December 9

Psalm 119:140 ~ Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Men do not reject the Bible because it contradicts itself, but because it contradicts them. A seventeenth-century Puritan named William Bridge said that harping on discrepancies shows a very bad heart, adding: “For a godly man, it should be as it was with Moses. When a godly man sees the Bible and secular data apparently at odds, well, he does as Moses did when he saw an Egyptian fighting an Israelite: He kills the Egyptian. He discounts the secular testimony, knowing God's Word to be true. But when he sees an apparent inconsistency between two passages of Scripture, he does as Moses did when he found two Israelites quarreling: he tries to reconcile them. He says, ‘Aha, these are brethren, I must make peace between them.’ And that's what the godly man does.”

The Word of God is Truth. It is inerrant; it contains no errors. We are told in Proverbs 30:5, “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” If you look at the Bible's account of history you will find it has been proven by archeology. When archeological discoveries have been used to try to disprove the Bible, they fail to do so. The prophecies of the Bible that have been fulfilled thus far have proven to be accurate. In fact, they have been so very precisely accurate that we should take note that those which have not been fulfilled yet will come to pass just as predicted! The kings, the leaders, and the peoples of the Bible have been verified.

When you consider the prophecies of Christ alone you will find some very startling facts. The likelihood that all those prophecies could be completely fulfilled in one man are phenomenal. Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks says that the probability of one man fulfilling just eight specific prophecies of Christ are 1 in 1017, or 1 in 100 quadrillion. He then goes on to say that if you were to lay 100 quadrillion silver dollars on the face of TX it would cover the entire state two feet deep.  If you were to mark one of those and then mix them all up, then blindfold someone and tell them to walk across the state and pick up the marked dollar, what are the chances he would be able to do that?  It would be about the same chance as the prophets would have of writing those eight prophecies and having them all fulfilled in that one man. The Word of God is inerrant.

The Word of God is indestructible. Someone said that the Bible may be without error, but it is not without enemies. Consider for a moment those who hate it, who want to eradicate it, and want it removed from society by keeping it out of the public arena.  Why do they want to do this? They want to avoid the possibility that the Bible is true. If it is true, they are accountable to God. If it is true, it matters what they do with Christ. If it is true, it matters if they are obedient to its commands. If it is true, it matters if they live with integrity. If they can prove it to be false, they can continue with their sin-laden lives without conviction of sin and fear of judgment or punishment.

Many have tried to destroy the Bible. They have killed those who wanted it translated into English, some have tried to burn it away, others have tried to discredit it through print, and today they are trying to keep it out of the public arena; they have removed it from the schools, the courthouses, the military, etc., But through it all the Bible has been the best-selling book of all time. Many have tried to destroy it, but all have failed miserably.

I read a story about a man who had recently been saved and was very badly injured in an explosion. His face was disfigured, he lost his eyesight, and he had lost both of his hands. The greatest disappointment he had after the accident was that he could no longer read the Bible. He had heard of a lady who could read braille with her lips and he ordered a couple of books in braille so that he could learn to read braille. Unfortunately, the nerve endings in his lips were also damaged. One day he put a leaf of the Bible up to his lips and his tongue touched the raised characters on the page. In just a short time he was able to read completely through the Bible and has done so many times. He had a genuine handicap that would not allow him to read the Word of God. But He loved God and His Word so dearly that he just had to find a way to read it.

While some are looking for ways to discredit or destroy the Bible, we should spend more time in it than ever before. Do you love the Bible enough to find a way to read it if you were handicapped as this man was? How much does the Bible mean to you? Be thankful that we can have it in our hands and read it any time that we want to. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

Week 48

December 2

Isaac The Type of Christ

Genesis 22:7-8 ~ And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?  8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

In Genesis Chapter 22 we find a very vivid type of God’s Plan of Redemption. In Isaac we see a portrait the Son of God. Isaac was the son of promise just as Christ was the Son of promise in Genesis 3:15. There we see the promise of the seed (singular form pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ) that would come to destroy the works of the devil. Jesus was the one who was promised to come and so was Isaac. In Isaac we see Christ the Son of the Living God.

Isaac was the obedient son just as Christ was the obedient Son, even unto death. Isaac could have easily overcome Abraham who would have been around 113-115 years old at this time. Though Abraham’s strength may have been somewhat abated, I do not believe him to be debilitated in any way. Isaac could have outrun his father, but instead he chose to go with him in humble obedience. Christ did not have to come and die on the Cross, but He was obedient to his Father’s will (Jn 4:34).

Isaac was given the task of carrying the wood up the mountain and Christ was the one who was tasked with carrying His Cross up Golgotha’s hill. Both would be the burden bearers of the wood upon which they would be offered in sacrifice. Christ came into this world to do this work and so He gladly bore His Cross because He knew it would be the fulfillment of God’s Plan of Redemption. He knew that if He went to the Cross that a multitude of souls would be saved, and that God would be magnified and glorified. He carried that Cross up that mountain looking for people to be saved by His death.

Isaac talked (prayed) to his father about what was to be done. The Lord Jesus also prayed to His Father about what was to be done. In the garden Jesus prayed that God would let Him live long enough to make it to the Cross because the devil had every intention to kill Christ in the garden without the Cross. Christ had no fear of the Cross; He was only afraid of not getting to the Cross. He prayed to His Father as Isaac also prayed to his father with a concern about the sacrifice that was to be on the altar. They were both concerned with the sacrifice being there at the right time.

Isaac willingly surrendered to what his father was doing upon Mt. Moriah and allowed himself to be bound and laid upon the wood. Nothing in Scripture ever points to his having to be forced into this task. Just as Christ willingly gave Himself to the cruel persecution and crucifixion, so Isaac willing allowed himself to be the sacrifice upon the altar. He was obedient to what his father wanted as Christ was obedient to the Father’s will (Jn 10:18).

In Abraham’s mind Isaac was dead for three nights and days. God told Abraham what He wanted him to do and the next morning he went to doing it. For three days they traveled until they came to the place that God had appointed. For that three nights and days Isaac was already dead in Abraham’s mind. He fully intended to do exactly what God told him to do; to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Christ died upon the Cross for our sin and then was in the grave for three nights and days.

Isaac was raised from the dead in a figurative sense (Heb 11:17-19), being a type of Christ who was literally and physically raised from the dead. Isaac, though he was already dead in Abraham’s mind, was given back his life when God stopped the execution of His order and provided a ram in his place. By the way, that is exactly what God did for you. He stayed the sentence of execution upon your life and allowed Christ to be the substitute to die in your place. Give God the praise He is so deserving of today for loving and caring for you the way He has, the way He does, and the way He always will do. AMEN! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 3

Dealing With Death Through Faith

Genesis 23:1-3 ~ And Sarah was an hundred and seven and twenty years old: these were the years of the life of Sarah.  2 And Sarah died in Kirjatharba; the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan: and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her.  3 And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spake unto the sons of Heth, saying,…

Abraham is a man of faith who lived a life of faith. He made mistakes and wrong choices in his life, but he corrected those choices when he was convicted by the LORD. There have been some very high times on the mountain tops and there have been some very low times when he was down in the valley. Through it all he has lived his life by his faith and trust in the Lord God of Heaven and earth. He proved his faith when he was willing to trust and obey the LORD in giving up his promised son as a sacrifice to God. There was nothing cruel about the demand of God; it was a test for Abraham so that he would know his standing and his state with God.

In this chapter we see Abraham going through the valley of the shadow of death as he says farewell to his life’s companion. He and Sarah had been through everything together in their life, and now this great man of faith must go through this valley without his soul mate. It is a part of life that we must all face even though we do not want to (Heb. 9:27). I get an uneasy feeling in my stomach if I try to imagine what this man was going through. I know what it is like to lose a parent because both of my parents are gone. But to go through what Abraham was going through here is something that I find extremely difficult to think about. If the Lord does not return first, either my wife or I will have to face this one day. I hope and I pray that it would not be her that is left here to face this situation. We all look forward to the day when we will never again have to bid farewell to a loved one. 

Abraham came to Sarah’s tent to mourn and to weep over her passing. No doubt he was heartbroken, and it is a natural thing to weep and mourn when a loved one passes away. It is okay to shed tears when a loved one steps out into eternity. Tears help to wash away the hurt of the heart. They cleanse the soul from the stain of the hurt. They help to cross over this tragedy and to move forward. They wash away the agony and remove the pressure of pain as an overflow relieves unwanted pressure. Tears over death are a needful ministry to the soul. When death has come and taken a loved one it is perfectly natural and okay to mourn, to grieve, and to weep over their passing. We find in Ecclesiastes 3:4 that there is “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

It is then that Abraham arose from Sarah and began taking the steps to move forward with his life. Grief has a time, but that time must come to an end. There is a time when you need to begin moving forward from this tragedy and to do it in a positive and productive way. It is a natural and necessary thing to sorrow and to grieve over death, but sorrow that does not end is not godly sorrow. We as Christians do have sorrow in death, but it is not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Ths 4:13). We can rejoice in the death of a loved one when we know that a loved one has gone on to be with the Lord. But there is a process that leads to that time of laughter and dancing within the heart.

We start by trusting the Lord for the strength and the power to get through the grieving process. We lean upon Him and allow Him to comfort our hearts. We focus on the love of God for us and allow His Spirit to comfort us and to shed His love abroad in our hearts. Whether the death was a natural death or some sort of a tragedy, we lean upon and trust the Lord to give us the help that is needed. We mourn, we grieve, we weep, and then the time comes to get up and to move on. I have seen people mourn for years over the passing of a loved one and it is not healthy. It is not spiritually healthy, and it is not physically healthy. It robs them of the life that God wants them to have.

Is it okay to shed a tear from time to time? Yes, it is, if it does not keep you in a state of mourning and grief. Be thankful for the time that you had with them and praise the Lord for that time. Remember the good times you had with them and praise the Lord. Praising God for His goodness towards us will help take away the hurt. You can praise Him, for His merciful kindness toward you is great. When you praise Him with a grateful heart, you can praise the hurt away. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 4

A Picture of The Church

Genesis 24:4 ~ But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac.

In this chapter we find the search for the bride for Isaac. It is a chapter that is filled with a wonderful picture of salvation and of the Church. It begins with Abraham calling his servant and ordering him to go and find a bride for his son. Abraham is a picture in this chapter of God and His purpose. Just as God wants to bring a bride to His Son Jesus Christ, so Abraham wanted to bring a bride to his son. The Church is that bride that God has chosen for His Son.

In Isaac we see the heir of all that Abraham has, just as in Christ we see the heir of all things. We saw Isaac figuratively die and rise again in type just as Christ literally died and rose again. Christ humbled himself and became obedient to death and rose again for our justification. Now the Farther has exalted Him above measure (Php 2:8-9). God is pleased with His Son and it is in Him that all fullness should dwell (Col 1:19). It is in Him that the Bride shall find all and be satisfied. He became poor that we might have all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. He made Himself just like us that He might know us and be a substitute for us. We are complete in Him.

In Eliezer we see the mission of the Holy Spirit in the world. This is the steward of Abraham’s house. He had authority in the house. He looked after the affairs of his master with great care. The Holy Spirit looks after the affairs of God with great care. Whatever the Father bids the Spirit to do He will do with great haste and proficiency.

Eliezer was sent by the Father to go and get a bride for his son. Our Lord Jesus told us in John 14:26 that it was the Father who would send the Holy Ghost after Christ had returned home. Christ returned to Heaven and the Holy Spirit came to indwell and to seal believers for the body of Christ; the Bride. He also came to convict of sin so that people could see their need for the Son. He calls people to a place of repentance so that they may become a part of the Bride.

He was sent by the Father and He was sent in the name of the Son. Eliezer went under direct orders of Abraham to do bidding for Isaac. The Holy Spirit comes to us in the name of Christ as the Spirit of Christ. In order to get into the Church, you must have the Spirit; those who do not are none of His (Rom 8:9). He did not come to speak for or of Himself, He came to speak of the Son and to show the believers the things of Christ (Jn 16:13-14). Eliezer went to show them the things of Isaac as he searched for the right bride. He did not speak of Himself; he spoke of Isaac.

In all this Eliezer is the perfect picture and the perfect type of the work of the Holy Spirit in calling out a Bride (the Church) for Christ. He did not come to do anything for Himself and all that He does is to point people to Christ. In the end He will have His task complete as He brings the Bride to the Son and presents Her to Him. Eliezer guided Rebekah all the way home and presented her to Isaac. What a picture of our entry into the presence of the Saviour. What a picture of the rapture of the Church when in complete assembly she will be presented to the Lord Jesus Christ. What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see!

And then we see Rebekah as the chaste virgin bride for the Son. It was her decision whether she would or would not go with the servant. People have the choice of whether they will or will not come to Christ. She represents the church as the one called out by the Spirit of God and separated unto the name of Christ. The Spirit presents to us the Father’s will and the Son’s purpose. Then we must choose to either go with Him or not. He will force no person to go; we have the free will choice of going or not going.

Are you a part of the Bride; the Church? You must realize that your works and your merits will not get you into Heaven. You must be willing to repent and turn from your old life and to receive Christ as your Saviour. That means that you are accepting His sacrifice and merit in place of your own works and merit. You must accept the life He offers as the best choice for you. Receiving Christ is believing that He died for your sin in your place and that He rose again. To receive Him is to believe these things and to call upon Him and to ask Him to save you. He said if you will, He will save you, make you a part of the Bride, you will have a new life, and Heaven will be your eternal home (Rom 10:9-13). - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 5

Digging Wells

Genesis 26:(17-28) vs. 24-25 ~ And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake.  25 And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well.

Those who had wells in Old Testament times had a fortune. Wells were extremely vital to life and to livelihood. The Palestinians had filled in the old wells that Abraham had dug. Now Isaac was trying to re-open those wells. They were a source of fresh water that he and his livestock needed to sustain their life. It was also needed for any crops they may need to cultivate.

Well digging was not an easy job in those days. Today they can just drill a well with the greatest of ease. But back then they had to work to get a well that would produce good clean water. One well produced strife and another produced contention. Isaac just fell farther back and made room to dig another well.

Now here is a lesson that we need to learn. There are times that we must stand our ground, but there are times to leave it in God’s hands and let Him do the fighting. There is no time that we are to render evil for evil (1 Pt 3:9). Isaac chose very wisely to allow God to make provision and trust in His care.

A well was a source of blessing. We today should be well diggers just as was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others. We should dig deep into the Scriptures to find the blessings of God that we need to sustain life. In the Word of God there are many sources of blessing. We see the provision of the LORD as he made room for them (v 22). He has made room for us by providing salvation in the atoning death of Christ. In the Gospel, God made room for us in His heart and in His home through His love for us. He is our provider for all that we need

We see also His promises as He appeared and promised to bless Isaac. The Bible says, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Mt 5:5). Isaac responded with meekness as he gave ground to those who caused strife and contention. In return God blessed Him and gave His Word and His promise of blessing (v 24). Christians are to respond to the strife and contention of the world in meekness (which is not weakness). In doing so God promised that they would inherit the earth. This is the promise of God and it will come to pass. There are many promises in the Word of God.

As you read, study, and meditate upon His Word you should look for the promises He has given; His presence, salvation, victory, power, security, deliverance, favor, etc. Isaac was moved to a place where He fully trusted the LORD. That place is where God wanted him to be so He could bless him. Be careful not to be headstrong in doing things because you have a right; you may miss out on being in the place where God wants to bless you.

When you dig into the Scriptures you find the provision of God, the promises of God, and you will find the presence of God. He told Isaac, “I am with thee” (v 24). When the world takes away some of our comforts we rely upon God and trust His provision, His promise, and His presence. Many times, when the world pushes on us, God will come along and bless us. We should always endeavor to be closer to Him because one of the promises He has given us is that when we do He will draw closer to us (Jam 4:8). He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). He will always be there even when it seems He is not.

We have also the power of the LORD in our life that the world may see His goodness upon us and give Him the glory. “They said, We saw certainly that the LORD was with thee” (v 28). We are not seeking our own; we are to seek the good of others. When we do so they will see the hand of God’s blessing upon us. Isaac trusted that God would supply all His need (Php 4:19). He was not looking for worldly favors; he trusted the promises of God. It was obvious that God was with him and others knew it (vs 26, 29). He was digging wells that would get him what he needed and the power of God upon Him brought the acknowledgment of the world that God was with him.

Be a well digger and dig into the well of God’s Word. It is a well of life that is more abundant and life that is eternal. It is a living well for the spirit and the soul. Follow and obey Its precepts and It will bless you physically, fiscally, and most importantly, It will bless you spiritually. It gives you all that you need to be secure, to mature, to be stable, and to prosper in this life. Dig into this well and find the water that will cleanse you, complete you, compel you, cure you, and communicate the love of God to you and to the world. You will find the blessings of God’s provision, promise, presence, and power within Its pages. It may be hard work, but the rewards are eternal. Start today and be blessed. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

December 6

 The Ladder, The Cross, and The Christ

Genesis 28:(10-22) vs. 12-13~ And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.  13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

In the middle of troubles God can be seen caring for His own. He delivered from the famine, pestilence, bondage, fire, the sword, the lions, and many other afflictions and cruel persecutions. But you will find that God allows things to happen to get people into a place where He can help, bless, and deliver by His power.

Sometimes it is so that He can bless them openly so that others can know Him, sometimes it is to get them into a place where He can use them, and sometimes it is to get people back on the right track. God opened the portals to Heaven for Stephen while he was being stoned to death. John was in exile on Patmos when God gave Him the Revelation of Jesus Christ which is the culmination of the whole of Scripture. It was after the sun had set upon Jacob that he saw the heavenly vision of the ladder which is a type of the Cross.

In this story we can see the sinner’s condition. Jacob is a terrified fugitive running for his life and he finds that he is surrounded by darkness. Notice that the night overtook him in a “certain place” (v 11). It is that place where God wanted him to be so that He could get Jacob back on the right track and so that He could bless him. It is that place where He leads lost souls to be so that they can see the light of Christ and receive the Gospel message; the saving knowledge of Christ. He is working to bring them to a place where they can find a true heart of repentance to turn to Christ for salvation.

We see Jacob wanted to be successful and to have that which he could gain for his own selfish desires. He was self-righteous, and he was deceiving himself. It was in the darkness of night that all he found was misery and despair. When darkness surrounds you look up to God. Do not be overwhelmed with the dread of despair. God is light and He is your hope. Look unto the hills from whence cometh your help; it comes from the LORD (Psa 121:1-2).

In the ladder in this story we see that there is only one way to Heaven which is the Way of salvation (Jn 14:6). It is a type of the Way which is Jesus Christ. It was set up upon the earth just as was the salvation of Jesus Christ through His Cross. It is the way of access for man because its top reaches up to Heaven. The Cross of Christ reaches the Throne of God. No man-made ladder can accomplish this; not works, religion, sacrifice, or anything else. Just as this ladder linked Heaven and earth and linked God to man, so the Cross of Christ is the Way that closes the gap between God and man and gains us access to Heaven.

The angels are sent to minister to those who are the heirs of salvation (Heb 1:14). Those who have received Christ will have angels watching over them. They are quick to take advantage of the opportunity to be of service to God and to His children. It is a fulfillment of what Christ said in John 1:51. They are taking care of the affairs of Christ and His church as ministering spirits.

We see the sinner’s condition, the way of salvation, the ministering spirits, or angels, and the Gospel message of salvation. God is standing above the ladder and He reveals Himself and His will to Jacob. This is a picture and a foreshadowing of God in Christ, the way of salvation, which is God in Christ reconciling us unto Himself. God’s presence above the ladder is God’s acceptance and approval of Christ as the Way to Him.

This Gospel preached to Jacob had a threefold blessing: 1. Possession - he will inherit the land of promise. You are an heir to an inheritance among the saints in light. 2. Protection - He will keep him and protect him. God will keep you safe and has preserved you for all of eternity (Psa. 121) 3. Presence - God’s presence and protection are with him. To the Christian, God is ever present in His Spirit. He is there to keep you safe and to protect you (Psa 121). He protects from the world’s influence, the devil’s temptations and snares, and from your own deceptive flesh.

When Jacob awoke, he testified that this was a dreadful place. The Cross is a dreadful place for man, for God, and for Satan himself. He saw in that place that God was there, and he did not know it. To the sinner God is in Christ to reconcile man to Him and man does not realize it. For those who have received Him as their Saviour it is a dreadful place because the awful question of sin has been judged in Christ on the Cross. It is the House of God for it is a place of refuge and a place of safety for those who are in Christ. It is the gate of Heaven for Christ is the door into eternal life (Jn. 10:9).

Jacob there offered the sacrifice of praise as he raised a pillar to the glory of God. God blessed him through His grace. For the believer God is in the house and thus we can offer the sacrifice of praise through testimony, through song, and through worship. Your life should be a pillar and a monument of praise and worship to the God who has so graciously blessed you and given you life. You owe Him everything that you are or ever will be for His goodness and kindness toward you. What have you given Him today? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 47

 November 25

Use the Time of Refreshing To Build Faith

Genesis 21:33, 34 ~ And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.  34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

Abraham had struck a deal and made a covenant with Abimelech. Abimelech wanted to be safe from this powerful man of God and Abraham wanted the life giving water of his well. During the times of peace and refreshing, when the storms have calmed down, it is good to build upon the promises of God. Building up your faith on His promises during these times will strengthen and help you to be more stable and secure in the storms. You can be steadied by God’s promises because God has given you His Word. There is no greater security in all the universes than the Word of the Living God.

If you have trusted and received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour then you have His eternal promise of eternal security. The Lord promised that all that came to Him He would not cast any out (Jn 6:37). He also promised us that we would never be left alone because He would never leave us nor forsake us (Deu 31:6 & Heb13:5). The promise is that He would never leave us. The reality is that He is with you right now as you read this. We have the Word of Almighty God that we are saved for ever because we have a know so salvation (1 Jn 5:13). The only kind of life that He gives is everlasting and eternal.

We have His promise of provision for all things. He has promised that we can get through all things with Christ (Php 4:13). He promises to supply all our needs according to His riches (Php 4:19). His riches will never run out. They are in an inexhaustibly vast supply. He arose from the dead and He lives and reigns forever. As long as He is living that supply shall never run dry. It is a promise of sweet refreshing to know that He is there to give us strength and supplies to sustain our life in Him.

Do not get caught up in what the world teaches. What the world calls need is mostly greed. I can go into a tool department and find a lot of things that I may say I need. But there is no true need; I just like to have tools because I can always find something to do with them. My wife and I have fun going round and round about what I do or do not need when we go to the tool departments in these large home supply stores. If there is a tool that I truly do need to do a job or project with, the Lord always sees to it that we have what we need.

Do we have what it takes to weather the storms when they come? You have the Spirit of God inside of you. That is the same Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1:2. That same creative power of God now indwells every born-again believer. He is the same One who came upon and empowered the men of God in the Old Testament to accomplish great feats for the glory of God. He is the same One who visibly came upon the Lord Jesus at His baptism. He is that part of God that God has given to every believer. He is that seal that cannot be broken. He is that power that quickened us and gave us new life in Christ. He is that Spirit of Christ that has given us resurrection power so that we never shall die. Through His power we can do all things great and small for there is nothing impossible with God (Php 4:13; Mt 19:26; Lk 1:37 & 18:27).

When we have these times of refreshing we should learn to worship God more, not less. Our life should be a life of worship. Worship is to bring honor to God by the way that we live. We live by faith; trusting in the Word and the promises of God every day and all the way. I live by faith which means that I trust Him to give me the ability to work and provide for my family. He gives me skills to do a job and then opens the door for a job where I can use those skills that He has given me. That provides the needs of my family and it is all by His grace and blessing. I therefore live my life in such a way as to keep His commandments and let others know of His great love that He has for all men. I pay homage to Him in private worship every morning, in public worship at church with my heavenly family, and by letting my light shine and being the salt of the earth throughout every day of my life

My Father loves me with a sacrificial, selfless, unconditional, infinite love. His promises are near and dear to my heart. They are there to sustain me in the troublesome times as well as those times of peace, calm, and refreshing. They will carry me through the storms, over the mountains, through the battles, and through the long dark nights when it is just me and Him. You should learn to take advantage of the times of refreshing in your life to get closer to God and to build up your most holy faith. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 26

Worship Is Submissive

Genesis 22:2-3 ~ And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.  And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

In Bible study there is a principle known as “The Law of First Mention.” When you study a subject, a word, or a doctrine you go to the place where it is first mentioned and understand the simplicity of it. Once you understand the simplicity of it you can get a better understanding of it in all of its complexities.

Here is verse 5 we see the first mention of the word “worship”. It comes from the Hebrew word “shachah (shaw-kaw/)”. It means to depress or to prostrate; to bow down, fall down, do obeisance, do reverence, etc. We get the English word worship from the Anglo-Saxon word “weorthscipe” which means “worth ship”. This means to “ascribe worth to a person or object”. Therefore, worship means to give to God all of our love, attention, and devotion because He is worthy of all of this and so much more. In the New Testament the Greek word “proskuneo (pros-koo-neh/-o)” which means “to kiss; like a dog licking his master’s hand”. It is to kiss the hand of the Master with reverence and devotion. This gives us the meaning of absolute love with complete trust and devotion.

Many think that worship is only done when we go to church but that is not true. They believe that going to church, singing the songs, bowing for prayer, and listening to the preacher is true worship. But worship is what we do every day. How we live out the things that we claim to believe is worship. It is having the walk that matches the talk. It is living a life that brings honor to our Father in Heaven.

The source of worship is always guided by the Word of God. It will be based on clear revelation and our faith in that revelation. In verses 1-14 of this chapter we find that God has made a request of Abraham that is very hard and unbelievable. He is asked to take his son, the son of promise, and to sacrifice him to God as a burnt offering. In just a few moments we can read all of these verses and see that God was only testing Abraham and that he did not have to sacrifice Isaac upon the altar. But Abraham did not know the end of the story when he started out. But he did exactly as he was told to do. God revealed Himself to Abraham and he responded to that revelation in faith.

God reveals Himself to us in His Word and we respond to His revelation humbling ourselves before Him is complete and total reverence, obedience, and adoration. Genuine Scriptural worship is all that I am responding to all that God is as He is revealed in His Word. When you understand Who God is and what He has done for you, you must worship Him in response to that revelation with all that you are in humility, gratefulness, and utter reverence. It is an attitude of the heart towards God, not a response to the atmosphere. We worship God in our spirit when we respond to His revelation of Himself in His Word as Christ said in John 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Genuine worship is submissive. God’s command to Abraham was hard but it was clear (v. 2). Abraham was no doubt sick at his stomach over what he had to do, but he immediately went to doing what God told him to do. He did not argue, beg, or look for a way out of it. God was precise and clear in His Word to Abraham and Abraham was humble and submissive in His obedience to the Word of God. He had walked with God when things were going well and now, he was going to walk with God when things did not look so good. He trusted God to fulfill His promises to give him a family that would outnumber the stars in the sky and the grains of sand upon the seashore. He believed it would still come from Isaac, even if he were dead.

A heart that is given to true worship is a heart that will obey in all circumstances and not just when it is convenient. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments … He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Your submissive obedience to the Lord your God and to His Son Jesus Christ is proof of your love for Him. So, your source of worship is the revelation of God in His Word, and your response is your faith in that revelation. It is your submission to what He gives you to do in His Word. Therefore, your worship of God is what you are more than it is what you do. You do what you do because of what you are. Your submission and obedience to God and His Word is your worship of God.

 

November 27

Worship Is Sacrificial

Genesis 22:2, 9 ~ And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, …; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.  And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

Genuine worship is based upon the Word of God and it is submissive to the will of God. But genuine worship also requires sacrifice. Abraham was willing to give up his only son because he loved the LORD. Isaac was the greatest blessing that Abraham had next to his relationship with God. Abraham was going to do as God commanded because he loved God more than anything else; even more than his son. It was a great sacrifice required in his worship life and he was willing to do it to be obedient and submissive to God.

Those who worship the Lord in spirit and truth will sacrifice in their worship. David said, “… neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing.” (2 Sam 24:24). The wise men came to the Christ child and humbled themselves before this infant sacrificing their pride, their glory, and their treasure. In John 12 we find that Mary was also willing to sacrifice her pride, her glory, and her treasure to worship the Lord Jesus. In the book of Hebrews we find that the Bible tells us that worship is a sacrifice (13:15).

It costs something to worship the Lord. It takes time to offer to God the praises that are due Him. It takes time to get to know God through His Word in Bible study and time spent in prayer. You must know the truth if you are going to worship in truth. Taking the time to know God will bring you to a place where you must place all on the altar; pleasures, secret sins, etc. Many people do not genuinely participate in worship because they do not lay everything upon the altar. True worship requires you to give your all. 

You may lose some prestige with family, friends, and society by giving yourself to worship. How do you think Sarah would have responded to this call of God if she had known? Would she understand? To please the Father in the exercise of worship is infinitely more important than to receive the approval of family and friends. It is far greater and better than the praise and accolades of society.

It will even cost you treasure as God may require of you to give to others. Whether it be food, money, clothes, or whatever God may put into your heart to give, this too is a part of worship. Christ gave His all for us and as Christians we are to give our all to Him. We do that by giving to support our church and those who are in need. It could be that all they need is a shoulder to lean upon in sad times. It could be encouraging others when they are going through trials. It could be to love and help someone who seems unlovable, even your enemies (Mt 5:44).

We also are to give ourselves in the endeavor of reaching the lost for Christ. Helping others can be done through sharing Christ with them. How can a person come to a place of true repentance if they do not hear a clear presentation of the Gospel? A part of worship is telling others about Christ. In true and genuine worship God is honored and you are blessed! Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).

To worship God, you must submit to Him; to give yourself to Him first. Have you truly given your all to God? Does He reign Supreme in your heart; in your life? He must be Preeminent which means that you put Him first in every way. The only way you can truly learn to put God first in every way is to learn to put Him first in every day. It is then that you can willfully, joyfully, and cheerfully give your all to the Lord your God. You are His child and you desire to give yourself to Him and for Him. The closer you are in submission and sacrifice the less it will seem like sacrifice. Give all that you are, or ever will be, and you will give all that you have or ever will have for the glory of your Father and for the cause of Christ your Saviour. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 28

Worship Is Steadfastness

Genesis 22:8-9 ~ And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.  And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.  

You must be steadfast in your worship practices. Abraham had built altars and worshipped God most every place that he went. He always had a place where he could worship God. We too are to have a place where we can worship God. Abraham was submissive, sacrificial, and now he was steadfast in his worship. God was preeminent in his life and he believed that God would keep his promises through Isaac, even if he had to raise him from the dead to do it. He believed “IN” God and his faith kept him steadfast in his worship practices, even when it was to cost him something.

You must be a part of a local body of believers who will come together to worship the Lord. Your church exists to help you exalt Christ in worship. They are there to enrich your heart through fellowship. They are there to empower your life through the teaching of God’s Word. But your church is there for you to also put these things into practice. The church allows you to help others to exalt Christ, to enrich them with your fellowship, and to empower believers by teaching them what you have learned. Together you all embrace the needs in the church and that ultimately will flow out into your community.

You must be a part of reaching your community for Christ. While you are embracing the needs of others in your community you can evangelize them for Christ. We are to be the light of the world; the light of the Gospel. We are to let our light shine that others may see our good works and God will receive the credit and the glory. The closer we walk to the Lord the brighter our lights will shine and the more impact we will have on the world around us for Christ.

You must be a part of ongoing efforts to carry the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. You and I may not be able to travel to the remote regions of the earth to tell others about Christ, but we can support those who have been called of God to do so. That is our missionary family; families who worship God through their submission, sacrifice, and steadfastness to carry the Gospel to a lost and dying world. They are the ambassadors who stand between the living and the dead. They are the light of the Gospel and we support their work through our faith promise giving as we partner with our missionary families.

You must be steadfast to worship in private; to have a family altar and a family prayer time. Abraham left the men behind and took his son to go and worship with him. Steadfast worship is not something done only when others are watching. Wherever you go, whatever you do is a part of your worship life. It is all the more important to instill this worship ethic in your family. So lead them in a devotion, a prayer, and song for the Lord. Not just at church, but at home or wherever you are. There is no recreational or vacation time that should take away from your family worship time.

You must have a quiet place to get alone with the Lord. Jesus said to enter your “closet” where you can pray in “secret” (Mt 6:6). That is where we get our “prayer closet” term from. Every person should have a “prayer closet” where they can get alone with God every day.

Many people miss out on the blessings of God because they are not steadfast in their worship practices. They do not practice worship in the good times, and therefore do not know how to worship in the bad times. Abraham had just spent time refreshing himself and getting closer to God while all was calm. He spent his time there in worship (21:33).

When you are steadfast in your worship practices you can have peace in your heart during the times of trouble. You will see Who is in control when the storms are raging, when the valleys are dark, and the nights are long. You will know that God is in control even though it looks like there is no end in sight. Even when you do not understand what God is doing, such as with Abraham, you can still bow the knee before Him and trust Him to be in control. To worship in spirit and in truth your worship must be is based upon the Word of God, it must be submissive to the will of God, it will be sacrificial, and you will become steadfast. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 29

Worship Is Separation

Genesis 22:5 ~ And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

To worship in spirit and in truth your worship must be based upon the Word of God. It must be submissive to the will of God, it must be sacrificial, and you must be steadfast. But to worship God you must also be separated from the world. Abraham arrived at the place of worship and separated himself from those around him. He wanted no hindrances to his worship. God has said that we are to come out from among the unbelieving world and He would be our Father and we would be His children (2 Cor 6:17-18). Our salvation is being called out of the world. Our situation is that we must live in the world. Our separation is that we do not have to be a part of the world nor take part in what they do. Our service is that we are sent back into the world to be a Gospel witness for Christ (Jn 17:6, 11, 14, 17, 18).

If we do not separate from the world and all worldliness we cannot worship as we ought. You cannot worship in spirit and truth if you are entangled in the world. The Bible teaches that we are to not be bonded or yoked together with unbelievers (2 Cor 6:13-16). We are to separate from those who do not believe the truth of the Word of God. The reason is that we will become like them and our fellowship with God and our worship life will be ruined.

God repeatedly told Israel to separate from the heathen nations and drive them away or they would become just like the them. They did not do what God said and they became idol worshipers bowing to the same gods that the pagans worshipped. God said that light and darkness have no communion together. Many times I have seen this passage of Scripture in 2 Corinthians Chapter Six ignored and every time I have seen good Christian people lose their testimony and have their lives ruined. Their worship of God ceased in most instances because even though God warned them, they still blamed Him when their lives fell apart.

Remember that the way we live our life is a part of our worship, but there are times when we need to get alone with God so that we can just worship Him. We must get away from the world so that we can just focus on God and be alone and at one with Him. Many are too busy in their lives to take special time out to get alone with God. But I have learned in my life that the busier I am the more I need Him. When you let the world dictate your worship life you are contaminated, and your heart is not in the right place. You become like the seed that fell among the thorns and was choked out when the thorns grew up; you have let the cares of this world rob you of your fellowship with God. We all need one on one time with God in worship. 

A genuine life of worship that is submissive, sacrificial, steadfast, and separated is a life that is secure in the Lord. We can worship the Lord our God in spirit and truth because we trust Him for the outcome of every situation. If it looks like things are not going to end well, trust the Lord and just praise His name. He has a reason and a purpose for everything that happens. In this life that we live we know that bad things happen to good people. Sickness, disease, even death will come into the Christian’s life, but we can still worship God because He is in control; whatever happens has His divine approval. There is nothing that will come against you that God has not approved. It has a divine purpose even when we do not understand what that purpose may be.

We are secure in Him so we can give Him all the glory, honor, and praise. We worship the God of all creation and He alone decides what will happen in every situation. He is the Sovereign God who is the Living God who is the God above all gods. There is none other! Abraham went up the mountain to worship because he had faith that even if Isaac were dead, yet he must live. He was the promised child through whom the nation of Israel would come. Abraham had God’s Word on this and so he was secure in his worship towards God.

We know that no matter how bad it may seem or how bad it may get, we are in the Master’s hands. In His hands you have the hope and the security of a home in Heaven. You have His Word on this! You who know Christ as your Saviour can worship God because you can be secure in your salvation. You now possess the gift of eternal life and Heaven is your home because it depends on Christ and the power of God (Rom 6:23b; 1 Jn 5:13; 1 Pt 1:5).

To truly and genuinely worship God you must live a separated Christian life and be secure in the fact that God is in control of every situation that you face in life. You can trust Him because you have His Word. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 46

November 18

God Is Faithful and Just

Genesis ~ 21:1-2 ~ And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.  2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and Sarah and gave them the son that He had promised to them twenty-five years earlier. God blessed them in a way that only God could take the credit for it. God’s timetable does not run on our schedule. God is faithful and just to fulfill His Word even when we cannot see the possibility of it ever coming to pass. Sarah was well past the days of childbearing and yet God kept His promise He gave her a baby, protected her and the child through the pregnancy and the birth, and little Isaac came into the world. He is in the lineage of the Saviour who was to come and save man from his sin. That promise to Abraham and Sarah is just as important to you and I as it was to them. If God had not been faithful and just to keep His Word to them, He would have failed to keep His Word to us. But Abraham kept his faith in the One who is faithful and just to keep His Word and to fulfill His promises.

God is faithful and just to absolve our sin debt in Christ. We were guilty sinners before a holy and just Judge when we broke His law. We were condemned to the curse of the law which is death. We committed the crime, but Christ did the time. When we broke the law it was Christ who fulfilled the law in our place. He kept the law when He walked on the earth. But when we stood condemned to death by the law it was Christ who took our place and paid the debt of death that we owed. He fulfilled the sentence of the law in your place in death. He was separated from God and He tasted death so that you and I would not have to. He died so that we might live. Salvation is deliverance from the law and its penalty of death and a bestowal of everlasting life and happiness. This we have because God is faithful and just in fulfilling His promise to Abraham.

God is faithful and just to help us to abstain from sin. When you are saved God gives to you His Holy Spirit as a down payment and a seal of the eternal inheritance that we have in Christ (Eph 1:13-14). We will be fully delivered from the effects of sin when our physical bodies are redeemed and glorified. But for now, we have the power of the Spirit who gives us the power to live a victorious life over temptation and sin. You should have a desire to abstain from all sin because of what Christ did for you on Calvary. He was the innocent One who died for your guilt and shame. He took your place in death so that you could live. You should want to abstain from sin because of what He is doing. He is your heavenly intercessor with the Father to always intercede as your advocate or lawyer. He is always there to watch out for your benefit in trying to get the very best for you. When you ask for something, He will put in a good word for you with God. The power to overcome temptation and sin is the promise of God to those who believe on and trust in Christ for their salvation (Jn 1:12-13). We have this power because God is faithful and just in fulfilling His promises to us.

You are to live by faith in the promises of God and not by sight. If Abraham had lived by sight he would have given up any and all hope of ever having a son with Sarah. In his mind of reasoning he could not produce a child because he had now reached the age of 99. In his reasoning Sarah could not conceive because at the age of 90 she was well past the years of childbearing. But God promised and God delivered because He is faithful and just to keep His Word. Abraham believed in God and it was accounted to Him for righteousness. Abraham kept his faith and his belief in God even though there were times that He failed God. Yet his faith is what God saw and his faith moved God’s heart to care for Him.

God sees your faith and is moved with compassion toward you. He sees you as His child today and He expects great things of you. As you go out into the world today remember that you are His child and He is your Father. Tell others about Him and share with them the Gospel of Christ. Share the blessing of life that you have in Christ so that others can know and share in that same life. God is worthy of every tongue that will come to accept and praise Him. He has been and always will be faithful and just toward you. Are you living a life that is faithful and just towards Him? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 19

Accept the Reality of Your Passing

Genesis ~ 21:9-12~ And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.  10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.  12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Here we see that there is a conflict between Ishmael, the son of the flesh, and Isaac, the son of promise. In this we can see some things that may help us to understand the conflict that exists between the flesh and the spirit. Understanding the conflict can help us to have victory over the flesh.

Ishmael was born by the power of the flesh to Abraham while Isaac was born of and by the power of God through faith. Ishmael represents the natural man born of a woman and Isaac represents the new man of the Spiritual birth which is salvation by grace through faith in Christ. Abraham’s faith had brought him the promise of God and that brought glory to God.

When a new Christian tries to live by faith there is a conflict that goes on within. It is a conflict of the flesh and the spirit. The spirit is willing to live the new life that we receive in Christ while the old nature tries to continue as before. The flesh wants to reign over the body as it always has while the spirit wants to follow Christ and the life that He has given to us. As we begin to live and walk by faith, we find that there is that old nature of the natural man that bucks against what we want to do. Just as Ishmael was mocking and making fun of Isaac, so the old nature taunts and mocks the new desires of our spirit.

The new desires of the spirit are those that the Spirit of God cultivates within us. He is in direct link with your spirit and wants to lead you in the paths of righteousness while the flesh wants to remain wild and carefree. Why is this so? Because before you were saved you fed the old flesh nature every day. You allowed the old nature to rule and reign in your life and were content with the way it wanted to live. The flesh wants to take the path of least resistance and to remain in control of the body. The flesh knows that the new nature wants to dethrone the old nature and to allow Christ to rule and reign in the heart and in the body. In your spirit you want to give control to the Spirit of Christ, but the flesh knows that would mean it would have to die.

So the old nature must be dealt with if you are going to have victory over the flesh. This victory must be won daily, and you must master the art of defeating the flesh so that you can have victory in other areas of your life. If you do not find victory over the flesh you are vulnerable to the devil and the world. Without this victory you may fall by the wayside and fall prey to the power of the flesh. It is like the parable of the seed where the seed that grew on stony ground did not have much root and when the heat of trials came the new plant faded away. Or the seed that fell among the thorns and grew up only to be choked out by thorns. Without victory over the flesh you could be choked out by the cares of the world. You must defeat the flesh daily.

You must accept the reality of your passing. You are saved by grace by the power of God. Your old nature must be put out; it must be put to death. Abraham is told to cast out the son of the flesh. This is the beginning of victory over the flesh. You must crucify the flesh daily. Paul said, “I die daily” (1 Cor 15:31). Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk 9:23). "Deny himself, and take up his cross" is the same as casting out the flesh, crucifying it, and that being done “daily”. If you are not dead to self, you are not dead to sin.

Death changes things. A dead man cannot get up and do the things that he has always done. He is bound by the confines of death and therefore he cannot speak as he once did, he cannot do as he once did, he cannot think as he once did, so he cannot sin as he once did. Death has changed the condition of what you used to be. You must be dead to the flesh and to self. Dethrone the old nature and allow the Word of God and the Spirit of God to have preeminence in your heart and in your daily life. Accept the reality of your passing and move forward in your new life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 20

Accept the Reality of Your Position

Genesis ~ 21:9-12~ And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.  10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.  12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

As you move forward in your Christian life you must accept the reality of your position. In Christ you have been born again as a saint. Your position now is in Christ, placed there the moment you were saved. You have a new placement in life which is that Spiritual baptism, that adoption into the family of God. You have a new participation in the family to honor and bring glory to God your Father by living a life of faith.

Just as Christ was raised from the dead on that third day so you have been raised to new life in Christ. You were dead in trespasses and sins. But you have believed and received the Lord Jesus as your Saviour. You have received His salvation. Your old nature is dead in the mind of God; He sees you in Christ. This means that He sees you dying for and in your sin when Christ died on the Cross. He now sees you as He sees Christ; risen to live forever. You are now a child of God and the Word of God gives you the assurance of knowing that you have eternal life (1 Jn 3:2; 5:13; & Rom 6:23b).

You have been given the gift of eternal life; you shall not taste of death. Your body may die and go to the grave, but your soul will live on eternally. When your soul leaves your body, it will immediately be in the presence of the Lord. Death is just an experience of stepping into the eternal glory of Almighty God for a true believer. Death has no hold on you who are in Christ. The grave has no hold on your body, for it will rise again just as Christ arose. You are now an eternal child of God in a body of flesh that will one day be changed into an immortal, incorruptible, eternal body (1 Cor 15:53-57 & 1 Ths 4:13-18).

Just as you were once in Adam you are now in Christ. You once lived by sight accepting only what you could see as real. You lived by feelings going with the way things felt. You lived by the physical, seeking those things which made you feel good and rejecting those things that did not.

Now, in Christ, you must live by faith. You must learn to accept what the Word of God says by faith. Faith is not based upon feelings; it is based upon what God tells us in His Word. Having complete dependence on what God has done brought you salvation. Having complete dependence on what God has said gives you assurance. 

Once you accept the reality of your passing you learn to put away the old nature and to follow the new nature. Once you accept the reality of your position you learn to live and walk by faith in your new life in Christ. Once you learn these two things you are ready to deal with the flesh and you are ready to be more than a conqueror. You will be in a position to live a life of victory over the weaknesses of the flesh every day.

You have a choice to allow your flesh to rule or to allow the Spirit to rule in your heart. You have the power to dethrone the old nature of the flesh. You have the power to inaugurate God as preeminent in your heart and in your life; allowing the Spirit of God to lead, guide, and direct your thoughts, words, and conduct. The choice is yours to make today and every day. Have you made that choice today? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 21

Accept the Reality of Your Potential

Genesis ~ 21:9-12~ And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.  10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.  11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.  12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.

Now you must learn to accept the reality of your potential. You now possess eternal life. It is not something that you receive at the end, it is a present possession. You have great power afforded you because you have all sufficiency in Christ. That means that whatever you need to live a life of faith and victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil is yours. If God asks you to do something it is because He has already made provision for you to do it. He will not ask you to do something that He knows you cannot do. He will not ask you to live a way that you cannot live. Most of the time people just do not want to do what the Bible says.

Here is a rhetorical example: There was a lady who went to her pastor and asked, “Can you show me in the Bible where it says that we have to go to church all the time?” He looks at her and says, “If I show you in the Bible that it says you are supposed to go to church all the time, will you be in every service?” She answered, “Probably not.” “Then it does not matter what the Word of God says,” he exclaimed, “you are not going to do what He says.” The Bible says as we see the day of the Lord approaching, we are to stand fast, attend church, and encourage one another more than we ever have before (Heb 10:23-25). It also says that the church is so important to God that HE shed HIS blood for the church in allowing HIS only begotten Son to die for it (Acts 20:28).

Many times Christians are just not willing to do what the Bible says to do and use the excuse that they cannot do it. Many times they convince themselves that they cannot do anything and that they will just stay on the sidelines praying. Prayer is great, prayer is essential, and prayer warriors are needed, but do not fall into the trap of disobedience by doing what you were not appointed to do. If you can get up and do, then you need to pray about it and then get up and do it.

You must accept the reality of your potential. In Adam you were spiritually dead which means that you had no real life at all. But in Christ you have been raised to life from the dead. And in this new life you have been given a divine purpose from God. That purpose is to live to the fullest of your potential in Christ. Your life is to be lived by faith which brings God glory and honor. Just as a well behaved and respectful child who accomplishes great things honors his or her parents, so we are to live in a way that would honor God our Father. What He says to do, you do in full assurance that He will give you all that you need to accomplish what He says. What He says not to do you stay away from in full assurance that it will not be good for you or for others.

Faith is the victory and faith comes by hearing the Word of God. You must know the Word of God in order to be obedient to the Word of God. Sit under the teaching and the preaching, read, study, meditate, and allow it to take deep root in your heart. Then you will be able to reach your full potential for Christ. Then you will be able to live the victorious life of faith and blessing.

Accepting the reality of your passing, accepting the reality of your position, and accepting the reality of your potential will give you great power to accomplish great things for God. You have no excuse to sit on the sidelines while the work of the Lord is going on. God has given you everything you need to live the life of faith and blessing and to have all power to do whatever He has said in His Word. Many who take to the sidelines are deceived, weak, and indifferent. You are a child of God and you must live as a child of God. Live with power, in the reality of your passing, in the reality of your position, and live up to your full potential. God will show you great and mighty things that you would otherwise never see. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 22

Use the Times of Refreshing to Get Closer

Genesis 21:33-34 ~ And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.  34 And Abraham sojourned in the Philistines' land many days.

There are a lot of troubles that we have to endure in the Christian life. But the truth is that living life in a sin cursed world is just plain hard to do. Job said, "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble." (Job 14:1). We have a relatively short time on this earth and a lot of that time is spent trying to carve out a life. There are storms to endure, battles to be fought, valleys to go through, and a lot of long nights for the soul to endure. These things that a Christian must endure are the building blocks of life. God does not revel in the suffering of His people. He is allowing things to come against us to make us better and stronger. He is conforming us into the image of His Son because we are His children (Rom 8:29; 2 Cor 4:17-18). The trials, the troubles, and the tribulations that we face are building and molding our character. Our faith is increased and we are made stronger by going through these troubles.

It seems really hard at times and there just does not seem to be any end in sight. But the truth is that the Lord does give us a time of peace and rest here and there along the way. He makes it possible for us to "… lie down in green pastures…" and to pass by "… the still waters." He gives us these times as a time of refreshing and we need to be thankful for these times and to use them wisely. Just as the storms of life are allowed to build and strengthen us, so too are these times of refreshing sent into our lives for growth, strength, and maturity into the likeness and character of Christ.  

In verses 22-31 we find a deal that is made between Abraham and Abimelech over a well. Wells were of vital importance to those who lived like Abraham. His life and his livelihood were dependent upon having a good supply of good water. In this transaction Abraham set seven ewe lambs apart as witness that the well belonged to him. He called the name of that place Beersheba which means the "well of the sevenfold oath" and completed the transaction of the deal that Abimelech made with Abraham. Abraham settled down by this well and enjoyed this place of rest and refreshment in his life.

When you are in the storm it can be hard to concentrate on your walk with the Lord. But in the times of rest when all is calm you need to take advantage to draw closer to the Lord and strengthen your relationship with Him. If you would learn to draw closer to the Lord when all is well and good, then you will find it is not near as hard to in the storms. You must use these times of refreshing to feed your soul and to get closer to God. You must use these times to develop your daily walk so that in troubles you do not have to struggle to find the right path and the right direction. Using these times to build your relationship with God will ease the burdens of the trials when they come.

 You can use the times of calm to get closer to the Lord by spending more time in prayer. God desires communication with His children and prayer is that time of communication. Spend more time in Bible study through reading, meditating, and letting His Word take deep root in your heart. Make sure that all sins are confessed and forgiven. This is that place of closeness that will allow you to feed and strengthen yourself for the storms that will come. If you wait until everything falls apart to try to get closer to God, you will find unnecessary difficulties. This is a life that can maintain consistent growth and will bring honor and glory to your Father. Job spent time with the Lord when all was calm. When the storms came into his life he called upon God. As hard as it was for him, imagine how hard it would have been without that close relationship.

When you learn to use the times of refreshing wisely you will find that you are not so easily blown off course when the storms come. The disciples walked with the Lord every day. They had a close relationship with Him. When the storm came upon them on the sea the Bible says the wind was contrary to them. They were trying to cross to the other side and yet the wind was blowing them toward the way they came from. The easy thing would have been to just quit and go back. But they continued against the wind. Then the Lord came along and joined them. He stilled the storm and they made it to the other side. They used their times of refreshing to get closer to the Lord and they were not easily blown off course in the storm when it came upon them. Use your times of refreshing to get closer to the Lord. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

 WEEK  45

November 11

The Ministry of A Servant

Genesis ~ 18:6-8 ~ And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.  7 And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and: he hasted to dress it.  8 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

We see the swift response that Abraham made but we also see the supplication in his worship. He was a man who had servants to wait upon him and now he makes himself a servant to these divine travelers. He makes supplication and asks them to stay and be his company. He brings them the things that they need to clean up and refresh themselves as they rest under the tree. There are two things you should make note of here: first, you should be ready to help those who are truly in need “… for thereby some have entertained angels” (Heb 13:2). Second, and most important, even though the Lord is always with you, there should be a deep-seated desire to be closer to Him and to have Him closer to you. He has given His word that if you would draw closer to Him that He would draw closer to you (Jam 4:8).

His mindset allows him to be swift in his worship of the Lord. He makes supplication in his worship for them to stay a while. Then He offers the sacrifice of his possessions in adoration. He is trying to be pleasing to the Lord and to have a place in His heart. He offers them bread and then He goes to his cattle and offers the best of what he has. In this we see a picture of what it takes to come before the Lord and to be pleasing in His sight; it requires that blood be shed. After the blood is shed Abraham gives of the best he has to the Lord. 

We are to offer the Lord a place in our hearts in our salvation. We open the door of our heart and invite the Lord Jesus Christ to come in and take up residence (Rev 3:20). It took a blood sacrifice for us to have the Lord in our heart. Once saved you must make a daily commitment to give yourself to the Lord. He has given you the gift of life because He loves you and all He wants in return is for you to love Him back. The Bible says, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). He proved His love by taking our punishment in our place so that we could be delivered from the bondage of sin. That alone should move you to praise and worship Him in all that you do. That alone should compel you to go above and beyond that which is your reasonable service. We are His but He gives us liberty to choose. What have you chosen? Are you a living sacrifice before the Lord or do you live your own life (Rom 12:1-2)? Where would you be today if He had not saved you and gave you a new life (2 Cor 5:17)? 

God does not want your possessions, God wants you! He wants to have a Father and child relationship with you. He paid a great price to free you from the bondage of sin that kept you from being in His presence. Abraham offered the best of what he had, but really and truly he was offering himself to the Lord. The water to wash with and the food to eat was all a part of his proving his love to the One who had proven His love to him. He was saying to the Lord, “All this I give to Thee because of all that Thou hast given me.” And the Lord was pleased with the ministry of Abraham as will be seen later in this chapter.

He is swift in his worship, he makes supplication in his worship, and he offers the sacrifice of his possessions in worship, and then stands before the Lord and waits upon Him. He is waiting in preparation to serve and to be at the beckoning call of the Master. We are supposed to wait upon the Lord, but not sit idly by sleeping and slumbering (Pro 6:6-11 & 24:30-34). The Bible has given us a work to do. We have the revealed will of God in His Word that we can be doing as we wait upon the Lord to give us a specific purpose or task.

Waiting denotes service. Just as a waiter or waitress serves your table, you are to wait upon the Lord. It means to be baptized after salvation, to be an active member of a church, to read your Bible daily, to study, meditate, and memorize Scripture, and to serve in whatever capacity you can in the church. You are to keep yourself above reproach and away from the very appearance of evil so that you can be a right example for others to follow. You serve Him when you have an open heart, open hands, and outstretched arms for those who are in need. You do show forth the love of God in Christ when you look to the needs of others.

All in all, you are to seek after God’s purpose for your life. As you may be in waiting for the Lord to reveal His will and purpose for you, you are to serve Him whenever and wherever there is an opportunity for you to do so.  This is the ministry of a servant in worship. Worship of the Lord is your way of life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 12

The Prevailing Patience of a Saint

Genesis ~ 18:9, 10 ~ And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent.  10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

Abraham is a faithful servant of the LORD. He has held on to the promise of a son and though that has not yet happened, he patiently waits upon the LORD to fulfill that promise to him. God here reminds Abraham that he will indeed have a son and that time has now come. God knew that Abraham would be a faithful servant and would train his children in the nurture and the admonition of the LORD (vs. 18-19).

Many do not have the patience that is required to receive the promises of God unless they are to receive them now. That is one of the things wrong with our society today; they want it, and they want it now. They have no patience to work and wait for the greater blessings of the Lord. You must patiently endure, but especially when the temptation arises to throw in the towel. Just hold on for the Lord is faithful and He will never fail you.

Abraham had laughed for joy when the LORD assured him of the promised son that was to come from Sarah. But this time He tells Abraham that this is the time for the promised son to come so that Sarah can hear it for herself. She had heard Abraham tell her what the LORD had promised but now she hears it from the Incarnate Christ’s own lips; “Sarah thy wife shall have a son.” Now she laughs, maybe for joy of the thought that this might be true, but more so of doubt. How can she think to conceive at her age? How can this be? It would be impossible for her to conceive, and even more impossible to go through the labor of childbirth at her age.

We must remember that nothing is too hard for the Lord our God. He who spoke the worlds into existence, He who made the human body and gave it life, can He not do this which He has promised to do? The only thing that will keep God from doing the impossible is our unbelief. We are warned in Hebrews 3:12, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Do not let impatience impede your faith in the promises of God. This is what will cause unbelief to come into your heart and unbelief will keep you from the greater blessings of the Lord.

The closer you walk with the Lord the greater your relationship with Him. It is better to walk with Him in a close daily abiding for many reasons. But the main thing is to have that bond of love with the Father that He desires to have with you. It is that bond that will get prayer heard because you know the will of the LORD (1 Jn 5:14-15). So many people are so busy today that they just do not spend very much time talking with God. When trouble comes into their life and they really need to get their prayers heard and answered, they do not know what to do or how to do it.

Those who read their Bible every day (listening to God) and pray every day (talking to God), will find that they can go to God with whatever requests they have, and God will hear and consider their requests. They know what to do and how to do it. It is easier to go to God with a need when you are in constant communication with Him. It is like a child that never speaks to the parent. When they have a need it is very hard for them to approach the parent because they do not have regular communication. It is like going to the bank and asking for a loan; will I get it, or will I not get it? How do I approach them? What do I need to say?

With God it is not so if you stay close to Him every day. He wants to hear, and He wants to answer your prayers. He loves you and His desire is to have constant communication with you daily. Do not neglect that relationship. Work to have that closeness, that bond, that rapport with the Lord from a close daily abiding with Him. It is that closeness that allows Him to share His heart and His will with you. As you draw closer to Him, He promises to draw closer to you. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 13

The Close Communion of a Saint

Genesis ~ 18:16-20 ~ And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.  17 And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;  18 Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?  19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.  20 And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

Abraham has such a close communion with God that he is known in the Scriptures as “the Friend of God” (Jam 2:23). At this point of Abraham’s relationship with the LORD he is told of the plans of what is to happen to Sodom. God reveals His heart to Abraham because of their close personal relationship. God does not want to withhold anything from him. Abraham’s belief IN God says that he loves the LORD with all his heart. God knows his heart and knows Abraham’s love for Him. They have a close communion with each other.

God desires to have this very same relationship with you. How close you are to God depends upon how close you want to be. Many do not get as close to God as they could for various reasons. Some do not want to give up the things of the world. They enjoy having the best of both worlds and therefore do not draw as close to Him as they should. Some are afraid of what they cannot control. Some may be afraid they will be called upon to step out of their comfort zone. Some may be afraid they will be called upon to do some other work such as preaching, teaching, or to be a missionary. 

One thing is for sure, the closer you are to the Lord the less attraction this old world has to you. I speak from 35+ years of experience that the closer I am to the Lord the less the world appeals to me. But the satisfaction and the enjoyment that comes from being closer to God far outweighs anything that I have given up. Besides, those things that I gave up were only temporary satisfactions. The things which I now have in my relationship with my Father are eternal. Nothing that I have given up or done without can compare to the joy that I now have and the joy that will be for all of eternity.

If you want to know the heart and the will of God for you and for your life in this world you will have to step away from the world and draw closer to God. You have such great potential for the Lord. The closer you are to Him the greater your joy and happiness. The closer you are to Him the greater His blessings in your life. The closer you are to Him the greater understanding that you will have. You must focus on the eternal and turn from the temporal. The things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. If you want to be closer to God, you must draw closer to Him. It is a matter of separation from all that is worldly and flesh driven, and separating unto all that is godly and holy.

God loves you and wants to give you His very best. Open up to Him and let Him have His complete will and way with you. Let go of your control on things and let Him have control. Let go of the world and embrace the things of God. Let go of what you want and embrace what God wants. Let go of the world and its ways for they are doomed to destruction by a fervent heat (2 Pt 3:10-18). Helen H. Lemmel wrote the chorus, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.” You must learn to “Let Go and Let God.” - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 14

The Power of Grace Is Enough

Genesis 20:17-18~ So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.  18 For the LORD had fast closed up all the wombs of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah Abraham's wife.

Abraham is out of the will of God for his life. He believes IN God and yet he has allowed his flesh to lead him astray. He is not where he is supposed to be, and he is not doing what he is supposed to be doing. Therefore, he is out of the will of God even though he knows and believes IN God. I put emphasis on “IN” because that is what it takes to have any kind of a relationship with Him.

There was a time that I believed that God was real, and I believed everything that the Bible said. I believed everything that it said about God and about Christ our Saviour. But if I had died during that time I would have went straight to hell because I had not placed my faith “IN” God. I had not trusted Christ as my Saviour and I had not opened my heart to Him. Abraham had given God his heart and the sign of his circumcision was a sign of his faith and belief “IN” God.

Here we see Abraham out of place and out of God’s will for his life. And yet God intervenes on Abraham’s behalf. He protects Sarah and Abraham from what the king could do to them. He provides above and beyond all that they need as the king gives them great wealth and provision. He also gives them any place that they may choose to dwell in. God does not do this to reward Abraham’s sin of distrust; He does it because of grace. He has a plan and that plan must be fulfilled regardless of what Abraham does or does not do. It is through him that the Jewish nation will come. Therefore, it is through him that God will bring us the written as well as the living Word of God. God deals with Abraham as one of His own rather than for what Abraham has done.

There was a time after I was saved that I had gotten out of the will of God. I was in the wrong church and they were teaching me that I had to live perfect and sinless. I realized that I could not do that so rather than find the right church I quit going to church. I met a girl about a year and a half later and five months after we met, we started to date. I went to church with her one Sunday morning and God spoke to my heart and said, “This is the place that I want you to be!” I stayed in that church for over 17 years. God called me to preach and I studied and trained in the ministry of that church for over 13 years before being ordained and going into full time ministry. God had a plan for my life and even though I was out of His will He worked things out for my good because of grace. He dealt with me as with a son rather than as a criminal.

Grace is not a license to sin. Grace holds us to a higher standard because we have the liberty to both follow Christ and obey the Word or to live in disobedience and rebellion. God has a plan for your life and you can either be submissive to that plan or you can choose to live your own way. The only way that you can be a part of what God is doing is to let Him have His way in your heart and life. The only way that you can be blessed above measure is to keep your faith, maintain your integrity, and follow the Lord with all your heart.

The power of grace is always enough. God will always deal with saved people by His grace because we are His children. God spoke to Abraham through the dream that Abimelech had. When God spoke, Abraham heard Him and complied with what God said. We are not told that Abraham repented, but it is evident that when he prayed, he repented, and he asked for forgiveness. How do we know this? The Bible tells us that God will not hear our prayers if we have unconfessed sin in our life (Isa 59:2; 1 Jn 1:9). God heard and answered Abraham’s prayer. When God spoke to me sitting in that church on that Sunday morning I heard, I repented, and I obeyed. When God speaks to you, how do you respond, what do you do? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 15

Honor God With Your Life

Genesis ~ 20:3 & 9 ~ 3 But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man's wife.  9 Then Abimelech called Abraham, and said unto him, What hast thou done unto us? and what have I offended thee, that thou hast brought on me and on my kingdom a great sin? thou hast done deeds unto me that ought not to be done.

No matter what you do or say, no matter how hard you may try to cover it up, even if people do not know about it, God will always know when you have done wrong. With over eight billion people on the planet you might think that you could hide from the simplest and smallest sin. But the fact remains that God knows the heart of every one of those eight billion people at every given moment. He knows your thoughts and the intent behind every thought. He knows ALL because He is God, and nothing escapes Him. Abraham had a lapse in judgment and reverted to what he had done before and depended upon self rather than God. Remember that God is omniscient which means that He is all knowing.

Abraham was in a place that he was not instructed to go. (You must be aware of where you go and with the company you are around. They will influence you and your decisions; good or bad.) He had some apprehension about this godless people who did not believe in the Lord God Jehovah. He had a lapse in judgment which caused a doubt of God’s protection. He decided to be dishonest rather than to tell the truth. He did not rely upon God who has all power in all places.

God has the power to create a mighty sun and put a planet at just the perfect distance and the perfect angle so that it can sustain life. He has the power to create life and put it on that planet to call it home. He has the power to give life and consciousness to His creation so that He may commune with it and have pleasure in their fellowship. He has the power to save and the power to condemn. He has the power to bless and the power to curse. He has the power to open the barren womb to conceive and the power to close the fruitful womb so that it becomes as barren as a dry parched land with no water. There is nothing that God cannot do because He is omnipotent which means that He is all powerful.

God went to Abimelech in a dream and told him what Abraham had done. God can go anywhere He wants to go. He is always in all places. There is no place that you can go to get away from God, not even your dreams. If you could go to the uttermost universes that are seen with the mighty telescopes, God is there. If you could go to the deepest parts of the ocean where no man has ever gone, God is there. If you could descend to the innermost parts of the earth, God will still be there. You cannot find a place that exists where God is not, except maybe for a place known as the Lake of Fire. That is a place of eternal separation from an eternal, omniscient, omnipotent God. It is a place that God has created for eternal banishment.

We know that God is not in that place because He is light, and it is a place of eternal darkness; yet it is a place of eternal fire. But even in that place God exists in the conscious minds of the damned as they are tormented with the thoughts of having refused His wondrous grace and love. It is a place that He created for the devil and his angels and it is a place that His knowledge, presence, and power encompass at all times. God is in all places at all times because God is omnipresent.

When you do something that is wrong and you have that bad feeling that you have done something wrong, that is probably God trying to get you to change course. He will do everything within His power to keep you on the right track. He will even let you get caught doing wrong so that you will repent and correct the mistake. He is always watching out for your best interest so that He may bless and prosper your life. He will do this because He loves you and wants only the best for you. He is your Father and you are His child.

God is all knowing, all powerful, and ever present. Your sin will be found out because it can never be hidden from Him. If you are saved, you are a child and a saint of God and you should try to live up to that standard. Look in the mirror today and tell yourself that you are a child of God, a saint who has been cleansed from all unrighteousness in the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then go out into the world and live like you truly believe that. Honor your Father and your Saviour today with the life that you live. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 44

November 4

Walking Before God Under Protection and Provision

Genesis ~ 17:1-3 ~ And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.  2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, …

In verse 4 God says, “As for me …” which is to say that this covenant is a one-sided covenant. It is completely and totally dependent upon God to be fulfilled. He will bless Abram because that is what God wants to do. He wants to bless Abram because Abram has an unshakable faith in God. Remember that if you want to please God you can only do so through faith. Faith sees the invisible, believes the impossible, and receives the incredible. It will move the unmovable and prove the un-provable. Just believe and see what faith does. This is how we please God and when He is pleased, He will bless because He wants to.

Abram’s blessing and covenant with God depends upon God and He will fulfill all that He said He would do because of Abram’s faith. This is the kind of faith that is perfect, real, genuine, unconditional, and will never quit. It is the kind of faith that saves from sin when placed in the Lord Jesus Christ and His completed work on Calvary. It is a faith that rests from personal good works (self-righteousness) and rests totally upon Christ‘s dying for sin and rising again for justification (Rom 4:25). It is that faith in Christ that allows God to bestow the gift of eternal life and seal the soul for eternity. It is a done transaction that does not depend upon us to be fulfilled and completed. What He begins He will perform until the day of Jesus Christ (Php 1:6). We are kept by His power all the way through to the end and beyond (1 Pt 1:5).

God reveals to Abram a new name for him. Abram means “exalted father”, but God changes his name to Abraham which means “father of a multitude.” God intends to bless Abraham exceedingly abundantly above all that he could ask or think of God because of Abraham’s faith. He is not only going to bless him with a large family line of descendants, He is going to bless all the nations of the earth through him. His seed will be innumerable. It will be as the dust of the earth, like the grains of sand upon the seashore, and like the stars of the night sky. They are too numerous to be numbered. Our God is an awesome God who loves us and wants to bless us beyond our wildest imaginations.

Too often I think people get caught up in the world’s ideas of blessing and they are looking for all the tangible blessings that they can see and handle. All too often they miss out on the blessings that God bestows on those who simply look to Him for everything. Abraham was not looking for worldly or material blessings. He was not looking for stuff, he was looking for God. He just wanted to walk before God and when he did God blessed him, and through Abraham God has blessed us.

You should stop looking at the trials and troubles of the present and focus on the things that God has already accomplished for your future. When you walk before Him in faith, trusting in Him no matter the circumstances, you are under the Almighty’s hand of protection and blessing. God has already taken care of your problems and they are not a problem for Him. If they are not a problem for Him then they are not a problem for you. Every obstacle that you come across in life is a hand hold or a foothold to climb up to higher ground. Rather than shy away from problems, look for what God has already accomplished. He has made a way for you to get through and to overcome that problem. Be patient, it will come to you. Once you realize these things you will walk before God and glorify Him in humble praise, adoration, and worship.  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 5

Walking Before God In His Promise and Prosperity

Genesis ~ 17:6-8 ~ And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.  7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.  8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

God promised Abraham that he would have children, there would be crowds of them, and they would wear the crowns of the kingdom. At that moment in his life Abraham could not see this taking place and could not even begin to imagine these things taking place. But God told him that these things would come to pass. The circumstances of Abraham’s life did not matter, God said so and that is that. 

If you are saved there are things that God has promised you that you could not begin to imagine (1 Cor 2:9). Think about where you were when God saved you. What was your life like at that time? Did you imagine on that day that you would be where you are today? Maybe you have not been saved for very long, but you should still see some things in your life that otherwise would not be there had God not saved you. On that same line of thought, there should be some things removed from your life, things that had you bound in slavery to sin, (habitual sins, bad attitude, bad thoughts, bad language, bad actions, etc.) that you could not have had victory over had God not saved you.

Think about where you are; is your life fruitful for the Lord? Are you being productive in the work of the Lord? If you are abiding in Christ, then your life should be fruitful and bringing glory to God. If your life is not fruitful for the Lord, then chances are that you are not abiding in Christ as you should (Jn 15:1-5). Think about where you are headed. Heaven is the most glorious place and that place is your future eternal home. It is not some imaginary place; it is very real. Heaven is more real than the place that you are at right now. Wherever you are right this minute is a temporary place that will one day be totally consumed and burned to ashes. Heaven is real and it is eternal; it will never cease to exist.

 God is faithful to fulfill His promises. He promised Abraham that He would bless all the generations of his children. God is One who holds His Word above His own name (Psa 138:2). God’s Word is most important because without His Word what would His name be? What would all of His name mean if He broke His Word? His name and His Word will endure forever!

You can count upon God’s faithfulness because He is faithful, and He is true. He will never backpedal on a promise and He will never go back on His Word. You can count on Him because He will never fail you. Any man may fail you and any one of us may fail God, but God will never fail us. He promised Abraham that He will always be his God. That makes their relationship a personal relationship. Your walk with the Lord does not depend upon the circumstances in your life; it depends on the closeness of your personal relationship with Him. The closer you get to Him the closer He gets to you (Jam 4:8). Your relationship with the Lord is more than personal, it is everlasting.

What God has promised you in His Word will prosper you. His promises are for your benefit. When you prosper in life it brings Him the recognition that He desires and the glory that He deserves. His eternal promises are there to profit you for all of eternity. But when you walk before God you have His protection and provision which allows you to walk in His promises and His prosperity. That prosperity is in the temporal and in the spiritual realms. God wants to bless and prosper you in your life in this world as well as in your spiritual walk of faith. Abraham walked before God and God promised to bless his work and his family in this world. The principle is true for you as well. He will bless you, your family, and whatsoever you find to do He says it will prosper (Psa 1:2-3).  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 6

Walking Before God in His Pleasure and Plenitude

Genesis ~ 17:6-8 ~ And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.  7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.  8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

As you read in this chapter, God’s promise extended to Sarai as well (15-22). God changes her name from Sarai, which means “My princess”, to Sarah, which means “Princess.” God promised that she would have children, that there would be crowds of them, that they would wear the crowns of the kingdom, and that she would be “a mother of nations.” Abraham fell upon his face in humble adoration of the fulfillment of the promise of God. He laughed for the joy that was in his heart. Some may want to argue that point. But the truth is, that in his seeing that God was about to give him the promised heir through Sarah, he asked for God to bless his other son, Ishmael. He did so that Ishmael might know the grace and the blessings of God for his life. This is not a request of doubt, but of faith in the Word of God and faith in God Himself (Rom 4:20-22).

Abraham is one hundred years old and Sarah is ninety-nine. Their childbearing years are way behind them. But God did promise, and Abraham did not stagger at the promise but was strong in faith. As we said before, he is about to see with his eyes that which he has only been able to see by faith. The things that you now see by faith will one day be seen with your eyes. There is no problem and there is no situation that is hopeless when we walk before God in faith.

When your faith is anchored in the Word and the promises of God, He is well pleased. Faith is the channel through which God bestows His blessings upon your life. It is like watering a garden. There is a source of water at the faucet, and there is a garden in need of water. The channel through which the water gets to the garden is through the hose. Now your life is like that garden which needs water. You need God’s blessings and He is the source of all blessing. The channel through which those blessings come to you is your faith. The greater your faith in God and His Word the more He will bless you. God holds today and tomorrow in His hands. He can make the impossible possible. Jesus can feed five thousand with a little boy’s sack lunch of sardines and crackers (Jn 6:1-13), yet we limit what he can do in our life by our limited faith in what can really be accomplished.

Stop thinking in the realm of this temporal world and start thinking in the spiritual realm of the grace of Almighty God. What the world deems impossible is possible with God. The only limit on what God can and will do in your life is your amount of faith. Many times, Jesus condemned the disciples of their “little faith.” Little faith limits what God wants to do in your life. I believe that God only wants to see a grain of mustard seed size of faith, a genuine belief that He can and will do what He says He will do. That is the kind of child-like faith that will remove mountains and bring the blessings and the power of God upon your life. What kind of faith do you possess today? Is it a real genuine belief and trust in God and His abilities? Do not let your little faith or lack of faith hinder what God wants to do in your life.

God told Abraham He would bless him and his family for generations to come, and He did. He told Sarah at 90 years of age that she would give birth to a son, and she did. He told Apostle Paul that His grace was enough for him, and it was. Remember that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that you could ask, imagine, or think of Him to do (Eph 3:20). And that is according to the power of the Holy Ghost within you.

So, God can and will bless you spiritually, but he can and will bless you financially and materially as well. But it requires that you walk before Him in faith trusting whatever measure of blessing He chooses to provide, not looking for more so that you can claim more for yourself. That is selfish and God cannot bless a selfish attitude. Extreme trust in God pleases Him and brings His manifold blessings upon you. Walk before Him seeking His pleasure and you will receive His plenitude of blessing. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 7

Walking Before God With Purity and Privilege

Genesis ~ 17:9-11 ~ And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.  10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

We have seen the new revelation of God’s person, of God’s promise, and God’s plan. We have seen His reassurance to Abraham concerning his fruitfulness, God’s faithfulness, and Abraham’s and Sarah’s future. Today we look at God’s new requirement for the covenant. God tells Abraham the he and all of his descendants must be circumcised. This would identify them as followers of Almighty God and as children of the Abrahamic covenant. This was a very painful and a very private matter. Though others could not see this mark, those who were circumcised saw the mark and knew that they belonged to God.

This is not a requirement to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Today we are required in the New Testament to circumcise the foreskin of our hearts (Rom 2:28, 29; Gal 5:6; 6:15; Col 2:11). This circumcision is not of the flesh but of the heart and spirit. This is a separation from the things of the flesh and turning to the spiritual things of life. It is turning from our old life without Christ and turning to the new life which He has for us. It is to walk in the grace and blessings of the abundant life of faith in purity and privilege. 

Every male in the nation of Israel had to participate in this rite. It was for the young and the old as well as the bond and the free. If they were to expect the blessings of the covenant they had to participate in this rite. Without the circumcision they could not expect God’s personal blessings. There was no privilege to be a part of the covenant people. There could be no fellowship with God or with His covenant people.

No Christian today can expect to have the blessings of the abundant life if they do not live a life of purity; cutting loose the flesh in the heart so that they can walk free of fleshly encumbrances. When we allow our flesh to rule, we tend to lean towards the world’s ways. God cannot bless His children who are partakers of the world.

When we circumcise the flesh of our hearts, we allow the spirit to rule. In our spirit we are strong because we are led and guided by the Holy Spirit of God who is our source of strength to overcome the temptations of the flesh. If you turn to spiritual things you will have the power and guidance of His Spirit which will ensure an abundant life of faith. But when we feed the fleshly appetites we are walking away from God and will not have the abundant life of faith.

You may be saved and on your way to Heaven and we praise God for that. But you still have the free choice of whether you live by faith in God and His Word or live by sight and partake of the things of the flesh and of the world. God is like the perfect Gentleman who will never force you to do anything. He offers you His very best and tells you what is required to have His very best and leaves the decision up to you. The love and appreciation that you have for Him will determine the level of your commitment. The level of your commitment will determine the abundance of your spiritual life. The abundance of your spiritual life will determine the quality of your life in this world. You have the privilege of living godly and being blessed of God beyond measure.

Christ gave up Heaven, the most sin free and the most splendid place ever made just to come to this old sin cursed world and suffer the consequences of sin for YOU. He did it because He loves YOU. He did it because He wanted to give YOU the gift of eternal life. He did it so that YOU would never have to know that eternal separation from the presence of God. All this He did so that YOU could freely receive the blessings of God. All He asks in return is that YOU make the choice to love Him, to love your fellow man, and to turn from all that would stand opposed to God. Have YOU circumcised the flesh of your heart? Have YOU truly put off the flesh of the old life and put on the new man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10)? After all He did for YOU, what is your level of commitment to HIM? Do you walk before God in purity and in privilege? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 8

The Mindset of A Servant

Genesis ~ 18:1-3 ~ And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;  2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,   3 And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

Here we have the personal encounter of the Lord and Abraham. Abraham is a great man and a man of great wealth, but not so great that he does not recognize his place. His affection, his mind, is set upon the Lord. One of these three visitors is the pre-incarnate Christ. Those who are with him are angels. Abraham recognized the visitors because he had a close personal relationship with God. And now, when the pre-incarnate Son of God appears to him, he knows exactly who He is. He goes to Him in humble adoration and in worship.

When the Lord shows up people should run to him in droves, but I fear that too many are caught up in the affairs of this world. Paul and John both warned about getting our lives entangled with the affairs of the world (1 Tim 2:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17). When a person gets caught up in the world, they do not spend the time that they should with the Lord. This causes people to have indifference in their heart about the things of God.

They do not realize the importance of having God in first place in every area of their life. When the Lord shows up in a church service and begins to deal with their heart they are not as apt to run to Him as they would if they were closer to Him. There is a disconnect among people today from the importance of dealing with the Lord when He is dealing with them. We are told in Isaiah 55:6, "Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near." You should seek to be near Him always for He is waiting on you.

When the Lord comes to us, we have a duty to humble ourselves before Him. To do so you must have a clean and pure heart. When you start your day, you should do so by humbling yourself to seek the Father’s will. That is getting your heart ready for what you must face that day. Putting God first in every day will put God first in every way. It also means that you should never allow your day to end without getting your heart right with God. We are vexed by being in this sin-cursed world and therefore we need daily cleansing. Now the Lord says we need a clean heart to come before Him and allows us to come based upon the Lord Jesus' selfless, substitutional sacrifice (Heb 4:14-16). It is through this provision that we can come before Him to receive forgiveness and cleansing (1 Jn 1:9; Jam4:6-10). That keeps us in a position where we can worship Him as we ought.

When the Lord calls you must act quickly. If He is preeminent in your heart and life you will be ready to act when He comes to you. So many times I see God dealing with people and they do not respond to Him. They will stay in their place rather than yield to the Spirit's call. Many lost sinners will grip the back of a pew during an invitation because they do not truly know what they are missing. They are afraid they will have to give up something pleasurable for Jesus to accept them. What they do not know is that there are greater things awaiting those who will freely give in to His call.

And many saved people do the same thing, afraid they may have to do something they do not want to do or that they may have to sacrifice something they do not want to give up. What God is offering is of far greater value. There is nothing that He may call you to do that He would leave you to do alone.

Get your heart prepared to run to Him when He comes to you. The Lord is always with you, but there are times that He will come to you and deal with you about some sin, some work, or some action that you need to complete for His glory. Sometimes He will come just to have fellowship with you. Keeping your relationship alive and vibrant will allow you to have quicker response to Him. Be ready, for you do not know the day or the hour that the Lord may visit you or call upon you to do something for Him. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 43

October 28

Self-Made Troubles: Human Reasoning

Genesis ~ 16:1, 2 ~ Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 

Many times we are warned in Scripture to be sober minded and to consider the thing we are doing. Abram has believed God and he believes “in” God. His faith has brought him through battles, trials, and challenges. But Abram is still human and still struggles with the flesh. There is still that fleshly tendency to want to do things with the mind of reasoning rather than with the heart of faith. It is in that mind of reasoning that causes Sarai and Abram to try to “help” God out in giving Abram a son and an heir.

This was not God’s will for them. He had promised that Sarai and Abram would have a son who would be the heir. But they decided to go ahead and do things their own way. Many Christians today get a notion and without thinking, and sometimes without asking in prayer, they launch out on their own ventures. It looks okay and it sounds reasonable, but it lands them into troubles that they need not have if they would just be sober minded and clear in their thinking. Straying from the will and purpose of God will lead to trouble and trouble will have far reaching consequences. 

In Abram’s day it was considered a disgrace for a couple to be childless. Their society was about marrying and procreating the race and the family name through children and heirs. Abram and Sarai tried to overcome their problem by handling things their own way. Today some couples choose not to have children while others have barrenness forced upon them through physical impairments. Whatever the reasons in Abram’s day, those who had no children were looked down upon, mocked and ridiculed, and were not openly accepted in their society.

It was also customary for men to have more than one wife. The first wife would be the primary wife while all the others would be considered as secondary wives or concubines. If the secondary had children, they were considered to be the children of the first or primary wife. By giving Abram Hagar to bear children Sarai could have children and acceptance in her society.

Today Christians lower their standards to receive acceptance in their community. They want to “fit in” and so they will lower their Christian standards. One such way is by keeping their faith tucked away rather than talking about it openly. They will allow things spoken of and said around them that they know is not pleasing to God and they go along with it as if it were okay. Should a Christian listen to a dirty joke and laugh at it? Do we reason that if we are not the one who is saying it that it is okay? Be very careful not to fall into the trap of human reasoning. Unbelievers use reasoning to promote their unbelief in God. We live and walk by faith, not by sight and certainly not by human reasoning. It is better to be pleasing to God and rejected by men rather than to be pleasing and accepted by men and find yourself rejected by God. There must be a clear line that divides the people of the Lord from the world around them (2 Cor 6:17).

We are admonished to separate from the world because the world is contrary to God. Their reasoning and their ideas on relationships, on how to conduct business, on fairness towards others, on acceptance by other people, on love in general, are all based on the desires of the flesh and the corrupt, spiritually dead human spirit. You can love others without knowing God, but you cannot truly love until you do know God.

Abram and Sarai followed human reasoning and it is going to cost them in the long run. You would do well to get into God’s Word and allow His Word to get into you. The Word will increase your faith and your general trust in God and the promises He has given to you. Do not fall into the trap of human reasoning but give yourself to the Lord and learn patience in waiting upon Him. All things will work for your good when you go with God. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 29

Self-Made Troubles: Reaping What You Sow

Genesis ~ 16:1, 2 ~ Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.  2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 

Abram and Sarai were following human reasoning. They desired acceptance in their community, and they were dragging baggage from past failures. Hagar was an Egyptian and was a part of the possessions that Abram brought back out of Egypt. Abram was in sin when he went into Egypt and any time that a person steps into sin there are consequences. If Abram had never gone into Egypt there would be no Hagar to marry. In this he is reaping the harvest of sowing to the flesh.

When you sow there will be a harvest. The principle of sowing and reaping is that sowing much will reap much while sowing little will reap little. Whatever you sow you will reap; there will be a harvest of what is sown (2 Cor. 9:6). There is the Law of Sowing and Reaping which says that if you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption while sowing to the Spirit will reap life and eternal rewards (Gal 6:7-8). There will be a harvest and it will be a harvest of what is sown.

Along with the Law of Sowing and Reaping there are the Seven Laws of the Harvest to remember. 1. You reap only what you sow (good or bad; flesh or Spirit). 2. You reap the same kind as has been sown. 3. You will reap in a different season than you sow (the harvest comes later). 4. You will reap more than you sow (there is an increase). 5. You will reap in proportion to what you sow (much or little). 6. You will reap a full harvest only if you persevere (fight the good fight of faith, finish your course, keep the faith). And 7. You cannot do anything about last year’s harvest (leave the past with God, entrust the future to Him, and live for Him in the moment you are in).

In doing this one thing Abram and Sarai were allowing doubts to set into their hearts. God promised Abram; He gave him His Word. When God gave the promise, Abram responded in faith. Now that some time has passed, he has begun to have some doubts about the promise. Maybe they are thinking that God meant for them to do something to fulfill the promise. God had not yet specifically said that the son would come by Sarai.

Doubt is a major source of trouble among Christians. When you doubt the Word of God you are on dangerous ground. The devil caused Adam and Eve to doubt the Word of God and it led to Adam doing what he knew was wrong to do. When you see the promises of God in His Word, but you do not see immediate results in your life, do not be guilty of letting doubt take a hold on your heart. Doubt is deadly to faith. Do not try to fulfill God’s promises and make them happen on your own.

You need to learn three things about the Word and promises of God.

  1. God always keeps His Word (Heb 6:18; Rom 4:21; Psa 119:89).
  2. God always does things in His own time. Men needed a Saviour for 4000 years before Christ came, but God sent Him in “the fulness of the time” (Gal 4:4).
  3. God does not need our help to accomplish His will (Psa 50:12).

Be sober minded in all that you think, say, and do. Spend time talking with the Lord about the things that He says in His Word. Remember that you will reap what you sow. Therefore, study and meditation will help you to avoid the pitfalls and the traps of the devil. He wants you to doubt God so that you will be marred in failure. He does not want you to live by faith and be successful and productive for the Lord. Avoid self-made troubles; live by faith, walk by faith, and watch God’s promises come to life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 30

Self-Made Troubles: You Are Responsible

Genesis ~ 16:4-6 ~ And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.  5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.  6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

God wants us to live and to walk by faith. When we do we please and glorify Him. When we do not, our life is unproductive and marred by failure. There were three persons involved in this endeavor. Each one reacted differently to the situation, but they all reacted badly. When the problems arise from trying to do things in the power of the flesh or to do things on your own, most people will react in one of three ways.

Abram was unaccountable. He made out like there was no problem. But his attitude was that if there was a problem then it must be Sarai's problem. Since it was her problem then she must be the one to deal with it. He turned away from the problem as if he had no responsibility in it whatsoever.

Many want to ignore the problems when they come because they do not want to accept accountability. No matter how hard you try to ignore the problems that come from doing it "your way", it does not work. If they are not dealt with they will become bigger problems.

When King David knew of the problem of Amnon forcing his way upon his half-sister, David did nothing about it. He ignored the problem and Absalom took the matters into his own hands and killed his own brother. This is true of any problem that arises. It must be confronted, and it must be done decently and in order. It does not matter if it is a problem in the home, on the job, in the community, at school or in the church, it must be dealt with or it will get out of hand.

Abram was unaccountable, but Sarai was unreasonable. She was miserable because of the pride of Hagar. Hagar flaunted her ability to have a child in Sarai's face. Sarai tried to blame Abram and then she tried to blame Hagar. She was miserable and everyone knows that misery loves company. When someone is unhappy they want everyone else to be unhappy with them. As the old saying goes, "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

People who are unhappy about their decisions and the problems they face usually compensate by being grouchy, mean-spirited, and short-tempered. They are very hard to get along with, but this is not a Christian attitude. If you find yourself facing problems due to doing the wrong thing, you must learn to deal with the situation with a Christ-like spirit (Gal 5:22, 23). Do not attack others and try to draw them into your misery.

Abram was unaccountable, Sarai was unreasonable, and Hagar was unavailable. Rather than face the problem and deal with it, she chose to run from the problem. Many people will try to run from their problems rather than face up to them. When someone is having a problem in the church, they do not seek a solution; they just seek a new church. When problems arise on the job, they just go find another job. When problems arise in the marriage, they just find a new spouse. However, whatever the problem may be, no matter how far you may try to run, the problem will still be there. It will be in the new church, in the new job, and with the new spouse. When you run from your problems they just last longer and get worse.  The Israelites ran from the giants the first time (Num 13, 14). But before Israel could possess the Promised Land their descendants had to face the giants and defeat them (Deu 9).

God sent Hagar back to Abram and the family. He intended to use this situation to help each of them to learn how to properly deal with their problems. Abram had to face it. Sarai had to deal with it. Hagar had to live in it. God is not out to make your life a happy bed of ease and comfort. There is going to be adversity in the Christian life and you must be able to handle adversity and to deal with it God's way. He is molding you and making you to be fit for the kingdom of Heaven. He is making you more like Christ as you yield to Him and His ways. Remember that God's ways are not our ways, but God's ways are the best ways and they are the only right way.

Abram and Sarai were in this situation because they wanted to be accepted by their society, they were carrying around baggage from their failure in Egypt, and they were beginning to doubt God's promise. They took matters into their own hands rather than trusting in what the Lord had said. Therefore, a problem developed that Abram wanted to ignore, Sarai wanted to blame on someone else, and Hagar wanted to avoid altogether. This is why we need to sober minded in all that we think, say, and do. We need to make sure that we do nothing without consulting God first. The first thing Nehemiah did before he answered the king was to pray (Neh 2:4). If you will make that a common practice in your life, to do nothing without consulting God, you will be blessed in your every deed. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 31

Self-Made Troubles: You Must Deal With It

Genesis ~ 16:11-12 ~ And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.  12 And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

When we get out of the way of faith we fall into sin. We are told in Romans 14:23 “… whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” The consequences of sin are troublesome and hurtful problems. God’s Word teaches us the right way and proves to us the consequences of the wrong way. In this story we can see the consequences of doing things the wrong way. God says, “Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard” (Pro. 13:15). And in Numbers 32:23 He says, “... be sure your sin will find you out.” Sin brings unwanted and unnecessary troubles into the life of a Christian.

Due to wrong choices and wrong actions we find that a difficult son is born. Ishmael was the son of Hagar, the bond woman, the son of the flesh. The LORD warned that he would be a wild man. He was going to be very hard to deal with and would be aggressive towards others. When we fall into the trap of doing things without consulting God, there will be difficulties. Ishmael is the picture of those difficulties that will come when we are diverted from the way of faith.

Sin will come with consequences, so we need to be vigilant about staying in the paths of righteousness by living and walking by faith. Stop and consider what sin may bring into your life. Remember the Law of Sowing and Reaping from Galatians 6:7-8. It says that if you sow to the flesh you will reap corruption while sowing to the Spirit will reap life and eternal rewards. (Remember also the seven Laws of the Harvest.)

When there is a situation like you have with this family there will almost always be a dysfunctional home. When you get over to Genesis 21 you will find that there is still a major flaw in the family and the home due to the consequences of their sin. Their sin is still a problem a dozen years later that plagues them with heartache and trouble. No matter how small or insignificant the sin may seem, we will have a remembrance of that sin that will remain. God forgives and cleanses and will never remember nor bring up that sin again. But the sad truth is that it leaves a mark and a stain in the heart and life for some time to come.

Most marital problems could be resolved if couples would simply face their problems and deal with them. Abram wanted to ignore the problem, Sarai wanted to blame it on someone else, and Hagar wanted to avoid it altogether. You must be accountable to God and to your spouse. You must be reasonable, and you must be available if you are to face it and resolve it. It does not matter who started it, it matters that you take responsibility to face and deal with whatever the issue or problem may be.

This is true of any self-made problem; you must deal with it. You must confront it and be accountable because when you are part of the problem you are responsible for getting it resolved. Even when there is more than one responsible party, you must take it upon yourself to settle the issue. As a Christian God will hold you accountable and He expects you to face up to the challenge of making things right. This is God’s way and it is the right way. We would all agree that doing things God’s way is good. James 4:17 tells us, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” You must take the responsibility and get it resolved. The longer it goes unresolved the more sin you may bring into your life.

Do not be found guilty of trying to hide your sin for it “will find you out!” Trying to hide sin will affect you and those around you. It will poison and sabotage your family and hinder your walk with God. You must bring it forward and deal with it. The way to deal with sin, whether it was intentional or unintentional, is to confess it and forsake it (Pro 28:13 & I Jn 1:9). There is no other way (Jn 3:19-21).  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

November 1

Walking Before God In Praise and Worship

Genesis ~ 17:1-3 ~ And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.  2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.  3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, …

God comes to Abram once again to talk with Him about His divine plan and Abram’s part in this plan. He comes to Him with a new revelation of who He is; He comes as El Shaddai, “… the Almighty God.” This name signifies that He is the Strong One who is the Nourisher, the Strength-giver, and so, in a secondary sense, the Satisfier, who pours himself into believing lives. Just as a baby is not only strengthened and nourished from the mother’s breast, but is also quieted, rested, and satisfied, so the LORD our God is the All-Sufficient God who cares for His children and their needs.

God is the Almighty, All-Sufficient God and therefore demands that His people walk before Him in perfection. No person, not even Abram, could be perfectly sinless before God. And yet He is requiring Abram, as well as all believers, to be perfect. He is saying that we are to be sincere and upright before Him; to be righteous and holy before Him. We are to come before God with a pure heart that is undefiled. We do so through faith in the blood of Christ. Abram was looking forward to the One who would bless all nations. We today are looking back to the One who blesses all nations. We come before Him in spirit and truth with no unconfessed sin.

To be perfect before the Lord is to be complete, or spiritually mature in the Lord Jesus Christ. When God says, “… be thou perfect”, He is telling us that we are to be holy. To be holy is to be set apart to God, walking daily with Him, and holding to the standards of His Word. We do not compromise for the sake of personal comfort or gain, to fit in with the world, or for the sake of denominational unity. We are to live our life in the center of God’s purpose for our life, free from sin, and abounding in the work of the Lord. (Free from sin is to have no unconfessed sin, because we will all make mistakes that will need repentance and forgiveness. But that is not a license to sin; it is an incentive to refrain from sin and the very appearance of sin.)

God reminds Abram of the promises that He has made to Abram. God has promised to make of Abram a great nation and now comes to him to bless him with a new revelation as to the fulfillment of that very promise. Here he is, ninety-nine years old, and God comes to give him what he has been waiting for all of these many years.

Abram’s heart is no doubt overwhelmed with joy and with praise. What he has seen by faith he is soon to see with his eyes. He will see the promises because he believes the promises. Too many today are tuned to believe it when they see it. He falls to the ground on his face in humble and grateful adoration of what God is about to do. Oh, that God’s people would learn to trust His promises and allow that to cause them to worship and praise Him. Most will not rejoice and praise God until they see the promise come to fruition.

Worship is a way of life. It is to have God preeminent in your heart and life. It is having your thought processes and thoughts, words and speech, as well as your conduct and relationships in alignment with God’s purpose for your life. It is that life that is daily yielded to God and the knowledge, wisdom, and power of His Spirit within. It is abiding in the Lord Jesus and allowing His Word, His doctrine of love, to abide within you. It is willful and joyful obedience of the principles and commands of God because they are life.

But worship is also that time when you give yourself to lifting your heart, mind, and voice up to the Lord in vocal praise and adoration of who He is, what He has done, and for what He is yet to do. God has promised us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. He has promised that we are delivered from the wrath to come. He has promised that we will enjoy eternity as joint heirs with Christ our Saviour. This is the main reason we gather as a church, so that we may praise and please the Lord our God in corporate worship. When you worship God with your life you will see because you believe; not believe because you see.  - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK42

October 21

Abram’s Faith “In” The LORD Pt 2

Genesis 15:6 ~ And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.

When we receive a word from the Lord we must receive it into our heart. We must see His future promises as already existing. We may have to wait with patience for them to come, but when we receive them into our heart, we can already see them in the present. I know that I have eternal life and that I am going to Heaven. That is not some future promise to me; it is a present possession.

I will never die because Christ did that for me. My body will expire if the Lord does not return first. It may be buried in the ground, but my spirit and soul are redeemed and I will go to be with the LORD. But as Job said, so I believe; “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:  Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27). On the resurrection day, the day of the rapture, my body will be raised and changed, and my redeemed spirit and soul will be united with a redeemed physical body.

No matter what discovery is made, I will hold to my faith in the Lord. It has gotten me through some of the worst times in my life, not as a crutch, but as strength. Through storms, through the valley of the shadow of death, through persecutions from within the church and from without the church, and through loss of every kind, my source of strength and courage was in the LORD my God. He is my shield and my exceeding great reward.

Whatever the world may throw at you, you must hold to your faith. The world will assail your faith. They will beat and bang on your faith all day long. They will give you every reason to change what you believe. They will mock you and call you names. They will produce “evidence” and theories to disprove what you believe about God and His Word. (Just remember that anything that is contrary to Scripture is false.) But the challenge is to be like Job who was able to hold onto his faith and keep his integrity intact even when his “friends” ridiculed him and accused him of being an unfaithful hypocrite. Let your faith take deep root and it will bear fruit in your life.

Abram’s faith “in” God paid off with greater dividends than he ever thought possible. God took away Abram’s sin and replaced it with His own righteousness. God placed your sin upon Christ and when you put your faith “in” Christ God places His righteousness upon you (2 Cor 5:21). When God saw Abram, he saw him as righteous. Abram was known as the friend of God.

When the direction of your faith changes from just believing the words of the Lord to believing “in” the Lord with your very life, your faith will grow deeper. It will become the channel through which you will receive your strength, your courage, and your spiritual vision to see how to navigate the circumstances of life and to receive the promises of God. Your faith will pay off with greater dividends than you could ever imagine.

Your faith will be challenged almost daily. Come what may, you are challenged to stay the course and to stay by the stuff. Stay in the old paths (Jer. 6:16) and contend for the faith (Jude 3). Let your faith take deep root “in” God and what He has given you and you will come out ahead every time. Nobody ever loses with God! - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 22

The Lord’s Purpose

Genesis ~ 15:7, 8 ~ And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.  8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1). Abram was a man of faith. He left His region of the world and his relatives to follow what God had called him to do. His belief and trust in God was the substance upon which he built his life. His faith allowed him to have a foretaste of what was to come, though he could not yet see it with his eyes. His faith was the evidence, the proof or conviction, that what God says will come to pass. All that he has done is based on God’s Word to give him a possession and an heir. Now we see Abram continue to grow into maturity in his faith. We have seen him declare his faith in God and we have seen the Lord account him righteous because of his faith.

Then the LORD speaks to Abram. Before Abram can consult with the LORD on how to know God’s purpose, God reminds him of Who He is. He reminds him of what He is doing. God begins with His person; He says, “I am the LORD.” The name “LORD” means “Jehovah,” which is the "self-existent One." Literally (as in (Exo. 3:14), “He that is who He is, therefore the eternal ‘I AM.” But Havah, from which Jehovah, or Yahweh, is formed, signifies also “to become,” that is, to become known, thus pointing to a continuous and increasing self-revelation; thus we arrive at the meaning of the name Jehovah. He is “the self-existent One who reveals Himself.”

No doubt we all forget just who is in control of the events in life. We do not agree with nor do we like the way our nation is going, but we must be reminded that it is Jehovah God who is in control. The circumstances in your life may not be ideal for you, but God is in control. He was here before anything and He will be here after everything and He controls all that goes on in between. We must remember that He is omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (always present), and that He is in control of all of life. You admit to that as truth, but you need to get your mind wrapped around this fact. When you do, it will transform your thinking and the way you handle circumstances in your life.

He reminded Abram that it was by His power that he came to where he was at this time in his life. God called him and God brought him out of that land filled with wicked and immoral paganism and idolatrous practices. It was God who had delivered him, protected him, and blessed him with all that he has in his life. His purpose for Abram brought Abram out of Ur and into Canaan. His purpose Abram was to make of him a nation through whom God would bring us the written Word and the Living Word.

God has a purpose for every person. When He saves someone, it is for the purpose for which He has for you. You are saved by His power and you are kept by His power for that purpose. When you surrender to God, He will do great things in your life. He will work in you and He will work through you to accomplish His purpose. To surrender is to be like Abram and to just believe “in” God and trust Him in and with everything.

Who you are and what you think, say, and do should revolve around the fact of Who God is and what God has done for you. If you are saved you have been delivered from the eternal, inescapable prison in the Lake of Fire. But God has a purpose for your life in this world; He has something that He desires to accomplish in you and with you. If you are not saved and you are reading this, you now have the opportunity to repent and turn to God for salvation; the gift of eternal life in Heaven. If you believe that Christ died for YOUR sin, and you believe that He arose from the dead, if you are willing to turn from all that is ungodly and all that opposes God, and you are willing to accept Christ Jesus as your Saviour, trusting His payment for sin on the Cross for YOU, then you can ask Him to forgive you and to save you and HE WILL.

You can trust God’s Word and His promises. God has a purpose for you; it is also called God’s will for your life. Just ask Him to reveal it and He will give you clear direction. Seek to know His purpose for you and you will find satisfaction and peace in life that you would otherwise never know. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 23

God’s Will For You

Genesis ~ 15:7, 8 ~ And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.  8 And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?

God reminded Abram that He has a plan and that He is still working on that plan. He brought Abram out of his native country to give him another country. He wanted to take this man who had no child and no heir and to make of him a father of a great nation. God had planned His work and now He was working His plan. But God had a greater plan of which Abram was a very significant part. He had these plans for Abram because it was a part of His plan to reveal Himself to all of mankind and to redeem His creation (the Scriptures and the Saviour).

This is true of every born-again believer. God has a plan for your life and He is working out that plan every day. God did not bring you into the world, save you, and then leave you to yourself to figure out your life. God saved you with a plan and a purpose in mind. He has a purpose for you which is His perfect will for your life. He has a plan made out for how He wants you to proceed in your life to fulfill His purpose for you.

In all of this He loves you and His desire is to bless you along the way. He blesses you knowing that it will lead to you blessing others. When you bless others, you open the way for God to fulfill His desire to heap greater blessings upon your life. Remember that He loves you and wants to do great things in you, with you, and through you.

Please be careful that you do not hinder His plan. If you do it will bring unnecessary pain and hardship into your life that neither you nor God wants. God allows and uses hardship to mold our character, and to shape, to develop, and to direct our lives. There is enough hardship living in this present evil world without bringing more upon ourselves. Find God’s purpose and follow His plan for that purpose and you will be blessed above measure.

Abram responds and consults with the Lord on how he can know the Lord’s perfect will for his life. He does not doubt the LORD, he is trying to find out more information about God’s purpose and plan. We should be sure and ask for directions in God’s planning every day of our lives.

When we take it upon ourselves to get somewhere without knowing or asking for the directions we tend to get turned around and confused. But when we ask for directions from someone who is very sure of the way there are no wrong turns and no confusion. We would do well to inquire of the LORD as to how He wants us to proceed. It is okay to respond to the Lord by asking for more information about what you hear. Just be very careful that you do not question the truth of what you have heard.

Seek to know His purpose for your life and strive to be in the very center of that purpose. When you do you will know the peace, the power, and the presence of God. You will have His continual daily blessing as you separate from the world and walk closer with Him. Allow His Word to permeate your heart, your thoughts, your life. Absorb it and absorb all the goodness God bestows upon His children every day.

Whatever is going on in your life, you need to strive to be in the center of God’s perfect will for you. Remember that He is in control no matter how good or how bad things are. He is Jehovah God. He knows all, He sees all, all power belongs to Him, and He is working His plan in your life. He wants to give you of His very best and to bless you abundantly. Walk with Him every day all the way. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 24

Maturity In Faith: Embrace The Challenge

Genesis ~ 15:9-11 ~ And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.  10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.  11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.

Abram is seeking to know the surety of God’s plan for his life. After the question, God tells him to sacrifice these animals to Him. Now Abram’s faith is being challenged because there is not a specific answer, but a there is a demand placed upon him. If you have faith it is going to be tested. It is like building strength. In weight training, once you can lift 100 pounds 10 times, you can add ten pounds to the weight. You work with that and when you can lift it ten times then you add another ten pounds. There is going to be a burning sensation when you are lifting the weight. After the workout there may be some sore muscles while they recuperate. Thus, we have the old saying, “No pain; no gain.”  If you are going to have a strong faith that will be productive in the Lord’s work, you will have to endure some testing.

God told Abram to do something that was common in his day. When people in Abram’s day were making a covenant, or making a contract with each other, they would take animals and divide them up in this manner. Once they were divided, they would walk between them to signify the sincerity on their part in the covenant. In essence they were saying, “May I be like one of these animals if I break my part of this covenant.” For Abram there was a lot of hard, bloody work in this preparation. It cost him something as he had to sacrifice these animals from his possessions. He had to do it the way the LORD wanted it done. 

The mature faith of the Christian life will require you to commit to some hard work on your part. The great things of God do not come easy. It will cost you something to have a close walk with the Lord so you may be able to accomplish great things for Him. It is a sure thing that it will not come to those who are lazy. If your sleep, social media, TV, video games, your career, recreational hobbies, or anything else is more important than spending time alone with God, you will not reach your full potential for the Lord. You will have to sacrifice time, sleep, money, and time with friends if you are to have the great things of God in your life. His absolute best is reserved only for those who are willing to pay the price. So what is the price? It is godly living, spending time in prayer, Bible study, living a separated life, and being obedient to the commands of the Lord. (READ 1 Cor 3:10-17) What materials are you building your Christian life with?

Abram sat there waiting upon the LORD. Many times we will do our part and then we expect God to show up right then and do something. The truth is that God’s timing was not Abram’s timing. Do not allow yourself to be discouraged if things do not happen on your timetable. Psalm 27:14 tells us, “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD” (READ the 27th Psalm). And again, we find in Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” In Isaiah 55:8, 9 God tells us that our thoughts and our ways are not like His. His is significantly higher than ours. God sees the whole picture front to back, side to side, top to bottom, and in His infinity, from beginning to end.

The Bible tells us that the fowls came down to eat the carcasses. When we are waiting upon the Lord the vultures will descend. You must always be on guard for these vultures represent anything that will steal away your time, your concentration, and your commitment to the Lord. Remember also that the old devil is like a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour (1 Pt 5:8). He is the god of this world and there will always be opposition from the world in what the Lord is doing in your life. “Abram drove them away.” You must always be on guard to protect what the Lord is doing in your life. Do not allow anything nor anyone to hinder or prevent it from coming to pass.

The sacrifice, the hard work, and the waiting will only pay off if you are patient to endure until the very end. As I understand this, it was in the morning that all of this started and he had now waited for most of the day. It was a time of great patience on Abram’s part. As we have said, God does not run on our schedule. You must work on His schedule and always be ready to line up with what He is doing in your life. Do not try to rush what the Lord wants to do. If you get ahead of Him you will be like a piano that is out of tune; no matter how hard you try to play a beautiful tune, it will not come out right. When you get ahead of the Lord, no matter how hard you try to serve Him, it will not come out right. You must do the hard work, make the required sacrifices, guard against the devourers, and wait patiently on the Lord. When you do, great things will come to you. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 41

October 14

Faith and Integrity in Wealth

Genesis 14:21-24 ~ And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

As we have already stated, Abram could have had anything that he wanted. He took back the spoils of all of the towns that had been defeated by Chedorlaomer and those who were with him. A worldly conqueror would have no doubt wanted a very substantial bounty for himself, but not this man of faith. His faith and integrity held to the One who created all the wealth and it was His provision only that he desired.

It was offered to him by the new king of Sodom when he came out to meet Abram. He told him to keep all the goods and return only the people to their rightful place. But Abram would have none of that. He wanted none of the spoils for himself. Today we see too many who are swayed by money and will compromise for the sake of gain.

There are some who will “blow a gasket” if someone shortchanged them somewhere. Yet when the shoe is on the other foot and they are overpaid, they will be as quiet as a church mouse. When Abraham Lincoln was working as a clerk in a store in New Salem, he once took 6 1/4 cents too much from a customer. That night when the store closed, he walked three miles to return the woman's money. That is the conduct and the character of a Christian with faith and integrity, especially when it comes to money.

Abram’s response is to refuse all that the king offered him personally. This king may have been trying to win the favor of a man who just defeated four kings and their armies with 318 trained men. Maybe he did not want to get on the wrong side of Abram. That would be very understandable. But maybe he was trying to get on Abram’s good side so that he could get his hooks into him. He could have wanted to “butter up” Abram so that he could call upon him later for whatever he might need. But Abram held to his faith in God and his integrity remained intact. He was not going to allow himself to become indebted to this man of the world for any amount of wealth. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth.

There are those who will cut church for the sake of earning an extra dollar or two. I understand that there are occupations where some may have to work a weekend or two. I am talking about essential occupations such as first responders and the medical field (I am sure there are others). If you work at the convenience store and must work on Sundays, maybe you need to find a better job where you can get off for church. But even that is becoming hard today as we see so many who are foregoing the standards that once made our nation an exceptional nation. It may be hard, but it is not impossible. No matter how good it may sound to put work and earning more money ahead of the Lord’s stuff, it will never pay off. We must be good stewards of what God has given us. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth.

If we will hold to our faith and our integrity when we are handling our fiscal affairs, we can rest in the promise that God will supply our every need. I hear people say that they have financial problems and just cannot get ahead. My wife and I have never been ahead. There will always be utility and grocery bills to pay until the day we leave this world. Every vehicle we own will need gas if we are going to use them. But a lot of times the financial difficulties of believers can be traced back to a stewardship problem. Many times is has to do with paying their tithes. God will do with 90% exceedingly abundantly more than you can do with 100%. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth. God will provide!

The church at Philippi had supported the Apostle Paul in his missionary journeys (Php 4:14-19). In their giving to missions they were given the precious promise that God would supply all their need according to HIS riches. When you step out in faith and integrity and support the spread of the Gospel around the world through missions God will supply what you pay. It is He that has said He would supply the need. He supplied the need of salvation when He sent His only begotten Son to pay for our sin on Calvary. And He has supplied the need by calling people into His service to take the Gospel to a lost and dying world. He will supply the need to support those who forsake all and follow Him through the giving of His people. You cannot out give God. Hold to your faith and integrity when it comes to wealth. He will measure it back in exceeding abundance (Lk. 6:38). – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 25

Maturity In Faith: Embrace The Consequences

Genesis ~ 15:12, 17, & 18 ~ 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.  17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:

Abram worked, sacrificed, and waited patiently upon the LORD. And he found himself shrouded in a great darkness. It was in the darkness that God confirmed His covenant with Abram. It is when we are in the dark times of our life that God will strengthen our faith. When you are in the valley of darkness, when trials and troubles abound, your faith is strengthened. It is in the hard times that you will learn to trust Him more when you have true faith in God. Be careful that you do not find it so easy to abandon God in trials. If you do, you will never mature in Christ; your faith will never grow into maturity.

As you investigate the Bible you will find that real faith was seen in the trials of afflictions. Shadrach’s, Meshach’s, and Abednego’s faith was seen when they were commanded to bow to the king’s golden image to worship it. Even though they were threatened with death by fiery furnace, they stood their ground and held onto their faith. Daniel, Isaiah, Elijah, Peter, Paul, and countless millions have had to face the darkness to see their faith grow and mature. They had to trust that come what may, God could handle their situation. Do not fear the darkness in the trials and troubles that come your way. God is working in your life if you are saved and He is working out His plan. Be confident in your faith that God will not allow you to suffer loss.

Sometimes that darkness may be the valley of the shadow of death. For the Christian we have nothing to fear but fear itself. But fear is not an option, for the Lord has given us the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). We should not fear what man is able to do unto us (Heb 13:6). Death holds no fear for the Christian because death is only deliverance from the very presence and effects of sin. It is natural not to want to leave our family behind, but there is no fear in leaving this life. At the very moment that your soul leaves your body you are in the very presence of the Lord Jesus and God our Father. There is no tunnel, no bright lights, no travel through some expanse; to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). When you close your eyes in death, it will only seem as a blink of the eye that you will see the glorious light of the glory of Heaven.

It was in the darkness that the Lord came to Abram and revealed His detailed plan for Abram’s life. He told him of the plans for his children who had not yet been born and what their future would be. Now God is not in the habit of revealing all His plans to us. He certainly is not in the custom of giving all the details to His plans. God wants you to live by faith, not by sight. Sight can deceive and mislead you. He has revealed what He wants us to know about our future in His Word. It is enough to know so that we will live by faith. As His children we are to depend upon Him from day to day.

Your children do not know what tomorrow holds for them, but they know that they can depend upon you from day to day for what they need. We would do well to teach our children that their dependence upon us is really a dependence upon God. We depend upon Him to give us what we need to provide for them. We take God at His Word and trust Him to work out the details. He does not have to give me every detail of what my life is to be, I just live from day to day in dependence upon Him.

I do prayerfully plan, and I do try to set some goals in my life, but it is all dependent upon what God wants to do. I know what His will for my life is and I work in that will and desire of God for my life. I do not just sit idly by and expect Him to micromanage my life. I know that I must work daily at trying to reach people for the Lord, and I must work daily at trying to help people be better in their walk with the Lord. These are His desire for every Christian. But in the perfect will of God I have so much more that I have to do, and it requires that I make future plans and set some long term and short-term goals. But I live every day surrendered as a living sacrifice to God’s will for that day.

Now we see that God comes down in His glory and passes between the pieces of the sacrifice. In the ceremony both parties were to pass through together but that is not the situation here. God has confirmed that no matter what Abram does, He will fulfill the covenant promise. Up to this point God has said, “I will” but now He says, “I have.” It is a done deal. It is the same for our salvation; once we are truly saved, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit until the redemption of the body (Eph 1:13, 14). Many of God’s promises are conditional; they are based upon us doing what is required of us. But some of God’s promises are not conditional; His promise to never leave us, our home in Heaven, the resurrection of our bodies, and many more are not conditional promises. 

God wants you to seek His will for your life. He wants you to embrace the challenge of living by faith. He wants you to embrace the consequences of your faith. He is looking for some people who will have a confident trust in Him no matter how things may look or how they may personally feel about the matter. He wants to grow you up for His glory so that He can give you all that He has in store for you. Is that what you want? If so, then you are ready to let Him grow you into maturity in your faith. All you need to do is to step out on that faith and ask Him to begin working in your life. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 15

A Word From the LORD

Genesis 15:1 ~ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

The first Word that any person hears from God is that of a call to repentance. Whether it was the preaching in a church service or someone sitting down and sharing the Gospel with you, it was the Lord who was speaking to your heart and calling you to come unto Him. In Revelation 3:20 the Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock (That is the door of your heart; He cannot and will not force His way in. You must open your heart’s door and invite Him in [Rom 10:13].): if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” It is that still small voice that says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat. 11:28). It is He who will give you rest from weariness, wandering, and the bondage of sin. It is He who will call you to rest from your on works, which are fruitless, and to rest upon His works which will afford you the gift of eternal life (Rom 6:23). It is a Word from the LORD that will change your life forever.

But we still need a Word from God every day. Though Abram was just one man among millions upon the earth, yet the LORD had a special word and a special purpose just for him. In the grand design of God’s plan, Abram was of great importance. You today need a word from God. You have the blessing of having the Word of God in print that gives you His complete, perfect, and divine revelation. Though you are just one among billions, God loves you and He has a specific divine purpose for you in the grand design of His plan. You are not insignificant to God, you are of great importance to Him and He has a word for you about your fear, your future, and your faith.

After his great military victory and his refusal to align himself with the king of Sodom by accepting reward for accomplishments, Abram stands alone. He had slaughtered Chedorlaomer and those kings that were with him. Now Abram probably thought that those nations of the four kings might raise an army to come after him. Maybe their kinsman would come to seek vengeance against him. Abram stood alone because he stood upon his faith in God. He depended upon God to care for him rather than align himself with the world.

God came to him, calling him by name and saying, “fear not.” This is the first use of these words in the Bible, but it certainly is not the last. Men are always crying out for peace and telling us not to fear, but their words hold no power for they are often empty and vain. But when the LORD our God comes along and speaks peace to your heart the fear is gone. There is a peace that comes from knowing and having a personal daily walk with the Lord your God. Consider the disciples in the storm upon the sea and how the Lord came to them saying, “It is I; be not afraid” (Jn 6:15-21). There is a peace that comes from having a word from the Lord and having His presence with you wherever you go. It is a peace that surpasses all understanding because it quenches all fear, even in the worst storms of life.

We were in south Mississippi the day that Hurricane Katrina came on shore. We were staying in our home church building because there were a couple of families who were not going to be able to leave town. We felt it would be safer for them to stay there than it was for them to stay in their homes. We were on ground level when the water started coming in and we immediately took everyone to the second floor. The water kept rising to the top of the second step from the top, less than a foot from the second floor, and one of the ladies looked at me and asked, “What are we going to do if the water keeps coming up?” I looked at her, and I asked the Lord for the right thing to say, and that still small voice within gave me the assurance that the water would come no further. I told her that the water was not going to reach us and that calmed her fear.

Through all that day, watching the destruction of that entire neighborhood, watching both mine and my wife’s vehicles go under water, there was never a fear in my heart. God had given me a peace and had assured me that we would all be just fine. I even lay down and took a nap in the afternoon because of the peace that God spoke to my heart.

When you have the peace of God the fear will subside and be gone. Fear is bondage. It will hold you back and it will keep you down. Fear will keep you from making wise decisions and it will keep you from reaching your full potential. You need a word from the LORD every day that you live. Open His Word daily and search the Scriptures for that special word from Him to you. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 16

Seek God’s Word on All Life’s Issues

Genesis 15:1 ~ After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.  2  And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

We have the peace of God and we have the protection of God. God told Abram that he need not fear because “I am thy shield.” God had protected him in the battle with the four kings, but God was still with him now. God’s protection is always there for His own when they are in the heat of battle and when they are just going through their daily routine. Those who know God know His peace and His protection. Psalm 34:7 tells us, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear (reverential respect and trust with a hatred for evil) him, and delivereth them.” God was protecting us during Hurricane Katrina on every side. He kept us safe from the winds and from the water. When you know God and you walk daily with Him, getting closer to Him every day (Col 3:1-3), you will be protected by Him on every side (READ 2 Kings 6:8-17).

There is a peace and protection that comes from knowing God, but there is great reward that comes from knowing God. No prize or earthly treasure will ever compare with God's love, grace, mercy, salvation, forgiveness, presence, peace, power, heaven, hope, etc. When you have the Lord, you have everything that you will ever need. You may not be rich according to the world’s standards, but you are rich beyond imagination. The world as it is today will pass away and cease to exist, but those who belong to Christ will live forever! The Christian life is not to be pitied; it is to be envied. All that belongs to Him is ours by inheritance through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).

Fear not! You have the peace, the protection, and the prize that comes from knowing God. He is your shield and exceeding great reward. We see Abram’s fear is put to rest with a Word from the Lord about His peace, His protections, and His rewards. God had made promises to Abram about his life and the future posterity of his family. Now Abram begins to inquire and seek God’s will concerning his future. We as Christians must be like Abram when it comes to getting the answers that we need about the direction of our life.

When we need to know what lies ahead in our life and we must seek God first. I was talking with a teen class the other day and told them that whatever their plans and their dreams are that they should talk with God about them first. I explained to them that they could choose a career path and become very successful in life. But I also told them that if they did not ask God first about what they were to do with their life that they would not have any satisfaction. More than likely they would be most miserable in their accomplishments. Christians need to put God first, keep God first, and consult God first before making decisions about their future. Seek God’s will and purpose.

When it comes to the issues of life, you should turn to God and seek His Word on them. God has something to say about most every issue you will face in life. God has something for you in every situation and circumstance. If you will turn to God and seek His Word in any given situation, you will find that He is ready to give you what you need; knowledge, wisdom, discretion, etc. All that you need to make the right choices in your life are found in the Word of God. That is why it is so important to immerse yourself in His Word daily. His Word is given to you to benefit you in everything. You will find spiritual guidance, marital guidance, family guidance, financial guidance, moral guidance, business guidance, social guidance, educational guidance, political guidance, and every other kind of guidance you need. Simply put, Seek God’s Word on all life’s issues and He will give you the help that you need. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 17

You Can Trust God’s Promises

Genesis 15:3-4 ~ And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.  And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.

God’s promise to Abram as he seeks the Lord’s perfect will for his life is very simple; He told Abram that he would indeed have a son and that his son that comes from his loins would be the heir. God has made special promises to us in His Word and all we need to do is to believe on them to receive them. He promised that if we would train up our children under His nurture and admonition that they would not depart from the faith (Pro 22:6; Eph 6:4). We put our faith in His every Word and bring our children up the way He says and we have the promise that when they are old they will not depart from it. Believe His every word with child-like faith. His promises are simple, but they are profound, and they are truth.

God is the Sovereign God. Abram was very old when this promise was made to him. His wife is past the age of childbearing. In the nature of things, it would be impossible for them to have any children at this time in their life. But the Word of the LORD says they will have a son. We serve a can-do God! He can do what man cannot do. Jesus said, “… with God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).

We as Christians need to realize that our Father is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could as or think of Him (Gal 3:20). He is able to deliver Abram in the battles, Moses from the river, Daniel from the lions, the three Hebrews from the fire, the disciples from the storms, and He is able to deliver you from the trials, tribulations, and the troubles of life every day. When it looks like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, look to God. When it feels like the darkness is going to smother you, call upon God. When others say there is no hope, trust in the Lord your God with all your might. When all your strength is gone and you are so weary that you just cannot go on, lean on Him and He will carry you. God will deliver you! He has a specific purpose just for you because you are significant in His plan. Just as it was in the lives of Abram, Moses, Daniel, the three Hebrews, and the disciples, His plan is working in your life today. He is the Sovereign God and He does what He pleases.

We can see the simplicity in God’s promises, the sovereignty of God’s promises, and we can see the size and the scope of God’s promises. Abram was looking for an heir to all that he had. But God had greater things in store for him. God was going to give him the son and the heir that he was inquiring about, but God was going to give him more than he could ask for or count. God was about to bestow a blessing upon Abram that would literally cause him to stand in awe.

In verses 5 & 6 we see God’s promise and Abram’s reaction. He believed God and God accounted him as righteous. This same principle applies to every person who believes on Christ; it is accounted to them for righteousness. God has given you eternal life. It is more than escaping the punishment for sin, it is never dying. It is living forever beyond the grave without the curse of sin. What are you doing with that precious gift? Are you wasting it on the world that is or are you laying up treasure in the world to come? 

Maybe you think, “Who am I that God would do such a thing for me?” Do not underestimate what God is willing to do for you. He loved you enough that He sent His Son to pay for your sin. He loved you enough that He offers to you the gift of eternal life. He loved you enough that He promised to give you an abundant life. He wants to do more for you than you could ever imagine. God wants to amaze you with all His wonders. He wants to do great and mighty things with you and through you. He has given you His Word and His promises. Will you let Him have His way with your heart and life? Will you seek His will and His purpose for your life and follow what He has for you? If you will, you will be blown away with what He will do. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 18

Abram’s Faith “In” The LORD Pt 1

Genesis 15:6 ~ And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.

This is a very simple verse, but it speaks volumes about Abram’s faith. We should realize that this is the simplest form of child-like faith. It is to take God at His Word; not just simply believe every word He says, but to believe “in” Him for every word He says. Abram’s faith was counted to him for righteousness. Faith to believe “in” is the power to receive.

Abram has gone from just believing the promises that God has made to believing “in” the LORD. He has heard the Word of the LORD. His fears have been laid to rest and his future has been determined. Now Abram completely immerses himself “in” the LORD. He has now gone from hearing and believing to casting himself into complete confidence upon the LORD. He does not just believe the word; he believes “in” God and trusts Him with his very life. Just as Job trusted God implicitly when he stated, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” (Job 13:15). Both Abram and Job do not just believe God; their faith is “in” God. The direction of Abram’s faith had changed forever. It was no longer just in the word; it was in the Person of the word.

This is the difference between Heaven and hell. You can believe what the Bible says about God and His promises and go to hell. There was a time when I believed every word of the Bible. I believed in the virgin birth, the death, burial, and the resurrection of Christ. I believed all the accounts in Scripture were true and accurate. I believed in a literal Heaven and a literal hell. I believed these things and I was still lost and on my way to hell. I had an intellectual acceptance of these facts.

But there came a day when I moved from just believing what the Bible had to say to believing “in” what the Bible had to say. That is the day I went from just believing that Jesus was real to placing the full weight of my faith “in” the work and person of Christ and of God. My faith transformed from intellectual acceptance to absolute trust from the heart; with head knowledge you will go to hell, but with the heart’s trust you can go to Heaven. “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Rom. 10:10). The direction of my faith had changed forever, and the Lord saved me, sealed me, and gave me a new life. That new life is abundant in mercy and grace and it is eternal.

Abram believed despite the fact of his and Sarai’s ages. He knew that God would do what He had promised, and Abram’s faith was in the Lord and His word. As we have said, what God had promised was practically impossible in the natural realm. But Abram did not let this stand in the way of, nor deter him from, putting his faith “in” the LORD. No matter what, Abram by faith already saw what God had promised as being true. He had received God and His promises into his heart. His faith had a deep root like the tap root of a tree. It went deeper than all the other roots in his life.

Do you believe the Bible and its accounts, or do you believe “in” the Bible? Do you believe the promises of God, or do you believe “in” the God who can fulfill the promises He has made? Do you believe “in” the LORD as Job did who said he would trust “in” Him even if He took his life? When you believe “in” God like that, you will be fully confident “in” Him; then you will find yourself in that place to receive the things that He has promised to them who believe “in” Him. You can believe God, or you can believe “in” God; where does your faith stand? - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 40

October 7

What Are We Teaching Our Children?

Genesis 13:10-12 ~ And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar.  Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.  Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. 

There is strife between the herdsmen of Lot and Abram, and even though they are brethren, they could not dwell together. Abram being the man of faith, the man who believes God, and the man who trusts in His promises, was gracious, loving, and kind to his nephew. The life of faith and blessing is keeping your spiritual eye upon Christ and turning away from the world’s dainties and pleasures. The Christian life is not dull, boring, and dead. It is a life of endless peace, joy, and excitement. It is a life that is energized by the power and blessings of God. It is a life of wonder and amazement as opposed to a life of stress and drama. A day in the courts of God is better than a thousand days in the worldly pleasures of life. “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Psa. 84:10). Are we teaching our children to live by faith?

We live by faith or we live by sight. Abram lived by his faith in God while Lot was a man who looked and lived by sight. He lifted his eyes and beheld the well-watered plains of Jordan. He claimed the best for himself without asking God for anything. He saw convenience, ease, and comfort as well as his own benefit. He looked (lust of the eyes), he desired (lust of the flesh), and he took (the pride of life, 1 Jn 2:16). Those who live by sight are many times selfish. Those who allow the flesh to rule are those who look out more for self than for anyone else. God is not the Preeminent Authority in their life. When we set out to chart our own course in life we cease to walk by faith. Are we teaching our children to live by faith or to live by sight?

Success is not always success. If the saved go out and succeed in their life’s pursuits without God, they have failed. It would have been better for them if they had failed in their pursuits. In failure they can learn that they have left God out of the picture and that they need to remember where they were, repent, and return. But when they succeed without God, they just get farther and farther away from God and His true purpose for their life.

We make our plans, we set our goals, and we try to build a life in this wicked old world. We have a goal in mind and work years to accomplish it. But without God, those goals and plans are meaningless. They are temporal pursuits which are here for a time and then they are gone. But when we live according to God’s purpose and will for our life we will lay up in store things that will exist for all of eternity. It is far better to live for the eternal goals and rewards than to live for the temporal. What are we teaching our children when we leave God out of our plans?

The Bible teaches us that Lot was a “righteous man” that dwelled among sinners. But Lot left the spiritual life, the life of faith and blessing, the life of a pilgrim and a sojourner, and chose a life among the sinners of this world where he “vexed his righteous soul … with their unlawful deeds” (2 Pt 2:8). He chose to live by sight rather than live the life of faith and blessing. He pitched his tent towards Sodom where he began to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Then it became easy to live among them and buy a house in the middle of Sodom where he stood in the way of sinners. It was nothing from there to become a leader among them and to sit in the seat of the scornful (Psa 1:1). He became entrenched in the world which is no way for a believer to live. What are we teaching our children?

But we cannot put all the blame on Lot. Abram raised him and was teaching him the ways of the LORD as he grew up. But when Abram failed and went into Egypt, he taught Lot some things that I believe stayed with him. Abram turned to the world in the time of testing. Lot saw that and he saw the things that Egypt had to offer. That is probably where his lustful desires of the flesh began to take root in his heart. What we do in moderation our children tend to do in exaggeration. Parents who are not faithful to their church at all times are teaching their children that church is not as important as they make it out to be in their life. You cannot tell your children that the Bible is the most important guide in life, and never read it yourself. You cannot tell your children to live by faith and pursue your own course in life. What they see is what they will be. We can tell our children, “Do as I say, not as I do.” But our children are going to DO as they see us DO. What are we teaching our children?

Lot pitched his tent towards Sodom while Abram built an alter and turned his eyes to the LORD. Abram lived a life of faith and blessing looking for the eternal rewards while Lot lived his life in pursuit of this world’s goods. Too many people today have tasted what Egypt has to offer and they like it. They are afraid to make a commitment to God and to dedicate themselves to Him for fear that God would ask them to give up some of the creature comforts of this world. What they do not realize is that it would be the best life they could have in this world.

God loves you as an individual. If he does ask you to give up something, He will replace it with that which is far greater and of infinite value. He will give you things that have eternal value as opposed to the world’s stuff that has no value. What are you living for and how are you pursuing it? Are you following the purposes and will of God for your life? Are you setting spiritual goals and seeking to be in the center of God’s perfect will for your life? Are you teaching your children to live by faith or to live by sight? – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 8

Faith and Integrity In Battles Pt 1

Genesis 14:14-16 ~ And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.  And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.  And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Integrity is doing things with honor and uprightness. It is the possession of principles and consistently adhering to those very principles. It is a moral standard (a code of conduct) that is always followed, regardless of whether someone is present or not. Integrity is always doing the right thing the right way, even when nobody is looking. This is the behavior that God would have all his children to exhibit. The greatest thing that anyone could possibly say about your life is that you are a person of integrity.

In this chapter of Genesis, we see Abram’s conduct and an exhibition of his integrity and faith in battle. There has been an invading retaliation of a confederation of kings. As we read in verses 1-11, we see that the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and of Bela or Zoar, were held in tributary to King Chedorlaomer (ked-or/-la-o/-mer). In the thirteenth year of their tribute they revolted and refused to pay their tribute to this king.

King Chedorlaomer then gathered three other kings with him to retaliate against their rebellion (v. 1). During what would have been the fourteenth year of tributary, King Chedorlaomer and his confederacy invaded the land and began kill, destroy, and to plunder the lands of these rebelling kings. These two sets of kings and their armies came against each other in the valley of Siddim. It is here that the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah both died, and the rest of the kings that were with them fled to the mountain. The confederation of kings sacked Sodom and Gomorrah and took all that they had, including Abram’s nephew Lot.

When a Christian leaves the Lord as Lot did when he “pitched his tent toward Sodom”, there will always be someone or something that will want to put you into bondage. When you leave the guidance and direction of the Word of God and the Spirit of God you will begin to form bad habits that will entangle you in a snare. You will begin to walk in the counsel of the ungodly, to stand in the way of sinners, and to sit in the seat of the scornful. Nothing good can come from such a board of counselors.

Remember that Lot did not get into the wrong place overnight. He looked at the city, he lusted over the things that he could have in that place, and eventually he leaped right into the gates and became a part of their wicked and immoral culture. Lot did not flee the temptation. Though he himself may not have been a part of the immoral lifestyle, he condoned it by living among them and gaining worldly prosperity.

Lot did not have the integrity of Abram. When he faced a spiritual battle (temptation), he failed because he was not prepared. Preparation comes through practice and exercise. You must practice and exercise faith and integrity every day. You must immerse yourself in the Word of God and put it to work in your life every day. You must spend time with the Lord in prayer daily so that He can help you, train you, and strengthen you for the battles to come. You must be devoted, faithful, and dependable to your church family so that you can encourage, train, support, and strengthen one another. This is the preparation that is needed to have faith and integrity that will stand to the challenges and the temptations that you will face every day of your life.  

The hardest thing for a person to do who has become tributary to the world and its ways is to take the first step back to God (remember, repent, and return; 1 Jn 1:9). Once that is done, the rest of the steps will fall into place. If you find yourself in a place you did not intend to be, a place that is not closer to the Lord but farther from Him, then you must confess and forsake that place. Even if it cost you something, you must turn and go back to God. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 9

Faith and Integrity In Battles Pt 2

Genesis 14:14-16 ~ And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.  And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pursued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus.  And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people.

Lot did not have the integrity that he needed to keep his family safe from the onslaughts of Satan and the progressive liberals of the world. He and his family have fallen prey to the devil and his snares and have fallen prey to the world and its ways. He had become tributary to the king of Sodom and tributary to the ways of the world. He and all the people of Sodom have now been captured by a group of kings who have come to steal, kill, and destroy. This is the danger that you face when you get away from God and the protections of His commandments and His doctrines. You are open game for the devil to come along and to devour your life and all that you are.

Abram, a man of faith and integrity, had a valid reason to go against these kings in battle. They had taken someone who meant a great deal to him. He was minding his own business as a man of peace and then the news of this abduction came to him. There was a need for him to take up arms and to go to battle and that is exactly what he did. You also have a valid reason to take up arms against one who wishes to make all people his tributary. However, we do not war in the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual weapons that are given to us by God (2 Cor 10:3-5). It is a spiritual battle that we are in today against the world, our own flesh, and the devil (Eph 6:12).

Abram was successful in his war against these kings because he went in the wisdom and the power of God. He had trained and prepared his men for this day. They were ready when the time came because they had been prepared. As Christians in a spiritual war we must always be ready to go to battle when the need arises. That means that we need to be armed and we need to be prepared.

The devil uses the pleasures of the world to appeal to our fleshly desires to bring us into bondage and tributary to him. We use the weapons of our warfare to withstand his attacks and to be victorious. However, we cannot be partially armed or slightly prepared if we wish to have the victory. The Bible says we are to put on the WHOLE armor of God (Eph 6:10-18). The armor of God is for our defense against all that Satan will throw at us. The only weapon of offense that we are to carry is the Sword of the Spirit for it is the Word of God. When you are backed up by the Word of God you are backed up with the greatest power on the earth (Heb 11:3)! Read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it, and heed it by putting it into practice. This is preparation for the battle when it comes, and the battle will come.

 Abram took the battle to the enemy. He pursued him and he defeated him. There will be times that we will need to go after the enemy if we are to defeat him. To take the battle to the enemy we must stand and allow our voice to be heard about what the Bible says is right and wrong. Evil in our nation is trampling on our liberties every day because too many are afraid to stand and be heard. We need to go against the enemy to defend one another. We need to pursue the enemy to restore a fallen brother or sister. The greatest warfare that a Christian can wage against the enemy is to go after sinners and to tell them how to be saved. That takes the battle right up against the gates of hell! (Mt 16:13-18 [vs. 16 & 18]; Jude 23)

You can go to war and still retain your faith and integrity. You must do so by facing the enemy with faith that God will give you the wisdom and the power to defeat the enemy. You must do so by always being on the side of truth and right. The side of truth and right will always agree with the Word of God. You must do so by never backing away from the battle because of fear. You must do so by standing when others run away. Let us fight the good fight of faith and hold to our integrity (2 Tim 4:7).                   – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 10

Faith and Integrity In Worship Pt 1

Genesis 14:18-20 ~ And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.

Abram won the victory and returns as the mighty champion of Almighty God. He maintains his faith and integrity when offered the spoils of war and refused them so that he might have the blessings of God.

As he returns from the battle he is met by Melchizedek, the king of Salem. Melchizedek means “king of right or righteousness.” This man is a mystery in the Bible for there is not a lot that is known about him. He is picture and a type of the priestly work of the Lord Jesus Christ in resurrection. He is a king that apparently has great influence, wealth, and power. He is called the King of Salem. The word “Salem” means “peace.” Salem is also the ancient name for the city of Jerusalem.

When he meets Abram, he comes as the priest of the Most High God. He brings bread and wine to refresh Abram after the battle. These are the memorials of sacrifice which again represents the priestly work of Christ in resurrection. It is a picture of the work of Christ as the sacrifice for our sin. His body was broken open and His blood was spilled to take away our sin. The bread is a type of Christ’s body while the wine is a picture of His blood; “… without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). He comes as the priest to show God’s approval of Abram, to pray for him, and to pronounce God’s blessing upon him.

Those who live the life of faith will have to go into battle on the behalf of others as well as for self. But the Lord Jesus Christ, the priest of compassion, consolation, and encouragement will come to your aid to relieve, to refresh, and to replenish you in the battle and after the battle. The Lord Jesus said that if we would go forth in His name that He would be with us. The “go” in Matthew 28:19 brings us the “lo” in verse 20. He will bless us in every deed and endeavor as long as we are doing what He has instructed us to do.

Melchizedek was a picture of the Lord Jesus (Heb. 7:1-17). But who was this man of God? Some say he was Job and some say he was Enoch returned to earth. Others say that this was an angel while others say it was Christ Himself. He was not an angel for we are told that he was a man (Heb. 7:4). Based on Hebrews 7:3 and 15 he was not the incarnate Christ. Whoever he was, he was a man of God who knew and walked very closely with the Lord.

There is no lineage, no record of birth, nor of death. He truly typifies the Lord Jesus as our Great High Priest in that he has the royal authority and the unending duration of priesthood. He is the King of Righteousness and of Peace (Isa. 11:4-9; Heb. 7:2). Melchizedek also typifies Christ as one who has no beginning and no end. Though Christ was born as the Son of God in the flesh, yet He has always existed with God as God (John 1:1-3). The Aaronic priesthood typifies Christ but was often interrupted by death. Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

When you are devoted to your worship of the Lord you will find the blessings of God tend to increase in your life. You are blessed so that you may bless others. When you use that blessing to bless others you are blessed all the more. It becomes a revolving door of blessing. It goes without saying that our motive is love for God and compassion for those whom we help. This is a form of worship in our life; taking what God has given us and using it for the benefit and blessing of others. Your whole life – social, intellectual, recreational, spiritual, mental, physical, working, playing, loving, etc. – should reflect your worship of God. If God is preeminent in your life then all that you think, say, and do is done in worship because you keep Him at the forefront of everything. This is what it is to have faith and integrity in worship.                         – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 11

Faith and Integrity In Worship Pt 2

Genesis 14:18-20 ~ And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he [Abram] gave him [Melchizedek] tithes of all.

Melchizedek comes to Abram who is known by his relationship to the LORD for he was called “Abram of the most high God.” He was known as a man of faith and that faith was in the LORD God of Heaven and earth. Abram was obedient in his worship and he honored God. Abram was blessed because God was preeminent in his life.

We too should be known by our relationship to the Lord. I have had to work outside the church to support my family at times. When I did the people that I worked with knew that I was a Christian. I did not go and tell people, “I am a Christian.” They knew that I was a Christian by the way that I conducted myself. I was concerned with where they were going to spend eternity and whether they had a personal relationship with Christ. I shared Christ with them as much and as often as I could without being negligent to my duties at work.

I have worked with people that would come up to me and tell me that they were Christian, but it was not evident in their life. Many have the profession without the possession. Many have Christ as first priority, but they have not made Him preeminent and priorities can change. But I have found that those who truly have the possession want to share it with others. When we are obedient in our worship God is honored and we are blessed. A part of our worship of God is to tell others about Him. When we do, we let our light shine - the light and the love of Christ - and God gives His blessing.

As we look into these verses we see the facilitator of Abram’s worship, Melchizedek. We see the fruit of Abram’s worship as he received God’s approval and blessing. Remember, God is only pleased when we are doing what He says, the way He says, with full trust and confidence in Him. But we see also his faithfulness in his worship. Abram gave his tithe back to the LORD. This is done before the law and the covenant of circumcision. The tithe is the way we honor the Lord our God for His blessings upon our life. Tithing is an expression of worship (2 Cor 9:7), a test of obedience, (1 Cor 16:2, Mal 3:8-9), and an opportunity for the Lord to bless your life further (Lk 6:38, Mal 3:10, 2 Cor 9:6). It is a part of your worship practice.

Abram kept his faith and integrity in battles. Abram kept his faith and integrity in worship. The level of your faith and integrity has a lot to say about the condition of your heart and life. Those who genuinely love the Lord will honor him with their faith and integrity by giving themselves in worship with their time, their tithe, with their talents, and with their treasures.

You must give yourself to the Lord. Devote your heart to Him in love. Devote your time and resources to Him in trust. Devote and entrust all of your future to Him. This is putting the Lord in a place of preeminence in your life; devoting everything that you are, everything that you possess, everything that you will ever be or will ever have to Him for the cause of Christ and the glory of God. This is preeminence; this is building your life around God and all that He is. This is a life of faith and integrity in worship.

Do you genuinely love the Lord? Do you show that love by your worship of God? Worship is not just what you do in the church building; it is what you do with your life. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 39

 October 1

Turning From Truth: Heresy & Apostasy

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Let us start by defining a couple of words. “Apostasy” is an abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion. “Heresy” is a fundamental error in religion, or an error of opinion respecting some fundamental doctrine of religion. Heresy, in law, is an offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some of its essential doctrines, publicly avowed and obstinately maintained. Heresy leads to apostasy. When we have an error being taught in the church it is only a matter of time before the devil will be able to pull people into apostasy. My firm belief is that America, and particularly Baptist churches, have become heretical in their teachings and have caused a great many churches to fall by the wayside and become apostate. (Please understand that I am not bashing by calling people out by name. We are just pointing out truth so that others may see the truth and escape the corruption of heresy and apostasy.)

The Southern Baptists wonder why they do not have the number of conversions and baptisms that they once had. But the SBC seminaries have become Calvanistic in their teachings and their doctrine. Calvanism at its very core is anti-evangelical and therefore anti-Christ and anti-missionary. Our Lord Jesus taught confrontational evangelism; He went out into places where the sinners were at and confronted them in love with the Gospel. Paul carried the Gospel into Asia and Europe where it eventually went into Germany and then crossed the Atlantic Ocean into America. But Calvanism teaches that there is no need to go because people are predestined by God to go to Heaven or hell and we cannot do anything about it.

This apostate stand started with heresy. They taught that Old Testament stories were not literal stories and that there was no need to take them as literal. They teach that God did not part the Red Sea; they simply went around the end of the sea where the water was only three or four inches deep. Even if that were true it would still be a great miracle because God drowned one of the greatest armies in that day in four inches of water! Their departure continued when they began to teach that Jesus was not the Son of God in the flesh until He was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism in the Jordan River. Here we see that heresy, which is erroneous doctrine and departure from the truth, leads to apostasy, a departure from the fundamental doctrines of the faith.

It is my observation that these heretical departures from the faith began with the changing of the Word of God. When in the 1870’s men began to determine that there were many and grievous errors in the Authorized King James Bible the devil deceived them into revising and rewriting God’s Holy Word. At that point in time many of the great revivals began to cease and are now non-existent. The manuscripts they used were corrupt and tainted. The men who secretly had a hand in providing portions of manuscripts were corrupt, and from all of their writings there is not found one single profession of faith in Christ as their Lord and Saviour. There are a great many evidences in their writings of darkness and corruption in their minds as to spiritual beliefs, and some that are not so godly. 

In 2 Timothy 4:3-4 we are warned that these things will come to pass. There are those who are turning away from the fundamental Bible preaching churches today. Those who were once sound in doctrine the best of the world and the best of Christianity. They want to hear things that do not condemn and convict them for indulging in the things of the world. They have become rebellious in the eyes of God: “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:  Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits” (Isa. 30:9, 10).

Therefore, we need real preachers, men who are not afraid of losing their position in a church but love the Lord and live their lives to please Him, not the people. But even in this, the man of God must love the people and preach with fire and fervency as well as with love, kindness, and compassion. If God’s man loves the people as he should, with the love of Christ in his heart, he can preach like John the Baptist at times, like John the Beloved at others, and the people will stay the course and God will bless the church with fruitfulness. - Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 2

Turning To Fables

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

There are apostate leaders who are leading their churches down a wrong path. They want numbers, dollars, fortune, and fame, and they believe the only way they can have it is to go along with what the world is doing. NOTE: Anytime we do something to keep up with the world‘s way of doing things, we are going along with the devil himself who has blinded the minds of the lost world! God has said of these leaders, “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;  The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof” (Jer. 5:30, 31)? That word “wonderful” means “amazement or horror that confounds the faculties” and the word “horrible” means “something fearful.” God is saying that an “amazing horror that confounds the faculties and a fearful thing is committed in the land.”

That is exactly what is happening in churches throughout America as the preachers become “teaching pastors” who will teach fables and speak smooth things that will not convict people in their lust for worldliness. Once they get on the path of heretical and erroneous teaching it leads to “preaching” a false doctrine. This, in turn, allows the world into the church and allows the church to dabble in the world without any condemnation or conviction.

But the most amazing thing is the statement in verse 31, “and my people love to have it so.” The people are the ones who choose their leaders and “heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And … turn away their ears from the truth.” They love to have their ears scratched and tickled with things that are pleasing and agreeable to carnal minds. They want to hear things that will tell them they are pure in their human nature with the power of free will and that they are justified in their righteousness and their good works (this is religion, not salvation and sanctification by grace).

God’s Word gives us this parable in Matthew 13:33: “Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Many believe that this is referring to the effect of the Gospel in the world. But if we take the whole counsel of the whole Word of God, we will find that this is referring to the corrupt doctrine that is brought into the church through heresy and apostasy. First, we must consider that the meal is a representation of the church as it is a homogenized mix of meal, or fine flour, made from the corn of wheat from which Christ is compared in John 12:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” Secondly, we must understand that everywhere in the Bible leaven is used in a bad sense and represents sin: immorality, malice, wickedness, or false doctrine such as that of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Thirdly, a woman, in a bad ethical sense, always symbolizes in religion that something is out of place. In Revelation 2:20 it was a woman teaching in the church: “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

The heresy multiplied when the “Bible Revision Committees” began watering down the Word of God to make it “easier to understand.” “The old King’s English is archaic, antiquated, and outdated,” they said. It was just good reasoning that they should want to make it easier to understand so that they could get more people to read the Bible. But as they began to change it, they used human reasoning and philosophy which is skewed by their ideology. Our philosophy should come from our Theology and our Theology must be Biblical Theology which comes from The Word of God. Their philosophy came from their ideology not from Biblical Theology. They were going by human reasoning rather than by faith in God’s Word.

The Bible has now been revised so many times that it has been made to fit man’s worldly life rather than using God’s Holy Word to make our life fit to God’s pattern. God’s pattern is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, the living Word of God. By the way, when something is revised it is because the original is full of mistakes. If the King James Bible is full of mistakes, then that means that God did not have the power to preserve the inspiration in preservation. If that is true, then we do not serve an all-powerful God and our faith is in vain. Our Lord plainly warned us all through Scripture to beware of the leaven that would creep into the church and begin to grow until the whole church would be leavened. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 3

Changing & Misusing Truth

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The first Fundamental Doctrine of the Faith is this: We believe that the Bible, the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments, inspired in the Masoretic text (Old Testament) and the Textus Receptus (New Testament), and that inspiration preserved for us in the Authorized 1611 King James Bible, is the infallible, inerrant, inspired and altogether authentic, accurate and authoritative Word of God, therefore the supreme and final authority in all things and our sole guide in faith and practice. (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pt 1:21; Rev 22:18-19). When we begin to change this precious Book, this Love Letter from our Father, we change every other Fundamental Doctrine in some way because they all come from the Word of God. That is why we have to so often make mention of these very facts and hold to what Jude 3 commands us to do; “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 

The old devil is a wise and cunning adversary. He has been at his job for six thousand years and knows that if he can mix a little truth in with a lie, he can deceive people everywhere. That is just exactly what he has done, and it has worked to allow so many over the past 130 years to accept the leaven that has been creeping into the church through a tainted word. The difference between the church and the world thirty years ago was a stark contrast as that between black and white. Now with so many turning unto these new books that are a man’s word (proven by the fact that they are copyrighted, 2 Tim 2:9) there is this vast ocean of grey between what used to be black and white. When we go into the church today we see that there is no difference in music, dress, language, attitudes, or morals. We pray every day for those who hold to the Old Book and the Old Paths.

Our Lord Jesus made this statement in Luke 18:8: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?That word “faith” comes from the Greek word “pistis” which means a belief in truth or the truthfulness of God; it is a belief in Christ for salvation and the system of truth (doctrine) that accompanies salvation. Will he find the faith once delivered unto the saints? We have determined to hold to the faith by the power and the Grace of Almighty God. We have determined to stand for the Old Book, that precious Word of God, and to hold to the Old Paths doing God’s work, God’s way, according to God’s divine will. Where do you stand? Have you allowed leaven into your life? Do you read from the right Book? Are you determined to walk with and stand with the Lord every day? If so, then earnestly pray for those who earnestly contend for the faith and strive to stay on the straight and narrow. Pray for those who are building a 1st Century Church in the 21st Century. 

Not all who use a King James Bible and claim to be King James only are true to the faith. Many churches today teach heresy for doctrine straight out of the King James Bible. Some of these groups thrive on hate and controversy. In their minds they are the only ones who know the truth and they know what is right. They are always claiming that every bad tragedy that comes on America is the judgment of God. Every person alive who does not agree with their way of thinking is going to hell and is responsible for the so-called judgment of God in tragedy. They are mean spirited hate mongers whose sole agenda is to sow the seeds of hatred and ill will in the name of our loving, merciful, gracious, ever-forgiving Saviour. All we can do is mark them and ignore them for who they are.

There are others who are not so hateful and yet they still preach heresy for doctrine that leads to apostasy within their ranks. Some would have you to believe that a child is not a living soul until that child is born into the world and takes its first breath. That is apostasy because God knew Jeremiah before ever he was conceived and says this in Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” We are also told in Psalm 139:15-16, “ My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Here lies that danger where heresy becomes apostate: If a child were not a living soul until it left the womb then that would mean that our Lord Jesus was not the Son of God because he was not a living soul until He came out of the womb. He became the Christ when He was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. This is what is taught in many Baptist seminaries today. But that apostasy is refuted because we know by Old and New Testament Scripture that He stepped down from Heaven on high, and was placed by the Spirit of God in the innocent, untainted womb of a virgin, in the “…lowest parts of the earth” (Psa 139:15 & Eph 4:9). John the Baptist leaped for joy in His mother’s womb when Mary, pregnant with the Saviour, came into the room. Remember that anything that attacks the deity of Christ is anti-Christ and that is of the devil. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

October 4

Discord Leads Away From Truth

2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

We as Christians must beware of apostates who would come into the church and very subtly imbed themselves among the believers. They are those who come in and would call certain people off in a corner and try to undermine the teaching and the preaching. They would disagree with doctrine and try to refute it with Scripture that is taken out of context. They are very wily in getting with those who are not mature and grown enough to be rooted and grounded in the fundamental doctrines of the faith. They are tares among the wheat, and if that is true then they are sent there, whether knowingly or unknowingly, by the prince of darkness (Mat 13:24-30 & 36-43). These are people whose sole purpose is to cause division among the brethren and thereby gain some control for themselves. They gain a platform, so to speak, where they can launch into spreading their heretical teachings.

God says that there are seven things that He hates and one of those things is the sowing of discord among the brethren (Pro 6:16-19). Those who sow the seeds of heresy and apostasy are sowing discord among the brethren. They are dividing people along the boundaries of Biblical doctrine. Romans 16:17-18 tells us, "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." When we see someone who is trying to disagree, or even refute, the sound teaching and the doctrines of the church, we are to mark them and to avoid them. We are to follow those who follow the Cross of Christ (Php 3:17-19).

To mark them does not mean to go around telling everyone what they are doing nor does it mean to put a bull's-eye on their back. It means to be aware of them in your own mind and to avoid the things they are trying to push on others. If we go around telling others that they are doing wrong we put our self in the same category of dividing the brethren (trying to pull up the tares will pull up some wheat also) and we become talebearers who are those that are prone to gossip. The only way to deal with this in the church is through love and church discipline and that is done only under the authority and the guidance of the pastor of the church with the deacons. If we see someone in the church who disagrees with the teachings of the church and are trying to win converts to their own personal agenda, it needs to be brought to the pastor's attention and left alone. All we can do is leave it to God and His way of dealing with it. His way is clearly defined in Scripture.

If you are in a fundamentally sound and a loving church, then the teaching and the preaching of the Word of God will fix and alleviate these heretics many times. In my own personal experience of having to deal with these kinds of things creeping into the church we have only had to go all the way with the Lord's plan in church discipline once. Many times, when confronted the first time, they will either get right, or if knowingly guilty, they will choose to leave. And as we have stated before, church discipline is not for the mean spirited purpose of showing who is right and who has the might, it is about trying to restore wayward people back into the fellowship of our Lord Jesus and doing that in the love of God. To Him be the glory, Amen.

Whoever reads this today, if you have a true Scriptural pastor that loves you and preaches the truth of the whole counsel of the whole Word of God, pray for him, stand for him, stand by him, and when he is tired, come along side of him and strengthen him in the work (Exo. 17:12). Let him know that you love and support him so that he may take courage and stay the course till our Saviour calls us home.

Fighting back against the evil forces is a part of the Christian's spiritual warfare. So how do we fight back? How can we change our society and the culture of the day? We can only change society by changing the hearts of the people. That takes the power of the Holy Spirit within. That takes bringing people to Christ and helping them to come to a place of repentance and belief on Christ. That will take confronting people with the Gospel which is the same thing that Christ did; he confronted people with the truth so they could make an intelligent and informed decision about Him. The more Christians that will stand for the truth the stronger we will be in battle and the more power we will have to stem the tide of deception and corruption. – Dr. Todd Taylor

 

 

WEEK 38

 

September 16

The Heart Of Christ Pt 2

Hebrews 13:4-6 ~ Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.  

The heart of Christ is important in the home. Christ loved the church and gave His life for it. It is His bride and His body. He nourishes and cherishes the church. The husband is to love and cherish His wife which means there are no others that will come before her outside of the Lord. The wife is to love the husband and reverence Him as the head of the home. He is the spiritual leader of the home and should be respected as such. There should be nobody before him save the Lord Himself.

In marriage the physical relationship is pure and undefiled. It is a sweet reward to the husband and wife who are true to each other. But any physical relationship outside of the bonds of marriage is corrupt and defiled. It does not have the approval of God and abides under the condemnation and the judgment of God. The marriage is to be a picture of Christ and His bride. When it is impure and unholy as it is with fornicators, whoremongers, harlots, adulterers, and adulteresses it dishonors the picture. God said he would judge His children if they continue in this ungodly act of having physical relationships outside of the bond of marriage. It does not exemplify the heart of Christ in the home.

We should not have an insatiable desire to acquire wealth, fame, or any of the world’s things to consume upon our own lustful desires. It is just a temporary pleasure that will burn to ash one day. We should focus on the eternal things of God for those are the things that will last forever. There is nothing in this world that you can take into eternity with you. To hoard out of covetousness and greed here will waste the precious little time that we have in this world to do good for God and to do good for others. That is what will earn us eternal rewards for Heaven (Mat. 6:21).

We need to be content with what we have. God has said that He would supply our needs, not our greed. He has given power to some to gain wealth for the purpose of using that wealth for His glory and to be a blessing to others. Those who give away what God gives them seem to have more than they could ever need and yet they are always giving it away. You can never out give the Lord. No one has ever become poor by taking what God gives them and giving it away.

Rather than spend all our time chasing after the things of the world we should spend more time walking and talking with the Lord. The greatest thing that we can have on this earth is a close personal relationship with Him. He has promised that He would never leave us alone. He is always with us, even when we ignore Him and do not spend time with Him. Too many times I think we may treat the Lord like that annoying little brother or sister who always wants to be with us and do what we are doing. We should learn to take more time with Him because He is always faithful to be there when we need Him. He loves us even when we are unlovable.

When we spend our time doing what pleases the Lord - walking and talking with Him and doing good to others for Him - we have a holy boldness to announce to the world that He is our Lord and King. We can give an answer to every person that asks us why we can have such high hope in a dark and evil day that if so full of uncertainty. God is our helper. When all else fails in this world God will always be there for us. He will make sure that we are delivered from the wrath to come. He will make sure that we always have sufficiency in the things that pertain to life. God will take care of you through every day and all the way to the end. You need not worry, and you need not fear, because God will take care of you.

Man may threaten you and try to get you to recant your faith, but God is with you. The three Hebrews knew that God would deliver them from the hand of the ungodly king. They knew it would either be by miracle or by death. They stood their ground on their faith that God was with them and that He would supply their need in that hour. They knew that He would supply them with the help they needed to stand up for their faith by giving them the courage and strength they needed. They had no fear as they stood against the earthly king for they knew the High King of the Universe had their backs.

God delivered them and He has promised to deliver you. No matter what, have the heart of Christ and be bold in your outspoken faith. Do not let the world stop you from being the spokesperson that you ought to be. Have the heart of Christ in your home, in your family, in your relationships, and in your endeavors. Realize that He is with you and that you can have His compassion and love towards others by using what God has given you to be a blessing to those around you. Do not allow worry and fear to stand in the way of what you can accomplish with the life that God has given you. Make the most of it and live life to the full. - Preacher

 

September 17

A Word About Remembering

Hebrews 13:7 ~ Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 

When the Lord Jesus ascended back to Heaven to take up His place as our Great High Priest, we are told in Ephesians Chapter Four that He gave “gifts” to the church. In Ephesians 4:11 we are told, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers.” He gave these “gifts” “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Eph. 4:12). One of the gifts that He gave was the pastor of the church. His office is the office of authority over the church.

Now it goes without saying that these men must be men who meet the qualifications that are outlined in I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. They need to be reputable and honorable men. They must be honest and sincere in the calling which God Himself has placed upon their life. They must be the example for others to follow as they follow the Lord Jesus Christ. They should be an example of the living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1, 2) that lives the crucified life (Gal. 2:20).

Here in these verses in Hebrews 13 we find a Word About Remembering. When we talk of remembering we are speaking of “being mindful of; to think of and feel for a person; to make mention of.” Those whom God has placed in the office of the pastor are a gift from Christ to His Church. We are here told to remember them.

Remembering speaks of consideration. We are to be mindful of the man of God. We must be thoughtful of the things in his life because his life is given to the congregation of people that God has placed under his watch care. He is the under shepherd of the Great Shepherd and he has rule over you as a servant of God and a servant of the people. He has been put in this position of authority, not as a dictator, but as a servant to minister to the needs of the people. Therefore, we must consider his needs as we consider the needs of our church family.

Consider that the man of God who is placed in the office of the pastor has a 24 / 7 / 365 job. That means that he is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is never a time when the man of God is not a part of his congregation and there is never a time when he is off of work (even if he gets to take a vacation, he is still responsible for his flock 24 / 7 / 365). His time is important and it is delicate. He must tend to his family (wife and children and personal family) while tending to the flock. He must give copious amounts of time to praying because as the one who is over the flock, he needs to receive from God the things that are necessary to care for the flock and his personal family. There are also great amounts of time that must be given to diligent study of the Word of God.

Remembering speaks of compassion. There is a great need of compassion for the man of God in all of the burden of responsibility that he bears. He bears the load of every family within his congregation and then some. He needs kindness from those whom he diligently serves and ministers to. Let us show him the golden rule found in Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” This is the kindness that we ought to show the man of God for he is a gift to us from the Lord Jesus Christ. Be kind to him and to his family. His family also must make great sacrifices as he must delicately schedule his time with the needs of the people and the needs of his personal family.

Remembering speaks of conversation. We must make mention of the pastor as we go to the Lord in prayer. Pray for him and his family. Pray for their time together and for their needs. Pray for their health and their wellbeing. Pray for wisdom to use his time wisely as he ministers to the church family and their families. Stand for him in the work of the Lord and do not make the man of God go it alone. He needs your help in the ministry as the church tries to fulfill the Great Commission. He needs volunteer workers and laborers to do the physical lifting as well as the spiritual work. Stand for the man of God and support him for he needs you as much as you need him (Exo. 17:8-16). - Preacher

 

September 18

Word About Ruling

Hebrews 13:7 & 17 ~ Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.  17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

When we are talking about the office of the pastor, we are talking about one of the gifts that Christ gave to His Church before He returned to Heaven. In verse seven we see that there is a Word About Remembering. This remembering speaks of consideration, it speaks of compassion, and it speaks of conversation, both verbal conversation and lifestyle conversation.

Now we see in both verses before us that there is a Word About Ruling. To rule means leadership and authority. This is a position that has been created for the New Testament Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His gift to the Church. The man of God is called to and placed there by God. Therefore, the authority of the office of the pastor is placed there by God. That authority is not meant to be dictatorial, but servant leadership as we find in 1 Peter 5:2 & 3: “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

This is a personal choice of the man who is submissive to the call and the will of God for his life. He is the one who is to speak unto us the Word of God. God gives His vision to the man of God and the man of God must bring that vision to the congregation. These are the marching orders of the body of Christ. Without a vision the people perish (Pro 29:18). That vision must be backed up by the Word of God for it is our sole guide in faith and practice.

Ruling speaks of rank. There is an order in the church because without order there is chaos and confusion. God is not the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor 14:33). All things within the church are to be done decently and in order 1I Cor 14:40). That order is a God-given order. The one head in the church is the Lord Jesus Himself (Eph 5:23). He is the Shepherd and the pastor is the under shepherd. That means that the pastor is the leader in the church. It is not the board of deacons as in many churches. However, a wise pastor will have a board of deacons that will give sound and honest wisdom to him for the decisions that he is to make. When the order of God is out of order then everything in the church will be out of order.

There was a church where the men’s group got together and decided that they wanted to be the leaders in the church. They were able to convince the church to put together a committee that consisted of these men and two ladies. The women wanted to have a woman’s influence because they had had enough with men doing all the business of the church. From there it all fell apart and “Ichabod” was written over that church (1 Sam 4:21). Ruling speaks of rank which means that there must be order.

Ruling speaks of relationship (1 Ths 5:12-13). We should respect the office of the pastor in love and support of the work that God has placed upon Him. A true pastor will always try to be there when there is a spiritual need. He is one who is a friend indeed. He is not just the man in the pulpit, he is the man that is in the home when one is sick. He is the one who is in the hospital at all hours of the night without any regard to himself. When you let him, he will be the spiritual leader in all aspects of your life. Realize the relationship that he has with your family because he watches over your souls 24 / 7 / 365. When he stands before God, he will give an account of your life, with joy if you live right and with grief for those who do not live right.

Ruling speaks of reality. The man of God is your pastor, your friend, and your family, but he is the man of God. He must preach the Word of God when it is pleasant and when it is not (2 Tim 4:2). He must bring the truth when it is well received and when it is not. He must be the man of God to hold forth the Word of life when it steps all over our toes and when it rejoices our hearts. But, the pastor, the man of God in that office, will stand alone most of the time. When you look at the real men of God in the Bible you will find that most of them had very few that would stand beside them. It is not by his choice for he would love to have people involved in all aspects of his ministry, from praying, to canvassing neighborhoods and inviting folks to church, to visitation and soul winning, and going into the hospitals and nursing homes. - Preacher

 

September 19

Word About Responsibility

Hebrews 13:7 & 17 ~ Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

When we are talking about the office of the pastor we are talking about one of the gifts that Christ gave to His Church before He returned to Heaven. In verse seven we see that there is a Word About Remembering which speaks of consideration, of compassion, and of conversation. In verse 17 we see a Word About Ruling which speaks of rank, relationship, and reality.

When we study this out there is also a Word About Responding. Those who stand in the pulpit and deliver unto us the Word of God should live by that same Word that they preach. We are told to follow the faith of those whom God has put in the office of the pastor. You should be able to look at his life and see in him that faith which he preaches. A pastor cannot live a closed book life. His life must be an open book; there must be transparency if we are to follow him.

Responding speaks of examination. If we are to follow the leader we must be able to look at his life and see those things which he believes. We can see the depth of his convictions. His convictions and his faith should govern his life and his decisions. When he loves the Lord as he should there will be an evidence of deep-rooted convictions in his life. It will be seen in the reality of his walk. When he is away from the church, does he still hold to his convictions? When he is on vacation, does he still hold to his convictions?

A man who is committed to the Lord and to His Word is a man in whom will be seen the evidence of that commitment. You can believe the Bible and never practice the Bible. You can try to teach and preach the Bible and never practice the Bible. A true man of God will not only try to teach and preach the Bible that he loves and believes, but he will practice what he preaches. A man cannot stand in the pulpit and preach that it is a sin to go to movies that are filled with filthy language, nudity, and debauchery if he himself does that very thing. He is not practicing what he preaches. You cannot follow his faith because it is weak at best.

A pastor must be a man who loves the Lord and loves the Word above all else in this world. He must be willing to put God ahead of self, friends, and even family. His vacation time is not his, it is the Lord’s. His life belongs to God because God called him to a work. God has placed him over a group of people to love, cherish, nurture, encourage, comfort, challenge, teach, admonish, reprove, rebuke, with all longsuffering, compassion, and with doctrine (2 Tim 4:2). Is this what you see in your pastor? Do you see the love of God and of Christ in the man behind the pulpit? When he is preaching the Word and there is conviction of the Spirit, do you sense his love for you as he preaches truth?

Responding speaks of emulation. The pastor is to live a life of dedication, commitment, surrender, service, obedience to the commands of God, with a joyful heart and with the love of Christ. We are to follow his faith as He follows Christ. Paul told the people to follow him: “Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Cor 4:16), “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1), and again, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Php 3:17). This must be true of the pastor and our response to his leadership is to emulate his faith in our lives. We are to follow the pastor AS he follows God and His Word. Does he fight the good fight, the fight of God’s choosing, does he keep the faith, and will he finish his course? Then he is worthy of following and respecting.

If this is your pastor, then here are some things that you can do to stand behind your pastor. Protect his time. Pray for him continually. Pay attention while he preaches. Provide for his needs and the needs of his family. Please the Lord through your ministry to the pastor by being his Aaron and his Hur (Exo 17:12). Respect him, follow him, and help him. Remember that he is the one who watches for the souls of your family. - Preacher

 

September 20

Becoming A Disciplined Disciple

Luke 14:26-27 ~ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Our Lord Jesus is saying that if we do not love Him so much that it makes our love for our family look like hate, we cannot be His true disciples. A disciple of Christ will forsake all for the glory of God and for the furtherance of the Gospel. True disciples are willing to leave all to follow Christ if He so desires for us to do so. But a true disciple of Christ must be a disciplined student of the Scriptures. When we forsake something, we are turning to something. When we separate from the world we are to be separated unto the Gospel (Rom. 1:1).

Let us not misunderstand the text. God is the God of love for He is love. We love our family members and we put them in the Lord’s hands for His protection and His provision in their life. The Lord Jesus stands to represent them before the throne of Grace. We do not forsake them in the sense that we abandon them to the world. We bring them to the Lord and there place them on the altar before Him. This allows us to bring our feelings into submission to Christ so that we may give our life to Him.  Our love and service to Him must come first, even in the matters of the heart with family and friends.  

Matthew 19:29 ~ And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

The prosperity gospel preachers would preach that “God will give you back a hundred times more than you give up for Him.” They preach an earthly prosperity that does not line up with the whole counsel of the whole Word of God. God will and does reward with earthly blessings, but not for the consumption of the lusts of the flesh. Do not think that God will give us anything that we intend to consume upon our lustful desires as those erroneous, so-called preaches tell you (Jam 4:3).

If we leave our family and our homeland to go and work for the Lord, it must be at the direction of His will for our life. When we give up material possessions to be in the ministry, we should be doing it so that we may devote all of our time and resources to serving the Lord and serving others. If we do it for any other reason, then we need to examine our hearts, ask God to search our hearts, and see if there is anything wrong within (Psa 139:23-24). We would do better to do this examination, asking God to reveal any wrong thought or thought processes within, so that we may judge our own selves (1 Cor 11:31-32).

To be a true disciple of Christ we must put Him first before all others. To love Him should make our love for family seem like hate. To forsake them is to turn them over to God for salvation, which includes, but is not limited to, protection, provision, and power to live a godly life. We must get into His Word and allow His Word to get into us. We must grow to not only be a student of the Scriptures but a teacher as well. We must deny the world and the devil any place in our heart and life. We must mortify the deeds of the flesh (Gal 5:19-21). We must daily examine our hearts and our motives for serving the Lord. We must ask the Lord to daily examine our hearts and our minds to be sure that we are clean before Him.  

Being a disciple of Christ is a life of daily self-discipline under submission to the Holy Spirit and under subjection to the Word of God. It is a life that is far from being boring, dull, dry, or lifeless. It is a life that is exhilarating, vibrant, joyful, energizing, exciting, fresh, and full of living. It is a journey through a strange world that leads to a place where these things are compounded beyond the imagination and expectation. Determine today to become a disciple of Christ and find the fulfillment and satisfaction that life truly offers to all who will accept it. - Preacher

 

 

WEEK 37

 

September 9

A Life of Faith; Leaning On The Saviour

Hebrews 12:1-2 ~ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The word “wherefore” in verse one ties this chapter back to the previous chapter which is the great Biblical chapter on faith. Chapter 11 is a role call on faith. It says that we have such a great crowd of witnesses ahead of us. Those witnesses are giving their testimony that they lived their lives by faith. In some of the most horrific circumstances those people have lived out their faith, even under great suffering and trial of affliction. Some of them had to live their faith in patience awaiting the promises of God. Some had to fight and contend for their faith as they fought, bled, and some even died, for their freedom to worship.

What this great roll call of faith tells us is that we have a group who have come and gone before us who were able to keep and hold to their faith. Even as the great Apostle Paul, they were able to fight the good fight of faith and stay the course of their life unto death keeping their faith in God and His Word. Now they are our witnesses to the fact that it can be done. They are also our spectators who are there to cheer us on in our conquests for Christ. As you look into the grandstands of life, they are the ones who are telling us, “Keep on keeping’ on for Christ!” They also witness to us by the life of faith they lived. If we are to contend for and keep our faith all the way to the end there are some things we must do.

We must learn to lean on the Saviour. When you first trusted Christ you began to lean on Him. To believe means “to trust, to depend on, to rely on.” To lean means “to rely upon, to depend on.” To trust Christ for salvation means that you were leaning upon Him to save you because you could not save yourself. Now we must learn to lean upon Him daily for the power to live our life by faith.

We must lay aside every weight that hinders us from running the race set before us. We must cut ties to anything that would prevent us from living a life of faith. Sometimes that means that we must lean on Jesus as we have to say goodbye to old friends and maybe even family. We do not give up on them as we are now a light in the darkness to them. But we may have to distance ourselves from them if they are a negative influence on our Christian life. When family or friends influence you to do things that are sinful you must distance yourself from them as you love them from a distance, praying for them to come to the saving knowledge of Christ, and trying to lead them to Christ through your witness and testimony.

We must cut ties to anything that the Word of God says is sin. When you learn from the Scriptures that something in your life is sin you must lay it aside and walk away from it. Bad habits die hard, but God gives power to those who truly are willing to lay them down so they may be closer to Him (John 1:12). But there is also laying aside the vacancies that we may have in our life as well. If the Bible says we are to be doing certain things in our life of faith that we are not doing, we are in sin. James 4:17 tells us, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” Therefore, we are to lay aside hindrances that keep us from living in faith and pick up things that will strengthen us in our life of faith.

Sometimes it may be hard to “keep on keeping’ on for Christ” and live the life of faith, but we can do it with patience. Patience is enduring in the hard times. It is keeping your faith and leaning upon the Saviour when it would be so much easier to do things differently. I have found that when in trials and hardships we should be all the more earnest in our Christian life. We must purpose in our heart to live by faith and lean on the Saviour.

When you are having a bad day go out and do something for the Lord. Go give out Gospel tracts, talk to someone about their salvation, visit someone who has been missing church or someone who is sick. When we in troubles will determine to live by our faith and not by our circumstances, we find ourselves leaning on the Saviour. When you lean on the Saviour your faith is increased, the Lord is pleased with you, and you become a witness to the life of faith just as the heroes of old. - Preacher

 

September 10

A Life of Faith; Looking Unto The Saviour

Hebrews 12:2-3 ~ Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

If we are to contend for and keep our faith all the way to the end there are some things we must do. The first thing is to learn to lean on the Saviour. To lean on Him is to sever ties to things that will hinder our walk of faith. These things will bind us down in bondage and weaken our faith. We are to do the things that the Word of God tells us to do so that our faith will be increased and strengthened. We are to lay aside hindrances that hinder our faith and we are to pick up things that will strengthen us in our life of faith.

We must learn to look to the Saviour. He is the One who originated our faith. He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith and He is the greatest Hero of the faith. He is the reason that we are saved and on our way to Heaven. He is the benchmark or the standard that is required to miss hell and get into Heaven. He is the One who could pay the required payment for our sin so that we could receive pardon and forgiveness. Sin must be paid for and Jesus paid it all.

He is the One who endured the shame and reproach that was ours to bear. He endured the guilt for which He was not guilty and suffered the punishment for that guilt. He did so because He knew what the outcome would be; it would mean that we could have a relationship with the Father and receive the gift of eternal life. His love for the Father and the sinner led Him to become the propitiation for our sin. He saw that it would mean our reconciliation to God. He saw that it would be a win-win situation for all.

1 Peter 1:3-5 says,  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,   Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  Look to the Saviour for the living hope that saves. It comes from God, through His mercy, and it brings new life. But it comes because of the Saviour. Look to Him for the living hope that gives us assurance in our salvation, our sanctification, and our eternity. Look to Him for that living hope in the trials of the world, the trials of Christianity, and the trials of life in general. This is that living hope that is centered upon Christ and gives us an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and that does not fade away.

Because He lives our faith is secure. We can endure the trials of our faith because He endured. He endured the suffering and punishment for the wrongs that we committed against God. But we can endure because of the good that He has done for us with the Father. His power and His strength reside within us in the power of His Spirit. We do not have to faint or fall by the wayside because His power will get us through all troubles.

Our faith is secure in the Saviour. We must look unto Him for salvation, for assurance, for eternity, and for our inheritance. The Jews were to look unto the brass serpent on the pole in the wilderness when they were snake bit if they wanted to live. We are “snake bit” by sinful flesh and so we need to look unto the Saviour if we want to live. He saves us and He keeps us.

Without looking to Him our faith is vain. But we must learn to lean upon and to look to the Saviour every day so that we can live a life of faith. Remember that without faith we cannot please God. Therefore, we must look to the Saviour because He is the Author of our faith written in the Word of God. When we look into the Word we are looking unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Remember that “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Php. 1:6). So look unto the Saviour and live a life of faith that is abundant in blessing from the moment of salvation throughout all eternity. - Preacher

 

September 11

A Life of Faith; Listening To The Saviour

Hebrews 12:5-7 ~ And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:   For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.   If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

We must lean on and look to the Saviour if we are going to live a proper life of faith. But we also must listen to the Saviour. We have already talked about His chastening, but here we see that chastening is productive in the life of the one being chastened. It is instructive in that it teaches us that there are a right and a wrong. The word “chastening” in verse 5 means “tutorage; that is education or training through disciplinary correction.” In verse 7 it carries the idea of “training up a child by the way of educating through discipline; by punishment if necessary.” The Lord has given us His Word and His Spirit. The Spirit is our teacher of the precepts and principles of daily living from the Word of God.

God will chasten us and we must endure that chastening as the child of God that we are. It is fruitful in the life of a believer only if they are willing to receive the instruction that comes from it. If we make a wrong choice or decision about something and the Lord convicts and chastens us, we must hear Him and learn from His correction. We must not decide to throw in the towel and quit just because we did something wrong. The Lord loves us and that is why He takes the time to chasten us. Just as a parent would chasten a child whom He loves dearly, so our Father in Heaven will chasten us because He wants what is best for us; to keep us close to Him, to keep us from harm, and to help us have a life of abundance.

We must expect that because He loves us, He will correct us when we get out of line or begin to stray out of the path of righteousness. When someone makes a profession of salvation and they continue in willful and deliberate sin, there is something wrong. They may have profession of faith in Christ but there is no evidence of their salvation. Seeing God’s chastening in their life, His loving correction of wrongdoing, would be evidence of true salvation. Seeing them listen to and respond in obedience to that correction would be evidence of true salvation. If there is no conviction of their sin and there is no evidence of the hand of God’s chastening, then they more than likely do not have possession of salvation. God will chasten and scourge His own children because He loves them.

They have profession without possession; this is a very dangerous place for anybody. It means they have convinced themselves that they are saved and going to Heaven when they are really lost and on their way to hell. They have not the chastening of the Father because they claim to be His child when they are not. They are what are known as illegitimate children; they do not really belong to Him because they were not birthed into the family of God through that second spiritual birth. They have not the Spirit of God to give them understanding of the Word of God so that there can be conviction of sin. They are wells without water, and they are not the children of God. They are without chastisement.

When the Lord chastens it is to prune us to be better Christians and a better people. Jesus is the vine, God our Father is the husbandman, and we are the branches of the vine. Those who belong to Him will bear fruit and He will purge the branch so that it may bring forth more fruit. In purging us He works from the inside out to take away those things that would ruin and wreck our testimony, our walk with Him, and our very lives. He will purge out old desires and habits that are sin in the life of a Christian. We become more productive in the Lord’s work so that we may bear much fruit by abiding in Christ (Jn 15:1-5).

Now the Lord not only chastens us and scourges us to be fruitful for our own benefit, but also that we may be a benefit in the lives of others. We are to help those of our own family, but especially those who are members of our eternal family. We are to help those who are not a part of the eternal family to see their need for the Saviour. They need to learn to lean upon Him for salvation and become a member of the family of God. God loves them and wants them to be saved and He wants us to go out and compel them to come in so that His house in Heaven may be full (Jn 15:16; Lk 14:16-24; Mt 28:18-20; Mk 16:15, 16; Php 2:15, 16; Mt 5:13-16) Lean on, look to, and listen to the Saviour. - Preacher

 

September 12

A Life of Faith; Learning Of The Saviour

Hebrews 12:14, 15 ~ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:         … Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

We must lean on, look to, and listen to the Saviour. All this a Christian must do because we must learn of the Saviour. When we say that we are to learn of Him we mean that as Christians we must be moldable. We must be the clay in the Potters hands. Every day that we live we must become more like Christ. Our success as a Christian is not measured in how victorious we are, or how much abundance we have, it is measured in our likeness to Christ. It is a non-conformance to the world and a transformation into the very image of Jesus Christ.

When people are rejected or wounded by others, they become angry. But the Bible teaches us that we are to seek harmony in life. To have harmony we must follow peace. We are taught that if we are going to have peace we must seek peace and ensue it (1 Pt 3:11); we are to search it out as if we were searching for hidden or buried treasure. We must press toward it without giving up.

We are taught, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Rom. 12:18, 19). On our part we must do all that we can to have harmony with people in this world. There are those who will reject any kind of peaceful or harmonious relationship with us simply because we are Christian. But we are not to allow that to affect our attitude of peace. We cannot allow the circumstances to dictate our course of action. Our actions must be dictated by the Scriptures and they must be submissive to the Holy Spirit’s leading in the will of God just like Christ (Lk. 22:42).

We cannot take vengeful actions against others when they reject our offer of peace. When wrath rises up against us we must give place to it; this is many times easier said than done. You must determine ahead of time that you will walk worthy of the Lord and be an obedient child to the Word of your Father (Eph 4:1-3). He says that vengeance is His and we must leave it there. To take matters into your own hands and return wrath for wrath is to put yourself in the position of God Himself; that was Satan’s desire when He said he would ascend above the throne of God (Isa 14:12-15). We are to do everything in our power - remember that you have the power of God within you - to live peaceably and follow peace with all men, if it be at all possible.

As Christians we are to also follow holiness which means “to purify.” We are to purify ourselves daily by living the Christian life and walking closely with the Lord. It is going after Christ to exercise more faith upon Him in our sanctification. As we walk daily by the Saviour’s side we will find that we will become more like Him. We will perfect our attitude and our graces to align with the life of Christ. It is being emptied of self and allowing the Spirit more access to all of us (Spirit filled living). It is setting our self apart from the world unto the Lord to live according to His specific divine purpose for our life. We cannot be partakers of the heavenly calling of the spiritual abundance and victorious living that comes through a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus and our Father until we learn to follow His holiness in our life.

As we separate unto the Lord in following peace and holiness, we are to forsake bitterness. Bitterness is a root of poison that will kill peace and holiness in the soul. It is deadly to any spiritual life we may have in Christ. It will allow other things that are detrimental to our relationship with the Lord to grow in our heart. It grieves the Holy Spirit of God within us as it breeds wrath and anger within (Eph 4:30-32). These will infect our thought processes and thus affect our words and eventually our actions. It is a poison that must be cast out as soon as it is recognized. Anything that does not cultivate peace within and without is a root of bitterness. Forsake it for it grows like a kudzu vine; it expands and takes over everything overnight!

We must learn of Christ and in order to do that we must determine that we will have a closer daily walk with Him. We must allow His Word to abide within so that we can be transformed into His image. If you are going to live peaceable and holy without bitterness, anger, and wrath you must have a loving and forgiving heart like Christ. - Preacher

 

September 13

The Heart Of Christ Pt 1

Hebrews 13:1-3 ~  Let brotherly love continue.  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. 

Here we are encouraged in our Christian social life to continue in godly love towards all people. First, we are encouraged to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to look out for one another above all others. This is our eternal family that we will spend all of eternity with. Therefore you are to “be … kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you” (Eph 4:32). These are church of the firstborn, the children of God, the heirs and joint heirs of Christ, so our love for others must begin in the house of God and extend out from there.

One of the landmarks that gives us evidence and assurance of our salvation is that we love the brethren (1 Jn 3:14). We should be more willing to lay down our life for those of faith than anyone else we know. Remember that love is not a feeling but an action. We do not love in words but in deed and in truth. If we do not love our brethren in Christ, we cannot love God (1 Jn 4:20).

When I hear someone say that they do not need to go to church to be saved, I have alarm bells going off in my head. They do not see the need to gather together with their eternal family and worship, to have that support network of truth and love, to have the social fellowship with those who will strengthen and encourage us on our way, to be a help, comfort, encouragement, and a blessing to others. There is something missing in their salvation if they are even saved at all. Jesus said, “… love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (Jn 13:34-35). It goes without saying that we are told in Hebrews 10:24-25 that we are not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (church) but to gather together to love and exhort one another even more as we see the day of Christ approaching. If ever that was true, it is true today!

Then we are told to entertain strangers because we never know if that person who is in need may be an angel. Many have offered food to people who are in need not realizing that they may have been taking care of some angel. Why would angels be in need? Maybe they were testing us to help us see our true character of love towards others. “To entertain strangers” is being hospitable towards those whom we do not know. It is offering a friendly smile to every person that we pass. It is performing a friendly gesture such as helping to change a flat tire, open a door, or help to lift something heavy. It is being a friend to those whom we do not know. And if they refuse us, we move on to the next person and show them the same kindness. If they are rude to our offer of help, we smile, wish them well, and continue with the joy of knowing that we are sharing the love of God through Christ likeness. But it could be receiving the help of a stranger just as well. We should never be rude to those who are offering a helping hand.

We are to have the heart of Christ as we go through this life and interact with other people. That means that we have compassion and empathy for those who are bound through adversity; whether it be some sickness, life threatening disease, or any other trial, trouble, affliction, or persecution that they may be in. Our heart should go out to them and our love should compel us to do something for them. Prayer is the first and most obvious thing we can do, but there must be more. Love is proven out in our actions, not in our words. In Romans 12:15 we are told to, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.” “Being yourselves also in the body” is to feel what they feel, whether it be joy or whether it be sorrow. Christ cried at the tomb of Lazarus. Does not your heart break when someone you truly love is hurting? That is how we should feel towards all men when we have the heart of Christ.

Love as Christ has loved. Love the brethren, be hospitable and kind to strangers, and have the heart of Christ towards all people. Whether rejoicing or weeping, have the compassion of the Saviour. - Preacher

 

 

 WEEK 36

 

September 2

The New Covenant Is The Better Covenant Pt 1

Hebrews 8:6~ But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

In Chapter Eight everything up to this point is being summed up. Everything that we now have in Christ Jesus is better. Those who come to Christ out of other religions want to cling to some of their old ways. That is what the Jews were being tempted to do and so there must be a positive argument presented that will show the futility of going back to the old ways. Why would you want to go back to that which is inferior when you can have that which is superior to all?

In Hebrews we see that in Christ we have a better Person. Because He out speaks the prophets, He outranks the angels, and He will outlast the universe. Because we have a better Person, we also have a better Provision. His sacrifice at Calvary is superior to anything ever offered before because it has an eternal and effectual power that will last forever.

Now we see that He is the one who offers a better covenant. A covenant is an agreement between two parties. There is a covenant where both parties set in place and agree to the terms and conditions of the covenant. There is another covenant where only one party sets the terms and conditions, but both parties agree to them. This is what is normally known as a will or testament. The New Covenant is a covenant of God. Man has nothing to do with setting the terms and the conditions of this covenant. This is God’s will and testament. God has set the terms and man can either accept it or reject it. However, the only way that man can receive and enjoy the inheritance is to accept the terms of the covenant exactly as they are laid out.

This New Covenant is founded by a perfect Mediator. A mediator is someone who stands between two parties to bring them together in agreement. He is the negotiator, or the middleman, an arbitrator. When Moses brought the first covenant to the people of Israel at Mt. Sinai, they abandoned grace for the law. Under the law Moses became the mediator between God and man. If he had not become the mediator, the history of Israel would have ceased at Mt. Sinai (Exo. 32:1-14). 

There is a great difference between Christ Jesus and human mediators. Christ is the Perfect Mediator. He is the One chosen by God to stand between God and man. He is the Perfect Mediator because there can only be one and God has chosen that Christ is to be that ONE. He is the Perfect Mediator because He paid the price that it takes to bring God and man together. Without His payment for sin, man could not approach God and God could not approach man with the offer of forgiveness and eternal life (9:15). He is the Perfect Mediator because He has risen from the dead and now stands at the right hand of God, in that holiest of all places, where He intercedes for those things which are best for us (9:24).

This New Covenant is not based upon the law. It is based upon the mercy and grace of God. God’s mercy withholds that which we in our enmity against God deserve; that is an eternity in the Lake of Fire suffering and paying for our transgressions against Him. God’s grace exceedingly and abundantly gives us those things of which we are so undeserving because we are human and fail God daily. But greater still is the fact that His mercy and His grace are wrapped up in His love for us. For God so loved us with such a great love that He has quickened us and has brought us into a better covenant (Jn 3:16 & Eph. 2:4, 5). Knowing that in the weakness of our sinful flesh we could not keep the first covenant, He has provided us with a better and more perfect covenant that does not depend on our weakness but depends upon the power and mediation of our living Saviour.

The New Covenant is the better covenant because it makes provision for your weakness; not to use as an excuse, but for your genuine weakness of the flesh. Under the first you would be ostracized, banished, stoned to death, or hung on a tree. Under the New Covenant the blood of Christ covers you every day and allows you to come boldly before the Throne of Grace where you can confess your sins, find the forgiveness that is needed, and walk away cleansed from all unrighteousness by that living blood (I Jn. 1:9). The New Covenant is founded by a Perfect Mediator who is Christ Jesus our Lord and our Saviour. What a great debt of gratitude you owe Him and your Father every day that you live and breathe. Every breath ought to be filled with thanksgiving and praise for Him. - Preacher

 

September 3

The New Covenant Is The Better Covenant Pt 2

Hebrews 8:6-13 (v. 6) ~ But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

The Old Covenant is the Law which told men that God was holy, and that God expected men to live holy lives. The law was holy and by keeping the law men were living holy. The problem was that the law did not give the inner power needed to obey the law. On our own we could not keep the law because of the weakness of our flesh. The law made provisions for man to be acceptable to God but it did not provide the power to inherit eternal life. It showed man that God was Sovereign, the Great Law Giver, but it said nothing about having personal fellowship with God. It was strict, stern, and it was holy, but it said nothing about God’s love, mercy, or forgiveness.

The New Covenant eliminates the weakness of the first covenant. There was a weakness with the first covenant that would require it to be replaced with a better covenant. In verses 7-9 we hear God speaking as He did in Isaiah 61:8 and in Jeremiah 31:31-34. He is saying that if the first covenant had been faultless, there would be no need for the new covenant. Man could not keep the first covenant because it did not give the power needed to keep the commandments. Therefore, God had to do something or man would be forever lost; this is where the Gospel comes in; “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 8:28).

The New Covenant is established upon better promises. These are better promises because they can do what could not be done under the law. We have the promise of inner power to live the holy life (v. 10). We have the promise of personal acceptance through relationship, fellowship, and eternal life given to us by a holy God (vs. 10, 11). In 7:19 we are told, “For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” The law was imperfect but under the New Covenant we have the promise of God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness (v. 12).

Under the New Covenant we have received the spiritual power to live and keep the commandments of God. There is the power of the new mind and the new heart. This is salvation (Rom. 8:6 & 12:2). We now have the power to have a personal relationship and personal fellowship with God. He is the One who said that we would have these things under His New Covenant. We have open access to the Throne of Grace to come before God and cry unto Him saying, “Abba, Father.” We now have His provision in our life daily and we now have His protection over our life. We have the blessed power of deliverance from those things that would hinder our fellowship with the Father and with His Son.

The power given us under the New Covenant is far reaching and we can never exhaust its power. It is the power to know God personally and this is a relationship that is open to everyone. The New Covenant has the power of forgiveness of sins. This forgiveness is the basis of all other promises. Forgiveness is based upon the mercy and the grace of God. I thank God that forgiveness is not based upon what I have done, but it is based upon what Christ has already done on the Cross. When God forgives He will never remember that sin again; we may remember, but He never will (Isa. 43:25 & )!

The New Covenant makes the first covenant “old.” The Old Covenant has been set aside in Christ Jesus. We no longer must live by the Jewish Law; the ceremonies, the sacrifices, or the rituals. The New is bound up in Christ because He did not destroy the law, He fulfilled the law.

The law is good, and the law is holy (Rom. 7:12). It gives us a blueprint upon which to build our relationship with God and it is a roadmap which points us in the right direction as we travel through this world on our way to Heaven. It is a lamp unto our feet in a dark world and light to shine on our path. It shows us the right way and reveals which is the wrong way. Therefore, it offers to us the choice of how we shall go and how we shall live. The power of God within, the Holy Spirit, gives us the wisdom, the knowledge, and the power to make the right decisions and to stay on the right paths. This we have because of the New Covenant which is the Better Covenant. - Preacher

 

September 4

If We Sin Willfully … A Fearful Thing

Hebrews 10:26-31 (26, 31) ~ For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  … It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

If we continue to sin willfully after we are saved we leave ourselves open to the punishment and judgment of God. He commands us to train up our children and to bring them up under His nurture and admonition. He also tells us that we are to correct and punish them when they disobey. What kind of Father would God be if He did not correct and chasten His own children?  

These verses, regardless of what others may say, are written to born again believers. The word “we” in verse 26 is referring to the writer and other believers who are saved and born again. The phrase “after that we have received the knowledge of the truth” is referring to a definite act; it is receiving Christ as Saviour; it is being saved. In verse 29 “wherewith he was sanctified” means to be set apart, and again it is referring to those who have been saved and sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1:13-14).

Deliberate sin in the Christian life is disturbing. When our Lord gave Himself on Calvary He paid the price for our sin debt in full. When we are saved that debt and the condemnation that comes with it (death & hell) is taken care of forever. But we still must appropriate the power of the sacrifice of Christ for our daily sins. When we sin willfully we neglect the power of the sacrificial work of Christ; “there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” It is His sacrifice and shed blood that brings forgiveness of sins (1Jn 1:7-9).

We are given a new nature at the moment of our salvation. That new nature gives us a new set of “want to’s” or a new set of desires, influenced by the Spirit of God and the Word of God. We still have the choice of whether to obey and be blessed or to continue in sin and find ourselves under the judgment of God. God never forces us to do what is right because He wants us to choose out of a heart of love. When we love Him as we should we will desire to be right with Him and to please Him with our life.

The disturbing thing about continuing in willful sin is that we can expect the judgment of God. We are no longer under the guilt and penalty of sin once we are saved, but we can still be judged and punished for our sins. In 1 Corinthians 11:28-31 we are told that we are to examine and judge ourselves. If we do not, we are going to be judged by God. In Hebrews 12 we are told that as His children we will be chastened and scourged by Him if we disobey. God will not judge and punish unbelievers in their daily life because they are not His children. But Christians will be punished in their daily life when they continue in willful sin. He says here that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Deliberate sin in the life of a Christian is damaging to the cause of Christ. Under the Law God dealt out severe punishments, even death, for sin. He did it so that people would know that He is a holy God who hates sin. Under the New Testament God says that we are treading under foot the Son of God when we continue in sin. Continuing in willful disobedience tramples the sacrifice of Christ, the blood of Christ, and the name of Christ while putting Him to an open shame. It also insults the Holy Spirit of God and grieves Him openly. 

We tell the world that we believe that these things are important for salvation, but by continuing in open sin we contradict what we say with our actions. If our life is no different from theirs, how will they find a need for the Saviour? How will they come to trust Him when we are treading Him under foot with the life we live? How can the Holy Spirit work through us to tell others of the importance of coming to Christ to be saved before it is eternally too late when we are grieving Him and breaking His heart with our sinful life? We damage the cause of Christ to reach the lost when we do not live in the new life that Christ gave us when He saved us.

Deliberate sin in the life of a Christian is disturbing, damaging, and it is distressing. We know that God will deal with our sinfulness in one of two ways. He will discipline us as we have already stated, or He may choose to take us out of the world (1Jn 5:16). I have seen many suffer greatly in their life before leaving this world because they continued in willful sin. Do not let yourself be found in the hands of the living God for judgment. - Preacher

 

September 5

The Substance & Evidence of Faith

Hebrews 11: 1, 6 ~ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 

There are two ways in which we may come to God. The first is by our works. If we can present to Him perfection in our works, then we may come to God that way. However, nobody has ever been able to present perfect works; not Adam, not Abraham, not Moses, or David, or even Daniel. Therefore, our works are not a satisfactory way to approach God, and yet, many people today are trudging along the path of works. It is a futile effort at best.

The only other way to come to God is by our faith. We can approach God by faith, but we are not saved by faith. Faith is the channel through which salvation comes to us, but it is Christ that saves us. We are saved by the grace of God because He accepts Christ’s works in place of ours when we accept Christ’s works in place of ours.

It is Christ’s blood and merit that saves the hell-bound sinner, and that only through faith in Him. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to accept that we are sinners who are deserving of death and headed for an eternal hell. We believe that Christ Jesus paid for our sin when He shed His blood and died on the Cross, that He was buried, and rose again the third day. When we accept this work for salvation, we receive Him as our personal Saviour, and we accept the more abundant spiritual life that He has for us. We turn from our former life and turn to His life. That is salvation. That is received by the grace of God through our faith in Christ. Faith brings salvation to us, but we are saved by Christ’s blood and works.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It is our confident expectation of those things which we believe to be true. Those things for which we hope have no present reality to us. But our faith allows us to live as if we had already attained those things. They gain practical reality in our faith as we embrace them in the present. Our faith gives us present enjoyment of the things which are coming to us. By this we can have peace that surpasses the world’s understanding and joy unspeakable.

Faith is the evidence of our salvation; it is the proof of things that cannot be seen. It is our faith in the Word of God. In evidence it is what satisfies our mind and inspires us to live a life of Christian conduct. It is not necessarily saving faith that is the evidence, but the body of belief that influences us in all of life and conduct. Therefore, faith is the belief or confidence in God and His Word and the principle of a life that is lived and governed by that belief.

Without that faith we cannot please God. If we are going to be pleasing to God, we must come to Him believing that He is who He says He is. Why would we try to approach Him if we did not believe? Many call upon Him out of mere superstition with a seemingly random hope that He might be real and grant their request. The blessings and the rewards that we receive of God can only be appropriated by our faith in Him. Many lived by faith and received great and mighty blessings and rewards. Because we have a living Saviour who is in Heaven rooting for us we can expect to receive great rewards for living a Christian life. What an incentive to strive for the mastery of living by faith in the Word of God and keeping all of His precepts and commandments.

Just a note here: Salvation is not a reward; it is a free gift given to us by God. Rewards are earned by work while salvation comes by faith. The life or the walk of a Christian is also by faith; believing God is who He says He is.

Read this chapter daily for a week. In it you will see that Abel worshipped by faith. Enoch walked by faith. Noah worked by faith. Abraham and Sarah waited in faith. Isaac and Jacob witnessed by faith. Joseph went out in faith. Moses watched over by faith. Joshua and Israel were winners by faith. And Rahab the harlot withstood by faith. All these you will see and all of these you can do by faith. It is having faith to trust Christ and be saved and faith to live in the more abundant life. These things can only come to you by living in, through, and by faith. - Preacher

 

 

 WEEK 35

 

August 26

Are You Dull of Hearing?

Hebrews 5:11-14 (v. 11) ~ Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

Christ Jesus is our Great High Priest and is a Priest after the order of Melchisedec; He is without beginning or ending; without any lineage. Christ Jesus is the Author of Eternal Salvation for there is no other kind. When He saves you, He saves you all the way. The Book of Hebrews is the living proof that it is a one time, life-changing experience that will last forever without end. Seeing we have such a Great High Priest we should give earnest heed to what the Word of God has to say about Him and about how we are to live our life for Him.

Here in these verses we have a warning against dull hearing. Being dull of hearing is being sluggish or lazy in hearing; it is choosing not to hear what God has to say. This is a dangerous course to take for it leads to low spiritual intelligence. Those who tend to be lazy find themselves in want more often than someone who is willing to work. They have a deficit that perpetuates in their life because they choose not to put forth the effort required to get out of that deficit. We need to hear what God is saying so that we do not find ourselves in a spiritual deficit.

Dr. J. Vernon Magee wrote, “To be spiritually alert you have to have a knowledge of the Word of God and to be close to it. The Hebrew believers who are being addressed here had a low SQ, not an IQ, but an SQ - spiritual quotient.” It is hard to teach anybody anything about the spiritual life when they are dull of hearing. Many Christians today do not want to hear the deep things of the Word of God because it requires them to put forth more effort in their Christian walk. The more that you know of the Word of God the more blessed you are (Psa. 1:1-3). But with blessing comes great responsibility to respond to and apply the truths and principles to your personal life.

The more you know the more you should grow and mature so that you can teach others the things that you have learned. If you are sluggish and lazy in hearing the Word, you can never become a teacher because you always have to be taught yourself. A person can sit down and learn how to read music so they can play a piano, they can learn their lessons for playing, but if they never apply the lessons they learn to practicing the piano daily they can never become good enough to teach others. It is more likely they will forget and must be taught the basics all over again.

The “first principles” are the primary elements that are required to have fundamental building blocks. Without them you cannot have a foundation to build from. It is like the “ABC’s” which are the building blocks of the English language. Without the alphabet we cannot form words, sentences, coherent thoughts, or ideas; there can be no intelligent communication. Those who must keep being taught the first principles of the Word of God are those who are never applying them to their own life because they are dull of hearing. As a pastor I have watched many people sit in church and agree with the teaching and the preaching of the Word of God but never apply it in their life. They never become great or even good leaders. Many times they will get out of church and must come back and be taught the same things over and over again. They are dull of hearing.

Paul said of the Corinthian Christians, “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (I Cor. 3:2). Babes cannot receive the meat of the Word because they have not developed the ability to digest the deeper things. If they never apply the Word and use it in their daily life, they cannot receive the deeper things and mature spiritually; they will always have a deficit in spiritual intelligence. Only those who are exercised in living out the Word of God can truly digest the meat, which are the weightier matters of the Word.

When I was first saved, I had a desire for knowing more of the Word so that I could know more of God and of Christ. I wanted to know more about how to live the life that He had given me (I Pet. 2:2). I had a sincere yearning for the unadulterated and pure Word of God. The more I learned the more I was able to work for the Lord. We are admonished to be doers of the Word (Jam. 1:22-25); we are to put it to use in our life. If you do not become a doer of the Word, you do not have your spiritual senses exercised. You will not have sharp spiritual perception so that you can discern both good and evil. You will never become the leader and teacher that God is growing and developing you to be. Are you dull of hearing or are you growing? - Preacher

 

August 27

We Are Persuaded Better Things of You

Hebrews 6:7-12  (v. 9)~ But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

In verses 4-6 we see that we cannot lose our salvation. If we could we cannot renew it unto repentance.  By the same token, those who are saved and have quit shall not receive reward for the things they have done because they cannot renew them unto repentance either; “… his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered” (Eze. 3:20). We shall see in these following verses that we are admonished to continue in our work and labor of love. Christ Jesus is the Author of Eternal Salvation and we must show our gratitude all the days of our life.

The earth is blessed by God who sends His rain on the just and the unjust and it brings forth abundance for those who work it (Mat. 5:45). There is a work that goes into preparing the ground to receive the seed. There is another work that goes into sowing the seed. It is God who sends the rain and the sunshine which gives the nutrition needed for growth and production. Then the seed takes root downward and bears fruit upward. The same is true in the Christian life; we work by opening the ground of our hearts through faith to receive the Word of God. We take in the seed by hearing, reading, meditating, and memorizing the Scriptures. When we do these things the Word of God in our hearts will take root downward and bear fruit upward to the glory of God. But, it is God who gives the increase in agriculture and in our heart and life.

Those who do not prepare their hearts are not a fertile ground for fruit bearing. They do not work to plant the seed and allow it to take root in their heart and life. Ground that is not worked, tilled, prepared, and made ready to plant is good for nothing but the thorns, nettles, and briars. It will not produce a productive crop of abundance. This is the person who is lazy and dull of hearing. In Proverbs 24: 30-34 we find the story of a man who was too lazy to make preparation and too lazy to care for that which was already planted. His poverty came to him in a very painful way because it left him in a spiritual deficit. His want and his needs came to him as an armed man comes into take away our gain, and it takes away that which he already had.

Now he has nothing because the laws of the harvest can never be set aside. The laws of the harvest say that you will reap what you have sown, you will reap at a later season than you sow, you will reap in kind to what you have sown, and you will reap in greater abundance than you have sown. When you sow nothingness you will reap unmet needs and wants in a greater measure than you have sown. When you do nothing - you sow nothing - you will reap emptiness. 

The heart that is not prepared to receive the Word is a heart that is near to being cursed by God. God wants us to live and walk by faith in His Word. Faith is the foundation of all that we do for the Lord. Our good works are a product of our faith. But our faith and good works are motivated by our love for the Lord. He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jn 14:15). He wants us to work for Him because we love Him. When we love Him, we will work with joy in our hearts. When we love Him, we will spend time with Him in fellowship. That is what God wants more than anything; more than fulfilling our Christian duties and obligations, He wants us to love Him. When we love Him we enjoy working for Him.

He will reward us openly for all that we do in this life (1Cor 3:12-15). He has given us the gift of eternal life and He wants us to have an abundant life. He wants to bless us in the life that we now live in this world and in the life to come when we leave this world. We have all spiritual blessings and we have all of eternity. And yet, He is going to reward us when we get to Heaven. Those rewards will be the proof that we loved Him. He has said He would never forget our work and labor of love. That work is to be directed towards bringing sinners to repentance and ministering to the saints. You have entered into the labors of those who started your church and built it up (Eph 2:20 & Jn 4:38). Be not slothful but show the, “… same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:  That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Remember that we are persuaded better things of you. - Preacher

 

August 28

Hope In Christ; The Anchor of The Soul

Hebrews 6:16-20 (vs 18, 19) ~ That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:  Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil

Christians have a hope today that unbelievers cannot understand. The two immutable things that God gave to Abraham was His Word of promise (Gen 15:4-5) and then He gave Him an oath (Gen 22:16-18). God’s promise is unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. God’s oath is unchangeable because there is nothing and no one greater than God. Therefore He swore an oath upon Himself because He cannot lie. And Abraham was encouraged and assured by the promise of God and the oath of God.

Christians must understand that our hope is steadfast and sure. In Colossians 1:5 we have a hope laid up in Heaven for us. In 1 Peter 1:3 we have a living hope and 1 Timothy 1:1 tells us that Christ is that hope. Our hope is a three-dimensional hope. Our past is cared for by our faith in Christ because our sins are under His blood. Our present is lived by hope because we have a certainty in Christ. And our future hope is in the promises of God that we shall inherit the promises of eternal life.

Today we have the promise of God that we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17). God has given His Word that if we would believe on the Lord Jesus Christ that we would be saved. To believe means “to trust, to depend on, and to lean on.” We trust in the finished work of Christ on the Cross; that He died for our sin in our place as our substitute so that we could go free, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, all according to the Word of God. When a person believes these things, He can call upon God to save Him and God gave His Word that He would (1 Cor 15:3-4 & Rom 10:9-13). This is the anchor of hope for our eternal souls.

Our hope gives us the following three assurances: We have a sure promise. When God gave the oath of confirmation it put everything to rest. An oath was always made against that which is greater. God did not need to take an oath, but He did and that puts an end to any argument. God has promised us that we are heirs with Abraham of the hope and of the promises. We have come for refuge to Christ and we have the Word of God that when we trust Christ we become His children and heirs of His promises. He has guaranteed the promise with His oath that we have received eternal life. If we could lose our salvation, then God loses more than we do because He loses His holy character; His integrity is lost because it would mean that He cannot keep His Word. But He is the LORD our God and He changes not (Mal 3:6a). You have a sure promise.

We have a safe refuge. In the Old Testament the Levites were given 48 cities out of which six were cities of refuge. There were three cities on either side of Jordan. If someone accidentally killed someone they were known as the manslayer. The offended family became the avenger of blood. The manslayer was to flee to one of these cities of refuge where they were protected from the vengeance and wrath of that family. In the New Testament our sin makes us guilty of the blood of Christ. We are responsible for His dying for sin because it was our sin that put Him on the Cross. We are guilty and condemned to death and abide under the wrath of God (Jn 3:18, 36). Our “city of refuge” is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we are in Christ we are safe from the avenger of blood and from death. You have a sure refuge.

We have a secure anchor. When the anchor is cast out of the ship it holds it securely in place so that it does not drift with the tide and the flow of the ocean. Christ Jesus is the secure anchor of our souls today. He protects us from the world around us. When the world would love nothing more than to silence us and put us to death our anchor holds. Our anchor reaches up to the throne of Heaven and is secure in Christ. Whatever lies ahead of us we have an anchor in Christ who is ever present at the throne of God to intercede for our best benefit. He is there in that place where our salvation is secure in the fact that the blood is effectual and eternal. You will have problems in this world because it is still under the sin curse, but your anchor will hold because you have a sure anchor that is sure and steadfast. Is Christ Jesus the anchor of hope for your eternal soul today? He can be if you ask Him to be. - Preacher

 

August 29

The Perpetual Priesthood of Christ

Hebrews 7:1-24 (v. 24) ~ But this man [Christ Jesus], because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

Those who have been raised and taught their whole lives to live a certain way in a certain system as were the Jews have great difficulty with change. They had been accustomed to approaching God through a man; the high priest. That is what God had given them in the Old Testament. But because of Christ and His sacrifice we find that the old system is done away with for a new system. The New Testament opens a new and living way to approach God. We no longer must go through a mere mortal man to get to God (Jn 14:6 & Acts 4:12). We now come to God openly because of our faith in Christ Jesus. In Melchisedec we see how to approach God through the perpetual priesthood of Christ.

In Hebrews 7:1 he is called the King of Salem and priest of the most high God. God had said that a king could not be a priest and a priest could not be a king, yet in Melchisedec we find that he is both king and priest. The Lord Jesus is both our King and our Great High Priest. In verse 2 we see that Melchisedec is called the king of righteousness and the king of peace. Christ is "made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec" (6:20). As the King of Righteousness Christ Jesus makes us right with God and as the King of Peace He brings the peace of God into our hearts. That peace comes from His making peace between God and man.

Melchisedec was a priest to whom Abraham paid tithes and that means that he was greater than Abraham. He was also greater than any of the Levitical priests. All other priests trace their roots to Abraham and, therefore, they also paid tithes to Mechisedec. All who were of the Levitical priesthood paid tithes to Melchisedec as did Aaron who was a descendent of – who came out of - Abraham.

He had a special right to the priesthood that was not according to the Law. His priesthood was not based upon human roots or genealogy. It was based upon his greatness. He blessed Abraham and the lesser is always blessed of the greater. Because he had no beginning or ending, he is eternal; his priesthood is an eternal priesthood. The Levitical priesthood always suffered loss of a representative because they were mortal and they all died. In all of this we can see that the Melchisedec priesthood is greater than the Levitical priesthood.

In Melchisedec we can see the priesthood of Christ. The Levitical priesthood was built upon the Levitical Law. The Levitical priesthood under the Law had a requirement that the priest had to be born into the tribe of Levi. But Christ was not born of the tribe of Levi but of Judah. He qualifies to be our Great High Priest because He lives forever; from eternity past to eternity future. For Christ to be our Priest there must be a change of the law; the Old Testament system of the priesthood was over.

That means there was to be a disannulling of the commandment. That word "disannul" means "a cancellation and a putting away." It was put away because the law could not save us. It was powerless to save because of the weakness of our flesh (Rom 8:3). The Law is good and holy (1 Tim 1:8), but we are unable to keep the Law because our flesh is unable to live up to it. Just a note here: We have been delivered from the penalty of the Law but not the authority of the Law. The Moral Law of God is good and it is holy. We are still under the authority of the Law of God even though we cannot fully and completely keep it.

That is why Christ came to this earth. He kept and He fulfilled the Law of God, even suffering the shame and reproach of a sinful death of which He was so undeserving. He fulfilled the Law and when we receive Him into our heart we have the Law fulfilled in us in the person of Christ. Our relationship with God is based upon Christ and not upon the weakness of our flesh. His perpetual priesthood never ends and never changes.

Now the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in you when you walk after the Spirit (Rom 8:4). He gives you the power to overcome temptations and to live a morally pure and clean life. He helps you to live as a child of God (Jn 1:12). Thank God for a Great High Priest who knows us and will always be there for us. His priesthood is a perpetual priesthood that never changes. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Heb 13:8). - Preacher

 

August 30

Saved To The Uttermost

Hebrews 7:25-28 (25) ~ Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Christ Jesus is the perfect High Priest who can save man completely and perfectly. Some may say that we are “beating a dead horse” because we have covered so much of this already. But the truth is that we are holding up a Perfect Saviour for an imperfect people. We are sharing a perfect salvation that can only come through Christ who is God in the flesh. The truth is that we are honoring Christ Jesus when we speak so much of Him and of His perfect and complete salvation.

To say that Christ does not offer eternal life dishonors Him and His Word. To say that you cannot know you are saved until you leave this world and finally end up in Heaven is a slap in the face of the Son of God. He loved you and gave Himself for you so that you could have the peace of God knowing that you are at peace with God. To say that you cannot know that you are saved would mean that you would have to change the meaning of words like “everlasting” and “eternal”. If you do not change their meanings, then you must remove them from the Scriptures. In some instances you have to remove whole verses from the Bible.

I John 5:13 is as plain as the nose on your face that you can KNOW that you have ETERNAL life. It says, “These things [the Word of God] have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God [faith in Christ for salvation]; that ye may know [have perfect knowledge of] that ye have eternal life [your perfect and complete salvation that depends on the person of Christ and His finished work on the Cross of Calvary; it is complete, full ended, never ceasing, uninterrupted, infinite, without end], and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God [that your faith may increase for faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom 10:17)].” It dishonors Christ and calls Him a liar to say that you cannot know that you are saved until you leave this world; that is the same as gambling on the odds that a person can do enough good works to outweigh the bad and thus earn entrance into Heaven. It completely ignores the Word of God in Isaiah 64:6 and Romans 3:10-23. It also says that Christ is not able to save you completely.

The word “uttermost” comes from the Greek “panteles” (pan-tel-ace') which means “full ended, that is, entire; completion.” The song chorus says, “I'm saved to the uttermost, I know that I am, washed in the blood of the precious Lamb, thru the Father, thru the Son, thru the Holy Ghost, I'm saved to the uttermost.” There is no other salvation other than eternal and everlastingly complete because according to God’s Holy Word Christ is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him. The reason that I cannot lose it is because He lives eternally and makes intercession for me on my behalf. He died to save me, rose again to justify me, and lives to keep me saved by His glorious, redeeming, resurrecting, life-giving, life-transforming, and life-sustaining power.

He has perfect power because He has all power (Mt 28:18). He lives forever in the presence of God. He lives to make intercession for man. He is able to save all who come to Him by faith. He saves you from sin, death, and condemnation. He saves you to live eternally with God. He saves you to rule and reign with Him.

He has a perfect life. He is holy; separated to God. He is harmless; blameless with no evil or guile. He is undefiled; has no stain of any sin ever being present. He is separated from sinners; never caving to temptation.

He provided a perfect sacrifice. He gave Himself out of perfect love knowing that He had no sin. He was the perfect sacrifice to pay in full the penalty of sin so that we could be set free. He died once for all sin, once for all men, and once for all time. He will never have to pay the price again because He is the ultimate, perfect, and complete sacrifice.

He had a perfect appointment. He was appointed by God’s oath and not the law. His appointment is forever without weakness. He is able to bring many sons to glory because He is made perfect through suffering. Thus He became the author of eternal salvation. There is no other! You are saved to the uttermost and you should know that you are because the Scriptures bear it out very clearly. - Preacher