RED GRANITE Daily Devotions are a Red Thread Poets daily offering initiated and written by Marshall Jones, a devotional study of God’s Word as a ‘verse of the day’. Marshall writes these daily devotionals from the Correctional Center System where he has resided for the past 17 years. The Daily Devotionals are dated as seen each day on the Red Thread Poets Facebook page (see icon in the website header), and are recapped twice a month in Poets & Poems on this website at Daily Devotions – 2020 4th Quarter
Marshall’s Bio and a sample of his poems can be seen on this website at https://www.redthreadpoets.com/category/100-poets/marshall-jones/
See three sample devotional subjects below:
- Bible Study
- Source of Truth
- Who we are – His workmanship
DEVOTIONAL re: BIBLE STUDY
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 KJV
Studying the Scriptures is essential in any believer’s growth. Study takes a deeper look into Scripture, and allows us to receive a lot more than we would if we just read the Scripture. By studying, we will begin to see the uniformity of the Word of God which will give us a more-sure record of its truth. Studying produces more security in what we learn and that will help us gain the confidence we need to share what we learn with others. Not only is what we learn for our spiritual development, but it is for others’ growth as well. Today, we will take a look into 2 Timothy 2:15, one of my favorite verses.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
The word study means “to make an effort, to be earnest”. That separates the reader from the person that studies, even though they both have the intention to learn something from what they read. The attitude is different, and the person that studies wants to learn what they read inside and out. They study with intention to learn the information thoroughly.
“to show thyself approved unto God”
Everything begins with our personal relationship with God. When we study, we are studying for God’s approval, to connect with Him in a deeper way. Before we can attempt to share what we learn with anyone, it must first be approved by God. The word “approved” means “to be tried, and found genuine”. It is not wise if we study and we don’t ask God to give us the knowledge He desires us to have about what we are studying, and if we don’t check with God to make sure what we learned was correct. There is a great responsibility that comes with sharing the Word and having God’s approved. The Scripture says “thyself approved”, so we can’t rely solely upon someone else’s study, or someone else’s message. We have to break it down for ourselves.
“a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”
In Romans 10:11, the Bible says, “For the scripture saith, ‘Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed'”. We are workmen, and that means we have to know our work! 🙂 If we try to share a Word with someone that hasn’t been approved by God, a word that we don’t understand because we haven’t studied, we can easily be put to shame by a question. If we are put to shame, then our witness is hindered, and we could actually lead someone astray in the process. That would be tragic for not only the hearer but for the person that shared the word. In James 3:1, the Bible says, “My brethren be not many masters (instructors/teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” When we share a word with someone, we are held responsible if we mislead someone, so we have to be sure to share the truth only as God gives us. If we go off script, not only will we be put to shame, but we can also lead someone astray.
What keeps us from being ashamed? “Rightly dividing the word of truth”!
The words “rightly dividing” means to “dissect correctly”. When you dissect something, you cut it open and study the parts inside, to gain a better understanding of how what you dissected works. So, we study the Scripture, cut into it, study its inner workings, all to receive the word of truth. The truth is what it is! It doesn’t need our help to be truth. Our jobs as believers is to study to uncover that truth so we can then share that truth with others. When there is a question, we’ll be able to go to Scripture to show them more truth, because every word is established by two or more witnesses. In John 8:32, the Bible says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth we know has made us free, and it will do the same for someone else, if they will hear the word of truth come out of our mouths. When we rightly divide the word of truth, we position ourselves to allow the Holy Spirit to use us to speak that truth. When this is done, we won’t be put to shame.
It all begins with how we approach the Word of God. Do we pour into Scripture, making an earnest effort at dissecting the Word of God, or do we glance over Scripture for something that may catch our eye? A person that studies the Word goes after it, and studies with the intention of receiving the truth. We must do the same.
May God uplift your hearts and ready your minds to receive His truth!
DEVOTIONAL re: SOURCE OF TRUTH
“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:12 KJV
Where does our spiritual truth come from? Does it come from Pastor’s messages in church service or online given the outbreak of Covid across the world? Does it come from word of mouth? I have been asked where I got my biblical knowledge from, judging by the fact that I haven’t been to a seminary, I don’t take Bible correspondence courses, and we haven’t had a Pastor come inside of prison since March. I tell them I study my Word daily and God reveals His truths to me. It’s really that simple, but this is the way it really should be for all of us as believers. Schools, courses, church services, and sermons are methods to receive the Word but the Holy Spirit reveals His truths to us in His own time and season. This requires us to empty ourselves out daily of what we think we know and become empty vessels willing to be taught of God the things He desires for us to learn. Today we are going to look at Galatians 1:12, a brief exploration into the revelation of Christ.
“For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The word “receive” here means “to associate oneself with”. There is a difference between someone who accepts information given, and someone who associates themselves with the information given. When we associate ourselves with knowledge, we tend to believe the information given is true and it appeals to us in some degree. The word “man” here is spoken in reference to human nature, i.e. a human being, with the idea of human infirmity and imperfection, especially when spoken in contrast to God and divine things. So, Paul didn’t “associate himself with” head knowledge given by man based on their limited knowledge of God and divine things. In 2 Timothy 3:5, the Bible says, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” There are tons of practices and doctrines with a little bit of “God” in them but a lot of man’s knowledge in them. We tend to call it Philosophy, and many are led astray into thinking this is the path to God and Spirituality. The Scripture above says having a “form of godliness”. It is either Godly or not, right? But here is something to look at from 2 Timothy 3:5. The word “deny” means to “declare something untrue”. So, the very knowledge they associate themselves with, with just a little God sprinkled in, they take all the knowledge but declare its power (God) untrue? Why receive the knowledge at all? The Bible says for us to turn away from such a person.
“Neither was I taught it”
The word “taught” means “to teach or instruct”. Paul wasn’t taught like the other disciples were. He didn’t walk with Christ for three years, like the disciples who were receiving all of His teaching, and having the Holy Spirit allow them to remember everything they were taught like in John 14:26. He was taught directly by the Holy Spirit. Paul was a Pharisee, and he taught the law extensively. Just my opinion here, but if Paul had the background and knew the background, then wouldn’t it be a little easier for God to “flip a switch” and point to all of the truths of Christ, in the law and from the prophets? The disciples were Jews, but nothing suggested that they had anywhere near the Jewish knowledge and background that Paul had. Paul was among the leadership, so his level of teaching was extensive. Paul makes no reference to what he was taught here, counting what he was taught as a Jew ‘as nothing’ because what he was taught as a Jew didn’t lead him any closer to Christ. In Isaiah 50:4, the Bible says, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, the wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” This confirms Paul’s words.
“but by the revelation of Jesus Christ”
The word “revelation” means, “disclosure, manifestation”. In Luke12:12, the Bible says, “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” Do we give the Holy Ghost the floor to teach us the way God intends for us to learn? That is part of the Holy Ghost’s purpose to teach us everything God intends for us to know. Paul had to abandon everything he thought he knew to take hold of Christ. In Philippians 3:8, the Bible says, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ”. When Paul gained Christ, He counted everything he thought he knew as dung. In Ephesians 1:9, the Bible says, “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” so this shows that we have access to this same revelation as believers. In James, the Bible says if we lack wisdom, let us ask for wisdom. Paul was taught this way. Why can’t we?
May we all open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit’s teaching.
DEVOTIONAL re: WHO WE ARE – HIS WORKMANSHIP
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Perspective shapes reality. What we fix our eyes upon tends to shape our reality, and so many of us have found ourselves in positions that our perspective has birthed for us. Forget how we view ourselves for a second and let us ask ourselves, how does God view us? He is our Creator and He not only created us, but He created us with purpose – for us to be exactly who He authored us to be. If we are children of God, that automatically makes us royalty, a part of the Kingdom of God, made uniquely and specifically for His purpose. It doesn’t mean we won’t have hard days or an “identity” crisis here and there. But, recognizing who we are brings us right back to the default settings of God’s creation and brings us back to who we really are, and how our loving God thinks of us. Today we are going to look at Ephesians 2:10, a perspective of God’s perspective of us.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
“His workmanship”. This means that we belong to the Lord. The word “workmanship” means “product that is made”. Let me expand this meaning. We are not only God’s product, but we are also the evidence of His skillful creation of us. A person’s workmanship speaks for the person who created it, so God created us to represent Him accurately. In Psalms 100:3, “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and nor we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” God is our Creator and if we operate according to the intentions of our Creator, then we will embody Christ, and that will be evident to all. We will be God’s crowning achievement. If we don’t look at ourselves in this fashion, it will be exceptionally hard for us to ever become who God intends for us to be.
“Created in Christ Jesus unto good works”
The word “create” means “to fabricate or form in spiritual sense”. Let’s look at what being “created in Christ” produces. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new “. Being created in Christ makes us new creatures in Christ. That means we are brought back to the intended design for us from the beginning, which positions us for good works. This isn’t saying that good works will save us or keep our salvation, but good works are evidence of the Holy Spirit having reign in our lives. Good works means “good deeds or works of virtue”, virtue meaning moral excellence. So, we are created in Christ Jesus to be new creatures and to function as new creatures in Christ. We have to walk in this and believe in what we have been gifted with! In Ephesians 4:24, “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” We have to put on the new man and leave the old man. Also, in Colossians 3:10, the Bible says, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Renewed in knowledge. So, walking in the knowledge about who we are and whose we are is us putting on the new man. The knowledge we are renewed in is after the image of him that created us. “After” means “according to”. So, we were created in Christ according to our original specifications, because in the beginning, God said, Let us create man in our own image and in our own likeness, and then commanded that we have dominion. God is giving His people the chance to be who He created us to be.
“Which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
The word “ordained” here means “to fit up in advance”. Think about this. God not only created us, but He created us for the good works that He called for us to do, and He specifically designed us to be ready to perform these good works at the time He appointed for them to be done. So, anything God has called us to do, He has already given us the victory in. By putting on this new man daily, we will see that all seasons are really appointed times, and nothing is “by chance” when it comes to God’s creation. Do we remember that we are God’s crowning achievement when hard times come? Do we remember that God has already prepared us to live for Him, and He will provide everything we need for His purpose. In Romans 8:29, the Bible says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” We are living out the finished plan of our loving God, and His design was for us to bear His image in this world.
What do we believe God thinks of us? Perspective creates the reality by which we live. If we don’t see ourselves as God’s creation, created in love and purpose, then maybe we have to adjust our perspective. May we all take a serious look into who we really are!
May God Bless You All!