Apr 1, 2022 – Hebrews 10:36 – for ye have need of patience
As believers, we all desire to be partakers of the promises of God. It is God’s promises that ensured that Israel would be set free from the Babylonian captivity, and God’s promises also ensured we would receive salvation by faith in Jesus, which is our being set free from the captivity of sin and death. Too many of us want to partake in the promises of God without fulfilling our end of the agreement. We tend to mistakenly believe that the promises of God require only belief, but there are always conditions to the promises of God, one being that we do His will. How can we ever expect to receive the blessings of God in His promises if He has not received our obedience? Why should God entertain our will if we haven’t done His? If we make our lives about doing the will of God, then we never have to worry about His promises not being fulfilled in us. Today, we will look at Hebrews 10:36, receiving the promises of God after accomplishing His will.
”For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
The word ”need” expresses something that is required, or something we are destitute of. Even as believers, we are going to experience deficits that only God can repair. In Philippians 4:19, the Bible says, ”But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Too many of us try to supply our own needs, and try to correct our own deficits, leaving no room for God to work abundantly in our lives. In Psalm 37:4-5, the Bible says, ”Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” If we surrender completely to God, in full trust, and for complete direction over the course of our lives, we will never have to worry about being deficient in anything. God will supply our need.
In Genesis 22:7-8, the Bible says, ”And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Isaac noticed that they lacked the lamb for sacrifice, but as we know by the story, God provided Abram a worthy sacrifice because of his faith. When we are found faithful, our needs will be supplied.
The word ”patience” means ”cheerful endurance, or constancy”. So patience isn’t merely waiting on something, but it is maintaining your joy as you wait. In Isaiah 40:31, the Bible says, ”But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Patience isn’t supposed to diminish our strength, but it is supposed to renew it. Patience isn’t supposed to make us weary, but should produce joy. Think not?
In James 1:2-4, the Bible says, ”My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Times that test our patience should produce joy, because not only will we overcome what is trying to refine us, but it will ensure that we won’t lack anything we need. Before we can even receive the will of God, we must be masters of patience and entrusting our needs to God.
”After ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
The key word to this part of the Scripture is the word ”after”. Too many of us want the promises of God without fulfilling the conditions. The word ”done” implies completion, accomplishing, or putting an end to something. In this case, it is the will of God. The word ”will” means ”purpose or decree”. 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.” The word ”prove” in this verse means ”to establish by evidence”. We have to leave the mindset of the world behind, and receive the mind of Christ, so we can continue to know what the will of God is concerning us. The word ”receive” means ”to seize, or take hold of for oneself”. The word ”promise” means ”an announcement of a divine assurance of good”, and in this case, the promise is salvation in Christ. In Romans 10:9, the Bible says, ”That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” There are always conditions to promises, but all God is asking us to do is confess the Lord Jesus and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead to receive salvation for our souls.
God asks for a little to give us a lot, doesn’t He?
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 2, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 1:10 – that there be no divisions among you
Division in the Church is not the will of God, nor is division in the Church pleasing to God in any way conceivable. Our churches are divided by denomination, by traditions of men, by sections of Scripture being misinterpreted and whole doctrines are birthed because of it, but all of this is because the Word of God isn’t the means by which we measure the truth. The Word of God is the only means by which we can remain accountable and unified in the faith, but sadly, we have allowed personal convictions, philosophy, and matters outside of Scripture to dictate how the Church is governed. If the Word of God is the only measuring tool of our faith, then unity in the body of Christ would be attainable, and the Lord would be pleased when He sees His complete Church. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 1:10, unity perfecting the will of God for His Church.
”Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
The word ”beseech” means ”to call upon someone to do something; to exhort or admonish”. Whenever this word is being used, it is a call for someone to really pay attention to the message that is being conveyed. The word ”brethren” refers to believers in Christ, people who have received salvation by faith in Christ, and have been made heirs of the promises of God. The phrase ”by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” implies the authority by which this message is conveyed. In Romans 12:1, the Bible says, ”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” We are to make ourselves available to receive the Word of God in faith and in obedience, completely denying ourselves in order to receive the truth of the Word into our lives. Making ourselves living sacrifices means our lives are no longer ours, but they belong to the Lord to do with us as He wills. In 1 Corinthians 6:20, the Bible says, ”For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Because we belong to the Lord, let’s honor God with our obedience.
”That ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you”
The word ”speak” means ”to lay forth, to mean, or to set forth”. The word ”divisions” mean ”split, gap, or schism”. In Genesis 2:18, the Bible says, ”And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Since the beginning of creation, God has also sought unity between mankind, and He still desires it.
In John 17:20-21, Christ says, ”Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” Christ prayed for unity in the Church, that we may be one together in Christ. In Acts 2:1-2, the Bible says, ”And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” The Church was with one accord in one place and the Holy Spirit poured out in that place, so much that people came from everywhere to behold what was happening, and 3,000 souls were added that day! Just think of what could happen if the Church was of one accord, but our divisions are robbing the Church of the Holy Spirit’s power to teach and empower.
What causes divisions in the Church? In Proverbs 3:5-6, the Bible says, ”Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” The Church is leaning on their own understanding, and has forsaken the teaching of the Holy Spirit, we have stopped acknowledging God in all our ways, and we stopped including God in the decision making process of our lives. Too many individuals in a body that is supposed to be one.
But that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement”
The phrase ”perfectly joined together” means ”to complete thoroughy”. The phrase ”same mind” means ”understanding”. The word ”judgement” means ”cognition, opinion, or resolve”. In Ephesians 4:3-6, the Bible says, ”Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” The running theme here is ”one”. In Philippians 2:2-3, the Bible says, ”Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” Paul is admonishing the Church to be of one accord, because that is where the power of God activates, in agreement. When we are one, there is no selfishness, no hidden agendas, no personal ambitions, and the individual minds become transformed to what fulfills the will of God, and what benefits the Church as a whole. This begins and ends with the Word of God, and until we open ourselves completely to the Holy Spirit’s teaching and leading, we won’t ever see the Church that was built in Acts.
In Ephesians 4:12-13, the Bible says, ”For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”. Unity in the Church is all about God being glorified and Christ being presented in and through us.
May we receive the Word of God in truth and obedience and may we become one in the body of Christ.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 3, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 3:10 – … but let every man take heed how he buildeth
As believers, it is our job to share the Word of God with people, and lay the foundation of Christ in their lives. Sometimes, God calls for us to lay the foundation, and other times, He calls for us to build upon the foundation that was already laid. The person who lays the foundation and the people that will build upon that foundation have to teach the Word of God as the only truth, so that the people being edified are being built up in Christ from the foundation to the top. Sharing the Word of God is a great responsibility, one that requires us to be diligent in what we learn and also in what we teach. The last thing we want is our work in the Lord to not hold up because it wasn’t done in truth. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 3:10, laying the foundation of Christ in the lives of others, and constructing truth upon that foundation.
”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.”
The word ”grace” speaks of the divine grace and favor as exercised in conferring gifts, particularly the benefits bestowed in and through Christ and His gospel. This is specifically the gift of the apostleship or apostolic office. We need the grace of God for salvation, but we also need grace to serve the Lord and win souls for Christ. In Romans 1:4-5, the Bible says, ”And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name”. Grace is that bridge between who we are now and who we need to be in order to fulfill the purposes of God. God sees the places where we are not enough and makes us more than enough. In Ephesians 2:8-10, the Bible says, ”For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God equips us with the grace we need, so no one can take credit for what God has given us. The ability to lay the foundation of Christ in someone’s life only comes from the grace of God, and the ability to build upon that foundation comes from that same grace.
The word ”given” means ”bestowed”. In 2 Peter 1:3, 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”. If we understand that God is the source of our wisdom and abilities then it should keep us at the Father’s feet, being filled with His Word.
The phrase ”wise masterbuilder” means ”skillful, expert architect or chief constructor.” Paul is not lost on the fact that everything he has in the faith has been given to him by God. 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 gives us the gifts He does, completely apart from anything we think we are, and the knowledge we think we have.
Paul completely abandoned what he thought he knew about the faith, allowing himself to be filled with the Holy Spirit’s teaching, so he could lay the right foundation, which is Christ, the hope of glory. The word ”foundation” means ”substructure”. The foundation is the most important part of any building, and if that isn’t constructed and reinforced properly, the whole building will come tumbling down. In Romans 15:18, the Bible says, ”For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed”. Paul only spoke what God gave power and authority for him to speak, and wouldn’t go ”off script” speaking the things of his knowledge. The only thing that mattered to Paul was the Word of God being received and conveyed correctly. Paul planted the seed, and let God do with it as He willed.
”But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.’
The phrase ”take heed” means ”to pay close attention”. How something is built is more important than the building itself. In 1 Peter 4:11, the Bible says, ”If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” The foundation laid must be the gospel of Jesus Christ and what must be built in this foundation is the Word of God. If any builder builds with their own materials, the building will not be able to stand in the day of testing.
Let us lay the foundation of Christ, and glorify God through what He allows us to build in others.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 4, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 1:2 – to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus
When we became believers, we received a new identity in Christ, and we were adopted into the family of God, having the same rights to the kingdom of God as the Lord’s chosen people. Many of us don’t feel qualified to receive so great of a love from God, and most people have the hardest time receiving love from people on earth. I have heard countless people identify themselves by who they used to be, by what they have been delivered from, and sadly, many live from that perspective. God is tireless in Scripture to establish our identity in Him, and that we have the ability to access Him and be heard wherever we are. How can we progress as a people of God, when the last report of us has more authority than the report of God? Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 1:2, the called and sanctified of the Lord.
”Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s”
The word ”church” means ”an assembly of believers in Christ, a community of believers in Christ”. Most people mistakenly consider the building Church services are held in as ”the Church”, but the Church is the believers, the people who occupy the building. In Ephesians 5:25-27, the Bible says, ”Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Buildings don’t need salvation for their souls and redemption from the penalty of sin and death. Christ didn’t come down to earth to die for a building, but for the sins of the whole world.
In Matthew 16:18, 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.” The Church is built on the foundation of Christ, and we are built up by Him and for Him. In Ephesians 1:22-23, the Bible says, ”And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” The Church belongs to the Lord, and we are the body of Christ in the earth.
The word ”sanctified” means ”purified, holy, set apart by God and sent by Him to fulfill His will.” Purified and holy ”in Christ Jesus”. In John 1:1-3, the Bible says, ”In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Christ is the Word of God so if we are purified and made holy in Him, then we are purified and made holy in the Word of God too. This is why Ephesians 5:26 above is so important because the Word of God washes us clean, purifies us for divine use, and sets us apart so that there is a difference between us and the world. In John 17:19, Christ says, ”And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” The truth is what sanctifies us and the Word of God is truth.
The word ”called” means ”to invite, summon, address by name.” The word ”saints” means ”consecrated, sacred, morally pure and upright, blameless in heart and life, spoken of those purified and sanctified by the influences of the Holy Spirit.” This isn’t referring to an especially pious or revered person canonized by an ecclesiastical body, but this is for everyone who by salvation has been sanctified in Christ from sin. In Ephesians 1:1, the Bible says, ”Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus”. Some people title ”saints” as those who have passed away and have met certain qualifications while on earth, but in almost every introduction in every letter to the Churches, the letters are addressed to the ”saints”. Paul wouldn’t be giving directives in the Lord to people no longer living, would he? We have to accept who we are now in the faith, not who we were, because how can we ever access the power of God when all we see is our former selves?
In Romans 10:11-13, the Bible says, ”For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Who we used to be doesn’t matter to God. He washed all that filth clean with the blood of Jesus Christ. It is who we are now that matters; because we are saved by this same blood, and when we call upon the name of the Lord, He will respond!
May we leave the old man behind and receive our new identity in Christ.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 5, 2022 – Proverbs 16:3 – commit thy works unto the LORD
Commitment is more than words belted out without any accountability. Commitment is an attachment, where our actions line up with the words we speak and the word we keep. If we are committed to God, then we will seek His Word and direction daily, and we will make it our ambition to do the things that please Him. If we are believers in deed, committed to the Lord, He will show us what we need to do, and He will also establish our thoughts, and even when we think we are thinking the things God desires for us to think. When we commit our works to the Lord, He equips us with the mindset to perform His will. Commitment brings us closer to the people and things we are committed to and makes the relationship stronger. Today, we are going to look at Proverbs 16:3, a commitment of our deeds and a securing of our thoughts in the Lord.
”Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.”
The word ”commit” means ”to roll onto God, to entrust oneself to”. The word ”works” means ”actions”. This implies a total trust and a complete submission to the will of God. One of the greatest examples of commitment is found in Matthew 26:38-39, where it says, ”Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Christ knew He was going to be tortured and strung up on a cross, and He was in mental and emotional agony. He even told His disciples to stay with Him and be alert, so He must have felt a loneliness as well. I remember a quote I saw that said ”Anticipation of death is worse than death itself”, and this is clearly depicted in these verses. Despite the agony, and Christ momentarily not wanting to go through with it, He ultimately said, ”nevertheless not as I will, but as thou will.” Commitment isn’t evident in things we want to do, because anyone can commit to something that makes their joy complete, but true commitment is when we don’t want to do it, but do it anyway. In Job 13:15, the Bible says, ”Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Despite what afflictions Job suffered, He was unwavering in his commitment. Christ’s commitment gave Him a name that is above every other name, and Job’s commitment got him double of everything he lost and he was greater than before. What will God produce from our commitment.
In Psalm 37:5, the Bible says, ”Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” When we surrender completely to the will of God, His will can be accomplished through us, but how many of us are willing to trade in our ambitions, our goals, and our desires in order to receive what God has for us? The word ”thoughts” pertain to the imaginations, inventions, purposes, intentions and plans of man. In Matthew 6:25, Christ says, ”Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” Commitment requires our minds to be aligned with the Lord, to make His will for our lives the only thought, even above our necessities. Christ goes on to repeat this message in Matthew 6:31-32, in which Christ says, ”Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” God knows what we need and commitment causes us to understand that our priority is to the will of God only, entrusting everything else to Him.
In Colossians 3:1-2, the Bible says, ”If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Risen implies new life, because we died to the old man and old deeds, and we are risen as new creations in Christ committed to doing God’s will. We have to keep our minds trained on the Lord.
The word ”established” means ”made firm, set up, erected”. This suggests that our thoughts are planted and unmovable when it comes to the things of the Lord, and God knows! In 1 Chronicles 28:9, the Bible says, ”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.” God knows our minds and hearts, and He is looking for people sold out on serving Him with our entire beings in our actions and in our thoughts.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 6, 2022 – Jeremiah 24:7 – I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart
God had an intention for mankind from the very beginning, that we would bear His image and likeness in the earth, that we would be fruitful, multiply and have dominion in the earth. God created us so that we would fellowship with Him, but the fall caused us to blow it big time with God. Despite the sin of Adam, God never stopped trying to bring us into fellowship and oneness with Him, and everything God has provided throughout time has been to bring us back into this oneness with Him. This is love beyond our comprehension, for our God to know us inside and out, and know our every flaw, but while we were in the heights of our filth, He was at work tirelessly to bring us back unto Him. For this awe-inspiring love, God just wants us to return to Him with our whole heart. Today, we will look at Jeremiah 24:7, a fearless return to God’s love.
”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.”
The word ”give” means ”to bestow upon, or to place”. The word ”heart” refers to the center or seat of one’s inner nature. The word ”know” is a relational term that produces the qualities of marriage; union, the two becoming one flesh, so then we become one with the knowledge of God. Unity has always been something God desired. 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 gives us His Word, and in His Word, we understand His intention for us from the beginning.
In Genesis 1:27-28, the Bible says, ”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” God blessed us to be exactly who He created us to be, but He gave us a choice to either accept and receive who He created us to be, or reject this knowledge, and also His love, and the power He gives us to be His children. God gives us the heart we have to love and serve Him, and in His sin, David recognizes this in Psalm 51:10, which says, ”Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” He knew God was the only person who could create a clean heart within Him, a heart that desired to do right by Him. God gives us everything we need to serve Him totally, but will we receive it?
In Ezekiel 11:19-20, the Bible says, ”And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” There are too many people who believe that they have to clean themselves up first before God can do anything with them, but God wants us to surrender ourselves to Him, so that He can give us a heart transplant, and with it, the ability to live holy lives in Him. The only way we can receive a heart transplant is if someone died so that we may live. We can’t do it on our own, and God didn’t create us to go at it alone, so we can’t live successfully apart from God.
The word ”people” means ”congregational unit or flock”. See the word ”my” before ”people”? We belong to the Lord!
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.” As believers, in life or in death, we are the Lord’s and when we received salvation from our sins, we no longer belong to ourselves. It is now our job to live in a manner that would be pleasing to the Lord.
”For they shall return unto me with their while heart”
The word ”return” means ”turn back again to the starting point, to repent”. When we return to the Lord, He receives us as His children, and in Jeremiah 32:39-40, the Bible says, ”And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” An everlasting covenant is one that doesn’t end, and this is the permanent remedy to our sin problem. Not only is God bringing us back unto Him, but He will give us the heart, the reverence, and the ability to remain in Him. Once again, God gives us everything we need to be children of God, including the things we took credit for, as if we were the ones who were driving the ship, and not Him.”
Praise God for ensuring our success in Him.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 7, 2022 – Jeremiah 24:6 – for I will set mine eyes upon them for good
Despite, our past, God desires to take our decimated land and turn it into a garden that bears fruit in all seasons. Our problem is we won’t submit to the Lord, and allow Him to return us back to the place where He appoints us to fulfill His purpose. We are too trained in the speciality of going our own way, and doing our own thing, so allowing God to be Lord becomes a daunting task. God doesn’t want us to suffer ruin, to be destroyed, and He definitely doesn’t want His name to be associated with shame. When we allow God to plant us, not only will we grow in ways that we couldn’t imagine, but we will develop roots in the Lord that we keep us secure and spiritually prosperous in Him. Will we give God free reign to build in us a Church without blemish or spot? Today we will look at Jeremiah 24:6, planted deeply in the kingdom of God.
”For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up.”
The word ”set” means ”to commit, fix upon, or appoint”. Even though we have done things in our lives that have sorely displeased our God, He keeps His eyes upon us. Why is that? In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Bible says, ”For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” God is looking for someone He can reveal His strength to, a people who are ready to receive spiritual blessings from God, who is ready to bestow them upon us. In Ephesians 1:3, the Bible says, ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ”. God is looking all throughout the earth for people ready for Him to pour His blessings and strength upon.
If we aren’t living a blessed life, then we must ask ourselves what are we doing? What roadblocks are we putting in God’s way that are preventing Him from blessing us?
Please don’t mistake the word ”blessed” or ”blessing” as merely financial, because money means nothing if you aren’t blessed with the presence of the Lord, with the Holy Spirit’s leading, and without salvation to punch your ticket into heaven.
The word ”good” is used to express God’s intended purpose from the beginning being fulfilled. God called for light, light appeared, and He saw it and called it ”good”. When God’s eyes run to and fro in the earth looking to operate on our behalf for our good, it is to bestow His favor and spiritual prosperity upon us. In Psalm 100:5, the Bible says, ”For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” God only desires to have good intentions for us, that we will turn into the people He created us to be, but God won’t force us to accept His design for our lives, even when He punishes us for our sin.
Please be advised: this topic and verse pertains to Judah being taken captive by the Babylonians, and in Jeremiah 24:5, it says, ”Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.” Whoa! So their captivity and exile in a foreign land was for their good? It is hard to see a hardship as something God allows to happen for our good, but in the face of captivity, God sends His word in Jeremiah 29:5-6, which says, ”Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.” If God wasn’t working hardship out for our good, then why would He expect us to grow despite our circumstances?
The word ”build” means ”to establish or repair”. The phrase ”pull them down” means ”to ruin or destroy”. The word ”plant” means ”to strike in or to fasten”. Our God is looking for broken people to repair, for them to be willing to be planted in a way that will never be uprooted again. In Jeremiah 42:10, the Bible says, ”If ye will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up: for I repent me of the evil that I have done unto you.” Our God will take our worst possible day and build us up in Him for our good and for our permanent success in Him as believers. Jeremiah 33:14 says, ”Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.”
God is looking all over the earth for people willing to be planted in His good purpose. Are you one of them?
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 8, 2022 – Proverb 1:23 – behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you
During the life of a believer, we will experience moments of correction. It may not even pertain to sin, but we could be going along a path that doesn’t tie into the purposes God has for us, and we not only need to be corrected, but redirected to the path God chose for us. What happens when God does correct us? Are we obedient? Do we accept the correction, understanding that God knows what is best for us, or do still aim to have own our way, going on our own path until it leads to destruction? God leaves a lot of that power in the choices we make, but in our choices are blessings or curses. We can choose to disobey the Lord’s correction and suffer His wrath, or we can accept His correction and experience His Holy Spirit being poured out on us. God wants to empower us with His Word because of our choice to obey Him. Today, we will look at Proverb 1:23, the blessing behind the reproof of God.
”Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”
The word ”turn” means ”to return or repent”. The word ”reproof” means ”rebuke, correction, or chastisement.” This implies that when God rebukes, corrects, or chastises us, we turn from whatever we were doing or thinking, and turn back to the Lord. In Matthew 4:17, the Bible says, ”From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” When Jesus began to take over from John the Baptist, the message didn’t change. Repentance was the subject and the kingdom of heaven was the goal. Even in Acts 2:38, when people were pricked at heart behind Peter’s sermon, and asked what they must do, it 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.” Peter’s first sermon spoke the same message, repentance, and a baptism which signified a dying to the old self and a resurrection into the newness of life, as a new creation in Christ. In Luke 13:5, Christ says, ”I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” God doesn’t want us to perish, and in fact, 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 is constantly trying to lead us into repentance, not wanting us to perish in sin, but God wants more for us than just survival.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, ”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” God gives us His Word, which is the standard by which we weigh everything, and the Word of God is what corrects us and shows, us we have fallen short. The Word of God does more than that, it also trains us to live more like Him, and it makes sure we are equipped to do everything God is calling for us to do. The Word of God is power to fix what is broken and to give us ministry to share with the broken so they will see what we do. Our God is loving, desiring fellowship and oneness with us, and He wants to empower us to be everything He has called us to be. Sometimes, reproof is the best thing for us. In Hebrews 12:11, the Bible says, ”Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” God doesn’t claim reproof and chastening are pleasant, but its effects are if we allow ourselves to submit to them. What we learn from reproof can help us bear fruit for the kingdom of God.
”Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, and I will make known my words unto you”
The word ”behold” beckons us to pay attention to what is being said or revealed. The word ”spirit” here refers to the Holy Spirit of God. 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 pouring His Holy Spirit upon us will cause us to walk in power, doing things that defy logic or understanding.
The phrase ”make known” means ”to teach, to make someone one with, or to show.” 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.” Repentance will allow us to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling richly in us, the power of the Holy Spirit working in and through us, and also continual teaching by the Holy Spirit. What a great gift from a great God!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 9, 2022 – Acts 2:38 – Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized
Christ promised us more than just eternal life when He went to the cross. If we believers see salvation as the only gift God has given us through Jesus Christ, then we have effectively robbed ourselves of the abundant life in Christ promised to us. Many believers aren’t walking in the power God makes so readily available to us because we haven’t received the gift of the Holy Spirit, we haven’t repented of our sins, and some haven’t been baptized, or baptized correctly, for that matter. God’s promises are conditional to His Word being followed, and if we fulfill our end, then He is beyond faithful, and will definitely fulfill His. Christ promised us that after He left us, that He would come to us, and the Holy Spirit is ready to inhabit any who receive Him by faith and truth. Today, we will look at Acts 2:38, the promised gift of the Holy Ghost.
”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 word ”repent” means ”to think differently, denoting a change of place or condition, a change of the mind implying pious sorrow for unbelief and sin, and a turning from them unto God and the gospel of Christ.” In Luke 24:45-47, the Bible says, ”Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In order for us to have true repentance, there must be an understanding that our unbelief and sin was a trespass against God, and there must be a change of mind that translates to a change in our direction. God opens our understanding to His Word and to our shortcomings, and also gives us understanding that something in our lives must change. This is bigger than just feeling sorrow for what we have done, because that in itself doesn’t change the mind. We must know who Christ is, that He came to earth and became the atoning sacrifice for sin, that through Him we have access to repentance and remission of sin.
In Acts 3:19, the Bible says, ”Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” There must be an inward change through repentance, then God will produce an outward change in us.
The word ”baptized” means ”make whelmed or fully wet; to immerse”. Baptism signifies the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ that we are identified with through baptism. 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.” If we aren’t ”buried” with Him, then are we truly baptized according to the Word of God? Some believed when they were sprinkled with Holy water as a baby, they we baptized, but Acts 2:38 displays the difference. Babies can’t repent, and sprinkling of water is not immersion or making one fully wet. It says, ”repent and be baptized”, so they must work together. If we step outside the Word of God to follow the traditions of men, then we have effectively made the traditions of men a god.
The word ”name” implies authority that is honored, revered and believed in. The name of Jesus Christ is the authority by which baptism and repentance operates. In Matthew 28:19, Christ says, ”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”.
The Book of Acts shows us clearly how the gospel of Christ was spread, and in Peter’s first recorded sermon, he commanded us to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Why is that? In Acts 4:12, the Bible says, ”Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” The name of Jesus Christ is the authority of the gospel message, and the power we walk in. In Philippians 2:9-10, 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”. The name of Jesus Christ is THE authority. T
he word ”remission” means ”freedom, pardon, or deliverance; to release one’s sins from the sinner.” 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.” The name ”Jesus” means ”Savior or The Lord Saves”. Jesus is the only way to repentance, remission, baptism, and salvation.
The word ”gift” means ”a gratuity”, which usually applies to a gift bestowed upon someone else for their service. In this case, our service is our obedience to the Word of God. In Romans 11:29, the Bible says, ”For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Please understand that God is trying to give us a gift that He won’t take away and that is His Holy Spirit. The word ”Holy Ghost” speaks of the empowerment imparted by the Holy Spirit on and after the day of Pentecost, by which the apostles and early Christians were endowed with high supernatural qualifications for their work; knowledge equivalent to a full knowledge of gospel truth and the power of prophesying, working miracles, and speaking in languages previously unknown to them; all done by evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
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 makes the gifts available and it is our job to receive His gifts. God desires us to walk with the Holy Spirit’s power in the earth, to bear witness that God is working in and through us, all for the glory of God. God bestowed His gifts and He stands beside His choice. We have the choice to reject His gift and not walk in it, but if we make the choice to not follow the Word of God, then it is our fault that our lives aren’t lived in power.
Christ paid an enormous cost so we could walk in the same Holy Spirit power that He did. Will we accept that power He has freely given us?
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 10, 2022 – Acts 2:39 – the promise is unto you, and to your children
God always had a place for us in the kingdom of God. The Israelites were God’s chosen people, but God still had the world in mind in His great plan for salvation. Everything that has been available to us has been given by promise, and all that the Israelites had access to is now ours as well. There are people who somehow believe that the God of the Church in Acts doesn’t provide the same promises for us today, and because of it, the Church is losing power in all areas of life. Some people believe healing is gone, prophecies have ceased, and they believe that the gift of speaking in tongues is not real today. People have rejected the promises of God by unbelief, and unwittingly consider God to be a liar because they don’t embrace His promises by faith. Today, we crush that lie, and we will look at Acts 2:39, receiving the unfailing promises of God.
”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.”
The word ”promise” means ”an announcement of God’s divine assurance of good”. The word ”good” refers to God’s intended purpose being fulfilled, so if God classifies something as ”good”, then it has effectively become what He called it to be. The first reference of the word ”good” took place in Genesis 1:3-4, which says, ”And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was GOOD: and God divided the light from the darkness.”
Is there still light and darkness divided in the Earth? In 2 Peter 1:4, the Bible says, ”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 just doesn’t give us one promise. He gives us ”exceeding great promises”, which means we have more than what we need!
In Genesis 15:5-6, 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. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” God gave Abram a promise and it was one he had to trust in because He didn’t see the evidence of God’s promise in His life. God told him he would have innumerable offspring when he didn’t have a child. 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.” God gives us the promises, the same way He gave them to Abram, but what do we do with the promises of God? Do we embrace them as truth or do we look around and trust our circumstances, our problems, or our obstacles? Because of Abram’s faith, when it didn’t look like anything, when what He desired seemed to be so far away, we now have that blood line secure all the way to Christ.
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.” The key word in this is ”world”, because we were in the world before salvation and God loved us then, making us provision for salvation. Some people think this is for the Israelites only, but I have news for them! The word ”afar” means ”at a distance, a great way off”. In John 10:14 and16, Christ says, ”I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Gentiles were included before salvation, before we knew salvation came to the world for us.
In Acts 10:44-45, the Bible says, ”While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Spirit was poured out unto the Gentiles in Acts, and we have the power of the Holy Spirit in us as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. In Matthew 24:35, Christ says, ”Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” The only thing that deactivates this promise in a person’s life is unbelief.
”Even as many as the Lord our God shall call”
The word ”call” means ”invite or summon someone to embrace the gospel”. This part of the verse doesn’t appear to have an ending to the amount of people the Lord will call. People are still receiving the gospel today, and still being saved by faith in Jesus Christ today, so God is still calling the world, and the promised Holy Spirit is still active in people who receive Him.
Let us never deny the promises of God for in them lie the power of God. Let us never believe that the promises of God aren’t for today.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 11, 2022 – 2 Corinthians 5:20 – we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God
As believers, we are the representation of Christ in the earth, the creation of God in Christ, to bear His image and likeness in the earth. This is God’s intention for His children, to give the world the human form of Godliness in the earth, so there is something tangible to show the world that a life of Godliness is possible. Being a representative of God means that our interest is only in pleasing the One who called us to represent Him, no matter what situations arises or what trouble may come our way. There could be death, stress, grief, pain, but we are still expected to remain constant in who we are and what we are called to do. Our job is to represent the kingdom of God and encourage others to experience a life of salvation, redemption, and reconciliation through God. Everything God has given us is to bring glory to Him, so others see God and desire the adoption we have received in Him. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 5:20, ambassadorship leading to reconciliation to God.
”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.”
The word ”ambassadors” means ”those acting as representatives, or preachers”. An ambassador is someone who goes to a different country while representing the interests of the country they have come from. An ambassador is someone whose mission is for the leader of the country they represent and also for the people in the country they are ambassador to. Who are we ambassadors for? Christ!
In Matthew 28:19-20, Christ says, ”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Ambassadors follow specific instructions and only teach what has been taught to them. In order to teach others how to ”observe all things”, we must live what we teach, showing them how to live out what we have learned ourselves. In the body of Christ, there is supposed to be a constant stream of preaching that occurs, and it is not exclusive to the pastorate. In 2 Timothy 4:2-4, the Bible says, ”Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” The word we don’t preach today can cause a person to be led astray, because they don’t experience ambassadorship in Christ frequent enough for the truth to set in. This world is the way it is now because we haven’t assumed our rightful places as ambassadors for Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 3:6, the Bible says, ”Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” There is no excuse for a believer to offer up against being an ambassador for Christ. God has made us able ministers, to fulfill the Word of the Lord and introduce people to Christ, who is able to save them from sin. In 1 Corinthians 3:9, the Bible says, ”For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.” We aren’t ambassadors on our own, without help or protection. God provides us everything we need to live for Him. In 2 Peter 1:3, 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”. I used to think I wasn’t ready to teach anyone the Word of God or represent Christ in any way. I thought I was far too gone to be qualified to share the Word of God, and I felt that just being saved was a gift enough, because the Lord knows I have done enough wrong to not feel entitled to receive sonship by and through Him. God had much different eyes than me!
”We pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
The word ”pray” means ”beg as binding oneself to”. The word ”stead” means ”on the behalf”. The word ”reconciled” means ”change toward, or change mutually”. Reconciliation takes place when people, who have fallen out of fellowship due to a broken relationship, come back together and make peace”. In Romans 5:1, the Bible says, ”Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. We are saved by grace though faith in Jesus Christ, and salvation brings us into a state of reconciliation with God in Christ. In Colossians 1:20, the Bible says, ”And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” God wants to bring us into a state of reconciliation with Him and ambassadorship provides a vehicle for this to happen. If no one is willing to step up and represent Christ, how can more people come to know God and receive the Word of Life, a message of salvation and eternal life?
”And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:19-20.
Who will represent Christ, speaking the Word that God has ordained for them to speak?
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 12, 2022 – 2 Corinthians 5:21 – that we might be made the righteousness of God in him
I had a huge sin debt. I will never project to anyone that I was a ”squeaky clean” person who made the right decisions, and never faced storm of my own doing. I was a walking ball of iniquity and I was headed for catastrophic failure and destruction, and I didn’t care enough to turn my life over to the Lord for redirection. What really struck me from reading the Bible was the story of Barabbas, who was sentenced to the cross, waiting to die but set free without trial, appeal or anything. They wanted Christ to die so badly that He took a murderer’s place. The Person who gave His life saved the person who has taken life, and placed His faults upon Him as if He did it. Our Lord and Savior did this for everyone, knowing our pasts, knowing our sins, our failures, and did it to wash us clean from anything that marred our image before God. Christ did it so God would look at us the same way He looked at Christ, as righteous. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 5:21, made righteous by the righteousness of Christ.
”For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The word ”made” means ”to purpose or ordain”. The word ”sin” means ”sinful, as one who committed sin”. In Isaiah 53:6, the Bible says, ”All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” When we were kids, it didn’t feel good to be falsely accused of something we didn’t do, but it did kinda make us feel better to ”take the wrap” so someone else didn’t get punished. Christ took all of the world’s sin and placed it upon Him, knowing full well what was going to happen to Him, and also knowing what would happen for us as the result of His death. In Isaiah 53:5, the Bible says, ”But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Everything we deserved, Christ placed it upon Himself, willing to be planted in death, so we can be birthed into life. He did nothing wrong, and when His life was fading, 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 was, still covering offenses, still loving the world until the last breath.
The word ”knew” means ”to understand, perceive, or be aware of”. Christ couldn’t comprehend sin nor could He fathom sinning against God. In Hebrews 4:15, the Bible says, ”For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Christ understood the temptation part well, because the enemy tried to tempt him, but Christ didn’t sin, becoming the perfect atoning sacrifice for sin, someone perfect, but also who has triumphed over sin. What good would a Savior be who has lost battles to the enemy? Christ got victory over sin so we can have the same victory, but it gets deeper than this.
In Galatians 3:13-14, the Bible says, ”Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” The promise God made Abraham extended to us, and Christ shed blood remitted the sins of those who believe by faith. He became the curse we deserved.
”That we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The word ”made” means ”cause to be, to generate, to become”. The ”righteousness” means ”justification, or equity”, a gift of righteousness that God bestows upon His children, making them righteous in His sight. So Jesus Christ came to this world to die for the sins of the world, to completely change our appearance before God. So instead of seeing our filth, He sees His righteousness on us.
What God sees in us and what we see in us is way different.
This is why it grieves God when we won’t forgive ourselves, because we haven’t fully comprehended what His Son died for.
In Romans 10:3, the Bible says, ”For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” If instead of accepting a free gift by faith, we try to justify ourselves before God, it’s a losing battle.
In Romans 5:19, the Bible says, ”For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” The obedience of Christ became the cure for our disobedience, and all that is asked of us is to believe and receive Him as Lord, and live out our salvation by faith and power. Our righteousness is in the Lord, and Christ died to ensure that when God sees His children, He sees a Church without spot or blemish.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 13, 2022 – 2 Corinthians 6:1 – receive not the grace of God in vain
God equips us as believers to be able to serve Him totally and completely. Ability can only take us so far, and if we try to serve God solely from our ability, we will crash under its enormous weight. We need something more, and that something is grace. God’s grace took Peter, who doubted Christ three times out of fear of persecution, and made him the chief pastor of the Church. God took Saul, who persecuted the Church mercilessly thinking he was doing the will of God, did an about-face after a meeting with Christ on the road to Damascus, and became one of the chief apostles. God took Moses, who very possibly had a speech impediment, to speak to Pharoah, and demand that he let Israel’s people go. Moses was the deliverer they hoped for. None of these champions in the Bible could do what they did without the grace of God empowering them to be workers together with Him. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 6:1, a workman equipped by the grace of God.
”We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”
The phrase ”workers together” means ”fellow-workers, or co-workers”. Have we ever come to the understanding that ministry is us – working with God to build the kingdom of God? God gives us the ability, gives us the plans, and equips us for the unexpected variables through the Holy Spirit. When we operate according to His plan, we are working with Him to accomplish His will.
In John 9:3-4, the Bible says, ” Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Christ was a fellow-worker with God while on earth, and He did what God required of Him so people would know it was God working through Him. The goal of service is for God to work through us, not for us to work in our own power.
In Ephesians 3:20, the Bible says, ”Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”. In order to work the works of God, and do immeasurable things in the kingdom, we must have His power at work in us. We cannot minister apart from God. In Philippians 2:13, the Bible says, ”For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” God even places the things in us that bring pleasure to Him, so He gives us help with doing the things that please Him. In John 5:17, Christ says, ”But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” God is not sitting in heaven, doing nothing. He is constantly working on our behalf ensuring that every stage of His great plan for the world is executed down to the letter.
”Beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”
The word ”beseech” means ”to urge, beg or implore someone to pay attention or take heed”. The word ”receive” means ”to accept or take”. In 2 Corinthians 8:3-4, the Bible says, ”For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” The saints in Macedonia had a willing spirit to serve God and they did things that were in their ability, but they also did things that defied their abilities, having the purest intention to participate in the ministry of God. We must be willing to receive the grace of God to minister to people for the glory of God, and have a spirit of cooperation as well.
The word ”grace” speaks of the divine grace and favor exercised in conferring gifts, grace and benefits on man, as manifested in the benefits bestowed in and through Christ and His gospel. God’s grace is taking what we don’t have and making up the difference, so we are able to do all that is required of us. In Hebrews 12:28, the Bible says, ”Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”. God gives us His grace but we have the choice of whether or not we use it. Receiving His grace puts our hearts and minds in the right place; completely focused on fulfilling the Word of God.
The phrase ”in vain” means ”without usefulness, without success or without fruit.” In 1 Timothy 4:14-15, the Bible says, ”Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.”
When we neglect our gift, by not putting it to use, by not allowing God’s power to bear fruit in us, by not allowing His grace to do an incredible work in us, then we are showing that there is no point in us having God’s grace to minister for the kingdom.
When God sees our fig tree, will He see fruit?
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 14, 2022 – Jeremiah 33:3 – call unto me, and I will answer thee
God is amazing. We can come to our Father for anything we need, and we can also come to Him for the answers to the questions that burn deeply within us. God cares about His purpose being fulfilled in us, but he also cares about the smallest thoughts in our minds. Having a Father who is always there, who is always willing to respond, is reassuring during periods of trial and periods of darkness. Many of us believe that God won’t answer, and we fail to call upon Him for the help we need. I have been the person who didn’t call upon God until I was in some form of trouble that I couldn’t get myself out of. I have also been the person who has called upon God when everything was perfect, but I am learning that God really wants us to call upon Him, continuously, to really learn of His Word and His specific will for our lives. Today, we will look at Jeremiah 33:3, calling upon God for the awesome things in Him we are yet to know.
”Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
The word ”call” means ”to summon, to cry out unto, to accost a person, to invite to come near or to address by name”. In Psalm 91:14-16, the Bible says, ”Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” People think that there aren’t conditions behind the promises of God. There is a heart of worship we must have, a mindset that is trained on the Lord, and there must be an attitude and lifestyle of faith and obedience to usher in the presence of the Lord. Worship is in our praise but worship isn’t just praise. Full worship is in depressing and humbling ourselves, bringing ourselves low, emptying ourselves out in order to be filled by the Holy Spirit, and it is complete submission to God, making ourselves fully available to Him.
Many are waiting on God to answer them, but have they made themselves available to God?
In Proverbs 1:24-25, the Bible says, ”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 we refuse God’s call, refuse to listen to His Word, refuse the assistance of God, we disqualify ourselves from God’s ear by not being tuned into Him.
The word ”answer” means ”to pay attention, heed, or respond to”. In Proverbs 1:28-29, the Bible says, ”Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD.” Expecting God to respond when we aren’t submissive to His Word, and when we ignore His call is unreasonable, because the Word of God says something different.
Is our heart right before the Lord?
In Isaiah 1:15-16, the Bible says, ”And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil”. We can’t think that we can just do whatever we want, think how we want to think, believe what we want to believe, and expect that God will respond to our prayers, and answer our calls.
We must make ourselves available to God:
In Jeremiah 29:12-13, the Bible says, ”Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” God then sees our hearts and minds are available, and responds accordingly. Will God see submission, obedience, faith, and worship in us when He sees us?
”And will shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
The word ”shew” means ”manifest”. The phrase ”great and mighty things” means ”inaccessible by height or fortification”. In Matthew 13:11, the Bible says, ”He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” The disciples received the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and we can receive them as well! God wants us to know His Word and His will thoroughly.
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.” So if God has already given us the ability to receive His divine truth, including things to come, and we are not receiving His divine truth, nor the inaccessible things that only the Spirit of God can teach, then we must ask ourselves:
”What is in us blocking this amazing gift that God has bestowed upon us? What is in us that is blocking His answers?
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 15, 2022 – 2 Corinthians 1:22 – and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts
Do we realize the security we have as believers? Do we see that we have been redeemed from the curse of sin and death, and have been given eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord? Many of us still feel unqualified, unworthy, and many people have made beds of inadequacy, even amid all of these promises of God. Many who have received salvation have now gone back to trying to pursue their own righteousness, believing good works will help them keep the free gift God has given, and the power that comes with being children of God. God doesn’t want us scrambling to earn what He has freely given, when He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins. God wants us to be secure in who we are as the redeemed of the Lord, and receive the fullness of His Holy Spirit, which is nothing compared to what is to come. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 1:22, sealed by God to experience everything He has purposed us to receive.
”Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
The word ”seal” means ”to stamp with a signet or private mark for security or preservation”. A seal is a covering, ensuring that nothing goes out and nothing can get in other than what is designated by the Person administering the seal. A seal bears the authority of the Person it comes from, and it can only be opened by the person the Lord designates. In Daniel 6:16-17, the Bible says, ”Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.” In a kingdom, something sealed with a king’s signet was unchangeable, and in this account in the book of Daniel, the signet was unchangeable even by King Darius himself who placed the seal on the stone.
Even when he himself wanted to save Daniel from the lion’s den:
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.” The law of the Medes and Persians was unchangeable, but God changed the lions’ nature, closing their mouths and stopping their instinct to attack, so Daniel would survive a sentence that would’ve otherwise killed him.
In Ephesians 1:13, the Bible says, ”In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise”. God’s seal is greater than the law of the Medes and Persians, because the law is only good as long as the kingdom of the seal is in power, and our God has a kingdom that will never pass away.
In 2 Peter 1:10-11, the Bible says, ”Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” God’s kingdom is everlasting, and we make our calling and election sure by being placed under His authority, by submitting ourselves to Him, by allowing Him to place His seal upon us. In Ephesians 4:30, the Bible says, ”And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” We have this security because in this place we now stand should cause us to submit our complete will to God. We should live our lives to please Him.
”And given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts”
The word ”given” means ”bestowed upon”. The word ”earnest” means ”a pledge, part of the payment as an advance for the rest, similar to a security deposit. In Ephesians 1:14, the Bible says, ”Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
What God gives us as the seal of the Lord is only a small piece of what is to come! It gets better!
The word ”Spirit” is speaking of the bestowing of the Holy Spirit, illuminating and empowering us, remaining with us, imparting to us spiritual knowledge, aid, consolation, sanctification, and making intercession with and for us.
In Ephesians 3:19-20, the Bible says, ”And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us”. God gives us a dose of heaven by placing His Holy Spirit in us, which empowers us to surpass our wildest ideas of what God can do through us!
May the seal of the Lord establish the fullness of Holy Spirit’s power in us now and to eternal life.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 15, 2022 – GOOD FRIDAY – LUKE 23:34 – Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do
Good Friday is known all over the world in different ways, and means different things for people. For believers, we know Good Friday to be the day the Christ died on the cross, crucified for the sins of the entire world. Good Friday was the day that the penalty for our sin was paid in full, and we were redeemed by the blood Christ shed on the cross. With an outstanding sin debt that we couldn’t pay on our own, Christ stepped in and purchased our debt, giving us access to forgiveness by faith on His name. Christ dying on the cross is the most important event in our faith, because without His shed blood, there would be no remission of sins, but what the death of Christ on the cross did for us is what Good Friday is really about. As we reflect on what this day means specifically for us, may we come to understand the love of Christ, and may we boldly seek a Lord and Savior in Him. Today, we are going to look at Luke 23:34, what Good Friday really is about, forgiveness.
”Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
The word ”forgiveness” means ”to let go from obligation, debt or offense, to remit from the penalty of sin, to pardon.” Imagine owing the bank a ton of money for debts we have incurred over our lifetime, and we were subject to lose everything we had. Imagine that one day, we get a letter stating that someone paid the full cost of our debt, and we were in right standing with the bank again. That is what God did for us through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Imagine again with me being forgiven of such an extraordinary debt, only to find out that the bank had already planned to forgive us of our debt, even before we knew we would need forgiveness. 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.” Since before the fall of man in Genesis, God already had a plan in place to forgive mankind of their sin once and for all through the death of Jesus Christ.
In John 1:29, the Bible says, ”The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Christ had a specific role to play while on Earth, and that was to be THE example of how to live holy on earth, and to die for the sins of the world. Forgiveness was always in the plan of God for humanity. In Matthew 5:44, Christ says, ”But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”. Forgiveness is an act of love and compassion, giving someone restoration despite their ability to make things right. In Matthew 18:26-27, Christ says, ”The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.” God was moved with compassion for His creation, and despite our overflowing sin, He loosed us from bondage and forgave our sin. We didn’t deserve it, but God provided it, and gave the whole world access to it.
The word ”know” means ”to perceive, understand, or be aware of”. The word ”do” means ”to produce, cause to be, bring about, or practice.” Christ prayed this from the cross, where He was tortured and crucified for the sins of mankind, while He watched men steal and part His clothing. In Matthew 18:21-22, the Bible says, ”Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Christ clearly practiced what He preached because His desire for mankind’s forgiveness only intensified on the cross. In Acts 7:60, we have another account of mind-blowing forgiveness. It says, ”And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” The message of forgiveness by Jesus Christ was received by Stephen and then lived out when He was persecuted.
In 1 Corinthians 2:8, the Bible says, ”Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Paul, the writer of the letters to the Church at Corinth, had personal experience with this particular verse, because he didn’t know that Christ already came and was crucified until He met Him on the road to Damascus. Christ confessed mankind’s ignorance when He pleaded with God for our forgiveness.
Some people feel like their sin is too great for Christ’s blood to forgive them. Some people feel like they are far too gone, and there is no way God could, or should forgive them. Well, let’s look at who went free as the result of Christ’s crucifixion. In Mark 15:7, the Bible says, ”And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.” Barabbas tried to overthrow the leadership, and committed murder in the process. In Mark 15:15, the Bible says, ”And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.” Barabbas went free, so that means that what was meant for Barabbas Christ took in his place! Where does this sound familiar?
In Leviticus 16:8-10, the Bible says, ”And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.” Christ was the one chosen for sacrifice, and Barabbas was the one chosen to be released into the wilderness. This was for the Law of Atonement!
In Matthew 5:17, Christ says, ”Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” Christ fulfilled the law by allowing murderers, robbers, thieves, harlots, drug dealers, addicts, alcoholics, abusers, rapists, liars, pagans and atheists the same opportunity to receive forgiveness of their sins by faith in Jesus Christ, and receive Him as Lord and Savior. No one is exempt from forgiveness, when they confess with their mouths the Lord Jesus, and believe in their hearts that God has raised them from the dead, when they ask our Lord to forgive them.
Good Friday gave the world access to forgiveness, salvation, redemption, and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. No matter what we have done, no matter how far away from the mark we have landed, Christ’s shed blood remitted our sin and made us clean before God. May Good Friday be the day for new beginnings, to leave our pasts behind, knowing our Lord and Savior died on the cross so our lives will be new in Him!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 16, 2022 – 2 Corinthians 2:14 – thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ
We live in a day and age where the Church appears to be losing the war against the enemy. In some churches, there are more broken and defeated people than there are in the world, and that shouldn’t be. Part of the Church becoming and remaining defeated is the lack of knowledge of God, and the refusal by each of us, as believers, to apply the Bible into our lives. If victory is in the Word of God, but we won’t open the Word to find out how to get this victory in our homes, in our marriages, in our jobs, in our ministries, and most importantly in our relationship with God, then defeat is inevitable. We must rise as a Church destined for the victory that God has already provided for us by Jesus Christ, and become a Church that always triumphs. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 2:14, living a victorious life in Christ.
”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 word ”thanks” means ”gratitude, appreciation in return for favors and benefits”. Do we have an attitude of gratitude within us towards God for all He has done for us? In Ephesians 5:20, the Bible says, ”Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. ”Always for ALL things”. Are we this thankful to God, or do we see more of our circumstances which blind us from being thankful? In Psalm 100:4, the Bible says, ”Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”
As believers, we have direct access to fellowship in the presence of the Lord, to have the Holy Spirit dwell richly in us. God’s presence is with us, and so is His provision, so we always have a reason to give thanks to God. Even in ministry, we must be thankful, which is why 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says, ”For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” When we see the Word of God moving in power among those who believe in Him, there lies another reason to give thanks unto God. It is more evidence that His presence is with us.
Just His presence dwelling within us and with us is enough to be thankful without asking for anything more, but there is more!
”The word ”triumph” means ”to conquer or have victory over”. The triumph is ”in Christ”, so it isn’t something we are doing in our own, or as the result of someone else. In 1 Corinthians 15:55-57, the Bible says, ”O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We have victory over sin and death because Jesus Christ won the victory for us on the cross. The power we have over the enemy is the result of what Christ did, not because we did anything on our own.
In Hebrews 2:14-15, the Bible says, ”Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Christ came to die for us, and He also came to destroy the enemy, who had the power of death. Because He defeated the enemy, we now have unrestricted access to life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Remember, the verse says, ”ALWAYS causeth us to triumph”, so this isn’t a part-time victory. This is a permanent outcome for us!
”And maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place.”
The phrase ”maketh manifest” means ”to render apparent”. The word ”savour” means ”fragrance”. The word ”knowledge” means ”doctrine or science”. The Word of God manifested in our lives leaves a fragrance, something tangible to let people know God’s presence is with us. In The Song of Solomon 1:3, the Bible says, ”Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.” The name of the Lord provides a beautiful fragrance of victory in believers lives, because it is by the name of the Lord that victory is won.
In Ezekiel 20:41, the Bible says, ”I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.” Because the Lord’s sweet savour in upon us He is also sanctified in us, causing us to always be in the best position for victory. If we don’t know who we are and Whose we are, then we won’t know we are called to triumph over the enemy as believers.
May the Word of God provide more evidence to the Lord’s victories that mean victories for us!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 17, 2022 – Psalm 116:15 – precious in the sight of the LORD
Death. A word that may incite fear, or provide a chill at the thought of it, and the word death might even cause some anxiety in us, making us feel like we are running out of time. Yesterday, I received word that my Uncle Jay passed away. Uncle Jay and my Auntie Dianne, who I affectionately called ”Tee-Tee” took us in and raised us as their own after my parents were unable to handle the task. What a redemption story! Uncle Jay was funny, loving, and willing to teach, but he also had a very rough past that we were the benefactors of. I used to think he really had the devil in him growing up when he drank or was angry. But God!!! Not only did he change his life, giving it completely over to the Lord, but He became the pillar of faith and strength that Tee-Tee always saw in him. She got the privilege of gaining the ”man of her dreams” before went home to be with the Lord, because of what God did in saving His soul. When talking with Uncle Jay last week, he was fully at peace, looking forward to being with the Lord and being reunited with Tee-Tee his Queen of 48 years. He wasn’t sad or afraid. He was excited, knowing he would be with the Lord! Today, we will look at Psalm 116:15, God’s view of a saint’s death.
”Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
The word ”precious” means ”excellent, honorable, costly, or valuable”. Remember, this is how God views death of His saints, and this is also the mind we must have concerning death as well. In Philippians 2:5, the Bible says, ”Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. So if we are to approach the subject of death of believers from the mind of Christ, then we must look at why this event is precious. 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.” Death for the believer on earth means eternal life for them in heaven, so nothing is lost in death; only gained! Let’s look a little deeper.
In Luke 15:7, Christ says, ”I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” So, before we even die and go to heaven, there is already a celebration in heaven over our salvation by faith in Jesus Christ! God experiences joy when we give our lives over to Him, and when my Uncle Jay gave his life over to God, there was a ”party” in heaven over His salvation.
The word ”sight” means ”eye or eyesight”, but it also refers to the mind or attitude behind it. In Luke 15:32, Christ also says, ”It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” My Uncle Jay wasn’t without his problems when I was growing up, and he struggled with sin for a long time, but his story is no different than anyone else’s. We all have to receive the free gift of salvation, and acknowledge that our sin sets us apart from the presence of God. In this verse, God acknowledges who we used to be, but also highlights who we are now, alive in Christ, found by God!
The word ”saints” means ”pious, Godly”, those who reflect the character of God in their actions and personality, those who share a personal relationship with the Lord. The change I saw in my Uncle Jay reminds me of the movie ”Imagine” about Bart Millard of MercyMe and his Dad. In my conversation with Uncle Jay last week, our formal goodbye, he had a peace about his looming death, and an excitement about seeing our Lord and Tee-Tee.
In 2 Corinthians 5:8-9, the Bible says, ”We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” When Uncle Jay opened His eyes, He was in glory, experiencing the full presence of God, the pain and sorrow of this world left behind, exchanged for the joy and bliss in heaven. Uncle Jay, after salvation, enjoyed life as a believer, experienced the provision and mighty hand of God, experienced healing from a couple of cancer diagnoses, and experienced more confident assurance in God’s direction than anyone I have known. In the week before his death, family flew and drove in from all over to say their goodbyes, and it was more of a celebration, a funeral before the death, where he got a chance to show our family someone who was ready for the Lord, and experience the overflowing love that everyone had for him. He left a mantle of redemption, and faith in God that I will carry with me forever.
In John 14:2-3, Christ says, ”In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” My Uncle Jay knew this, and as His life was ending on Earth, he saw beyond this Earth, and was excited to be received by Christ and dwell where He is.
I thank the Lord for you Uncle Jay, J.W. Dodd, a seed of Kosciuszko, Mississippi, and now an inhabitant of heaven. Thank you for giving me your best at every junction of my life. You were my father, my stylist, my disciplinarian (smile), and you leave this earth as one of my heroes in the faith. Even as my eyes well up in tears at the thought of your absence, your presence with the Lord make me joyful. Thank you for taking us in, and thank you for your forgiveness. I praise God knowing that you know that your legacy is safe with me and Robb. Tell Tee-Tee her ”Pumpkin” misses her!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 17, 2022 – RESURRECTION SUNDAY – John 14:3 – I will come again, and receive you unto myself
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is risen! Not only did He conquer and overcome the world, but He also, through His death, conquered the one who had the power over death. He is alive, and if we are in Him, so are we! When we talk about the Lord rising from the dead, on Resurrection Sunday, we talk about how He appeared to the disciples and hundreds of others before ascending back to the Father. That message in-itself is power, but Christ opened the door for a lot more after He died and rose from the dead. He has now prepared a place for us in the kingdom of heaven that is waiting for our arrival! His desire is for us to be where He is, abiding with Him forever, but He also gives us that, now, through His Holy Spirit, while we are on Earth. I love it how we receive a sample of what’s to come, and in this beautiful gift, we can experience heaven on Earth. Today, we are going to look at John 14:3, a risen Lord preparing mansions for His children.
”And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
The word ”prepare” means ”to provide, or to make ready”. The word ”place” means ”a spot in space limited by occupancy, or a location such as a home or tract”. Our Risen Lord fulfilled His work on Earth when He died on the cross, but He ascended to the Father to provide us a heavenly home. In John 14:18, Christ says, ”I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” Christ knew He would return for His Bride, the Church, but just like a husband espoused to his wife, He must prepare a home for her. In John 14:28-29, Christ also says, ”Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” Not only has Christ risen and gone back to the Father to prepare a home for us, but He tells us to rejoice, because where He has gone is much greater than where He has been on Earth. Christ gave us advanced notice, just so we’d believe!
One thing I have discovered in my faith walk is that God gives us something on earth that resembles how it is done in heaven, and He prepares us to receive His promises. Christ says in John 16:7, ”Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” Christ’s departure not only fulfilled Scripture, but it also meant that the Holy Spirit of God, the Comforter, would come to dwell in us. We as believers will walk with the power and presence of God working mightily in us, not just with or around us.
In Acts 2:17, the Bible says, ”And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams”. The promised Holy Spirit was more Scripture fulfilled, and it also fulfilled the promise at the end of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20, in which Christ says, ”Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” God made sure that we would have His presence with us until the end of the world.
The phrase ”come again” is spoken in future tense, and it implies that it is certain that Christ will come back for us. The word ”receive” means ”to associate oneself with in an intimate act or relation, to take or seize”. This is speaking of Christ’s coming to reclaim His Bride, the Church. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, the Bible says, ”For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The act of Christ ascending to the Father is powerful within itself, but it means something more precious for us, because we get to be where Christ is, in heaven with our Loving God!
In 1 Corinthians 15:53-54, the Bible says, ”For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” We will have new bodies, new natures, and we will be in a new home, where we will live forever.
Christ’s death and resurrection means much more for us that just a victory over death for Him. Resurrection Sunday means victory over death for all who believe, and a home especially prepared for us in heaven!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 18, 2022 – Romans 15:2 – let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification
What are motivations behind serving the Lord? What do we hope to accomplish by sharing the Word of God, by using our gifts and callings, by fulfilling our God-given purpose? As believers, our primary goal is serving the Lord, the next goal should be edifying the body of Christ, and finally, the last goal should introducing Christ to the world so they can be apart of the body of Christ. None of these three goals have anything to do with us directly, but we make ourselves available to honor God through our service. This is the kingdom agenda, to have as many people as humanly possible enter into the kingdom of God, to receive salvation for their souls and eternal life. We also are to use what God gives us to show others how to live abundantly in Him right now on Earth. Do we see others as salvageable, or are we so focused on receiving our own benefits that our neighbor doesn’t matter? Today we will be looking at Romans 15:2, edifying our neighbor in love and service.
”Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”
”Every one of us”. This is a call for all believers, not just the pastors, apostles or deacons of the Church. Every one has their role to play, but we all are to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible. In Matthew 28:19-20, Christ left the Earth saying, ”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
We can’t say, ”Well Jesus was talking to the disciples, not us,” because this charge is for us all. In 2 Timothy 4:2, the Bible says, ”Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” This isn’t Paul just speaking to Timothy. It is a charge for us all to say what needs to be said in all seasons. Think not?
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, ”ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” All scripture means just that, and we can’t find a way to deny our responsibility as believers to our neighbors.
The word ”please” means ”to accommodate oneself to, to be agreeable with, to gratify”. The word ”neighbour” means ”fellow, friend, someone nearby, or even a Christian.” These two definitions show that ministry and service is about the God we serve and the people He calls for us to serve. In Romans 12:10-11 the Bible says, ”Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord”. If the attitude we have within us towards our neighbor is brotherly love, and we prefer our neighbors above ourselves, then service and ministry becomes second nature. When we have this attitude, we will want to serve our neighbors with everything we have, and it will be our desire to see our neighbors living their best lives for the Lord.
In Mark 12:30-31, Christ says, ”And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Some people find it hard to love their neighbors because they have the hardest time loving themselves, and have the hardest time experiencing the love of God, so they are void of fuel to serve others.
The word ”good” means ”benefit”, but it also expresses a manner intended by God. The word ”edification” means ”architecture, structure, building up, and confirmation”. In 1 Corinthians 9:22, the Bible says, ”To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” We have to humble and depress ourselves in worship to God, thus making us available to receive someone in love and service despite their background, past sins, or adversities.
In Jude 1:23, the Bible says, ”And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Christ never said that service would be easy in His Great Commission, but He did promise that He would be there with us always, so in that promise lies the power and ability to build up our neighbors.
In Philippians 2:3-4, the Bible says, ”Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Serving God requires us to see the benefit of others, the spiritual prosperity of others, and that leaves no room for selfishness.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 19, 2022 – Romans 15:4 – that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope
Through the Word of God, we have a hope and a future. We have salvation that the mind cannot fully comprehend, given by Jesus Christ, whose love for God and us is unmatched. Even today, Christ is seated at the right hand of God, making intercession on our behalf. The Word of God was written so we could understand God’s plan for mankind, but it was also written so we wouldn’t walk as wanderers, without a God, without a Lord and Savior, without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and without hope. Hope is such a power word, because hope causes us to see beyond and above to God, and allows us to keep perspective no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. The Word of God was written in preparation for us, so that we could have something true and reliable to build up our hope! Today, we will look at Romans 15:4, the unshakeable hope that is in the Word of God.
”For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
The phrase ”written aforetime” means ”to announce, prescribe previously”. The word ”learning” means ”teaching or instruction, with a sense of warning.” In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says, ”All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” I quote this Scripture a lot because I have found that everything I was, am, and will be is in the Word of God, and the life I am called to live in is built upon the Word of God. God just doesn’t want to show us our faults, like some people think. If they were to read the Word of God, especially these two verses in 2 Timothy, they will see that the purpose God has for the Word of God is to ”thoroughly furnish us unto all good works”. God wants us to succeed in living a Godly life, and He doesn’t want our hope to be in vain. Abraham was faithful, fully persuaded that what God promised, he was able also to perform, so he received the promise!
In Romans 4:22-24, the Bible says, ”And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 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”. The promises of God to Abraham didn’t just apply to Him, but they also include us as well, so it wasn’t only for Abraham. We have that same hope too! In Romans 4:18, the Bible says, ”Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.” Sometimes, hope isn’t going to look like hope, but God isn’t giving us His Word for us to believe in how it looks, but for us to trust in His promises being truth.
The word ”patience” means ”cheerful endurance, and constancy”. The word ”comfort” means ”solace or exhortation”. There is a process we must all go through in our walk with the Lord. In James 1:3-4, the Bible says, ”Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” God allows His Word to grow in us, which will then be subject to testing. God’s design for patience is for us to be completely, entirely lacking nothing we need.
In 2 Corinthians 1:4, the Bible says, ”Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God gives us comfort so we can comfort others who are in trouble. If we have enough comfort to give, then that means God gives us more than enough for ourselves. The word ”scriptures” means ”The Holy Writ” of God. So our comfort and patience can be found in the Word of God. So then, why do we seek after the world’s provision for what only God can provide? Could this be why the Church attends service every week but walks away from the building without the practical hope His Word provides?
The word ”hope” means ”anticipation, expectation, or confidence”. In Romans 5:5, the Bible says, ”And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Because we have the Holy Spirit inside us, we have hope that will never be put to shame, if it is in line with the Word of God. 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”. God reveals His mystery to us, giving us the greatest Person ever to place our hope in, Christ!
God doesn’t want us to be caught off guard and blinded by the circumstances of life. God wants us equipped and standing on His stable foundation by His Word and promises. In that lies great expectation!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 20, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 15:3 – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures
What do we do with such an amazing Gospel that we have received in our spirits, allowing it to transform our lives forever? When we received salvation for our souls, forgiveness for our sins, and redemption from the penalty of death, how do we live our new lives in Christ? Do we forget where we once were, in need of a Savior, lost in our sin, writhing in despair, or do we now look to a world that is in need of what God provided for us and deliver what we have received to them? I promised myself that I would never lose sight of what I have been delivered from, and because of it, I see that everyone is redeemable if they are willing to receive Christ as Lord and Savior. If I don’t share what God has given to me with others, some in the same position I once was in, then do I really appreciate what I have been given? Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 15:3, delivering what we receive from God to others.
”For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures”
The word ”delivered” means ”to transmit, entrust, or yield onto”. The word ”first” means ”foremost or chief”. 1 Corinthians 11:2, the Bible says, ”Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” How we deliver the Word of God is very important, because someone else can completely base the next decision they make for the Lord according to the Word we delivered to them. We must deliver the Word of God with truth and love, if we expect the people we share the Word with to receive the Word in truth and love.
The Church is in disarray right now, because of false doctrine being spread through the Church that is leading people astray. In Galatians 1:11-12, the Bible says, ”But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Where we receive our teaching from is crucial, because if we experience doctrine infused with man’s wisdom, then we receive nothing more than philosophy laced with Bible. The revelation of Jesus Christ comes by one Person and one Person only: the Holy Spirit of God. If I receive a revelation from the Holy Spirit concerning someone, then it is my job to only speak what I received from the Holy Spirit. In Numbers 22:38, the Bible says, ”And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.” Balaam was not a believer, but even he knew better to not speak anything that God did not ordain him to speak. If the world can listen to God and speak words of life concerning us, then why are we so susceptible to going off script?
The word ”received” means ”to associate oneself with, to seize for oneself”. We must receive the Word first in order to be able to deliver it unto others. Receiving the Word means that we believe in what is being delivered is truth, and we become one with it. In Ephesians 3:3-4, the Bible says, ”How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)” The Word of God is delivered to us so we may receive the knowledge and mystery of Christ. This is THE message, and in 1 Corinthians 2:2, the Bible says, ”For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Paul was one of the chief pastors, with extensive Biblical knowledge, and he was fluent in the Law as well, but the only message that mattered was Christ and Him crucified. Have we received that message into our spirits and is that the message by which our discipleship hedges upon?
”How that Christ died for our sin according to the scriptures”.
The word ”sin” means ”offenses against God”. The word ”scriptures” means ”the Holy Writ of God”. In 1 Peter 2:24-25, the Bible says, ”Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” The message of Christ is the most powerful message we can deliver, because in it lies the power of God, salvation, redemption, eternal life, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the ability to live Godly, abundant lives of power while still on earth.
In Acts 26:23, the Bible says, ”That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.” The reason the Church isn’t growing in power is because the message from God to his people is being hindered by people who won’t deliver it as it is given to them by God.
May we be willing recipients and deliverers of God’s word.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 21, 2022 – John 5:24 – he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life
Many believers are conflicted about their place, where they stand with the Lord. Many, though saved, have a hard time shaking off who they once were and accept who they are now in Christ. God’s promise of salvation by faith in Jesus Christ is concrete, and unshakeable, but it our job to believe that the promises of God are true, and these promises apply to us. It doesn’t matter how bad you think you’ve been, or how many pitfalls you’ve encountered from sin, when we accept this amazing gift of salvation, death is no longer our sentence. Imagine being on death row, awaiting your execution, and in one moment, God presented deliverance, redemption, and salvation, with the only conditions are to heed the Word of God by believing on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This gift is ours today. Today, we will look at John 5:24, passing from death to life by faith in Christ Jesus.
”Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”
The word ”verily” is the same as saying ”truly, or truthfully”. These are the words of Christ, and even though He IS truth and is full of truth, He still wants to establish to the people who sought to kill Him that what He spoke was truth. This story in the Bible is a continuation to the miracle Christ performed on the man who was crippled, having an infirmity he wrestled with for 38 years. Every method he tried failed, including failing at being the first to go into the waters at Bethesda after the angel moved the waters. Christ came and restored his mobility in one sentence. In John 5:8, it says, ”Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.” Christ also gave the man a warning in John 5:14, which says, ”Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” Christ doesn’t heal us so we can go back to our bondage, He made us free and free indeed, so what is behind us is supposed to be dead and gone. The Jews had a major issue with Christ, that He would have the audacity to heal on the Sabbath, and equate Himself to God, and wanted to kill Him because of it, but Christ shared the Word of God with them.
The word ”heareth” means ”to take heed, to obey”. Christ said ”my word”, disclosing to them His authority and power to heal on any day of the week, and to make himself equal to God. The word ”believeth” means ”have faith, to entrust, to trust in God for help and to answer our prayers.” In Romans 10:14, the Bible says, ”How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” There has to be someone to preach the Word, not for the sake of the preacher, but for the sake of the people who need to hear the Word of God. How can anyone learn about the Word of God if there is no one to teach them? How can anyone believe in something or Someone that they have never been introduced to? In Romans 10:17, the Bible says, ”So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Our faith comes directly from the Word of God, but if it is never taught or shared, then how can people have faith?
The word ”sent” means ”to despatch”. John 8:58 says, ”Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” In order to be ”despatched” you have to already be in existence! Look at what Christ said here. He said, ”he that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me”. Christ had the authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, cause the lame to walk again, cause the blind to see, and it was all at His word. When He wanted it done, it was done, but here He is, in all humility, pointing to God as the bearer of everlasting life.
It shouldn’t be lost on us that Christ is preaching to the same people who are plotting to kill Him for doing what God has called Him to do, for doing what their lack of faith in the Word of God wouldn’t allow them to do. How many of us would preach to the same people who are persecuting us? In Matthew 5:44-45, Christ says, ”But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Because Christ is the Son of God, He acted like it in the Earth, and if God is calling for us to bless those who curse us, then I am pretty certain that sharing the Word of God with them is included in that.
The word ”everlasting” means ”perpetual or eternal”. Everlasting life is the reward we as believers experience, to abide in heaven with our God forever. 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.” There is no death for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The word ”condemnation” means ”a judgement given or a sentence pronounced, punishing sin”. We deserve the penalty of death, because the Bible says in Romans 6:23, ”For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Everything changed with the word ”but”, and through Jesus Christ our Lord, our penalty changes to a blessing!
In Romans 8:1, the Bible says, ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” We are secure because of our salvation, because we now walk according to a new nature. There is no more death, just life for all those who believe. Our past died when our old man died, and in John 10:10, Christ says, ”The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” God doesn’t just want us to live, but to have abundant life, not just in heaven, but right where we stand.
Remember, Christ preached the message of salvation to those who were trying to persecute Him for doing the will of God. If Christ made the message available to them, then surely we have the same access. May we walk as new creations in Christ, and live our lives in the Holy Spirit and power! In Luke 15:24, Christ says, ”For this MY SON was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Death is no longer our sentence! Praise God for the blessing to be alive in Him!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 22, 2022 – John 6:27 – but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life
What do we work for? A better question would be, what are our ambitions behind our work? Do we labor to become rich and famous, able to have everything we have ever desired, whenever we want it? Do we labor for the acknowledgements of our peers and the people in the community, to spur us to a place of importance everywhere we go? Do we labor for the Lord, for heavenly approval and for the benefit of others? In this world, selfish ambition runs rampant, and the desire to build financial wealth is at all-time highs. We are churning out more millionaires and billionaires now than ever, and they are accumulating vast wealth at younger ages, but is our world any more Godly, any more happy, or any more peaceful? Today, we will look at John 6:27, laboring for a heavenly cause and purpose in Christ, the path to true riches.
”Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”
The word ”labour” means ”to toil, or work in order to earn one’s food.” The word ”meat” means ”food”. The word ”perisheth” means ”to be destroyed fully”. This world is striving for provision that will rot and decay, and even worse, provision that will rot and decay themselves! In Proverbs 20:21, the Bible says, ”An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.” Coming from someone who committed crime to make money, to build wealth illegally, this verse strikes my heart with a great understanding of its truth.
What is wealth that isn’t blessed? A curse!
In Proverb 23:4-5, the Bible says, ”Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” People have their own idea of what will make them complete, or what will make a great difference in their lives, and money, if they had more of it, is usually something people believe that will make their lives better.
The race for riches, is nothing more than a carrot that is dangled in front of our faces, making us chase further after it, and also further away from the presence of the Lord.
In Proverbs 28:22, the Bible says, ”He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” Imagine the person who is so fixed on becoming rich that they have become blinded to the real poverty that has befallen them, spiritual poverty! In Matthew 6:24, Christ says, ”No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Who we serve is who we focus our mind and heart on, and to whom we commit the majority of our time. If I am racing after riches, then how will I ever have sufficient time for the Lord?
”But for that meat which enduring unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you.”
The word ”enduring” means ”to remain, to stay, or to continue unto”. The phrase ”everlasting life” means ”the reward of eternal or perpetual life in heaven given to believers who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” The word ”give” means ”to bestow upon”. In Matthew 6:33, Christ says, ”But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” We need not worry about anything but the kingdom of God and the things of God, and all of our needs will be met. Is God the source of true wealth in our eyes?
In John 4:34, Christ says, ”Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” When we are of the kingdom of God, our definition of meat has to change, and our impression of sustenance must change as well.
Christ considered to obey and carry out the Word of God to be food, including performing His perfect will.
In John 6:54-55, Christ says, ”Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” Eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood is spoken of in Communion, which is what Christ is getting at. We must commune with our Lord, feast on His Word, partake in His blood, identify ourselves with both His life and death. Christ desired oneness with God, just as God desires oneness with us. In Romans 14:17, the Bible says, ”For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” The kingdom of God is not about money and riches on this earth, but it is about doing the will of God and being in right standing with Him through salvation that is only in Jesus Christ.
The crowd followed Christ to receive bread for their hungry souls, but they didn’t display a hunger for the Word of God. May our hunger continually be for the things of God!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 23, 2022 – 2 Corinthians 11:3 – but I fear, lest by any means … your minds should be corrupted
As we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and as we become further informed as to the promises of God, the enemy is going to mount offensives that are aimed at shaking us from our faith. Adam received the Word of God in the garden, and relayed it to his wife, but the enemy found a place of vulnerability to cast a seed of doubt. If he can get us to question the Word of God as truth, then he can then lead us astray. Our world’s current condition is the result of the continuous deception of the enemy, causing most to stray away from God and also causing others to not step out in faith and seize the promises of God. There are people who have been attending church services for decades while their growth is being stifled by the lies of the enemy, and they have no clue that their conditioning was a trick of the enemy. Today, we will look at 2 Corinthians 11:3, walking in truth and power over the lies of the enemy.
”But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
The word ”fear” here doesn’t mean ”Godly reverence”, but it means ”to be frightened, terrified, or to be alarmed.” Paul is afraid for the Church, that the enemy is going to come in and complicate the Gospel, and frustrate the impact of the Gospel of Christ in people’s lives. This same fear is why he never ceased to preach the Gospel, so that people would receive the truth. In Jude 1:23, the Bible says, ”And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” Paul didn’t want people, especially the Church, to be consumed by the fire, and he desired for the Church to walk in victory in truth. This kind of fear is the kind a parent has for their child who is going out into the world on their own. He trusts that what he has taught them is sufficient for them to survive and thrive, but he knows that there is an enemy out there, who lives to deceive the nations. In 1 Peter 5:8, the Bible says, ”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. The enemy is always busy, carefully sprinkling a lie in with the truth, hoping no one knows the different. Paul knows all about being deceived by the enemy. In 1 Corinthians 15:9, the Bible says, ”For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Even Paul was misled by the enemy to believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was an attack on the Jewish faith, so he knows how the enemy can operate, and feared that the enemy’s influence can cause people to go astray.
The word ”beguiled” means ”to seduce wholly, or to deceive”. The word ”subtilty” means ”trickery”. So the enemy’s tactic is to seduce us with something we desire in order to trick us away from the presence of God. It is similar to a fox mimicking play, in order to weasel a baby animal away from the safety of its parents. Once away from the parents, the fox’s true nature comes out. In Genesis 3:13, the Bible says, ”And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Eve realized that she was bamboozled after the sin was committed, because the enemy was so crafty in disguising it as pleasure. In 1 John 2:16, the Bible says, ”For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The enemy makes sin look so pleasant, and makes the world’s knowledge seem to be the answer, but both lead people into destruction. In James 1:14, the Bible says, ”But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” The enemy has to know us in order to know how to tempt us away from the presence of God. Remember, we once lived according to the standard of the world.
”So your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”
The word ”simplicity” means ”singleness, sincerity, frankness, integrity, and fidelity”. We must keep it simple. 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, the Bible says, ”And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
This is the beginning to the greatest revelation we could ever receive.
In Colossians 1:26-28, the Bible says, ”Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 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: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”.
We have the truth of the Gospel in us as believers, and we have a Great Teacher, the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth. The Word of God is the standard by which everything should be weighed, but the Church is led astray, because we won’t stop weighing the world’s knowledge against the Word of God. In 1 Timothy 1:4, the Bible says, ”Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” Simply put, let us focus our attention on the right things; the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of the Word of God, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, all of which will keep the enemy in his place, under our feet, where the Gospel covers us!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 24, 2022 – Hebrews 13:17 – obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves
Obedience is something that is required of all believers. God institutes people in authority, and He also institutes people under that authority. Everyone has to play their role and submit themselves in order for the will of God to be perfected. In my prison environment, obedience is mandated, and is strictly enforced. Sometimes, the authority in place doesn’t always make the best choices, but my obedience to them should be no different than my obedience to God. In the Church, obedience is also mandated, and God has instituted our leadership. We shouldn’t obey out of fear of consequence, but we should obey out of reverence for God. We should obey God and the people He ordains to lead with willingness and joy. It’s not always easy, but it is necessary. Today, we will look at Hebrews 13:17, the pathway of faith and purpose uncovered by obedience.
”Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
The word ”obey” means ”to assent to, to follow, to heed”. In 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, the Bible says, ”Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.” As our leaders in the Church follow Christ, we must follow them, understanding that they are ordained to usher us closer to the presence of God. As our leaders have to lead effectively according to the Word of God, we who follow must also follow according to the Word of God. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-7, the Bible says, ”Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you”. Effective leadership not only instructs us of how to live a holy life in Christ, but also instructs us of what to stay away from that will hinder our direct access to the Lord.
In 2 Thessalonians 3:9, the Bible says, ”Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” Leadership isn’t about power, but about blazing the trail for the Lord to inhabit us all. Our steadfast following of the Lord should make others desire to follow the Lord too, but if our leadership becomes self-centered or goes on a power trip, then leadership becomes about the person and not about God, and the Church suffers. In Hebrews 2:1, the Bible says ”Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Leadership can be effective but if we don’t listen, take heed, and obey what is instructed to us, then the Word of God will lose its power in our lives.
The phrase ”have rule over you” implies reign or government. In Romans 13:1-2, the Bible says, ”Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” It is much bigger than the people we are following. It is about God, who put our leadership in power, and we have to serve them with the same reverence we have for God. The pastors/leaders/elders of the Church exercise the very authority of Christ when they preach, teach, and apply Scripture, so this is what they deserve the same obedience and Godly respect.
Leadership carries great responsibility, and James 3:1 says, ”My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” Our leadership answers to God for their leadership, so it works both ways. The follower and leader must obey God’s Word. The phrase ”give account” means ”reckoning, a reason as demanded or assigned”. In Luke 16:1-2, the Bible says, ”And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward.” Just at rich rulers will give account of the stewards they put in place to govern their treasured possessions, so God will do the same thing to those who He ordains as leaders. It is our job to follow them as they follow Christ.
”That they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you”.
The word ”joy” means ”cheerfulness”. The word ”grief” suggests one who murmurs or groans in displeasure. The word ”unprofitable” means ”without gain”. In 2 Corinthians 9:7-8, the Bible says, ”Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 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.” In our service as believers, whether we are in ministry or whether we are the last one in the door, we have a responsibility to God as believers. We can serve God with joy, or we can serve Him begrudgingly, but if we serve God with groaning and murmuring, then how will we ever come into a place where we bear fruit
Whether we follow or lead, may our heart remain pure before God, and may we receive His instruction, His leadership, and His love with cheerfulness.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 25, 2022 – Hebrews 13:21 – make you perfect in every good work to do his will
I had a conversation with a brother yesterday. He told me that he was waiting until he got his act totally together before he came to the faith, because he didn’t want to be ”halfway in” like so many people who go to church services. So many people have been misinformed by either someone else, or by their own thinking, that they have to ”clean themselves up” before they come to God. In response, I asked him, ”If you were capable of cleaning yourself up, then why would you need Christ?” It is the blood of Jesus Christ that washes us clean, not our good intentions. We also can’t perform the will of God as believers on our own. Too many are trying to go their own way to obtain salvation and to fulfill God’s purpose in their lives, but Jesus Christ is the only Way. Today, we will look at Hebrews 13:21, thoroughly equipped in Christ to perform the perfect will of God.
”Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
The phrase ”make you perfect” means ”to complete thoroughly, to restore, to repair, being deficient in no part, to be suitable”. Who makes us perfect? In order to grasp the context, we must look up to the preceding verse. In Hebrews 13:20, the Bible says, ”Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant”. It is God, that not only rose Christ from the dead, causing His blood to wash us clean from all sin, but who has completed us thoroughly, restored us, repaired our brokenness, so that we wouldn’t be lacking anything.
In Colossians 1:28, the Bible says, ”Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Even as we learn more about our Lord and Savior, about our amazing God, about the Holy Spirit of God which dwells richly in us, we are being perfected for God’s purpose. In Colossians 4:12, the Bible says, ”Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” God ordains His teachers, preachers, leaders, and also believers to assist Him in the perfecting of the Church, all using what God has given them to edify the body of Christ and perform the perfect will of God. Everything we need God has already provided. A seed doesn’t need more added to it. It was created to perform a purpose, and if it becomes planted, and nurtured with water and sunlight, it will become exactly what it was created to be. The same rules apply for us.
The phrase ”good work” means ”virtuous or beneficial deeds or labor”. The word ”good” always is associated with God’s intended purpose being fulfilled. In 2 Timothy 3:17, the Bible says, ”That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” In order to be furnished, that means God had to place inside of us what we need to do good works in Him. This means we didn’t do it on our own!
Even in salvation, Acts 4:12 says, ”Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” We can’t take the credit God deserves for giving us the path to salvation and purpose, because it is only because of what He provided through Christ that we have been allowed to partake in it! In 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17, the Bible says, ”Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” Everything we have in Christ has been provided by God, through His grace. The word ”well-pleasing” means ”acceptable or agreeable”. What God provides in us is acceptable and agreeable to Him. He would never provide something in us that He didn’t approve of.
The word ”glory” means ”honor due or rendered”. In Revelation 1:6, the Bible says, ”And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” What we see in ourselves and what God sees can be two totally different pictures. We are royalty and the pastorate in God’s eyes, so He provides to us in accordance with what He has created us to be. In Philippians 2:13, the Bible says, ”For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” When God is pleased by our salvation and by the work we are allowed to do in Him, He is glorified, and honor is rendered unto Him. Revelation 4:11 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.”
Is God worthy to receive the glory for what He has created and perfected in us? It is not, but Christ in me!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 26, 2022 – Colossians 4:5 – walk in wisdom
What makes us different from the world? When the world sees us, what do they see? When we received salvation from our souls, redemption from the penalty of death, and the beautiful gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, our spiritual state changed. We became new creations in Christ, children of the Most-High God, our identities changed, and the standard that we live by changed as well. We now have a hope and a future, and the Holy Spirit lives in us, teaching us, and bringing us closer to our God in relationship. All of these beautiful things have happened on the inside, but what does the world see in us? Are we walking in salvation, walking as new creations in Christ, walking as the redeemed of the Lord? Do people see the Holy Spirit working mightily in us, or do they see nothing different from their own lives and what they are going through? If we seem no different, then are we really different on the inside? Today, we will look at Colossians 4:5, walking in wisdom in a world void of wisdom.
”Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.”
The word ”walk” means ”to tread all around as proof of ability, or to live”. Our walks are our life, and how we walk is what the world sees. Does our walk cause a separation between us and the world, or is there no difference? 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.” As believers, our walk must be indicative of our relationship with God. We are not talking about putting on a show for the world, or acting like we are ”holier than thou”, but it is about living for the Lord honestly.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, the Bible says, ”And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.” There is always going to be evidence of our walk, some physical display of what is at work within us. We are not going to be the same, and it is not because of our personal efforts to look the part, but it will be because who we are in Christ will make our responses, our attitude, and our work different. Believers are supposed to excel in the home, at work, in school, and in the community because Colossians 3:17 says, ”And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Believers are to live their lives unto the Lord, representing our Lord and Savior in all we do. So as believers, we are supposed to walk, or live, on a level much different than the world, who live according to a different standard.
The word ”wisdom” means ”skill in the affairs of life, practical wisdom, wise management as shown in forming the best plans and selecting the best means, including the idea of sound judgement and good sense.” This can only be shown by what we do and how we live our lives. There is a difference between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom that comes from God. In James 3:17, the Bible says, ”But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” The wisdom God gives is above reproach, can be subjected to scrutiny, and still stand.
The word ”without” means ”outside the door”. Simply put, this word means ”outsiders, or unbelievers”. We must walk in wisdom towards unbelievers, not to make them feel foolish or to display our wisdom over theirs, but so we can establish the credibility of our faith as Christians. In Ephesians 5:15-17, the Bible says, ”See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” If the word of God tells us to walk wisely, then that is God’s will, and that is our only agenda, doing the will of God. Our hope is that unbelievers will see our lives, how they are patterned after the Lord, and develop a desire to receive salvation for their souls as well.
The phrase ”redeeming the time” means ”making the most of every opportunity we have to share the Word of God. Walking in wisdom towards unbelievers isn’t about puffing ourselves up, but about finding opportunity to share the Word of God, either by our words or by our conduct. In 1 John 3:18-19, the Bible says, ”My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.” When we live in deed and truth, walking in wisdom and love, not only is it pleasing to God, but unbelievers will see this and want to know what makes us different, and why we don’t act as certain way. Then, the door is open for ministry!
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 27, 2022 – Galatians 5:16 – walk in the Spirit
When we were delivered from sin, we were given a new name, a new identity, and a new standard to walk in. When we were in the world, we operated according to the flesh, and whether we will admit it or not, we served our father, the devil, and lived according to his influence. We did what we wanted, when we wanted, and most of us were fine with that. It wasn’t until we were formally introduced to the Word of God and the Truth embedded Itself into us and changed our impression of the life we once lived. Many people at this point try to figure out how they are going to change after being so conditioned to this former life, and I was no different. I told God, ”I want to change, but I don’t know how”, and I asked God to show me. He gave me His Word and made that and building a relationship with Him my sole focus. I learned that if I focus on the things of God, I don’t have room to entertain my flesh. Today, we will look at Galatians 5:16, walking according to the Spirit of God.
”This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
The word ”walk” means ”to tread all around, to follow after, or to live as proof of ability.” Our walk is the evidence of what is at work inside of us. Our actions and deeds display a bigger picture of what is at work inside of us than our words ever will. In Matthew 7:15, Christ says, ”Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” People can look the part for a season, fooling people, but eventually their nature will rise to the surface, exposing it for the world to see. In Matthew 7:16-17, Christ also says, ”Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” A tree is only going to produce the fruit of its nature. Apple seeds make apple trees, right? The fruit is what we see, what people experience as the result of our walk. Either they experience the Spirit or flesh from us, and as believers, that choice is ours.
The word ”Spirit” refers to the standard of the Holy Spirit of God, which empowers us to walk supernaturally in the Earth, and enables us to receive full knowledge of gospel truth, living sanctified in Him. In Romans 8:4-5 the Bible says, ”That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” When we walk in the Spirit, we walk in the righteousness of God, and we have the choice to entertain the things of the flesh or the things of the Spirit. As believers, our desire should be to walk according to the Spirit, to live lives pleasing to God. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, the Bible says, ”What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” When we receive the things of the Spirit, we understand that we belong to the Lord, that we have been made a vessel for the Master’s use. Understanding our redemption in the Lord Jesus Christ should make us willing to live our lives to reflect the Holy Spirit that now inhabits us. In Romans 13:14, the Bible says, ”But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Robing ourselves with Jesus Christ leaves no room for us to entertain and invite in the flesh. If we just focus on the Lord and attend to the Word of God, God will handle the rest.
”And ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”
The word ”fulfill” means ”to accomplish, perform, or execute fully”. The word ”lust” means ”longing for what is forbidden, inordinate or irregular desires or appetites.” In Romans 8:12-13, the Bible says, ”Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” We are debtors to who has redeemed us from the penalty of death, and our goal is to not serve the standard that we have been delivered from, but to serve our Redeemer. The word ”flesh” means ”sinfulness, or proneness to sin, the seat of carnal desires or appetites.” In James 1:14, the Bible says, ”But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” We allow ourselves to succumb to sin, because we allow ourselves to be dragged away by our own lust. As believers, God has given us every means to live according to the Spirit, but it is up to us to walk in obedience to the Word of God.
If we walk according to the Spirit, the flesh has no room to reign.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 28, 2022 – Colossians 4:6 – let your speech be alway with grace
What we say out of our mouths has great importance to our faith. How we say it is important as well, because the way we say something can produce joy or agony. Just as important as what we say and how we say it is how we respond to those around us. For example, when they question our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, or where they aim to discredit the Word of God as truth. Do we allow our offense to prevail, causing us to bring shame to the name of our Lord by our response, or do we continue to speak words of life, of love, of fellowship to those who aren’t of the faith? Jesus Christ gave us a great example of how to handle the attacks from people who did receive His message and He also gave us a template for how to handle the enemy when he comes. Christ’s speech was always with grace, His words always leading others to the presence of God, and so must ours. Today, we will look at Colossians 4:6, having our speech reflect the gospel of Jesus Christ.
”Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”
The word ”speech” means ”utterance, conversation, oratory, or declaration”. The word ”grace” means ”with acceptableness, with agreeableness, with a divine influence on the heart”. Grace is the bridge between where we are and where we should be, and if our speech is supposed to always be with grace, then what we say to the world should be words that lead people into the presence of God. In Colossians 3:16, the Bible says, ”Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” In order for what we say to always be with grace, then the Holy Spirit must have reign within us. What is inside of us will always come out, because in Matthew 12:34-35, Christ says, ”O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” What is in our speech? The Word of God? Faith? Hope? Power? Grace? Whatever is in our speech typically is whatever is dominant inside of us. Why was Christ’s speech always filled with grace?
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.” Christ was full of grace and truth, so that is what came out was grace and truth. In Ecclesiastes 10:12, the Bible says, ”The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.” We have access to everything Christ did, because we have the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within us, and that means our speech will become equipped with grace and truth as well. Our problem comes in when we don’t use what God has given us, and we don’t allow what God so richly gives us to bear fruit.
The phrase ”seasoned with salt” means ”prepared or stimulated with prudence”. Salt enhances the flavor or food, and makes bland food taste so much better. What else does salt do? Salt preserves food, and prevents food from being corrupted by bacteria. In Mark 9:49-50, Christ says, ”For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.” We must be purified, preserved and made incorruptible by God, and it is done by salvation and sanctification, but it is also done through suffering and persecution. In order for our speech to always be with grace, seasoned with salt, then we must continue to be salted with the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
How do we know we are salted by God? In Matthew 5:13, Christ says, ”Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” We lose our savour when we water down what God has given us with man’s wisdom, with man’s truth, and what we have then becomes good for nothing.
”That ye may know how ye ought to answer every man”
In 1 Peter 3:15, the Bible says, ”But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” Our speech should act as a blessing to others, and also as a purifying influence within a decaying world. What we say and how we respond should both lead others to the cross.
What does our speech consists of? Grace? Truth? Faith? Power? Hope?
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 29, 2022 – Ephesians 4:1 – walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called
No matter what type of situation we find ourselves in as believers, there is an expectation that we will walk according to the Word of God. When God calls us, there is an expectation that we will fulfill our calling, despite whatever predicaments we may encounter during our lives. God wants us to walk holy and bear His image and likeness in the Earth. When people see us, it should point the way to Christ, and when people look at our lives, it should make sense that we are believers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was in prison and was still preaching the Word of God, still pastoring the Church, still looking after believer’s spiritual development. His work didn’t stop under the trials of incarceration, but thrived in spite of them/h. No matter what type of odds we face, God will give us every means to walk worthy of any position He has called us to. Today, we will look at Ephesians 4:1, pressing the purpose of God forward under all circumstances.
”I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”
The word ”beseech” means ”to request, ask or intreat”. In Romans 12:1, the Bible says, ”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” In order for us to be effective for the kingdom of God, we must first present ourselves to God, and allow Him to construct us and use us as His sees fit. Paul is imploring the Church at Ephesians to live as believers called by God, being acceptable unto Him by the life we live. God requires our service to be pleasing to Him so there must be a dying to self, to our will, ideas, and desires in order to seize the things of God wholeheartedly. Paul is doing this from prison, understanding that his imprisonment isn’t his hindrance or his obstacle, but the platform that God has given him to be fruitful for the kingdom of God. Without teaching this directly, Paul is using his circumstances of imprisonment to show the Church that God is powerful over every form of limitation we have.
In Ephesians 2:10, the Bible says, ”For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God has already ordained us to sit in the place that we are called to, so our circumstances are engrafted into the calling of God. If God needed our circumstances to be different to make us more effective for the kingdom of God, then He would have hardwired that into our purpose. Many of us want our positions to change but to date we haven’t shepherded or stewarded well what God has given us!
The word ”walk” means ”to tread all around as proof of ability, or to live.” The word ”worthy” means ”appropriately, of a Godly sort.” Colossians 1:9-11, the Bible says, ”For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”. In order for us to walk worthy in the Lord, we must be called, but we must also be filled the knowledge of the will, Word, and wisdom of God. Having those three things will ensure that we bear fruit in everything we put our hand to, and also, that we will be gifted strength that will increase our patience and joy. There are benefits to serving the Lord with an undivided heart and mind, and God will secure our victory and His glory if we are found faithful. Paul is urging believers to be everything that the Lord is calling us to be, to leave nothing on the table. Walking worthy is a position where our lives line up to the Word of God, and we project who we are in Him. God gives us the power and He gives us the ability to choose to live in that power.
In Ephesians 3:7, 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.” It isn’t us, but it is God’s power working in us that makes us effective. Our location or circumstances doesn’t matter.
The word ”vocation” means ”an invitation to the Gospel of Jesus Christ”. The word ”called” means ”appointed, or summoned to any position.” In Romans 8:30, the Bible says, ”Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” God not only calls us, but He stands by His choice. His calling is no accident, and if He called us, then He has most certainly equipped us to bear fruit!
Whether you are called from prison or from your family, let us live our lives pleasing to the Lord.
Marshall & Jessica
Apr 30, 2022 – Ephesians 6:8 – … whatsoever good thing … the same shall he receive of the Lord
As believers, it is expected that we will do good things in the Earth. It is expected that we will love others, no matter their backgrounds, that we will show compassion, mercy, and grace to others, even those who wrong us, and we will be hospitable and approachable to those around us. The world strangely knows how believers are supposed to act and respond, and also knows that there are rewards in store for those who do good, but why don’t we? There is good in store for all who do good, and it is not limited to just believers, but many don’t believe this. Many believe the motto, ”No good deed goes unpunished”, but that is a lie from the enemy that will deter people from doing good unto others. Our problem is when we look for man to reward us instead of God, who sees our stewardship, and rewards us accordingly. Today, we will look at Ephesians 6:8, our good deeds having a Godly reward.
”Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”
The word ”knowing” means ”to be fully acquainted with, to be aware of, to understand, or to perceive”. Knowing is a relational term that implies a oneness to what is known. In Genesis 4:1, the Bible says, ”And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” Why am I equating the word ”knowing” to Adam having marital relations with Eve? It is because they both carry the same dynamic! Think not? In human relations, the man carries the seed. The woman receives the seed, and conception happens. The seed grows in woman until it is birthed, which is the evidence of the life of the seed.
In Luke 8:11, Christ says, ”Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” In order for a seed to grow it must be planted, and in order for a seed to bear fruit, it must experience the ideal conditions. In Ezekiel 17:8, the Bible says, ”It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.” The seed, which is the Word of God, must be planted in good soil in order for it to bear fruit.
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.” Jesus Christ is the Word of God, and as the Church, we are the bride of Christ! Christ is the seed, and we are the soil, and if we are in Christ, Luke 8:15 says, ”But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” In Matthew’s account of this parable in chapter 13:23, it gives a number for the amount of increase. It said thirty, sixty, and hundredfold! Knowing the Word of God is not about putting it in our heads so we can store the information, but it is about hearing the Word, receiving it, keeping it, and allowing it to bear fruit in us.
The phrase ”good thing” means ”deeds useful, beneficial and profitable for the kingdom of God.” ”Good” is a term that expresses that the will of God has been performed the way He intended it to be. The word ”doeth” means ”performs, accomplishes, or completes.” In Genesis 1:3-4, the Bible says, ”And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” God’s word goes out, it is fulfilled, and when God sees this He gives His stamp of approval by calling it good. In Romans 2:10-11, the Bible says, ”But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God.” We all have the ability to do good for the kingdom of God, and God has used tons of unbelievers to perform good things at His word. In Ephesians 2:10, the Bible says, ”For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” As believers, good deeds should be second nature to us, because we were created in Christ for this.
”The same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free”.
In Galatians 6:7-9, the Bible says, ”Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” This Scripture obliterates the ”No good deed goes unpunished” lie, because not only will our good deeds be rewarded in earth, but in heaven too. Many of us never get to the reward, because we grow weary and quit before it comes! Look at what the Scripture says above. It says, ”The same shall receive OF THE LORD”. This means we should not seek reward from any other person but the Lord. In Luke 6:38, Christ says, ”Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” If men give into your bosom, then they were sent by God. Never look for man to give you what only God can. If God rewards people who have done good for His kingdom who are not His children, then imagine what He has in store for us as His children!
Marshall & Jessica
May 1, 2022 – Ephesians 4:17 – walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind
What is the difference between the world and the Church? A better question should be, what should the difference be between the world and the Church? There are supposed to be clearly defined lines, but over time, the lines have become more and more blurred that the Church perception has changed in the sight of the world. When the truth continues to be subject to scrutiny, and scrutiny causes the Church to compromise to maintain its ”relevance”, we have drastically fallen short of the will of God. When people see believers, they are supposed to tie us to who we believe in because our conduct patterns our faith. When the world looks at us and are shocked that we are believers, then something horrible is being lost in our behavior. Our testimony isn’t just in our words, but is in our actions. We are supposed to be a shining light in darkness, not more darkness. Today, we will look at Ephesians 4:17, a walk reflecting the Gospel of Christ.
”This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,”
The word ”testify” means ”to be adduced as a witness, to witness, or to exhort solemnly”. When a person testifies, they give an account of the things they have seen, heard, or experienced. The purpose of our testimony as believers is to lead souls to the Lord, and show them where the one true Light is. In John 1:6-8, the Bible says, ”There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” There is a purpose for our testimony, and the purpose is much bigger than us. Our testimony bears witness of the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the power of God to save mankind from their sin. Our testimony can also show mankind that as believers, we have access to the kingdom of God, and also that we have the ability in Christ to bear God’s image and likeness in the Earth, as God created us to be. We must know our place, and know that we are witnesses of God’s Word, love, salvation, and power.
In John 17:7-8, Christ says, ”Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Christ was not only our Lord and Savior, but He was an awesome Witness, and He only gave us the things God gave Him. Our witness must be the same, because if we give people what God has given us, then the Word will do what God intends for it.
So we have witnesses in John the Baptist and Christ, but here is one more.
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 Holy Spirit is also a Witness, conveying the things that God has given Him to us, so we will know God and know the things to come. Testimony always has purpose, and when testimony is being brought concerning the Word of God, it is to cement it as truth. In Revelation 12:11, the Bible says, ”And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Testimony also produces victory over the enemy, not only ours, but victory of others as well. There is power behind testimony, and God is glorified from our witness.
”That ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk”
It should be noted that Paul is writing this letter to the Church. Paul is exhorting the Church in Ephesus to not walk as other Gentiles walk, so this suggests that there were enough people in the Church that looked not different than the world! Ouch! The word ”henceforth” means ”from now on”, so Paul is exhorting the Church to put a stop to walking as those Gentiles walked.
The word ”walk” means ”to tread all around as proof of ability, or to live”. The word ”Gentiles” speaks of pagan, heathen people, or unbelievers. In Ephesians 2:1-2, the Bible says, ”And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”. As believers, we now have access to walk according to the Spirit, and receive the things of God with a heart cleansed by the Lord, but at that time, some in the Church walked no differently than the heathens they were supposed to witness to.
The word ”vanity” means ”perverseness, wickedness, or transience”. In Ephesians 4:22-23 the Bible says, ”That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind”. We must shed the world from our hearts, minds and lives in order for God to renew our minds. How many of us destroy their witness by our speech reflecting the Gospel of Christ while our actions reflect that we still serve Satan? How many people can we help with that kind of mixture within us?
If we are believers, let our conduct and our way of life to reflect the God we serve faithfully.
Marshall & Jessica
May 2, 2022 – 1 John 3:22 – whatsoever we ask, we receive of him
God is a loving Father who deeply cares about His children. He created this world for mankind to replenish, be fruitful, multiply and have dominion in, and He also created this world for us to enjoy. Occasionally, as His children, we will ask of Him things that we need, and even things that we desire, and our loving Father will answer our prayers and respond to our petitions. Our problem is that we ask, but don’t believe that He will hear us, or we don’t ask altogether out of fear of disappointment. Some people believe that God is not concerned with ”our little problems”, that He has ”bigger fish to fry”. How many answers have we disqualified ourselves from because we put God in the box our small expectations? God is willing to provide all we ask according to His will, but there are conditions that must be met first. Today, we will look at 1 John 3:22, asking a loving God for an answer He is more than willing to provide.
”And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
The word ”ask” means ”to supplicate in prayer, to request, or to desire”. 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.” The word ”seek” in this Scripture means ”to worship”.
How many of us want God’s provision, but won’t give Him our worship? The concept of worship is not exclusive to praise, but it is the act of depressing ourselves before the Lord, making ourselves nothing comparable to Him. Worship is us making ourselves completely available to the Lord, making our vessel completely empty before Him, so He can fill them. Imagine our God that is more than willing to give us what we ask, but we won’t worship God in order to receive the answers we need. What if our answer is in the form of a door that we must knock on, but we don’t know where the door is because we won’t worship?
In Mark 11:23-24, the Bible says, ”For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” How many of us don’t get what we ask God for because we lack the faith? How many don’t receive the things of God because we don’t open our mouths and declare what – ”thus saith the Lord”? How many of us are too afraid to speak to our mountains, or even too afraid to believe that what we prayed for has been answered?
In Mark 11:22, the Bible says, ”And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.” Where is our faith, in the uncertainty of our thoughts, in the pits of our misfortunes, in the midst of our conditioning, or is our faith in God. God who gives us a new mind, makes our paths sure, and renews our minds daily in Him so we can have the boldness to ask our ”Daddy” for the help we need? There are conditions to our requests, but all are doable.
In Matthew 6:33, the Bible says, ”But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Is the kingdom of God first in our lives? Is the righteousness of God, which can only be found in Christ Jesus, the primary agenda in our lives? If it isn’t, then we shouldn’t place a strong expectation in receiving what we ask of God.
The word ”keep” means ”to obey, guard against loss, or to prevent escape”. This means what we have in the Word of God is so precious and so valuable that we guard what goes in and what goes out. Are we protecting our minds and heart in Christ, making sure that what goes into our spirits is according to the Word of God?
Are we just as diligent to make sure that what comes out of our mouths and what is projected into our actions is according to the Word of God? In Proverbs 18:20, the Bible says, ”A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.” What comes out of our mouths is just as important as what we ask God for, because our words can deny us the provision of God. At the end of Mark 11:23, it says, ”he shall have whatsoever he SAITH”. When we ask God for something and don’t then we nullify it by speaking against what we asked God for.
The word ”commandment” means ”authoritative prescription, charge, or directive”. A prescription is something given by a doctor that is designed to improve, heal, or treat a condition. The prescription is only good if it is followed. If we don’t take God’s prescription, then how can we ever expect our prayers to be answered? In John 15:7, Christ says, ”If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” We must abide in the Lord and we must live according to His Word, so when we ask, it is according to the Word of God.
The word ”pleasing” means ”agreeable, acceptable, or fit”. 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.” Is our atmosphere conducive to the blessings and provision of God? Are we mature enough to receive the things of God we ask for? God knows our hearts, and our motives.
In James 4:3, the Bible says, ”Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” We have to check our hearts to make sure our motives line up with the Word of God when we ask. We must have hearts that are set on pleasing the Lord, and have lives committed to God first, and then live to please our loving Father.
God is more than willing to respond to our prayers, but are we willing to ask, receive, and live according to the Word of God?
Marshall & Jessica
May 3, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 15:10 – but the grace of God which was with me
Paul faced a lot of scrutiny in his ministry, primarily because he persecuted the Church before he came to the faith. Imagine the skepticism he faced from people he was trying to help by preaching the Word of God, including from the other apostles. Paul had to feel like an outcast at times; knowing he was of the fold, but feeling like the least of them all. Paul could’ve stayed in that unhealthy state of mind, allowing his own fear and unworthiness about his past to shape his future, or he could embrace the grace of God that has brought him into a right relationship with Him and live according to who he is now. I battle that same feeling as Paul, being someone who delivers the Word of God all while knowing I have taken life. I can either accept the title of what I was, or I can embrace who God says I am today. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 15:10, I am what I am.
”But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
The word ”grace” means ”the unmerited favor which God shows in saving us from sin”. In Ephesians 2:7-9, the Bible says, ”That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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.” God provided everything we needed for salvation, and His grace expressed a settled sin debt despite our incapability of righting our wrongs on our own. God knew we weren’t enough, so He sent Christ.
In Romans 5:8-9, the Bible says, ”But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” God didn’t wait on us to ”get it together” or ”clean up our act” before He bestowed salvation upon us. The gift was already given before we were here to form the thought of sin, and the gift was in full consideration of our failures and offenses before God. Paul recognizes that because of the grace of God that he is what he is, and of nothing he has done. The feelings of inadequacy in the Church must stop, because God isn’t concerned with who we were. He is concerned with who we are now in Him!
”And the grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain”
The word ”grace” here not only means ”the unmerited favor which God shows in saving us from sin”, but it extends to mean ”the divine favor as exercised in conferring gifts, graces, and benefits on man through Christ and His gospel.” The grace of God not only gave us access to salvation, but it gave us access for us to operate in the earth as God ordains. The word ”bestowed” means ”given, gifted, or endowed with”. In Luke 24:49, Christ says, ”And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” The grace that God gives us is a promise fulfilled, just as the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is. When we walk as if we are our own righteousness, as if our works got us to the place that only God could have brought us to, then the message of grace is lost upon us.
Grace makes up for our shortcomings. 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”. The grace of God received in truth will cause us to humble ourselves, no matter how ”great” we have become. Paul was the lead Pastor of the Church, but considered himself ”the least of all saints”. He wasn’t putting Himself down, but he was putting himself in check, to make sure he never exalted himself.
The phrase ”in vain” means ”without usefulness, without success, or without fruit.” The very command of Christ in John 15:16 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.” We are not to put the grace of God to shame, because we would put Christ’s sacrifice to shame.
”I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me”.
The word ”laboured” means ”to toil, or work harder”. Paul shows his appreciation for the grace of God by reaching after his greatest potential in the Lord. The word ”with” here means ”complete”. In 2 Corinthians 3:5-6, the Bible says, ”Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Everything we are right now as believers is because of the amazing love and grace of God, and the Spirit of God which gave us everything we need to be the able ministers that God called us to. See, we can look at our failures and rest there, but we will be unfruitful for the kingdom of God and God’s grace would be in vain. God didn’t bestow His grace upon us for us to regurgitate our past and lose sight of who we are now. 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.”
Let us accept God’s grace and leave behind what we have been delivered from. May our lips speak to the truth: I AM what I am.
Marshall & Jessica
May 4, 2022 – James 1:21 – receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your souls
As believers, we are constantly being refined. Going into the fire, there are going to be things that it is time to let go of, thoughts, actions, and stances that no longer fit into the kingdom picture God has given us. When we were in the world, we served a completely different system, and did whatever brought us physical pleasure. The instant gratification of sin led to us digging a home for ourselves that only God can dig us out of. I realized that trying not to do wrong was a lot harder than receiving the Word of God and allowing the Word of God to change me. The more I studied the Word of God, receiving it into my spirit, the easier it was to begin laying aside all of the things that I was in bondage to. Apart from the Word of God, I couldn’t have done this, and I praise God that His Word created a new standard in my life. Today, we will look at James 1:21, laying our sin aside to receive the Word of God.
”Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
The phrase ”lay apart” means ”having put off”. Romans 13:12-13, the Bible says, ”The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” With the empowerment of the Word of God, I was able to make a choice to walk away from drugs, alcohol, fighting, gang activity, and anger. Without God’s Word, I didn’t stand a chance. I understand Psalm 119:11, which says, ”Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” It is the Word that gives us what we need to turn away from sin.
In Colossians 3:8-9, the Bible says, ”But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds”. If the Word of God is telling us to put off these things, then we must have the power to do it in Him. Why do we have so many people in the Church who say they are powerless to sin? Many people blame every bad choice they make on the devil, when James 1:14-15 says, ”But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of HIS OWN lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
The word ”filthiness” means ”moral dirtiness”. The phrase ”superfluidity of naughtiness” means ”malice, badness, depravity; a superabundance of wickedness in one’s heart, mind, and life.” 1 Peter 2:1-2, the Bible says, ”Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”. The sinful things in our lives that we refuse to lay aside are the things that hinder our spiritual growth in God. Sin serves as a major distraction to the the purposes of God being fulfilled in our lives. In Ephesians 4:31, the Bible says, ”Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice”. How do any of these things usher in the Spirit of God to have reign in our lives? How can a gardener have a garden that bears fruit when it is overgrown with weeds?
The word ”receive” means ”take hold of, to seize, or to associate oneself with”. The word ”meekness” means ”humility, or mildness, the balance born in strength of character, stemming from confident trust in God, not from weakness or fear.” In Matthew 5:5, Christ says, ”Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” The ones who humble themselves before God, understanding that we are nothing on our own, are the ones who will live in authority in the earth. In Matthew 23:12, Christ says, ”And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
The phrase ”engrafted word” means ”implanted Word of God”. Are our environments conducive to the Word of God growing and bearing fruit in our lives? Do we fully rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit, humbling ourselves to receive His teachings?
The word ”save” means ”to deliver, preserve, or to make whole”. In Titus 2:11-12, the Bible says,
”For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world”. Our loving God makes salvation available to all men, but it begins with His Word. The Word of God gives us the tools we need to live Godly lives, and the courage to walk away from the filth that once governed our lives but we have to receive the Word of God into our hearts, and allow it to have reign.
Marshall & Jessica
May 5, 2022 – Colossians 1:9 – since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you
Ministry requires follow through. We can’t care about someone’s soul being saved and not care about their spiritual development. Paul preached all over the Gentile nations the Gospel of Jesus Christ and endured hardships along the way. His co-pastors also dispensed the Word of God everywhere they went, but it didn’t stop there. Paul and the pastorate continued to pray for the Church and pray for their spiritual development. Paul did even more, writing letters to the Churches to continue to help them grow in the manner God intends. Those letters to the Churches was Paul following through, making sure that the work that was begun continued. Many people wonder why there is a falling away after someone comes to salvation, which makes me wonder who is praying for those who come into the faith, and who is following through with them? Today, we will look at Colossians 1:9, seeing the work of the Gospel through by prayer.
”For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding”
The word ”pray” means ”to supplicate or offer prayer”. Prayer is real weaponry for the believer, and many battles are won through prayer. Sadly, many battles are lost due to the lack of prayer. In Ephesians 6:18-19, the Bible says, ”Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel”. These verses come directly after the verses pertaining to the armor of God and are meant to be included in the armor of God. Think not?
In Ephesians 6:17, the Bible says, ”And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”. The colon at the end of verse 17 expresses a continuation of a thought, a list that will follow it. Not only are we supposed to pray for the saints, but for the pastorate as well. We pray for the saints to receive the Word of God in truth, and we pray for our pastors and teachers to deliver the Word of God of in truth. In Ephesians 1:15-16, the Bible says, ”Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers”. Paul didn’t pat himself on the back that the Word of God spread the way it did. He got the report of the Church and prayed for them even more. That is what we are supposed to do.
The word ”filled” means ”to supply abundantly with something, to impart richly”. Paul isn’t just praying, but Paul is begging God to fill the Church with the knowledge of His will. The word ”knowledge” means ”discernment, full acknowledgement”. Paul wanted the Church to have a deep and thorough knowledge of the will of God. In Ephesians 5:17-18, the Bible says, ”Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”. The only way we can understand the will of God is to understand the Word of God. If we understand the Word of God then we understand that the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to understand both the will and the Word of God.
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 word ”will” means ”determination or purpose” so when we learn of God’s will we discover His purpose for whatever He reveals to us. 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.” The renewing of the mind is the constant refreshing by the Holy Spirit as we abide in Christ in Word, prayer, and fellowship. It is making ourselves continually available to receive the will of God.
”In all wisdom and spiritual understanding”
The word ”wisdom” means ”divine understanding and discernment, the ability to regulate one’s own relationship with God”. The word ”understanding” means ”a mental putting together, or intelligence.” Ephesians 1:8-9, the Bible says, ”Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself”. God doesn’t want us to receive part of His wisdom or will, but He wants us to receive ALL of it.
Our follow through is necessary because we don’t want our fellow believers to become stagnant in the faith. May we continue to offer up our prayers for the ones we have shared the Gospel with, and those who need the Gospel.
Marshall & Jessica
May 6, 2022 – Colossians 1:10 – that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing
As believers, we have the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus within us. Within us, we have power, peace, grace, truth, and courage to be able to be the children of God, bearing His image and likeness on earth. As we live as believers, God gives us everything we need to bear fruit, the evidence of the work of God in our lives, but how we bear fruit can only be found in the Word of God. As we get to know the Word of God, making ourselves completely available to the Holy Spirit’s leading, the intimacy we build will allow us to grow in unimaginable ways, and we will do unthinkable things for the kingdom of God. Who would think for a second that I would be doing daily devotionals after the things I have experienced in my past? It is only because of the grace of God that I was able to receive the Word of God with an open heart, and it is only through the work of the Holy Spirit that I am who I am today. Today, we will look at Colossians 1:10, a worthy walk of fruitfulness for the kingdom of God.
”That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God”
The word ”walk” means ”to tread all around as proof of ability, or to live”. The word ”worthy” means ”appropriate, of a Godly sort”. In 2 Peter 1:3 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”. God has equipped us to live a Godly life in Him, and to make the sound choice to be led by Him in all things. In 1 John 1:7, the Bible says, ”But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Walking in the light. This means that we don’t have to try to find our way anymore as believers, because our path is lit up for us to follow. The light is the word of God, as evidenced by Psalm 119:105, which says, ”Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” If we aren’t walking in the Word of God, then we can never find our way. If we walk according to the Word of God, it will show in our lives. In Ephesians 4:1-3, the Bible says, ”I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” There is always going to be a physical record for the way we live our lives as believers. God called us so it is our job to live our lives in appreciation and in reverence to God for allowing us to be beneficiaries of such a great inheritance.
The phrase ”all pleasing” suggests that we are to live our lives to please God in all things, to represent Him well in the earth as His children. In Philippians 1:27, the Bible says, ”Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”. Not only should we live according to the Word of God, but our hearts, minds, and intentions should always be towards bringing the body of believers together as one. When we move as one, the Holy Spirit has free reign to turn a building into a house of God, to turn people into vessels for the Master’s use, and the world would change as a whole.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:1, the Bible says, ”Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” God doesn’t want us to receive of Him and become complacent and unwilling to grow further. God wants us to abound more and more, so He expects us to bear continuous fruit in our lives, and also have an aim to serve the Lord in Word, deed, and truth. Whatever doesn’t grow, atrophies and dies.
The word ”fruitful” means ”fertile”. In Genesis 9:1, the Bible says, ”And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Being fruitful implies that our bodies are good soil for seed, which is the Word of God, and we are capable of not only growth, but producing life as well. What good are our lives if we are the only ones saved?
The phrase ”good work” means ”deeds that are virtuous and beneficial for the purposes of God to be fulfilled.” In Psalm 1:3, the Bible says, ”And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” God wants us to succeed in everything we do, as long as we are doing it according to His Word and will.
The word ”increasing” means ”growing or enlarging”. The word ”knowledge” implies a full discernment of the Word and identity of God, a oneness with Him as the result of what we know. This is the message we are to live and also share throughout the earth. 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”. It is God that equips us to live a Godly life in Him, equips us to know Him, and provides us the ability to bear fruit in our work. Only by God can this be done, and the way is the Word of God.
May our lives reflect the God within us, and may we live our lives to please Him in all we do.
Marshall & Jessica
May 7, 2022 – Colossians 1:11 – strengthened with all might
As believers, we are going to need the Lord’s strength at every junction of our lives. Many times, we have tried to operate on our own strength, failing miserably in the process. I’ve tried and failed myself. People tend to give up when their way doesn’t work, just as I did. In order for me to live according to the Word of God, then I have to take myself completely out of the equation, and make myself empty before the Lord to fill me as He sees fit. I need His grace, His knowledge, His wisdom, His approval, His understanding about how to be fruitful, and I need His strength and power in order to experience joy in the midst of hardship. God never promised an easy road as a believer, but He did promise that He would always be with us. Today, we will be looking at Colossians 1:11, receiving the strength of the Lord in all seasons of our faith walk.
”Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”
The word ”strengthened” means ”enabled, to grow morally strong”. The word ”might” means ”miraculous force or power”. We must first understand where our strength comes from. In Isaiah 26:4, the Bible says, ”Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength”. The Lord God IS strength, so there is no doubt in my mind that our God has strength for us to receive and become empowered by it. Are we willing to trust our frailties to the Lord in order to be strengthened by Him? Our problem is we try to operate according to our own strength, try to power through situations without God’s help. We fail miserably every time, and even if we do make it through whatever ordeal we face, we are left resentful and scarred without God.
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.” The Spirit of God provides real strength that our might and power can’t ever measure up to, and it is available to all believers. 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.” So if the Lord God IS everlasting strength, and the Spirit of God does what our might and power are unable to do, and if the Spirit of God dwells with us and shall be IN us, then that can only mean one thing: God’s strength is IN us! Too many times, we look beyond to find strength, but God wants us to trust what He has already placed within us.
In Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, ”I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” This strength is completely apart from physical things, people, and earthly provision. God’s strength doesn’t need outside circumstances to change for it to be effective.
”According to His glorious power”
The word ”according” expresses that His glorious power is a conduit for God’s strength to reach us. The word ”glorious” pertains to glorious moral attributes, excellence, and divine perfection manifested in the power of God. The word ”power” implies dominion. God empowers us by His strength to live lives that bring glory to Him. He will never allow us to embark on a faith walk for His kingdom and allow us to fall flat on our faces in defeat. God doesn’t get the glory if we fail. This is why in John 16:33, Christ says, ”These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Christ overcame the world through His victory on the cross, and He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us to ensure that we could overcome the world as well. In Ephesians 6:10, the Bible says, ”Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” You don’t tell people who don’t have strength to ”be strong”. You tell people who are strong to walk in the strength they have.
”Unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness”
The word ”patience” means ”endurance, perseverance, constancy under suffering in faith and duty”. God didn’t promise us that we wouldn’t be without trial, but His word shows that He will strengthen us to prevail. The word ”longsuffering” means ”fortitude”. This means we don’t check out when it gets tough. The word ”joyfulness” means ”cheerfulness, calm delight, and enjoyment”. In James 1:2-4, the Bible says, ”My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” Our God strengthens us so we will stand in victory, in His power and in dominion, glorifying God in our success. It doesn’t matter what hardship we go through, but it does matter where our strength comes from!
Marshall & Jessica
May 8, 2022 – Colossians 2:15 – he made a shew of them openly
Our Lord and Savior came to earth, and triumphed over life and death. Christ endured the hardships of the cross so that we may have access to the same victory He has, and He overcame the world so we wouldn’t be subdued by it. The enemy can mount some extraordinary offensives, and he is very crafty at knocking us off balance, but the only victory the enemy has over those in Christ are the ones that we give him. The victory was won over the enemy when Christ said, ”It is finished”, and the enemy then knew that he was defeated. Knowing his fate is sealed, he is out to take as many people down as possible. Knowing our God is greater, and knowing our Lord and Savior conquered the enemy should give us confidence that we can too. Today, we will look at Colossians 2:15, a open triumph over the enemy.
”And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
The word ”spoiled” means ”to divest wholly for oneself, to disarm”. We are familiar with the famous quote, ”To the victor goes the spoils”, and this is no different. Jesus Christ won the victory for not only himself, but He ensured the path for our victory by faith in Him. It was always God’s intention for mankind to conquer the enemy. In Genesis 3:15, the Bible says, ”And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The word ”bruise” means ”to overwhelm”. The heel is attached to the foot and the feet are associated with to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Think not? In Ephesians 6:15, the Bible says, ”And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. The enemy will try to overwhelm us from receiving the gospel, because in it we have the peace of God, but we have the ability in Christ to overwhelm something greater on the enemy.
The word ”head” is associated with authority or power. In 1 Corinthians 11:3, the Bible says, ”But I would have you know, that the HEAD of every man is Christ; and the HEAD of the woman is the man; and the HEAD of Christ is God.” The head signifies authority, and God gave us the authority to overwhelm the authority of the enemy through faith in Jesus Christ and our position as the children of God. Too many believers act like the enemy has more power over them than he actually does, and they live defeated lives because of it. Since the beginning, God’s design for this earth was that mankind had dominion, especially over the enemy, and our authority is great through Christ!
The word ”principalities” means ”demonic dominion”. The word ”powers” means ”privilege, authority, or strength”. This is speaking about the demonic influence the enemy had in the earth, that he no longer has over those saved by faith in Jesus Christ. In Matthew 12:28-29, Christ says, ”But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” There is no question that the enemy is a strong foe, but our Savior has bound the strong man and spoiled his house.
If Christ has disarmed Satan, then that means he doesn’t have weaponry. We do! In 2 Corinthians 10:4, the Bible says, ”(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)” Our weaponry is spiritual, mighty in God, capable of breaking the bondage of the enemy’s authority. What weapons do we have? In Ephesians 6:17-18, the Bible says, ”And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”. Our weaponry is salvation, the Word of God and prayer. Our victory is in the Word of God which clearly gives us the battle plan.
”he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it”
To ”make a show of them openly” suggests that Christ put on an exhibition, a public display of triumph over the enemy. In Revelation 1:18, the Bible says, ”I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Christ conquered the grave and death, so we would have access to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The word ”triumphing” means ”to conquer, or get the victory”. In Psalm 68:18-19, the Bible says, ”Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.” In gaining victory over the enemy, Christ has torn down every wall that keeps us from experiencing victory in our own lives. Our victory is in Him!
Marshall & Jessica
May 9, 2022 – 1 Thessalonians 2:4 – but God, which trieth our hearts
As we minister the Word of God, we can and will be subjected to scrutiny. Some people are going to question our credibility, some people are going to give us bad reports, and some are going to believe those reports launched against us. I used to really worry about how I would be perceived as I delivered the Gospel, because I am in prison, and because I know mudslinging is sometimes second nature. I realized two things: one, my past is forgiven and I am restored as a child of God, and two, people’s opinions of me does nothing to reshape the truth God has revealed about us to each one of us. I actually realized a third thing: that I have been approved of God to do what I do, so whatever comes as a result, I know He is right there with me every step of the way. Paul faced the same scrutiny as do us all, but what is more important, the naysayers, or the God who has given a report the naysayers can’t comprehend. Today, we will look at 1 Thessalonians 2:4, entrusted with the Gospel to please God.
”But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”
The word ”allowed” means ”to test or approve”. Please don’t think for a second that there isn’t an approval process when it comes to those who are supposed to be in ministry, and God’s approval process has nothing to do with how great we think we are. In Jeremiah 1:5-7, 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. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” The ones approved by God have always been approved, and were actually preordained to hold the positions God designated for us. We will instinctively look at our limitations, as do mankind, but God approves us so we will walk in His presence and speak the Word that He orders for us to speak. God looks at obedience, and He knows who is going to obey Him.
The writer of the letter to the Church of Thessalonica, Paul, was approved by God to preach the Word, but he was subjected to scrutiny before his ministry began. In Acts 9:13-15, the Bible says, ”Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”. Look at the two things going on in this passage. First, Saul was given authority by the chief priests to imprison and persecute all who call on the name of Jesus, and he carried it out to the letter. Second, God chose him to be a vessel to bear His name before the Gentiles. Just because man gives you authority, doesn’t mean it is in line with what God ordains. God sent Paul in a completely different direction, to preach to people man says he should have no dealings with. Jews don’t associate with Gentiles, and that was the way man operated then. Man’s way is only God’s way when it is lined up with God’s way. There is no other way.
The phrase ”to put in trust with” means ”to entrust, to have faith in, to have something committed to one’s trust or charge”. In Galatians 2:7-8, the Bible says, ”But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)”. Paul was approved by God to preach to the Gentiles, but Peter was approved by God to preach to the Jews. Paul wanted to reach the Jews because of his extensive background as a Pharisee, but God had other plans. What God approves us for is for us, so we should only assume the position God has chosen and approved us for.
The word ”Gospel” means ”the good message of Jesus Christ”. God calls us, chooses us, and entrusts the Gospel to us, so we can operate in the earth as He ordains. Never try to walk in someone else’s calling, because you will be disobedient to God’s call. Paul is writing this letter to the Church at Thessalonica because when he was there preaching, there were Jews there who didn’t believe the message, and gathered up a bunch of vile men to give a false report of Paul, to get him kicked out of the region. They didn’t want the Gospel to spread there. 1 Thessalonica 2 is Paul writing to establish who he was because he was aware that a false report was spreading about him, so he wanted to establish that his actions have always been consistent with the Gospel. Paul wrote to let them know that He primary responsibility is to please God in His ministry, not men.
The phrase ”pleasing men” implies an inward desire to say the right things to be agreeable with mankind. 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.” When we study and dissect the Word of God, we understand that the will of God is the only thing that matters in a believer’s ministry. Paul only spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ so effectively because He was obedient and went where God called him to go. Our effectiveness in the Gospel is only measured by our submission and obedience to the Word of God.
The phrase ”trieth our hearts” means ”to examine our innermost being, the seat of desires, feelings, affections, passions, or impulses”. 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.” God knows every thought we have, knows our motives, and knows whether our intentions are to please God or mankind. Nothing slips past our God.
God approves us to preach and teach the Word or God, to obey Him and move beyond the scrutiny we may face in order to please God first and only. May the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ be about Him and Him alone.
Marshall & Jessica
May 10 to May 24, 2022 – The Faithfulness of God – 15 Part Series (First posted Aug 13 to Aug 27, 2021)
May 25, 2022 – John 17:17 – thy word is truth
Salvation is a one time occurrence, but sanctification is a continuous process in a believer’s life that prepares us for the presence and the Word of God. Sanctification is the process by which we learn how to live Godly lives, where we learn standards, where what we believe is weighed and measured, and where we discover that it is only by the Word of God that all things are set in motion. Sanctification burns off semblances of our former selves, so that we remain holy and new in the sight of both God and mankind. The Word of God is what sanctifies a believer because the Word of God becomes the standard by which we pattern our walk of faith, our families, our marriages, our friendships, our conduct at work, and our ministry. When we try to apply man’s standards to sanctification we don’t grow as God intends, and our lives suffer in some way or another. Today, we will look at John 17:17, sanctified continuously by the Word of God.
”Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
The word ”sanctify” means ”to consecrate, set apart of God, or sent by God for the performance of His will.” Sanctification is a continual purification process where we learn how to become more like our God. In John 15:2-3, Christ says, ”Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” Christ declares us clean through the Word, and the Word at work in us allows us to bear fruit as believers. In Romans 15:16, the Bible says, ”That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.” We can’t be the ministers that God calls us to be without the Holy Spirit constantly purifying us before God. Too many believers gladly receive salvation, but won’t allow God to grow them into the bearers of His image and likeness in the earth. It is bigger than just seeing us in a church service, but it is really about seeing the Church in us. This can only happen when the seed, which is the Word of God, is planted and bears fruit in us.
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.” The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is vital to a believer’s sanctification, vital to a believer’s growth, and expressly vital to ministry. If we are not obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, then we are not going to arrive to the place that God ordains for us to be.
The word ”truth” speaks of divine and gospel truth, derived from the one true God, in direct opposition to the lies of the enemy. 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.” We will never come to the truth if the Spirit of truth is not at work within us. We can never be guided by the truth without the Holy Spirit. There have been many times where I have built these devotionals, only to have the Holy Spirit lead me in a completely different direction. If I am not obedient to the Holy Spirit, the truth doesn’t go where God ordains and what He has given me won’t bear fruit. 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.” When we try to receive ”other truths” we will never grow in the faith, nor will we be able to do the things that God ordains us to do. Sanctification doesn’t happen without truth.
The word ”word” here pertains to the written, spoken, and revealed Word of God. In Ephesians 5:26-27, the Bible says, ”That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” The sanctification process takes place so we can be cleansed by the Holy Spirit, and we are cleansed so we can stand before Him and reflect His glory. It is so we can be holy before God and project His image. In 1 Peter 1:22-23, the Bible says, ”Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
Sanctification is necessary for us to live as children of God in the world. Through the obedience of God’s word will we be vessels ready for God’s use.
Marshall & Jessica
May 26, 2022 – Psalm 62:8 – trust in him at all times
As believers, it is essential for us to trust in the Lord. From the Lord, we receive our identity, our salvation, our strength, our provision, and our refuge. God is ready to pour out Himself before us, but are we willing to trust Him? Are we willing to give up our ability to chart our own course, to receive the direction of God, which will get us exactly where He desires us to be? What happens when we are stressed, depressed, afflicted, under the pressures of life? Who is the first person we turn to? If we aren’t pouring out our hearts before God then we have placed our problems in the wrong hands, and when we don’t receive the answers we seek, then we can’t look any further than ourselves as the culprit. Our God desires to be everything we need but we have to receive Him and entrust our lives to Him. Today, we will look at Psalm 62:8, putting our full trust in God.
”Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.”
The word ”trust” means ”to hie for refuge, to be confident or sure in, to feel safe and secure.” The word ”hie” implies that when trouble comes, we instinctively run towards who or what we trust in. Our first choice is usually who or what we trust in, because it is the decision we make without thinking. Do we trust in God like this, where our natural impulse is to race after Him? In Psalm 37:3, the Bible says, ”Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” When we trust in the Lord first, we are acting in confidence that God is more than capable of doing anything that we ask of Him. If we trust in the Lord, we are doing what God is commanding us to do, which pleases Him. His response will be to give us the things we need, which gives us a record that God is faithful to His Word.
In Psalm 37:5, the Bible says, ”Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” When we trust in the Lord, we make God our only option, and we abandon all other methods. When we bank it all on the Lord, He won’t allow us to be put to shame but we have to be certain that what we are trusting for in God is consistent with His Word. God is not going to do anything that contradicts His Word. In Isaiah 26:4, the Bible says, ”Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength”. God will always have everything we need, so we must trust Him at all times, in every season and with everything we have.
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 the earth belongs to the Lord, so it is kinda foolish in our part to not trust God with what belongs to Him. If we have a brand new car, and something goes wrong with it, we get on the phone with the dealership, who will send us to a mechanic who knows our model inside and out. We wouldn’t send our car to a brain surgeon, nor should we ever entrust our issues to someone that God never ordained to help.
The word ”pour out” means ”to spill forth before God in dependent prayer”. In 1 Peter 5:6-7, the Bible says, ”Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” We must completely decrease so God can increase, and we must forsake our own way in order to seize the way of God. We must pour out our cares and concerns before God, trusting that everything about our lives matter to God. There are a lot of people who won’t pour out their hearts before God because they don’t trust that He truly loves us and cares about us.
In 1 Samuel 1:15, the Bible says, ”And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.” Hannah wanted a baby, and it wasn’t happening for her. She went into the house of God to pour out her heart before God, because she knew God was the only way. She was barren, incapable of bearing fruit, and even when she was pouring out her heart before the Lord, she faced an adversary who mocked the fact that she had no children. Despite what she felt she poured her heart out to the Lord, and the Lord heard her, and gave her what her heart desired, also allowing her son, Samuel, to be the prophet of the Lord.
The word ”refuge” means ”shelter or hope”. In Psalm 46:1, the Bible says, ”God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Do we believe our God is a present help, concerned about our well-being right now? He is, but will He find our trust? Will He hear our cries for help?
In Psalm 91:2, the Bible says, ”I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” What we speak is testimony for what is inside of our hearts, and our words can usher in the presence and help of God. Do we trust God enough to ask?
Marshall & Jessica
May 27, 2022 – 2 Chronicles 16:9 – the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth
Our loving God watches us at all times. Often, especially when we are going through turmoil, we don’t always feel His presence near, but that doesn’t mean He is not right there watching, working on our behalf. God wants to be there for us like the loving Father He is, but a lot of us hinder His presence, and resist His movement and provision in our lives. Some of us reject God’s way as “the way” through and try to chart our own course, our destruction is inevitable. What is it that ensures we will always be in a position for God to work mightily in us, especially in periods of adversity? If we have a heart and mind that is solely ‘stayed’ on the Lord, if we see His word as the only Word and His way as the only way, we will be in a position to receive from the Lord all He wants to bestow upon us. Today, we will be looking at 2 Chronicles 16:9, an undivided mind and heart before the Lord.
”For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”
Our God is always looking over us. In Job 34:21-22, the Bible says, ”For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.” Nothing we do is hidden from God, and there is nowhere we can go that God can’t see. Since the beginning, man has tried to hide from the Lord, to no avail. In Genesis 3:9-10, the Bible says, ”And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Our sins and fears will always cause us to depart from the presence of the Lord, and will cause us to hide from the presence of our God. Just like with Adam, our loving God never stops looking for us, never stops calling for us.
Think about the meaning of the name of Jesus. 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.” There is nothing in Jesus Christ’s name that says that He won’t be right there for us, ready to save us from our sin. It doesn’t matter how far away from the presence of God we have gone, God still wants us back! 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.” Our God makes up the difference by running to us when we come to Him. Our God is very attentive.
The phrase ”shew himself strong” means ”courageous, powerful, and strongly supportive”. Remember when Solomon was fearful about his position as king, and God asked him what he desired? Solomon asked for wisdom to do his job as king, and what he asked pleased God. In 1 Kings 3:12-13, the Bible gives God’s response, which 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. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.” When God shows himself strongly in our lives, it is to bless us with more than we think we need, so much so, that we will stand distinguished in the midst of the world we live in.
The phrase ”heart is perfect toward him” implies people who are undivided in their minds and heart towards God. These are the people who aren’t looking for any other way but God, and no other Word but the Word of God. In Proverb 3:5-6, the Bible says, ”Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” God wants our whole heart, our whole mind, our full trust, and our full acknowledgement, and He will direct us to where we need to be.
The other side of the coin is when we forsake the word of God and go our own way. ASA was a king who was highly successful, and vastly reformed Judah, causing them to turn back to the Lord. Despite the warning he received in 2 Chronicles 15:2, which 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”, Asa turned to Syria, instead of God, for help when Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah. Because of Asa’s folly, Judah would experience warfare.
Could it be that the reason we have warfare, where we are supposed to experience the blessings of God, is because we have turned our minds and hearts away from the Lord and have turned for help to man that only God can give?
Marshall & Jessica
May 28, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 3:8 – he that planteth and he that watereth are one
As believers of Jesus Christ, we are in this walk together. It doesn’t matter if someone is a preacher, or the one who watches the babies in Sunday school, we all have a role to play in order for us to build up the body of Christ. Even when sharing the Word of God, we either plant the word, or water the word, but both are necessary to ensure that the seed grows. The seed is the Word of God, and when we are the first one to implant the Word of God in someone, the seed still doesn’t have a chance of survival unless someone comes to water the seed, confirming the seed’s truth. We are in this together, and no matter what our role is, we are one in the kingdom of God with those who also are doing the same thing. God rewards us in our labor, no matter what our labor may be. Today, we are going to look at 1 Corinthians 3:8, the oneness of planter and waterer in the kingdom of God.
”Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.”
The word ”planteth” means ”to set out in earth, to instill doctrine, to implant. The word ”watereth” means ”to furnish drink, to irrigate”. In 1 Corinthians 3:10, 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.” No matter what our position is in the kingdom of God, we are responsible to ensuring that the foundation to our service to the Lord is the Word of God. We must be careful with what we implant in people, that what we teach, preach, and share is the Word of God as given by the Holy Spirit. We must be careful with how we plant and water because without the Word of God being planted or watered within someone else, they can’t bear fruit for the kingdom of God.
The waterer is not lower than the planter, and this is where many find themselves trapped, trying to ”be great” instead of being who God has called them to be. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, the Bible says, ”Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 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.” No matter if our gift is; singing, preaching, encouragement, cooking, ushering, or hospitality, the same Lord empowers us to serve Him and others in our capacity. In 1 Corinthians 12:11-12, the Bible says, ”But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” The Lord equips us to be in the positions we are according to do His will. Just because we are in different positions, doesn’t mean we are not still one body in Christ. This is why the Word of God must be our foundation individually and collectively, because the message has to be the same, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
”And every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.”
The word ”receive” means ”have offered unto”. The word ”reward” means ”payment for service”. The Word of God comes from the Lord. The ministries that we serve under come from the Lord. The Word we are given to share with others comes from the Lord. The reward we receive from our labor comes from the Lord!!
In Psalm 62:11-12, the Bible says, ”God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy: for thou renderest to every man according to his work.” Too many times in our lives, we seek rewards from people who aren’t in power to reward us for our labor. In Colossians 3:23-24, the Bible says, ”And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Our reward comes from the Lord and only Him, which is why in whatever position we are called, whether planter or waterer, our primary focus should be that we are laboring unto the Lord. As long as the Lord is our focus, it shouldn’t matter what are role is, because the Bible teaches that we are the body of Christ and we are one.
The word ”labor” means ”toil, or wearisome effort”. In Revelation 22:11-12, the Bible says, ”He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” Let our hearts and our intentions always be pure before the Lord, to serve Him and the body with love and truth, no matter what our role may be. We are one through Christ!
Marshall & Jessica
May 29, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 3:9 – we are labourers together with God
Do we realize that we are coworkers with God? God is in the spiritual realm, calling the things from the spiritual realm to the earth, just as He did from creation, but He created us to live on the Earth, calling spiritual things from heaven to earth. See the similarity? God has given us as believers in Christ authority to be conduits of the Holy Spirit of God, to be vessels for the Master’s use, to be the people God called us to be in the earth. When people see our lives, it should reflect the Lord at work, and when the Lord is at work, there should be evidence of power, and love, and a sound mind. God doesn’t need us, but He created us to have dominion in the earth, to fulfill His purpose through us. When we submit ourselves completely to the will of God, we become His coworkers, His Church, His building that receives His glory. Today, we will look at 1 Corinthians 3:9, becoming God’s coworkers in building His Church.
”For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.”
The word ”labourers” means ”coworkers or fellow-workers”. Paul was very clear when he used the word ”we”. Too many of us leave the work to the pastorate, to the deacons, to the choir, or to the people holding office in the Church, but WE are coworkers with God. In Genesis 1:27-28, the Bible says, ”So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’‘ God created us to bear His image and His likeness in Earth. We aren’t speaking of physical appearance, but we are speaking of the character, the power, the speech, the dominion, and the ability to bear fruit. When people see us, see our movements, see our love, and see our service, that should tie our connection to God. God isn’t leaving one person responsible for this. He is holding us all accountable to be His coworkers. In 2 Corinthians 6:1, the Bible says, ”We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.” As coworkers with God, He empowers us with His grace to do all that He requires of us, but many of us don’t believe in what He has placed inside of us. We see ourselves and don’t see God, and we don’t receive His power, despite the preaching and teaching we hear.
Let’s look at what we are made of. In Ephesians 2:20-22, the Bible says, ”And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Look at the first three words of this Scripture, ”AND ARE BUILT”. It didn’t say that we built ourselves, but God builds us on the foundation of Christ, then frames the believers together into one structure, a dwelling place for God, so the Holy Spirit can operate through us. The reason the Church seems to be losing power in the Earth is because we are too busy trying to build ourselves up into who we think we need to be spiritually, operating in positions that we aren’t called by God to be in. In Luke 11:17, Christ says, ”But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.’‘ The Church won’t grow into the body of Christ fully until we are willing to forsake our own way and allow God to build us up.
The word ”husbandry” means ”cultivable, farm, or field”. The word ”building” means ”architecture, structure, or confirmation”. When we think of a farm or field, we should think of seed and soil. In Luke 8:11, Christ says, ”Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Christ also says in Luke 8:15, ”But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.’‘ Are we the Church that God can plant His seed in? Do we have the heart that God requires us to have? Will we be willing to allow God to turn us into good soil that the Word of God can be fruitful in? When we think of architecture, we should think of the product of Someone’s design and creation, a physical symbol of the creative Spirit of God. In 1 Peter 2:5, the Bible says, ”Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Are we allowing God to build us according to His plan, according to His design for us? Are we allowing Christ to be our foundation?
In order for us to be coworkers with God, we must allow Him to work on, in, and through us as His Church.
Marshall & Jessica
May 30, 2022 – 1 Timothy 4:1 – in the latter times some shall depart from the faith
We are in some perilous times. There is evil abounding in the world, and we are watching the horrors of the war between Russia and Ukraine. In the United States, there were two mass shootings in less than three days. The world is becoming more and more Godless, more and more evil, and there doesn’t seem to be any relief. Why is this? Because more and more people are being turned away from the faith, more and more people are not coming to the faith. The enemy is running rampant in the Church, deceiving the masses to not receive the truth of God, to receive the doctrine of the enemy instead. People are living to serve sin with no understanding that they are being led to destruction, and many families are broken, many people are damaged, and the Church’s powerful impact in the world is being replaced with the lies of the enemy. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 4:1, a departing from the faith due to demonic influence in the world.
”Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”
The word ”Spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit of God, the promised Comforter. 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 Holy Spirit is very clear in His message to us, and not only teaches us the Word of God but teaches us about what to expect moving forward. God obviously wants us prepared for everything that comes our way, and that is so we can have victory when the enemy tries to knock us off balance. In Matthew 24:11-12, Christ says, ”And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” The Holy Spirit is teaching the same message that Christ taught, which is the Word of God, and God wants us to be prepared for deception by the enemy.
The phrase ”latter times” refers to the time from the first coming of Christ until His return, when He comes to receive His bride, the Church. In 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3, the Bible says, ”That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”. We are living in times where we are drawing nearer and nearer to the ‘falling away’. Look at our world. 60 years ago, Church was a part of most Americans weekly diet, and now, a funeral is one of the only times a lot of people set foot in a Church.
”Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”
The word ”depart” means ”to instigate a revolt, to desert, to make a defection”. The word ”faith” refers to the object of Christian faith, meaning the doctrines received and believed, the gospel, and all the Christianity stands for. This isn’t referring to the world, but to believers who deserted the faith after hearing and receiving the lies of the enemy. In 1 John 2:18-19, the Bible 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. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” We are going to see people who were ”unshakable” in the faith fall away, and we probably already have!
The phrase ”giving heed” means ”to submit to, to obey, or to follow after”. The phrase ”seducing spirits” refers to demonic, deceitful, and imposter spirits masquerading as agents of God, either directly, or through false teachers.
2 Peter 2:1, the Bible says, ”But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
The phrase ”doctrines of devils” means ”perverse instruction or precepts from false teachers under demonic influence”. In 2 Timothy 3:13, the Bible says, ”But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” This is only going to get worse, so what is the remedy? In the very next verse, in 2 Timothy 3:14, it says, ”But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them”. We must stick close to the Word of God, to live according to the truth. The Word of God is the standard of truth in a believer’s life and it is where we weigh everything we are taught to.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, ”Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” If we are studying the Word of God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, and if we are weighing the teaching we receive to the Word of God, then it minimizes the opportunity for the enemy to deceive us. May we look to the Word of God as the only truth.
Marshall & Jessica
May 31, 2022 – 1 Timothy 4:8 – but godliness is profitable unto all things
What is more important to us, what we do for appearance purposes, or who we are in the Lord on the inside? Society requires us to beautify everything, and gives us standards for how our faces and our bodies should look. Billions of dollars are being spent on the maintenance of our outward appearance a year, while our spirits are in a state of turmoil, and we are no closer to the kingdom of God. There are people who look like their homes are gyms, but their minds and hearts resemble a spiritual junkyard. Godliness is the best kind of training, with its methods being spiritual, and its gains leading into eternal life. There is nothing on our bodies that we can work on that will produce any spiritual thing. I am not saying that it is wrong to take care of our bodies, but I am asking what is more important in our hearts, great fitness or living a Godly life? Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 4:8, exercising ourselves in Godliness, being trained up in righteousness.
”For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
The phrase ”bodily exercise” means ”physical or corporeal training”. The word ”profiteth” means ”helpful, serviceable, or advantageous”. The word ”little” refers to something be limited or temporary in results. In Colossians 2:23, the Bible says, ”Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” Physical training does nothing to keep us from the sin that threatens to separate us from the presence of our God, nor will it give us spiritual victory in Christ. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take care of our bodies, to make healthy choices to keep our bodies running in optimal condition, but this should never have more attention in our minds and hearts than the things of God. In Colossians 3:2, the Bible says, ”Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” What we do with our bodies should never alter our kingdom perspective, because our bodies are just as temporary as this world we live in. Nothing temporary should have our full attention, nor should it take our attention from the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 5:1, the Bible says, ”For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’‘ When we build our bodies, we are doing the work, but when we build our spirits, the Lord is doing the work. Our bodies can only take so much strain, and only build at a certain pace, but our spirits can be fed daily, allow us to grow immensely and our fruit lasting into eternity.
”But godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
The word ”Godliness” means ”holiness, piety in Godly reverence.” While physical exercise can only temporarily and directly benefit us, Godliness can benefit everything around us. Living a holy life not only puts us in a great position with God, but the heart He gives us gives us the desire to see others have the same life we do. In The word ”Godliness” means ”holiness, piety in Godly reverence.” While physical exercise can only temporarily and directly benefit us, Godliness can benefit everything around us. Living a holy life not only puts us in a great position with God, but the heart He gives us gives us the desire to see others have the same life we do.
1 Timothy 6:6, the Bible says, ”But godliness with contentment is great gain.’‘ The type of gains we get from Godliness can’t be replicated by physical exercise. There are immeasurable benefits to those who live for the Lord. In Psalm 84:11, the Bible says, ”For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” There is no limit to what God will do in the lives of those who live for Him. In Him, we have protection, light, and grace, all of which will assure us safe passage into our destiny.
In Psalm 112:1-3, the Bible says, ”Praise ye the LORD. Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever.”
The word ”promise” means ”announcement, a divine assurance of good”. God is not just concerned with the now, but His blessing continues to flow into eternity. God doesn’t just want to build us up, but also those around us. Bodily exercise is self-central, but Godliness is kingdom central. With Godliness, we can see gains in areas our bodies can’t touch. In Psalm 145:19, the Bible says, ”He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.” Only God can fulfill our desires, but many chase after the physical things of this world, looking for the results only God can give.
There are people that are exceptionally fit, but their spirits are a disaster. All the training in the world can’t save a person from sin or destruction. May we become people who receive our training from the Lord.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 1, 2022 – Titus 2:14 – Who gave himself for us
Our blessed hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ. Too many times, we look to people to be our hope, we look to money to be our hope, and we look to our positions to be our hope. Eventually, those things will disappoint us, leaving us without a hope, wondering what to do next. Jesus Christ redeemed us from the penalty of sin and death, from a life of lawlessness, and his blood cleansed us from everything that made us displeasing in God’s sight. He did it because He loved us, and we are truly special to Him. It is so sad that there are so many people in the Church with low self-esteem, looking for the validation of others, when God has already deemed us special, unique, holy, and loved. His blood ensured us a new identity and a new job in Him, and it gives us the desire to do the things that God calls for us to do. Today, we will look at Titus 2:14, a people truly redeemable before God, a people deemed special by Him.
”Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
The word ”gave” means ”offer up”. What makes our faith so pure and beautiful was the gift of salvation God bestowed upon us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Our faith walk began with our receiving the gift God bestowed upon us, and it continues by that gift growing on the inside of us. In Galatians 1:4, the Bible says, ”Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father”. This gift also gave us a way out of a life of sin and death, deliverance from a penalty we so deserved. Christ gave Himself, ”dying” so we could live! In Galatians 2:20, the Bible says, ”I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Because God gave Himself for us, we give ourselves to Him, for our lives to be ordered by Him as He pleases. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, we open our hearts and minds for His to take permanent residence within us, so we can live in resurrection power. In Ephesians 5:2, the Bible says, ”And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.’‘ Christ set the example for us to follow, and that example is love and sacrifice, a sacrifice pleasing to God. In receiving this gift we now have the power to give ourselves up for others. In Romans 12:1, the Bible says, ”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’‘ Instead of a sacrifice by death, God gives us the ability to be living sacrifices for the kingdom of God. Christ gave us a sizable record of how to serve God and people in the Word of God, so we have a great example to follow.
The word ”redeem” means ”to ransom, deliver, to purchase the salvation of”. The word ”iniquity” means ”illegality, wickedness, or violation of the law”. This isn’t just committing a sin, but this is a lifestyle of sin that has reign over people’s lives. In Galatians 4:5-6, the Bible says, ”To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” With redemption comes sonship, the adoption into the family of God with all rights to the things in the kingdom. Christ died to give us a rightful place in the presence of God, to be able to communicate with our God directly. His redemption of us also gives us the power to answer to this new spiritual nature and to not be in bondage anymore to sin. In Galatians 5:16, the Bible says, ”This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” If we abide in the Word of God and the Word abides in us, then it gives us power over sin and iniquity.
The word ”purify” means ”cleanse morally from sin and pollution”. The word ”peculiar” means ”beyond usual, special, abundantly chosen”. This means we are not ordinary people anymore. In Exodus 19:5-6, the Bible says, ”Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Obedience. Doing what the Word of God is telling us to do. Many people look at obedience from a position of commands and restrictions, but obeying the Word of God also means being able to partake in the promises of God too!
The phrase ”zealous of good works” implies an eagerness to fulfill the purposes of God. In Ephesians 2:10, the Bible says, ”For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Our position in the Lord, and the understanding of the sacrifice Christ made for us should make us excited to serve Him with our whole hearts, minds and efforts. Our experiencing such a gift should make us want others to experience what we have experienced in the Lord. We should desire for people to see themselves as loved, as special, as treasured, someone Christ lived and died for. Christ showed us this by redeeming us from the penalty of sin and allowing us to be the children of God through Him. There will never be a greater gift!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 2, 2022 –1 Timothy 6:17 – the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy’
I used to think that money would solve every problem known to man. I unwittingly connect money to happiness, thinking that if I had a lot of money, then there would be no reason to be sad, hurt, or angry. I was baffled by the people who committed suicide when they seemed to have it all, unable to comprehend that sometimes money can amplify what is already there. Look at our world of celebrities, and the unfortunate struggles many have had to go through that their money was no answer to, and in fact, money was the supply to their destruction. There is true wealth, but money can’t buy it, and that is salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, and entry into the kingdom of God as children and heirs of God. It is God’s provision, not worldly currency, that gives true wealth, something money can’t compare to. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 6:17, money versus true wealth.
”Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy”
The word ”charge” means ”to instruct, command, transmit a message, or enjoin”. The word ”rich” means ”wealthy, or abounding financially or materially”. The word ”world” refers to the life we live in this present age. Paul is preparing Timothy to continue in the ministry, preparing him for the many people he would deal with along the way. In this verse Paul is preparing Timothy with a message for the wealthy, the people who appear to have everything, whether they be in the Church or out of the Church. In Psalm 52:6-7, the Bible says, ”The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.” This message is not just for both nonbelievers, but for believers as well, because there are people who are in the Church that have made wealth, and its pursuit, their god, and placed their trust in it rather than God.
The word ”highminded” means ”conceited, arrogant, or lofty in mind”. 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.’‘ The possession of wealth can bring about this type of attitude, where the wealthy person will start looking down on those people they feel are of low estate. Just as God has issued every person a measure of faith, He has also bestowed on every person a measure of wealth that money has nothing to do with.
The word ”trust” means ”confide or hope in”. In Psalm 62:10, the Bible says, ”Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” As God elevates us financially, we must maintain our understanding of wealth and our trust in God as our sole provider. Setting our hearts upon the Lord allows us to keep perspective about what we have, understanding that money is a system built for a temporary home. Our true wealth is where our true home is, and that is heaven with our loving God. Arrogance and trust in God are polar opposites. The arrogant person feels in their heart that they don’t need God, so there is no reason to trust in Him. We know and understand that all things come from God in a believer’s life.
In Mark 10:24-25, the Bible says, ”And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” Rich people who trust in their riches have the hardest time trusting in God because they are unwilling to entrust their wealth to God, too scared God is going to ask them to relinquish it for kingdom riches.
”But in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy”
The word ”living” means ”existing into perpetuity, alive without end.” The word ”giveth” means ”to bestow upon, to offer up”. The word ”enjoy” implies full enjoyment. Acts 14:17, the Bible says, ”Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” There are many people who can and will testify to the might providing hand of the Lord, who goes above and beyond of desire.
In Acts 17:24-25, the Bible says, ”God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things”. Our God created everything, so that is more than enough reason to trust in Him, rather than in what He created.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 3, 2022 – 1 Timothy 4:16 – take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine
Have we ever realized that our neighbor’s potential walk of faith can very well depend upon our walk of faith? Our relationship with God is personal and beautiful, but our relationship with God produces the fruit that points to the existence of God at work mightily in our lives. Our relationship with God should give us the desire for others to have a relationship with Him as well, but we have to live lives in the Lord that are patterned after the Word of God. We can’t just be churchgoers, but we have to be living epistles, great representations as children of God, so other people around us can experience the same salvation and relationship with our loving God. I sadly hear people say they won’t come to the faith because there are too many hypocrites in the Church, that people talk the talk, but their walk doesn’t reflect their speech. This shouldn’t be. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 4:16, helping others to live lives of faith by the life of faith we live.
”Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”
The phrase ”take heed” means ”to pay close attention”. The word ”doctrine” means ”teaching, instruction, or learning”. Paul wants Timothy to pay close attention to what instruction he receives and gives, and Paul also wants Timothy to pay attention to how he carries himself in the Word and in life. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Bible says, ”Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” This means that we have to scrutinize ourselves according to the Word of God, to make sure that we are living our lives by the Word of God, living our lives pleasing to God.
Even when we take communion, 1 Corinthians 11:27-28 says, ”Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” Communion implies a coming into a oneness or unity with Christ by eating of the bread, which signifies His body, and drinking of the wine, which signifies His blood. To come into a oneness in God in order for us to live lives pleasing to God, we must examine ourselves and what we teach and are taught. It is a believer’s job to ensure that the Truth is planted and extended to others in both our word and deed.
The word ”continue” means ”to remain, stay, or persevere”. 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.” The fruit we bear is the result of God’s Word remaining strongly in our minds and hearts. This is done and projected by us living the Word of God out in our lives. In Acts 20:28, the Bible says, ”Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.’‘ In serving the Lord, it is vital to live by the word of God and to move as the Holy Spirit leads. How the people and the people in ministry operate in the Word of God will become how the Church operates. Look at how some churches are now. In 2 Timothy 4:3, the Bible says, ”For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears”. Because of the leadership not living according to the Word of God, preaching in and out of season, the wrong message can come to the flock. It is much bigger than just us.
”For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.”
The word ”save” means ”salvation from eternal death, and the consequences and punishment of sin.” The word ”hear” implies listening attentively with the intention of obedience. Our lives lived for the Lord become a testimony for others. In Acts 16:31, the Bible says, ”And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” Have we ever realized that our salvation can easily become someone else’s salvation? Before Paul and Silas were imprisoned, they were beaten and their feet were placed in stocks, but they began to sing and praise God. Their praised ushered in the earthquake, that broke the doors of the prison open. The guard thought they had escaped and was going to kill himself, but Paul told him that no one left. This guard received salvation, and his whole house was saved! In James 5:20, the Bible says, ”Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.’‘ If we live our lives patterned after the Word of God, we will position others to receive salvation as well, so their lives will also become full.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 4, 2022 – Acts 20:27 – I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God
We live in the age of information and technology. We can send a message across the world within a second, be on a conference call with people from 5 continents at the same time, and post something on Facebook that thousands of people can view and share. We have access to preaching and teaching all over social media, so gone are the days depicted in the Gospels and in Acts, where people had to travel extraordinary distances to spread the Word of God in new places. None of these conduits to spread the Word of God mean anything if people are too afraid to speak out and spread the Word of God given to us. God doesn’t just teach us His Word so we can hold it to our own chest, but God gives us His Word to share with others, so they too can experience the joy of salvation and a life in the kingdom of God. Today, we will look at Acts 20:27, being bold to not withhold the Word of God from our brothers and sisters in need.
”For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
The phrase ”shunned” means ”to cower, shrink; to keep back or withhold”. The word ”declare” means ”to show forth, to teach, to announce, or report doctrine”. In Acts 20:20, the Bible says, ”And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house”. Paul wanted to explain to the Ephesian elders that he gave them everything God gave him to speak for their benefit, and he preached openly, also working with people in private. Paul set an example in the faith for us to boldly and willingly declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ everywhere we go. Whatever Paul taught publicly he reinforced in his private teaching.
When Christ gave us His commission in Matthew 28:19-20, He said, ”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.’‘ We make our lives extremely hard when we over think what God is actually requiring of us by spreading His Word. He is not asking us to come up with our own message or our own ministry, but He desires for us to use what He has given us directly and indirectly from Him through what we had been taught according to the Word of God.
Are we teaching what God has taught us?
In 2 Corinthians 8:12-14, the Bible says, ”For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality’‘.
What God is asking of us is not about us, but it is so that God can supply someone’s lack through us!
In John 17:8, Christ told God, ”For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” Christ wasn’t exempt from this, and He came to earth and gave us what was given to Him by God. He spoke the words God gave Him so in them, we would have everlasting life. In John 17:26, Christ also says to God, ”And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” We also spread the Word of God given to us for others to spread His love in the process, so the love of God will have a home inside of their minds and hearts.
The word ”counsel” means ”advice, determination, decree, purpose, and will of God”. In John 15:15, Christ says, ”Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Christ calls us friends because He made us to know the will of God in our lives, and He told us all we need to know to live out His purpose in the earth.
When Christ left the earth, He ensured that we would still receive His teachings. In John 15:26-27, Christ also said, ”But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” Because through the Holy Spirit teaching us and testifying of Christ we can now bear witness of God’s will and truth in the earth.
The question is, will we? In Ephesians 1:11, the Bible says, ”In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will”.
We were given something so precious, and all God asks of us to do is to share it, to not withhold it from anyone He ordains to hear it. The question is, will we?
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 5, 2022 – Acts 20:32 – brethren, I commend you to God
As children of God, we have divine access to the kingdom of God and all of its privileges. As ministers of God, we have the awesome privilege to convey the Word of God to others, to share God’s love, the hope of His calling, and the beauty behind our salvation. As parents, we have the privilege to walk our children through the open doors of faith, so they can become even better believers than we are. No matter what our place is in the kingdom, and no matter what our role is, we all have to come to a point where we must entrust God with the word we spake, the work we do, entrust that God is going to produce the increase by His grace. Our ministry will only go as far as God allows, but there is a point where only God will take the Word where He needs it to go, and the harvest of our inheritance will be revealed. Today, we will look at Acts 20:32, being edified by the grace of God as heirs to the kingdom.
”And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”
The word ”commend” means ”to present or deposit as a trust for protection.” When Paul was done with his preaching in Ephesus, he knew that people were going to come in to try to speak against the Word of God preached, to cause people to stray away from the truth. In Acts 20:29-30, the Bible says, ”For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” There are going to be people who aren’t in the Church that will come in and try to make the Word of God just received unfruitful, and we can expect that with certainty. However, these two verses also speak of people inside the Church that will pervert and alter the Word of God preached to turn people away from the truth. We only have so much power after the Word of God is preached, taught or presented to others, but one thing we must do is place the Word and its fruit into God’s hands, and entrust Him with ensuring that the Word will be fruitful in their lives.
In Acts 14:23, the Bible says, ”And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” There is always a point in ministry where we have to trust God to finish the work He began. We can’t micromanage the Word until it bears fruit, because that would show God that we don’t trust Him with the increase.
The word ”grace” means ”favor or benefit”. The phrase ”build you up” implies a building up of people further in faith, upon Christ, and in the Word of God. In Hebrews 13:9, the Bible says, ”Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.” Our hearts are established with the grace of God, through the Word of God being planted and taking root within us. Even though God’s grace can establish our hearts, we must be receptive to the Word of God being built in us. People have a choice in the matter, and that is why we must step back and entrust our ministry to God.
In Acts 9:31, the Bible says, ”Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.” When we entrust our ministry to the Lord, He will allow His Word to do the work, and multiply the impact of His message, causing it to spread. Our problem comes in when we won’t step back and commend the people we share the Word of God with to God. In Acts 26:3182, Christ says, ”To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” There is a mighty work that only God can perform, and the last thing we want to do is interfere with God’s role by trying to get the increase ourselves. Souls will be saved from the Gospel, and people have the ability to walk in the Holy Spirit’s power, but we must know when it is time to step back and allow God to have the increase.
The word ”inheritance” means ”heirship, possession, a patrimony, admission into the kingdom of God and its attendant privileges”. The word ”sanctified” means ”to purify, to consecrate, or to make holy”. In Ephesians 1:18-19, the Bible says, ”The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power”. There is great power available to the children of God, to walk in His power, and to experience His Word at work in not only our lives, but in the lives of others as well.
Because we are recipients of such an amazing gift, we should have the desire to share the riches of the kingdom with others. Just as we have received this gift and the promises in this gift from God, we must entrust God to do the same with the people with whom we share the Word of God.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 6, 2022 – 1 Timothy 6:5 – perverse disputings of men … supposing that gain is godliness
Motives are extremely important when in comes to the kingdom of God. The right thing done with the wrong motives might help people, but it perverts the Gospel of Christ and destroys its credibility in the minds and hearts of people who encounter this. Greed is one of the reasons a lot of people won’t come to the Church, because there is a strong belief in some people that pastors are only out for themselves, living extremely well while people in their congregation struggle. Some people incorrectly attach financial success with the blessings of God, further perverting the message of truth. As the Word of truth goes forth into the land, there is sadly a message of lies going forth as well, and many are being led astray. This greed doctrine is overwhelming churches, and the Word of God commands us to keep our distance from those who engage this lie. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 6:5, Godliness versus financial gain.
”Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.”
The phrase ”perverse disputings” means ”meddlesome or misemployment” implying an argument that either misapplies the Word of God or strays away from the Word of God altogether. When a person teaches according to the Word of God, being an effective witness of what they were given by God, then their teaching will always lead to the Word of God and truth. The phrase ”corrupt minds”, means ”rotten or decaying understanding”, mainly of the things of God.
In 1 Timothy 1:5-7, the Bible says, ”Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.’‘
Look at this with me. Love out of a pure heart, a conscience approved by God, and faith that is founded on truth. If these things are present, then opinions and corruption can’t seep in from false teachings. If our leadership preached from this position, then no one gets led astray by their teaching.
In 2 Timothy 3:8, the Bible says, ”Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.’‘ A lie, no matter how appealing it may be, will never be able to stand up against truth. We just have to be bold in our faith to speak the truth, even when we are outnumbered. The phrase ”destitute of the truth” implies that someone is deprived of the Word of God. Just think, there were people in those days trying to teach doctrine that was not according to the Word of God. Does this sound familiar?
The word ”gain” means ”money-getting, or the acquisition of money or wealth”. The word ”godliness” means ”piety, reverence, holiness before God.” There was a doctrine going forth by people deprived of the truth, that the more money you have, the more godly you are. So, according to this doctrine, if you were broke, you weren’t in the will of God. Imagine the people who would’ve strayed from the way of God out of hopelessness, because their financial situation didn’t improve, and all due to false teaching.
In Titus 1:10-11, the Bible says, ”For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.’‘ People who are intentionally teaching false doctrine, causing people to be led astray, and it is all in order to gain financially from people’s lack of knowledge. This Scripture says this type of teaching and these types of teachers must be silenced. If there is no one speaking the truth, correcting this erroneous doctrine, then we are becoming more and more responsible for its spread.
In 2 Peter 2:3, the Bible says, ”And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.’‘ Greedy preachers and teachers do not mind the things of the Word of God, nor are they concerned with the people they teach. The only thing that matters to them is greed.
”From such withdraw thyself”.
The word ”withdraw” means ”to remove oneself from, to desert, or to avoid.” In Romans 16:17-18, the Bible says, ”Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.’‘ People are being led astray, with ”get rich quick” preaching by preachers whose only ambition is financial gain. The only gain is in Godliness, holiness, love, faith, and truth, and this should be our only ambition.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 7, 2022 – 1 Timothy 6:1 – that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed
As believers, we must respect and submit to authority. I am learning that this is important even in this prison environment I am housed in, with its draconian rules, and lack of understanding. In the nearly 19 years I have been confined, I have never been in a worse situation. It is borderline criminal how we are viewed, spoken to, and treated in this environment, but submission to the authority of staff here is mandatory, even now. What brothers see in my submission may give them the courage to submit as well, and from it, successful interactions and communication will certainly follow. No matter how rough the leadership may be, I can only make matters worse by my failure to comply with their commands. Not only are there earthly consequences, but I have to answer to God for sinning against Him as well. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 6:1, honoring the God-instituted authority in place.
”Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”
The word ”servants” means ”slave, either voluntary or involuntary, in a qualified sense of subjection or subservience.” The phrase ”under the yoke” means ”submissive service under another’s authority”. In Ephesians 6:5-6, the Bible says, ”Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart”.
Our submission to authority should reflect our submission to God, which means that we take the authority in place out of the equation, and we make it solely about us and God.
In my prison environment, I have to obey the correctional staff the same way I would obey God himself. Some people may feel like I am being extreme with the correlation, but the verses above in Ephesians tells us to obey the authority in place with an undivided heart as servants of Christ, which is doing the will of God. If obedience is in the will of God and the Word of God tells me to obey, then that is what I must do.
The word ”count” means ”to deem, esteem, or consider”. The word ”masters” means ”absolute rulers or heads”. The phrase ”worthy of all honor” means ”deserving to draw reverence, praise, or esteem”. In the Bible, words are important, and this part of the verse says, ”worthy of ALL honor”. This means we can’t shortchange the authority in place and expect to be in the will of God. In Romans 13:1-2, the Bible says, ”Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” Our submission here on earth has heavenly importance and this is why we must count he authority in place as being worthy of all honor.
In 1 Peter 2:18, the Bible says, ”Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” Our submission and obedience is not dependent upon how well we are treated by the authority in place, but it is dependent upon our obedience and submission to God. I don’t like how a lot of correctional officers act towards inmates, but it is not about them. It is about me and God.
In Jeremiah 27:6, the Bible says, ”And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.” Judah was going to be enslaved by the Babylonians, but God was already preparing them to submit to their authority by expressing that He, God himself, gave Nebuchadnezzar the authority to rule. Because God backs His word up, in Jeremiah 27:8, the Bible says, ”And it shall come to pass, that the nation and kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, saith the LORD, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand.” God promised punishment for those who didn’t submit. God said ”I will punish”, and not Nebuchadnezzar.
”That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.”
The word ”name” means ”authority or character”. The word ”doctrine” means ”divine instruction or teaching”. The word ”blasphemed” means ”to slander, to defame, to vilify, speak impiously, or to speak evil of God”. In Titus 2:9-10, the Bible says, ”Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”
We make God out to be a liar when we don’t submit to authority, and we misrepresent the faith when we fail to obey. We are the children of God and we are to project His image in the earth. When we fail to submit we make the name of God and everything we have learned a joke in the eyes of those who experience us. The last thing we want to do as believers is give someone a reason to speak ill of our Loving Father, or paint a wrong picture of what our faith is.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 8, 2022 – 1 Timothy 5:22 – keep thyself pure
Preaching the Word of God is of the greatest importance, having the responsibility of conveying the Word of God in truth and as truth in the earth. What happens when a person enters an office that they were not called to be in, or a pastor lays hands on a person who isn’t examined? It sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? Would God, being the orderly God He is, desire for anyone to hold an office or position in the Church that they are not equipped to be in? An easier question would be, would you entrust the safety of your home or children to an unproven institution or someone you don’t know? There is real responsibility when it comes to the selection of people to preach and teach the Word of God, because souls are involved, and people’s spiritual development is also at stake. The person who lays hands upon someone to hold office shares in the responsibility for whatever happens as the result of their choice. Today, we will look at 1 Timothy 5:22, ensuring that our choice is God’s choice.
”Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.”
The process of ”laying hands” is meant to affirm a person’s suitability for and acceptance into public ministry as an elder, pastor, or overseer. Exodus 29 details the Old Testament process for consecrating those chosen for priesthood, and the process included seven days of washing, dressing, anointing, sacrifice, daubing and sprinkling with blood, and eating. The key word is ”chosen”. God selects those He ordains to preach His Word and oversee His Church. In Matthew 20:16, Christ says, ”So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.”
We never know who God’s choice is going to be, and it may very well be the last person we would think! When the Lord chose Saul for the ministry, He appeared unto Ananias, and told him to go to him and lay hands on him. In Acts 9:13-15, the Bible says, ”Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a CHOSEN vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel”. Saul was the last person on earth Ananias though would be fit to pastor the Church, and expressed his fears to the Lord, understandably so. Saul was terrorizing the Church! Christ understood Ananias’s fear, but told him to go anyway, because Saul was God’s choice, not man’s.
In Acts 9:17, the Bible says, ”And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” God will always confirm His choice!
In Acts 6:3, the Bible says, ”Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.” This verse establishes that people selected for ministry should be proven. Even though Saul’s rise in the ministry seemed to be rushed by our standards, he was thoroughly examined by the disciples, by other apostles, and by the Church, even though he was God’s choice.
In Acts 6:5-6, the Bible says, ”And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.” It is important that the Church chooses its ministers effectively and by process. We clearly see that God gives us the choice, but we examine the choice and after the choice is made, prayer is made before hands are laid.
In Acts 13:2-3, the Bible says, ”As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.’‘ Acts gives us a great picture of how the Church is supposed to be now; a body led by the Holy Spirit, its ministers examined and consecrated, becoming conduits for the Lord’s power.
The word ”partaker” means ”one who shares”. The word ”sins” means ”offenses or guilt before God”. The word ”pure” means ”innocent, clean, or blameless”. In Ephesians 5:11, the Bible says, ”And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
Whoever we lay hands on to minister the Word of God, we become responsible for whatever happens. If they lead people astray, it is our responsibility. If they cause division in the Church, it is our responsibility. This is why James 3:1 says, ”My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” Paul was responsible for Timothy so he guided him through his position as pastor, preparing him for everything that will come as a result. He didn’t want Timothy to bring shame upon himself, Paul, God, or the Gospel, so he approached this from a ”life or death” perspective.
May we share in this importance before we select the people that will oversee the Church, so the kingdom of God will advance without the black eyes we suffer from people who misrepresent the faith with the titles they hold.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 9, 2022 – Psalm 7:9 – the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins
There is real wickedness in the world, heavily broadcasted in the media. It lies in television shows, on social media, and in real life. People take pictures with guns, boldly speak on their ability to take lives, plot on schools and little children, and even commit crimes against their own families. This world has become more and more like a playground for the enemy to have his way, and more and more evil has come as a result. Wickedness has an expiration date, evil has its season, but it is the Lord’s salvation and righteousness that endures forever. Our God knows what manner of men and women we are, and He will definitely establish the ones who are made righteous in Him. It doesn’t have to end in wickedness for people, nor are people lost causes. If we would be bold enough to allow God to transform our hearts and minds through salvation and sanctification, wickedness can end in us. Today, we will look at Psalm 7:9, the remedy for wickedness in the world.
”Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.”
The word ”wickedness” means ”evil, bad, or harmful in a moral sense”. The word ”wicked” refers to the enemies of God, the condemned, or the morally wrong. In Psalm 34:21, the Bible says, ”Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.” All while the wicked run through the earth, thinking that there is no penalty for their actions, their own nature will be the death of them. Sometimes, it is frustrating when we can watch the wicked seem to flourish and prosper, as Asaph did when he said in Psalm 73:2-3, ”But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” He allowed himself to become disheartened by the displays of arrogance of the wicked,
but in Psalm 73:16-18, the Bible says, ”When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.” It took Asaph going into that spiritual place with the Lord to regain perspective about the state of the wicked, and he then understood that their path leads to destruction.
The word ”end” means ”completion in failure”. Evil and wickedness has an expiration date, no matter how good their life looks. In Romans 3, speaks of some of the characteristics of the wicked, and in Romans 3:15-18, it says, ”Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Even though their lives may seem like they have it all together, they are so far from normalcy, happiness, or peace. In Psalm 94:23, the Bible says, ”And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.” I was always taught that whatever bed you make for yourself, you have to lie in it, and the wicked will be destroyed by their own wickedness.
The word ”establish” means ”to set aright, to confirm, to appoint or to ordain”. The word ”just” means ”those made righteous or innocent”. In Psalm 37:23, the Bible says, ”The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.” The way the just are established is if they follow the path that God ordains for our walk. This means that wherever the Lord takes us, we go, and whatever the Lord commands, we do. We can’t be established in the Lord without submission and obedience.
In Proverb 4:26-27, the Bible says, ”Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” When we inquire of the Lord where we should go and what we should do, allowing His Word to direct our movements, ALL of our ways will be established. It is our job to remain on the path and not deviate from it.
”For the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins”.
The word ”righteous” means ”just, lawful, holy, and pure”. The word ”trieth” means ”to examine, to investigate or to prove”. The word ”reins” speaks of the mind. In Psalm 139:1, the Bible says, ”O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.” Our God searches us to know exactly what we are made of. There is no fooling God.
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.” When we live our lives to please our God, He will search our minds and hearts to make intercession for us to remain in the will of God. Our God wants us to succeed in the faith, and live lives pleasing to Him. He gave us Christ so we wouldn’t have condemnation as our final verdict. We would have eternal life!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 10, 2022 – Psalm 9:9 – the LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble
Every believer goes through times of testing, periods of adversity, times of sorrow and trouble, and in those times, we must seek refuge. When I was in the world, I sought refuge in my own thoughts, in drugs, alcohol, sex, but I didn’t go to God for refuge until I was in situations where only He could bail me out. I didn’t realize that I was only making matters worse, adding to the trouble I was already in, and I was lost in my own mire, growth stunted by my own afflictions. It wasn’t until I sought refuge in the Lord that my problems began to have solutions, that peace filled me in the midst of storms, that I receive Godly counsel to not only help me, but to still be effective for the kingdom of God in the midst of my own suffering. God’s refuge not only keeps us safe, but it also gives us the ability to keep pressing forward, no matter how difficult the season may be. Today, we will look at Psalm 9:9, the refuge of God breaking the bonds of oppression.
”The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”
The word ”Lord” here is ”YHWH” which we know to be ”Yahweh, or Jehovah” means ”The Self-Existent, Eternal God”. In Exodus 20:2-3, God says out His own mouth, ”I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’‘
God’s name and freedom go hand in hand, and His name is vastly associated with deliverance. These very words God uttered He gave to Moses to give to His children after delivering them from Egypt, and the slavery they were under.
It is important to know that our God is a Deliverer, that He can and will free us under all circumstances. In John 8:34-36, the Bible says, ”Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
God will deliver us from our bondage, even the bondage our sin puts us under. If we can accept the truth that our God is a Deliverer, then we must accept the fact that He is a Refuge is well. Sometimes, it is highly important to know the capability of God to be a Refuge in our lives in order for us to entrust ourselves to Him. If He is not proven to be who He is, then would it be wise to trust Him?
The word ”refuge” means ”a cliff, a lofty inaccessible place, a fort, a high tower, a defense.” Refuge is a place of safety that keeps us protected from the attacks of the enemy. In Psalm 46:1-2, the Bible says, ”God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea”. A present help. That means that God is always there for us to provide protection and defense, but do we seek God in times of trouble or do we seek the world?
In Proverbs 18:10, the Bible says, ”The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” We have safety in the Lord that no one can hinder or affect. Are we willing to humble ourselves and run to the Father for the safety we need?
In Psalm 32:7-8, the Bible says, ”Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” God will make our entire environment about freedom and deliverance, and also give us teaching on where we should go and how we are to live our lives in Him.
The word ”oppressed” means ”afflicted, crushed, or injured”. The word ”trouble” means ”tightness, adversity, distress, or tribulation”. In Psalm 34:19, the Bible says, ”Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” God never promised us that hard times won’t come, but He promised to deliver us out of them all. Too many of us think when we are afflicted, that we are somehow out of the will of God, but that is not true in every case. The righteous of God in Christ will suffer affliction as well.
In Psalm 37:39-40, the Bible says, ”But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.” Trust is a huge part in deliverance, because if we don’t trust in the Lord, we won’t trust in Him to provide the protection and deliverance we need.
In Psalm 59:9, the Bible says, ”Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence.” God’s strength and ability to protect us is way greater than our ability to protect ourselves. God not only has the power to protect us from every harmful thing that comes our way, but He also has the power to deliver us from any prison!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 11, 2022 – Ephesians 4:31 – let all … be put away from you
God left us two great commands, to love God with all of our hearts, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. In doing this, we align ourselves with the perfect law of the Lord, and we remain in His will. Offense is something that loves to spring up in a believer’s life, and the minute all chaos breaks loose, we are quickly offended by it and the blame gets shifted two ways; to God or to people. Offense unchecked can spring up into a bunch of other things that threaten to destroy the relationship between us and God, and us and others. Do we have any real clue how many friendships break because of offense, because we allow something ungodly to grow within us that alters the perspective of love within us? People we once loved with everything become expendable, and the enemy smiles as we live in hatred and hostility towards others. Today, we will look at Ephesians 4:31, the expulsion of offense, and the acceptance of love in our heart and minds towards others.
”Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice”
The word ”bitterness” means ”acridity or poison”. I remember hearing someone say that holding a grudge is like drinking poison, all while expecting the other person to die. Bitterness destroys us on the inside and it affects our whole life on the outside. The word ”wrath” means ”violent commotion of the mind, or indignation”. This is a very hostile action of the mind where a person becomes blind to the love of God and becomes enraged by the offense.
In 1 John 2:9-10, the Bible says, ”He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.” When bitterness and wrath arise in us, the ”light goes out”, and we accept darkness that we can’t see our way through. We no longer see our brothers and sisters the way God intends and we only see our brothers and sisters through the lens of offense, which keeps us in the presence of darkness.
In 1 John 4:16, the Bible says, ”And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Think about this. Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus was written to believers, people who have known and experienced the love of God. In order for us to walk in bitterness and wrath, then we have to abandon the truth, and the love of God, and accept a spirit that is contrary to God. We can’t abide in the Lord and abide in bitterness and wrath.
The word ”anger” means ”a deep hostility that leaves a desire for vengeance or punishment.” The word ”clamour” refers to the outcry of strife that is out of control. In Titus 3:2-3, the Bible says, ”To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Look at the characteristics of someone who walks in bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamour: disobedient, deceived, a slave of lust, a house of malice and envy, and a hater. None of these characteristics bring us any closer to the presence and power of God, which is right where the enemy wants us. In Colossians 3:8, the Bible says, ‘‘But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” If we are able to ”put off all these”, then that means that we are resting in these as our choice, and God has given us the power to overcome them.
”And evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice”
The phrase ”evil speaking” means ”vilification against man or God, or slander”. This is where one makes accusations against someone that is not true. The word ”malice” means ”depravity, malignity, a desire to do evil unto others, or wickedness”. In James 4:11-12, the Bible says, ”Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” There is only one Person who can judge us and that is God. God doesn’t want us focused on the offenses of others, but rather in doing the will of God. If we focused more on doing the will of God, then we would not have room for offense to birth bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, slander, or malice. Romans 12:18 says, ”If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”
It ALL depends on us. May we leave behind the emotions that keep us out of the perfect will of God, and move forward into love and fellowship with others.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 12, 2022 – 2 Timothy 3:5 – from such turn away
We live in a world where outside appearance mean everything. Beauty portrayed in society is all about what is on the outside, physical features, body types, hair styles etc., none of which get us closer to the presence of God. We have churches with the same attitude, beautiful of the outside, attractive to the public, but inside, there is no power. There are churches that no longer believe in the promises of God, who no longer claim the power of God, churches that say that the Church in Acts is no longer alive. The churches have people with an outward appearance of holiness, but have no access to the power of God. It is what is on the inside that counts, and until the Holy Spirit reigns and has residence on the inside of us, our lives will never be lived in the authority God commands us to walk in. Today, we will look at 2 Timothy 3:5, the inward power of the Holy Spirit changing the outside landscape.
”Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
The word ”having” expresses that a person is ”in the possession of” or ”the ability to exemplify”. The word ”form” means ”the external appearance”. The word ”godliness” means ”piety, reverence by the fear of God”. Here is where we differ from the world and why we must be obedient to the Bible when it says in 2 Corinthians 6:17, ”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 worldly can appear to be Godly, and sometimes, they are so convincing that you can’t tell the difference.
The Word of God makes us different because we as believers don’t just carry an outward appearance. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible says, ”And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’‘ God created us to bear His image and likeness, both internally and externally, but it wasn’t until God blessed us, that we were able to go in the earth and do what He commanded. In Genesis 1:28, the Bible says, ”And God BLESSED them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” We walk on earth with the blessings of our Lord, empowering us to live as children of God, and it didn’t end at creation.
In Ephesians 1:3-4, the Bible says, ”Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”. God appointed His children to walk in Godliness and truth, living according to the Word of God. He blesses us with everything we need to do that. Because we receive our true identity in Christ, there must be an internal difference between us and the world.
The word ”denying” means ”to contradict, to reject, to disavow or to renounce”. The word ”power” means ”miraculous force or ability”. In order for someone to ”deny the power thereof”, it suggests that they have heard the truth of God, and then made the decision to reject His Word. There are people IN the Church but are not OF the Church, who not only reject the Word of God, but they do it while ”keeping appearances” of holiness. In Titus 1:15-16, the Bible says, ”Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” The truth of our identity lies in our heart, and projects in our words and actions.
In Luke 6:46, Christ says, ”A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” If you listen long enough, what is in a person will come out, revealing what manner of person they are.
What do you do when you find out that the people you thought were holy have really rejected the Word of God as truth?
The phrase ”turn away” means ”avoid”. In 2 Thessalonians 3:6, the Bible says, ”Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” We have to be willing to separate ourselves from anyone who rejects the Word of God, because we don’t want their bad moral conduct to corrupt our good manners. We want Godliness, not just the form of it.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 13, 2022 – 2 Timothy 3:11 – but out of them all the Lord delivered me
In doing the will of God, we will periodically experience trial. Trial comes in many forms, all of which come and put us in uncomfortable positions. One person’s trial may come in their body, another person’s trial may come in their mind, and yet another person’s trial may come by the ill intentions of other people. Just as Christ faced trials on earth, yet overcoming, we have been empowered to experience the same victory in Him. God sent us warning that trials will come, that people will plot against us, that the enemy will arise to try to hinder the will of God, and none of which will feel good at all. In giving us the warning, God also ensured our victory because Christ already won the victory. Paul also made sure the Church received the same warnings and message for victory, all done for our benefit. Today, we will look at 2 Timothy 3:11, victory in the face of persecution.
”Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.”
The word ”persecutions” means ”to put to flight”. The conduit that causes us to flee isn’t always physical, but it can also come from fear, from the threat of force, violence, or death, or persecutions can also come when someone kicks us out of their lives. The word ”afflictions” means ”hardships or pain undergone, or suffering experienced”. This is not easy stuff to encounter, so it definitely isn’t always easy to overcome. Paul is teaching Timothy to prepare him for ministry, knowing his time on earth is coming to an end. The warning comes because Paul desires Timothy to be everything that God called him to be. In Acts 13:45, the Bible says, ”But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” Paul came to Antioch to preach and teach the true Word of God, but this was the reaction he experienced from some, because the multitude moved towards the truth and away from the Jews. The only way the Jews could stop the movement of ministry in Antioch was if they ran Paul out of the city. In Acts 13:50-51, the Bible says, ”But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.” Sometimes, persecution can come in the form in expulsion, but they shook the dust off of their feet and kept pressing forward.
The word ”endure” means ”bear from underneath”. In Acts 14:2-3, the Bible says, ”But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. 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.” Sometimes, despite the obvious movement of the powerful hand of God, people will still operate with bad intentions. In Acts 14:19, the Bible says, ”And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.” There was a powerful move of God and it left the city divided, the end result was they planned to stone him. Paul heard of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, and ended up healing a man that was impotent in his feet. The people worshipped him, but he stopped them, encouraging them to give glory to God. The Jews from Antioch and Iconium came to stir up the people against Paul and Barnabas, and Paul was stoned and his battered body was tossed outside of the city. No matter what was thrown at Paul, literally or figuratively, he never stopped going from location to location, preaching and teaching the Word of God. In Acts 14:21, Paul did the unthinkable! It says, ”And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch”. Paul went back to the place where he was persecuted and preached the gospel again!
The word ”delivered” means ”to rescue, to whisk away as a current”. Paul is expressing to Timothy that God rescued him from ALL of the persecution he went through, which is encouragement for Timothy and for us. In Psalm 34:19, the Bible says, ”Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” Our God doesn’t do part of the job, but He delivers us from everything that comes our way. In 2 Timothy 4:18, the Bible says, ”And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” As we walk in the Lord’s purpose and will, we are going to face trying times, some given by God and some allowed by God. Let us walk in the truth of God, that He will deliver us from all persecution!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 14, 2022 – 2 Timothy 3:12 – all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution2
There is a cost to serving Christ with all we have, with us receiving His salvation for our sins. Some feel that the cost is too high to pay, but never really consider the price that was paid in order for us to have access to this great salvation. Christ came to earth and lived without sin, yet He was crucified unjustly for the sins of the whole world. He was tortured and died a violent, horrible death in order for us to receive salvation by confessing and believing in Him and believing that God raised Him from the dead. Such an awesome reward for such a vicious price paid. We are not exempt from persecution and suffering, and in fact, it is engrafted into our identity with Christ. Even in suffering and persecution, there is victory that can only be won in Christ Jesus, and through affliction, we will experience the powerful hand of God move in ways we never thought imaginable. Today, we will look at 2 Timothy 3:12, persecution producing a greater reward in Christ.
”Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
The phrase ”will live” means ”to desire or intend to pass one’s life in a certain manner.” Living and existing are too different things, and many spend their lives on this earth existing, bouncing from one thing to the next, wandering between things that feel good for a season. People who live are those who live with purpose and those who live on purpose. In Psalm 37:23-24, the Bible says, ”The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.” The person who lives is the person who seeks the Lord for guidance and direction on how they must live their life, how they must fulfill their purpose, how they must pattern their family, and how they must secure their future. Once they receive the instruction, they make the choice to walk according to the Lord’s direction.
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.” We have to make the choice to serve the Lord, despite how the world may choose to operate. Paul is instructing Timothy on his choice to answer the call of God into the ministry and he is preparing him for what is to come.
The word ”godly” means ”piously, in reverence for God”. So if we ”will live godly”, then we not only make the choice to live for the Lord, but we desire to live for the Lord. In Psalm 27:4, the Bible says, ”One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.’‘ Is dwelling in the house of the Lord our ambition? Paul knows that this is Timothy’s ambition and desire, to serve the Lord with the gifts that God has bestowed upon him and in him, but Paul also knows it wouldn’t be wise to only give him part of the story.
The phrase ”suffer persecution” means ”to cause to flee due to affliction or tribulation”. Paul also expresses to Timothy that ”ALL that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”. This gives Timothy two messages. One is for him to expect to experience persecution, and two, that he isn’t alone. Paul gave Timothy his testimony of persecution in Antioch, Lystra, and Iconium and basically stated that some of the same things can and will happen to him.
In John 15:18-19, Christ says, ”If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” Christ warned the disciples that they would be preaching to a world that hates them because they are not OF the world, and because they are Christ’s choice.
In 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4, the Bible says, ”That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.” When the persecution comes, we should not be moved, knowing that our God has prepared us to experience these things, but also has ensured us the victory.
If God prepared us, then He most certainly will sustain us under persecution. 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.” Persecution isn’t our end result. Experiencing the glory of God! No matter how intense the suffering of persecution is, we have a reward of glory that no one can take away.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 15, 2022 – 1 Peter 2:11 – abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul
As believers saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, we are residents in earth, but this is not our home. Too many people do not see beyond this life to the eternal life promised to us by God. So they live their lives to please the flesh enjoying the pleasure of sin while on earth. Sadly, some of these people are in the Church. We must understand that as believers, this is not our home, but this is also not our kingdom. We answer to God and are led by the Word of God, so in a lot of places, we are going to be strangers, outcasts, even hated for the lives we live in the Lord. Because we live according to the kingdom of God, the standard is the Word of God, so we must abstain from anything that is not according to our new nature in Christ. We must not have the ”When in Rome, do as the Romans” mentality, because while we have to be IN the world, we must not be OF the world. Today, we will look at 1 Peter 2:11, abstaining from staining ourselves in lust.
”Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul”
The word ”beloved” signifies a deep, loving affection one has for another. Peter was not only a chief pastor, but he loved the people he served richly, wanting the absolute best for them. Peter wanted to position the Church for spiritual success and fruitfulness, also wanting to protect them from anything that would come to threaten that. The word ”beseech” means ”to call near, to invite, to invoke, in order to encourage, implore, or exhort.” This is as close to begging as one will get, and this is another thing that points to the deep love Peter has for the Church. In Ephesians 4:1, the Bible says, ‘‘I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called”.
It is a privilege to be children of God, a true blessing to receive salvation for our souls, and a gift to receive eternal life. Walking worthy of the vocation is our living appreciation to God for what He has provided. He didn’t have to do it, and He could’ve chosen ”more qualified” people, but He chose us.
In Romans 12:1, the Bible says, ”I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” In extending our appreciation to God for all He has done, we have the ability to live our lives in complete submission to God, making ourselves available to Him to use as He wills.
The word ”strangers” refers to the saints, the sojourners of this world. The word ”pilgrims” refers to the ones living among people not their own. In Hebrews 11:8-9, the Bible says, ”By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise”.
When Abraham left his father’s house, finding the land that God sent him to, he was a stranger and a pilgrim. When Lot settled in Sodom, he and his family were definitely strangers in that land, so much that they were the only righteous people in the area! Sometimes, we are going to be the only ones saved around us, the only ones doing the right things, but we must continue on our path and not take the road of the lawless.
In my incarceration, I have periodically been the person who stuck out like a sore thumb, serving the Lord while the people around me did as they will. I am perfectly okay with that now, because, for one, I have decided to follow Jesus, giving my life to Him, and for two, I can share God’s love with others who have never been close enough to experience it.
In Psalm 39:12-13, the Bible says of David, ”Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.” It is not easy being the person who is living their faith out loud around a bunch of lawlessness, and sometimes it is so trying, but God will meet us with the help we need to press forward.
The word ”abstain” means ”to refrain or keep oneself from”. The word ”lust” means ”an irregular or inordinate desire or longing for what is forbidden”. In Roman 13:14, the Bible says, ”But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” We are not slaves to the lust that tries to mount up against us. As believers, we have a standard in the Word of God that we answer to. We are not of the world so we don’t have to do as the world does. The Bible teaches us to not open doors for the lust of the flesh, so that means we have power over the flesh because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.
The word ”war” means ”contend, or execute a military campaign”. In Galatians 5:16-17, the Bible says, ”This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Believers don’t have to worry about the flesh. If we focus our sole attention on the Spirit and the things of the Lord, then we leave no room for the flesh. This is a continual process of seeing the Spirit, of not allowing the flesh to have victory. We have the ability to have victory in Christ Jesus over all flesh, and in that victory lies the choice to abstain from the lust that can rob us from being fruitful for the kingdom of God.
May we examine ourselves and be victorious in the Spirit, winning the war against our flesh.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 16, 2022 – 1 Peter 2:12 – by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation
We are constantly under the watchful eye of others as believers. Sometimes, it is almost like people are hiding in corners, waiting to see us mess up, so they can come out of hiding and say, ”Aha! I knew you weren’t a Christian!” Being under someone’s watchful eye is not comforting in any regard, but the world is always watching, and we have the power to choose our perspective. We can either hide behind the discomfort of being watched, or we can see it as a privilege to live our faith out loud, so when the world sees our conduct, they will attribute it to the God we serve. Every day, we are afforded the opportunity to reveal who we really are in Christ, but we also have the opportunity to show others through our conduct and speech who Christ really is. We can cower under the pressure or we can savor the opportunity to reveal Christ, but the choice is ours. Today, we will look at 1 Peter 2:12, setting a good example of the faith to a faithless world.
”Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.”
The word ”conversation” means ”behavior or conduct”. The word ”honest” means ”good, virtuous, worthy”. Most people assume that faith is about belief, but faith is action, a manifestation of the belief we have within us. In James 2:21-22, the Bible says, ”Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” Our actions are what is seen, and carry more weight in the minds of others than our beliefs ever will. Our faith is meant to be displayed, and we are expected to live our faith out loud. Even in James 1:22-24, the Bible says, ”But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”
Living our faith out loud, being a doer of the Word, will not only ensure that we are living our lives to please our God, but it will also ensure that we never lose sight of who we are in the process. Understanding who God is and understanding who we are in Christ is vital to keeping the right perspective. This will ensure that we make the right decisions, speak the right words, and carry ourselves as people in the faith.
The word ”Gentiles” means ”foreigners, nonbelievers, people from heathen or pagan nations.” In 2 Corinthians 8:21, the Bible says, ”Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” God knows the world is watching us, some looking to discredit the faith by our actions, while others are looking to us to see if our faith works, so they can believe. We can’t think of only us when it comes to the faith, because so many other lives hang in the balance.
In Philippians 2:15, the Bible says, ”That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world”. God wants us to be in the world as shining examples of faith and of His Word. We were created in His image and likeness, so God desires for the world to see us and see Him in us. God knows the world is crooked and perverse, but He also knows those who will change their lives, giving them completely over to the Lord. God desires us to shine the light He gives us, because in Matthew 5:14, Christ says, ”Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” When we allow God’s light to shine upon us, we must reflect that light everywhere we go!
The phrase ”speak against” means ”to slander”. The word ”evildoers” means ”bad-doers or criminals”. The world is going to paint a horrible picture of the Church and specifically, of believers, but we are to expect that. In Luke 6:27-28, Christ says, ”But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” One of the easiest ways the world tries to see the truth in our faith is to mistreat us, and then sit back to see how we will respond. Our reaction gives them an idea of what is really inside of us.
In my prison environment, people’s report on me changed because of how I responded to some adverse situations at a time when I didn’t know they were watching.
The phrase ”good works” refers to the deeds or actions that please our God, fulfilling His command for us. The word ”behold” means ”to watch or pay attention to”. In Titus 2:7-8, the Bible says, ”In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity; Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” A pattern of good works suggests that it is a lifestyle of conduct that pleases God, not just fleeting, momentary occurrences. God wants us to lives life that are beyond reproach, lives that aren’t hypocritical, but full of the Lord’s presence and power. The world is going to speak against believers, no matter how well they behave, but are their reports going to be accurate?
”Glorify God in the day of visitation”.
Not only is the world watching us, but God is too! The word ”glorify” means ”to render or esteem as glorious, celebrating God with praise, adoration, worship and honour.” When we live our lives to please God, the world can give their report, but we don’t have to level up to their report. In 1 Peter 3:16, the Bible says, ”Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” We don’t have to react to their report and try to defend our actions. God desires for us to life our lives in faith, truth, and obedience, and that by itself will testify more words than we are able to.
What do we do when we are slandered? We keep living, we keep pressing forward to please God in all we do, and eventually, they will be ashamed of ever speaking against us in the first place.
The word ”visitation” means ”inspection by God”. In Matthew 5:16, Christ says, ”Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.’‘ We not only want to see nonbelievers give glory to God after experiencing our conduct, but we also want to experience God’s approval more than anything. We want to be approved of God, and we also want when He gives His inspection of us, that He tells us, ”Well done thy good and faithful servant!”.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 17, 2022 – 2 Timothy 2:14 – that they strive not about words to no profit
I have seen in many ways how people are pushed away from the faith due to argument. Most of what is argued over is pointless to edifying the body of believers, and is useless to kingdom building. I have witnessed and experienced people bring their misguided opinions into a Bible study, and when the truth is laid out for them with Scripture, then response was, ”Well, that’s YOUR truth”. The enemy loves planting liars in the Church, ones that teach falsely according to man’s knowledge and not according to the Word of God, but arguing with these types of people does more harm than good. We as believers must discern the difference between someone who can be corrected and redirected in the truth of God and someone who deliberately spreads false teaching to overthrow the Word of God. If the enemy can get the Church to be in constant dispute about lies, then we will never get to the truth. Today, we will look at 2 Timothy 2:14, rising above ruinous arguments.
”Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”
The phrase ”put them in remembrance” means ”to remind quietly, to suggest to mind or memory”. The word ”charge” means ”to admonish solemnly, to urge upon”. 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.” Just as the Holy Spirit brings all things to our remembrance, we must do the same in the Church. We can never lose sight of the Word of God, and we also can’t lose sight of the fact that our jobs here on earth are to use everything God has given us to share the Word of God with others. Our goal should be contributing to the building up of the Church, not bringing the name of our Lord to shame.
In 1 Timothy 5:21, the Bible says, ”I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.” Whenever a charge is made, it is to guide us towards a course of action that would please God and help others become who God desires for them to be. In this case, Paul is making a charge to Timothy to remind the Church to not strive about words to no profit.
The phrase ”strive about words” means ”arguing, disputing, or wrangling”. This argument is usually with false teachers and deceivers who try to use human reasoning to overthrow the truth of God’s word. The phrase ”to no profit” means ”useless or unserviceable”. The goal is to be useful for the kingdom of God, and if we are ever in a situation where we can’t be useful, we have to be willing to remove ourselves from the equation in order to not make matters worse.
In Matthew 10:14, Christ says, ”And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.’‘ Christ told the disciples to cast the seeds, but if they won’t receive the Word of God, then we must be willing to walk away. In Proverbs 14:7, the Bible says, ”Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” We are not supposed to remain in the presence of those who spread lies and deception.
A world famous Hip Hop artist quipped something in the nature of ”Don’t argue with a fool ’cause people from a distance can’t tell who’s who”. That is what Paul is trying to teach Timothy to remind the Church, because if we argue uselessly with false teachers, then people won’t be able to see the difference between them and us. In 1 Timothy 1:3-4, the Bible says, ”As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.’‘ Our job is to answer questions, not to cause people to question the faith as true. We have the truth and that is enough to edify the body of Christ by His truth.
”But to the subverting of the hearers.”
The word ”subverting” means ”to overthrow, demolish, or ruin”. It is where the word ”catastrophe” comes from, and that is exactly what these useless and unprofitable arguments produce. In 2 Timothy 2:23, the Bible says, ”But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” We want to provide a peaceful conduit to the presence of God, and strife will take the attention away from the Word of God and unto people. In 2 Timothy 2:16, the Bible says, ”But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.’‘ Our ministry is to spread the Word of God in a world of lies and deception, but arguments are not necessary to kingdom building. They only destroy the hearers!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 18, 2022 – 1 Peter 3:7 – being heirs together of the grace of life
Marriage is a God-ordained union that ushers the will and good purpose of God into a household. A man and wife come together as one, and both have an obligation to each other, to their marriage, and to God Himself. Each has their role to play within the marriage, and if both husband and wife play their roles effectively, it keeps the flow of the Holy Spirit in their marriage and ensures that their prayers will be answered. Most people never tie the provision of God to how well they treat their husband or wife, but God’s presence is strongest where the two submit to each other while completely submitting to Him. Together, as one, is the only way God ordained for marriage to be, and both husband and wife must honour each other according to the Word of God. Today, we will be looking at 1 Peter 3:7, a marriage flourishing according to the Word of God.
”Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
Husbands and wives were always ordained to reside together. The phrase ”dwell with” means ”reside together as a family.” In Genesis 2:18, the Bible says, ”And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The word ”help meet” doesn’t just mean ”a helper”, and just doesn’t refer to the person God ordains to help the husband meet His purpose in the Lord, but it also means ”counterpart”, suggesting the wife is the opposite, being what the husband isn’t in order to complete the union. In Genesis 2:22-23, the Bible says, ”And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’‘ A wife is a part of her husband, and the husband a part of his wife, so the two we never designed to go at it alone. There are too many ”lone wolf marriages”, where husband and wife are embarking on individual journeys, and not working together to fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. Marriage was always designed to be a union, where two move as one, which is why Genesis 2:24 says, ”Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
The word ”knowledge” means ”discretion or prudence”. The only true knowledge is becoming one with the Word of God and allowing our lives and marriages to be governed by the Word of God. 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.” Husbands and wives need divine empowerment, and His Word in order for us to experience a successful marriage.
”Giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel”
The word ”honour” means ”to give the highest esteem and dignity to”. When a husband tries to rule over his wife, it is obvious that he is not leading in truth. A husband should view his wife on a high level, and not as a subordinate. The phrase ”weaker vessel” means ”without strength or feeble”. The Scripture says ”weaker” vessel, not ”weak” vessel. The phrase weaker implies a physical weakness, being in need of protection, provision, and strength from her husband. It means that the husband must be strong in the Lord, but that doesn’t mean that the wife isn’t.
In Galatians 3:28, the Bible says, ”There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.’‘ Sometimes, the wife will be more in the will of God than her husband, but God ordained for husbands and wives to be one in Christ.
In Ephesians 5:25, the Bible says, ”Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”. A husband’s love to His wife should resemble Christ’s love for the Church. It should be loving and sacrificial, edifying and empowering. The reason the husband is the stronger vessel is because it is his job to empower His wife in the Lord and in life. A help meet doesn’t mean the wife solely pursues her husband’s calling, gifting, and purpose by God, but a husband is supposed to empower his wife to pursue God’s calling, gifting, and purpose in her life. A husband is supposed to look into his wife and see the depth of her treasure, and help her pull it out.
”Heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered”
The word ”heirs” means ”participants in common, beneficiaries of the will of someone who died”. Husband and wives receive the benefits of the Holy Spirit together, not separate! The word ”grace” refers to the pardoning of sins, admission to the divine kingdom, and the divine empowerment of God. The husband must cultivate companionship, fellowship, and the purposes of God in the marriage, so that husbands have not neglected to till the soil of their wives, to ensure that she grows into everything we esteem her to be, and everything God created her to be.
Sometimes, the husband will see treasure in his wife that she quite doesn’t see in herself, and it is his job to dig, plant, water, weed, and nurture in order for that treasure to surface.
Together. This means that a husband is not at his best until his wife is at her best, and if we are unwilling to help our wives be their best, then we can only blame ourselves for the deficits in our marriage.
The word ”prayers” means ”petitions to God”, but it also implies ”worship”. The word ”hindered” means ”frustrate, hew down, or cut down”. So when we as husbands do not fulfill our rightful places in the home, we don’t cultivate the soil of our wives, we don’t highly esteem our wives to show them how treasured they are, then how can we ever expect a successful marriage? How can we ever hope to fulfill our call? How can we ever expect an answer from God when we are outside of God’s will?
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 19, 2022 – Psalm 27:14 – wait, I say, on the LORD
”Waiting is the hardest part”. This saying has been heard all over the world, and we as human beings hate waiting. As believers, waiting is a part of the walk of faith that we have to endure, and sometimes, the waiting part is agonizing. Me and Jessica are waiting on my freedom, and there are periods of hardship that we both experience in the waiting. We have both come to understand that how we wait as believers is capable of empowering us in the wait that will still ensure that we remain fruitful as we wait. Remember the saying, ”A watched pot never boils”? Watching the wait makes waiting seem endless, but there is a better way. God gives us things to overtake as we wait, things that prepare us to receive the things we are waiting for, and God is very intentional in giving us strength and courage to remain faithful and rooted in Him no matter how long the wait is. Today, we will look at Psalm 27:14, waiting on the Lord in strength and courage.
”Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”
The word ”wait” means ”to twist oneself around, to bind oneself to, to hope, to tarry, or to order activities for a future event.” Waiting is more than just sitting there, looking at the door. I would be clinically insane if I just spent my prison time looking at the door, waiting for it to open. God never intended us to just stand here and wait while doing nothing else. In Psalm 62:1-2, the Bible says, ”Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.” If we shall not be greatly moved, then that means that faith is not upended in the waiting. God never intended the waiting part to break our faith, or cause us to lose hope.
In Isaiah 40:30-31, the Bible says, ”Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” God designed the waiting to provide us with a renewed strength, with a renewed faithfulness, allowing us to be able to continue to move in the earth without breaking down.
When Joseph was in prison, he waited on the prison door to open, but in Genesis 39:21-23, the Bible says, ”But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.” See, Joseph didn’t just wait on his release from prison. He was faithful to the favor God gave him with the jailer, and was faithful to the assignment God gave him, and he brought prosperity to the area on his imprisonment. Why? Because the Lord was with him! In the waiting, some of us don’t understand that God is right there with us, walking every step with us, giving us everything we need to prosper right where we stand.
The phrase ”be of good courage” means ”to behave valiantly, to be strong”. So in the waiting, we must exercise ”good” courage. ”Good” implies God’s intended purpose being fulfilled, so there is a way God desires us to handle ourselves in the waiting.
In Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, ”I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’‘ The courage we need to persevere in the waiting doesn’t come from us, but from Christ. The reason waiting breaks faith is because people are trying to endure in their own strength, and try to find their own way out.
In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Bible says, ”There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
God allows us to go through periods of trial, periods of waiting, where He refines us, making us ready for what He is calling us out of, and where He is calling us to. Joseph didn’t know that his enslavement and imprisonment was giving him the training he would need to become second-in-command to all of Egypt. Sometimes, we don’t know what is on the other end of our wait, but our trust in the Lord will ensure that we get there.
The word ”strengthen” means ”establish, fortify, or make steadfast”. The heart speaks of the innermost being, the center of our thoughts, attitudes, desires, and identity. In Isaiah 25:9, the Bible says, ”And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Our God will answer, responding to our waiting by giving us strength and courage to both endure and prosper until our salvation comes. God allows us the privilege of experiencing the waiting so when we get on the other side of it, we will rejoice in the Lord, and celebrate Him for ensuring us the victory.
Me and Jessica are going to praise the Lord with all of our might when these prison doors open for me, but in the waiting, we are going to share God’s goodness everywhere we go, and we are going to be faithful to every assignment God places before us. In the waiting, our life together is full and active, and we are giving glory to God as we wait.
May God strengthen both your hearts and resolve in the waiting. The Lord is with us!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 20, 2022 – 2 Peter 3:17 – beware lest ye also, be led away with the error of the wicked
As believers, we have been equipped and are continually being equipped with the truth, truth that only comes from the Word of God. There is great security in the Word of God, and if we abide in the Word, we will be able to stand firmly on the foundation of Christ in all situations. False teaching is becoming more and more prevalent, and more people are being led astray in the process. This was occurring after the Church was established in Acts, and it is a million times worse now. We as believers must cleave to the truth, and weigh everything according to the Word of God before we receive it into our spirits and into our lives. Just as a little yeast makes dough rise, a little lie can seep through a congregation and lead many astray. Today, we will look at 2 Peter 3:17, cleaving to the truth so we remain steadfast in the faith.
”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.”
The statement ”know these things before” implies foreknowledge, ability to see things beforehand. This suggests that the people who Peter is writing to have already been taught in the way of the Lord. The word ”beloved” is a term of deep affection, and expresses the amount of care Peter has for the Church. The word ”beware” means ”watch, be on guard, protect oneself from, or avoid”. In Mark 23:22-23, Christ says, ”For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.” Christ warned us that there would be false Christs and false teachers rising up to keep people away from the Gospel, and also to turn believers away from the Gospel.
Even before Christ appear in physical form on earth, there were false prophets spreading the doctrine of men instead of the teaching of God. In Jeremiah 29:8-9, the Bible says, ”For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD.’‘ God was warning His children who would be exiled in Babylon to not listen to the false prophets, because they don’t come from Him. Even before Jeremiah’s account the enemy had been trying to turn people around from the Word of God.
In Genesis 3:4-5, the Bible says, ”And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.’‘ Satan himself seduced both Adam and Eve away from the Word and command of the Lord. So as long as there has been a Word from the Lord, there has been an enemy trying to cause us to stray away from the Word.
”Lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, falling from your own stedfastness”
Look at the word ”also” here. It suggests that people are definitely straying away from the Gospel. Peter’s letter is essentially an attempt to ”stop the bleeding”. The word ”error” means ”fraudulence”. The word ”wicked” means ”lawless”.
So people who don’t live by any Godly standard are leading those astray who are in the Church. In 2 Peter 1:12, the Bible says, ”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.” Peter has been doing his job, sharing what the Holy Spirit gives him, which will equip the saints for a life of godliness.
There is another force at work though, and in Matthew 13:24-25, Christ says, ”Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.” There will always be someone who is going to sow lies among the truth, but we must know the word of God so we won’t be led astray. It is only by a lie that we can be led astray from the truth.
The word ”fall” means ”become inefficient, or driven out of one’s course”. In 2 Peter 2:18, the Bible says, ”For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.” The lie is going to sound good, and pleasing to the mind, which is why most are led astray, but the ones who remain clean with the Word of God escape the snare.
The word ”stedfastness means ”stability”. 1 Corinthians 10:12 means ”Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” We have great stability in the Word of God. Let us never lose sight of that, because the enemy is always ready to sow his lies. May we ever be rooted in truth!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 21, 2022 – 2 Peter 1:19 – as unto a light that shineth in a dark place
The Word of God not only gives us all of the tools we need to live abundantly in Christ as the children of God, but the Word of God is also filled with prophecy that is true, most being already fulfilled. This should shine a light in our hearts and minds as believers, clearing up any misconceptions as to the truth of the full Word of God. If we walk according to the Word of God, God’s light shines in and upon us, giving us the ability to bear His light in the earth, but if we choose not to, we hinder light from shining in our lives. God gives us His Word so that we have something concrete to rely upon, something that is backed by both Scripture and history itself, giving us a sure foundation to plant our feet on. Now, we have the Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth, solidifying the truth in the prophecy given in the Word. Today, we will look at how God’s Word in 2 Peter 1:19 becomes everlasting light to all who believe and take heed to it.
”We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts”
The more ”sure” means ”certain, firm, or stable”. The phrase ”word of prophecy” means ”something said, communication of foretelling things to come”. This speaks of the prophecy of the Old Testament, all of which points to the coming, and the second coming of Christ. The ”more sure word of prophecy” ranks Scripture over experience, because Scripture bears a more complete, permanent, and authoritative record of the prophecy of God. We have something tangible to confirm the truth of the prophecy, and the validity of the Word of God. In 1 Peter 1:10-11, the Bible says, ”Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” We are able to search the Scripture and clearly see the salvation that is only by faith in Jesus Christ, and we are also able to understand that the Holy Spirit gave the prophets the Word that they delivered to us by the Word of God.
When the Word is delivered to us, it is our job to follow it. The phrase ”take heed” is not just hearing the Word of God, or even hearing the Word with a desire to obey, but ”take heed” means ”to pay attention in order obey or carry out”. In Psalm 119:8-10, the Bible says, ”I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.’‘ There is a course of action that happens when we take heed to the Word of God, and when we obey the Word of God, it will be well with us.
The word ”light” means ”lamp or luminator”. Lamps guide us through darkness, so we can see clearly. In Psalm 119:105, the Bible says, ”Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” When we allow the Word of God to have residence within us, we will not only see how the Word of God has guided us into salvation, but we will also see where God is leading us today. The word ”shineth” means ”to appear, show, or lighten”. Darkness in Scripture has always implied an absence of the presence of God, especially the presence of Christ.
In John 1:9, the Bible says, ”That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Christ is the true Light, and in John 8:12, the Bible also says, ”Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” The person who has Christ has light, and will not walk in darkness. Darkness cannot exist where the Light is!
”Until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”
The ”day star” refers to the light of Christ shining upon us and in us, so that what comes from us came from Him. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, the Bible says, ”In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” The enemy doesn’t want the light of Christ to shine upon us, because our eyes will open to the truth, and salvation will come as a result. The enemy tries to put out the light that is in us by getting us to receive his lies, which places us back into darkness.
In Revelation 22:16, the Bible says, ”I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.’‘ Prophecy gave testimony as to Christ’s appearance and light providing salvation for those who are lost. Let us take heed to the Word of God and be children of the Light.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 22, 2022 – 2 Peter 1:21 – holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost
God gives us the Word to share with others concerning Himself. When I used to look at ministry, I used to immediately measure the task by my own capability, by my own sin, and by my own power. There was no way someone like me would be qualified to do anything for the Lord. I was the worst of the worst in my own eyes, the last to be used by the Lord. The more I studied the Word of God, the more I realized that nothing about ministry is about us, but about Who has empowered us to serve Him. God equips us for the service we enter into, and gives us the Word to speak into people’s hearts and minds, and directs us specifically to people immediately. We are merely but a conduit for the Lord to reach others. Prophecy worked the same way, and they only received a word concerning the future events because the Holy Spirit gave them the Word to speak. Nothing for the kingdom is done without the Holy Spirit! Today, we will look at 2 Peter 1:21, being moved by the Holy Spirit to speak a Word from Him.
”For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The word ”prophecy” means ”predictions, the foretelling of future events, including the declarations, exhortations, and warnings uttered by the prophets while acting under divine influence, mainly spoken here of the prophets of the Old Testament.” The phrase ”will of man” means ”determination, purpose, decree, or choice of mankind”. 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”. Inspiration a word meaning ”breathed into”, which suggests that God breathed His Spirit into us. In John 20:21-22, the Bible says, ”Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” I love how Christ bestowed His peace upon the disciples before He breathed on them. He does the same for us! When the Holy Spirit is breathed into us, the same power Christ walked in to speak the very Word of God and perform the will of God now rests in us! In John 14:12, Christ says, ”Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” God has a greater work in store for us if we will allow Him to breathe His Holy Spirit into us.
”But holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The word ”holy” means ”sacred, consecrated, pure, set apart for divine use”. The word ”spake” means ”to declare or utter words”. Some of the most prominent prophets didn’t feel qualified. In Isaiah 6:5, the Bible says, ”Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Isaiah panicked when he saw a vision of God’s holiness, and immediately declared his uncleanliness. Look st what happened next. In Isaiah 6:6-7, the Bible says, ”Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.’‘ Isaiah humbled himself in the sight of the Lord and the Lord cleaned him up, making him ready to speak the Word of the Lord. We can’t do it without the Lord, and when the Lord cleaned him up, he was the first that wanted to go speak a Word in the name of the Lord!
The word ”moved” means ”driven or incited”. In Jeremiah 1:6, the Bible says, ”Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.” When Jeremiah was called, he immediately hid behind his youth, and declared His incapability before God, even though God just told him in verse 5, ”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.” Jeremiah was God’s choice before he was formed in his mother’s womb, and God created him with this purpose in mind. God’s response in Jeremiah 1:7 confirmed this by saying, ”But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.” Both Jeremiah and Isaiah had to understand that their own inferiority meant nothing when they were God’s choice to speak. God equipped them with the Word and the power inside them. All they had to do was speak.
We have all of these precious promises and confirmation in the Bible available to us because the prophets were willing to be moved by the Holy Spirit to speak the Word of God. May we also be bold enough to entrust our mouths to the Lord!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 23, 2022 – Psalm 32:10 – he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about
Trusting in the Lord is not always easy, and in some cases, it would be way easier to trust in circumstances, in people, finances, and the things we can touch, and these experiences sometimes give us immediate gratification. As believers, we must place our full trust in the Lord, and trusting in the Lord needs to become second nature, something we do without thinking twice. The wicked place their trust in the ”tangibles”, even though the tangibles won’t bring the relief they need. Without God, nothing we do is enough, nothing we have is enough, and a life that is displeasing to the Lord is one of great sorrow. There are two contrasting directions; wickedness that draws a person further away from God, and trust in the Lord, which draws a person into the presence and protection of God. There is no way we can have both. Today, we will look at Psalm 32:10, receiving the lovingkindness of God by placing our full trust in Him.
”Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.”
The word ”sorrows” means ”anguish or affliction”. The word ”wicked” means ”ungodly, or morally wrong”. In Psalm 1:4-5, the Bible says, ”The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” There is no stability in wickedness, nothing keeping our feet rooted in anything. There is no foundation in wickedness, but in wickedness, people are suspended in their mess, being blown around from one evil deed to the next. If the wicked would be judged, there would be no defense that they can offer up that would make them right before God.
In 1 Corinthians 5:13, the Bible says, ”But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” One of the most absurd things I have discovered in my walk with the Lord is how judgemental the world is, especially towards believers! People who the Scriptures say wouldn’t stand in the face of judgement being the main ones who cast judgement upon others.
This shouldn’t be. In Isaiah 55:7, the Bible says, ”Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” There is only one Judge, and that is the Lord! The wicked will have a chance to be transformed by the power and blood of Jesus Christ, which will give them power to live new Godly lives as the redeemed of the Lord. God is still calling the wicked to come to Him, and forsake their old way. I am a living witness that God doesn’t give up on the wicked!
”But he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him”
The word ”trusteth” means ”to hie for refuge, or to be confident or sure”. It expresses a feeling of safety and security that is felt when one can rely on someone else. The word ”hie” implies that we instinctively run towards that Person we trust in danger. This means if we trust God, He is our first option, not the option when all of our other options fail.
In Psalm 91:2-3, the Bible says, ”I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” With trust comes deliverance, and with deliverance comes yet another reason to place our full trust in the Lord.
In Psalm 84:11-12, the Bible says, ”For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.” We have to trust the Lord for our light and also for our protection. We have to trust that God will make the way, and also defend us on our journey. Trusting in the Lord is about forsaking our own way to take the way of the Lord, no matter where it leads.
The word ”mercy” means ”lovingkindness, favor, or a state of good”. In Jeremiah 17:7-8, the Bible says, ”Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 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.’‘ There is a sure reward for those who place their trust in the Lord. Those who trust the Lord will experience a continuous season of fruitfulness, where everything needed to live the Godly live we aspire to will be provided. The word ”compass” means ”to surround, border, or revolve around”.
In Psalm 34:7-8, the Bible says, ”The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.’‘ Want to give our Lord a try? He is good!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 24, 2022 – Proverbs 18:10 – the name of the LORD is a strong tower
Do we really believe that our God is the most powerful line of defense we have in this Godless society we are now living in? Are we wiling to entrust our deliverance to the Lord, giving Him free reign to save us as He wills? The best way of assessing whether or not we truly trust in God is to ask ourselves, when facing trouble, where is the first place we turn to? If God is not our first choice, then our response shows that we don’t trust in Him. Sadly, the Church tends to entrust our deliverance to God, only after all of our methods have crashed and burned right before our eyes. We never give Him the chance to prove Himself faithful, strong, and true, but many wonder why we aren’t being delivered, why we don’t feel safe, and why our trusted options do nothing for us? It is because there is only one way to experience true safety and that is in the presence of the Lord. Today, we will look at Proverbs 18:10, a strong tower in the Lord to run to.
”The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
The word ”name” means ”an appellation as a mark of individuality, authority, or character”. The word ”Lord” means ”supreme in control”. Our Lord is vastly set apart from any other name in the world. 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.” The name of the Lord carries all power and strength, the ability to overcome anything, including the penalty of sin and death.
In Acts 4:12, the Bible says, ”Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” So if our Lord is more than capable to deliver us from an eternal penalty for our sin, then surely He can deliver us from anything in this earth that comes our way. In Genesis 18:14, the Bible says, ”Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed, I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Our God produces life at His word, so deliverance from sin, death, or the enemy by the same word is no problem for Him.
The word ”strong” means ”powerful or mighty”. The word ”tower” means ”castle”. In 2 Samuel 22:1-3, the Bible says, ”And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.” David experienced God as his deliverer, from the enemies that mounted huge offensives against him. David had a King and a kingdom after him, but the Lord delivered him from the hand of his enemies.
In Psalm 18:1-3, the Bible says, ”I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” When we entrust our safety and our lives to the Lord, we will come to understand that He not only gives strength, but He IS strength. He doesn’t just have a fortress, but He IS a fortress. God doesn’t just provide a powerful castle, but He IS a powerful castle. So in essence, God is giving us Himself every time He provides refuge.
The word ”righteous” means ”just before God”. The word ”runneth” implies haste, rushing into the presence of the Lord. Who are the righteous? In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says, ”For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” It is because of Christ’s sacrifice by death on the cross that we are made righteous, but we only receive this by faith in His name.
The word ”safe” means ”made inaccessible, or set on high”. This means that when we run to the Lord for safety, He protects us in a place that can’t be reached. In Psalm 27:1, the Bible says, ”The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” There is real security in the Name of the Lord, where there is no reason to fear the enemy, because where the Lord is, the enemy can’t come! In Psalm 61:2-3, the Bible says, ”From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”
Our Lord has the best protection we can ever find, but will we trust Him
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 25, 2022 – John 8:31 – if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed
As believers, we have to be more than just ”churchgoers”, attending service, hearing the preacher preach, with none of the sermons being evident in our lives. Belief is only part of it. If I believe that I can graduate from college, but never attend college, what good is my belief? If I believe that I can be a great basketball player, but I never go to the gym to practice or never play a game, then how will I ever become what I believe I can be? We can’t be believers who believe, but don’t practice our faith. We can’t squander away the life God has given us by only declaring that we believe but bearing no fruit of our belief. A disciple follows the teacher, and we as disciples of Christ, must also follow Him. Today, we will look at John 8:31, a disciple committed to the practice of their faith.
”Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed”
The word ”believed” means ”committed, to have faith in, to entrust one’s whole well-being to”. In Matthew 16:24-25, Christ says, ”Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Believing in Christ is more than just a mind thing. It is a life that is being patterned around what or who is believed in. We must forsake everything we once knew as true to allow God’s truth to be the standard in our lives. We can’t entrust ourselves to Christ and still hold on to some remnant of our past. In Matthew 19:29, the Bible says, ”And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” We can’t receive the reward first, then forsake all. We have to forsake all first, and trust in the Lord to provide His just rewards. Belief here is an action, evidenced by what we do.
The word ”continue” means ”to stay of remain in a given state”. This word implies that we habitually abide in the Word of God. In John 15:4-5, the Bible 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.” There were Jews that turned to the truth, and became followers of Christ. Christ didn’t want them to just receive the Gospel, He wanted them to abide in it, allowing it to bear fruit in them.
Christ wants the same thing for us as well, and He will definitely provide for our spiritual and physical well-being. In John 15:7, Christ says, ”If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” God will always provide for anyone who remains in Him. The vine always provides everything the branches need to bear fruit. In 2 John 1:8-9, the Bible says, ”Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.”
We must examine ourselves, and really check ourselves out, to make sure that we are retaining the Word of God in our hearts, and living out the Word of God. Living out the Word of God shows that we are in Christ and Christ in us.
In Hebrews 3:14, the Bible says, ”For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end”. God doesn’t want a bunch of people starting on the path but not finishing the ‘race’. God wants us to be just like Him as being created in His image and likeness. 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 His work, and so must we!
The word ”disciples” means ”learners, pupils, or followers of a teacher.” A disciple patterns their life after the teacher they follow. In John 10:27-28, Christ says, ”My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” A disciple hears the voice of their teacher with intention to obey the Word they are given.
In Romans 6:17, the Bible says, ”But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” A disciple obeys the word of their teacher from the heart, and it shows in their lives. We will always see what someone follows by how they live their lives. May our lives reflect the testimony that we are disciples indeed.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 26, 2022 – John 8:34 – verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin
Our identity in Christ rests on what we do. There are many who attend a church service weekly, doing a fascinating job at looking the part of those saved or looking to be a servant of the Lord, but behind closed doors, they are really servants of the enemy, servants of their lusts, and servants of sin. There is a big difference between the person who sins, and the person who makes sin a livelihood. The person in the Church who makes sin their livelihood is IN the Church, but not OF the Church. Some people take their salvation, and then wear it as a pass to commit lawlessness instead of a life of sanctification and holiness than can only come through Christ. Is our identity wrapped in the sin our salvation has delivered us from, or is our identity wrapped in the new life God has given us as new creations in Christ? Today, we will look at John 8:34, breaking our bondage to sin.
”Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”
The word ”answered” implies that Christ began to speak when an answer from Him was expected. Remember, Christ was speaking to Jews who believed in Him and teaching them about kingdom principles. They didn’t understand this freedom that Christ was speaking about, and questioned Him about that type of freedom was he referring to.
In Psalm 99:6, the Bible says, ”Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.’‘ Now some will ask, ”Well, how does this apply to me? I’m not a priest like Moses, Aaron, or Samuel.” But this would be a very incorrect statement, because in 1 Peter 2:9, the Bible says, ”But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”. The Bible says that we are a royal priesthood, and this Word is confirmed in Revelation 1:6, which says, ”And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” If there is any confirmation we need to know, for certain, that God answers us, it is in these verses. God wants us to know His word and will answer the questions we have. 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.” Just as the Jews brought their confusion to Christ, we must bring our confusion to the Lord.
The word ”verily” means ”truly, or surely”, a word showing its trustworthiness. The word ”committed” means ”a course of conduct, a practice or pattern of behavior”. It doesn’t mean a single act here or there, but it means a lifestyle. The word ”sin” means ”an offense against God”. So the person who commits sin according to this meaning is the person who lives a lifestyle that is continually an offense against God.
In Romans 6:1-2, the Bible says, ”What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Through our salvation we became dead to sin, so if we, after salvation, continue to live in the same sin we have been saved from, then we are essentially trying to revive our sin nature.
When we are saved, God showed us a better way, and we have power over the lifestyle of sin. In Romans 6:12-13, the Bible says, ”Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.’‘ What are we allowing to have reign in our lives, sin or righteousness? What are we yielding our members to, unrighteousness or God? God is not forcing us to serve Him, but gives us every ability to do so.
The word ”servant” means ”a slave, or a subject”. In Romans 6:16, the Bible says, ”Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” We obey what we serve, and that will be very evident in our actions.
In Matthew 7:18-20, Christ says, ”A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” The fruit is a manifestation of the nature of the tree, and our lives are a manifestation of what we serve. It is easy to keep up appearances, but eventually the mask will come off, revealing what’s really there. May our lives reflect our service to righteousness, holiness, love, and may we always be servants of the Most-High God.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 27, 2022 – Psalm 35:27 – let the LORD be magnified
God truly cares about His children! Everything in our lives, and even everything in our mind matters to the Lord. Sometimes, when we are going through struggles it is hard to see the love of God or the care of God, but it is there in all things. Sometimes it is even harder to praise God in spite of what we have experienced or felt, and many find it difficult to look beyond their affliction to what God truly thinks of them, His creation. In truth, there is no greater love we can ever experience on this earth, and His righteousness breaks walls down that hinder our growth. God wants His children to have everlasting peace and He loves to hear His children rejoice in Him, so He cultivates the environment for us to make Him larger in our hearts and in our perspective. Our God is truly awesome! Today, we will look at Psalm 35:27, our praise magnifying an already Great God!
”Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”
The word ”shout” implies a bold, loud, proclamation. One of the definitions of ”joy” is ”triumph”. In Psalm 34:1-3, the Bible says, ”I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.” Our praise is our outward communication to God about the victory we have in Him. I love the definition of ”triumph” because it declares that the victory is already won, and it is all because of God!
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.’‘ There is always victory available to the believer in Christ Jesus, so there is always something to celebrate in Him. David not only cried before the Lord, casting all of his cares upon the Lord, but with the same mouth, and a lot of times, and in the same Psalm, he gave God praise.
Paul does the same thing, and so must we! In Psalm 100:1-2, the Bible says, ”Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” When God can see His children praising Him in all situations, whether easy or pressing, He will respond!
The word ”favour” means ”a delight in the Lord, causing a bend towards Him”. The word ”righteous” means ”justice, equity, or vindication”. When God comes to bring justice, we will have a real reason to praise Him. In Psalm 147:10-11, the Bible says, ”He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.’‘ When we turn to the Lord for victory, He will respond to us, deliver us, and take pleasure in the fact that we are entrusting the vindication to Him and Him alone.
The word ”magnified” means ”to promote, to make greater, to honor in the mind, heart, and body”. Once again, this is a verbal outpouring of praise for who God is. We must constantly profess with our mouths the praise that is due to God. In Psalm 70:4, the Bible says, ”Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified.” God is always ready to respond to our praise and one of the reasons why God seems to be so far away is because He is not experiencing our praise.
”Which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant”
The word ”pleasure” means ”desire or delight, an inclining towards”. The word ”prosperity” means ”peace and tranquility, welfare of health, safety and prosperity”. The word ”servant” speaks of those who worship and serve the Lord, who submit themselves completely to Him. In Proverb 8:17-19, the Bible says, ”I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.” Prosperity isn’t just about money and financial gain, but it is about seeking the Lord and finding Him, experiencing His peace and righteousness, learning of His wisdom so we can know how to live as His children in this world.
In Matthew 10:30, Christ says, ”But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” If God is concerned about every hair on our heads, then He is definitely concerned about every part of our lives. In Psalm 122:6-7, the Bible says, ”Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.” God wants to give us His peace and his prosperity in the midst of every situation we face, so we then will give Him all of the glory, honor, and praise that is due Him. He is worthy of it!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 28, 2022 – Psalm 39:1 – I said, I will take heed to my ways
As believers, we have to examine ourselves daily, sometimes moment by moment. Life always presents us opportunities to display who we are and what we have learned in the Word of God. The enemy loves to put us to the test, so that when we fail, he can rail his accusations to God against us. God allows us to go through trials, so that we can establish our faith, but not just by word but by experience, so we can come to an understanding of both the things we are doing right, and the things that still need work. Maintaining a Christ centered life requires diligence. We must tend to our walk of faith, in our deeds, our path and over our mouths, so that it all bears evidence of who we are in Christ. Today, we will look at Psalm 39:1, walking the walk, and talking the talk.
”I said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue: I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.”
The phrase ”take heed” means ”to attend to, to observe, or to keep watch”. The word ”ways” means ”course of life or road”. In 1 Kings 2:4, the Bible says, ”That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel.” Before David was to die, he was speaking to Solomon preparing him for the position he would hold, and the relationship he would have with the Lord. The continued success of the kingdom depended on the obedience of Solomon. How many things do we jeopardize for our futures because of the things we fail to obey now?
In 2 Kings 10:30-31, the Bible says, ”And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel. But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin.” Jehu obeyed God’s command as an executioner, being rewarded for that, but still decided to disobey the law of the Lord, walking in sin. How many of us pick and choose what we will obey?
In Proverb 3:5-6, the Bible says, ”Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Paying heed to the Word of God requires trust, and for us to forsake our own course of life. It requires us to seek God’s direction in everything we do, and He will give us the direction we seek.
The word ”sin” means ”miss the mark, trespass, or to commit an offense against God.” David wants to examine himself to make sure that he is living the way the Word of God tells him. He wants to be diligent in obeying the Word of God, so the practice of sin isn’t present in his life or on his tongue. He even wants to make sure his words are the words God wants him to speak. What we say is just as important as what we do. In Proverb 18:21, the Bible says, ”Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” So much occurs in our lives by what we speak, so we must be careful what we say.
”I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.”
The word ”keep” means ”to guard or protect”. The word ”bridle” means ”a muzzle”. In Psalm 141:3-4, the Bible says, ”Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” David wants to make sure, that even under adversity or persecution, his words are words that please God. He also knew where the words from his mouth come from, and so he also asked God to deal with his heart issues as well.
In Matthew 12:34, Christ says, ”O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Whatever is in the heart will surface from our mouths, so we must be careful what we say.
The word ”wicked” means ”ungodly, morally wrong, an enemy of God.” We must watch our mouths, especially in front of unbelievers. In Colossians 4:5-6, the Bible says, ”Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” David doesn’t want unbelievers to receive reports about our faith or about God that is not true or that bears false testimony of Him. That will turn people further away from the Word of God, which is the last thing God wants from us.
Let us always check ourselves, both our deeds and our speech, making sure we are giving accurate testimony of God at work in us.
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 29, 2022 – Psalm 31:1 – in thee, O LORD, do I put my trust
Trusting in the Lord is not always easy to do. There is so much that happens when we entrust our physical, spiritual, relational, financial, and emotional well-being to someone we can’t see. First, we have to know that God exists, then we have to know that we, as believers, are His children and He hears our cries, and lastly, we have to let go and trust that not only He hears, but He is already providing an answer. When you are in a storm, or a prison, or financial turmoil, it is hard to see beyond the circumstances to see our God who loves us so deeply and cares about everything we go through. But it is something that we must do. It is scary to surrender our vulnerabilities to God, but when we do, He shows Himself faithful, and it gives us a reliable record to rely on when we face something new. God won’t allow His children, who trust in Him, to be put to shame. Today, we will look at Psalm 31:1, undeniable trust in the Lord.
”In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness.”
The word ”trust” means ”to flee for protection, to confide in, or to take refuge in.” It gives us mental picture of a tree providing shade, or a bird protecting its young in their feathers. In Psalm 91:4-6, the Bible says, ”He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” When we place our trust in the Lord, there is no more reason to fear, because our God is fully capable of reaching into our lives to respond to our cries, our agony, our fear with a solution that with lift our heads and bring Him glory.
In Jeremiah 32:27, the Bible says, ”Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?’‘ We must believe in what our God can do before we entrust our lives to Him. The Word of God is the greatest reference point to the capability of God other than our personal experience, and both give incredible testimony of God’s ability to deliver us, even when it seemed impossible. In Matthew 19:26, the Bible says, ”But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Why is it that we will easily trust in man, whose limitations cause them to fail at some point, but we find it so hard to trust in God, who has never failed and has mastered the seemingly impossible?
”Let me never be ashamed”
The word ”ashamed” means ”disappointed or delayed”. In Psalm 22:4-5, the Bible says, ”Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.’‘ We have a reference point to God’s faithfulness from the past just as we do now. Just as those before us cried unto God and He heard their cries, and responded to their need, He is more than willing to do the same for us now.
Some people don’t believe God works the same way He worked in the Gospels and in Acts, but the Bible clearly says in Hebrews 13:8, ”Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” There is no beginning or end to our God and if His character is the same, then why do so many people choose to believe that our God won’t respond?
In Psalm 25:2-3, the Bible says, ”O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me. Yea, let none that wait on thee be ashamed: let them be ashamed which transgress without cause.” The beauty about God is that we can express our fears to Him, we can cast our uncertainties upon Him and ask for His help, and He will still respond! God knows what we are going through and how our hearts work. In Hebrews 4:15-16, the Bible says, ”For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” God came to earth robed in flesh, experiencing our lives from ground level, and now He gives intercession to God on our behalf. How can we fail?
The word ”deliver” means ”cause to escape, or carry away safe”. The word ”righteousness” means ”integrity, blameless conduct, or justice”. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Bible says, ”There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” God does not allow us as believers to go through anything where we won’t have the victory in Him.
God doesn’t want our testimony to be one of defeat, but one of victory and a show of the Lord’s power!
Marshall & Jessica
Jun 30, 2022 – Psalm 143:10 – teach me to do thy will
There are many teachings in the world today, but many of the teachings are of no heavenly good, teachings that are constantly drawing people away from God. People seek instruction from life coaches, who have no life in them, attend self-help seminars hosted by people more broken than the people they are teaching, and go to school, hoping the educational process will fulfill them. Disappointment is inevitable if one looks for any instruction to be the guide other than the Word of God. God not only created us, but He also desires to instruct us on how to live and succeed in a world that is not our own. We as believers must seek our instruction from the Word of God and attune ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit if we are to ever fulfill the Word of God. There are so many teachings out there, but how many lead into eternal life? Today, we will look at Psalm 143:10, receiving our instruction from the Word of God.
”Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.”
The word ”teach” means ”to goad, instruct, or impart learning to”. The word ”do” means ”to fulfill, accomplish, or complete”. It implies that we don’t just form the intent, but we physically carry out the Word and command of God in our lives. The word ”will” means ”purpose, or pleasure of God”. In Psalm 25:4-5, the Bible says, ”Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.” God doesn’t just teach us His Word, but He also, by the Word of God, shows us how to live in holiness on the earth.
In 2 Peter 1:3, 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:” The knowledge of God, which comes by the Word of God, is divine power, enabling us to live Godly lives in Him. The Word of God is equipped with instructions on how to live as believers, but it also gives us access to God’s promises and the kingdom of God.
In Psalm 139:23-24, the Bible says, ”Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’‘ It is important for us to make ourselves available to God for Him to take a spiritual inventory within us, to uncover anything that is hindering our instruction and hindering our progress. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, the Bible says, ”Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”. Not only do we have to make ourselves available to God for His examination, but we are to examine ourselves, to see if we are in the faith. David boldly professes in the topic verse that ”thou art MY God”. When will our relationship with God become personal enough for God to be OUR God? God wants to instruct us in His Word and in His ways, so that He will become our God and we will become His children.
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 learned enough about the Word of God from her now deceased husband’s family to want God to be her God. When will our relationship with God be this personal? In John 17:21, Christ says, ”That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” God wants to instruct us so that we will become one with OUR God, so His Holy Spirit can dwell in us.
”Thy spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness”
The word ”spirit” refers to the Holy Spirit. The word ”good” means ”fruitful, or morally correct, or well-pleasing”. The word ”lead” means ”to guide or govern”. The word ”uprightness” means ”straightness, equity, or justice”. In Nehemiah 9:20, the Bible says, ”Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.” God not only instructs us, but He provides for us everything we need by His good Spirit, to sustain us in righteousness, even when the world around us is writhing in unrighteousness, pain, and violence.
In Psalm 23:3, the Bible says, ”He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” God instructs us, to lead us to a place that we couldn’t make it to on our own, to a place of power that we would never have on our own.
May God’s instruction continue to bring us into a real oneness with Him, to do what He desires and live as He created us to live.
Marshall & Jessica