Showing posts with label devotional message. Show all posts
Showing posts with label devotional message. Show all posts

Saturday, October 7, 2017

People and Creatures Enter the Ark - Genesis 7:1-10

God said to Noah, "Now board the ship, you and all your family out of everyone in this generation you're the righteous one.

"Take on board with you seven pairs of every clean animal, a male and a female; one pair of every unclean animal, a male and a female; and seven pairs of every kind of bird, a male and a female to insure their survival on earth. In just seven days God will dump rain on earth for forty days and forty nights. God will make a clean sweep of everything what he has made. Noah did everything that God had commanded him to do. Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters covered the earth. Noah and his wife and sons and their wives boarded the ship to escape the flood. Clean and unclean animals, birds, and all the crawling creatures came in pairs to Noah and to the ship, male and female, just as God had commanded Noah. In seven days the floodwaters came.

It was the six-hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month that it happened: all the underground springs erupted and all the windows of Heaven were thrown open. Rain poured for forty days and forty nights.

That's the day Noah and his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth, accompanied by his wife and his sons wives, boarded the ship. And with them every kind of wild and domestic animal, right down to all the kinds of creatures that crawl and all kinds of birds and anything that flies. They came to Noah and to the ship in pairs - everything and anything that had the breath of life in it, male and female of every creature came just as God had commanded Noah. Then God shut the door behind Noah.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible

Extolling the majesty of the Lord - Psalm 89:1-15

Congregation of the saints or holy generally refers to angels. In the courts of heaven, a myriad of angels praise the Lord. This scene is one of majesty and grandeur to show that God is beyond compare. His power and purity place him high above nature and angels.

Justice and judgment (righteousness) mercy and truth surround God on his throne, they are fundamental aspects of the way God rules. As God's ambassadors, we should deal with people similarly. Make sure your actions flow out of justice, righteousness, and truth because any unfair, unloving, or dishonest action cannot come from God.

Reference summary used from The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

God's Promise Realized Through Faith - Romans 4:13-25

That famous promise God gave Abraham - that he and his children would posses the earth was not given because of something Abraham did or would do. It was based on God's decision to put everything together for him, which Abraham then entered when he believed.

If those who get what God gives them only get it by doing everything they are told to do and filling out all the right forms properly signed, that eliminates personal trust completely and turns the promise into an iron clad contract! That's not a holy promise; that's a business deal.

A contract drawn up by a hard nosed lawyer and with plenty of fine print only makes sure that you will never be able to collect. But if there is no contract in the first place, simply a promise - and God's promise if that - you can't break it. This is why the fulfillment of God's promise depends entirely on trusting God and his ways and then simply embracing him and what he does.

God's promise arrives as a pure gift. That's the only way everyone can be sure to get in on it, those who keep the religious traditions and those who have never heard of them.

For Abraham is father of us all. He is not our racial father - that's reading the story backward. He is our faith father. We call Abraham "Father" not because he got God's attention by living a faithful life, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody.

Isn't that what we're always reading in Scripture "I set you up as Father of many peoples?" Abraham was first named "father" and then became a father because he he trusted God to do only what God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing.

When everything was hopeless Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples.

God himself said to him you're going to have a big family, Abraham!

Ceremonies and rituals serve as reminders of our faith. They instruct new and younger believers, but we should not think that they give us any special merit before God. They are outward signs and seal that demonstrate belief and trust. The focus of our faith should be on Christ and his saving actions, not on our own actions.

Paul explains that Abraham pleased God through his faith alone, before he ever heard about the rituals that would become so important to the Jewish people. We too are saved by faith. It is not by loving God and doing good that we are saved; neither is it by faith plus love or faith plus good works.

We are saved only through faith in Christ, trusting him to forgive all our sins. For more on Abraham, see his profile in Genesis 18.

The promise (or covenant) God gave Abraham said that Abraham would be the father of many nations and that the entire world would be blessed through him. This promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus was from Abraham's line, and truly the world was blessed through him.

Paul points out that the promise to Abraham to be the father of many nations extended beyond Israel to all the nations of the world. Abraham never doubted that God would fulfill his promise. His life was marked by mistakes, sins, and failures as well as by wisdom and goodness, but he consistently trusted God. His faith was strengthened by the obstacles he faced.

His life is an example of faith in action. If he had looked only at his own resources for subduing Canaan and founding of a nation, he would have given up in despair. But he looked to God, obeyed him and waited for God to fulfill his word to him.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Jesus, Mediator of a better Covenant - Hebrews 8:1-8

In essence, we have just such a high priest right along side of God, conducting worship in the one true sanctuary built by God. The assigned task of a high priest is to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and it's no different with the priesthood of Jesus.

If we were limited to earth, he wouldn't even be a Priest. We wouldn't need him since there are plenty of priests who offer the gifts designated in the law.

These priests provide only a hint of what goes on in the true sanctuary of heaven, which Moses caught a glimpse of as he was about to set up the tent-shrine. It was then that God said "be careful to do it exactly as you saw it on the mountain."

But Jesus priestly work far surpasses what these other priest do, since his working from a far better plan. If the first-plan the Old Covenant had worked out, a second wouldn't have been needed. But we know the first was found wanting, because God said.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Circumcision Event Remembered - Acts 7:1-8

Then the Chief Priest said, what do you have to say for yourself?

Stephen replied, friends, fathers, and brothers, the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was still in Mesopotamia, before the move to Haran, and told him, leave your country and family and go to the land I'll show you.

So he left the country of the Chaldees and moved to Haran. After the death of his father, he immigrated to his country where you now live, but God gave him nothing, not so much as a foothold. He did promise to give the country to him and his son later on, even though Abraham had no son at the time. God let him know that his offspring would move to an alien country where they would be enslaved and brutalized for four hundred years. 'But,' God said, I will step in and take care of those slaveholders and bring my people out so they can worship me in this place.

Then he made a covenant with him and signed it in Abraham's flesh by circumcision. When Abraham had his son Issac, within eight days he reproduced the sign of circumcision in him. Issac became father of Jacob, and Jacob father of twelve 'Father,' each faithfully passing on the covenant sign.

This High Priest was Caiphas, the same High Priest who had earlier questioned and condemned Jesus.

Stephen launched into along speech about Israel's relationship with God. From Old Testament history he showed that the Jews had constantly rejected God's message and his Prophets, and that this council had rejected the Messiah, God's Son. He made three main points (1) Israel's history is the history of God's acts in the world; (2) People worshiped God long before there was a temple; (3) Jesus death was just one more example of Israel's rebellion and rejection of God.

Stephen wasn't really defending himself. Instead, he took the offensive, seizing the opportunity to summarize his teaching about Jesus. Stephen was accusing these religious leaders failing to obey God's laws - the laws they prided themselves in following so meticulously. This was the same accusation Jesus had leveled against them. When we witness for Christ, we don't need to be on the defensive. Instead we can simply share our faith.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Sabbath Commandment ... Exodus 20:8-11

The Sabbath was a day set aside for rest and worship. God commanded a Sabbath because we need to spend unhurried time in worship and rest each week. A God who is concerned enough to provide a day each week for us to rest is indeed wonderful. To observe a regular time of rest and worship in our hurried world demonstrates the importance of God in our lives while having the extra benefit of refreshing our spirits.

Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don't do any work - not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and Sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath Day; he set apart as a holy day.

Reference used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Under the Rainbow the Angel Speaks ... Revelation 10:1-7

The purpose of this angel is clear to announce the final judgments on the earth. His right foot on the sea and left foot on the earth. His right foot on the sea and left foot on the earth indicate that his words deal with all creation, not just a limited part as with the seal and trumpet judgments. The seventh trumpet will usher in the seven vial judgments which will bring an end to the present world. When this universal judgment comes, God's truth will prevail.

There was another powerful angel coming down out of heaven wrapped in a cloud. There was a rainbow over his head, his face was sun-radiant, his les pillars of fire. He had a small book open in his hand. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left foot on land, then called out thunderously, a lion roar. When called out, the seven thunders called back. When the seven thunders spoke, I started to write it all down, but a voice out of Heaven stopped John saying, "Seal with silence the seven thunders; don't write a word."

The first contains a revelation of judgments against evil. The contents of the second title scroll are not indicated, but it also may contain a revelation of judgment.

Throughout history people have wanted to know what would happen in the future, and God reveals some of it in this book. But John was stopped from revealing certain parts of his vision. An angel also told the Prophet Daniel that some vision he saw were not to be revealed yet to everyone, and Jesus told his disciples that the time of the end is known by no one but God. God has revealed all we need to know to live for him now. In our desire to be ready for the end, we must not place more emphasis on speculation about the last days that on living for God.

Then the angel John saw astride sea and land lifted his hand to Heaven and swore by the One Living Forever and Ever, who created Heaven and everything in it, earth and everything in it, sea and everything in it, that time up-that when the seventh angel blew his trumpet, with he was about to do, the Mystery of God, all the plans he had revealed to his servants, the Prophets, would be completed.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

You Are God's Choice ... Deuteronomy 10:12-22

Often we ask why, "what does God expect of me?" Here Moses gives a summary that is simple in form and easy to remember. Here are the essentials: (1) fear God (have reverence for him). (2) walk in his ways. (3) Love him with all your heart. How often we complicate faith with man-made rules, regulations, and requirement. Are you frustrated and burned out from trying hard to please God? Concentrate on his real requirements and find peace, respect, and love.

God required all male Israelites to be circumcised, but he wanted them to go beyond performing the surgery to understanding its meaning. They needed to summit to God inside, in their hearts as well as outside, in their bodies. If our hearts are right with God, then our relationship with other people can be made right too. When your heart has been cleansed and you have been reconciled to God, you will begin to see a difference in the way you treat others.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible, and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Abram Called and Blessed ... Genesis 12:1-3

God promised to bless Abram and make him great, but there was one condition. Abram had to do what God wanted him to do. This meant leaving his home and friends and traveling to a new land where God promised to build a great nation from Abram's family. Abram obeyed, walking away from his home for God's promise of even greater things. God may be trying to lead you to a place of greater service and usefulness for him. Don't let the comfort and security of your present position make make you miss God's plan for you.

Abram moved out in faith from Ur to Haran and finally to Canaan. God then established a covenant with him. Not only would this nation be blessed, God said; but the other nations of the earth would be blessed through Abram's descendants. Israel, the nation that would come from Abram, was to follow God and influence those with whom it came in contact. Through Abram's family tree, Jesus Christ was born to save humanity. Through Christ, all people can have a personal relationship with God and be blessed beyond measure.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

The Lord's Words Become Actions ... Psalm 33:1-9

Because David was an accomplished harpist, he frequently spoke about musical instruments throughout his Psalms. He undoubtedly composed music for many of the Psalms, and he commissioned music for Temple Worship.

A Person's words are measured by the quality of his or her character. If you trust what God says, it is because you trust him to be the God he claims to be. If you doubt his words, you doubt the integrity of God himself. If you believe God is truly God, then believe what he says!

All God's words are true and trustworthy. The Bible is reliable because, unlike people, God does not lie, forget, change his words, or leave promises unfulfilled. We can trust the Bible because, it contains the words of a holy, trustworthy and unchangeable God.

This is a poetic summary of the first chapter of Genesis. He is the Lord of creation, the almighty God. Because he is all powerful, we should reverence him in all we do.

Reference summary used from The Message Bible and The Life Application Bible, KJV, Tyndale Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Purpose - Love for God - Living for Jesus

Romans 12:1 & I Corinthians 15:58

When sacrificing an animal according to God's Law, a priest killed the animal, cut it in pieces, & placed it on the altar. Sacrifice was important, but even in the OT God make it clear that obedience from the heart was much more important. God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals, as living sacrifices - daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy & resources at his disposal & trusting him to guide us.

Paul said that because of the resurrection, nothing we do is wasted. But if we maintain a heavenly perspective, we understand that we don't see the good that results from our efforts. Do the good that you have opportunity to do, knowing your work will have eternal results.

Reference summary used from the KJV Life Application Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois