Wednesday, August 31, 2016


James 1:27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.

Faith that stands the test of time is faith at work and faith that refuses to let the world corrupt it. Faith at work is seen in how one treats others. A child of God is compassionate; he cares for those who are in need. He does what he can do to help those in need. He is wise enough to know that he can't help everyone, but he knows he can help some. Jesus said that all the law of God can be summarized in our love for God and our love for others. John said in his epistle that we cannot love God without loving others. And you can't love others without doing what you can to help them when they are in need. We live in the world and are given a mandate to serve Christ in it.

Also, a faith that lasts is a pure faith. We cannot let the world into our souls. We cannot participate in the world's life. We cannot let the world determine our perspective on life. We cannot listen to the world regarding what is truth or sin. We must always base our understanding on the Word of God. We must let the Spirit of God guide us through life. We must always operate out of a godly mindset. We must value the things of God instead of the things of the world.

Anyone who wants to make it to heaven must let their faith work in the world without letting the world work in their faith. We are to be in the world doing good but not let the world influence our faith. When we live life God's way, our faith will endure the test of time and we will see our Lord face-to-face when we die.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


James 1:26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are just fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.

This verse hits home doesn’t it? We say things that we wish we wouldn’t say. We know better, but we do it anyways. We sometimes say things that are out of character with our profession of faith. We say things flippantly about God that pricks our hearts later. We say things that are hurtful to others. We say things that are not sound Biblically. We say things that are to our advantage at the expense of others. We say things that we don’t mean because at the moment it spares us from embarrassment or a conflict we don’t want to be involved in. There are so many things we say that we shouldn’t say to others and about others. How do we stop doing it?

The only way to get our tongues under control is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. We cannot do it by ourselves. We must have the help of God. The more we are controlled by the Spirit, the less problem we will have. Godliness breeds godliness. If our hearts are pure before God, what comes out of our mouths will be good and not bad or evil. The Lord tempers our tongues with His righteousness. "Out of the heart, the mouth speaks." If you think you are right with God and cannot control what comes out of your mouth, you are only fooling yourself. Your profession of faith isn’t worth much if you have a loose tongue.

If you find yourself guilty of not being able to control your tongue, give it over to the Lord right now. Ask Him to take charge of your tongue that you might get a handle on this. Will we do it perfectly from now on? Of course, not. But, we will find that we will do better. And the more we live under the Lord’s control; we will find we will do better. An uncontrolled tongue is a spiritual problem and can only be fixed in Christ.

Monday, August 29, 2016


James 1:22-25 And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don't obey, you are only fooling yourself. For if you just listen and don't obey, it is like looking at your face in a mirror but doing nothing to improve your appearance. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you keep looking steadily into God's perfect law---the law that sets you free---and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Are you a listener, doer, or both? Most of us fall into the category of either a listener or doer. There aren't that many of us who do both. We love to listen to the Word being preached and taught. We agree with what we hear and go away thinking that is good enough. We get our spiritual pill and go about our merry way, digesting very little of it to the point where it makes much difference in our lives.

Some of us go full steam ahead and listen very little. We don't waste our time listening because there is so much to do. We are convinced we know enough truth to sustain our energy level and see no reason to pause long enough to do much more learning. We are content to not grow up, thinking that it is fine for the spiritual elite but we don't need it.

Whether you are a listener or doer, it is a huge mistake to do the one without the other. The servant who pleases the Lord is he who listens to what God says, digests it, and then applies it to life. Knowledge without action is futile and so is action without knowledge. We must strive to do both.

Look steadily into God's law. Read it, meditate upon it, and then find ways to live it out. We must constantly be looking into God's Word. If we don't, we will soon forget what it says. We need a steady and regular time in which to spend in it so that we can know what God wants us to know. If you aren't reading and thinking about the Word on a regular basis, you will never be able to please the Lord with the way you are living.

The Lord blesses those who apply the Word to their living.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


James 1:22 And remember, it is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself.

It is good to listen to the Word of God; it is far better to listen to it and obey it. We tend to be good listeners, but poor when it comes to obeying it. We give mental agreement to what we hear and we may even say "Amen" to it, but if we don’t obey it, it is a waste of our time. Think about it for a moment. When was the last time you heard something in a message that was a life-changer for you?

We gather together to study the Bible. We gather together in worship where the Word is proclaimed. We enjoy the time spent in the Word, but it hasn’t any real impact on the way we live and think. We take great delight in listening to dynamic speakers proclaim the Word. However, if we don’t apply the things we learn and know, we are only fooling ourselves. Hearing from God is more than a spiritual duty we perform; it is a life-changing event. We won’t hear life-changing messages all the time, but we will hear them often enough to change our behavior and thought lives.

If you never hear anything that really makes a difference in your life, then a couple of things need to happen. You need to first examine your heart and seek to discover what is keeping you from hearing from God. Is there sin plugging up your ears so you can’t hear? If so, you need to repent of it so you can once again hear the voice of God.

If you can’t hear from God because he who speaks never speaks clearly from God, then either get rid of the speaker or go somewhere else where God is clearly speaking. Hearing from God is too important of a matter to not be in a position where you can hear what He has to say.

You will not hear from God if you are not into His Word where He clearly speaks. Daily you need to be in the Word with the expectation that God will speak to you. God cannot get through to you if your heart is not open to life-changing messages.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


James 1:21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the message God has planted in your hearts, for it is strong enough to save your souls.

Those who are truly saved stand out amongst men. They are a people who do not act, think or speak like the world. They are a pure people who live by God’s standards and not man’s. They are a people who are constantly changing into godliness. They do away with all that is filthy and evil in their lives.

Notice that those who are truly saved have the responsibility of getting rid of all that is evil in their lives. We must have the desire to get rid of it all. We must take measures to get rid of it. We cannot just sit back and expect the Lord to do it for us. It takes work on our part, because some evil habits and ways of thinking are stubborn and not easily gotten rid of. Purifying the heart and mind is a process that never ends. Progress depends on the amount of effort we put into it.

Those who are truly saved listen carefully to what God has to say and humbly embrace it as their own. They understand the importance of listening to God. They are interested in what the Word says and strive to apply it to their lives. They do not try to make it say what they want it to say. They don’t care how uncomfortable the Word may make them feel because they know that it is true and must be applied to their lives. They are a people who welcome the implanting of God’s Word into their hearts.

Those who are truly saved understand the importance of God’s Word because they know that if accepted and embraced, it leads to the salvation of their souls. The Word has all that the soul needs in order to be saved. The written Word becomes the Living Word when it is embraced in the heart of man. Wise is he who listens carefully to the message God implants in his heart.

Friday, August 26, 2016


James 1:19,20 My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Your anger can never make things right in God's sight.

What would happen if we were to all take these verses to heart? Few of us are quick to listen. Listening to what others are saying is a lost art for most of us. We like to be heard. We think we have worthwhile things to say. What we fail to get is that we can't learn anything as long as we are doing all the talking. Listening is the key to learning and we all have much to learn. There is a time for speaking, but there is also time for listening. Blessed is the one who knows the difference.

Listening often disarms anger. When we truly hear what others are saying, our understanding increases. While we may not always agree with what is being said, we are more prone to hear it without getting all riled up when we listen. The more we listen to the heart of people, the better our relationship with them will be.

God doesn't need our help to chastise people when they are clearly in the wrong. God deals with us when we are wrong. Getting angry over things doesn't make things right in God's sight. God makes things right in His own time and way. All anger does is make us out-of-sync with God, others, and ourselves. Unless anger is directed at sin for righteous reasons, it is destructive and wrong.

The key to overcoming an angry spirit is to bathe our anger in prayer. We need to vent our anger before the Lord and then listen to what He has to say about how we should deal with things. When we pray before we react we squelch our anger and protect ourselves from destroying relationships.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


James 1:18 In his goodness he chose to make us his own children by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his choice possession.

God in His goodness chose us to be His children. He chose us long before we chose Him. He worked in our lives in such a way that we opened up our hearts to Him. No matter what it took to bring us to the point of repentance, He did it because He is good and He loves us.

He is working in the same way in the lives of many who are not now saved. We don't know who they are or what needs to be done yet in them for them to be saved, but God does. He is giving everyone ample reason to turn from sin and turn to Him for salvation.

God in His goodness has given us His Word to help us be saved and to help keep us saved. His Word is God's truth revealed. It teaches us who we are, why we need Christ in our lives, what happens when we don't and what happens when we do. It teaches us all about God's demand for holy living and how to do it. It teaches us about God's character and the futrue home He is preparing for us in heaven. Without God's Word, we simply would not make it.

God's children are His choice possession. We are the shining glory of His creation. We are loved by God and He pours out His blessings upon us daily. God is always working out His goodness in our lives and making us more like Christ all the time so that we will be fit for heaven. God has made us uniquely different and wonderful from all of everything He has created. We are created in His own image and He calls us His children. We are the only created being who can know Him and have fellowship with Him. To God be the glory, both now and forever.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


James 1:13-15 And remember, no one who wants to do wrong should ever say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and He never tempts anyone either. Temptation comes from the lure of our own evil desires. These evil desires lead us to evil actions, and evil actions lead to death.

If you are tempted to sin, it's Satan leading you there. If you fall into sin, it's because you listened to him. You have no one but yourself to blame for sinful behavior and thoughts. You alone make the choice to sin. You sin because you want to, not because you have to. We can't sugarcoat this.

God is holy love. He loves us and desires nothing but holiness for us. Why? Because He knows that only a holy heart can satisfy and make us happy. He knows the guilt and shame that comes from sinning. He know that sin does nothing but eats away and destroys the soul. He knows the agonizing pain that sin brings upon the soul of man. He knows the full fury of hell's wrath. And because He loves us so deeply, He wants to spare us from it all.

It is impossible for God to sin or lead any of His children into sin. It is impossible for God to not love us and do everything He can to keep us out of sin. It is impossible for us to avoid the responsibility and consequences of our sin. It's our own fault when we fall and we must do our best to guard our souls so that we don't. Christ can protect us and keep us from falling into temptation, but we must be totally surrendered and committed to Him in order for it to happen.

May the Lord help us today to be aware of sin when it rears its ugly head. May we resist the temptations to sin as we stay near to the heart of God.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


James 1:12 God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Is your faith being tested? Are you up against life's difficulties and you wonder if it will ever end, or why you have to do it? Do you want to blame God or others for what you are facing in life? Do you feel like you deserve a better life than you now have?

James reminds us earlier in this chapter that life's tests are not a bad thing. It is in the tough times of life that we develop toughness. Anyone can have faith when things are good, but those who have true faith are able to endure in faith during the hard times of life. It is in those hard times that we grow up and develop godly character.

God blesses all who don't lose their grip on faith when the going gets tough. When we patiently endure our times of testing, we discover in a deeper way God's faithfulness and ability to take care of us in the worst times of life. There is no greater blessing in life than to experience God's trustworthiness to be there for us and with us when we cannot help ourselves. God never leaves us stranded in the storms of life. He is always there to help us find our way to safety. He is there to show us our way to solid ground.

No matter what life may throw at you, wait patiently on the Lord. Let Him take your hand and lead you. Let Him give you what you need to make your way through. He is the only dependable help we have. He is our anchor in the storms of life. How do we know our anchor will hold? We develop a strong relationship with Him when things are calmer so that we won't doubt in the dark what we know to be true in the light.

What are you doing today to develop a strong relationship with the Lord?

Monday, August 22, 2016


James 1:5-6 If you need wisdom--if you want to know what God wants you to do--ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is an unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

Wisdom is the right application of knowledge; it is knowing what God wants you to do and doing it. When we ask God for wisdom, He gives it to us. He wants us to know what He wants us to do and He wants us to do it. We limit ourselves when we don't ask the Lord for wisdom. And, so often, we fail to get much wisdom because we have doubts that we will get it when we ask for it.

We tend to question what God reveals to us. We either do not understand what we are hearing from God or we question our ability to do it. We are our own worst enemy. Instead of accepting by faith what God makes known, we want something more or an easier way to live. We sometimes question God's goodness because what we hear from God doesn't seem so good to us. We want things comfortable and easy and the road to heaven is neither.

Sometimes we question whether or not God will really give us the wisdom we need to deal with our present situation. We are so overwhelmed by what we are dealing with that we get the idea that there is no way out of it, that even God can't help us.

James reminds us to trust God. Trust in God's goodness and ability. Trust His Word which promises God's provision for our every need. Trust that God loves you and will be with you through your situation and will help you. Trust in God's power and desire to help you overcome. Trust God, not yourself or anyone else, to deal with your situation. God will give you the wisdom you need if you ask Him to and trust Him to do it without doubting Him.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


James 1:5 If you need wisdom---if you want to know what God wants you to do---ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.

Wisdom is the right application of knowledge wrapped up in the fear of God. It is having a proper respect and reverence for God as we live out our lives. Wisdom is an absolute essential to living a godly life. We cannot live in victory over sin without it. The Lord repeats the theme over and over again in His Word. He admonishes us to seek it and get it. He goes out of His way to help us obtain it. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to develop wisdom in our hearts and minds. All we have to do is to surrender to His working in us. We have to work with Him and not against Him. We have to want what He wants to give us. We have to take advantage of the resources He provides for us to get it---the Word, prayer, teachings, preaching, fellowship, life experiences, etc. Wisdom can be developed through a wide variety of ways.

God wants us to know what He wants us to do. He really does. All you have to do is ask Him, and He will gladly tell you. Our problem is, we seldom ask. We assume we know and plow ahead without taking the time to know for sure. We ignore our need to know and go on through life hoping it's okay. We don't want to know because we are afraid that the Lord may want to change the direction of our lives. We don't ask because we don't want the added responsibility of doing something about our knowledge.

What we fail to grasp is that the Lord wants us to have wisdom and know what He wants to do in our lives, because He loves us and knows that we will never experience the best of what He wants to give us until we obtain it. Being able to apply to life what we know to be true from God is the key to abundant and joyful living. Wisdom unlocks the key to heaven's treasure chest of blessings.

If you need wisdom, ask the Lord for it and you will find it. And when you find it, you will never be satisfied with anything less.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


James 1:4 So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

James here is talking about the testing of faith through the troubles of life. He challenges us to accept with gratitude the trials and troubles of life, for they help make us strong spiritually. We will never learn to lean on Christ and trust Him completely until we walk with Him through life's tough times. Anyone can have faith when things are easy. It's another thing to still have faith in the midst of trying times.

Endurance is the ability to live by faith for as long as we live. It is trusting in Christ regardless of what life may throw at us. Endurance is not a stagnant faith, it is a growing faith. Endurance comes from keeping our eyes focused on Christ and not circumstances. It is constantly abiding in Christ and never letting go when life isn't easy. Endurance comes from never coasting in faith. It is working out our salvation by seeking the Lord daily and applying to life His Word. It is an active faith in Christ that never takes a vacation.

Endurance is what makes us. We mature in faith and become the person God desires us to be as we endure. The more we live in faith, the stronger in character we become. We are able to face anything with boldness and confidence through a faith that weathers the storms of life. You will never make it to the end if you buckle underneath life's difficulties and give up. Cling tightly onto Christ in all things, and you will be able to face all things and come through them victoriously. We are in a marathon and not a sprint. Endure in faith and great will be your reward in heaven.

Friday, August 19, 2016


James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.

We have two choices when troubles come. We can embrace them and learn from them or we can complain about them and feel sorry for ourselves. We don’t like troublesome times, but if we see them as opportunities to learn and grow, they can bring joy to the soul.

We must learn this very valuable lesson in life. Faith grows best under adversity. When we are forced to live by faith and not sight, we learn how to depend on Christ and not ourselves. Until we get to the point where we have to admit our helplessness, we will never grow in faith. A needy faith is a growing faith. Unless we need the Lord, we won’t discover the love and ability of Christ to make our lives better. When we get to the point where we can admit our need for Christ, we begin to flourish in grace.

We need troublesome times so that we can gain spiritual strength and endurance. We need to get to the point where we are steadfast in Christ regardless of life’s circumstances. We need to be able to be ready for whatever comes our way.

We stifle the growth of our faith when we avoid life’s troublesome times. If we were to expend as much energy on dealing with our difficulties as we do avoiding them, we would be life conquerors. We would be able to stand tall and firm and meet our troubles head on. We would learn more about the faithfulness, steadfastness and power of Christ to help us.

Don’t avoid troublesome times. Instead, let the Spirit of Christ work in you through them so that you can grow in faith and become better equipped to deal with life without wavering.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Heb. 13:20-21a And now, may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to him.

This is a prayer that every believer should pray for both themselves and others. It should be the desire of all of our hearts to live lives that please God and bring us peace. An absence of peace means that things aren’t right first of all with Christ and then our fellow man.

There is resurrection power in God. He who raised Jesus from the dead is able to raise the vilest of sinners from the dead. He is not limited by our sinfulness. He can and will give life to all who come to Him for the forgiveness of their sins.

There is ample power through Christ to equip us with all we need to do His will. We don’t have what it takes to fulfill God’s will for us without Christ. Without Christ we are controlled by our sinful nature. We lack the willpower to want to obey God. Only in Christ do we care to find and do His will for our lives. When we take our eyes off of Christ, we easily get distracted and lose our passion for living out His will for us.

What is God’s will for us? The bottom line is, God wants us to honor and glorify Him in all we do. He is pleased when we live righteously before Him. He is pleased when we filter all of our living and thinking through Christ. He is pleased when we make Christ the focal point of all of our living. It is His will that we be a holy people before Him.

There is only one way in which we can truly please God, and that is through the power of Christ working in us. It is only as Christ works in us to transform us into a godly people that we become a people pleasing to God. We are not capable of getting it right without Christ’s help. He alone can change the heart so that our motives are pure. He alone can make us holy.

It is my prayer that I will always let Christ work His wondrous work in me to make me holy. And it is my prayer for you today as well. May the Lord help each of us to produce all that is pleasing and acceptable to God according to His will for us.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Heb. 13:18 Pray for us, for our conscience is clear and we want to live honorably in everything we do.

This should be the desire of every believer's heart, to be prayed for so that he can live honorably in everything he does. Let's face it, we need prayer. No one can live successfully in Christ without prayer. We need to pray for ourselves and we need the prayers of the body of Christ. The more prayer support we have, the more successful we will be. It baffles me how we think we can live in Christ without it. We don't pray often enough for ourselves or others. Prayer is considered an optional part of our spiritual lives. We fail to grasp the importance of prayer.

Who do most of the praying? Those who don't know Christ as the personal Savior. Think about it, the Muslims pray, the Buddhists pray, those caught up in cults pray, Hindus pray, just about everybody who believes in some kind of a god prays. Yet, we who claim to know God, fail to pray. Isn't it ironic? I wonder what the Lord thinks of us?

Who do we let do most of our praying for us? Is it not our pastors, spiritual leaders, and friends? We somehow have gotten the idea that if we join in on the prayers offered during church services that it is enough to satisfy our needs. We can never learn how to pray for ourselves except by doing it for ourselves. We will never let God know we care about Him unless we actually pray.

When we pray, we are talking things over with God. It is an act of worship and it shows respect for God. It is showing God we are grateful for the privilege of approaching Him. Prayer is our connecting point with God. So, why aren't we praying? Don't we have a sense of our need to be in the presence of God? I suspect that one of the reasons why we have a hard time really sensing God's presence in worship is that we are not connecting with God daily in our lives. The only way we are going to effectively live with clear consciences is to stay in touch with our Father. I need your prayers and you need mine.

"Lord, I ask that all who read this devotional today will have a pure heart before you. I ask, Lord, that you will speak to their hearts right now about any sinful thoughts or deeds they may have. Lord, purify them so that they will know the peace of a pure heart. Forgive them of their sins so that they can face today with a clear conscience. Lord, help each one to live a life of honor before you today in all they do. May others see Jesus clearly in and through them. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


Heb. 13:17 Obey your spiritual leaders and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they know they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this joyfully and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.

First of all, be wise and discerning in whom you follow and obey. There are many false teachers and leaders out there. Make sure you are following godly men. Some who would lead don't consider themselves as being accountable to God. Ask yourself some very appropriate questions. Do their lives back up what they profess? Are they pursing God or the things of the world? Are they promoting themselves or the Lord? What are they doing with their resources that prove their godliness is the real deal? We live in a time in which it is so easy to be deceived. There are those who know how to come across well, and we must be discerning. If you can't be sure that someone is for real, then withhold your allegiance to them.

Obey those you know are genuine. Follow their example into godliness. Understand what makes them who they are in Christ. Do not disrespect them or make life rough for them. God has raised them up to help you. Their task is to watch over your soul. God holds them accountable for the care they give to you and the compassion they show. God brings godly people into our lives to blaze the trail for us. Learn to appreciate what they do and thank the Lord for them. Encourage them often for Satan is in the business of discouraging them so they will feel defeated. Speak well of them often before man. Show your appreciation for their godly leadership.

There is joy in serving the Lord, but so often we don't give our leaders reason to be joyful. We load them down with so much of our baggage and unrealistic expectations that they don't have the opportunity to relax and enjoy what the Lord has given them to do. Your spiritual leaders must be given consistent time for personal renewal. They must be able to see the fruit of their labors. They must be lifted up in our prayers.

The closer you walk to the Lord, the more joy you bring to the heart of those who lead you.

Monday, August 15, 2016


Heb. 13:15-16 With Jesus' help, let us continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by proclaiming the glory of his name. Don't forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to God.

We cannot bring glory to God without Jesus. We need our Lord's righteousness and holiness in order for us to want to honor God rather than ourselves. We need Jesus in order for us to be able to praise God in all things. We need Jesus in order for us to look beyond our present circumstances and know that God is good. We need Jesus to move us into action.

What we have can be any number of things, but the greatest gift that you can give is yourself. We tend to measure our giving by material things, but they pale in comparison to ourselves. Your time, loving concern, prayerful support, listening ear, and helping hand are far more valuable than anything money can do or buy.

Notice that praise is connected here with sacrifice. A sacrifice is something you give that costs you something; it often brings pain or discomfort. We are to go out of our way without thought of personal comfort to tell or show others the glory of Christ. He who acts only within the boundaries of comfort is not offering to the Lord any sacrifice at all, and will not please God.

When you invest yourself in others, you are pleasing God. Take the time today to give someone your time and attention. You will be glad you did.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


Heb. 13:14 For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.

I am so grateful today that this world is not my home. I look around me and it is not the kind of place I want to spend eternity in. It is getting more blatantly evil all the time. There is no regard for life throughout the world. People do not respect one another and they treat one other with cruelty. It is a very self-driven world. It is essentially the survival of the fitest and those who aren't fit are squashed by those who are stronger.

God promises us an eternal home that is free from all traces of sin. Sin will not even be a concept in heaven. It will be a place where the glory of God will fill every space. It will be a place where pure love for one another will be the only way we will act. Everyone will be on equal footing; there will be no favoritism there. It will be a place of such beauty that there are not words to even describe it. The Lord is there right now preparing a place for us in it.

Jesus told us to not let our hearts be troubled by the things of this life. Live in fellowship with the Lord, striving to be holy in all you do, and you will be home someday. We will not be spared troubles in this life, but it will be worth it all when we get to heaven to be with our Lord. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and you will make it. Don't let the world draw you away from Him. Don't let yourself be attached to what is here. This world is not our home! No matter how bad things may be for you, heaven is something to look forward to. Keep you eyes focused on Christ at all times and you will get there.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Heb. 13:8,9 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be distracted by strange, new ideas. Your spiritual strength comes from God's special favor, not from ceremonial rules about food, which don't help those who follow them.

We know verse 8 well, but often don't think about verse 9. We need to think about it for a few moments. Are you easily distracted by the things you hear? Do you listen to people just because they come across as knowing what they are talking about, they are flashy, or popular? How many voices are you listening to? And, how do you handle it when you hear conflicting things? Are you able to discern the truth from false teachings?

One thing is for sure, the truth found in Christ never changes. When you are seeking truth from God and His Word, you will not be confused or led astray. The truth of the Gospel is the same as it always has been and ever will be. We must base our understanding on what God says, and not what man says. Always check out the Word before you buy into someone's teachings. And, in order for you to really know what God is saying, you must invest time to study the Word and pray over it. The Word of God never contradicts itself. All truth is backed up by truth. When you ask the Lord for understanding from a pure heart, you will get it. God wants you to know what you need to know and He will reveal it to you.

When you come across things that you simply can't figure out in God's Word, don't get bogged down by them. Accept them as truth because God said it and move on by faith. No one has perfect understanding of all things except God. His thoughts are beyond understanding except in those things He chooses to give us understanding on. We don't have to know all things in order for us to know they are true.

Don't get bogged down on a bunch of rules that seemingly make you acceptable to God. We cannot make ourselves holy. Our godliness and spiritual strength comes from our relationship with God alone. When we are properly connected to Christ, we will do what God wants us to do. It will be a natural way of life for us. It will be a life built on love, not rules.

Friday, August 12, 2016


Heb. 13:7 Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do.

Take a couple of minutes and think about those who played a significant role in your spiritual development. It may be a Sunday School teacher, pastor, friend, or family member. Think about the things in their lives that stand out to you as being good. What is there about what they taught you about God that stuck with you? What is there about them that makes you want to be like them?

As you think about those special people in your life, thank the Lord for their role in your life. It isn't an accident that they were a part of who you are today in Christ. The Lord brought them into your life when you needed what they could offer you to help you better understand the things of God.

As you think about them, consider your own life and the impact you are having on others. Ask the Lord to help you to do your part in the good in others' lives. Ask Him to help you be a good example that others can see and appreciate, a life worthy to be followed.

Each of us plays a significant role in the life of others. Let us always strive to be good role models, a people that please the Lord in all things. Let it be said of us that we have been faithful servants of the Lord, both in public and in private. We may not ever know the good we have done, but God does. Live faithfully and obediently and let the Lord use you in His own way for His glory. Great will be your reward in heaven if you do.

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Heb. 13:5 Stay away from the love of money, be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you."

We are not instructed to stay away from money. Money is neutral. It is neither good or bad. It is the heart attitude of the person that makes it good or bad. Money can either be our servant or our master. Whenever we make money of greater importance to us than people or God, it has become our god and master. God alone has the right to be our god. He alone deserves and commands our worship and allegiance. He alone has the right to rule our lives. Rather than go after money and what it may provide, we must trust in the Lord's provision and be satisfied with it.

Whatever the Lord provides, it is enough to meet our needs. If He gives more than what we need, we are to be good stewards of it and use it for His glory, not hoard it. When we hoard it, it is in essence saying to God, "I am not sure that you will be there for me tomorrow so I am going to save it and be sure I have enough." While I have no problem with saving, and I do recommend it when we can, I believe we need to be willing to put what the Lord provides to good use today as well. We have no promise of life on earth beyond today. Our future may only be as long as today.

We must be generous with what the Lord provides and trust him for tomorrow's needs. He has promised to be with us in our tomorrows to take care of our needs. He is not going anywhere. He is not going to abandon us when we get there. He will make sure that we have enough tomorrow to take care of tomorrow's needs.

So, don't fall in love with money or what it can provide. Rather love the Lord with all your heart, mind and soul, and trust Him to supply all of your needs both today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Heb. 13:4 Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.

This instruction is timeless and never more needed than today. We live in a time in history in which the sacredness and importance we place on marriage is quickly fading. We are driven by selfish interests and desires to the point where we are quickly losing our sense of integrity. Moral right and wrong are no longer absolute truths that guide us. We are driven more by our passions than our souls. The ways of the world are in the church and gaining a greater influence over us.

God takes marriage as He designed it, seriously. He makes it clear in His Word that marriage is defined as a committed relationship between a man and a woman that is for life. He does not approve of divorce and in a godly marriage there is no escape clause. He holds us accountable for our faithfulness to our vows of fidelity. He commands us to honor marriage, which means as well that we take an invested interested in our relationship with our spouse and strive to make it a good one.

To honor marriage means as well that we don't cave in to the world's thinking on marriage. God sets the rules and definitions, not man. Marriage is not what most people say it is. We must examine our understanding in light of God's Word. Like it or not, God's definition of marriage is today what He declared it to be from the beginning, that of the union between a man and a woman. He who disagrees has to convince God He is wrong.

God promises to judge all who are immoral and establish marital relationships outside of marriage. By that I mean getting emotionally or physically involved with someone other than one's spouse in a way that should only be reserved for one's spouse. It is morally wrong to forsake your vows of fidelity to your spouse. It is sin and God will judge it. Period.

We must protect our hearts and minds and refuse to entertain thoughts that would jeopardize our moral integrity in marriage. We alone can say no to the temptations that surround us. If you are struggling in this area of your life, you must confess it before the Lord, seek His forgiveness, and ask Him to help you. If you don't, you will face God's wrath for it someday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Heb. 13:1 Continue to love each other with true Christian love.

Why is loving each other in Christ so hard for us to do? There are so many divisions in the church today that are the result of our inability to love each other that it is scary. What is our problem? I know that sin breaks the bond of fellowship, but shouldn’t we be able to overcome our sin if the love of Christ is in us?

True lovers of Christ find a way to love those they disagree with. There will always be things that we don’t agree on, but they should never hinder us from loving the redeemed. We often use our differences as an excuse to not love and fellowship with other believers. We take a holier-than-thou attitude towards those who are different than us in understanding instead of embracing them. Why? Doesn’t Jesus love all His children? How can we say we love Him and not love those for whom He died and redeemed?

Loving each other is a lifelong process. We are to continue to love. There is no time limit on when we can stop loving each other. There are no conditions given as to who we are to love, only a command. When we fail to love the brethren, regardless of the church family they may be a part of, we are sinning against God.

Loving others involves grace and forgiveness. You cannot love someone you are not willing to forgive, regardless of what they may have said or done to hurt you. Think about it. I know that it is hard to love someone who may have hurt you, but in Christ it is commanded and made possible through Him.

Consider how the love of Christ can be fleshed out in the church and then do it. Begin in the church you are a part of and then branch out to all of God’s children. If you do, you will please God.

Monday, August 8, 2016


Heb. 12:28-29 Since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.

The Kingdom of God cannot be destroyed. Therefore, let us approach God with thanksgiving always. Consider this great life Christ has given us in Him. Meditate upon it until you are overwhelmed by it. Let this mysterious life of God’s love fleshed out in you capture your heart. Think much about what it means to have your sins forgiven and forgotten by God. Consider the horrible life Christ has saved you from both here on earth and in all of eternity. Take in the wonder of the workings of God’s grace in you until your soul rises up in great thanksgiving.

We are receiving the Kingdom of God. We don’t have it yet. We are moving towards that day in which it will be ours to claim. The life of faith is a process requiring us to daily walk with the Lord. As long as our hearts are open vessels that can receive the things of God, we will lay hold of the Kingdom some day.

With gratitude in our hearts, let us always strive to please God by living with a worshipful spirit of holy fear and awe. It is good for the soul to live with a deep sense of God’s holiness. We should respect the holiness of God, knowing that no sin will ever enter into His presence. Let the awareness of God’s holiness move you to diligently guard your soul from sin. It is good to have a holy fear of God. If we don’t fear God in His holiness, we will not stand guard over our souls and we will let sin creep in.

We should never lose our sense of awe over who God is. It is good for the soul to dwell on the glory and majesty of God. It is good to consider the greatness of God in power and love. It is good to feast on the absolute perfection of God in all that is good and holy. It is good to feast on the unfathomable mind of God and His eternal life. God is beyond all of our imaginings. We have no real sense of who God really is in all His glory. He gives us only a little glimpse of himself because the human mind cannot comprehend Him. It is good for us to never lose our sense of awe of Him.

God is a consuming fire and all will pass under His fiery gaze. No sin will be kept hidden from Him. He will not be deceived by our righteousness. Only those whose righteousness is Christ will survive His searching gaze. He will not misjudge any soul. All who are in Christ will be with Him forever and ever and all who aren’t in Christ will be in the cesspool of His wrath forever and ever.

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Heb. 12:15 Look after each other so that none of you will miss out on the special favor of God. Watch out that no bitter root of unbelief rises up among you, for whenever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison.

Each of us is a watchman in the household of faith. We are to look after each other so that none of us miss out on God’s favor. God favors those who live in Christ, so we need to be aware of each other’s walk of faith and if we notice things aren’t right, we need to get involved and redirect the soul back to Christ. We tend to ignore each other’s progress in faith. Out of fear of being perceived as judgmental, nosey, or better than others, we don’t say anything. We are afraid of offending someone so we keep quiet. But, it’s not what the Lord wants us to do. We are to show love and concern for each other and that means we sometimes need to point out to others a need to get back on track spiritually. Many problems could be avoided if we were to do this.

We must be aware of those amongst us who are not saved. Some people attend church simply because they like to hear what is being said. Some attend because they believe with their heads but not their hearts. Some attend because of the expectations of others. Some attend for personal gain in the sight of man. Whatever the reason, not all who attend church do so because they are saved. We must be careful that we don’t allow those who are not saved to poison those who are. There are those in the church who will lead others astray. They will preach and teach another Gospel. They will convince others that sin is no big deal, that a loving God will never allow anyone go to a place called hell.

Scripture warns us that in the last days there will be much unbelief in the church. People will be persuaded by those who will tell them what they want to hear instead of the truth. Keep your soul in a good, godly condition and you will recognize these deceivers in the church. Stay right with God and you will not be poisoned by their teachings. Stay in the Word so that you can recognize truth from error. Stay on the lookout and help protect each other from these false teachers. Keep your eyes peeled lest anyone amongst you miss out on salvation because they have believed a lie.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


Heb. 12:14 Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.

Notice first of all that we are to try. We cannot live with peace with those who refuse to live peaceably. We have to do what we can on our part, but we can't make others do what is right if they are determined not to. That being said, how are we live a peaceful life?

We live a clean and holy life before God. We do what is right before God. We don't ignore our sins. We don't neglect our time in God's Word or prayer. We don't shrink away from opportunities to serve the Lord. We don't rest on our laurels and coast along in faith. We always strive to learn more about the Lord, His ways, and how to apply them to our lives. We seek excellence in our walk with the Lord.

Satan wants us to believe that it's not necessary and really doesn't matter. He wants us to believe that all we need is to confess Jesus as our Savior and we are home free. But, those who are not holy will not see the Lord. It's a sobering thought isn't it? We don't hear this truth being taught much anymore. But, it does matter to God how we live. Our lives must match up to our teachings. God does not play games with us. Those who are not living in holiness will not see Him. Christ is our holiness so we must live in Christ and become more and more like Him. There is no getting around this truth.

How about it? Are you looking like Christ, or is your Christ looking a lot like you? Are you acting and thinking like Christ is in you and controlling you? If not, you need to bow before Him right now and let him straighten out the mess you are making with your life. We are created by God in Christ to be holy and unless we are, we won't see the Lord. God's words, not mine.

Friday, August 5, 2016


Heb. 12:12-13 So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.

Life can be wearisome, especially as we grow older. We get more prone to tiredness and our bodies begin to fail us. The same thing can hold true in our spiritual lives. We can get battle weary. It can get to us after awhile. Satan is a relentless enemy and seldom leaves us alone to rest.

If you find yourself getting weary, get a new grip on the Lord. What you have been doing to keep you faithful to the Lord may not be working as well now for you. Examine what you are doing. Do you need to spend more concentrated time in the Word? Do you need to allow for more time in your prayer closet? Do you need to include some Bible study fellowship in your routine? Do you need to be better prepared for worship? Do you need to be more involved in church life? Do you need to switch churches so that the preaching and teaching is more Biblical and practical? Do you need to take a rest and let others minister to you instead of you doing all the ministering? Do you need to rest more in what Christ can do instead of what you can do? You will never be able to regain spiritual strength so that you can stand steadily if you don’t get a newer, more firm grip on the Lord.

Let the Lord mark out your path. Let Him lead you through your life. Observe His ways and follow them. Don’t be foolish and follow a path that leads you away from the Lord. Let the Lord set your course and with determination follow it.

When we live with the Lord being our priority and director of life, we influence those around us to stay the course of faith. Those who follow us are strengthened by the example we set before them. There is no greater witness than the witness of a life lived well in faith.

Thursday, August 4, 2016


Heb. 12:10b-11 But God's discipline is always right and good for us because it means we will share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening---it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

I can remember growing up my father's discipline and I can testify to the fact that it hurt! My dad came from the old school where physical discipline was acceptable. My dad used belts to hold up his britches and he used them to teach us right from wrong. Dad was not afraid to correct our behavior with his belt. We knew what we would get if he ever found out what we did so it was a great deterrent for wrong behavior. I don't ever recall a time in which I can say I enjoyed his discipline. I do remember many of the lessons I learned from his discipline.

I learned to respect my father. I may not have always agreed with him that a spanking was justified, but I sure did learn from my mistakes and tried not to repeat them. I learned early on that it was in my best interest to obey my father. I believe that most people in the church today have very little respect for God. They don't fear Him in the sense that I feared my dad. As a result, I believe we have failed to learn many valuable lessons of faith we need to know.

I learned right from wrong. Without his guidance, I probably would have done a whole lot worse things than I did growing up. I knew that there were certain things that I could not do and I did not do them. I understood that there were consequences for my crossing the line and doing what I wanted to do instead of what my father wanted me to do. I learned that disciple was good for me. It kept me on a good path. I learned it was to my advantage to do what was right. I discovered that life was far less painful for me when I listened to my father than when I didn't.

I attribute much of who I am today to my father's discipline. He caused me to want to do what was right before him and ultimately before God, my Father. Wanting to please God motivates me to listen to Him and obey Him. We don't like to be disciplined, but it produces in us godly living. In fact, without discipline from God, no one will make it to heaven.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Heb. 12:8 If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children after all.

The question we must address is what is the Lord's discipline? We talk about it, but do we really know what we are talking about? Let us consider some things to get our thinking going.

Discipline becomes necessary when we do something wrong. You praise someone when they do something right and discipline them when they mess up. It is the way we teach one another what should not be done. We don't like to be disciplined and most of us don't like to discipline others. Yet, it is necessary if someone is going to move forward and mature.

Discipline should be done when someone is obviously sinning and giving the name and cause of Christ a bad name. For the sake of Christ's honor, we must strive to keep His name holy amongst man.

Discipline should be always done with love and purpose. The goal of discipline should be to inspire change that results in better character and choices made. If it's done with a mean spirit, it will not accomplish its purpose; people will resist and resent it. The Lord always deals with us compassionately, yet with firmness. He will not let us get away with our sinning without making it very clear that there are consequences to the choices we make.

The Holy Spirit is God's primary disciplinarian. He chastises us and convicts us when we sin. He shows us what we have done and what we should have done. He is relentless and keeps reminding us of our sin until we repent. He sometimes allows adversity to come our way if we don't pay attention to Him. He will sometimes use other people in our lives to urge us to repent. He will sometimes withhold God's blessings on our lives.

If we never experience God's discipline, it means that we are not really children of God. We are far from perfect and we do mess up, sometimes a lot. We need God's correction and chastisements. We should welcome God's intervention in our affairs. It is a good thing to be disciplined. Without it, we will never make it to heaven.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Heb. 12:2 We do this be keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.

In verse 1 we are admonished to get rid of everything that hinders us from growing into maturity of faith. We are slowed down to the point where there is scarcely any movement at all sometimes by all the baggage we carry around. In our verse for today we are told how we can best free ourselves up so that we can grow up. We do it by fixing our eyes on Jesus. As long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we will find our way to Him.

Notice that our spiritual walk begins and ends with Jesus. We have no relationship with God apart from Jesus. He is the one who made it possible for man to be accepted by God as His own. Jesus is the author of our salvation. He is the one in whom salvation originates. Before the world was ever created, it was determined by God that Jesus would die for our sins on the cross. He is the one who came from heaven to carry out God's salvation plan. He is the one who did away with the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament by the shedding of His own blood. It was Jesus alone who broke the chains of death that had bound humanity because of their sin.

Jesus is the one who will see our salvation through to the end. It is in Christ that we are able to have fellowship with God. It is in Him that we are able to live in victory over sin. It is Jesus who holds the keys to heaven. God will allow us to be a part of heaven only if we have a personal relationship with Jesus. It is on the merit of Christ alone that we will make it home. He will see us home to heaven if we continue to live in relationship with Him.

Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Don't let the world around you distract you, blind you, or lead you astray. Understand how the world is affecting your soul. Get rid of all that is diminishing Jesus in importance in your life. Focus on Him alone for He alone is the beginning and end of your salvation. He alone can make and keep you holy before God. Live in Christ as if your life depends on it, because it does.

Monday, August 1, 2016


Heb. 12:1-2a Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.

First, you are not alone in your faith. It may seem like it at times, but there are a lot of people just like you who have faith. They are everywhere you go. You may not know who they are, but they are there alongside of you and surrounding you. Don’t believe the lie of Satan that you are the only one who believes.

Since we are part of a huge cloud of witnesses, let us get rid of everything that keeps us from moving forward in our faith. Sin can easily creep in and wrap itself around our souls and squeeze the life out of us. Let us be sure that we confess all our sins and keep our souls pure. A sin-laded soul moves very slowly.

There are many other things that can slow us down as well in our spiritual progress. We can get caught up into earthly concerns and neglect our souls. We can pursue earthly pleasures instead of feeding our souls. We can live as if we were lord of our lives instead of Jesus. We can procrastinate on pursuing godly living to the point where we never get it done. We can believe the lie that there is always tomorrow to take our faith seriously. We can get careless and fill our minds with false teachings. We can fail to keep our souls in shape as we go.

In order to run well the race of life, we must be free of all the baggage that slows us down. We must be in good spiritual condition. We must never lose sight of Christ who is the author and finisher of our salvation. A race well run is one run with purpose and zeal. It demands our best effort. It demands our total focus. It demands that we run with perseverance until we win.

No one who starts out in faith can lose their faith if their faith is focused on Jesus alone.