The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of June 30, 2014
2 Kings 18:3-7, “And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. 4He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan). 5He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him. 6For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses. 7And the Lord was with him; wherever he went out, he prospered. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and would not serve him.”
Beloved, King Hezekiah is one of my favorite Israelite kings. He was not perfect but he certainly trusted the Lord. Let’s look at a couple of things that allowed King Hezekiah to live a godly life.
(1) He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. Beloved, this stems out of a love relationship for John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” King Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord because he loved his Lord!
(2) He removed the high places. King Hezekiah took away those things that were inhibiting his relationship with God. We must do the same. Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
(3) He trusted in the Lord. Beloved, like King Hezekiah, we must learn to trust in our Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
(4) He held fast to the Lord. When the going got tough, King Hezekiah had enough sense to not let go of God. Neither should we! We must learn to persevere and endure. Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
(5) And the Lord was with him. King Hezekiah knew that the Lord was with him. He never doubted God’s presence in his life and neither should we. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Beloved, King Hezekiah knew what he needed to do in order to sustain a vibrant and lasting relationship with the Lord. We can take these same principles and apply them to our lives!
I pray that you will have a blessed week. I love you and I will be praying for you!
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of June 23, 2014
Still Bearing Fruit
Psalm 92:12-15, “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
Beloved, Last Friday, June 20th, I celebrated my 53rd birthday. You probably remember, like me, when 53 was old, I mean really old. We couldn’t imagine turning 53 and yet here I am 53 years old. Now to some 53 is young! “O to be 53 again,” they are saying. I suppose it is a matter of perspective.
My wife asked me what goals I was setting for the next year. Goals? Number one on the list would be to get to 54! I say that in jest because Jesus holds the keys to my life and I trust in Him though I would like to get to 54 and beyond!
One goal I have is to lose another 24 pounds. I know that it’ll be a battle because the flesh lusts against the spirit. Quite honestly losing weight just helps my knee to feel better.
Spiritually, I want to still be bearing fruit. Psalm 92 holds the key to bearing fruit, “They are planted in the house of the Lord.” Beloved it is hard to grow and bear fruit when we are not planted in God’s house. Being planted does not mean just being at church but rather being an active participant in the Lord’s work. Remember, there is no unemployment in God’s Kingdom. He has a job for all of us!
So what did I do on my birthday? I got up and had my quiet time and went for a bike ride. I finished up my study for Sunday and did laundry. Then I performed a wedding ceremony in the afternoon. Later that evening, my wife and I went to dinner. It was a fruitful day. A day “to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
Beloved, stay planted, grow and bear fruit. May you, “flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon! I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
Our Dependence on His Provision:
1 Kings 17:6- “And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”
Beloved, Elijah had prayed that it would not rain for three and a half years. That prayer actually reached over into the Great Tribulation as the Two Witnesses pray the same prayer; (It is believed by many the Elijah is one of the Two Witnesses in Revelation Chapter 11). The reason Elijah had prayed this prayer was as a dramatic demonstration against the pagan god Baal, who was thought to be the sky god, the god of the weather. Elijah showed that through his prayers to the God of Israel, Yahweh was mightier than Baal.
But with no rain how was there going to be provision; no rain means no water to drink and no crops to harvest and hence no food!
Beloved, through all of this the Lord was leading Elijah to train him in his dependence upon the LORD. In a season of drought, he had to trust that God could keep this brook flowing. He also had to accept food from the ravens, an unclean animal.
Elijah had to come to a place where he understood that he was totally dependent upon the Lord for his provision. You know what happened? The brook did dry up but the Lord still provided. The Lord used a widow and her small jar of flour and jug of oil. 1 Kings 17:14 “For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’”
Beloved, God has ways to meet our needs that are beyond our control. When we are obedient to the Lord, to follow His Word, His provision will follow and it will be enough.
I pray that you will have a blessed week. I love you and I will pray for you!
In His Strong Love-
The Word of Grace Devotion for the Week of June 9, 2014
Blessed Be the Name of The Lord
Job 1:21- “And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Beloved, this come Wednesday,we commence our study through the Book of Job. I have simply entitled this series through Job: Perseverance or Hupomone in the Greek. The Book of Job is a study in the perseverance of the faith of one man who continued to worship God through a period of intense suffering.
Beloved, we must all endure suffering and persecutions of various kinds. In fact Jesus promised that we would as John16:33 says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” But what do we do when tribulations hits us? How do we respond?
Job, in one day, lost his sons and daughters, his servants, and other personal property. His loss was tremendous and it would be easy to see Job lose his faith in the Lord. But Job stood fast. He persevered. He responded with perseverance and character as he said in Job 1:21- “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Beloved, when things get tough, blessed be the name of the Lord! When money is tight, blessed be the name of the Lord! When our health fails, blessed be the name of the Lord! In all things, blessed be the name of the Lord!
Beloved, may your perseverance in the Lord result in your spiritual maturity as James 1:4 says, “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
In His Strong Love,
“Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!”
Beloved, we have the tendency to look at others. We often compare our walk with the Lord with the walk of others. This comparison helps us to think better of ourselves. But Jesus never calls us to compare ourselves to others because our walk with the Lord is personal. This is very evident in the discourse between Peter and the Lord.
Peter had just been restored after denying Jesus three times and as Peter looked over at the Apostle whom Jesus loved (John), Peter asked the question, “Lord, what about this man?” The response of Jesus to Peter was classic, ““If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” Wow! What is that to you!
So, what is it to us? Nothing. We should not compare our walk to others. God has a specific calling on each of our lives. Some of us are called to be missionaries, others pastors, some mothers and others plumbers and lawyers and machinists. God’s call is different for each of us. What we need to do is find that call and then fulfill it. The highest call we have is the call Jesus placed on our life not on someone else’s life.
So how should we respond to another’s call? We rejoice when they rejoice and we weep when they weep (Romans 12:15). We support them.
Beloved, the simple admonition is this: put your hand to the plow and don’t look back!
I pray that you will have a blessed week. I love you and I will be praying for you!
In His Strong Love-
WORD OF GRACE DEVOTION FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 19, 2014 "MY SHEEP.' JOHN 10:27-30, “MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW ME. 28I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE, AND THEY WILL NEVER PERISH, AND NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. 29MY FATHER, WHO HAS GIVEN THEM TO ME, IS GREATER THAN ALL, AND NO ONE IS ABLE TO SNATCH THEM OUT OF THE FATHER'S HAND. 30I AND THE FATHER ARE ONE.” BELOVED, IF HAVE EVER GIVEN YOUR LIFE TO JESUS CHRIST THEN YOU BELONG TO HIM! NOTHING THAT YOU HAVE DONE OR HAVE NOT DONE SINCE THEN HAS CHANGED THE PRECIOUS TRUTH OF YOUR ETERNAL SECURITY AND SALVATION. THIS TRUTH, THE ASSURANCE OF OUR SALVATION, IS GROUNDED ON THE PERSON AND WORK OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.FIRST OF ALL, OUR SALVATION HAS COME FROM THE LORD. ROMANS 5:8 SAYS, “BUT GOD SHOWS HIS LOVE FOR US IN THAT WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US.” BELOVED, OUR SALVATION IS NOT BASED ON WHAT WE HAVE DONE OR NOT DONE BUT ON WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE FOR US. BELOVED, CHRIST DIED FOR US; HE TOOK OUR PLACE ON THE ANVIL OF GOD’S JUDGMENT AND BECAUSE OF HIS SACRIFICE WE ARE SECURE IN HIM.BELOVED, WE ARE SO SECURE THAT NO ONE OR NOTHING CAN TAKE US AWAY FROM HIM. JESUS SAYS IN JOHN 10:28-29, “I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE, AND THEY WILL NEVER PERISH, AND NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. 29MY FATHER, WHO HAS GIVEN THEM TO ME, IS GREATER THAN ALL, AND NO ONE IS ABLE TO SNATCH THEM OUT OF THE FATHER'S HAND.”NOTICE HOW JESUS SAYS THAT NO ONE CAN SNATCH US AWAY FROM HIS HAND NOR FROM HIS FATHER’S HAND. BOTH FATHER AND SON HOLD US IN THEIR HAND AND “NO ONE IS ABLE TO SNATCH THEM OUT!” THE REASON IS BECAUSE THE FATHER AND THE SON ARE ONE!BELOVED, DON’T ALLOW SIN OR THE ENEMY TO CLOUD YOUR SALVATION. TRUST THAT THE WORK THAT JESUS HAS BEGUN IN YOU HE WILL COMPLETE FOR OUR GOOD AND HIS GLORY!BELOVED, I PRAY THAT YOU WILL HAVE A BLESSED WEEK. I LOVE YOU AND I WILL BE PRAYING FOR YOU! SECURE IN CHRIST- PASTOR JOE