Devotional article to promote spiritual growth

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!

God and Country

Exo 14:16  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.Exo 14:21  And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.

What God did at that moment was remove the barriers that stood between deliverance and those needing delivered. The application for you today is this: what God did for Israel 3,000 years ago He has done for you today. He gave Israel the opportunity to exercise faith that only God could perform the impossible. This is a picture of what occurs in the heart of a person that comes face to face with the impossible barrier of condemnation for our sin. We cannot forge that barrier so we must trust in the finished work of Christ. This act of faith will set us free.  Consider these foundational truths…

2Pe 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Rom 5:6  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  

God wants to save you today if you will let Him. God wants to be your Lord and your only Master if you will allow it! This is why it is critical that we fight for a free America. A land where we have the freedom of conscious. A land that does not silence your voice and protects your right to believe according to your personal dictates. This  truth is why Marxism must silence or destroy Christianity. If a person experiences the liberty of salvation then he knows there is only One authority to whom he is ultimately responsible and the state is NOT that authority. They want you and your children to believe you belong to the state. Let the state raise your children via the public schools, let the state put food in your pantry, let the state provide your salary, let the state put a roof over your head. My reply to this ‘ism’ is…

Mat 6:33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Be Sincere

Php 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

That ye may be sincere – The word which we translate “sincere”, is a compound of the words for “the splendor of the sun” and “I judge”;

“Sincere” has the idea of a thing which may be examined in the clearest and strongest light, without the possibility of detecting a single flaw or imperfection. “A metaphor,” says Mr. Leigh, “taken from the usual practice of chapmen, in the view and choice of their wares, that bring them forth into the light and hold up the cloth against the sun, to see if they can espy any default in them. Pure as the sun.” Be so purified and refined in your souls, by the indwelling Spirit, that even the light of God shining into your hearts, shall not be able to discover a fault that the love of God has not purged away.

This world needs ‘real’ followers of Christ.  Live the Christ Life so that others will find only sincerity and truth in your character.

God Doesn’t Respond the Same Way Every Time

Acts12:6, 10-11,13-14, 16

As you read and meditate on these passages you become awed at the power and intimate concern God has for His children. When there is a need that truly is a need God moves heaven to help earth. Peter was doing the will of God and suffered imprisonment for it. James had been killed shortly before and now Peter was the next in line. Herod saw it pleased the Jews to get rid of these people that were turning the world upside down. The night before he would be executed, most likely by the sword, God dispatched one of His angels who caused a deep sleep (evidently) to fall upon the soldiers stationed on either side of Peter. He then unlocked the shackles and caused another deep sleep (evidently) to fall upon the keepers of the gate.  Peter needed to be set free quickly for his life was at stake. When in this moment of great need God performed the miraculous and opened the gates of a well guarded prison.

Fast forward a few minutes and we find Peter at the gate of John Mark’s home. The door was locked.  Here was an escaped prisoner standing in the street unable to find shelter in a friend’s home. A friend came to the door but left him standing outside and she ran to tell the others (who had been praying for his release…evidently). In verse 16 you find that Peter (continuing to knock) is stranded outside. If God could open the gates of a militarily reinforced prison with guards at each ward certainly He could open the simple gate at a person’s home. So, why didn’t He? The lesson to be taken away from this observation is that God is not locked into how He responds to similar situations in your life. However, never forget this…although God does not do things the same way every time, yet He ‘doeth all things well!’ When you cannot track God you can always trust Him.

One of the Paths to a New Vision of Christ

Acts 7:55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, (56) And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Across our nation Christians are calling out for a revival. We think if our nation would just see Christ in us it would bring them to their senses. I believe the extensive evidence of the reprobate mind we see today to be unprecedented in the 244 year history of our nation. There is a palpable dearth of normal, decent, common-sense. While common-sense may be at an unparalleled premium in present day America it is not without precedent in the Bible times. After having witnessed great miracles by the hands of the Apostles the spiritual leaders of that day wanted only to silence the vehicles of the miracles rather than submit to the source of the miracles. This is where Stephen enters the picture. He was a man full of faith, wisdom, and the Holy Ghost. He experienced what we believers need to experience at this time in our nation’s history: a fresh vision of our Lord. This vision gave him the strength to stand amid mortal persecution. Never was he knocked from his feet, turned from his message, or stopped in his purpose. At the last he simply kneeled down and gave up the ghost. What preceded this new strength-giving vision of Christ? Take a look in Acts 7:52-53. After having given the second longest recorded sermon in the Scriptures, surpassed only by our Lord’s Sermon the Mount, Stephen boldly confronts his audience with their guilt. After the manner of our Lord, Stephen spoke pointedly about their sin. He called out their rebellion toward the Holy Spirit, their persecution and murder of the prophets, their betrayal and murder of the Christ and finally their rejection of the Word of God. It was after this that he was afforded the honor of seeing the Resurrected Lord standing on the Father’s right hand. What does Stephen’s conduct in the last moments of his life teach us? Do you need a fresh vision of the Lord? Do you need a fresh anointing from God? Do you need revival? Take the gospel message to the lost world and refuse to compromise its condemning power. Confront the lost with their condition and prepare to get a new vision of our Lord! Look on the fields, they are white all ready to harvest.