Devotional article to promote spiritual growth

Blessed is the Nation Whose God is the Lord

Psalm 33:12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

This is the week that we celebrate and commemorate the founding of our nation.  Let it be a great reminder to us that not only is the nation blessed whose God is the Lord, but perhaps more blessed is the nation that doesn’t forget such a vital truth.  

It has been said the definition of insanity is to repeat the same process and expect different results.  In 2021 America we might find ourselves moved to turn that observation inside out and call it insanity to attempt to reproduce the great blessings of America by doing something entirely different.

I recently read a statement that posited the best evidence of a successful idea is experience.  If we were to take time this week and revisit the miraculous hand of the Divine in the history of our nation we would come away knowing that the American Experiment was a GREAT idea according to the wonderful blessings it has brought to the world.

“Finally, let us not forget the religious character of our origin.  Our fathers were brought hither by their high veneration for the Christian religion.  They journeyed by its light and labored in its hope.  They sought to incorporate its principles with the elements of their society, and to diffuse its influence though all their institutions, civic, political, or literary.  Let us cherish these sentiments and extend this influence still more widely; in the full conviction, that that is the happiest society which partakes in the highest degree of the mild and peaceful spirit of Christianity.”

Today, determine to render to God that which is God’s.  Of course the blessings of America are rooted in God Himself.  Therefore, give Him the glory and in doing so we, as a nation, will be able to verify the truth found in today’s verse…”Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD!”

Image: Grunge Vectors by Vecteezy

Unity Will Win the Day!

Mat 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Of course, this passage is speaking of the marriage union which produces a marriage bond (responsibility).  However, as I read this passage today in light of the coming celebration of our National Liberty I see another application.

Our nation was birthed for no other reason than the sovereignty of God allowed it to be so.  On July 1, 1776 the concept of national freedom was far from a settled position.  Many looked at the present condition of our nation and saw it as hopeless.  When laid alongside the World Power that was England it was easy to see they possessed everything necessary for waging war while this fledgling group of colonies possessed none.  America had no standing army, no Navy, and no money.  It was a wreck of disjointed citizens.  It did not even have a common currency through which to conduct commerce.

What it did have, though, was the hand of God and a citizenry that feared the Lord.  God had brought people to this new world and used difficulties to unite them into a group with the metal to challenge the world’s lone Super-power.  What brought the victory and secured the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity?  Unity!

When God created the family it was to be a permanent relationship.  He told us we had no authority to dissolve it.  It would end only with the life of a spouse.  Man replaced the final authority from God to man’s intellect and desires. Welcome the ‘Writing of Divorce.”

Why is our country fractured and facing a dissolution?  Because we have turned from our God-ordained foundation.  God joined us together and formed our nation via a series of miraculous events but now, at last, we have once again sought to depose God as Sovereign and to satisfy our intellect and desires.  We removed Him from school and our homes.  We replaced church attendance with various forms of entertainment and distraction.  This can serve only to divorce us  from the blessings and protection of Almighty God.  What is the solution?  Unity.

At 91yrs old John Adams was asked for a challenge to the nation during the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.  He offered but 2 words, “Freedom Forever.”  

All that is needed to save our homes, churches, and our nation is to unify around the authority of God once again.  Return to your first love you enjoyed with your spouse and a reunification will result.  Return to the first enthusiasm you knew when Church was fresh and you will find yourself occupying a seat there once again.  Finally, return to the handiwork of God in the founding of our nation and America will once again by the City on a Hill.

God Has a Plan for You

Gen 12:2  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: Gen 12:3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Let this thought encourage your heart, “God Has a Plan for You!”  

In this passage we find the foundation for understanding the end times.  It is here that God presents His covenant with Abraham.  Abraham would learn that God had a plan for him.  God was going to bless him personally.  God was going to bless Abraham’s seed.  And God was going to bless the nations of the world because of Abraham.  This blessing, once instituted, would be unconditional.  

But before it could become unconditional there was a condition placed upon Abraham.  He had to come out from his family and homeland.  Once he did that (after his father, Terah, died) God revealed His plan for Abraham, his seed, and the nations of the earth.

In Genesis 15 we find God entering into that covenant by way of causing Abraham to go into a deep sleep and then passing through the divided animals Himself.  Tradition was that both parties that entered into a covenant would pass through the parted animals.  However, in this instance God passed through alone.  Why?  To ensure Abraham understood that God’s promises were not based on Abraham’s conduct but on God’s veracity. Abraham would go on to display his devotion to God in unimaginable ways (i.e., offering his only son of promise atop Mt Moriah).

That same type of relationship is presented to NT believers today.  God has made an offer to all mankind.  He promises us a home in heaven, a mansion in the New Jerusalem, and the prospect of ruling with Him for eternity.  As we consider God’s offer and evaluate our present life and eternal prospects a new found faith is created in our heart.  Our new faith is in the finished work of God through Christ and as a result we turn from our old life and turn to God, this is called repentance.  Just as soon as we obey God in this matter of repentance (a change of mind that changes our direction) God institutes an unconditional covenant with us that is based solely on God’s faithfulness and not our conduct.  The reason for this?  God has a plan for you  and the only way it will come to be is for you to be Born Again.  The Salvation of your Soul is God’s plan for you, but that is just the beginning.  God also has a plan of service for you.  Come to God today through the finished work of Christ and you will discover God’s plan for your life.

They Feared God, but Served Idols

2Ki 17:33  They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

Recently I preached a message from this text, the premise of which I have not been able to let go. Here we have a group of people that have been taught “how” to fear the Lord by not “why” to do so.

2Ki 17:28  Then one of the priests … taught them HOW they should fear the LORD.

These people were not servants of the most high God but were immigrants brought in to populate the cities of the Southern Kingdom.  Shortly after resettling to Judah they began suffering horrid attacks by lions.  They determined this to be judgment by the ‘God of the land’ and sought help in learning how to please this God whom they did not know.  A priest was sent to them… 

2Ki 17:27  Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests …and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land.

But here is the rub, the preacher taught them only the “how” of godly worship and not the “why” of godly worship!  To properly serve God requires a new heart.  In other words, their problem was on the inside, so no matter how much ‘good’ they would do they could not please God.  You see, only God can please God.  Paul taught us this very truth…

Php 2:12  Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Php 2:13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

You will only ‘work out’ what God Himself ‘works in’ to your heart.  

This fatal mistake would lead them with religion but not relationship.  The result of ‘fearing’ God in form and not in substance is revealed in our text verse.

2Ki 17:33  They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.

This certainly appears to be solid evidence of the source of our nation’s ills at this time.  We have raised a nation that served God in form but not in heart.  They put a ’21 Corvette body over a rusted, blown motor from a ’74 Pacer!  Outside it was beautiful but inside it was full of dead men’s bones.

Today, as you step out to serve our God and King, ensure your heart is right with Him.  Do that which is right in the sight of God WITH a perfect heart (2 Chron. 19:9; 25:2).  Then, and only then, will it be said of you that you both “feared the Lord and served Him as your God.”  You are loved and appreciated!  Go get’em today!

Profitability of Humility

Jdg 11:1  Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
Jdg 11:3  Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.Jdg 11:8  And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou mayest go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
Jdg 11:9  And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head?
Jdg 11:10  And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.

There are many applications found in this interpretation of the account of the judgeship of Jephthah. I would like to consider it from the perspective of humility. Here is a man that had no control over his parentage but was discriminated against in the most humiliating fashion. Because of the immoral decisions of the parents he was run out of his country and away from his family. Again, his people did this to him for no fault of his own.

Jephthah possessed an innate leadership and militant quality that fit him to the environment of combat. Consequently the leadership of his homeland sent for him to come and lead them to victory against the Ammonites. He answered the call and even quickly assimilated back to his homeland as revealed in this statement to the Ammonites:  

Jdg 11:12  And Jephthah sent messengers unto the king of the children of Ammon, saying, What hast thou to do with me, that thou art come against me to fight in my land?

The lesson I take from this account is the importance and profit of maintaining humility in disagreements. How many people were delivered from death and bondage due to Jephthah’s willingness to come to the aid of those that had treated him so poorly? God has a purpose for your life and it may not be so readily apparent at first glance. Certainly in the day leading to the start of the Revolutionary War the colonists thought themselves to be on the right side of the issue. Yet, no less than John Adams wrote the following line to his beloved Abigail, “Heaven grant us victory, if we deserve it, if not, patience, humility, and persistence in defeat.” While totally convinced their position was correct, he remained open to the prospect they would not emerge victorious. Likewise, Abraham Lincoln, in the thralls of the Civil War was questioned by a soldier, “Is God on our side?” To which Lincoln replied, “Whether God is on our side is not the question. The question is, ‘are we on God’s side?’”  While deathly certain their cause was right, victory was not assured in Lincoln’s heart and therefore he continually searched to discover God’s will in the conflict.

As you go about your life today maintain a humility that allows you to accept that God alone knows best. Do not avoid conflict but ensure you have sufficient information to defend your position before going into combat. BTW, God did bring about victory and deliverance through the humble spirit of Jephthah.

The Purpose In Our Present Chaos

Jdg 3:1-2 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;

In this text we are not far removed from the death of Joshua and the priests that outlived him, but then there arose a generation that did not know the battles (2:10) that were waged to secure the blessings of the Promised Land they enjoyed. The condition of that generation left the nation vulnerable to the intimidation and attacks of the enemies of God. God loves His people and would not leave them in such a precarious situation. Two things were required to ensure the continuation of Israel in the Promised Land: (1) God needed to secure their revived devotion to Him (2) while also strengthening them for battle. These two things would serve to benefit the generation to come. How would God accomplish this? He would ‘teach them war’ by way of confronting them with people that hated God and wanted Him out of ‘their’ land. Today, in America, we face the same situation. Our present generation has enjoyed the blessings of liberty, but at no cost. We must remember that freedom will ALWAYS cost you something, but the reward is worth the sacrifice. 

Tyanny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem to lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. (“The Crisis” page 73)

The present climate in our great nation is one of chaos: illogical and indefensible narratives. From Black Lives Matter to Antifa and the present administration God’s people are increasingly surrounded by foes that would steal our freedom and jail dissenting opinions. Remember Amos and Jeremiah? When the ungodly cannot win on the battlefield of ideas they must silence those advocates of a better way. This truth only serves to magnify the need for devoted servants of the Most High God Who has endowed you with certain unalienable rights! Today, determine to stand with God as one that has been gifted the liberty of conscience. Be encouraged!

The Danger of Weakened Men

Isaiah 3:16-25

As we draw the month of February to a close we must visit the God-ordained order of the male leadership in culture. We celebrated Valentine’s Day and all acknowledge the man is to honor his heart’s love with some form of gift. This serves a reminder throughout the other 364 days of the place man is to occupy. 

Our nation is plagued by feminism from the home, to politics, to the pulpit. In our text God reveals the cause of the coming judgment upon Israel. The cause of the coming judgment was the displacement of women from their God-ordained position. They had moved out from under the authority of their husband. This was one of the results of the fall. 

Genesis 3:16 – Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

As a continual reminder of the consequence of sin in the Garden, God ordained the man would rule over the woman. The reverse of God’s plan has become a bane on our society. And here is the reason why. Look in Isaiah 3:25 and notice the summary of the impact of the woman stepping outside the God-ordained order of society. The men would be conquered in conflict. 

Dominating women produce weak men and weak men produce weak cultures. 

Today, as you go about your day, be alert to occupying your God-ordained position and take up your associated duties and wear them as a badge of honor. At a time when our nation needs strong biblical leadership feminism has produced a generation of weak men. Let’s begin today to recapture what made this nation great…a biblically guided marriage and culture. Today, men, assume your duties to lead, and women, reassert your position of a God-ordained roll in culture.

Let’s Make History Today!

Psalm 11:3  If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?

We have just passed “Presidents Day.” A day that we remember all presidents, but a day chosen because of the close proximity of the dates of birth of two of the greatest and renowned presidents in the illustrious history of our great nation. George Washington (February 22, 1732) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809) placed their stamp on our nation as no other of the 44 presidents had or will. They were men of great character and Christian love. The honorable Alexis de Toqueville famously said, “America is great because America is good.” By that he meant that the Christian faith held great sway over the populace of our nation.  Even those that held no particular religious persuasion carried out their life in accordance with basic moral guidance as found in the Bible.

Today will be tomorrow’s history. What will future generation have to say about you with regards to your impact on the ‘goodness’ of our nation? You say you are simply one person and a common person at that. I challenge you to consider that God does not need talented nor educated vessels to impact a nation. He would impact the nation of Israel by using farmers (Elisha, Amos), shepherds (David), and timid souls (Gideon). God does not need ability, only availability. Paul reminded young Timothy that all God needed to perform His will over the people was a vessel that had purged himself from ungodliness. Will you be that vessel today?

Be encouraged by this excerpt taken from the book “John Adams” (David McCullough, p23). “I wander alone, and ponder. I muse, I mope, I ruminate,” he wrote in the seclusion of his diary. “We have not men fit for the times. We are deficient in genius, education, in travel, fortune—in everything. I feel unutterable anxiety.” John Adams felt that way but then look what transpired from the ragtag group they did possess! A great nation was raised simply because people, just like you, presented themselves to be used by God. Allow me to repeat, God does not need ‘ability,’ only ‘availability.’ So long as he has a vessel through whom to work then He can take care the details! Let God use you today.

God Keeps You Close to Who You Are

Deut 9:13-10:2

It is innate in mankind to want to think of himself better, or, more highly than he ought. No doubt this is why God moved upon Paul to write to the Romans in chapter 12 verse 3, “…to every man that is amoung you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think;…” and again when he wrote to the churches of Galatia he states, “…if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” Paul, himself, was moved by the Spirit when it came time for a self-examination to state “I am the least of the apostles.” It has been said that one of the wonders of the Bible, one of the proofs of its divine origin is the presence of the failures of the writers written with their own hand. Should a human have been responsible for the text then certainly they would not have incluced their failures and sins. Yet, there they are in bold text on pages of white as if to make them jump off the page and into the spirit of the reader.

Here in Deuteronomy 9 we find Moses, the meekest of men, writing to Israel and confronting them with their sin.  Beginning in 9:13 he repeatedly casts their sinful past before them. He unveils their action and titles them a ‘stiffnecked people’ (13) followed by revealing God’s design to ‘destroy them’ (14). He reminds them they had sinned against the Lord (16) and had ‘turned aside quickly’ (16) as if to highlight their fickle nature.  He reminds them how their sinful ways toward God served to ‘provoke Him to anger’ (18). But this is not the end of his sermon on sin. He humiliated them about ‘the calf’ incident (21), further provocation at 3 different locations (22), and their failure at Kadesh-Barnea (23). He completed his confrontation of their sinfulness with this sentence ‘Ye have been rebellious against the LORD from the day that I knew you.’ Have mercy oh my soul! You can almost feel Moses’ passion and disgust with those he so faithful lead and interceded for on more than one occasion. However, to ensure that Moses did not ‘think more highly than he ought’ God moves him to write verse 2 of chapter 10. Here, subtily and yet piercingly, God reminds Moses of an inauspicious moment in his own walk with God. At the very moment that Moses might have entertained a tinge of superiority God reminds him, ‘I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which THOU BRAKEST…’. Oh, how gracious and merciful of God to keep our weakness before us lest we be lifted up with pride. So, today when you are confronted with the short-comings of others and find yourself climbing into the ring of judgment take time to rehearse YOUR PAST before you write THEIR FUTURE.

Peaceful Transfer of Power

January 20th each year the United States of America exercises an event unique to our nation. It is called the Presidential Inauguration. Inauguration defined: The institution of a new system, policy, or period. This includes the transfer from one period of thought and practice to another and is designed to protect our democratic republic and prevent a dictatorship. The peaceful transfer of power honestly gained is taught in the Bible. First, we are told in Psalms 75;6,7 that promotion comes from the Lord. He puts down one and sets up another. Our leadership is ultimately in the hands of the Lord. Therefore, so long as it is legal and honest we are to participate in the peaceful transfer of power. God has shown us how this is to occur when He replaced Moses with Joshua in Numbers 27:12-20,22,23. Moses’ time in leadership had come to an end. While God could have simply removed Moses and installed Joshua, He instead placed the transfer of power into the hands of the outgoing leader. First, God informs Moses that he is being replaced…

Num 27:12  And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. Num 27:13  And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.

Notice Moses’ reply. He doesn’t argue his position nor defend his decisions but is more concerned for the people he had been leading for the past 40 years…

Num 27:16  Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, Num 27:17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.

Next, God tells Moses that in order to help the next administration he must show a public display of support…

Num 27:18  And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; Num 27:19  And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. Num 27:20  And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.Moses did as God has commanded. Num 27:22  And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:

What was the result?  First, the people followed Joshua…

Jos 1:17  According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the LORD thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.

Next, the people witnessed a great miracle in the parting of the Jordan River (Joshua 3:15,16). Finally, the people saw a great victory (Joshua 6:20). Faithfully following God’s example of a peaceful transfer of power that was received honestly will put a nation in a position to witness great things and experience marvelous victories!