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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I John 2:15

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For further study - I John 2:15-26

We know that the 40 or more authors of the Bible were all Jewish men, who had "breathed into them" the very Word of God, II Timothy 3:16. Several of the authors wrote more than one book: Moses, Ezra, Solomon, Luke, Paul, and the author of our reading today, John. John the Apostle, who was very close to Jesus, wrote a total of 5 books of the New Testament - the Gospel of John, I, II, and III John, and the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

In his Gospel, John gives the account of Jesus Christ in His "divine nature". In the book of Revelation, John wrote what Jesus told him to write as relayed to him by an angel. In his epistles, the apostle writes very "practical letters" to Christians.

The book of I John is written that we might "know that we have eternal life", I John 5:11-13. In fact, the word "know" is used 39 times in this letter to believers. By the way, that would be a great approach to studying I John. Just look at all of the "know" phrases in their context.

Today's key verse tells about where we are and how we should live. Don't you just love people who are so direct, right to the point? That is John's method in the writing of this book. "Don't love the world." Then he tells us how we can know if the "love of the Father" is in us.

If we have a love for this world, the love of the Father - God's Love - is not in us. John also reminds us that this world with all of its attractions will one day pass away. But we who do the "will of God" will abide forever, I John 2:17.

John, who will receive the Revelation from Jesus Christ about 5 years after writing this letter, recognized that we are in the Last Days, I John 2:18. This statement was applicable for John's day and much more so for our day. John warns of an "antichrist", but also issues a warning against the philosophy of the times.

I John 2:22 is John’s statement that those individuals and religions of the world, that deny that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, are of the "antichrist philosophy". This atmosphere will be prevalent during the time of the appearing of "The Antichrist". By reading John's warnings and exhortations, we can realize that we are living in the times that John was writing about.

John concludes this portion of scripture by telling us one of the reasons why he wrote this book. We can recognize those who would try to seduce us, I John 2:26. It is so good to have an author who is so down-to-earth, so real. It is also good to have someone who will deal directly with us about the issues of the day, the Last Days.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord, for such a practical straightforward manual on "How to Live  the Christian Life." Help me to follow its instructions.
Monday, May 30, 2016

I John 1:7

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.
For further study - I John 1:1-7

The apostle John was entrusted by God to be the writer of five books of the New Testament, the one for our devotional reading today, the epistles of II and III John, the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. There are unique messages in each of John's books but I John has a multi-faceted theme.

John writes about knowledge of great spiritual truths, what true love is and where it comes from and how to have true fellowship. Verse 3 relates to us how to have true fellowship. I am not speaking of a pleasant conversation or a surface relationship, God tells us how to have Biblical fellowship.

True fellowship is found in our relationship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. When that relationship is right, then, and only then, can we have that same type of relationship with our fellow man.

Then John gets real practical in his thoughts. John adds that God is light – there is no darkness in Him at all, verse 6. The fellowship and relationship, we say we have with God, will be manifested by our walk in light - in God who is light. We cannot walk in darkness and have fellowship with God or others.

For those of us who have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, we are the ones who walk in the light as He is in the light. Thus, we can have fellowship one with another and with Him. At this point in  history, our fellowship is with others in human kind. But one day, when we enter His presence, we will have the same fellowship with Him we experience with others.

John, when writing of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 and 22, mentioned that in eternity future there will be a "tree of life" in the midst of the New Jerusalem which we will eat from, forever, Revelation 22:2.

Stop and consider for a moment. We will eat forever of the "tree of life". When you think of fellowship, what do you think of? Food! Food and fellowship are synonymous terms. What a great thought. We will fellowship together forever - that means fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

But it also means believers in Christ, not only of today, but from all of history. That includes all of the Biblical characters as well. I can hardly wait to talk to people like Noah, Jonah, Daniel, Joshua and so many others. By the way, if we are going to fellowship forever with believers, why don't we start practicing that today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord, to walk in the light so that I can have fellowship one with another and with You.
Sunday, May 29, 2016

II Peter 3:8-9

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that  all should come to repentance.

For further study - II Peter 3:1-12

I believe a knowledge of God’s prophetic plan for the future will enhance our prospects for being successful in our adventure to serve Him each and every day of the year.

Our extended devotional reading for today speaks to some issues that must direct our path through the year, and in fact through all the days that the Lord allows us to have on this earth.

In the mind of Jesus it's only been several days, verse 8, since He promised to return to set up His kingdom, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

There is only one reason that Jesus has not returned to gather us to Himself with His shout, the shout of the archangel and with the sound of the trump of God, calling us to join Him in the heavenlies. At which time we'll be "caught up" to be with Him forever.

There is only one reason He hasn't called for us to join Him and that is because our Lord and Saviour is not willing that any should perish, but wants all of humankind to come to Him as their Saviour, verse 9.

Let me draw your attention to several other truths that this passage presents for us to "remember". Verse 4 speaks of those in the last days who will question the "coming of the Lord back to the earth".

The previous verse, verse 3, tells us why they will doubt that the Lord will come again to be among us, because they will be "scoffers, walking after their own lusts". This statement is referring to both lost people as well as those who may be Christians, not in good fellowship with the Lord.

Verse 5 says they will be "willfully ignorant" of the fact that Jesus created all things, Colossians 1:16. In other words, they will be "dumb on purpose" of the Lord’s work. Verse 6 states that they will deny the "world-wide flood" and verse 7 reveals their denial of a "coming judgment day".

These thoughts must be in our memory as we see current events in today’s world setting the stage for all of Bible prophecy to be fulfilled, we must understand that Jesus is only delaying His return because of the lost that He wants to get saved.

When that last one that Jesus knows will get saved, when that one receives Him, then the shout will come for us to join Him in the air. That could happen at any moment. In fact, the truth be known, each of us could hasten the coming of Jesus Christ.

In the context of verse 12, if we are winning people to Jesus Christ, that will hasten His return. What a great goal for this year, winning people to Jesus and at the same time hastening His return.

Remember - everything else we do will be burned up one day, verses 10 and 11, so let's work to hasten His return.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, please help me to remember the things I should as I eagerly await Your shout for me to join you in the heavenlies and help me to win lost people to You.
Saturday, May 28, 2016

II Peter 2:9

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

For further study - II Peter 2:1-9

Peter is near the end of his many years of ministry when he writes II Peter and is working to "stir up" our memories, II Peter 1:5, and also our "pure minds", II Peter 3:1. In chapter 1, Peter calls for us to remember that we have a "sure word of prophecy", verse 19. In chapter 3, Peter "stirs up our pure minds" as we remember the truths of Bible prophecy, verse 2.

In chapter 2 and especially the portion of the chapter for our extended reading, we are "warned about false teachers". In many locations in the New Testament we are warned about false teachers. My concern for believers today is that they do not heed these warnings and they remain under the teachings of these false teachers.

Dear friend, you stay under false teaching and false teachers to your own peril. Do not judge a church by the "personality of the pastor", but instead by the "doctrine of the deacons". The main ministry of the local church is to protect its people from false teaching.

Peter then gives us a warning about "judgment to come". The Lord will judge the angels, those in the abyss, the tartaros. He will also judge the whole world as He did in the days of Noah and Lot, verses 5-6. As we wade through these waves of deception and destruction, we walk ashore on deliverance.

Praise the Lord. He knows how to deliver us and will do so. He will deliver all of those made godly by His work on the cross and His resurrection. Our Lord will keep us from the temptation, the testing that is ahead.

During the 7-year Tribulation period of testing here on the earth, we will be celebrating a "marriage" in the heavenlies. We, as the "bride of Christ", will be married to the bridegroom, Jesus himself.

There is a parallel passage to Peter's message, written by John, a longtime friend. John says in Revelation 3:10 that the Lord will "keep us from" not take us "out of" the testing of the judgment ahead.

Of course, the process of deliverance from this coming testing is the Rapture of the Church. This Rapture of the Church could happen at any time, even today, so keep looking up until that does happen. Even so come Lord Jesus.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, dear Lord, for your promise of deliverance from the terrible Tribulation Period yet to come.
Friday, May 27, 2016

II Peter 1:19

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.

For further study - II Peter 1:15-21

Peter, as he writes what many call his "swan song", reveals to the reader of his letter a message for those of us living in the last days. It is a letter that states the ground rules for the prophets used down through the centuries.

Peter says the written word, God's prophetic passages, are better than even an eyewitness account of an event, verses 16-18. That "more sure word of prophecy" is the Bible itself. We must only study the prophetic passages found between Genesis 1:1 and Revelation 22:21. This is the inspired word of God. Any other prophecy from man today is of "another spirit" not the Holy Spirit.

Peter's exhortation to us is to study God's prophetic scriptures, which takes up about 30 percent of the entire Bible. He says that we "do well to take heed" to this word "as a light that shineth in a dark place", verse 19.

The reason Biblical prophecy is to be studied and will be to our benefit to do so is because it did not come to its written form by the will of man but "holy men" of God "wrote as the Holy Spirit inspired, breathed into them" what to write, verse 21.

The key to understanding the whole of God's prophetic word is found in verse 20. The phrase "no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" is an essential in any deep study of Bible prophecy.

There are 17 Old Testament books that are essentially exclusively "prophetic" in nature. The book of Revelation in the New Testament is "prophetic" along with portions of all sixty-six books of the Bible.

To read and study all of these books - not one passage in any of the prophetic books can contradict the other. They must all fit like a "hand in a glove" in perfect harmony. This principle will assist your study of prophecy as we realize even though we are studying books from a number of sources there is only one writer - the Holy Spirit of God.

We must now begin the study of this "sure word of prophecy" and continue our study "until the day dawn and the day star arise in our hearts," verse 19. That, of course, is the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to take heed to this "more sure word of prophecy" as I wait the Lord's coming.
Thursday, May 26, 2016

II Peter 1:2

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

For further study - II Peter 1:1-15

The disciple that followed Jesus Christ for three and a half years learning as he journeyed through Israel with the Master, the Messiah, the Apostle Peter finally learned how to be a true "servant" of the Lord.

In the first verse of Peter's second letter, this arrogant, loud-mouthed, mean, tough fisherman realized he was to be a "servant," a bondservant of Jesus Christ.

Notice in Peter's first letter, I Peter 1:1, he doesn't introduce himself as a servant but as an "apostle." This second letter was written not long before Peter's death and he knew that it was close, verse 14, and with that knowledge he could see things the way they really were, he was simply a "servant".

Peter tells us how "grace and peace" could be multiplied unto us through our knowledge of God the Father and Jesus the Son, our Lord. By that same knowledge, we also receive "all things that pertain unto life and godliness," verse 3.

This chapter, our extended reading, contains "Biblical mathematics." "Multiplication" is found in verse 2"addition" is found in verses 5-7. Notice that because we are "partakers of the divine nature," verse 4, we can start with "faith" and then add virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and finally we can add to all of the above "love."

Let's look at Peter's purpose for this letter, II Peter 1:12-15. He wants us to "remember." Peter says he will not be negligent but instead will put us in "remembrance" of the things he had just written to us.

Peter says, verse 13, he will "stir up our remembrance" so that after his death, we who read his letter might "remember" these great truths. In chapter 3 of II Peter, the apostle reveals the way he will stir up our "remembrance" is by the words of the "holy prophets", the writings of the "apostles" and the words spoken by "Jesus Christ."

Peter's second letter is the "how to's" for living in the End Times. Read these words and “remember” them for the way ahead, until He comes.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to remember Your Word so that I will be stirred up to action in these the last days.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

For further study - I Peter 5:6-13

Our devotional reading for today starts with the exhortation to be vigilant in light of the reality that the devil is loose and seeking to devour each of us. Don’t let any one tell you that the Devil has been "bound". He will be "bound" when Jesus comes back to the Earth, Revelation 20:1-3. Notice James 4:7 for the way to have victory over the Devil.

The extended reading for today ends with a salute from the church, which Peter had started in the city of Babylon. Peter had been obedient to Jesus who said to go to the "ends of the earth" with the gospel. He went to Babylon to start a church.

From the outset, let me tell you that I believe Peter was truly in the literal city of Babylon when he wrote this passage of scripture. I do not believe that the use of the term "Babylon" is a code name for the city of Rome. I do not ever remember Peter being cryptic with his words in written or spoken form.  Babylon is Babylon.

The fact is that Babylon was the second most populated city in the world at the time Peter wrote this epistle. Jerusalem was the most Jewish populated city with Babylon a close second.

What this means of course is that the literal city of Babylon on the Euphrates River, then in Mesopotamia, was still alive, a vibrant city, over 500 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire. In Peter's day, Babylon was a thriving city. In fact, even today Babylon is still a city inhabited. In recent days there was a military compound there called Camp Babylon.

With this information, and the knowledge of Bible prophecy that the city of Babylon must be destroyed and never lived in again, one has to realize that Bible prophecy found in Isaiah 13-14Jeremiah 50-51, Revelation 18:10,17,19 and Revelation 16:17-21 all state that Babylon, the literal city, must be destroyed and never lived in again - forever. These prophecies have not been fulfilled.

The conflict going on today in modern-day Iraq is setting the stage for all the aforementioned prophecies to be fulfilled - and soon.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to understand current events in light of Biblical prophecy.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

I Peter 4:17

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
For further study - I Peter 4:1-19

The Apostle Peter had a very close relationship with Jesus even though Peter was often in trouble with the Lord. There are a number of examples that I could bring to your attention, let me just remind you of one.

At Caesarea Philippi, in the foothills of Mt Hermon, at the pronouncement by Peter that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, Matthew 16, is that one example. Those lips that praised the Lord, a few moments later, would be used to rebuke the Lord.

When Jesus told His disciples that He would have to go to Jerusalem and there be put to death, Peter, the text tells us, rebuked the Lord. The Lord's response was "get behind me Satan", Matthew 16:22-23Peter was quite the character. As we read I Peter we see that this Apostle had matured and was able to be used of the Lord to remind the body of Christ that "judgment" is coming. The judgment of the "works of Christians."

One of the great past-times of Christians today is judging others. Paul told the Romans to not do that, Romans 14:10. We should not judge others. We must remember that we "all" will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ one day.

Peter goes one better than Paul, he says all judgment must start at the Church, "the house of God." In verse 5 of I Peter 4, Peter also reminds each of us that we will all give an account of ourselves to Jesus.

It is so important for us to remember that there is a "judgment day" ahead. It's not for judging to see if we're saved, that's already been determined before we get to the Judgment Seat of Christ.

This judgment is to determine if our "works" receive "rewards" for doing good works in His power and for His glory.

Bible prophecy, if studied, will reveal to each of us, every day, how close we are to the Rapture when Jesus shouts and calls us up into the heavenlies to be with Him forever. It is within this chapter of I Peter that we can find out how we can, and must live in the end times.

In fact, Peter reminds the readers of this book that the "end times are close, at hand," verse 7. This verse means that the Rapture is an "any moment" event. The days that we are living in now seemingly are the days leading up to the Rapture.

Verse 8 says we must love each other, it covers a multitude of sins. We are also to welcome people into our homes and use hospitality with those from without, verse 9. This hospitality must be done with joy, not grudgingly.

These "how-to-live tips" will prepare us for the Judgment Seat to follow right after the Rapture of the Church. This is an event that could happen at "any moment", maybe today. Keep looking up.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me to remember that one day I will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ and thank You for the instruction given to us from You through Peter on how I am to live as I await Your shout to join You in the heavenlies.
Monday, May 23, 2016

I Peter 3:22

Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.
For further study - I Peter 3:1-22

Our key verse for our devotional reading today, verse 22, tells us where Jesus is right now. I want us to think about this verse in a moment. But first might we peruse the rest of the chapter, our extended reading for today.

Peter tells us, those of us who are husbands or wives, how we are to live with our mate. Verses 1-6 address how the wife should live, in "subjection" to her own husband.

Now the word "subjection" is not a bad word. The Lord speaks of His being "subject" unto His Father. The Word also tells us that we should be "subject" to those who are placed over us in higher authority, in leadership roles in the church and/or in the political arena.

God has a plan for each of us and the wife is to be "subject" to her own husband. Peter then addresses the husband, now that would be me, and those of you who are husbands.

Verse 7 reveals how I, as a husband, and all of you reading these verses who are husbands, must live. We must "honor" our wives lest our prayers be "hindered".

The word "honor" has the instruction within its meaning that says we must "lift up" our wives, place them on a pedestal, give each of them "respect."

If we fail to follow the Lord's directives our prayers will be hindered. By the way, notice that as we live our lives together, the Lord's eyes are upon us, He knows all that we are doing in our husband-wife relationship.

Verse 15 is an exhortation for each of us to have a ready answer to everyone that asks us of our reason for the "hope" that is within our lives. The answer of course is that the "blessed hope" is the truth of the "glorious appearing of Jesus Christ" in the future, seemingly the near future, Titus 2:13.

There is much more in these verses but look once again with me to our key verse, verse 22. Jesus is now in heaven, not on the throne that the "Most High God" will give Him one day, but instead Jesus is "seated at the right hand of God", interceding for each of us.

One day God will give Jesus Christ the "dominion over all of creation." The "kingdom" and His "kingship" comes about when Jesus returns to the earth from the heavenlies to set up His Kingdom.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me Lord to be the husband that Your Word tells me I should be, until You come.
Sunday, May 22, 2016

I Peter 2:9

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;

For further study - I Peter 2:1-10

Right out of the gate in I Peter 2, the apostle helps each of us know how to "grow" in our relationship with Jesus. Peter first informed us of what to "lay aside". The list of items Peter mentions will be the activities that will harm or at least hinder our growth.

These activities to be removed – "malice, guile, hypocrisies, envies, and evil speaking" cause a slowdown in our advancement in the Christian lifestyle the Lord wants each of us to have in Him.

Next, Peter exhorts us to "desire the sincere milk of the Word" that we might be able to "grow'. Notice Peter did not say the "meat" of the Word, a real deep study of the Word of God. What he mentioned was the "milk" of the Word. "Meat" is for "grownups" and "milk" is for those young in the Lord. Now, age here is not talking about how long you have been saved, but how mature you and I might be in the Lord.

From verse 2 we look over at verse 9. This is a logical path to follow as we partake of the milk of the Word so that we can "grow." Then we "show" forth the one who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. But please look again at verse 9.

You might recognize the phrasing as something you read in the Old Testament and you would be correct. Just before the Lord met with Moses to give him the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, in Exodus 19 the Lord tells Moses that the Jewish people have a special calling and He has set them aside for His purpose.

Look at Exodus 19:5-6. The Lord tells Moses the Jewish people are a "peculiar treasure", a "people above all people", a "kingdom of priests", and a “holy nation”. It does sound very similar to I Peter 2:9. What God does when His chosen people, the Jewish people, are disobedient and run away from God's plan for their lives, He then turns to Christians to carry forth the message.

There are some slight changes in the 4 descriptions of the people God wants to use to reach the world but the same game plan is in play. When the Jews rejected Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior of the world, He set the Jews aside and gave the present-day ministry to Christians. Remember, I said "set aside" not replaced them.

God still has a plan for the Jews as spoken to Moses in Exodus 19. After the Rapture, during the seven year Tribulation Period, the Lord will re-commission the Jews to "show forth the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light".

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, dear Lord, to "grow" so that I may "show."
Saturday, May 21, 2016

I Peter 1:13

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

For further study - I Peter 1:13-25

I do want you to read all thirteen verses of our extended reading for today; however, we will focus on the first three verses of our devotional for our time in the Word.

Let me remind you, as I reminded myself as I read these verses, that our "new birth", the fact that we have been "born again", that we are saved means that we should live a "lifestyle of holiness".

The first three verses of our extended reading will set us on the way to that kind of a lifestyle. Peter actually gives us five pointed exhortations that should bring us in line with a daily experience of "holy living."

In verse 13 we see the first three exhortations. "Gird up the loins of your mind" is saying prepare your minds for "action". There is much we cannot control in life but we can control our "minds".

Paul told us to "think right", Philippians 4:8. Paul said to think on things pure, true, honest, lovely, good and just. We are to think on these things. When we "think right" we are "girding up our minds", preparing them for "action".

Peter then tells us to "be sober" which means to be "self-controlled". We are to "hope to the end" when Jesus Christ comes back, when He is revealed. His return is our "blessed hope" and that motivation for us to "lay aside" that which is not Godly and "live" that which is "Godly," as we "look" for Him to come.

Verse 14 tells us to "be obedient" to the Lord and don't walk in the lifestyle of the "former lust" that can take us astray. In other words, be not conformed to previous evil desires.

The fifth exhortation from Peter is the central theme of this passage, "be ye holy", verse 15. Holiness is what the Lord expects of each of us. This is true because He is "holy", and we are to be conformed to His image.

Holiness is to penetrate "all manner of conversation". That's not referring only to how we talk but our entire lifestyle should reveal holiness, even as He is holy.

Remember, this is possible as we prepare our minds, live under self-control, stay away from former lust, and look for the coming of Jesus. By the way, that coming of Jesus could be today!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me to think right, live self-controlled, stay away from evil desires and be holy as I await Your soon return.
Friday, May 20, 2016

James 4:7

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

For further study - James 4:1-17

This fourth chapter of James is a "manual" on how to live in the last days. Please join with me in this devotional reading to learn how to apply the directives for living in light of the sure "promise" that Jesus is coming to call us up to be with Him, and the sure "prospect" that the Rapture will happen real soon, at any moment.

Jesus said, one of the indications that His Second Coming is close is that there will be a time when you see "wars and rumors of wars", Matthew 24:6. James, the half brother of Jesus states that these wars come from the "lust that war in our members", within the soul of each of us, lost and saved.

The "lusts" within each of us must be kept under control lest they take control of us. How wonderful that God gives us the "grace" to have a victory over these lusts. And please notice, God gives more "grace" to those of us who humble ourselves before the Lord and our fellow man, verses 6 & 10.

Many scriptures, and especially in the book of Revelation, speak of the Devil in the last days. The Devil will do everything he can to destroy the Jewish people, he knows if he can get rid of the Jews, the Lord can't keep His promises to them and Satan becomes the "god".

The Devil, also in the last days, will go after Christians, the true born-again believer, in the days before Jesus calls us up to be with Him at the Rapture. James gives us the "how-to's" of what we must do to have victory over Satan, in verse 7.

Notice we are not told to command the Devil to do anything. We are to "submit ourselves to God and resist the devil." Then, on the promise and the authority of God's Word, the devil will flee from us.

To submit is to offer ourselves in full surrender to the Lord. This devotional reading for today is indeed an excellent "manual" for living in the last days.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord help me to submit myself totally to You so that the lust of the flesh don't control me and so that the Devil will have to flee from me.
Thursday, May 19, 2016

James 2:22

Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

For further study - James 2:1-26 

The second chapter of James is a very interesting chapter in the little book of James. Remember, James was the half-brother of Jesus Christ and also the leader of the first Church in Jerusalem.

In essence, the entire book of James has as its theme, "faith without works is dead". This second chapter of James' letter is really focused on "faith" and "works". The word "faith" is used 12 times and the word "works", 11 times.

The phrase connecting "faith" and "works" is used 5 times. You might remember that Paul, when he wrote Galatians, lifted up "faith" as the vehicle through which we come to salvation.

That, of course, is true which Paul reveals to us in another of his letters that he wrote to the Ephesians. Ephesians 2:8-9 is the foundation for salvation, "we are saved by grace... through faith, it's a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."

Paul in both Galatians and Ephesians draws attention to "faith"; however, please notice Paul's statement about works in Ephesians 2:10. Those who are saved by grace through faith are then "created in Jesus Christ unto good works."

This is where James comes into focus, especially in the second chapter. James believes that it's "faith" but he says that "true faith" will result in works "which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them," Ephesians 2:10b.

God defines "faith" as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen", Hebrews 11:1. Paul, in the book of Romans, chapter ten, verse seventeen says that "faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the Word of God." God, through His Word, gives us the faith by which we come to salvation.

James believes that everybody can talk a great case and say that they have "faith", in fact, a "saving faith". James tells us that type of "faith", "real faith" will always result in works.

Please don't misunderstand, in this passage of scripture James does not put "works" before "faith" but "faith" that produces "works".

James 2 is a great chapter to be used as a "check" on our "faith". By the way, James does mention that at the Judgment Seat of Christ, right after the Rapture, the Lord will judge us on our "works", not our salvation.

The conclusion of the Judgment Seat is to determine the crowns we will receive, and also the "righteous acts", Revelation 19:8, that make up our "wedding garment" at the marriage ceremony that will join us, the "bride of Christ" into an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ, the "Bridegroom".

The exhortation from James for us today is, "Lets get to work."

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for the "faith" I receive from Your Word, help me to turn that "faith" into "works" for Your glory.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016

James 1:22

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

For further study - James 1:13-27

Have you ever noticed how practical the Bible is? What a foolish question, of course you have noticed that it is very practical if you have spent any time at all reading through it's pages. I must say that our extended reading for today fits the description of being "practical".

Remember the last reading we had in devotions from James was the first twelve verses of James 1, ending with the promise of the prize, the "Crown of Life" given to those of us who endure temptation. Enduring temptation, in other words, is not yielding to temptation. That "Crown of Life" is given at the  Judgment Seat of Christ.

Now as we read this "practical passage" for our devotional today, we see how to stand against temptation, to be able to endure temptation. Our key verse, verse 22, is a great starting point for being able to endure temptation.

Remember what the Psalmist wrote in 119:11, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

The first step to not yielding to temptation is to hide the Word of God in our hearts. But then we must be "doers" of that Word and not "hearers" only. If we only "hear" and we are not "doers", we have deceived ourselves.

This is very practical. Verse 14 tells us that our "lust" draws us away from the right lifestyle that we must live to be able to receive that "Crown of Life". "Lust" is a craving, a longing, a desire for that which is forbidden by the Lord.

The Apostle John wrote, I John 2:15-16, that a "love for the world" and the "things of the world" causes us to enter into temptation, through the "lust of our eyes" and the "lust of our flesh". Lust starts with the eyes, we must guard our eyes because the Word tells us to do so. Remember, to be a "doer" of the Word, not a "hearer" only.

Every time I select a passage of scripture for our devotional reading I am amazed how much there is contained within that passage for us to be able to appropriate and live out in our lives.

I've barely shared all that is contained in our reading for today. Please spend more time in this passage. As you do you will see how we can prepare so that we will receive the "Crown of Life" for not yielding to temptation at the Judgment Seat of Christ which takes place right after the rapture as we stand face to face with Jesus.

By the way, the rapture could happen today, keep looking up!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord, for your practical Word given to me. Please help me to be a "doer" of this Word and not a "hearer" only.