Devotional Thoughts


Wednesday Series       #1        “Did He really mean it?

People like to “spin” the truth for their benefit.

People were not the first to do this, satan was, and it is his evil influence that still brings pain and separation to the people of God’s creation today.

Remember when we only had ONE commandment?

Genesis 2:15-17 “The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it.  But the LORD God gave him this warning: “You may freely eat any fruit in the garden except fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat of its fruit, you will surely die.”   NLT

But, even then, when there were only 2 people, satan was doing what it is that he does:  Steal, Kill and Destroy (John 10:10)

Genesis 3:1-5 “Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the creatures the LORD God had made. “Really?” he asked the woman. “Did God really say you must not eat any of the fruit in the garden?” “Of course we may eat it,” the woman told him.  “It’s only the fruit from the tree at the center of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God says we must not eat it or even touch it, or we will die.”  “You won’t die!” the serpent hissed. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.”    NLT

..and we chose the LIE over The truth!

Genesis 3:6 “The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too.”  NLT

The earth’s FIRST sin was committed.

The COST of that one and only sin was immediately experienced.

Genesis 3:7-24 “At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves.  Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. The LORD God called to Adam, “Where are you?”   He replied, “I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”  “Who told you that you were naked?” the LORD God asked. “Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?”    “Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it.”   Then the LORD God asked the woman, “How could you do such a thing?”  “The serpent tricked me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”  So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you will be punished. You are singled out from all the domestic and wild animals of the whole earth to be cursed. You will grovel in the dust as long as you live, crawling along on your belly. From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”    Then he said to the woman, “You will bear children with intense pain and suffering. And though your desire will be for your husband, he will be your master.”  And to Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate the fruit I told you not to eat, I have placed a curse on the ground. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. All your life you will sweat to produce food, until your dying day. Then you will return to the ground from which you came. For you were made from dust, and to the dust you will return.”  Then Adam named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all people everywhere.  And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.  Then the LORD God said, “The people have become as we are, knowing everything, both good and evil. What if they eat the fruit of the tree of life? Then they will live forever!” So the LORD God banished Adam and his wife from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After banishing them from the garden, the LORD God stationed mighty angelic beings to the east of Eden. And a flaming sword flashed back and forth, guarding the way to the tree of life.”   NLT

They found out REAL QUICK that YES, God really meant it!

Is there a sin you are keeping in your life THINKING the LIE that it is OK?  How long until you find out that HE REALLY MEANT IT?

In this series we will consider things, big to small, in our headlines and from God’s Word and ask the question, “Did He Really Mean It?”

Isaiah 59:1-9 “Listen! The LORD is not too weak to save you, and he is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call.  But there is a problem — your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sin, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.  Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your mouth is full of lies, and your lips are tainted with corruption.  No one cares about being fair and honest. Their lawsuits are based on lies. They spend their time plotting evil deeds and then doing them. They spend their time and energy spinning evil plans that end up in deadly actions. They cheat and shortchange everyone. Nothing they do is productive; all their activity is filled with sin. Violence is their trademark. Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Wherever they go, misery and destruction follow them.  They do not know what true peace is or what it means to be just and good. They continually do wrong, and those who follow them cannot experience a moment’s peace. It is because of all this evil that deliverance is far from us.”   NLT

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Did HE Really Mean It?                                 Life

Jeremiah 1:4-5 “The LORD gave me a message. He said, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.”   NLT

Exodus 20:13 “Do not murder.”   NLT     #6

Regard the life and safety of others as we do our own    Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

Do not take innocent life.

Did God Really Mean It?

The security of life WAS a primary objective of government.   (Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

We are not speaking of capital punishment

Even though when Cain was guilty of murder, God had mercy and “marked” him after giving him a life sentence of suffering.  Genesis 4:15

Noah set forth the law that “Whoever sheds the blood of a man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his image.”  Genesis 9:6

The Word brings in a difference between actual murder, manslaughter (Exodus 21:12 – 14), death my misadventure (Numbers 35:23), by accident (Exodus 21:13) and justifiable homicide (Exodus 22:2)

Exodus 21:12  Anyone who assaults and kills another person must be put to death.”

 This brings in a GREAT RESPONSIBILITY to make sure that a person sentenced to capital punishment is INDEED GUILTY.

Our system takes decades after conviction and sentencing before punishment is carried out, as it should.

With conviction and confession I guess we can have an “express lane” but we need to be sure OR WE WILL STAND GUILTY BEFORE GOD!

Exodus 21:13 “But if it was simply an accident permitted by God, I will appoint a place of refuge where the slayer can run for safety.

Exodus 21:14 “However, if someone deliberately kills another person, then the slayer must be dragged even from my altar and be put to death.

Numbers 35:22 – 25a  “But suppose someone pushes another person without having shown previous hostility, or throws something that unintentionally hits another person,  or accidentally drops a huge stone on someone, though they were not enemies, and the person dies.  If this should happen, the community must follow these regulations in making a judgment between the slayer and the avenger, the victim’s nearest relative: The community must protect the slayer from the avenger and must escort the slayer back to live in the city of refuge to which he fled.

Exodus 22:2 – 3  “If a thief is caught in the act of breaking into a house and is struck and killed in the process, the person who killed the thief is not guilty of murder.  But if it happens in daylight, the one who killed the thief is guilty of murder.

 Little clarity is available for why there is a difference between night and day.  Some say it was because the home residents could be assumed to be awake and working and therefore either not home or able to call for help.  Others propose that a break in at night when the residents were home/asleep could be said to have murderous intent.

 But here we talk about Innocent life.

 Do Not Murder.

 Did God really mean it?

Today life seems to be considered cheap.

In 2017 approximately 817,000 American children were aborted, and “improvement” from 892,000 in 2016 and 913,000 in 2015.

Today New York has made it legal to abort an American child as late as the moment of birth.  Virginia is considering similar legislation.

Did God really mean it?

8 states do not even require a Doctor to preform this procedure.

Only 20 states have banned partial birth abortion (Yes, Texas is one of them)

IN 5 states Doctors CANNOT REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE in abortion

Only 37 states require parental consent OR Notice before a MINOR receives an abortion.

Did God really mean it?

To Adam and Eve:    Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals.”    NLT

To Noah and Family: Genesis 9:1 “God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Multiply and fill the earth.”  NLT

TO Jacob/Israel  Genesis 35:9-13 “God appeared to Jacob once again when he arrived at Bethel after traveling from Paddan-aram. God blessed him and said, “Your name is no longer Jacob; you will now be called Israel.”  Then God said, “I am God Almighty. Multiply and fill the earth! Become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants!  And I will pass on to you the land I gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants.”  Then God went up from the place where he had spoken to Jacob.”  NLT

Multiply – not subtract.

Love Life – not Death

People seem to assess the same value to human life as to an ant accidently stepped on while on a stroll.

A culture of death cannot be blessed by God.

Abortion is the key point of division all across our land.

The point is not a woman’s right to her body.

The point is a woman’s RESPONSIBILITY to not kill her child and respect the GIFT OF LIFE God has given her.  She has the RIGHT to choose God.

The point is our governments ROLL and RESPONSIBILITY to protect innocent life.

Regardless of the situation

The point is DO NOT MURDER

When I go on vacation I like to go see things that are beautiful. Mountains, rivers, creeks, various attractions, monuments, etc.

  • We went to the Ark Encounter this past summer and it was beautiful and educational
  • We are hoping to go to Mount Rushmore one day
  • The Texas Hill Country is amazing, as are the West Texas Mountains

I have never taken a vacation to go to a trash heap!

  • Oooooo, look at what that seagull just pulled out of that pile!
  • Aahhhhhh – The aroma is especially pungent today!
  • Oh Look Dear, I big truck is coming! What will it bring?
    • Yuch

Why then, do we spend so much of our lives focused on the very worse the world has to offer?

  • Why do we slow down and stare at car crashes?
    • Are we hoping to see something gross?
  • Why are we so easily drawn into the arguments and fighting of others?
  • Why do we “LIKE” all these fake profiles with their rhetoric and hate for everyone and everything that is not just like them?
    • Why is this garbage so attractive to us?
    • We are so quick to join in, to jump onto the trash pile as well.

We can find NO PEACE in this junk, only agitation, anger and disappointment.

We can find and experience peace in Jesus Christ

Philippians 4:2-7 “And now I want to plead with those two women, Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement.  And I ask you, my true teammate, to help these women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. And they worked with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.  Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!  Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  NLT

God made you with His own hands, formed you with His fingers; but when he finished shaping you He was not done, you were not alive yet.

God could have chosen to leave you like al the critters He had already made, but God had a greater love for you.

So God did something for you He did not do with any other thing on the planet…..

He powered you with a little bit of Himself!

He breathed into you and have you life.

God powered you with His Spirit.

You are God made and you are God powered.

You are special

A FRESH NEW S.T.A.R.T.

All of us have experienced many setbacks and failures throughout our lives. Sometimes we allow these mistakes, these setbacks and failures to enslave us to the point that we never enjoy the full Christian life that God has given us to enjoy.

Last year some of you said, “I am going to grow in my relationship with God. I am going to pray more, read my bible more and get more involved in my church. I’m going to spend more quality time with my family.”

The fact is that all of us made some mistakes or we made some bad decision that hindered us from doing those things that we wanted to do.

In John 10:10 Jesus said,    “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  ESV  Then he goes on to tell us that there is an adversary, called the Devil, that seeks to kill and destroy that life. The Devil will remind us of our past in order to keep us from enjoying the life that God gave us to live. The Devil does not want you to have a fresh start in life.

The good news is according to  Isaiah 43:18-19 “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.  Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”  ESV

We need to understand that failure does not have to destroy us but it can develop character, it can make us stronger and help us to avoid those mistakes in the future.

Maybe you feel that you have made so many mistakes, you have failed God so many times and you have sinned it all away. Now God doesn’t want anything to do with you. You feel and believe that you have no future with God.

The good news is, God is saying, “It’s not over, I have plans for your life. I am about to do something new for you.”    We need to understand that God is far more interested in our future than He is in our past.

Here is a little acrostic that I found for starting over, that should make it easy for you.   S.T.A.R.T.

S- Stop Making Excuses.   If I want a fresh start in life, I have to stop making excuses for my failures. I’ve got to stop blaming other people. I’ve got to stop seeing myself as the victim of my circumstances.  In John 15 and Romans 2 Scripture is very clear – you have NO EXCUSE!

T- Take An Inventory Of My Life  I need to take an inventory of my life. That means I need to evaluate all my experiences. I need to look at what I have left after the failure. I need to take an inventory of my life’s experiences and learn from them.  2 Corinthians 13:5-7 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.”  ESV

A – Act in Faith – If you want to change your circumstance, it takes faith. If you want to change your personality, it takes faith. If you want to change anything in your life, you have to have some faith.      Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”  ESV

R – Refocus -I need to refocus my thoughts if I want to change my life. If I want to get going again, if I want a fresh start, I need to rethink the way that I think. I need to change my mind about a number of issues.  Proverbs 4:23   “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”  ESV (heart = feelings, will and intellect)

T – Trust –Trust God to help us succeed. Depend on Him. We don’t need to depend on ourselves. We’ve already proven that we can’t do it on our own. That’s why we’ve failed.  Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  ESV

It’s your choice. How can I have a fresh start? I can have a fresh start by: S.T.A.R.T.

First Steps into 2017:

Pray more.

Read the Bible more

Serve more

Give more

Smile more

Play More

Read More

Listen More

Hug More

Be real more

Be available more

Help more

Share the Gospel more

Obey God more

Chose God more

Encourage more

Love more

Make excuses less

Gossip less

Hinder less

Quarrel less

Slander less

Provoke less

Envy less

Be less jealous

Be less conceited

Be more patient

Be more kind

Be more gentle

Exert more self-control

Exert more effort for God

Represent God better

Smile and Help

If you want 2017 to be any different than 2016 then you must actually CHANGE some thing. Doing the same stuff the same way will yield the same results

Pick one of these you can do and do it, then pick another.

Jesus knew the Temple Elite were out to get Him, but he went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the politicians were out to get Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the military and Temple guards would follow their orders to capture and harm Him with great enthusiasm, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew the same people who were shouting praises to Him on Sunday would be crying out for His Crucifixion in just a few days, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew that even many of the ones who traveled with Him would run away from Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew that even some of His closest disciples would abandon Him, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would be lied about, tried and convicted in direct contradiction to all the evidence, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would be condemned and sent to die even though He was declared innocent; but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Jesus knew He would gasp his last physical breath hanging from a roman cross as His blood flowed onto the ground below, but He went to Jerusalem anyway.

Why would He do such things with full knowledge?

Love.

John 3:16 – 17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” ESV

Jesus did all of this because He loves you and want the very best for you; now and forever.

Knowing all Jesus knowingly suffered for you, how could we do anything else but love Him back and share His love with others?

Acts 1:8  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Would go to Jerusalem?

 

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