Monday, November 20, 2017

When God Looks on Us with Favor

Believers are always under the canopy of God’s grace and love. Nothing we do can change that. At the same time, our behavior and heart condition do determine whether we receive the fullness of His blessings. Today’s passage teaches us how to experience the Father’s favor.

First, He desires that we have a contrite heart and a humble spirit (Ps. 51:17). For that to be the case, all aspects of our lives must be surrendered to Jesus. Yet some dreams, desires, and people are difficult to release into His hands.
Anything we do not give over to His authority is evidence of pride, the exact opposite of what our Father wants in His children. Remember that “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Lack of submission proves that we think our way is better than His plan.

Second, God tells us to tremble at His Word (Isa. 66:2). Scripture--the unfolding revelation of Jesus Himself--is living and powerful to teach and transform us. Consider how we treat this treasure. Do we devote time each day to know what the Bible says and how to apply its principles? Do we hunger for more of the Word in our lives so we can know its Author better? One measure of our reverence is obedience: to honor the Lord, we must obey Him.


We all desire God’s favor. Are you living in a manner that positions you to receive His full blessings? Prayerfully consider whether you have submitted all areas of your life--from finances and health to relationships and work habits--to Jesus Christ. Recognize His authority in all things, and revere His Word.
from Dr. Charles Stanley

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Salutations in the Lord

- 1 Corinthians 16:19

INTRODUCTION

Everything about the Christian life is wrapped up and founded in the person of Jesus Christ. For instance, the Bible says that the saints witness to the lost “in Christ’s stead” (2 Corinthians 5:20). The saints find their approval “in Christ” (Romans 16:10). Their love for each other is “in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 16:24). It should, therefore, be of no surprise that the saints’ salutations are also given “in the Lord” (Romans 16:22; 1 Corinthians 16:19). This means that the salutations of the saints are to be given through prayer along with the word of God and will of God in mind. The saints of God should salute one another as led by the Lord to do so. Those salutations are offered as ambassadors of Christ.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Read Colossians 3:17a. This includes salutations. Our greetings should bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Our greetings should build people up in the Lord (1 Corinthians 14:26b; 2 Corinthians 12:19b; Ephesians 4:29).
  • (For everyone): Read some of Paul’s salutations. What words or phrases did he use to signify that his salutations were given with the will of God and the ministry in mind?
  • Do you greet your brothers and sisters in Christ only with carnal talk and carnal subjects? How can this be a sinful practice and a failure on your part to minister for the Lord?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to help you take your salutations seriously.
  • Ask God to help you realize that you are always His ambassador.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What Is Sin?

- 1 John 3:4

INTRODUCTION

The scripture provides several examples of sin. According to Proverbs 21:4, “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” Proverbs 24:9 adds, “The thought of foolishness is sin.” Romans 14:23 says, “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” James 4:17 declares, “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” 1 John 5:17 broadens the scope by stating that “All unrighteousness is sin.” Although all of these thoughts serve to help man’s understanding of sin, none seem to completely identify exactly what constitutes sin. However, First John clearly and definitively defines sin: “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): We sin when we disobey God's commandments (Exodus 20:3-17). Read what David said when he broke the sixth and seventh commandments (2 Samuel 12:9, 13a); Achan when he broke the eighth and tenth commandments (Joshua 7:20-21); and Saul when he broke the first commandment (1 Samuel 15:24). Have you ever broken the fifth commandment? Then that is sin.
  • (For everyone): What is the relationship of sin and the law of God? Why does law have to exist before there can be sin? What kind of laws did God have in place before the law of Moses?
  • What are some things you would consider to be sin? Which laws of God are violated by these actions?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to give you a greater understanding of sin.
  • Ask the Lord to give you His hatred for sin.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My Sins Are Not Hid

- Psalm 69:50

INTRODUCTION

The Bible says that “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). His eyes are upon all men’s ways: they are not hid from God’s face, neither is their iniquity hid from His eyes (Jeremiah 16:17). “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). Regardless of all of man’s efforts, he is completely incapable of hiding his wickedness from a God that fills heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23:24). The Lord knows man’s foolishness (Psalm 69:5); He can search it out although it is hidden in the very depths of man’s heart (Psalm 44:20-21).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): 1 John 3:20 says, "God . . . knoweth all things." Consider these other verses that support this truth: Job 10:14; Job 14:16; Job 31:4; Job 34:21; Proverbs 5:21; Jeremiah 32:19; Ezekiel 11:5. Why is it important to know that God knows all things?
  • (For everyone): Are you hoping that God cannot see what you are doing? Are you prayerful that God does not know the thoughts of your heart? You are going to be disappointed!
  • How does God feel about sin? What does it mean for men that God can plainly see all their sins? Why is it vain for man to seek ways to hide his sins from God?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to remind you every day that He can see all.
  • Ask God to give you a heart for those who are deceived by sin.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

God Hates Sin

- Deuteronomy 9:18

INTRODUCTION

Sin angers God. It provokes Him to jealousy (1 Kings 14:22). According to Psalm 7:11, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” He “trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Psalm 11:5). God loves faith and righteousness; both serve as the enemies of sin (Romans 14:23; 1 John 5:17). In the days of Noah, sin grieved the Lord so badly that the Bible says it repented God that he had made man on the earth (Genesis 6:6). Sin is so offensive to God that the Bible declares God to be “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). One day, God will create an environment that excludes sin of any kind (Revelation 22:15).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God hates all sin (Psalm 5:4-5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Ephesians 5:5-6). Any sin can be forgiven, but it has to be through the blood of Christ (Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5). Call upon Him today (Romans 10:9-10, 13; Acts 16:31).
  • (For everyone): Sin is exceedingly sinful in the eyes of God. How does this affect His dealings with man? How should the fact that God hates sin cause men to fear?
  • Are you saved? Should you continue to sin because you have been redeemed by the Lord? How should your love for Him cause you to hate what He hates?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to help you hate sin as He hates sin.
  • Call upon God’s forgiveness for your sins.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

When Lust Hath Conceived

- James 1:13-15

INTRODUCTION

Sin is not something that man does by accident. It is something that man allows or willingly does based upon an unwillingness to stop any act before it becomes sin. The scripture offers a process for sin: “Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:14). It appears that temptation in and of itself is not sin, but one’s submission to that temptation is what constitutes sin. The Bible states this truth by saying, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin” (James 1:15). It is encouraging to understand the process. Although every man faces temptations and many of these temptations are unavoidable, sin is avoidable. When a man gives in to temptation, he chooses to sin.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Instead of trusting God and His word (Genesis 2:17), when the Devil tempted Eve, she willingly partook of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:1-6; cp. 1 John 2:16). Consider how Jesus handled temptation (Matthew 4:1-10). He told His disciples to watch and pray(Matthew 26:41).
  • (For everyone): As long as men dwell in a sinful world, temptations are going to be unavoidable. Why is it such a blessing to know that God does not constitute temptation as sin?
  • Think of some examples where you might put this principle to the test. At what point did each of those things move from temptation to sin?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to help you to recognize lust before it comes sin.
  • Thank the Lord for the truth found in His word.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

THE COST OF COMPROMISE AND QUITTING

<Satan will not bother a man who has quit fighting.>

“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:3-4)

If Satan opposes the new convert he opposes still more bitterly the Christian who is pressing on toward a higher life in Christ. The Spirit-filled life is not, as many suppose, a life of peace and quiet pleasure. It is likely to be something quite the opposite.

Viewed one way it is a pilgrimage through a robber-infested forest; viewed another, it is a grim warfare with the devil. Always there is struggle, and sometimes there is a pitched battle with our own nature where the lines are so confused that it is all but impossible to locate the enemy or to tell which impulse is of the Spirit and which of the flesh....

My point here is that if we want to escape the struggle we have but to draw back and accept the currently accepted low-keyed Christian life as the normal one. That is all Satan wants. That will ground our power, stunt our growth and render us harmless to the kingdom of darkness.

Compromise will take the pressure off. Satan will not bother a man who has quit fighting. But the cost of quitting will be a life of peaceful stagnation. We sons of eternity just cannot afford such a thing. (That Incredible Christian, 73.)

"Oh God, don't ever let me compromise to take the pressure off! Keep me fit for battle; strengthen me for the constant warfare. Don't ever let me settle for 'peaceful stagnation' as long as I have breath to serve You. Amen."
{A.W. Tozer}

Monday, November 13, 2017


If One Man Sin Against Another

- 1 Samuel 2:25

INTRODUCTION

The scripture clearly identifies two categories of sin: sins against the Lord and sins against man (Exodus 10:16; 1 Samuel 2:25). It is important to note that every sin against man is also a sin against the Lord. Yet, every sin against the Lord is not necessarily a sin against man. The Bible confirms this truth when it says, “when ye sin so against the brethren . . . ye sin against Christ.” (1 Corinthians 8:12). When a man sins against other men, he sins against man’s Creator. For this reason, He is not only accountable to make that sin right with the Lord but also with the man against whom he has sinned. As for the wronged individual, he should be ready to forgive those who have sinned against him (Matthew 18:21-22).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): Saul's persecution of others was also against Christ (Acts 9:1-5). Read the prodigal son's confession to his father (Luke 15:21). Stephen forgave his enemies (Acts 7:59-60). Joseph forgave his brothers (Genesis 50:15-21). What can we learn from these events?
  • (For everyone): Have you wronged others without trying to make it right? Is it worth hindering your walk with God because you refuse to make things right with others?
  • Have you been wronged by others? Do you pray for them and, more specifically, their walk with God? Would you be willing to forgive them as Christ has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32)?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to show you if you have sinned against others.
  • Ask God for the courage to make things right.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Thing Became Sin

- Numbers 21:8-9

INTRODUCTION

The Israelites were being snakebitten with no hope of living from these bites. They had sinned against the Lord and suffered the consequences. That is, until the Lord gave Moses a plan. Moses was to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole. Those who were bitten could look upon that serpent and live. There was nothing special about the serpent on the pole. It was neither supernatural nor sinful by nature. It was merely a brasen serpent fashioned with man’s hands. Years later, although that serpent was not sinful in itself, it became a stumblingblock to the people of God (2 Kings 18:4 ). This story offers us a very important lesson: there are many things in this life that are not sinful in and of themselves, but those things which are misused will usually turn sinful.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

(For children): A tree can become a sinful object when man uses it to make an idol (Isaiah 44:14-17 ). Israel carried the ark (furniture from the tabernacle) into battle thinking it would help them. To show them how wrong they were, God allowed the ark to be captured by the enemy (1 Samuel 4:1-5 ; 10-11).

(For everyone): What are some things that you can think of that might not be sinful in and of themselves but could become sin when used improperly? Have you allowed certain things in this world, although not sinful by themselves, to become stumblingblocks in your walk with God?

PRAYER NEEDS

Ask the Lord to keep you from misusing what He has given. Thank God for the wisdom provided in His word.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Grace of Christ

By Max Lucado

Guilt sucks the life out of our souls. Grace restores it. No one had more reason to feel the burden of guilt than did the apostle Paul. He had orchestrated the deaths of Christians--an ancient version of a terrorist. Yet, Paul gave his guilt to Jesus, period. He surrendered it to Jesus! As a result he could write, “I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us” (Philippians 3:13-14 TLB).

What would the apostle say to the guilt-ridden? Simply this: Rejoice in the Lord’s mercy. Trust in his ability to forgive. Cast yourself upon the grace of Christ and Christ alone!

Friday, November 10, 2017

God Hates Sin

 Deuteronomy 9:18

INTRODUCTION

Sin angers God. It provokes Him to jealousy (1 Kings 14:22). According to Psalm 7:11, “God is angry with the wicked every day.” He “trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (Psalm 11:5). God loves faith and righteousness; both serve as the enemies of sin (Romans 14:23; 1 John 5:17). In the days of Noah, sin grieved the Lord so badly that the Bible says it repented God that he had made man on the earth (Genesis 6:6). Sin is so offensive to God that the Bible declares God to be “of purer eyes than to behold evil” (Habakkuk 1:13). One day, God will create an environment that excludes sin of any kind (Revelation 22:15).

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): God hates all sin (Psalm 5:4-5; Proverbs 6:16-19; Ephesians 5:5-6). Any sin can be forgiven, but it has to be through the blood of Christ (Colossians 1:14; 1 Peter1:18-19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5). Call upon Him today (Romans 10:9-10, 13; Acts 16:31).
  • (For everyone): Sin is exceedingly sinful in the eyes of God. How does this affect His dealings with man? How should the fact that God hates sin cause men to fear?
  • Are you saved? Should you continue to sin because you have been redeemed by the Lord? How should your love for Him cause you to hate what He hates?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask God to help you hate sin as He hates sin.
  • Call upon God’s forgiveness for your sins.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Against Thee Have I Sinned

- Psalm 51:4

INTRODUCTION

Most people view sin as a private or earthy matter. Yet, every sin that a man commits is a sin against the Lord. According to scripture, men can sin against God the Father (Genesis 20:6), God the Son (1 Corinthians 8:12), and God the Spirit (Matthew 12:31). These sins include such things as adultery (Genesis 39:9), idolatry (Exodus 23:33; Deuteronomy 9:16; Deuteronomy 20:18), lying to a neighbour (Leviticus 6:2), and disobeying the commandments of God (Nehemiah 9:29; Jeremiah 40:3). A man who chooses to sin against the Lord chooses for himself shame (Jeremiah 3:25; Hosea 4:7), confusion (Daniel 9:8), and distress (Zephaniah 1:17). None of these outcomes are the will of God for men.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

  • (For children): When Ananias and Sapphira lied to the apostles, they were actually lying to God (Acts 5:1-11; Zechariah 8:16). God sent Abigail to prevent David from doing something he would regret later—seeking revenge (1 Samuel 25:27-33, 39; Romans 12:19). Ask God to keep you from disobeying His commandments.
  • (For everyone): Read Genesis 20:3-6. Why did God withhold Abimelech from sinning against God? How could this principle also suggest that God might, at times, withhold you from sinning against Him?
  • Read Psalm 119:11. How can God’s word keep you from sinning? What does the verse suggest that we should do with God’s word?

PRAYER NEEDS

  • Ask the Lord to work in your heart to withhold you from sinning.
  • Ask God to help you hide His word in your heart.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Power of Fashion

Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Proverbs 30:8-9

Fashion rules the world; and she is a tyrannical mistress, often compelling her devotees to submit to the greatest inconvenience and discomfort. Fashion taxes without reason and collects without mercy. She has a fascinating power and stands ready to criticize and ridicule all who do not follow in her wake.

The rich are ambitious to outdo one another in conforming to her ever-varying styles; the middle and poorer classes strive to approach the standard set by those supposed to be above them. Where means or strength is limited, and the ambition for gentility is great, the burden becomes almost insupportable. With many it matters not how becoming, or even beautiful, a garment may be, let the fashions change, and it must be remade or cast aside.

Satan, the instigator and prime mover in the ever-changing, never-satisfying decrees of fashion, is always busy devising something new that shall prove an injury to physical and moral health; and he triumphs that his devices succeed so well. Death laughs that the health-destroying folly and blind zeal of the worshipers at fashion's shrine bring them so easily under his dominion. Happiness and the favor of God are laid upon her altar.

The idolatry of dress is a moral disease. It must not be taken over into the new life. In most cases submission to the gospel requirements will demand a decided change in the dress. "Moreover the LORD saith, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing a they go, and making a tinkling with their feet: Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will discover their secret parts.

In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the veils.

And it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle a rent; and instead of well set hair baldness; and instead of a stomacher a girding of sackcloth; and burning instead of beauty." Isaiah 3:16-24

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Husbands Honour Your Wives


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. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:7-9

The Lord Jesus has not been correctly represented in His relation to the church by many husbands in their relation to their wives, for they do not keep the way of the Lord. They declare that their wives must be subject to them in everything. But it was not the design of God that the husband should have control, as head of the house, when he himself does not submit to Christ. He must be under the rule of Christ that he may represent the relation of Christ to the church. If he is a coarse, rough, boisterous, egotistical, harsh, and overbearing man, let him never utter the word that the husband is the head of the wife, and that she must submit to him in everything; for he is not the Lord, he is not the husband in the true significance of the term. . . .

Husbands should study the pattern and seek to know what is meant by the symbol presented in Ephesians, the relation Christ sustains to the church. The husband is to be as a Saviour in his family. Will he stand in his noble, God-given manhood, ever seeking to uplift his wife and children? Will he breathe about him a pure, sweet atmosphere? Will he not as assiduously cultivate the love of Jesus, making it an abiding principle in his home, as he will assert his claims to authority?

Let every husband and father study to understand the words of Christ, not in a one-sided manner, merely dwelling upon the subjection of the wife to her husband, but in the light of the cross of Calvary, study as to his own position in the family circle. "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." Jesus gave Himself up to die upon the cross in order that He might cleanse and keep us from all sin and pollution by the influence of the Holy Spirit.