If want a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power in the world, then we need not look no further than Jesus Christ. If we want to see the purest example of undefiled love, or sacrificial love, of obedience under the most difficult circumstances, then we need not look any further than Jesus Christ. By reading God’s word and by tuning our hearts to the leading of the Holy Spirit, we have everything we need to understand how we are to live in the earth. People should see us and see God, and they should see us, and know that we are ambassadors of Christ. What do people see when they see us? Today, we will look at Hebrews 1:3, the Greatest Representation of God on earth, Jesus Christ.
”Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
The word ”brightness” means ”to emit light or splendor, whose divine majesty is evident.” The word ”glory” means ”of internal character, glorious moral attributes, excellence, perfection, and divine character”. In John 1:14, the Bible says, ”And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” God’s glory was upon Christ and it was obvious to all, even to those who didn’t want to admit it. When God shines His light upon someone it will become visible to others, and it is a symbol that God is proud of them.
In Mark 1:9-11, the Bible says, ”And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’‘ When heaven opens us, and the Holy Spirit comes upon us, it is a symbol that God is pleased with us as His children.
The phrase ”expressed image” means ”an exact copy, engraving, or representation of someone or something”, but in this case, we are speaking of Christ being the exact representation of God. In John 14:9-10, ”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? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.’‘ Christ is the expressed image of God’s person, which simply means ‘If you want to see the human form of God, look at Jesus Christ’.
Here is where we come in:
In John 14:23, the Bible says, ”Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Obedience to God’s Word is the way for us to be filled with His presence, so we can live as the exact representation of God as well. In Romans 8:15-16, the Bible says, ”For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”. Our names and roles change when we become the children of God, and the world should see us and see God. The word ”person” speaks of God’s nature or essence” so we represent who He is in the earth.
”upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sin”
The word ”upholding” means ”to bear up, govern, or direct”. The word ”word” means ”utterance, usually a command, something decreed”. The word ”power” means ”a miraculous force, implying greatness, omnipotence, majesty”. In Revelation 4:11, the Bible says, ”Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” God created all things in Christ so that the world would move according to His Word, and operate in the fullest of His power. As children of God, we are to reflect the image of God in the earth, moving by His Word and exercising His power in the earth. This is how people will see God working through us and give glory to Him.
Christ, ”by himself”, purged our sin, or in other words, purified and cleansed us from our offenses against God and God alone. In Hebrews 9:14, the Bible says, ”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Christ purging us from sin gave those of us who believe, the ability to serve God and walk in the fullness of His power on earth.
”Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Sitting down is a heavenly picture displaying that Christ’s work is finished. In Psalm 110:1-2, ”The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.” When Christ work was done in the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to continue the work, to build God’s Church, the bride of Christ, and make a people ready for God. The ”right hand of God” implies the highest seat of honor and distinction, also signifying strength and power. If Christ is seated at God’s right hand, then He is the power and strength of God!
Jesus came as God in bodily form, so that we can be transformed into the expressed image of Christ, bearing His image and likeness.
Jan 2, 2022 – Hebrews 2:4 – according to his own will
God proves Himself true through the vessels He uses for His glory. When we become the children of God, we now have access to the kingdom of God, to not only perform the same miracles of Christ, and even greater ones, because He ascended back to the Father. The same Holy Spirit that worked in Christ can work in us, but we are living in a world where people stopped believing enough in the Word of God to step out in faith. God doesn’t ask us to be miracle workers, but He asks us to trust His word and allow miracles to be performed through us. The God of the Church in Acts is still active and alive today, so His Word must remain the same concerning the power we have as His children. There should be some type of evidence of the Holy Spirit working in us, either through the fruit of our character or the power of His mighty hand. Today, we will look at Hebrews 2:4, the signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit in us.
”God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
The phrase ”bearing them witness” means ”to unite in adding evidence, or to testify further jointly”. This implies an agreement to the information presented, a confirmation that the information presented is true. In 1 Corinthians 3:5-6, the Bible says, ”Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.” This gospel spread moves in a circle: God gives us the Word, I plant the Word, someone waters the Word, which confirms its truth, and then God gets the increase.
It begins and ends with the Word of God.
In Mark 16:20, the Bible says, ”And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” The Lord is always going to team up with us when we are doing God’s will, and He will allow the Holy Spirit to move so mightily in us that people will see that God has to be working in us. When we testify to the power working in us, we are confirming the presence and power of God, and God confirms Himself by showing us even more.
In Mark 16:17-18, Christ says, ”And these signs shall follow THEM THAT BELIEVE; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.’‘ Our faith is critical to the spread of the Word of God and also the display of the Holy Spirit’s power working through us. Now, some people need to understand the difference between taking up a serpent by chance and surviving the encounter like Paul did in Acts 28, and building a whole church by taking a bunch of poisonous snakes, throwing them in the sanctuary and then having people handle them. God is going to prove His Word true, but in Matthew 4:7, the Bible says, ”Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” God is going to direct us with how to use His Spirit, and in that lies the power.
The word ”signs” means ”supernatural indications which the divine majesty is making known, where the power and presence of God is manifested, either directly, or through the agency of those whom He sends.” The word ”wonders” means ”prodigy or omen of apostles or teachers”. In Acts 14:3, the Bible says, ”Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.’‘ See, when we receive the Word of God and we have the boldness to share what we receive, God will always allow something to happen that will display that the word we speak is truth. God always confirms His word. In Acts 14:9:10, the Bible says, ”The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.”
The phrase ”divers miracles” means ”various displays of God’s miraculous power or force used in mighty deeds”. The word ”gifts” means ”a division of the Holy Spirit’s power into parts, and a distribution of this power through the believers in the Church. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-5, the Bible says, ”Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.’‘ God gives the Church different gifts so there isn’t an area in people, or life, that the Church can’t reach.
The word ”will” means ”purpose, intent, or good pleasure.” In John 14:18, Christ says, ”I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” The Holy Spirit comes unto us, so we can walk in power as the children of God, bearing testimony and evidence of the power and presence of God in us. What evidence do we have of God’s power working mightily in us?
Jan 3, 2022 – Proverb 1:10 – if sinners entice thee, consent thou not
There are always people in the world that will try to entice us to do the wrong things. As society is becoming more Godless by the second, it is becoming more of the norm for sin to abound in people’s lives. In order for a person to be enticed, it has to be with something that is attractive to them. This means that, even in believer’s lives, there are things that we must keep in check by staying as far away from them as possible. For some people, it’s drugs; for others, it’s crime; and yet for others, it could be sex, but every believer has vulnerable areas in their lives that need the Word of God’s strength to fortify. It isn’t the enticement that causes sin, because there is always someone tempting someone, but what causes us to sin is when we approve of the enticement and give it room to grow within, That is when we start answering to its desires. Today, we will look at Proverb 1:10, overcoming the enticement of the world.
”My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
The word ”son” isn’t specific to gender, but it also means ”a builder of the family name.” In John 15:4-5, 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. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” As children of God, we are divinely connected to God, and everything we need is provided by Him. Our job as believers is to use His provision to go out in the earth and represent our Lord and God, edifying the body of Christ, building up His family name.
Children of God receive their guidance from the Holy Spirit’s leading, which is why Romans 8:14 says, ”For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’‘ The world should see us as believers and see Who is leading us. Children of God make themselves available to God, to be directed as the Lord sees fit. In Galatians 4:7, the Bible says, ”Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Being led by the Lord in sonship positions us to receive the inheritance God has for His children through the death of Christ.
The word ”sinners” means ”one counted guilty, criminals, the sinful”. This word describes those who are unbelievers for whom sin is continual and who endeavor to persuade even believers to sin with them. As believers, we are to be very careful how we identify ourselves.
Calling ourselves ”sinners” doesn’t fit us according to the Word of God:
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 word sinner is designed for those who haven’t received salvation for their souls, not the saved that may commit a sin.
The word ”entice” means ”to delude in a sinister way, to deceive or persuade”. In Genesis 39:7-9, the Bible, ”And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Potiphar’s wife was not a believer, and she tried to persuade Joseph to sin against God by sleeping with her. Joseph would not be deceived into experiencing the pleasures of sin for any season, but remained faithful to God and his kept his loyalty to Potiphar. We also have a choice, no matter how tempting the enticement may be, because in James 1:14, the Bible says, ”But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his OWN lust, and enticed.’‘ We can’t answer to the lust that burns within us, but we have to answer to the Word of God.
The word ”consent” means ”to yield, to be willing, to be acquiescent to”. In Psalm 1:1, the Bible says, ”Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” God doesn’t want us to live the same way as evildoers, nor does He want us to assume their same path. In 1 Thessalonians 5:22, the Bible says, ”Abstain from all appearance of evil.” God doesn’t want us in the same crowd with anything that appears to be evil. God wants us to make it clear what side of the line we are on. In Ephesians 5:11, the Bible says, ”And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.’‘ Not only are we supposed to not have fellowship with evildoers, but we are supposed to be bold enough to speak against their actions.
If sinners entice us, let us correct them with the Word of God.
Jan 4, 2022 – Jan 13, 2022 – The Beatitudes Series repeated click on this link:
Jan 14, 2021 – Proverb 3:9 – Honour the LORD
Does God come first in our lives? It is easy to profess that God comes first, that He deserves our firsts, but when it comes down to our tithes and offerings, does He get our firsts, or does He get what is left over? When it comes to serving the Lord, does He get our best effort, or does He get a chance offering during the day, when we may have time for the Lord? Giving God our first is an intentional act by us to establish that the Lord deserves our absolute best, and He deserves our firsts. Too many of us as believers give God whatever we feel is meet and think we are in line with God’s Word, but does our offering mean anything if God isn’t honored in it? What good is a tithe that doesn’t come first? What good is an offering that we make begrudgingly? We have to look at our loving God, how He created us, how He had a plan for salvation, how He redeemed us from the penalty of death, that should make us want to give God our best. Today, we will look at Proverb 3:9, honoring God with our firsts.
”Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.”
The word ”honor” means ”to make heavy or powerful, to bring glory to God with”. The word ”Lord” means ”Supreme in Authority, Controller”. In our giving, we are to bring glory to God for who He is. In Romans 14:8, the Bible says, ”For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.’‘ We belong to God, and whatever we do or give should be with our Lord in mind. If God isn’t the driving force behind our giving, then we have lost the whole point in this. 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 in this earth belongs to God, so when we give, we are acknowledging that everything is His anyway, and we wouldn’t have anything to give if it wasn’t for God. Have we made God Lord over our possessions, or is that something we have chosen to keep for ourselves?
In 1 Samuel 2:30, the Bible says, ”Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.” When we honor God, He honors us, and when we honor God in our giving He blesses us by placing honor upon us.
The word ”substance” means ”riches, wealth, our enough”. In Proverb 10:22, the Bible says, ”The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” The Lord gives us our riches, and we honor the Lord by giving back. Knowing that it is the Lord that gives to us in the first place should make us willing to honor Him with our substance, but many of us miss the mark. In 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, the Bible says, ”But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” We must have the right attitude with both our tithes and our offerings, because if we don’t, it defeats the purpose of giving in the first place. God loves when our heart is right in our giving.
The word ”firstfruits” means ”first product, best, most excellent”. In Genesis 4:4, the Bible says, ”And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering”. Before God instituted any law about giving, before it became a requirement, Abel gave an offering to the Lord. He separated the firstlings of the flock, and he brought that before the Lord. This is why God respected Abel’s offering over Cain’s because of Abel’s heart about his giving. He honored God with the firsts, with the best, and told God by his actions that God deserves our best.
The word ”increase” means ”income, produce, gain or revenue”. In Malachi 3:10, the Bible says, ”Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” The ”tithe” is ”a tenth”, the first fruits designated for God. In Exodus 22:29, the Bible says, ”Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors: the firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.” ”Not delaying” means that there is no hesitation to our giving, and our attitudes are about giving God His just due. We should have enthusiasm about giving to God because He deserves all of our best, everything we have, and most of all, our all, He deserves our willing hearts.
Jan 15, 2021 – Hebrews 6:15 – And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise
Our God makes promises to us, promises that He will always keep. We have security in the Word of God to do exactly what He says, and also we have assurance that our God always positions His children to be able to do His will. Our problem is that we expect God to move immediately when we ask Him for something, and when it doesn’t come right away, we find ourselves losing heart. As believers, patience is definitely a great virtue, and those who are patient not only will receive the promises of God, but we will also experience a view of God’s faithfulness. Enduring patiently is not easy, but most people who receive the promise after patiently enduring will attest that the wait was well worth it, because God’s perfect will left nothing to be desired when the promise came. Believers who wait patiently become grateful that it didn’t come sooner, knowing that the waiting is God preparing us to be able to receive the promise in the way He intends. Today, we will look at Hebrews 6:15, patiently enduring to obtain the promises of God.
”And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.”
The phrase ”patiently endured” means ”to be long-spirited, to be long-minded, to patiently wait”. To be ”long-minded” suggests that we as believers see the ultimate goal over the immediate gratification of receiving the promise. Patience is always a requirement of the faith, both as we wait on the promises of God, and also as we endure trial as believers. In James 1:4, the Bible says, ”But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’‘ God doesn’t want us to receive His promises lacking anything. He wants us to be prepared for the promise just as much as He wants the promise to be prepared for us. If it comes too soon, we’ll blow it because of immaturity, and if too long and we give up. God knows just how long it will take down to the second.
In Proverbs 13:12, the Bible says, ”Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” God knows the waiting game is agonizing, and He knows exactly how the waiting game is going to cause us to feel. When the promise comes, the struggle to wait patiently is washed over by the joy of receiving the promise. In James 1:12, the Bible says, ”Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” God is pleased with those who endure, who are in this faith walk for the long haul, those whose faith isn’t broken in the waiting.
In 2 Timothy 2:3, the Bible says, ”Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” There is an expectation as believers that we will face turbulence in our waiting on the promises, but the promise ensures that we will get there. We are soldiers awaiting word from our Commander, Jesus Christ, and His Word is worth waiting for.
The word ”obtain” means ”to attain or to chance upon”. I love the definition ”to chance upon” because it gives greater context to us waiting patiently. God never said for us to completely stop and wait while we are waiting on the promise. In 1 Peter 1:25, the Bible says, ”But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” God’s Word endures forever, and we will receive what the Lord says we will, but will our patience endure? If we ”chance upon” it suggests that the promise will come along our way.
In 1 Kings 17:9-10, the Bible says, ”Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee. So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” Elijah didn’t receive the promise and become stationary. He went where God told Him to go, and the promise awaited his faith! Even when the ravens fed Elijah earlier in the chapter, he still had to go to the promise. There are many things that God is going to ask us to do while we wait on the promise, things that will bring us closer to the promise of God without us being aware. If our impatience causes us to not hear the Lord’s directions, then we will miss our promise.
The word ”promise” means ”announcement of a divine assurance of good.” In Habakkuk 2:2-3, the Bible says, ”And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” When God makes a promise, heaven moves to ensure that the Word of God is fulfilled. It may seem long, but God says ”wait for it”. Why? ”Because it will SURELY COME!!!”
May we patiently wait on the promises of God because in 2 Corinthians 1:20, it says, ”For all the promises of God in him are YEA, and in him AMEN, unto the glory of God by us.’‘ A fulfilled promise by God brings glory to His name, and He will bring His promises to pass! In Romans 4:20-21, the Bible says, ”He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Our God is beyond capable, and if we need any confirmation, look at nature, look in the sky, and look at animals, which are all created by the WORD of God!
Let us be assured that God’s promises are irrevocable and will come to pass if we patiently endure.
Jan 16, 2022 – Hebrews 7:25 – he is able also to save them to the uttermost
Our God is truly amazing. Not only did He send Christ to the world to save the world from sin by faith in His name, but Christ is our intercessor before God forever, being our Great High Priest. To know that Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father still speaking on our behalf as believers, but also on the behalf of people who haven’t come to know the Lord yet is a perfect display of God’s unfailing love towards His creation. God wants us to be one with Him and set up a priesthood forever in Christ so that He would always be able to draw sinners to salvation, and believers to sanctification. The power in love saves people slated for destruction and guides people into the loving embrace of God. If we knew the love of God, and how it is the powerful action that brought us to fellowship with God on the deepest spiritual level, maybe we would understand why relationship with God is important. Today, we will look at Hebrews 7:25, our perpetual intercession by Christ.
”Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”
The ”he” in this is Christ, our Lord and Savior. In Matthew 1:21, the Bible says, ”And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Christ’s name means ”Savior, or the Lord saves”. The word ”save” means ”to deliver, to make whole, to preserve safe from danger, loss, or destruction, specifically salvation from eternal death, sin, and the punishment and misery consequent to sin.” In John 12:46-47, Christ says, ”I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”
Christ came and offered salvation without judgement, and He wasn’t shaken from His call by who believed and who didn’t believe. Christ suffered a severely horrendous death, was beaten beyond recognition, and then, was nailed a cross by his hands and feet, where he had to keep trying to push his sinking body up to take a breath. This is same Savior that didn’t cast judgement upon those who didn’t believe, and didn’t judge those who crucified Him, but in Luke 23:34, the Bible says, ”Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.’‘ Our Savior was crucified, and while on the cross, He asked God to forgive them, because ”they know not what they do”. That is intercession, directly from the cross, and further evidence that Christ didn’t come to the world to judge, but to save, and even, as He hung on the cross, He preached deliverance to one of the malefactors hanging next to Him! In my opinion, we tend to beautify the story of Christ’s crucifixion because such a beautiful outcome came from it; salvation for our soul to all who believe in His name, but Christ went through hell to save us from hell.
”To the uttermost that come unto God by Him”
The word ”uttermost” means ”full-ended, entire, or always”. God is still offering salvation by faith in Jesus Christ to this day! In John 12:32, Christ says, ”And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.’‘ Christ is drawing ALL men unto Him, whether they accept His invitation or not. When the end comes, there won’t be any excuse, because 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 desire for us to be one with Him is unfailing, and this proves that God doesn’t give up on us, that He keeps trying to be our Father, no matter how far we go away from the cross.
”Seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them”
The phrase ”ever liveth” is similar to saying that this is Christ’s life mission. This means that Christ will never stop interceding on our behalf until the end comes. In 1 Timothy 2:5-6, the Bible says, ”For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Christ is that mediator, and He is always speaking on our behalf to God. I am a living witness to that because there had to be a ton of intercession taking place on my behalf if I am where I am spiritually now.
The word ”intercession” means ”to entreat for or against someone else”. In Romans 8:34, the Bible says, ”Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’‘ Christ got the victory from death so He could also give us victory from death as well. How amazing love is this, that Christ will always speak on our behalf! May we be as bold in life as He was in death to save us from sin.
Jan 17, 2022 – Acts 11:16 – ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost
Baptism is a very important occurrence in our faith. Before Jesus Christ came into His ministry, John the Baptist baptized the baptism of repentance, which was water baptism. This baptism was in preparation for another baptism coming, which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism is an outward expression of what is going on within, but the Holy Spirit baptism is a baptism where what has happened within is pouring out of us. Baptism identifies us with Christ, and establishes us as being one with Him, and it unlocks another aspect of the kingdom of God to us. This is a part of the promise God has for us, to bring us into unity with the body of Christ, and to move in the power of God in the world. Today, we will look at Acts 11:16, the beauty of baptism in a believer’s lives.
”Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”
The word ”remembered” means ”to bear in mind, to mentally grasp, to make a fixture in the mind, and to recollect”. The definition ”recollect” gives the strongest explanation of the word ”remembered” because it expresses that something was already imparted to us, that has come back again. God is going to repeat Himself until we understand. 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”. Peter heard the word of the Lord from Christ’s own mouth, and then he saw the Word come to life when Gentiles received the power of the Holy Spirit come upon them. Then he remembered what Christ had told him before.
The Holy Spirit assists us in remembering God’s Word, especially when it produces the evidence of His truth. In 2 Peter 1:14-15, the Bible says, ”Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.” Peter is doing the same thing Christ did: he taught with hopes that after he left this earth, they would remember what they had learned. The whole point in sharing the Gospel is so people will remember it, especially at crucial times in their lives.
The word ”baptized” means ”to make whelmed or fully wet, to immerse”. This word baptized speaks of water baptism. In Luke 3:7-8, the Bible says, ”Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.’‘ There is a drawing by God that takes place that causes a person to seek baptism, and John’s baptism was one of repentance. In Colossians 2:12, the Bible says, ”Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Baptism symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ happening to us as we die to self, are buried in baptism and the resurrected out of the water as completely new creations in Christ Jesus. This is why the definition of baptism is highly important, because full immersion, not sprinkling of water, is how water baptism is supposed to be done.
”But ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost”
The word ”baptized” is metaphorically and in direct allusion to the practice of water baptism; to baptize in or with the Holy Spirit and in or with fire, the baptism of the Holy Spirit being the spiritual counterpart of the water baptism. In Acts 1:4-5, the Bible says, ”And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he (Christ) , ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a promise further established by Acts 2:38, which says, ”Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Spirit baptism is not only a promise, but a gift, and with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit comes power!
In Joel 2:28, the Bible says, ”And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions”. God desires to pour His Spirit out upon and into us, so we can walk in the same power that Christ walked in, so our lives will bring God glory. Baptism unleashes the power of God in and through us!
Jan 18, 2022 – 2 Kings 22:19 – I also have heard thee, saith the LORD
Contrition is mandatory to repentance and redemption. If we aren’t genuinely sorrowful for sinning against God, then how can expect to receive His forgiveness and salvation. Israel had a huge problem with straying away from the path God has chosen for them. The rejected Him as King, wanting an earthly king as other nations did. They went after other gods and some even sacrificed their children to them! No matter how bad Israel had gotten or strayed away from the right way, God made forgiveness available to those who softened their hearts, and were contrite before God. In our walks with the Lord, He is looking for the same contrition, the same brokenness over our sins, the same understanding that we sinned against God and we need forgiveness, salvation, and redemption from the penalty of sin. Today, we will look at 2 Kings 22:19, a contrite heart before God.
”Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.”
The word ”tender” means ”to be soft”, so having a tender heart meant having a heart for God’s Word to enter and cause a transformation to happen. In Job 23:16, the Bible says, ”For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me”. A softened heart before the Lord makes us available to God, to be directed as He wills.
In Hebrews 3:15, the Bible says, ”While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” To harden our hearts before the Lord implies a stubbornness to obey God’s Word, even an outright refusal to follow God’s Word. The Israelites had an extensive history of disobeying God’s Word over their history, and a lot of the kings led them into disobedience to God’s Word. The phrase ”humbled thyself before the Lord” means ”to bend a knee to, to bring oneself into subjection”. When we soften our hearts to receive God’s Word, it should humble us in order for us to become subject to God’s Word. 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.” A softened heart and humility before God puts us into a position of salvation that won’t be taken away. God offers this freely, but do we accept it?
A little back story to help add context. Josiah became the king of Judah at 8, but at age 26, he asked one of his staff to go into the house of Lord to take account of the silver from the offering made by the people. This money was for the building of the house of God, for repairing what was broken as well. When they went to inventory the silver, they found a book of the law, and brought it to Josiah, and it was read to Him. When Josiah heard it, he knew Judah was headed for destruction, because they clearly were in utter disobedience to God as a people. Isn’t it ironic that the Word of God was held in a place of value, among valuables, but it had no value in Judah because no one knew the Word of God enough to follow it?
When Josiah heard the Word of God, he tore his clothes, softened his heart and humbled himself before God, readying himself for obedience, asking the Lord what He desired of them.
2 Kings 22:19 is a part of God’s response to Josiah’s brokenness, and Godly sorrow about the sin of Judah. The word ”heardest” implies us using our ears as instruments of obedience. In Psalm 51:17, ”The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” God definitely doesn’t despise our contrition. He responds to it! In Matthew 5:4, Christ says, ”Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” The word ”mourn” refers to the brokenness, the sorrow we feel behind our unrighteousness.” This is what Josiah felt, and God turned His ear to his tears.
The word ”desolation” means ”ruin, astonishment, or horror”. The word ”curse” means ”a vilification”. In Jeremiah 44:6, the Bible says, ”Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.” If God brings desolation and curses, then He has been angered by utter disobedience. In Jeremiah 26:6, the Bible says, ”Then will I make this house like Shiloh, and will make this city a curse to all the nations of the earth.’‘ We don’t want to become an eyesore to the world, a symbol of God’s wrath. We want to be a symbol of God’s favor, of His salvation, and of His adoption. Josiah’s act of renting his clothes and weeping before God showed a Godly sorrow that God heard, and He brought redemption to Judah.
How great of a redemption we forfeit because the Word of God has no authority in our lives!
Jan 19, 2022 – Hebrews 10:22 – let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith
All of us believers want to see the hand of God moving favorably in our lives. We want to experience His grace, want to be the beneficiaries of His provision, and we desire to be the recipients of His love. We would like to possess the treasure of the kingdom of God, and see the supernatural happen in our lives. We desire all of these things from God, but what does God desire from us. Some people want God’s hand, but not His heart. Some people want God’s miracles, but don’t pursue His relationship. Then again, some people want God’s blessing but don’t want His cleansing. We must come to God with the right heart, mind and attitude, presenting ourselves to be cleansed thoroughly by Him by the blood of Christ. God desires to present us as a people ready for His kingdom, but will we allow God to cleanse the filth from us that keeps our fellowship with God hindered? Today, we will look at Hebrews 10:22, drawing near to God for the deepest cleansing imaginable.
”Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The phrase ”draw near” means ”to come to God in prayer, worship, sacrifice and devotion of both heart and life”. In Hebrews 4:16, the Bible says, ”Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’‘ The key word to this is ”boldly”. How many people in the Church refuse to come boldly to God, but expect to find grace to help them? The attitude we have in coming to God dictates what we ultimately walk away with. People who are lackadaisical in their approach to God, will find the greatest difficulty finding the ”grace to help”, because they have left God’s grace on the table, not important enough to pursue.
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.” Drawing near to God takes submission on our part, by our us giving over our minds, hearts, and will to God to do as He wills, and then we must push the enemy away from our presence.
If we come to God, He will definitely meet us where we are. Think not?
In Luke 15:20, Christ says, ”And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.’‘ God doesn’t wait for us to come all the way to Him. He sees us from a distance and runs to us, falling upon our neck in embrace, and doesn’t pay attention to the filth we have come with. I try to tell brothers in my prison environment to not think that we have to ”clean” ourselves up first in order to come to God. His Word cleanses 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.’‘ We must come to God, knowing that He exists, and He will reward our coming to Him.
The word ”true heart” speaks of a genuineness that stems from the deepest places of our desires, feelings, affections and passions. In Matthew 5:8, Christ says, ”Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” A pure heart puts us in a position where we can enjoy the presence of God, just as He intends. In Jeremiah 24:7, the Bible says, ”And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” God is ready to welcome us into His family, but He wants sincere hearts without ulterior motives.
He doesn’t want to just be the God of the wilderness, isn’t He God of the promised land too.
He wants a people to desire more than just His hand. He wants a people who want His heart! The phrase ”in full assurance of faith” implies that we are placing our complete confidence in our belief in the Word of God being true. In Ephesians 3:12, the Bible says, ”In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.” Our boldness to come before God comes from our faith in God’s identity and His Word. Boldness implies security. How secure are we with the Word of God.
”Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The word ”sprinkled” refers to our hearts being sprinkled with the blood of Christ, cleansing us from an evil conscience. The phrase ”evil conscience” speaks of the faculty of the soul that distinguishes between right and wrong, and prompts one to choose moral wickedness over God’s Word. In Hebrews 9:14, the Bible says, ”How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Not only are we cleansed, but our thoughts are cleansed as well! God positions us spiritually to serve Him with nothing hindering us! Being ”washed in pure water” speaks of the Holy Spirit purifying a person’s life by means of the Word of God.
In Ezekiel 36:25, 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.” God is the one who does the cleansing, not us, and if we come to God with pure hearts, with genuine motives, with faith in God’s Word, then the Word of God transforms our state from filthy to cleansed, from sinner to saved, and from dead to alive in Christ. Only the Word of God can do this, and we must rely solely on Him to make us a people ready for Him.
Marshall & Jessica
”Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”–Proverb 18:22
Jan 20, 2022 – Acts 14:22 – exhorting them to continue in the faith
Praise God for those who have gone before me to pave a successful path to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! I remember when I was first sentenced to life without parole, and I was trying to figure out how could I fathom doing a life sentence. I was met with brothers who have been where I had been and showed me the way. As my time progressed, I needed something more than to just endure this time, and I found that ”something” was a recommitment to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Then, I received guidance into the faith by people that have been where I was and knew the way. They prepared me for the struggles and tests involved in the faith. Our faith walk is not easy at times, but the end of our journey leads into the kingdom of God in heaven, where the struggle to receive the kingdom will be well worth it. Today, we will look at Acts 14:22, strengthening our brothers and sisters to press on in faith to receive the kingdom of God.
”Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
The word ”confirming” implies strengthening, supporting someone further, or re-establishing someone else. The word ”soul” refers to the life in people, their spiritual and immortal natures, the mind and feelings, that make us who we are. In Luke 22:31-32, Christ says, ”And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Peter was going to go through a period of testing. Christ let him know that Satan was on the attack, but it would be up to Peter to not allow his faith to fail. Christ also used the word ”when” in the verse 32, when He stated ”WHEN thou are converted”, which confirmed that Peter would endure. How did Christ know Peter would endure a test he never faced yet? In Hebrews 12:2, the Bible says, ”Looking unto Jesus the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.’‘ The author of our faith knows our stories beginning and end, and the finisher has our expected end all set in stone. Christ knew Peter would get the victory, and charged Peter to ”strengthen” his brothers.
The word ”disciples” means ”learners or pupils”. Have we ever stopped to consider that the trials we face are not solely for us, that just maybe, God allows us to go through the trials in our faith, to help someone else when they face battles.
The word ”exhorting” means ”to invoke, invite, or call near in order to aid, comfort, encourage, or admonish”. The word ”continue” means ”to persevere”. The ”faith” refers to the object of the Christian faith, meaning the doctrines received and believed, Christian doctrine, the gospel, and all that Christianity stands for. This means that believers are going to need guidance from people who have already been where they then are, so we have to be willing to help.
In Acts 11:23, the Bible says, ”Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.” The whole point of our encouragement is not so people will cleave to us, but instead cleave to the Lord. Our ministry should always cause us to be directing people towards and into the Word of God. In Acts 13:43, the Bible says, ”Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.” Sometimes, the people who need our encouragement are our pastorate, the people directing the flock for the Lord. How many of us encourage our pastors?
”And that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
The word ”tribulation” means ”pressure, affliction, or trouble”. In John 16:33, Christ says, ”These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’‘ Christ never denied that we would face trouble, so if anyone is teaching the fairy tale that believers won’t face trial, they are lying.
In Romans 8:17, the Bible says, ”And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” The sufferings we endure will ultimately lead to glory, and the ”kingdom of God speaks of the bliss of heaven which is to be enjoyed in the Redeemer’s kingdom, which is eternal life! Our journey into the kingdom of God won’t always be with ease, but let us take courage when we face tribulation, because we already have the victory in Christ Jesus.
May we spur our brothers and sisters in the faith with the Word of God and the testimony of victory.
Jan 21, 2022 – 2 Peter 1:12 – I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things
Our job as believers is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ into our homes, into our communities, into our jobs, schools, and into the world. It seemed like such an overwhelming task at first, being entrusted with something so precious when we feel the most unqualified. God never promised that it would be easy, but location, circumstances, financial status, or popularity means nothing when it comes to the Gospel. It is as simple as studying the Word of God and sharing what we know with others, even reminding them so they won’t forget the truth. The enemy loves to spread lies, and he tirelessly makes a case against the Gospel into everybody he can. The world is crazier than ever! What if believers had this same zeal, to spread the Word of God repetitiously until it can become rooted within others? Today, we will look at 2 Peter 1:12, the beautiful effect of established Gospel truth.
”Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.”
The word ”negligent” means ”to be careless with, to make light of, or to not regard or esteem”. How we feel about the Word of God will ultimately determine what we do with it, and whether or not we walk in the power God desires for us to walk in. 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.”
Do we really see the Word of God as the power of God?
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 can cut into places that we’ll never be able to reach. There is no faith without the Word of God, and there is no power without the Word of God. Knowing this, then why are we still so negligent with the Word of God? In Matthew 15:8-9, Christ says, ”This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their HEART is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’‘ Negligent handling of the Word of God is because the heart isn’t with God, and God isn’t the focus of their lives. If our hearts are with God, then we will look at people the way Christ did, as sheep in need of a Shepherd.
What do we see when we see our brothers and sisters? Compassion? Disgust? Love, Disconnection? Do we still what is really within our brothers and sisters, that the same God that works mightily in us can and will work the same way in them? In Romans 15:14-15, the Bible says, ”And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God.” We don’t just want to share the Word of God, but we want to be diligent in ensuring that the people we can work with will be taught how to handle the Word of God for themselves.
The phrase ”put you always in remembrance” means ”to remind quietly, or suggest to the memory.” This doesn’t suggest a one-time thing, but a continual work. In 2 Peter 3:1-2, the Bible says, ”This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour”. When our hearts are with God, sharing the Word of God will just be the tip of the iceberg. We are going to want to make sure the Word is establishing roots and they are bearing fruit.
”Though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.”
The word ”know” implies a relationship with what is known, a union that forms from the embedded Word in our hearts and minds. In John 3:11, Christ says, ”Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.’‘ God doesn’t want us storing up a bunch of knowledge that isn’t shared.
The word ”truth” speaks of divine and gospel truth, its faith and its practice. 2 Peter 3:17 says ”Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.” If any of us handle the Word negligently, we run the real risk of being led astray, so imagine the state of the ones we teach.
Let us consider the importance of the Word of God, the salvation we have received, and the power we now walk in when we share the Word of God with others. May we have hearts that are willing to go the extra mile for others.
Marshall & Jessica
Jan 22, 2022 – James 1:5 – ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally
As believers, there are a ton of things we don’t know. Wisdom is one of those things that God freely bestows upon us, but do we ask God for His wisdom? If we don’t understand the Word of God, don’t know how to pray, or know how to operate in the kingdom of God here in earth, we have a loving God who despatches His Holy Spirit to teach us the things we don’t know. The key is asking, and if we don’t ask God for the wisdom we need, how can we ever expect to receive it? If we become ashamed at what we don’t know, then it will rob us out of what we can know. There are brothers on my unit and in the prison I am housed in who can’t read, and my job is the tutor on my unit. No one asks for help, even when I offer. Now if it hurts me, imagine how it hurts God to see His children spiritually illiterate, too afraid to ask for help? Today, we will look at James 1:5, asking God for the wisdom we lack.
”If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
The word ”lack” means ”destitute or wanting”. The word ”wisdom” refers to divine things, wisdom, knowledge, insight, deep understanding, represented everywhere as a divine gift including the idea of practical application. The word ”ask” means ”to beg, desire, or require”. In Matthew 7:7-8, Christ says, ”Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” God is ready to provide anything for us according to His will, but often we refuse to ask God for the help we need. In 1 Kings 3:8-10, the Bible says, ”And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the LORD, that Solomon had asked this thing.”
It is perfectly okay to look at our circumstances and be totally overwhelmed in the moment like Solomon was, but what did Solomon do that is sometimes much different from what we’d do in same situation? Solomon brought his fears, uncertainty, and his perceived deficiencies to God, and God was pleased with not only him bringing his fears to God, but with him asking for God’s help to fulfill the assignment God placed over his life. In 1 Peter 5:7, the Bible says, ”Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” God wants our mouths to open and our hearts to pour out before Him, because He wants to replace our deficiency, our fear, and our ”not enough” with His Spirit, so we will have everything we need.
God will never tell us to ask for His wisdom or His help and allow us to be put to shame. In Proverbs 2:3-5, the Bible says, ”Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.’‘ Is the wisdom of God important enough to us in order for us to cry out to God for it? Not only will we learn to reverence our God, allowing our request to testify that God is the only Person who can give us true wisdom, but we will find the knowledge we seek from God.
The word ”give” means ”to bestow upon”. The word ”liberally” means ”bountifully”. God doesn’t just give us the wisdom we need, but He gives us an excess. In 1 Kings 3:12, the Bible says, ”Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.’‘ God heard Solomon’s prayer, received his fears, uncertainties, doubts, and replaced them with so much wisdom that there would be none like him in the whole earth, past or future, except Christ of course. God does what He says He will do!
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 keeps His word, because it brings glory to Him when His Word is fulfilled in our lives. The word ”upbraideth” means ”to rail at, to chide, to taunt”. This means that God is never going to put us down for asking for His wisdom. In Matthew 7:9, Christ says, ”Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” God is not going to take our requests and make sport of us by giving us something that make us look stupid. Romans 10:11 , the Bible says, ”For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
May we fearlessly entrust our lack of wisdom to God, allowing Him to teach us what we don’t know.
Marshall & Jessica
Jan 23, 2022 – James 2:5 – hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith?
God is unfazed by monetary wealth, by fame, by celebrity status, by our business investments, or even by the size of our ministries. God is concerned with a people presenting themselves to God so we can be directed by Him as He wills. Success is not about the accumulation of money, but it is about fulfilling our God given purpose, multiplying the talents He bestowed upon us. There are many rich people who have no faith, and many poor people who have faith that will move mountains. Who is really rich and who is really poor? We were chosen by God to be believers, to be rich in spirit, and His choice makes us a part of the kingdom of God. This is a promise bestowed upon us that God has fulfilled, and our financial status had nothing to do with it. God chose us because He loves us and because we love Him! Today, we will look at James 2:5, the beggar becoming the heir to the kingdom.
”Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
The word ”hearken” implies one taking heed to what is spoken or written, giving the full attention to, and hearing intelligently with the intent to obey. James is speaking to the ”brethren”, meaning ”one who is connected with another in any kind of intimacy or fellowship, disciples and followers of Christ, or Christians.” James is intentional in expressing His love for the brethren, so they would be assured that the message is conveyed in love as well.
In Ephesians 4:15, the Bible says, ”But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Speaking the truth in love allows a person to mature in the faith in a constructive, edifying environment that maximizes success.
The word ”chosen” means ”to select, or to specifically choose for oneself”. The word ”poor” means ”a beggar or pauper”. In Matthew 5:3, Christ says, ”Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” God considers the beggars in spirit to be beneficiaries of the kingdom of God. The people who have the most emptiness have more room to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and also have more room for the Spirit of God to have reign. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-27, the Bible says, ”For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty”. God doesn’t care about our status, our strength or our bank accounts. He cares about the measure of our hearts and our willingness to receive Him as Lord and King.
Think about the word ”chosen”. God isn’t without options, and despite our arrogance, God doesn’t need us to fulfill His purpose, nor does He need our praise. In Luke 19:39-40, the Bible 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.” God can make something without life in it to cry out to Him! The fact that God selected us out of everyone else should bring us a deep appreciation and reverence to God.
The phrase ”rich in faith” implies an abundant of credence and persuasion in the Word of God’s truth, and an unwavering movement in the will of God. In John 15:16, Christ says, ”Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” God selects us to be rich in faith, bearing fruit in the faith that remains. God makes us rich in faith to give us access to the kingdom of God and its provision.
”Heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
The word ”heirs” speaks of a partaker of the blessings which God bestows upon His children, implying admission into the kingdom of heaven and its privileges. The word ”promise” means ”an announcement or proclamation of salvation” which is a divine assurance of good. In Luke 12:32, Christ says, ”Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” God selected us because it brings Him pleasure to give us the promises of the kingdom!
In 2 Timothy 4:8, the Bible says, ”Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” This is the promise that God has in store of us, the beggars and paupers of the world who desire to be fed and kept by the salvation of Jesus Christ. May we proudly exchange our worldly poverty for the riches of the kingdom of God.
Marshall & Jessica
Jan 24, 2022 – James 3:17 – the wisdom that is from above is first pure
What are we receiving as wisdom? Is it from the self-help guru who has their must-have tips to having an extraordinary life? Is it in family who ensures that their opinions about your life choices are made very open and plain? Is it in your teachers in school, your circle of friends, or in your latest news report? Do we receive our wisdom from God, and the people He has chosen to speak a wise word to us? There are all kinds of the wisdoms in the world, and they have something that can cover every individual thing we may face, but the wisdom of God will cover it all? Are we seeking God’s wisdom concerning our faith, relationship/marriage, concerning our children, concerning our career, and also concerning our purpose? Who do we seek when we are most vulnerable emotionally, when we are lost on our way? Today, we will look at James 3:17, the wisdom of God and its attributes.
”But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”
The word ”wisdom” means ”divine wisdom, the ability to regulate one’s own relationship with God”. In Proverbs 9:10, the Bible says, ”The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Reverencing our God, submitting completely to Him, and making ourselves available to hear His Word positions us to receive His wisdom. God wants us to have His wisdom so we know how to live the way He desires. In Proverb 2:7, the Bible says, ”He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.” When we serve the Lord with our whole heart, God responds by giving us the things we need to live Godly lives, and He also protects what He is building in us.
God has wisdom available to us, but are we willing to receive it?
In Proverb 2:1-3, the Bible says, ”My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding”. Are we willing to take hold of the Word of God, store His Word in our hearts, and make our ear available to the Word of God? As a baby cries because they are hungry, will we cry out to God to be fed with His wisdom?
Is the wisdom of God this important to us?
There is the wisdom that comes ”from above”, which means ”heavenly, from heaven, divine, from God”, and there is wisdom from the world. The wisdom from the world is intended to draw away the minds of people from divine truth, and is in contrast to the simplicity of the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 2:6-7, the Bible says, ”Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.’‘ The wisdom of God stands all by itself and has levels to it that are hidden from the wisdom of the world. This is why worldly people have the hardest time understanding the mysteries of God, even the simplest things of the Gospel
The word ”pure” means ”clean or perfect”. In Matthew 5:8, Christ says, ”Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Wisdom must first be undefiled by the wisdom of the world. The word ”peaceable” means ”healthy or wholesome”. In Matthew 5:9, Christ says, ”Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” Wise people always pursue peace. The word ”gentle” means ”appropriate or mild”. In Titus 3:2, the Bible says, ”To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” The wisdom of God is not violent or confrontational.
The phrase ”easy to be intreated” means ”good for persuasion, compliant”. Meditate on these characteristics of wisdom for a second, and one would see that wisdom is designed to bring people together, so we can be of one accord. We can’t force or manipulate people to receive the Gospel truth, nor can we vilify them for not accepting our case for Christ and the Word of God. Do people see these qualities in us as we interact with others?
The word ”mercy” means ”compassion”. In James 2:13, the Bible says, ”For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” God is looking for compassion from those of us that He bestows wisdom on. Does the world see mercy from us or judgement? In Luke 6:36, Christ says, ”Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.’‘
The phrase ”good fruits” is in respect to operation or influence on others, things that are useful, beneficial and profitable. Wisdom makes a beneficial spiritual, mental, emotional, and even physical impact on others. In John 15:8, Christ says, ”Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.’‘ God is glorified in the good fruit we best for the kingdom of God.
The phrase ”without partiality” means ”not open to distinction or doubt; unambiguous”. This means that there are no grey areas to God’s wisdom, nor should it be watered down to appease our sensibilities. In James 2:4, the Bible says, ”Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?’‘ Partiality invites evil to come in and have rest.
The phrase ”without hypocrisy” means ”sincere, unfeigned, and genuine”. This is the person who is undivided in their commitment and conviction and does not make unfair distinctions. In 2 Corinthians 6:6-7, the Bible says, ”By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left”. True wisdom comes from the purest place, the Word of God, and in the Word lies everything we must do to live by His wisdom.
Do people see the wisdom of God leading our lives, or do they see the Church cleaving to the latest trend?
Marshall & Jessica
Jan 25, 2022 – 1 Peter 3:22 – Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God?
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made a sacrifice, one that gave us the power to become children of God. Before He sat at the right hand of God, He conquered the things that stood in the way of our victory. From His position at the right hand of God, He now possesses all authority, and every power on this earth is now subject to Him. If we are still living in bondage, then that means His authority isn’t at work in our lives. He left us the Holy Spirit, which dwells in us as believers, giving us the authority to live in the earth in power and knowledge of God. The only Person who can give power is the One who is in power, and that Person is Jesus Christ. If we are living without power, does Jesus Christ reign as our Lord and Savior, and is He in control of the direction of our lives? Today, we will look at 1 Peter 3:22, the power and authority of Christ that means power and authority for us.
”Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”
The word ”heaven” means ”upper and superior heaven beyond the visible firmament, the abode of God and His glory, the Messiah, angels, the spirits of the righteous after death. Heaven is where the will of God is done first. In Matthew 6:10, in the Lord’s prayer, Christ prays, ”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” God’s will begins in heaven and manifests itself in the earth. There is a difference between our abode here on earth and God’s abode in heaven. In Ecclesiastes 5:2, the Bible says, ”Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.’‘ We must know our place as believers, understanding that God is in heaven, and knows what is best for us.
In Matthew 16:18-19, Christ says, ”And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” The reason the gates of hell can’t prevail against the Church is because Christ already got the victory over death and hell when He conquered the grave. By giving Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven, Peter now has access to bring the kingdom of heaven to the earth, to produce the power of God to turn loose the provision of heaven into the earth. It’s much bigger than just salvation for us, because God makes the same heavenly provision available for us, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us as believers, which means the power of the kingdom of heaven dwells in us! If we say we are without power in the earth as believers, then we haven’t received the truth of the Gospel in our hearts and minds.
The word ”right hand” means ”the highest seat of honor and distinction” also referring to the power and strength of God. Jesus Christ is on the right hand of God so He has the highest seat of honor and distinction. In Philippians 2:9-11, the Bible says, ”Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” There is no other name higher than Jesus Christ and in His Name lies the power of salvation, and truth, and the authority for us to move in the earth in power.
In John 14:26, Christ says, ”But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send IN MY NAME, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.’‘ The Holy Spirit came in the name of Jesus Christ, being the Comforter sent to ensure we are never alone. Romans 8:34 says, ”Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’‘ When Christ makes intercession on our behalf, who brings heavenly intercession to earth? The Holy Spirit!
The word ”angels” means ”divine messengers of God”. The word ”authorities” means ”delegated influence, power, ability, or privilege”. The word ”powers” means ”miraculous force”. All of these things are brought under the control of Christ, because Ephesians 1:21-22, the Bible says, ”Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church”. Because our Lord is above every power in the earth, we have access to this same power, having the same ability to bring the power of heaven to earth.
Jan 26, 2022 – James 5:8 – the coming of the Lord draweth nigh
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is coming back to redeem His Church. What is He going to see in us when He comes back? Is He going to see a people living by His Word, moving according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, doing signs and wonders the same way Christ did when He lived in the earth? Is He going to see mountain-moving faith, lives lived in victory, and a people ready for His coming? God desires His children to live lives that please Him, and fulfill the purpose He has for our lives. Sometimes, in the waiting, impatience grows and we can become slack in our responsibilities as believers, forgetting that Christ is coming back, even though we have no clue when! Hard seasons will come, but we should ever let them strip us of our hope in the Lord. We must always keep our minds focused above and ahead, on Jesus Christ, because nothing we face here compares to what God has for us in the future. Today, we are looking at James 5:8, patiently waiting on the promised return of Christ.
”Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
The word ”patient” means ”to be long-spirited”, which not only signifies waiting, but waiting patiently. This means we don’t spend our lives agonizing over His return so much that we fail to do His will while we are here on earth. In Luke 12:42-43, the Bible says, ”And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? BLESSED is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” God wants to see faithfulness when Christ comes back to claim His bride, the Church. He wants to see good stewardship, purpose fulfilled, a multiplication of all God has richly bestowed upon us. Being believers and receiving eternal life is only a part of what we are to accomplish on this earth. God wants us to leave a lasting impact that points to Christ.
What if we are impatient, and squander away our time here on earth? In Luke 12:45-46, the Christ says, ”But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.’‘ We are to live our lives as believers to help bring more people into the kingdom, to show people the way to Christ. If we live our lives to please our flesh, running people away from the Gospel, deterring people from receiving salvation, and leading people into lives of destruction, there are major consequences!
The word ”stablish” means ”set fast, confirm, or strengthen”. This is strength in the face of persecution, strength in the face of progress, strength under every circumstance. Patience requires strength. In 1 Thessalonians 3:13, the Bible says, ”To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.’‘ God desires firm commitment and courage, our hope being placed in the Lord and on His second coming.
In 1 Corinthians 9:9-10, the Bible says, ”For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.” God is going to sustain us when we are faithful to His call, and He has given us a lively hope in Christ, something to look forward to.
1 Peter 1:3-4, the Bible says, ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you”. God has something amazing prepared for us when Christ comes back for His Church, but He also has the kingdom of God waiting for us today! This is something that can’t be tarnished, won’t lose it’s value, but rather appreciates in value!
”For the coming of the Lord draweth high”
We have a King coming for us! The ”coming of the Lord” speaks of the Advent, the second coming of Christ. The phrase ”draweth high” implies that it is coming soon. In Romans 13:11-12, the Bible says, ”And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” It is time for us to rise up as a Church, to embrace our divine calling, to plow in hope, knowing we have a Savior that is coming back as a King to redeem His Church.
In 1 Peter 4:7, the Bible says, ”But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” We have to live like it is our last day on earth, and this is the only day of our lives that God will see. What will He see when He comes back, people living in preparation for their King, brides with oil in our lamps waiting on our Bridegroom, a Church living in the power of the kingdom of God on earth?
What will Christ see in you?
Marshall & Jessica
Jan 27, 2022 – 1 Peter 1:22 – see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently
Obedience to the Word of God is mandatory to the faith. Inside of the Word of God lies all of the promises for forgiveness, restoration, salvation, redemption, and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. In the Word of God, we also have promises that guide us into living a Godly life of victory, one that is guided by the Holy Spirit. One of the most powerful messages in the Bible is one of love, understanding the love of God, and also the love of God that we must show others. Love is the means of our fulfilling the law, and also the means of our displaying the essence of God on this earth. Only the Word of God and the Holy Spirit’s leading can teach us this love on a level that is pleasing to God. Today, we will look at 1 Peter 1:22, pure love manifesting the presence of God.
”Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.”
The word ”purified” means ”to make clean, sanctify, or reform”. The word ”soul” refers to the seat of the senses, desires, appetites, passions, the lower aspect of one’s nature. In Acts 15:8-9, the Bible says, ”And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.’‘ We all have the same opportunity for salvation and sanctification, the same God willing to purify our hearts, but we have to allow the Holy Spirit entry to clean us up and clean us out. In Titus 2:14, the Bible says, ”Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’‘ God doesn’t just want to purify our souls to only make us clean of iniquity, but so we may then have the unrelenting desire to please God in all we do. He cleans us up for us to have hearts towards God and people, so we would have a passion to serve God with the greatest appreciation we can have. The goal of purification is to be like Christ, to represent Him in such a fashion that when they see us they tie us directly to Him.
In obeying the truth through the Spirit”
The word ”obeying” means ”compliance, submission, or attentive hearing”. The word ”truth” refers to the Word of God, whether it be spoken, written, or revealed to us. There is no truth without the Word of God because the Word of God is truth. In John 8:32, Christ says, ”And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’‘ God wants us to be one with the truth, so that what flows from us is truth. It saddens me when I hear people say that there are many ”truths”, because they have effectively believed a lie that will keep them in bondage.
There is only one truth, as evidenced by John 14:6, in which the Bible says, ”Jesus saith unto him, I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life: no man cometh unto the Father, BUT BY ME.’‘
This eliminates the lie of the enemy that keeps people racing after everything but Christ. The truth comes ”through the Spirit”, speaking of the Holy Spirit, which God uses to embed truth within us. 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 gives us His Spirit to impart truth within us, but it is still our job to submit to the Word God give us. This requires us to deny ourselves and forsake our own thoughts, ways, and methods.
”Unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently”
The word ”unfeigned” means ”genuine, sincere, or real”. The phrase ”love of the brethren” refers to the fraternal affections out of a common spiritual life. This means believers should always love not only believers, but all people. This love is a free choice, but conducted through the experience of God’s unfailing love in us.
In 1 John 4:7, the Bible says, ”Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” The depth of our love for others displays the depth of love we have for God.
The word ”fervently” means ”intently”, which means this doesn’t come by chance, but we put forth a real effort to walk in love towards our brothers and sisters. In 1 John 4:20, the Bible says, ”If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” God has given us His Word, which has cleansed us and given us a desire to obey Him in all we do. This was all done out of pure love, and He gives us the same charge. The question is, will we obey?
May we love others out of the abundance of our hearts, which pleases our Father greatly.
Jan 28, 2022 – Feb 26, 2022 – Loving You Series – 30 episodes repeated click on this link:
Feb 27, 2022 – 1 Peter 4:10 – as every man hath received the gift
We have received something amazing from our loving God. Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, so that those who believe in the name of Jesus Christ shall receive salvation for our souls. When Jesus Christ ascended to the Father, the Comforter came to teach us all truth, to guide us into a life of salvation and Godliness, and to ensure that we can live in power as the children of God. What are we supposed to do with this amazing gift? We are to share it with others, so they may become saved, and also receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, so they too can enjoy the privileges of the kingdom of heaven. Our job on this earth, in every capacity God has designated for us, is to not only manage what God has given but to dispense what He has given us as well. Who do we know needs the same second chance we have received? Today, we will look at 1 Peter 4:10, a ministry of sharing the kingdom of God with others.
”As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
The word ”every man” is all-inclusive for believers, for those who have received the gift. God didn’t reserve ministry for just the pastorate. He reserved ministry for us too! The word ”received” means ”to seize, obtain, or take hold of”. In John 1:12-13, the Bible says, ”But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’‘ When we receive the gift of salvation, we not only received the power of God as children of God, but we are born again of God, made a new creation! 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.” All things are new because we have received this precious gift from God. When we receive Christ we receive the gift of God.
The word ”gift” refers to the gifts and abilities imparted to Christians, particularly teachers. Where does this gift come from? In Acts 2:38, the Bible says, ”Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The gift comes from God and it is His Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to walk in our gifts and abilities, to know exactly what to do with them and where to dispense this gift. 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.” God so richly wants to bestow these gifts upon us, bringing the power of heaven down to us, so we can walk as Christ did.
”Even so minister the same one to another”
The word ”minister” means ”administer something for someone’s lack, to serve as a deacon, or attendant”. Where there is a need we must step in to show people where they can have their needs met. Every one has a different gift, a different means to minister the gift they have been given. In Ephesians 4:11-12, the Bible says, ”And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”. God gives us these gifts and these roles in the ministry where we can be most effective for service to people in need.
In 1 Corinthians 12:6-7, the Bible says, ”And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” The ministry is not about us, but about edifying the body of Christ with the gifts God has freely given 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 ministered to the lame man, but only shared with him what God has given Him through the Holy Spirit, and that was the name of Jesus Christ and the power to declare his healing by that Name.
”As good stewards of the manifold grace of God”
The word ”good” implies God’s approval of His will being done. The word ”stewards” means ”overseers, managers, apostles, teaches or preachers”. In Matthew 25:45-46, 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.”
God has entrusted the earth to us, to be good stewards of the gifts, callings and the Holy Spirit’s power in us. We were charged by Christ to go into the world and make disciples of all nations, so the question is:
The word ”grace” speaks of the unmerited favor which God shows us in saving us from sin”. The recognition of the grace of God should motivate us to desire others to experience this amazing grace from God as well. God gives to us, and we share what He gives us with others, so they can be blessed too. Ministry is merely extending the kingdom of God we have received to others in need.
Marshall & Jessica
Feb 28, 2022 – Matthew 10:16 – be ye therefore wise as serpents
We are in the midst of a world that is becoming more Godless by the second. I was having a conversation with a brother in the day room of the prison I am housed in, and we both shook our heads in disbelief by the imagery television has which is welcoming sin into our lives. Please be advised: the guy I was speaking with hasn’t been to church one time since I have been in this prison but he was the one that shared this observation with me! From the conversation of television, it went to the street life, violence, choices and it went in a very seamless transition. Because I have been where this younger brother has been, I could navigate around the conversation while directing it into moments to plant seeds. If the world knows how bad this world is getting, then it is bad! Where is the kingdom representation in the earth, where are the people willing to enter into the world, step up, and speak out for the kingdom of God? God desires to send us, but what will we find when we get there, or even more important, will we be willing to go? Today we will look at Matthew 10:16, sheep amongst wolves.
”Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
The word ”behold” suggests for us to pay close attention to what is being spoken, to give it our undivided attention. In 1 John 3:1, the Bible says, ”Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” God’s all-encompassing love is a gift, that allows us to be children of God, but there are many who refuse to accept this gift, and others who don’t believe the gift applies to them. For some people, the mysteries of God’s love and the salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is something they can’t fathom, because they haven’t even experienced true love from people they see daily. This is why the ministry is so important because we get the chance to make the introduction to our amazing Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Just because we have the heart of love and the desire to go where God sends, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. In this prison I am housed in, there is rebellion in every form. God sends us with the expectation that we will allow Him to direct our mouths and our feet to fulfill His purpose. The word ”send” means ”to set apart in or to send out”. In 2 Corinthians 6:17, the Bible says, ”Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” We can’t be OF the same environment we are trying to reach out to! There has to be a noticeable separation between us and the world, and we have to be unwavering in our stance for the kingdom.
What are we required to do when we are sent out?
In Matthew 10:7-8, Christ says, ”And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” We receive of God the things we need to perform His will, and those things we are to freely give. God will never send us into any environment that His word won’t empower us in, and He definitely won’t send us anywhere we are ill-equipped to do what God is calling us to do.
In 2 Peter 1:3-4, the Bible says, ”According as his divine power hath given unto us ALL things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” God wants us equipped to be believers and ministers in a world that is conditioned to not receive the Word of God in truth. In this topic text, Christ is preparing the disciples He has chosen for what they will encounter.
The ”wolves” mentioned here are the false prophets who persecute the true ones and seek to destroy the Church. I am sure we have all heard people say, ”There are many truths, and many paths to God”, and that is a lie that has taken root in nonbelievers’ lives. Us being ”sheep”, those who walk forward towards the will of God, will find ourselves among people whose only aim is to stir up division within the Church, and defection from the Church. Sheep rely solely on the Shepherd for direction and provision. In Matthew 13:25, Christ teaches, ”But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” Because we haven’t been diligent to our call, the enemy has been able to sow tares, false prophets, false preachers, and false teachers to deceive the Church from the inside! Imagine what is happening in the world. Will God find us sleeping on our post or will He find us preaching His truth pushing the lies of the enemy out?
The word ”wise” means ”thoughtful, discreet, prudent, sensible, practically wise in relationships with others”. The word ”harmless” means ”unmixed, innocent; without guile, cunning or deceit”. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, the Bible says, ”Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?’‘
Be IN the world, but not OF the world!
This means we have to know enough about our environments to not be led astray by it, and this also means we have to be able to move freely over obstacles, just as a serpent does. In my prison environment, I have to sprinkle the Word into my conversations, and speak in a manner where it is a conversation that ”somehow” takes a turn into the Word of God. Most don’t realize they walked into a conversation about faith until it’s too late. I face many obstacles as a outspoken believer in arguably the ”worst unit” in this prison, but God makes a way! Being ”wise as serpents” just means we are clever with our points of entry, and because I have been delivered from a lot of sinful behaviors, I still remember where I have come from, and remember the path to where I am now! The world doesn’t know the way to Christ, and sometimes, the backslider doesn’t know their way back to Christ, so we have to be willing to get in the trenches and help guide people into fellowship with the Lord!
May we use all God has given to bear His Light in the world.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 1, 2022 – Psalm 16:11 – in thy presence is fulness of joy
God is the source of our direction. In the world we see people being directed by celebrities, by social media influencers, by peers and by the communities they reside in. Is that direction leading them towards the cross, towards the doors of the kingdom of God, towards the promises of God prepared for those who He loves and who love Him? If God isn’t directing our paths, we are sheep without a Shepherd, vulnerable, helpless, and prone to attack. This also happens to believers who decide to go their own way, and to forsake the way of the Lord. It could be the person who chooses ambition over obedience, the person who chases after financial gain over the riches of the kingdom of God, or it could be the person who puts their relationships with people over their relationship with God. Without God’s direction, there is no true joy, there is no real peace, and the path is headed for destruction. Today we will look at Psalm 16:11, the path of God producing everlasting pleasure.
”Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
The word ”shew” is a part of the word ”know”, meaning ”to become one with, to make known, to cause to discern”. This text says, ”Thou wilt shew”, meaning it is God’s initiation that causes us to become one with His direction, and with His Word. He has His ministers, preachers, and teachers, but the Holy Spirit works within us to make us know the way. 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.” The Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit, will guide us into all truth, and ”shew”, (make known, cause us to become one with) the things to come.
Apart from God, we don’t know our way.
The phrase ”path of life” implies a well-trodden road that is the course for life. If the road is ”well-trodden”, then that means people have been on this road before us, blazing a trail that makes it easier for us to know the way. This is why preaching, and teaching is important, because they have been shown the way by God, and they now show us the way to get there as well.
In John 14:5-6, the Bible says, ”Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.’‘
Christ is The Way, who showed the disciples and apostles the way, who showed the Church the Way, who showed our families, the Way, who showed our communities the Way. In Matthew 7:13-14, Christ says, ”Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’‘
This means we can’t find our own way and expect to find life – there is no cutting corners, Jesus Christ is The Way, not one of many ways. This world is in disarray because it is trying to live in a way that is contrary to the Word of God, and destruction is imminent!
The word ”presence” means ”face, or to turn one’s face towards”. This implies the favor of God being upon us, the approval of God when following where He leads. We all want God’s face being towards us, but do we seek the Lord’s face? In Psalm 27:8-9, the Bible says, ”When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.’‘ Do we desire intimacy with God to the point where we seek His face for the sole purpose of letting Him direct our lives the way He intends, so we can receive the instruction we need to fulfill His purpose for us?
Or: do we seek God’s face for His provision, equating God to nothing more than an ATM?
The word ”fullness” implies completion, coming into perfection, so by seeking the Lord’s face and having His face shine upon us, our joy will be complete!
The word ”right hand” speaks of God’s strength, power, might, and authority.” In Romans 8:34, the Bible says, ”Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” There is so much God does to ensure our success in the faith. We just have to stay on the path God has chosen for us.
In Numbers 6:24-26, the Bible says, ”The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
In the Lord’s path, there are blessings, grace, favor, glory, and peace. May we delight in His way, and reach after His Word with everything we have in us!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 2, 2022 – Isaiah 46:11 – I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it
Contrary to some people’s views, God doesn’t just have a purpose for Christians. God uses the saved and the unsaved to fulfill His divine purpose, and it is done so that man will glorify God and not put their trust in man. This should also show us that when God chose us for His divine purpose, He really didn’t have to, so there shouldn’t be any loftiness in our service. How many believers turned their noses to the help or the Word that God sent through people we may feel aren’t qualified enough to deliver it? An open ear to the Word of God is necessary for every believer, and in the Word of God, there are numerous examples of nonbelievers having powerful influences for the kingdom of God. Isn’t it sad that people outside of the Church are sometimes willing to obey the Word of God more than people in Church? Today, we will look at Isaiah 46:11, the obedience of a nonbeliever causing freedom for the believer!
”Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
The word ”calling” means ”to address by name, to summon, or to invite”. Whether we fully appreciate it or not, God knows every last one of us and when He calls us, He knows exactly who He is speaking to and what they will do. 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.” I remember thinking God had to have made a huge mistake when the preacher pointed me out of a crowd and yelled ”Preacher!” I looked behind me thinking he had to be talking about someone else, and even pointed at myself in disbelief and asked, ”Me?”, and he yelled again ”Yeah, you, Preacher!” and began to speak prophecy towards my call. It was my 17th birthday, and despite my best efforts to pull a Jonah and run, I am sitting here at age 40 ministering the Word of God. God knew me before the foundation of the world, and called me, and then stood behind His choice, qualifying me for the call He placed over my life. His choice is now bringing Him glory! In Romans 11:29, the Bible says, ”For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Who God chose is who He chose, but do we want to be the one to blow it?
”A ravenous bird from the east, a man that executeth my counsel from a far country”
The ”ravenous bird” spoken of here is King Cyrus, the Persian king. So God called a person who wasn’t a Israelite, wasn’t from Judah, and held no Biblical knowledge or belief? The phrase ”executeth my counsel” means ”to perform, complete, or accomplish the command and Word of the Lord”. In Isaiah 44:28, the Bible says, ”That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.” What does a shepherd do? Lead sheep! God was beyond confident that Cyrus would accomplish the Word of the Lord, and knew He would lead Judah to rebuild the temple. In Isaiah 45:1, the Bible says, ”Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut”. Wait a minute, Cyrus was anointed? God gave him the strength to rise in power to release the Jews from the captivity of Babylon. In Isaiah 45:13, the Bible says, ”I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the LORD of hosts.” Cyrus didn’t operate in his own strength, he didn’t try to do things of his own accord, and he didn’t allow gain to motivate his obedience. If a nonbeliever completely gave himself over to the Word of God, then what is our excuse?
”I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
The word ”purposed” means ”to squeeze into shape, to mould into a form as a potter, or to determine.” 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.” When God anointed Cyrus to be king, when God anointed me to preach and teach His Word, when God anointed Jessica to start Forged by Fire, when God anointed Peter to launch Red Thread Poets and Red Granite Daily Devotions, and when God anoint you to…….(fill in the blank), His word went out and won’t come back to Him void, so His will is definitely going to be done!
What is the significance to the king God anointed to free God’s people from the Babylonian captivity being from Persia? In Daniel 6:15, the Bible says, ”Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.” When King Cyrus decreed that the people of God were free from their captivity, it was irrevocable! No one could come and change what King Cyrus decreed, nor take it back. God didn’t desire to release His people from bondage temporarily. He desired us to be free indeed!
God uses us as vessels for His purpose and for His glory. King Cyrus is an example of how we should be with our call. May we answer our call, in faith and obedience.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 3, 2022 – Isaiah 43:7 – for I have created him for my glory
God created us with a call in mind. Imagine our God creating mankind, already knowing how our genealogy would play out and all the things that would transpire in order to facilitate our arrival to the earth. Imagine our God creating us with unique qualities, and even more unique experiences, which help to equip us to fulfill our call. I didn’t know why I had such a hard life until someone who had it just as hard needed help with breaking free of the downward spiral of poor choices. God allow me to make choice after choice, experience instance after instance, and then unlocked His already established purpose for me to be both a minister and counselor to those in need. God stood behind His choice of me and He does the same for you! Our lives are designed to fulfill God’s purpose and bring Him glory. Today, we will look at Isaiah 43:7, into God’s call, and the purpose He has in place for those He calls.
”Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
The word ”called” means ”to invite, invoke, to summon, or to address by name”. The phrase ”by my name” signifies the authority by which we are called, establishing that God in fact established His call in us. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the Bible says, ”If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’‘
There is an attitude we must possess in order to fulfill God’s calling, one of obedience, one of repentance, one of humility, and one of submission. Just because we are called, doesn’t mean we are exempt from submission to God, nor does that mean we can still live the same sinful life we lived before. Only after humbling ourselves, praying, seeking God’s face and then repenting of our sinful life, does healing begin in our lives. Too many people want the mighty hand of God to move in their lives, and want God to fill their lives with purpose, but they won’t let God heal what is broken within them. God doesn’t call us to fail, but to succeed.
In Isaiah 65:1-2, the Bible says, ”I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name. I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts”. Israel rebelled so hard against God that there were more ”outsiders” that called upon God than His chosen people. God stretched His strength, power, grace, and provision upon a people that rejected Him as God by rebelling against His Word, so He made it available to us!
The word ”created” implies that we are chosen, and even dispatched, at the Word of God. The word ”glory” means ”honor and splendor”, implying that our call as believers allows us to walk in the God’s light, and then we give God sole credit for what is happening in our lives as the result of His call.
In Psalm 100:3, the Bible says, ”Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Will we magnify ourselves because we are called by God, and in arrogance, act like our ministries, testimonies, and blessings are the result of our own efforts, or will we submit ourselves to God’s intended purpose for our lives, becoming who He ordained us to be?
Isaiah 29:16, the Bible says, ”Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” We are clay in the hands of the Potter, making us who we are, and also establishing our purpose as well.
In Jeremiah, 1:5, the Bible says, ”Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” We have to understand that who we are was already figured out by God, and who He has declared us to be we will be. Knowing He ordained us for the calling that He put on our lives should make us a little confident in our ability to carry his purpose.
The word ”formed” means ”to squeeze into shape, to mould into a form”. The word ”made” means ”to accomplish or complete, to bring into perfection”. In Isaiah 43:1, the Bible says, ”But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” We are God’s, created in His image, formed with the abilities to bring Him glory through the fulfillment of His purpose. He created us for such a time as this, to boldly pursue His calling, to valiantly establish His purpose.
Will we answer His call?
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 4, 2022 – Proverbs 29:23 – man’s pride shall bring him low
Arrogance is a quality that removes people from the presence of God, and also the presence of others as well. There is a major difference between confidence and arrogance, and the difference between the two is the Lord. The confident person places their full trust in the Lord, they walk in the authority of the Word of God. The confident person understands that their only real security is in the Word of God, in the presence of God, and that person continually submits to the authority of God, knowing that by God, all things come to be. Arrogance is a person boasting in themselves, in their capabilities, and in the power of their own might, without attributing where they stand to God. Pride is a horrible trait of a person who is trying to fulfill the purpose of God, because the prideful person is self-centered, not Christ-centered. Humility ushers in the presence God and our God honors the humble in spirit. Today, we will look at Proverbs 29:23, a humble spirit before God and man.
”A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
The word ”man” here doesn’t speak of gender, but it means ”mankind, or a human being”. This means that this applies to everyone. This is a word for anyone, no matter of where you may find yourself in your walk with God. The word ”pride” means ”arrogance or haughtiness”. 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.’‘ It doesn’t matter if a person is the pastor of a 30,000 member church or the person coming to know God recently, we all are to think soberly, with full understanding that it is God who provides to all of us everything we need to live out the purpose He has set for us. The person of arrogance doesn’t recognize that God has provided the means for them to have the positions they have.
The arrogant person doesn’t give God the glory. In Daniel 4:30-31, the Bible says, ”The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself and attributed it to his own hand the reason he possessed the kingdom of Babylon. Immediately, God showed him who was really responsible for his kingdom, and who really had the power! Nebuchadnezzar was humbled to the point he walked with the beasts in the field!
In Daniel 4:34, things turned around for him, and the Bible says, ”And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation”. Nebuchadnezzar was humbled due to his arrogance, but was lifted back up due to his humility, and reverence of God.
The word ”honour” means ”glory or splendour”. The word ”uphold” means ”to sustain, help, or to keep fast”. In Isaiah 66:2, the Bible says, ”For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” When we have the right attitude towards God, He will turn His face to us, and shower us with His glory. The person who is humble is the person who won’t ever try to go in faith in themselves, but will seek God’s face and His Word about everything in their lives.
In Matthew 23:12, the Bible says, ”And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” If we want God to respond to us in the way we hope, then we must have an attitude of humility, an attitude that makes us an empty vessel before God, to fill us as He sees fit. The phrase ”humble in spirit” speaks of the disposition within man that causes them to be closely linked to God in their moral character and attributes. The humble in spirit tells God, ”Have your way”, instead of ”permit my way”.
In James 4:6, the Bible says, ”But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” God gives the humble everything needed to live Godly lives, and become a bridge between who we are now and who we are ordained to be.
Humility is the absence of arrogance. We can’t have both!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 5, 2022 – Isaiah 42:1 – I have put my spirit upon him
Our Lord Jesus Christ was a humble servant before He became the Savior of the whole world. While He rose to a position of honor in the earth, becoming the name above all names. We can’t forget that He was faithful in His purpose, living His life in complete humility and service to God. This was God robed in flesh, who could’ve assumed His identity of Deity at any time, but chose to use His power to serve, and not be served. Do we use what God has given us to serve, or do we use what God has given us to magnify our own images? What type of service does God delight in, one that points directly to Him or one where the person is trying to draw attention to themselves? Jesus Christ was the perfect example of a servant, one we should try to emulate in our own lives. Today, we will look at a word of prophecy concerning Jesus Christ in Isaiah 42:1, the Good Servant of God.
”Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.”
The word ”servant” means ”one who ministers or serves God”, speaking of the Servant of the Lord, the Messiah of a God, Jesus Christ. Christ just wasn’t a servant, but He was THE Servant!
In Isaiah 43:10-11, the Bible says, ”Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” God chose Christ to be the one who would serve Him in this capacity, because Christ’s service pointed back to God in all He did, and the purpose of His ministry on earth was to bring us into a right relationship with God through Him. For Christ, it was never about Him, but about paving the way for salvation to all who believe in His name. In Isaiah 49:6, the Bible says, ”And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.’‘ God thought it was a ”light thing” for Christ to serve God. Salvation for the whole world is a light thing for God to do, but we have a hard time trusting God over our families, over our sicknesses, over our career choices, over our heartaches, over our depression. Is anything too hard for our God? It is God’s faithfulness that allows us to experience such an amazing salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, and also to be filled with such incredible love!
”Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth”
The word ”elect” means ”choice or selection”. The word ”delighteth” means ”take pleasure in, to favor, to set affection on”. When Christ was baptized, Luke 3:22, the Bible says, ”And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” This was God robed in flesh presenting Himself to be baptized, yet there are people in the Church who somehow feel that baptism isn’t necessary, even though the Word of God clearly says that God was pleased with Christ for being baptized. Just think of how pleased God must be of us, being baptized when we are sinful, and full of iniquity!
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.’‘ When we please God in our lives, His presence remains with us, and when our service pleases the Lord, His presence is there in approval of us as His children and servants.
”I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgement to the Gentiles”
There is significance behind the Holy Spirit being upon Christ. In Acts 1:8, Christ says, ”But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The Holy Spirit came upon Christ and He moved in power, healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the blind to see, healing every sort of infirmity. His works were spoken of everywhere, and His life was a direct witness to the power of the Word and Spirit of God.
Judgement means ”a verdict, sentence of legal decision”. This judgement is speaking of His second coming because Christ said it himself in John 12:47, ”And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” Christ’s service on earth was to save the world from their sins, and facilitate the divine unity between God and His creation. The only thing that mattered to Christ was serving God while He walked the earth.
May our lives become more reflective of the power of God and may we become servants, whose desire is to please the Lord.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 6, 2022 – Jeremiah 17:7 – blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD
Who do we place our trust in? I have been in situations all through my life, where I trusted in everything but God, only to crash and burn every time. Whatever we trust in, we build our lives upon, and when we trust in something that was never built to last, we are eventually left amid the rubble, wondering what happened? When we trust in the Lord, there is safety, there is provision, there is a future that is secure, and when our trust is in the Lord, we have rest for our souls. In order for us to trust God, we must forsake our way, our thoughts, the ideas we have about how our lives should go, and take hold of God’s will for our lives. When we trust, we surrender our vulnerability to the Lord’s strength, we surrender our knowledge to the Lord’s wisdom, and we surrender our possessions to the Lord’s riches. Trusting the Lord is vital to activate faith, but how many seek the Word of God first, seek the kingdom of God first, or seek the face of God first? Today, we will look at Jeremiah 17:7, the blessings from trusting the Lord.
”Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.”
The word ”blessed” implies benefits, speaking of the benefits of being a child of God. Do we see the benefit in being believers? In Psalm 103:2-5, the Bible says, ”Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies”. With such great benefits available to all who believe, why do we walk around like our lives aren’t full of power or promise. Do we see that God desires believers that will live by His Word and receive His promises?
In Deuteronomy 28:3-6, the Bible says, ”Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.’‘ Please don’t mistake blessings as solely financial benefits by reading these verses, because here, the blessings of God are extended to the things that are in our lives. The blessing isn’t the end result. The blessing begins what becomes a great end result.
In Proverbs 20:21, the Bible says, ”An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” If what we have, and who we are isn’t blessed, then it won’t last!
The word ”trust” means ”to his for refuge”. The word ”hie” implies an instinctive retreat towards safety. When we trust in the Lord like this, He is our first option, and our instinct will always be to inquire of Him during periods of uncertainty or when we need direction.
In 1 Samuel 30, when the Amalekites raided Ziglag, took the women hostage, and burned the city with fire, a normal person’s instinct would cause them to chase after them and get back what was taken. David wasn’t normal! In 1 Samuel 30:8, the Bible says, ”And David enquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.” David went to the Lord first, encouraging himself in the Lord first (v.6), and then sought God’s perspective on whether he should go and pursue His own kidnapped wives! David came first to God, and trusted God over his own feelings, over his pain, and over his own leadership. Do we trust the Lord this much, where we abandon our instincts, our desires, our goals, and our possessions to instinctively run after Him?
The word ”hope” implies security or assurance. In Psalm 40:4-5, the Bible says, ”Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” We build our security in what we know, and by knowing the Word of God, becoming one with the Word of God, we have security in who we are, what we have, and that our God will answer our prayers.
In Psalm 31:3, the Bible says, ”For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” Being under The Rock, Jesus Christ, we have a sure place for our feet, and a strong place of refuge, but there’s more! In Jeremiah 17:8, the Bible says, ”For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
When we trust in the Lord, we will continue to bear amazing fruit!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 7, 2022 – 1 Chronicles 16:15 – be ye mindful always of his covenant
As believers, we have to keep the Word of God in our minds and hearts. We have to remember the Word of God as we live this life, and we also have to remember His promises, especially in times of uncertainty. The Bible isn’t just a book, nor is it just an acronym meaning B-asic I-nstruction B-efore L-eaving E-arth. The Word of God isn’t some rule book destined to leave us imprisoned to Christianity, but it is the power of God given to mankind, so that we can experience heaven on earth before we experience the true heaven. If the Word of God isn’t planted within us, we have no power, and we are defenseless, but without the Word of God, we don’t have a clear picture of where we have been and where we must go. The Bible isn’t there just to read and set down, but it is designed for us to break it down and live it out. Today, we will look at 1 Chronicles 16:15, being mindful of the Word of God.
”Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations”
The word ”mindful” means ”to mark, to remember”, indicating a process of mentioning or recalling either silently, verbally, or by means of a memorial sign or symbol. It also implies that we bring it to memory or attention. This begins by hearing, reading and studying the Word of God, and storing the Word of God within us. We can’t do it in our own knowledge and intellect. In John 14:26, the Bible 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.” It is the Holy Spirit that causes us to remember the Word of God we hear, read and study, and the Holy Spirit also teaches us what the Word of God means. When we store the Word in our hearts and minds, the Holy Spirit shows us how interconnected the Scriptures are.
The word ”always” implies forever, which means that being mindful of the Word of God is a continual process of discovering and rediscovering what the Word of God says. 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.’‘ Whatever we don’t use, we will lose, so if we aren’t meditating on the Word of God, speaking its truths in our lives, sharing the Word of God with others, then we won’t be able to fully retain what God is showing us.
Being mindful of the Word of God, speaking the Word of God in our lives, meditating upon His commands ensures God’s promises of prosperity and GOOD success. Remember, the word ”good” implies God’s intended purpose from the beginning being fulfilled. God doesn’t just want us to study His Word and be mindful of it for us to become one with it. God wants to make us prosperous in our marriages, in our families, in our friendships on our jobs, in our ministries, and in our worship!
In this Scripture, the word ”covenant” is an alliance or compact made between God and Abraham. Context is everything when studying the Word of God, and we have to always be mindful of who is speaking, who is being spoken to, and who is being spoken of. David is the speaker, and He is giving thanks to God when the ark of God was brought into the tent David pitched for it. David is speaking to Israel, urging them to be mindful of the covenant God made to Abraham. How do we know this? In 1 Chronicles 16:16-17, the Bible says, ”Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant”.
The word ”word” implies divine communication, divine command, or a royal decree. The word ”commanded” means ”to direct, order, or appoint”. In Genesis 15:5, the Bible says, ”And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” Abraham’s descendants can’t be numbered, and in the same breath, a ”thousand generations” implies a number that can’t be fathomed. If there are only 42 generations from Abraham to Christ, then a thousand generations can’t be counted. David is encouraging Israel, to show them that the promises of God have not changed, and He hasn’t gone back on his Word concerning them. This is the same God today, and in Hebrews 8:6, the Bible says, ”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.”
Just as David encouraged Israel, the writer of Hebrews is encouraging us that God’s Word and His promises continue into eternity, so in order for our way to be spiritually prosperous, we must remain mindful of the Word of God, His commands, and His promises!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 8, 2022 – 1 Chronicles 28:9 – for the LORD searcheth all hearts … if thou seek him, he will be found of thee
What are the words we are leaving behind for our children? Our legacies as believers are not in the financial benefits we leave behind for our children, but in the result of our relentless desire to see them have even better relationships with the Lord than we have had. What about the brother who is lost, trying to find his way, or the sister who needs to come to a place of spiritual knowledge and healing. The advice and counsel we render as believers can either guide them towards the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or drive them further into oblivion. What do we want our parting words to be on this earth? What valuable mantle do we want to leave behind? Our parting words should be our daily words, and every day we should desire to speak a word that leads someone closer to the Lord. Today, we will look at 1 Chronicles 28:9, the power of a daily Word.
”And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”
The word ”know” means ”to become one with, to discern”. Knowing can be relational or experiential, but its design is to form a union between people. David told Solomon to ”know thy the God of thy father”, which means that David wants Solomon to know God so well that God becomes his God as well, and David also wants him to have an incredible relationship with God the same way He did. In Jeremiah 9:24, the Bible says, ”But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.” It should be our only agenda, our only focus, to know the Lord and come into an awesome relationship with Him. It should be our crowning achievement, to experience this relationship, to experience God’s love, and it should also be our desire to impact the world in such a way that they want this relationship too. In Ruth 1:16, the Bible says, ”And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God”. Ruth desired to know God, to be in a right relationship with Him, and this had to be based on the example of the faith that Naomi and her sons set. Ruth was willing to abandon any ambition of remarrying and having children to be one with God and to be a part of God’s people.
”and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind”
The word ”serve” means ”to work for, to labor on behalf of”, and it also means ”to bring oneself under subjection to another”. The phrase ”perfect heart” implies one’s complete being. So we have to serve God with our complete being. In Psalm 103:1, the Bible says, ”Bless the LORD, O my soul: and ALL that is WITHIN ME, bless his holy name.” This expresses the attitude God requires us to have when serving Him and others. God doesn’t appreciate divided minds and hearts serving Him because He wants all of our heart and mind. The word ”willing” implies an eagerness to obey God, and the word ”mind” refers to one’s inner being with their thoughts and emotions. In 2 Corinthians 8:11-12, the Bible says, ”Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 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.” God cultivates an environment, where there is not an excuse for why a person can’t serve the Lord. God wants us to be close to Him, and serve Him, but all we need is a willing mind, a readiness to do the will of God, and a heart that is ready to give God what we have. God loves us and wants us to succeed so He takes what we have and our willing mind, accepts it, and makes it sufficient to perform the purposes that He establishes in us.
”For the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts”
The word ”searcheth” means ”to tread or frequent in order to make an inquiry.” In Psalm 139:1-2, the Bible says, ”O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.” God knows our hearts and minds and knows when our service is genuine. We can’t ”play Church” with God because He knows every part of us, even when we don’t know Him. It says, ”For the Lord searcheth ALL hearts”, so this means believers and nonbelievers. In Romans 8:27, the Bible says, ”And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Do we understand that we have an Intercessor in Christ, that searches our heart to bring a favorable report to God on our behalf? Imagine Christ going through our filth to find treasure, yet we won’t do the same for our brothers and sisters, especially the ones who are lost.
In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Bible says, ”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.’‘ God looks within us, to see what we are made of, to makes sure our hearts are aligned with His will and plan. The word ”understandeth” means ”to discern, perceive, or to separate mentally”. The word ”imaginations” means ”the conceptions of the mind”, and the word ”thought” means ”intent or plan”. 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 capable of exposing every hidden thing within us, every hidden motive, the hidden brokenness we have, and also the potential we possess within us to be pillars of the faith!
The word ”seek” means ”to worship, to bring oneself low in obedience and trust to God”. This is the attitude we must have when we are to reach after God, coming before Him as empty vessels, desiring to be filled. This is where we tell God that we need what He has for us to be who He desires us to be. David is showing Solomon how to have the heart of worship, and assuring him that God will make Himself available to those who worship Him. In 2 Chronicles 15:2, the Bible says, ”And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.” God is not going make our worship of Him be in vain. He will meet us right where we are and He will do a mighty work in us. In John 14:23, the Bible says, ”Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” God desires to make Himself at home in us, so His Holy Spirit will have reign and power in us. If we ”forsake” Him, we ignore His Word, push His presence away, and God will then cast us away, to live the life we desire to live apart from Him.
David prepared His son to be king. Do we prepare our children, our family, our friends, and our communities for service to our Lord? Do we help usher in the heart of worship?
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 9, 2022 – 1 Chronicles 28:20 – be strong and of good courage
We need courage and strength to perform the will of God. The courage and strength we need is something only God can give, but God will always empower and equip us to accomplish what He sets forth in our lives. I was afraid of the call God placed over my life, and there are many times that I felt that I was in over my head, overwhelmed mentally by the responsibility and the magnitude of what I was being asked to do. If we look at the service of God from the perspective of our own strength, then of course, we won’t have the confidence to carry out God’s good purpose, but if we look to God, and trust that He will provide us with everything we need to do His will, then there is nothing to fear. Today, we will look at 1 Chronicles 28:20, more parting words from a father to his son.
”And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.”
David is encouraging his son Solomon ahead of the kingship Solomon will take over. It is always a great thing for someone who has been where we are going to help guide us on our journey. This is why in 1 Corinthians 12:5-7, the Bible says, ”And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal”, because no matter our role in the kingdom of God, we must use what we have to bring glory to God. David and Solomon were both kings, but each had their own roles to play. David was a man of war, he was called to fight to fortify Israel, and because of David’s role, Solomon experienced peace on all sides, so that the house of God could be built. Both had individual tasks, but both were necessary for the will of God to be done.
The word ”strong” means ”to fortify, or to fasten upon”. What do we fasten ourselves upon? In Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, ”I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’‘ No matter what state we are in, whether it be the deepest poverty, the most extreme brokenness, or whether we are living in peace and prosperity, we can do ALL things THROUGH Christ. Many of us want the victory to come in our lives, but we won’t fasten ourselves to Christ in order to receive the strength we need. 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.” Would it be wise to pursue assistance from someone who isn’t equipped or empowered to help?
The phrase ”courage” means ”steadfastly-minded, or establish in the Lord”. David knows that Solomon is going to be afraid, but He wants Him to realize that it isn’t in his strength and courage that he has to fasten himself to, but it is in the strength and courage given by God. In Deuteronomy 31:7, the Bible says, ”And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the LORD hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.” These are some of the parting words between Moses and Joshua, with the same theme to it as David’s parting words to Solomon. The torch is being passed. To establish these parting words, God speaks to Joshua in Joshua 1:6-7, ”Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.” Not only did God give Joshua the same message, but He validated the parting words of Moses, and gave a promise to it! When God gives us a word for someone else, it will be validated by God.
”Fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee”
The word ”fear” here means ”fright, to be afraid”. The word ”dismayed” means ”shattered or broken in pieces”. This means we come unglued behind the fear. David is speaking to Solomon’s fear by assuring him that there is nothing to fear, because God is with him. If we told our children to not be afraid, but we don’t give them a reason why, then it does nothing to assure them that their fear isn’t justified. What made David so sure? In 1 Chronicles 22:9-10, the Bible says, ”Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever.” David told Solomon what God told him concerning Solomon. God had told David that Solomon would have peace and quietness all of his days and his kingdom would be established forever! If God gave us that kind of promise, then what would there be to fear? God gives us His word for doctrine, reproof, correction, and training up in righteousness, but God also gives us His word for reassurance, strength, confidence, so that when He sends us to do His will, we know He is right there with us.
”He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord”
The word ”fail” means ”to be slack, to cease, or to become weak”. The word ”forsake” means ”to relinquish, or let go of”. In John 10:29, Christ says, ”My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.’‘ God places His hand upon us and that gives us the ability to operate in His power, and He holds us in His hand so that nothing can take us away from Him. 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.’‘ We should have confidence in God, that where He sends us, His purpose will be done. The word ”finished” means ”accomplished, completed or ended.” This means God will be with us until His purpose in us is done, and when that time comes, it will be time for us to enter into the joy of the Lord.
We have a mission on earth to perform, and God will be with us every step of the way. There is every reason for us to walk in strength and courage, and there is no reason to fear or be dismayed. May our confidence be in the Lord, and may His strength lead us into our destiny.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 10, 2022 – Isaiah 50:2 – Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem?
God is calling, but fewer people that are called respond to the call. When God speaks to our hearts, leading us in a particular direction, how can we abandon the commandments of our Lord to pursue our own way. What does God see in our life when He peeks in? Obedience? Fear? Depression? Lawlessness? Disbelief? How many of our prayers are hindered because He sees unbelief, people focusing on their circumstances, instead of looking upon God who is more than capable of delivering them from anything they face? God controls nature, causing storms to come, sunshine to heat the Earth, and wind to cool and soothe His creation, so our lives and circumstances are no problem for Him. Will God see faithfulness when He appears, people ready to serve the living God? Today, we are looking at Isaiah 50:2, God’s long and powerful hand.
”Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst.”
The word ”man” here actually speaks of males. Men have held the responsibility for ensuring that the Word of God is being taught and followed in our homes, and God entrusted that to us. In Genesis 3:8-9, the Bible says, ”And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Even though the command for them to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was given to both of them, God looked for Adam expressly, and being unable to ”find” him, He called for Him. God knew that Adam and Eve ate from the tree, because God knows everything, but their sin caused them to hide. Could it be that when God peeks in and doesn’t see a ”man”, that it is because sin has caused us to flee from the presence of the Lord? Could it be that there is a shortage of men who are willing to serve the Lord in obedience and in truth? In Joshua 24:15, the Bible says, ”And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for ME and MY house, WE WILL serve the LORD.” Joshua established that Israel would serve the Lord, beginning with him. Do men establish in their own homes that they will serve the Lord, or is this the time where we allow our children, and even our wives to set the standard for worship and service to the Lord in the home? (***This is not a message of male chauvinism, but a message for men to take their rightful place as the God ordained head of the house, ensuring that their families are guided in the knowledge and love of the Lord.***)
”When I called, was there none to answer?
The word ”called” means ”to summon, to invite, to address by name”. The word ”answer” means ”to heed or pay attention”. In Proverb 1:23-25, the Bible says, ”Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof”. When God calls us, He has made us His choice, and He is calling for us to experience His presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. Imagine our loving God, so abounding in grace, favor, provision, and wisdom calling upon us, but we are unwilling to heed His word? In Isaiah 65:12, the Bible says, ”Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.’‘ We position ourselves for destruction when we don’t heed God’s Word, but we have even gone blind to that too.
”Is my hand shortened at all, that it can not redeem? Or have I no power to deliver?
The word ”hand” refers to power, means and direction. The word ”redeem” means ”to deliver or ransom from exile”. In Isaiah 62:12-63:1, the Bible says, ”And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Our God is mighty to save, and when He delivers us, that is what we will be declared in the Earth, redeemed! The word ”power” means ”strength or ability”. The word ”deliver” means ”to snatch away, to rescue, one from the being overcome from the power of another.” The Lord has delivered us from the power of Satan, yet there are some who have no understanding of just what we have been brought out from. How can we walk in victory over the enemy when we don’t know what the Word of God says about deliverance, and from whom? In Numbers 11:23, the Bible says, ”And the LORD said unto Moses, Is the LORD’s hand waxed short? thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass unto thee or not.” God doesn’t just establish that His hand is powerful, effective, and intentional, but He tells us to see it for ourselves that the Word of God it true and will do everything He ordains for it to do.
”At my rebuke I will dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst.”
The word ”rebuke” means ”reproof”. The phrase ”dry up” means ”to parch through drought”. The word ”make” means ”to determine or appoint”. Our God determines not only our season of drought, but also our season of harvest. Our God is all powerful and wants to work mightily in His children. In Psalm 106:8-10, the Bible says, ”Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known. He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And he saved them from the hand of him that hated them, and redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.” God created us to be shining lights in a dark world, to bear His image and likeness, so the works could see that there is the one true God. Not only does God desire to deliver us, but He also desires us to experience the kingdom of God on earth. Imagine our God, wanting to give us abundant life and provision, but when He calls us, are we unwilling to heed His call?
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 11, 2022 – Isaiah 40:29 – He giveth power to the faint
Life can be hard, even as believers, and in my opinion, it is harder as a believer because we have to still operate within the word of God no matter what happens in our lives. In my prison environment, there is enormous pressure at times, and lately there has been a lot of tension on my unit. It has been hard, and on top of this pressure and tension, I have experienced exhaustion in this season like no other. I realized in this season how important God’s strength really is, because if I had to rely on my own strength through this current season in my life, I would have crumbled under its overbearing weight. Because of God’s strength, I can not only endure, but God has given me the ability to thrive in the face of storms. I am nobody special, and God provides this for us all, but are we willing to release our will, to forsake our strength in order to receive God’s strength? Today, we will look at Isaiah 40:29, strength in the face of weakness.
”He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.”
The word ”giveth” means ”to bestow, to distribute, or offer up”. The word ”power” means ”force, vigor, capacity, or means”. In 2 Samuel 22:33-35, the Bible says, ”God IS my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places. He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.” Please understand something. God just doesn’t give power, but He IS power, so when He bestows power upon us, He is giving us of Himself! In Zechariah 4:6, the Bible says, ”Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.’‘ It is God that gives us His Spirit, so we always have power and might within us to draw from in times of need.
The word ”faint” means ”weary, fatigued, or exhausted”. In Jeremiah 31:25, the Bible says, ”For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.’‘ No matter whether our faintness is the result of something physical, emotional, or spiritual, God will always give us what we need to overcome what is trying to prevail over us. 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.” God always causes us to triumph, so that means He will always provide us the things we need for victory. If we don’t have the victory, then we must not be using what He has provided for us. In Proverbs 24:10, the Bible says, ”If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” Why is our strength small? Because we don’t have God’s strength empowering us to prevail in the day of adversity.
”And to them that have no might he increaseth strength”
The word ”might” means ”ability, strength, or substance”. The word ”increaseth” means ”to multiply, or to bring abundance”. 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.” Christ has ALL power, and by us being heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, then we have access to the same power! In Ephesians 3:16, the Bible 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”. Strength is a part of the riches of God’s glory, yet, in this world we think money amounts to riches! God doesn’t just give us ”strength” which means ”powerfulness”, to store up for a later time. In Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, ”I can DO all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” God gives us strength so we can continue pressing towards completing the purpose God has ordained for us today! I have been that person, without might, not knowing how I was going to make it through my day without ruining it irreparably, and I have experienced God’s strength seconds before giving up altogether. My eyes are welling up with tears, recalling times where I can only attribute God’s strength as being the only way I have made it. I have been that person broken, without strength, without might, and as these tears fall, I know that my God hasn’t failed me or forsaken me. He has always caused me to triumph in Christ Jesus, giving me exactly what I needed! In Isaiah 25:4, the Bible says, ”For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” This is who our God is in the lowest stages of our lives, at our points of failure, and His is still a provider today!
”Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH IS everlasting strength”– Isaiah 26:4.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 12, 2022 – 1 John 3:18 – my little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth
”Actions speak louder than words.” This statement has existed long before I came to this earth in 1981, but it has never been more true now. A lot is being said, but what is actually being done? In politics, we have people who campaign on promises they don’t fulfill, just giving out a bunch of words to stir people to vote in their direction. The same thing is happening in our homes and also in our churches. I remember hearing relatives say to me, ”Do as I say, not as I do”, when my inquisitive nature caused me to ask why they were not doing what they were asking of me, yet they expected me to follow their directions to the letter. We don’t want to become a people who talk the talk, having the appearance of salvation, but our actions speak a totally different story. I don’t want people to see our Church and the first thought they have is hypocrisy, people crowding a building every week but not living the Gospel out in their lives. Today, we will look at 1 John 3:18, the incredible action of love.
”My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
This message is for believers, but should extend to unbelievers who are introduced to the love of God. John affectionately called believers ”little children” in his epistles, especially when it was something he really wanted us to grasp. In 1 John 2:1, 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”. 1 John 2:18 says, ”Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.’‘ 1 John 3:7 says, ”Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.” Doesn’t John seem to use the phrase ”little children” in these verses, when there appears to be something that could potentially threaten our walk with the Lord, and there is something that we must be in guard against? Not sinning, being aware of antichrists, and being deceived in our identities with Christ are all structural aspects of our faith, but how does ”loving in deed” tie with this theme?
Why is love so important, so structural to our faith? In Matthew 22:37-40, the Bible says, ”Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is LIKE UNTO IT, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” If we love God, we will keep His commands, because we always want to please the ones we love. If we love our neighbors, the same rules apply, and we will always want to do the things that please our neighbors, acting in their best interest according to the Word of God.
Love isn’t a feeling, but an experience based on the actions of another. Love is displayed by what we do, not merely in what we say, but in what we do. 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 didn’t just have feelings for us, but He displayed His love to us by giving Christ for us. In 1 John 4:9, the Bible says, ”In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” Love is revealed by what is done, and the actions give the credibility to the words!
The word ”word” and the word ”tongue” both deal with our speech, by the things that come out of our mouths. In 1 Corinthians 4:20, the Bible says, ”For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.’‘ Power is displayed, and the kingdom of God isn’t something to just talk about. The kingdom of God is meant to have power, and things are supposed to happen as the result of the kingdom of God being displayed in Earth.
In Luke 7:22, the Bible says, ”Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.” There is going to be a tangible effect from the kingdom of God being displayed, and there will definitely be a showing of kingdom power in the Earth. Just like there is evidence of the kingdom’s power, there is also evidence of our love in the Earth as well.
The word ”deed” means ”work or action”. In James 2:16-17, the Bible says, ”And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Without actions, our verbal love means absolutely nothing to the person who ”receives” it. It becomes mere noise without power. In 1 John 4:20, the Bible says, ”If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” How we treat our brothers and sisters reflect how we treat God, and this is made visible through our actions.
What do we as believers want our legacy to reflect; our words or our actions? Do we want to be remembered by what we said to people or by our powerful display of love?
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 13, 2022 – 1 John 2:1 – if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous
As being someone who has been arrested, and ultimately convicted of murder, I understand the benefit of having a good lawyer working on your behalf. When I went to prison, the word lawyer was thrown around so often, you couldn’t go a day without hearing about lawyers. People thought a lawyer would be the solution to their incarceration, giving more credit to them instead of entrusting their appeals to the Lord. Many were left disappointed, getting no closer to freedom, and also being no closer to true freedom that can only be given through salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only undefeated Lawyer I know, and if the charges were too severe against us, He took our place to ensure our victory. If only we brought our cases to God, instead of man, and allowed the Advocate to speak on our behalf, we would always see a victory. Today, we will look at 1 John 2:1, the Advocate Jesus Christ.
”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”
The phrase ”my little children” means ”darlings”, and is a term of affection from teacher to disciple.” John wants to express his love and affection for the people who will read his letter. The word ”write” implies that John is expressing himself to the believers, hoping to engrave the Word of God on their hearts. In Ephesians 4:14-15, the Bible says, ”That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ”. There should always be a purpose behind our delivery of the Word of God, that the Word we express will cause a change that leads people into the presence and direction of God. In addition to purpose, our speech must possess love. In 1 Corinthians 13:2, the Bible says, ”And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Without purpose and without love, our words carry no real weight for the kingdom of God. John writes from both places, especially the place of love, because love ushers in the presence of God.
”That ye sin not, And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
The word ”sin” means ”to miss the mark, to err in action in respect to a prescribed law, to swerve from the truth, to go wrong.” The part of the verse which says, ”if any man sin” suggests that we are all included in this. John is writing this letter so we will stay away from sin, but assures us of God’s provision in case we do sin. In Romans 3:22-23, the Bible says, ”Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. We all have access to the righteousness of God by Christ because we all have sinned and pushed ourselves out of the presence of God. Isn’t it odd that God extends the gift of forgiveness to everyone, but there are people who won’t accept it, even though eternal death is the penalty.
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.’‘ God knew our sin would disqualify us from the bliss and privilege of the kingdom of heaven, and He made it available to us, despite what we have done. In Romans 5:6, the Bible says, ”For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” If God made the provision of forgiveness, salvation and redemption available to everyone, even when we were ungodly, imagine the provision God has in place for His children, who occasionally slip.
The word ”Advocate” means ”intercessor, consoler”, spoken of Jesus Christ. The word ”righteous” means ”holy, innocent, equitable or even-handed”. In Hebrews 7:24-25, the Bible says, ”But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Because Christ’s priesthood doesn’t change, His intercession won’t stop for us, and He will be our Advocate forever. In 1 Timothy 2:3-5, the Bible says, ”For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.
God has a desire for all of mankind to be saved, and Jesus Christ the Advocate continues to defend us to God so His will may be done.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 14, 2022 – 1 John 2:2 – he is the propitiation for our sins
To overcome our astronomical sin debt, punishable by eternal death, there had to be restitution paid in order to right the wrong done. This was a price that would be impossible for any of us to repay, and no amount of good we can possibly do from this day forth would satisfy the hole we put ourselves in due to our sin. In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices were made, where the blood would be shed and the sprinkled all over the place and all over people to temporarily remit the sin committed until the next sacrifice was made. The Law was there to show mankind that we are powerlessness to sin by our own efforts, and that we needed there to be a better way. Jesus Christ came to be the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, once and for all. His blood shed covered those who received Him as Lord and Savior, and still covers us today. The curse of death was broken for all who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Today, we will be looking at 1 John 2:2, the Ultimate Propitiation for sin.
”And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
The word ”propitiation” means ”atonement, an expiator”, that which appeases anger and brings reconciliation with someone who has reason to be angry with us. God had every right to be angry with mankind for the sins committed against Him since Adam and Eve, and He has dealt with the outright turning away of His chosen people Israel to serve other gods. Think about how angry Jesus Christ could’ve been with us, and He would have every right, because He paid the cost for our sin, having done nothing wrong. In Romans 3:24-25, the Bible says, ”Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God”. The grace of God has opened up the opportunity for us to receive the gift of redemption, to be bought back from the bondage, and let us not forget His patience in us that caused this gift to be dispensed. We are extremely impatient with our fellow brothers and sisters, giving up on them without thinking twice when they offend us, but God was patient with mankind for thousands of years, and is still patient with us now!
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 patience with us is a part of His promise, and the prophecy of Jesus Christ is a promise that He would come to be the atoning sacrifice for sin forever. God wants as many people saved as possible, up to all of us!
The word ”sin” means ”offenses committed against God and man, proneness to sin and sinfulness”. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, the Bible says, ”And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Our sin debt was enormous, and God looked beyond our offenses and had a way already established to bring us into a state of reconciliation with God for our sin. Our old nature and livelihood put us in bad standing with God, and despite what we have done, He still loves us so deeply that He still pursues reconciliation with us to this day.
”And not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
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.” If He took away the sin of the world, then we are definitely included in that number, so if we are feeling like we don’t have atonement for our sin, then we don’t fully comprehend what God has done for us by Christ.
The word ”world” speaks of mankind as a whole, those once opposed to God who now seek salvation from sin. The gift is made available to everyone, but God won’t force people to take the free gift. That is our job. In John 11:51-52 the Bible says, ”And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”
Salvation was for both Jew and Gentile, and Christ died so that we could all be one people together in Christ. Christ’s death brought life to the world. Only God could provide the perfect sacrifice to completely satisfy our sin debt, and that sacrifice was Christ!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 15, 2022 – Proverbs 24:27 – afterwards build thine house
Before a house can be built, assessments have to be made. Can we afford to build? Do we have the time? Do we have the space? Do we have contractors to do great work, especially great excavators that will dig deep and set our foundations? During the building process, inspections will be made based on the building codes, and if anything is built inconsistent with code, construction has to stop in that area and the error has to be corrected. After a home survives assessments, construction, and inspection, the home is ready to be furnished and inhabited. What does any of this have to do with our faith walk as Christians? Well, the same process exists for ministry, for building a marriage, for living in a Godly way in this godless society. There is a building process that exists for everything in our lives as believers and preparation is key. How do we prepare for what we don’t have yet? Today we will look at Proverbs 24:27, building an indestructible house in the Lord.
”Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.”
The word ”prepare” means ”to erect, to set up, to establish, or to make firm”. The word ”work” means deputyship, or ministry”. If we are ”preparing our work without”, then that means what we are doing right in this moment should be towards where God has led us. In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, the Bible says, ”For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues.” The first thing we must understand is God has already placed our purpose within us, and He has already appointed the time for us to exercise that gift. Until that point comes, everyone goes through a ”training ground experience”, where we learn more about what God says, what He has given us, and how to use what we have in Him.
Before anything can be established, the foundation has to be laid. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, the Bible says, ”According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Our ministries begin with our faith walk, and if Christ isn’t the foundation of our faith walk, then our ministry won’t be either. Jesus Christ must be our foundation, and from salvation, we experience the process of sanctification, where the foundation of Christ must be reinforced in our lives. Think not?
In Romans 12:2, the Bible says, ”And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the RENEWING of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Renewing our mind reinforces our foundation in Christ, making every piece we build consistent with the foundation of Jesus Christ. Many are trying to be ministers without a secure foundation in Christ, and just as many are being led astray due to poor shepherding. I never knew I would be doing these daily devotionals 13 years ago, when my commitment was solely on getting to know the Word of God better, but all of these years of studying, attending church service, listening to pastor’s sermons, having Bible studies with brothers, and ministering to my Momma when she was battling her drug addiction prepared me for what I do now. This work now is preparing me for pastoring, but I must prepare my work without having the role.
”And make it fit for thyself in the field”
The phrase ”make it fit” implies that one is ”readying it to become”. In 1 Samuel 16:17-18, the Bible says, ”And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the LORD is with him.” David was anointed to be king, because the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, troubling his spirit in the process. Imagine David, anointed to be king, but he was delegated to serve as a harp player under the same king he would eventually take over from. The position seems insignificant to someone anointed to be king, but let’s look deeper. David now gets a front row seat to kingdom business, and has direct communication with the king on a daily basis. Why was David given this role? Three reasons. He was anointed to be king, the Lord was with him, and he had kingly gift of being valiant, wise, and played a mean harp!
In Proverbs 18:16, the Bible says, ”A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.’‘ Because of what God has placed inside of David, and because David made it fit for himself in the field, he became what he was anointed to be, king! We tend to want the end result without the process, and people would rather ministry be handed to them, instead of the ”preparation of the work without and making it fit in the field”. The word ”field” refers to open country. Why is this so important? We have to make room for God to build the parameters of our ministry and purpose, so it would be in our best effort to keep the field open for His Word to fill.
And afterwards, build thine house”.
The key to this part of the verse is the word ”afterwards”. If we put the cart before the horse, and try to build our house before we prepare and fit it in the field, then we will suffer disaster. In Luke 14:28-30, the Bible says, ”For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” The last thing we want to do as believers of Christ is start something for the kingdom of God that we don’t finish. As Christians and followers of God’s Word, it should be our ambition to see our faith until its completion, because in Philippians 1:6, it says, ”Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. If God finishes what He started and Christ finishes what He started, then there is no excuse for us.
We have the kingdom of God within us that must be built on earth. Prepare, fit, and build wisely!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 16, 2022 – Proverbs 19:21 – nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand
Growing up, I had an idea for how my life would go. First, I wanted to be a pediatrician, then an FBI agent, then I wanted to be a clinical lab technologist, then I went all the way in a different direction. I wanted to be the most impactful gang member, the most trusted thug, the most skillful thief, and someone who would be known for my ability to use a gun. Sandwiched in between these extremes, was a preacher who, on my 17th birthday, pointed me out of a crowd of people and yelled, ”Preacher”, speaking prophecy that I would become a preacher. I did what any normal person, who had his own thoughts, own plans, and own ambitions would do. I ran! I am a living witness that the counsel of God, the Word of God, stands because despite my best efforts to go my own way, I am really enjoying what God is doing in my life right now as I share His Word daily. I am not officially a preacher yet, but the writing is clear on the wall that this is an inevitable reality, one I fully embrace. Not as I will, but God’s will be done. Today, we are looking at Proverbs 19:21, the eternal durability of God’s Word.
”There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.”
The word ”devices” means ”thoughts, purposes, contrivances, intention, or plan”. In Psalm 33:10-11 the Bible says, ”The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” We must make sure that our devices line up with the Word of God, or they won’t hold up. God won’t allow thoughts, intentions or plans that weren’t authorized by Him to prevail in a believer’s lives. In Hebrews 12:2, the Bible says, ”Looking unto Jesus the AUTHOR and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
This is very important, because many people don’t understand that we were created for a purpose, with a God-given intention and plan for our lives, and that is the reference point for where our thoughts should be, for how we should make our plans, and for how we should set our intention.
In Proverb 16:1, the Bible says, ”The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.” We can make all of the plans in the world, but God has to sign off on it. This is why someone can go to law school, endure 8 years of schooling, and then God calls them to abandon the career that could mean wealth, success, and making a positive impact on society in order to go across the country as a missionary. What if, before we make plans, we inquire of God what His plan is, and where He wants us to go? What if we intended to sync our plans with the Word and direction of God first? We may save ourselves a major journey through the wilderness only to find out we have to go back to the drawing board.
The word ”counsel” means advice, advisement, or prudence. In Job 23:12-14, the Bible says, ”Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.”
Is the counsel of the Lord food for us in our lives, a necessary sustenance for us to live and live abundantly in Him, or are we so full of ourselves, that the Word of the Lord can’t fit in? God has something appointed FOR us as His children, but will we accept His plan? In Isaiah 55:8, the Bible says, ”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD”. In order for us to receive God’s thoughts and walk according to His ways, we have to let go of our own thoughts and relinquish our own way.
The word ”stand” means ”endure, remain, or be established”. In Luke 21:33, Christ says, ”Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” See, our own devices have an expiration date and even in Acts 5:38-39, the Bible says, ”And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.”
Nothing will overthrow or usurp the plan of God for our lives.
I am sitting here sharing the Word of God, fulfilling my call step by step, surely becoming the ”preacher” God anointed me to be. Isaiah 46:10, the Bible says, ”Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”. God’s counsel will prevail because it was established from the beginning, so how could our devices ever stand up to the established will of God?
Marshall and Jessica
Mar 17, 2022 – 1 John 2:27 – ye shall abide in him
As believers, we all have the access to the Holy Spirit, who will lead us, teach us, guide us into all truth, and ensure that we can walk in the anointing that He has placed on our lives. Do we give the Holy Spirit the credit He deserves as being the Teacher, and do we attribute the pastors, leaders, and teachers of the Church as the teachers in our lives. What if we don’t have a pastor, teacher or preacher in our lives? Do we stop learning about the Word of God? Do we stop receiving the mysteries of Jesus Christ because there isn’t anyone to teach us? Do we shut off the teaching of the Holy Spirit because we are too busy waiting on teaching from another? We must understand that we now have the Holy Spirit to teach us the mysteries of God. Today, we will look at 1 John 2:27, Divine teaching from the Holy Spirit that leads to oneness with God.
”But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
The word ”anointing” means ”endowment, special communication or reception of the Holy Spirit”. The word ”received” means ”to seize or take hold of”. The Holy Spirit activates the power of God! In Isaiah 61:1, the Bible says, ”The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” Christ Himself, who is God robed in flesh, received the anointing of God to fulfill His call in the earth. Now if Christ freely received God’s anointing, then why would we ever feel like we are exempt?
In 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, the Bible says, ”Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.’‘ God establishes us together in Christ, and He places His anointing upon us, giving us the power of the Holy Spirit to discern the Word of God for ourselves.
There is always evidence of God’s anointing in our lives. In Acts 10:38-39, the Bible says, ”How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree”. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive not only the teachings of God, but we receive His power as well, to fulfill the things God ordains for us to in this earth. There will not only be concrete evidence of the Holy Spirit’s power, but there will be witnesses as well.
We don’t receive God’s anointing from men. It clearly says, ”But the anointing which ye have received OF HIM abideth in you”. The word ”abideth” means ”to live in, stay, remain, or endure”. 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.” We have to receive the Holy Spirit for the anointing, power, and presence of God to reside within us. We don’t want God to just pay us a visit, but we want God to remain in our lives forever, for us to always be available to receive the teachings of our God and move in His power. The Holy Spirit’s residence in us empowers us to be believers that we never thought we’d ever be, and partake in the divine nature of God in ways we couldn’t comprehend.
”And ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth and no lie.”
The word ”teach” means ”instruct, or cause to learn”. In James 1:5, the Bible says, ”If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Because we all have received the anointing of God, and the inhabitation of the Holy Spirit, we all have access to the same wisdom of God. The question is, do we ask God to give us wisdom to discern His Word? Some of us only see a pastor or a teacher once a week. Who is teaching us throughout the week? 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.” Once God equips us with His anointing and with His Holy Spirit, the responsibility is now on us to learn the things of God, and the preachers and teachers are merely the vehicles by which we are exposed to more teaching. God doesn’t give us this verse for us to be ”one person acts”, but He gives us this verse for us to understand that truth, teaching, leading, and wisdom come from Him first, and as believers, we all have access to the same well!
May we come to embrace the Holy Spirit as our great Teacher!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 18, 2022 – Romans 5:1 – we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ
Through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have access to forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. Imagine going to court for an offense, or in my case, a bunch of offenses, and you stand in front of the judge admitting to the wrong you have done. You ask for mercy, for salvation, even though you know you don’t deserve it. The judge looks at you, and says,
”I love you, so I sent my son to serve the sentence that belonged to you. The blood he sheds for you has cleansed you from your unrighteousness, and not only are you saved, but I declare you now innocent of these charges. You are free to go, my son has paid the cost in full.”
I shake my head as I type this because God’s love is so powerful, and this same situation happened on the cross with Jesus Christ, sent by God to die for our sins, so that all who believe on His name would be declared innocent. Today, we will look at Romans 5:1, justification by faith producing peace with God.
”Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
The word ”therefore” expresses a continuation of a previous thought, and therefore is typically used when someone is summing up what was said before. For contextual purposes, let’s look back at Romans 4:23-25, which says, ”Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Chapter 4 is speaking on the faith of Abraham, trusting the Word of the Lord, even though he had no visual clue of where it would lead. Abraham left his father’s house, journeyed to a faraway land, nearly sacrificed his son, all at the Word of the Lord. His faith was counted as righteousness. The beauty about Romans 4:23-25, it that God clearly establishes that we have access to this same faith, to this same justification, and we have something greater because we have Jesus Christ our Lord ensuring our justification through our faith in Him. God allowed Him to die for our sins and rise again to declare us righteous in Him. So the ”therefore” continues to establish the point that has been made throughout Romans 4, especially in verses 23-25.
The word ”justified” means ”to render, show or regard as innocent or righteous, absolving us from the consequences of sin, and admittance to the enjoyment if divine favor.” In Isaiah 32:17-18, the Bible says, ”And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places”. The justification of God is supposed to usher peace into our lives, where we are not agonizing over our fallen state, or terrified of the judgement and punishment of God. God’s justification so given so we can be reborn, living a new life altogether. 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.’‘ Old things are passed away, so that means our old lives died too. In Romans 6:3-4, the Bible says, ”Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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.” Christ didn’t die on the cross for our sins, so we can then use our new freedom to live in guilt and shame for what was done in the past. Christ died in the cross so that we can walk in ”the newness of life”, experiencing a new thing, a new life, with ALL things becoming new. Being justified gives us this access, but it is our job to take it.
The word ”faith” means ”persuasion, moral conviction, assurance, and belief. In Romans 10:17, the Bible says, ”So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” If it is in the Word of God, or if it is spoken by the Holy Spirit, we have a firm foundation to place our faith. Faith is always going to be attached to the Word of God.
The word ”peace” speaks of peace of mind, tranquility, arising from reconciliation with God and a sense of a divine favor. In Ephesians 2:13-14, the Bible says, ”But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us”. We must be secure in who we are and where we now stand as the result of the blood of Jesus Christ. If we don’t have peace, then have we cleaved to the promises of God concerning us? God allowed Christ to die to make us one with Him both in death and in life. Only the blood of Christ can give us justification and peace!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 19, 2022 – Romans 5:2 – we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand
When we received salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, we received the gift of eternal life. That alone is enough, and God could’ve stopped the flow of His provision after and been justified, but He gave us more. He gave us access into His kingdom, limitless access to His wisdom, power, and provision, and in His kingdom, we have peace on all sides. We don’t walk the earth anymore in a fallen state, but we walk this earth with the ability to bring heavenly things to earth, just as Christ did. We walked on shaky ground when we were of the world, but now, as believers, we have a sure ground for our feet, and a sure foundation to build our lives upon. God gave us more, because we get to experience the glory of God both now and in heaven, and He has given us the ability to reign for Him, to share the kingdom in our family, in our jobs, in school, and in our communities. Today, we will look at Romans 5:2, unrestricted access into the kingdom of God by faith in 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.”
The word ”access” means ”admission, or permission to enter into the presence of God”. In John 10:9, Christ says, ”I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Christ is the door, and we will find pasture in our going out and coming in. This means everywhere we go we have the opportunity to experience the kingdom of God, to unlock the mysteries of God, to receive provision directly from the kingdom of God. 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” If we don’t enter into the presence of God, then how can we expect to receive of the provision of the kingdom? In John 14:5-6, the Bible says, ”Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If we try to access the kingdom of God by any other way than Christ, then we will hit a dead end every time. Christ is the only way.
The word ”grace” means ”goodwill or unmerited specifically the divine favor as exercised in conferring gifts, graces, benefits on mankind, and also in saving man from sin.” 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: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” The grace of God cements salvation for they that believe in the name of Jesus Christ and have received Him and not only as Savior, but as Lord also. A picture of grace is this: God calls a murderer of Christians to become one of the chief apostles, without walking directly with Christ, or being one of the 12 disciples. Saul surrendered completely to God, and God caused the Holy Spirit to equip him for a task that he wouldn’t be able to handle any other way. Grace is the bridge that God builds between where we are now and where He ordains us to be.
The word ”stand” means ”to abide and be established in”. In Ephesians 3:7-8, the Bible says, ”Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ”. Paul understood that he only had the position he had because of the grace of God working effectively within him. He felt he didn’t deserve it, and saw service to God as a privilege, not an entitlement.
The word ”hope” means ”anticipation, expectation, or confidence, especially of those who experience the hope of salvation through Christ, eternal life and blessed”. In Hebrews 10:19, the Bible says, ”Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus”. We are to celebrate, with thanksgiving, the access we have to the kingdom of God, and for also being able to anticipate and expect to experience the kingdom of God on earth.
The word ”glory” means ”honor and praise”, signifying God’s light shining upon us in approval, because whatever glory we receive, we return it back to Him. In Colossians 1:27, the Bible says, ”To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”. There is no hope without Christ, and there is no chance of experiencing the glory of God without Him. Having access to the kingdom of God gives us real hope, real peace, provision that won’t fail, and power to operate as the children of God in the earth. In Titus 2:13, the Bible says, ”Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”. We have something powerful to look forward to, the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 20, 2022 – 2 Chronicles 15:2 – The LORD is with you, while ye be with him
We have to remain in fellowship with God, abiding in Him for everything we need to be the children of God. In our lives as believers, we will face assignments that hedge on our very intimacy with God. God has no problem remaining with us, especially when we continue to remain in Him, but He will never bully us into oneness with Him. If we, at any junction of our faith walk, decide to turn our backs on God, then He will respond in the same way, and there can’t be any expectation that our lives will be blessed. A branch can only be fruitful as long as it remains attached to the tree, because the tree provides vital nutrients for the branches to bear fruit. Today, we were going to look at 2 Chronicles 15:2, remaining in the presence of God.
”And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.”
Asa was a king who was very different from the kings after Solomon’s death. In 2 Chronicles 14:2-4, the Bible says, ”And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves: And commanded Judah to seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.” Asa had a desire to serve God completely and acknowledge Him as Lord over his life and the lives of those in his kingdom. Anything that presented itself as idol worship, he took away, broke the images completely down. When people mounted up against Judah, Asa sought the Lord for help and the Lord gave him victory after victory. After the victories in war, the Holy Spirit came upon Azariah, who had this word for Asa, so Azariah met Asa to deliver the Word the Lord spoke concerning him.
The word ”hear” means ”to take heed, to hear intelligently with the intention of obeying”. God doesn’t just give us a word for us to let it travel through one ear and out of the other. He expects obedience from us. In 1 Samuel 15:22, 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.” God cares more about us obeying His Word and living His Word out in our lives than He does with our offerings. The Holy Spirit spoke a Word for Asa, that if followed, would secure His success as king and for the land of Judah and Benjamin.
”The Lord is with you, while ye be with him;”
This is a promise, but it has conditions. We can’t go our own way and expect the presence of the Lord to be with us. In James 4:7, 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.”
Asa already showed that he surrendered completely to God and established his kingdom on the Word of God, so why would God ask him to do what he was already doing? The enemy is always ready to enter into the picture with the attempt to lead those astray who aren’t rooted in the Word of God.
Solomon was the wisest man in the world and there was none like him in the earth, but in 1 Kings 11:4, the Bible says, ”For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” God didn’t want Asa to end up like Solomon. Solomon lost sight of God and his identity in Him, and ten tribes were broken away from Him as a result.
The word ”seek” means ”to tread frequently, to follow, inquire of in or to worship”. 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.” All of our hearts. That means there can be no division in us. 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”. God isn’t hiding from us, so if we seek in our worship, He will appear.
The word ”forsake” means ”to relinquish, to leave, or to let go”. In Psalm 37:28, the Bible says, ”For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.” As long as we remain in Him, He will remain in us, and we will never be counted as forsaken. Sadly, later in his kingdom, after doing so many things pleasing to God, Asa turned to the king of Syria for protection against Israel, instead of turning to God for protection. He forsook His God, he forsook the history of God giving him peace for the majority of his reign, and imprisoned Seer who came to speak against him forsaking the Lord.
Let us never turn our backs on the Lord, and may we always be a Church that seeks His presence daily.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 21, 2022 – Ephesians 2:19 – … and of the household of God
When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, also receiving the gift of salvation and eternal life by Christ’s redeeming blood, He gives us a new identity altogether. No longer do we have the titles we once walked in, nor do we have to answer to the stereotypes society gives us based on its ever-changing standards. We have been freed spiritually in order to live in true freedom on earth, and God has called us to walk as children of His kingdom, possessing every provision God has readily made available to us. Amid our new lives and identities lies the memory of who we used to be, of what society thinks we are, and a very crafty enemy, who loves to trick us into thinking that no matter how saved we are, we are still just as foul as we were before. What do we believe, what the Word of God says about who we are, or do we believe in man’s report of who we are? Today, we will look at Ephesians 2:19, our established identities in the kingdom of God.
”Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God”
The word ”therefore” suggests that a previous point is being established now. Paul is imploring the Church in Ephesus to remember who they used to be, strangers to the kingdom of God, but to also remember Ephesians 2:13-14, which says, ”But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us”. The blood of Jesus Christ has drawn us closer to Him, and anything that previously restricted our access to God has been torn down. There is now nothing that hinders our access directly to God, but many believers are still walking like their past actions still disqualify them from the kingdom.
The word ”strangers” means ”guests or aliens”. The word ”foreigners” means ”one not having a home near, one without right of citizenship, or strangers outside of church.” In 1 Peter 2:10, the Bible says, ”Which in TIME PAST were not a people, but are NOW the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” There is a major difference between who we were and who we are, and that difference is Christ. We weren’t a people of God before Christ, we were no different than wanderers in the earth with no home. We obtained mercy from God because of our salvation, and we are now the children 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.” God bestows daily mercies upon us as children of God, because of His faithfulness, not our own. Too many believers can’t experience the ”promised land” of salvation and power now, because they still feel the bondage of Egypt over their lives. One of the major reasons we haven’t grasped who we are now is because we have to be reconditioned by the Word of God. 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.” We are made new in Christ and our old life is no more. We aren’t strangers and foreigners to God now. We are His children, and we are a part of an everlasting kingdom full of power and authority in earth and in heaven.
The word ”fellow-citizens” refers to Christians. In Romans 8:15-17, the Bible says, ”For ye have not received the spirit of bondage AGAIN to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” God didn’t give us this position as children of God, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, so we can then pick up bondage again as if Christ’s death and His shed blood did nothing for us. Adoption means we weren’t naturally born into this family, but we were chosen, brought in to experience this family the same way as those born into the family.
In 1 John 4:17, the Bible says, ”Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” Many don’t have boldness in the day of judgement because they are too busy passing judgement upon themselves for things the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed them from, and they are also too busy allowing others to pass judgement upon them for their past, accepting the testimony spoken against them as truth.
The word ”saints” means ”those consecrated, made holy, those who are purified and sanctified by the influences of the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 3:6, the Bible says, ”That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel”. As believers, we have access to ALL these precious promises, to whatever the Word of God divinely has bestowed upon us, but whether or not we accept who we now are and access the kingdom is completely up to us.
Do we believe what the Word of God says about us, or do we accept what our own thoughts of inferiority tell us? Do we accept the promises of God, or do we succumb to the enemy’s advances? Are we in the kingdom or still strangers and foreigners?
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 22, 2022 – 1 Peter 5:8 – be sober, be vigilant
We are to always keep watching as believers, especially in this every changing world we live in. The enemy is busy, influencing people out of marriages, out of families, into drugs, crime, and all kinds of lawlessness. Christ wasn’t exempt from being tempted by Satan, and in fact, He was led into the wilderness to be tempted, but Christ got the victory. How? By the Word of God! Too many of us try to fight battles against the enemy with the wrong weaponry. You can’t think your way out of an attack from the enemy, nor can you physically fight a spiritual war and expect victory. We must keep watch, because it is not always easy to see the enemy when he comes, and sometimes, the enemy will advance through those you love the most. We must always reach after God in the face of warfare, and rely on His Word to give us victory over all of the enemy’s advances. Christ overcame the enemy so we could have the same victory. Today, we will look at 1 Peter 5:8, keeping watch against a crafty enemy.
”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”
The word ”sober” means ”to watch or abstain”. The word ”vigilant” means ”to keep awake, or to pay attention”. In Matthew 26:41, Christ says, ”Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The enemy is always trying to find a point of entry, a place of vulnerability where he can strike. The point of us remaining awake and keeping watch is so the enemy doesn’t pull a surprise attack. In Luke 21:34-36, Christ says, ”And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you UNAWARES. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.’‘ Keeping watch and being vigilant ensures that we maintain a safer advantage over the schemes of the enemy, and we will be able to escape his advances in victory, and be able to please God in the process.
In Ephesians 6:10-11, the Bible says, ”Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” We don’t have to operate in our own strength, nor in our own power, but we rest in the strength of the Lord and in the power of HIS might. Too many of us are trying to fight the enemy off without God, and wonder why we suffer extraordinary defeats in the process.
”Because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”
God gives us the enemy’s strategy, how he tries to attack. The word ”adversary” means ”opponent or accuser”. The word ”devil” means ”transducer, the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom, of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood and malice, and seducing to evil in every possible way.” In John 8:44, 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.” Christ makes the enemy’s tactics and his nature evident for us in the Word of God, to serve as a warning for what to watch out for.
God doesn’t just tell us to watch, but what to watch our for! In John 17:17, Christ also says, ”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” How do combat lies? By the truth! The Secret Service of the United States didn’t learn how to spot counterfeit money by studying great fakes, but they learned how to spot fakes by studying every inch of the authentic bills. In 2 Timothy 2:15-16, the Bible says, ”Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.” What we are studying and what comes out of our months can be vulnerable places for the enemy to step in and overcome us. A lion is a hunter who not only tries to use stealth to get close enough to its prey, but lions are pack hunters as well, so you don’t just have one hiding in the brush waiting to attack.
The word ”seeking” means ”plotting against”. The word ”devour” means ”to gulp entirely”. 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.” The enemy can attack all he wants, but as long as we remain in Christ, we will ALWAYS triumph.
Who we fight is not as important as WHO fights for us!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 23, 2022 – 1 Peter 5:10 – the God of all grace … after that ye have suffered a while …
As believers, our ultimate goal is to experience glory in heaven with God. That is going to be such an awesome experience, seeing God face to face, meeting Christ, seeing the angelic hosts singing praises to the Lord forever. Even as a smile comes across my face at the thought of this, I am also reminded that we can experience the glory of God on earth as we live, and also receive from God the provision we need to live our lives purely for Him. Sometimes, we will experience a little suffering on earth, but God never ordained for us to remain in a perpetual state of suffering and affliction. God has a season for suffering, and God has a season for our suffering to transform us into spiritual completeness, steadfastness, strength, and stability. Today, many don’t get to the other side of suffering because thry become conditioned to accept this as the norm. Today, we will look at 1 Peter 5:10, an unshakeable foundation of glory in God through Christ.
”But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
The word ”grace” speaks of divine grace, favor and goodwill of God towards men, but the grace of God also confers gifts and benefits upon man, manifested through and in Christ and His Gospel. This verse says, ”the God of ALL grace”. This means He possesses it all and freely gives it to us as His children. In 2 Corinthians 9:8, the Bible says, ”And God is able to make ALL grace abound toward you; that ye, always having ALL sufficiency in ALL things, may abound to EVERY good work”. God dispenses all grace upon us so we have everything we need to live and work for the kingdom of God on earth. We don’t have to wait on heaven to experience the fullness of God’s grace. He is ready to bestow it upon us right now! As God places His Holy Spirit in us, we have the same power to tap into the kingdom as Christ did! In 2 Peter 3:18, the Bible says, ”But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.’‘ We have to grow in grace while on earth and also in the knowledge of Christ as Lord and Savior. There is a process involved with our growth in grace, but as we learn more about the Word of God, we understand what we possess, and what we also have access to. If you have a car, but you don’t know that you need keys to start and drive the car, the car does you no good, right? Well, God gives us the keys to the vehicle of grace we drive, but we must understand how to receive it into our lives.
”Who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus”
The word ”called” suggests one being addressed by name, invited or summoned into salvation and to blessing of eternal life by Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:39, the Bible says, ”For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.” To those whom God calls, the promises pertain, and that means His grace as well, giving us exactly what we, on our own, are unable to be to fulfill His purpose for our lives. In Romans 1:5-7, the Bible says, ”By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ: To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.’‘ We are called indeed, but God has a purpose behind His call, for us to operate in obedience to the faith, to experience His grace, and to use what He has given us to point others to The Way.
”After ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
The word ”suffered” implies experienced pain, discomfort, or evil. It says ”a while”, so that isn’t permanent! In Romans 8:18, the Bible says, ”For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Even here, the sufferings are not spoken of in permanence.
The word ”perfect” means ”complete thoroughly”. The word ”stablish” means ”to set-fast”. The word ”strengthen” means ”to confirm in spiritual knowledge and truth”, and the word ”settle” means ”to lay a foundation, or lay a basis for”.
In Colossians 2:6-7, the Bible says, ”As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” If we are set-fast, completed thoroughly, confirmed, or have any foundation laid, it should be in Christ. God works through our sufferings to produce Godly strength and Godly character, attributes that aren’t temporary as long as we walk in them. God desires all of His Church be firm in it’s commitment to serve Him in all seasons including the unpleasant ones.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 24, 2022 – Hebrews 13:3 – remember them that are in bonds
I have been confined for over 18 and a half years. During that time, many turned their backs on me. I felt completely alone, and became conditioned to loneliness. For the first five years of my prison sentence, I was forgotten, unacknowledged, and very few people remembered me. Praise be to God, some of that has changed, and God has given me real friendships, real relationships, and my life is more full than it’s ever. Now, someone remembers me! What about the people who are in different forms of bondage, such as drug, alcohol, and porn addiction, depression, homelessness, criminality, and sinfulness? Who remembers the person who had lost their way? Today, we are going to look at Hebrews 13:3, remembering those who are in bondage.
”Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”
The word ”remember” means ”to be mindful, to recall to mind”. Remembering implies one joining themselves back to whatever and to whomever they had been previously been joined. In Acts 20:35, the Bible says, ”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 Church is supposed to be a pillar of God’s strength in the communities it serves, and our service is to everyone, especially those who are weak, downtrodden, rejected, those with no hope. We were people in broken states ourselves, needing salvation and redemption to walk as new creations in Christ. We can’t forget where we have been brought from ourselves when we look at others. In Romans 12:15-16, the Bible says, ”Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.” The Church is supposed to be a body of people saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, people who now desire the same salvation for the world as well. Too many of us have been in church for so long that we have forgotten the lost, the broken, the criminal, the depressed, the homeless, the harlot, the person that has lost their way, and the mostly what they receive from us is judgement. This shouldn’t be!
The word ”bonds” refers to ”captives or prisoners”. The phrase ”as bound with them” means ”as a fellow-prisoner”. This means we empathize with those in bondage like we are ourselves. This requires us to dig deeper and uncover their testimony, but most won’t go near a prisoner. Trust me, I know. In Isaiah 61:1, the Bible says, ”The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound”. These are the types of people Christ came to restore, to share His Gospel with, to free and to heal, yet the Church is losing ground daily with the very people we are supposed to serve.
In Matthew 25:34-36, Christ says, ”Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.” We please our God when we take care of His people, when we meet people right where they are and help them find their way to Christ, and when we help someone break free of bondage that had them captive their whole lives.
Remember what 1 John 4:17 said? ”Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because AS HE IS, SO ARE WE in this world.” If this is the case, then why are we so quick to turn our backs on the same people God told us to turn our faces too? Christ’s ministry should extend to and through us, so people get the same response.
The phrase ”suffer adversity” refers to any receiving maltreatment of torment. In 1 Corinthians 12:25-26, the Bible says, ”That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.’‘ This requires selflessness, to step into the fire with someone in order to pull them out of what has consumed them. Have we gotten so comfortable in our cushy churches that we have forgotten about the very people God called us to love and help?
If a toddler was in the street by themselves crying, what would you do? What is the difference between them and a prisoner, an addict, a prostitute, the unsaved, a backslider, the homeless, the rejected, the depressed? They all need salvation!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 25, 2022 – Hebrews 13:5 – I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee
Our God is the Provider for His children, ensuring that we have everything we need to live and thrive as people purposed by God. This society showcases wealthy people, ritzy lifestyles, and has developed a hierarchy between the ”haves and the have-not”, making people’s self-worth be according to how much they can splurge and the material possessions. Sadly, there are many broken rich people, because after the shopping sprees, after the money is made and spent, after they have gone from party to party, doing everything conceivable, there is still an emptiness within that only God can fill. In the kingdom of God, money means nothing unless it is blessed by God to perform what He intends for it to do. Believers shouldn’t be ruled by money, nor should we hasten to be rich. There is nothing wrong with a believer having nice things, but is our heart with our possessions, or is it with God? Today, we will look at Hebrews 13:5, the presence of God being our path to true wealth.
”Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
The word ”conversation” does not mean verbal communication between two or more parties. ”Conversation” means ”mode, style, or character”. The word ”covetousness” means ”greed of FILTHY lucre”. In Exodus 20:17, the Bible says, ”Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” This is the first time the word ”covet” was used in the Bible. The first reference of a word usually sets the precedent for all other uses. Do you see the running theme behind ”coveteousness”? The word ”neighbor’s”! When we look at someone else’s possessions as a template for what we feel we should have, we have effectively turned our eyes away from God and onto our neighbors, idolizing them in the process. In Joshua 7:21, the Bible says, ”When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.’‘ Covetousness leads to sin, and because of Achan’s covetousness, Israel lost a battle they should have easily won. How many battles do we lose as believers that we should’ve won because possessions became our God?
The word ”content” means ”to be satisfied within self”. In 1 Timothy 6:5-6, the Bible says, ”Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Just because a person has a ton of worldly possession, doesn’t mean they are blessed by God, and just because someone is broke, doesn’t mean they aren’t blessed by God. What we have or don’t have doesn’t amount to our worth. Job was extremely rich and lost it all, but never cursed God, nor turned His back on God. God was the source of his contentment, but after his testing, Job 42:12 says, ”So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.’‘ Job was even richer than he was before the testing, getting twice as much as had before. Contentment doesn’t mean that we don’t ask God for what we desire, but it means we don’t allow our desires to keep us from putting God first in all aspects of our lives. In Philippians 4:11, the Bible says, ”Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.’‘ Whatever state we are in, our attitudes are not to change. There was a time, just a few years ago, that I had thousands of dollars on my inmate account. During my own period of testing, my funds dwindled down to nothing, but my relationship with God has never been stronger before in my life! No matter what I have or don’t have, I have grown in ways money couldn’t facilitate, and I have learned that God is my Provider, and money is only a tool!
The word ”leave” means ”to slacken, or let up”. The word ”forsake” means ”to leave behind, or desert”. In Psalm 37:25-26, the Bible says, ”I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed’‘. Psalm 37 is a Psalm written to establish that God takes care of His children, and he establishes that God hasn’t deserted the righteous in Him, nor will we go without what we need. As long as God is with us, we will have everything we need, and as long as we allow the Word to abide in us, we will have whatever we ask of Him in prayer.
Life isn’t about what you have, but WHO you have.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 26, 2022 – Romans 8:35 – who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
As believers in Christ, we understand how great God’s love is towards us, making provision for redemption and salvation for our sins while we were still sinners, and in our case, before we were even born to sin! What about the love of God now that we are saved? Has it changed? Many of us tie our circumstances to God’s love and favor, and many of us feel that because we face some adversity in our lives that it means that God’s love has faded, or we have done something to fall out of fellowship with Him. Many also believe that because we are believers, that nothing wrong will happen to us, and we are somehow exempt from any kind of suffering. That is nowhere near truth! God not only warns us that we will face hardships, but He also assures us that nothing will separate us from Christ’s love. Today, we will look at Romans 8:35, the unbreakable, unshakeable love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
”Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
The word ”separate” means ”to cause to depart or be put asunder”. The word ”love” means ”Godly affection or benevolence that God extends to us as His children. It goes deeper than just that, because God loved us before we received Christ as Lord, when we were still deeply planted in our sinful lives. 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.” For confirmation purposes, let’s look at one of the most famous Scriptures in the Bible found in John 3:16, which 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.” See, God’s love for us was so deep and rich for us to where He made a way for us to be saved when we didn’t want a path to salvation. What about the love of Christ, allowing Himself to be tortured, beaten, crucified, all while he watched people both celebrate and cry over it? It was love that kept Him from escaping the pain He endured to ensure that we would have safe passage into the kingdom of God if we receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Painting a picture of what it took for us to be saved, should make us convinced that the love of Christ is unfailing. In Philippians 1:6, the Bible says, ”Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”. God finishes what He starts, and He doesn’t save us and then not care about our success as believers. Too many don’t believe this, and because of it, when adversity comes, they fall away?
If the word of God was planted, we would receive Romans 8:38-39 into our spirits, which says, ”For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’‘ Nothing, whether spiritual or earthly, can separate us from the love of God in Christ, but many receive the lies of the enemy into their spirit.
The word ”tribulation” means ”pressure, anguish, or trouble”. The word ”distress” means ”the narrowness of the room” implies the walls closing in around us. In John 16:33, Christ says, ”These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.’‘ Christ warns us that we will experience tribulation as believers, but do not let it rattle us, because our Lord is more than a conqueror. He overcame the world!! In Psalm 118:5, the Bible says, ”I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.’‘ Our Lord hears our cries from distress and will respond with the help we need. How many of us suffer in silence?
The word ”persecution” implies a mental, physical, and emotion suffering believers in Christ can experience because of their faith in Christ. The word ”famine” means ”a lack of food”. The word ”peril” means ”danger”, and the word ”sword” implies war or punishment. In 2 Corinthians 12:10, the Bible says, ”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.” This is the attitude we must have when we are going through our trials, seeing it as an opportunity to receive the strength of the Lord to endure and triumph!
God doesn’t promise us that we wouldn’t have trials, but He does promise us that His love won’t fail, and He will be with us always. In James 1:12, the Bible says, ”Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.’‘ Oh yeah, we have a crown ready for us too!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 27, 2022 – Luke 6:27 – but I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you
It is so easy to love people who do right by us. It even brings us pleasure to love people who are kind, gentle and peaceable to us. If all we had to do was love those who do everything right, who make us feel good, who do things that cause happiness to those around us, then life would be awesome! In reality, that is not always the case. In truth, people are going to do things that offend us, that hurt us to the core, and there are going to be people who oppose us at every turn. I live in an environment where people have disrespected my faith in so many ways, putting my faith to test just to gauge my response. I am required to love anyway. I have had family that have despised the blessings God has bestowed upon me, yet I still am required to love them anyway. Requirement is one thing, but loving someone by choice, despite their bad acts or behaviors, is where God wants us to be as believers. Today, we will look at Luke 6:27, having sincere, overflowing love for our enemies.
”But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.”
The word ”hear” means ”to give attention to”, with the intention of obeying the word that is given. Obedience is definitely a requirement in our faith, because in Luke 6:46, Christ says, ”And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” There is no point in hearing the Word of God and then not carrying it out. In 1 Samuel 15:22, 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.” Our offerings, our ministries, our service means nothing without obedience to God, when we honor God by our outward displays, and then slap Him in the face in our hearts. This shouldn’t be, and I am speaking to myself more than anyone.
In James 1:19-20, the Bible says, ”Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.’‘ Our impulse, should be to hear God’s word first before we speak or move, especially when we speak, because our words have power. In Proverb 10:19, the Bible says, ”In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” We can’t hear and speak at the same time, which means that we have to turn off one to turn on the other. If we are doing a lot of talking, then that means that we aren’t tuning our ears to the ”frequency” of the Holy Spirit.
The word ”love” implies a regard for someone with favor, goodwill, and benevolence. The word ”enemies” means ”hateful adversaries”. So wait a minute, we have to regard our hateful adversaries with favor, goodwill, and benevolence? So that means we can’t punish their offenses, but rather love them despite their offenses? In Matthew 18:21, the Bible says, ”Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” We as people are always trying to find the ”breaking point” with people, so we can feel justified in cutting them off, but God wants us to lose count of their offenses and also lose count of how many times we have forgiven them. It’s easier to forgive someone you love because you want to remain in fellowship with them, but loving someone who hates our guts takes a little more. It is still the same love, but the willingness is different.
1 John 4:20-21, the Bible says, ”If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.’‘ We know that we have done things in our lives to sin greatly against our God but His love causes Him to look upon us with compassion and forgive our offenses. How can we receive such a great love and forgiveness, and then not extend that to someone else?
The word ”good” implies deeds done which fulfill God’s intended purpose for our lives. The word ”hate” means ”to detest in order to persecute”. In Genesis 50:20, the Bible says, ”But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.’‘ Joseph had the power to completely destroy his brothers, to get even for them selling him into slavery, but he restored them into his fellowship, seeing love and forgiveness over the offense. In Luke 23:34, the Bible says, ”Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Christ watched His accusers as they put Him to death, but He loved and forgave them, despite their offenses.
What stops our love and forgiveness?
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 28, 2022 – Luke 5:32 – I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance
In the prison environment I currently reside in, I hear a lot of excuses why guys don’t come to God, why they won’t attend service, and why they won’t seek salvation. Some have stated that they don’t come to God because they are waiting until they are done sinning, so they can come to God totally. Some have blamed the bad acts of believers and the poor examples they set as the reason why they haven’t and won’t come to the faith. Yet still, some feel like they have gone too far in their sin and done so much wrong that they can’t see forgiveness and repentance as a possibility. There are people that mistakenly believe that repentance is for people who have cleaned their lives up, for people who appear to be holy, but repentance is for the people who have lost their way. God loves us so much, and He is still calling for us, no matter how much wrong we have done. Today, we will look at Luke 5:32, a loving God calling the people society deems unlovable.
”I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
The word ”came” means ”to appear or make one’s appearance”. We must first understand why Christ came to the Earth in order to truly understand why salvation applies to us, no matter how far in the wrong direction we have travelled. In John 1:29-30, 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. This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.” John the Baptist saw Christ and received the revelation about who Christ was and what He came to do.
In Matthew 1:21, the Bible says, ”And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Jesus’ name was established before He was born. Back in these days, the name a child had was their identifier, and the name of Jesus means ”The Lord Saves”. Even the Hebrew version of His name, Yeshua, means ”The Lord Saves”. So Jesus’ mission on earth was to save the world from their sins. In John 3:16-17, Christ 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.’‘ So our Savior’s mission was to save, not to condemn, so that those who are saved may experience everlasting life. There are people that believe they don’t qualify for this gift because of the wrong they have done, but have they considered that this Gift was offered before we were alive, and this Gift was given in full knowledge that we would fall short?
The word ”call” means ”to address by name, to invite or summon.” In John 6:44, Christ says, ”No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Despite what we have done, God is still drawing us to him. This means God has not given up on us! In John 12:32, Christ says, ”And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me.” I know this firsthand, that our Savior could save anyone, despite the wrong they have done. I was far from righteous on my best day. The word ”righteous”’ means ”upright, equitable, holy, innocent, people of virtuous, Godly conduct.” Christ didn’t come for the ”fixed” but He came for the sinner in need of salvation. In John 8:10-11, the Bible says, ”When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Christ took a woman society condemned, and through a lack of compassion, brought her before Christ to accuse her and have her stoned. Christ addressed their own sin, challenging any to throw a stone if they were without sin. In Romans 3:23, the Bible says, ”For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. When all left, Christ encouraged her to go live a sin-free lifestyle.
The word ”sinners” means ”transgressors, impious people, people who deviate from the Word of God.” The word ”repentance” means ”pious sorrow for unbelief and sin, a turning from sin to turn to God, or a changing of the mind”. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, the Bible says, ”If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Repentance creates healing in a person’s life, and causes them to have the good soil for the seed that will reap a great harvest. In Romans 2:4, the Bible says, ”Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” It is God’s goodness, His patience, and His love that leads us to repentance. Who are we to then feel that we aren’t qualified to receive the forgiveness, salvation, and redemption God has prepared for us?
There is no righteous one on our own, but we have been made the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus, a gift available to all who receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. His redeeming blood is the only thing that can wash us clean.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 29, 2022 – Hebrews 12:14 – follow peace with all men, and holiness
Peace is such a beautiful thing, especially in a world that seems to be completely stripped of peace. There are conflicts all over the world, and currently Russia has invaded Ukraine, causing a lot of death and destruction in the process. In the United States, there is violence, dissension, and one can’t watch the news report without watching something that causes most to shake their heads in disbelief. This world is void of peace because this world is becoming more Godless by the second, and we can’t have real peace without the presence of the Lord. If God isn’t in the picture, then we are also missing salvation and a life of holiness available to all who receive Christ as Lord and Savior. There is no real spiritual growth without peace and holiness, because God will not dwell in chaos, and a person can’t grow when they are a climate of turmoil and sin. Today, we will look at Hebrews 12:14, the pursuit of peace and holiness.
”Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”
The word ”follow” means ”to pursue”. The word ”peace” means ”oneness with, harmony, or tranquility”. The word ”men” here isn’t speaking of gender, but of mankind in general. This means that we are to always find ways to be in harmony with others. In Psalm 34:14-15, the Bible says, ”Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” We can’t experience God’s peace with evil dwelling inside of us. Evil keeps us out of fellowship with God and the people of God. In James 3:16-17, the Bible says, ”For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” These are polar opposites: evil produces confusion, strife and envying, but the wisdom of God produces purity, peace, mercy, and good fruit. God not only wants us to experience all of these beautiful things, but He also wants us to extend that experience to others through our interactions and through our love. Romans 12:18, the Bible says, ”If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” If God’s word is telling us to pursue peace with all men, then we have the ability to live peaceably with all men, because God is never going to command us to do anything that we are incapable of doing.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:16, the Bible says, ”Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.’‘ When the Lord gave us peace, He gave us something of Himself, and this verse is saying that the Lord wants to bestow peace upon us in all situations, even ones that are difficult to handle. In Romans 5:1, the Bible says, ”Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Because of our salvation and our place in the kingdom of God, we now have peace with God that we never had before. In Colossians 3:14-15, the Bible says, ”And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And LET the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” God gives us everything we need to have peace and live in peace, but we have to let peace reign in our lives. Without that, we can’t, and won’t, extend that to others.
The word ”holiness” means ”sanctification or purity”, which is a process of continual separation from the things of this worldly system to receive the things of God. The point of sanctification is to draw us closer and closer to the Lord, so we manifest His image and His likeness in the earth as He intended for us from the beginning. In John 17:17, Christ says, ”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” The word of God is what we must use to bring us into this awesome relationship with God and also with mankind. Without the Word of God, we wouldn’t know how to live in holiness or how to correct behavior that has pulled us out of alignment with God. 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 positions us to be exactly who God calls us to be, and to also live in obedience to His Word. In John 17:19, Christ says, ”And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” Christ was sanctified so that we could experience sanctification as well.
The word ”see” means ”to gaze with wide open eyes at something truly remarkable”. In Matthew 5:8, Christ says, ”Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’‘ Peace and holiness open the floodgates for us to experience the power and mighty hand of God, but it also allows us to earn His approval!
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 30, 2022 – Hebrews 12:15 – looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God
We have a secure foundation in Christ as believers, and that foundation allows us to build our faith, our relationships, and our purpose without fear of loss. This is a security that God provides, but this is also something we can relinquish by focusing our attention on the world instead of on God and His Word. When God gives us a beautifully blazed trail and we decide not to remain on that path, then we become responsible for what happens to us afterwards. If we don’t steward our faith well, we will enter a battlefield without armor, or enter a decision without the right mindset to do what God requires. Our minds have the ability to defile us a lot more than the world can, but many of us allow negative, worldly thinking to rob us of an amazing spiritual experience. Today, we will look at Hebrews 12:15, keeping our minds in check according to the Word of God.
”Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”
The phrase ”looking diligently” means ”to oversee, to give attention to, or to beware”. There is a great level of alertness we as believers must have living in the world we live in. In Matthew 26:40-41, the Bible says, ”And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The reason the enemy has been having a field day on the Church us because we have been sleeping instead of watching, we have been focused on the world and the Word hasn’t reigned in our lives. Keeping watch ensures that we aren’t misled or weakened by a constantly approaching enemy. In Matthew 26:56, Christ says, ”But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.” Because the disciples weren’t keeping watch, they fled in fear when the moment of testing came, even when some professed that they would die with the Lord for the faith. In James 4:7, the Bible says, ”Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” We aren’t the ones that are supposed to be fleeing from the enemy. The enemy is supposed to flee from us.
”Lest any man fail of the grace of God”
The word ”fail” means ”to be found deficient, or to fall short”. The word ”grace” speaks of divine grace and favor as exercised in conferring gifts, graces, and benefits on mankind, manifested in the benefits bestowed in and through Christ and His Gospel. 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.” So, if God always causes us to triumph in Christ, then why isn’t the Church more of a place of victory than what it is? Why are there so many believers who attend services every week defeated, not finding the victory they hope to have? Two words: ”In Christ”. We are too busy trying to win the battle on our own that we haven’t remained in Christ, where the victory is. We become deficient, or fall short, in the grace when we don’t use what God is giving us for victory. 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.’‘ Most people want victory, but won’t study the Word of God to find out how to live in and from victory ”In Christ”.
In John 1:14, the Bible says, ”And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of GRACE and TRUTH.” If then we are deficient in any of these things, are we ”in Christ”, allowing The Word of God to reign? If Jesus isn’t Lord, we will fail every time.
”Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”
The ”root of bitterness” can be explained as anything that poisons us, thus making us unfruitful in the kingdom of God. The phrase ”springing up” means ”to germinate, or grow”. The word ”defiled” means ”to sully, taint, or contaminate”. In Hebrews 3:12, the Bible says, ”Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.’‘ When we depart from the living God, when we refuse to obey His Word, when we don’t access His precious promises, then our attitudes will conform to that of the world, and it will taint our faith.
Deuteronomy 29:18 says, ”Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood”.
May we remain in the presence of the Lord, receiving the Word of Life, so we will be victors in the faith, not victims.
Marshall & Jessica
Mar 31, 2022 – Hebrews 10:39 – but of them that believe to the saving of the soul
I remember once hearing about conquerors going to a new land, and setting the ships that transported them on fire shortly after landing. The thought was ”conquer or be conquered”, but a deeper thought was ”there is no turning back now”. Forward was the only option whether it be in triumph or defeat, without knowing exactly what they were up against. The type of confidence, and fear they must have had that they had to check in order to fulfill their mission had to be huge. In our faith, the same dynamic exists, where we have to burn the ships of our past down and seize this new land, without turning back from the call of the Lord. We have been freed from a lifetime of bondage, and from the penalty of sin and death, so we owe it to God to see our salvation through to the end. There are many that come to the faith but fall away for whatever reason. This can’t be us, because forward in the Lord has to be the only option. Today we will look at Hebrews 10:39, being a people progressive in our faith.
”But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
The phrase ”draw back” means ”to shrink in timidity, or apostasy.” The word ”perdition” means ”ruin, loss, or destruction including exclusion from the kingdom of God. The writer of Hebrews establishes that there must be a difference between the Church and these kinds of people. In 2 Corinthians 6:16-17, the Bible says, ”And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.’‘ The Church is supposed to be ”all in” for the Word of God, for the purposes of God in us, and for the salvation that we have in Christ. Where we stand with our God now that we have been redeemed should reflect in our actions, our behaviors and how we interact with people.
In Matthew 13:20-21, Christ says, ”But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” At first, it is hard to distinguish between those who have burned the ships behind them and seek the Lord with our whole hearts, and those who receive the Word of God with joy in a moment. Normally, when things become a little difficult or there is a period of testing, those who aren’t OF the faith will fall away and fall back into their old habits. They will go back to what is convenient even if they know it leads to destruction. In Matthew 7:26-27, Christ says, ”And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and DOETH THEM NOT, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.’‘ Our construction in Christ, or our destruction, depends on our obedience to the Word of God.
”But of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
The word ”believe” means ”having assurance, to be confident in, to be firmly persuaded, or to have faith and entrust ourselves in God.” In John 3:16, Christ 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.’‘ Our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He came, died, and rose so we can receive the gift of salvation and eternal life is foundational to our faith. This keeps us in place when the world has become unstable, when it has become a dark place, we have the Light of God guiding our paths. In Jeremiah 17:7, the Bible says, ”Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” There will be a difference between the life of a believer and the life of someone who isn’t rooted in the Lord. The believer who obeys the Word of God will bear fruit in their lives. The word ”saving” means ”acquisition or preservation”. This applies to us being raised from the dead, resurrected with Christ to experience everlasting life. In 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, the Bible says, ”For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.’‘ Those of us who are in Christ have obtained salvation so that we can have life with Him forever. Our forward movement in the Lord leads to an eternity in heaven, but there is an expiration date for those who draw back in perdition.
Choose this day who you will serve, but as for me and my house, we WILL serve the Lord!
Marshall & Jessica