Archive for the ‘Devotion’ Category

1.  Has been born again.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (Ephesians 4:17-19)

2.  Is developing a relationship with Jesus.

But you have not so learned Christ; If so be that you have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (Ephesians 4:20-21)

3.  Recognizes the old nature and crucifies it.

That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Ephesians 4:22)

4.  Learns to ask the question: “What am I thinking?”

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (Ephesians 4:23)

5.  Seeks to change into a righteous and holy person.

And that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)

6.  Stops lying and tells the truth.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:25)

7.  Controls his angry emotion.

Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Ephesians 4:26)

8.  Doesn’t harbor bitterness.

Be angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (Ephesians 4:26)

9.  Denies the devil opportunities to make a fool of him.

Neither agive place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:27)

10.  Stops stealing and works hard.

Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs. (Ephesians 4:28)

11.  Shares what God has given him.

Let him that stole, steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs. (Ephesians 4:28)

12. Uses his tongue to help and heal, not to hurt.

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29)

13. Protects the Holy Spirit from pain.

And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

14. Protects people from pain and hurt.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: (Ephesians 4:31)

15. Forgives because he has been forgiven.

And be you kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32)

16. Loves his Father for adopting him.

Be, therefore, followers of God, as dear children; (Ephesians 5:1)

17. Has a lifestyle of service motivated in love.

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor. (Ephesians 5:2)

18. Guards against sexual sin and is pure.

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becomes saints; (Ephesians 5:3)

19. Avoids base humor and dirty jokes.

Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Ephesians 5:4)

20. Takes God’s warnings seriously.

For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes rthe wrath of God upon sthe children of disobedience. Be not  therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:5-7)

21. Wakes up, smells the coffee and lives in the Light.

For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: walk as children of light: For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever does make manifest is light. Wherefore he says, Awake you that sleeps, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:8-17)

22. Doesn’t drink or get drunk, do drugs, or live wild.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (Ephesians 5:18)

23. Follows the Holy Spirit and pursues a spiritual life.

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:19)

24. Considers others first, especially his wife.

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33)

Have you ever thought to yourself, why is there  only one day out of the year for us to give thanks? Like me, most would say they don’t know. The Bible continously tells us to be thankful. It never says that we are to be thankful on one day.

Psalm 100: 4 says this: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless name.”

Col 3:17 says this, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

We are also to thanks to God. Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God contiually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks his name.

We tend to forget that there is one that deserves our thanks always. We leave him out, when we do give thanks. God is more than worthy of our thanks for what he has done for us. Jesus is more than worthy of our thanks for taking our punishment. The Holy Spirit is more than worthy of our thanks for helping and guiding us. We forget these three because of family and friends that we celebrate with  at this time of the year.

Now don’t get me wrong, we have a lot of things to be thankful for down here as well. Thankful for those same family and friends. Thankful for the work/job that we have. Thankful for the healing from something as simple as a cold. And all the many other things that we are and can be thankful for. But we should be thankful every day and not just on one day out of the year. More importantly we should be thankful to our Creator for wanting to have a relationship with us.

While giving a list of what we are thankful be sure to give thanks upwards as well. We do have a lot of things to be thankful for and one to be thankful towards always.

Go For The Gold

Posted: 07/11/2010 in Devotion
Tags: , , , , , ,

2 Kings 18:4 (KJV)

4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn to it: and he called it Nehushtan.

Nehushtan=”a thing made of brass” or “brass object”

     This was the very serpent that Moses had built on God’s command when the children of Israel were under judgment for complaining once again. They were complaining about the direction they were travelling, Moses as leader, and lack of water. They were also complaining about the food, the manna, God supplied them each day. As a result, God caused serpents to enter the camp to chastise his people.

     When enough people were bitten and had died they realized that they had messed up once again. They went to Moses to tell him of their sin of complaining against him and God. They asked if he would go to God and ask for the judgment of their sin to be removed. Moses did as the people asked. God then gave Moses instructions on what to do. Moses was to have a serpent made of brass made and placed on a pole. Then this pole with the serpent was to be placed in the middle of  camp where everyone could see it. Then when anyone who was bitten looked upon the brass serpent they were healed. (Numbers 21:4-9)

     This in and of itself is not a problem. The people sinned. They turned from their ways. God supplied the relief. But the text from 2 Kings gives the idea that as the years went on, something went wrong. The people had begun to worship the brass serpent. They began to burn incense to it in worship as a god. It had to go as it had become something that it was never intended to be.

     The people had forgotten why the brass serpent was made to begin with. It was made as a way of keeping punishment from death from taking place as a result of the peoples sin. They took their eyes off the creator and turned to something that was created. This causes some problems that we may not be aware of.

     This is what happens to many of us throughout the week. We go to church on Sundays, Wednesdays, or whenever our church service is and give God everything we have. Then as we live out our lives the rest of the time we give God far less than we should. I am not saying we try to do this. But as a fallen creation we tend to let things get in the way of our relationship with God. The sad thing is we don’t have to do this.

     We promise that we are going to get up early and do a devotion in  the morning or just read the Bible. Or we promise that we will  this before going to bed. The next morning comes around, we hit the snooze alarm. We read the paper. We turn on the TV. We forget about that meeting we promised we would have. We forget to read the Bible. Or the day is stressful so we put God on the back burner or we push him aside. But hey, we will get up early in the morning to have that time with God. And if we do this, we only give him a couple of minutes because we are in a hurry. Or we get overwhelmed by trying to catch up and read as much as we can.

     Peter had a similar problem. Read with me Matthew 14:22-33,

22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitude away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out in fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship, came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

     Peter was able to walk on the water when his eyes were on Jesus. We are able to make it through the day, no matter how bad it can get, if we keep our eyes on Jesus. It’s when we take our eyes off of him that the day gets worst. That is when we begin to sink. That is the point that Peter began to sink, when his eyes started to look at the circumstances around him. For us that means ded we keep our focus on him through a tough time by taking a time of quietness with him through devotion or just reading his word and/or praying?

     I had a Sunday school teacher ask us this question in class, ” What is your NEHUSHTAN?” What he was really asking was this: “What have you placed or are placing in front of your relationship with God?”

     We all tend to have them. Maybe it is just a small thing. It is a show that comes on once a week. Or your friend calls at the time you set aside for you and God. Or a song, girl/boyfriend, sports and so on. But to God that does not matter. Anything that comes before him constantly or consistently is an idol.

     Now are any of these things wrong in and of themselves? No, of course not. The friend may need help. You may be looking for something online for church and so on. But when these begin to take the place of God, then there is a problem.

     What about the movie you have been waiting to see? But it starts when you are supposed to be in church. What about that concert you heard about on the radio? Or you can’t go to church because your favorite magazine came in the mail and you have to read it before doing anything else. It is sad to think about, but there are Christians that would do just that. They put God in second place. The thing is God does not play second fiddle to anyone. The Bible has many examples of what happens when His people put him second. He gave and still does give warnings today. Check out Exodus 20:5 (KJV)

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I tthe Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

     But that is because of what he said in the verses before that one.

Exodus 20:3-4

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

     We are not to make idols to worship. We are not to make a likeness of anything God created to worship. It seems like more and more we worship a tree, rabbit, fish, hawk, worm or what have you. We worship things we are not supposed to worship.

     We begin to settle for things that are inferior. In effect we settle for things that are made of brass. Brass has one thing going for it. When it is cleaned and polished, it will shine just like gold. But the truth is, it is not gold. It is brass. We tend to go for the shiny that looks like gold. When we get it we can that it is not gold. But we keep and hang on to it like it was gold. This what we do in our relationship with God. He is the better thing. He is the gold. We settle for things far, far less.

Romans 1:25

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed for ever amen.

     We see this everywhere. Churches don’t have an evening service on Super Bowl Sunday due to many people staying home or going to a friend’s house to watch the game. Churches don’t have a Wednesday night service due to lack of attendence. I am too tired to go to church tonight. I have to work on my vehicle. And it goes on and on. We allow too many things to come before God. We remove Him from His throne and place ourselves or something else or someone else there. Is this a new thing? No. Satan started this at some point in an unknown past.

Isaiah 14:11-15

11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. 12 How thou art fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high. 15 yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Ezekiel 28:12-15

12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou has been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of they tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created. 14 Thou are the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

     He even used the same kind of thinking in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:1-5

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

     Satan does not really care what we put on God’s throne as long as it is not God himself. He wants us to settle for the brass object. He wants us to stay at home and not go to church. He wants us to follow a preacher instead of God. he wants us to stay home and watch the ball game on Sunday. He whispers in our ear that it is OK, God will not mind.

     But God is trying to give us the better things. He is trying to give us the things made of gold. But we throw these things away. We put our hands up saying, “No thanks. I want this instead”. He tries to give us Himself and we say we are not interested. We don’t want you. We would rather have that guy or that girl. He frees us from “Egypt” and we want to return because it was easier and better there. He says, “How about that land?” And we say, “This piece of junk? No thank you.”

     We need to get our priorities right. We need to get ourselves and those things we placed onto God’s throne off of it. We need to put Him back on His throne. We need to be like Peter and say, “Let me come to You.” We need to be willing to go and receive when He says OK.

     We need to let go of the things made of brass like Paul did and reach for the gold. The things that matter are not just for the moment are what Paul wants to reach for.

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I also am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

     We need to take our eyes off of the things of this world. We have to place our eyes on Jesus Christ. Otherwise we will sink and the cares of this world will bury us. The throne belongs to God and God alone. We have no business sitting in it or placing other things on it. We have to “forget” about all the other things that we allow to grab our attention. We have to reach with everything we have to those things that God has for us. We have to drop the Nehushtans, the brass objects, in order to reach for the gold. We must be willing to press towards and reach for the more excellent prize of Jesus Christ.

November 03

Go For The Gold

2 Kings 18:4 (KJV)

4 He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn to it: and he called Nehushtan.

Nehushtan=”a thing of brass” or “brass object”

This was the very serpent that Moses had built on God’s command when the children of Israel were under judgment for complaining once again. They were complaining about the direction they were traveling, Moses as leader, and lack of water. They were also complaining about the food, the manna, God supplied them each day. As a result, God caused serpents to chastise his people.

When enough people were bitten and had died they realized that they had messed up once again. They went to Moses to tell him of their sin of complaining against him and God. They asked if he would go to God and ask for the judgment for their sin to be removed. Moses did as the people asked. God then gave him instructions on what to do. Moses was to have a serpent of brass made and placed on a pole. Then this pole with the serpent on it was to be placed in the middle of camp where everyone could see it. Then when anyone who was bitten looked upon the brass serpent they were healed. (Numbers 21:4-9)

This in itself is not a problem. The people sinned. They turned from their ways. God supplied the relief. But the text from 2 Kings gives the idea that as the years went on, something went wrong. The people had begun to worship the brass serpent. They began to burn incense to it in worship as a god. It had to go.

The people had forgotten why the brass serpent was made to begin with. It was made as a way of keeping the punishment of death from taking place because of the peoples sin. The people took their eyes off the creator on to something that was created. Doing that can cause problems that we are or may not be able to see.

This is what happens to many of us throughout the week. We go to church on Sundays, Wednesdays, or whenever church is and give God everything we have. Then as we live out our lives the rest of the time we give God far less than we should. I am not saying we try to do this. But as a fallen creation we tend to let things get in the way of our relationship with God. The sad thing is we don’t have to do this.

We promise that we are going to get up early and do a devotion in the morning or just read the Bible. Or we promise that we will do this before going to bed. The next morning comes around, we hit the snooze alarm. We read the paper. We turn the TV on. We forget about that meeting we promised we would have. We forget to read the Bible. Or the day is stressful we put God on the back burner or we push him to the side. But hey, we will get up early in the morning to have that time with God. And if we do this, we only give him a couple of minutes because we are in a hurry. Or we get overwhelmed by trying to catch up and read as much as we can.

Peter had a similar problem. Read with me Matthew 14:22-33,

22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out in fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spoke unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship, came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Peter was able to walk on the water when his eyes were on Jesus. We are able to make it through the day, no matter how bad it can get if we keep our eyes on Jesus. When we take our eyes off of him is when the day gets worst. That is when we begin to sink. That is the point that Peter began to sink. When his eyes started to look at the circumstances around him. For us that means we did keep our focus on him through a time of quietness with him through devotion or just reading his word and praying.

I had a Sunday School teacher ask us this question, “What is your NEHUSHTAN?” What he was really asking was this: “What have you or are you placing in front of your relationship with God?”

We all tend to have them. Maybe it is just a small thing. It is a show that comes on once a week. Or your friend calls at the time you set aside for you and God. Or a song, girl/boyfriend sports and so on. But to God that does not matter. Anything that comes before constantly or consistently is an idol.

Now are any of these things wrong in and of themselves? No, of course not. The friend may need help. You may be looking for something online for church and so. But when these begin to take the place God, then there is a problem.

What about the movie you have been waiting to see. But it starts when you are supposed to be in church? What about that concert you heard about on the radio? Or you can’t go to church because your favorite magazine came in the mail and you have to read it before doing anything else. It is sad to think about, but there are Christians that would do just that. They put God in second place. The thing is God does not play second fiddle to anyone. The Bible has many examples of what happens when His people put him second. He gave and still does give warnings today. Check out Exodus 20:5 (KJV).

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

But that is because of what he said in the verses before this.

Exodus 20:3-4

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

We are not to make idols to worship. We are not to make a likeness of anything God created to worship. It seems like more and more we worship a tree, rabbit, fish, hawk, worm or what have. We worship things we are not supposed to worship.

We begin to settle for things that are inferior. In effect we settle for things that are made of brass. Brass has one thing going for it. When it is cleaned and polished, it will shine just like gold. But the truth is, it is not gold. It is brass. We tend to go for the shiny thing that looks like gold. When we get it we can tell that it is not gold. But we keep and hang on to it like it was gold. This is what we do in our relation with God. He is the better thing. He is the gold. We settle for things far, far less.

Romans 1:25

25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the creator, who is blessed for ever amen.

We see this everywhere. Churches don’t have an evening service on Super Bowl Sunday due to many people staying home or going to friends houses to watch the game. Churches have given up Wednesday services due to lack of attendance. I am too tired to go to church tonight. I have to work on my vehicle. And it goes on and on. We allow too many things to come before God. We remove Him from His throne and place ourselves or something or someone else there. Is this thought new? No. Satan started this at some point in an unknown past.

Isaiah 14:11-15

11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. 12 How thou art fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne about the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Ezekiel 28:12-15

12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of they tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou was created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

He even used the same kind of thinking in the Garden of Eden.

Genesis 3:1-5

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the women said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Satan does not really care what we put on God’s throne as long as it is not God Himself. He wants us to settle for the brass object. He wants us to stay home and not go to church. He wants us to follow a preacher instead of God. He wants us to stay home and watch the ball game on Sunday. He whispers in our ear that it is ok, God will not mind.

But God is trying to give us the better things. He is trying to give us the things made of gold. But we throw these things away. We put our hands up saying, “No thanks. I want this instead”. He tries to give us Himself and we say we are not interested. We don’t want you. We would rather have that guy or that girl. He frees us from “Egypt” and we want to return because it was easier and better there. He says, “How about that land?” And we say, “This piece of junk? No thank you.”

We need to get our priorities right. We need to get ourselves and those things we placed onto God’s throne off of it. We need to put Him back on His throne. We need to be like Peter and say, “Let me come to You.” We need to be willing to go and receive when He says OK.

We need to let go of the things made of brass like Paul did and reach for the gold. The things that matter.

Philippians 3:12-14

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I also am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

We need to take our eyes off of the things of this world. We have to place our eyes on Jesus Christ. Otherwise we will sink and the cares of this world will bury us. The throne belongs to God and God alone. We have no business sitting in it or placing things on it. We have to “forget” about all the other things that we allow to grab our attention. We have to reach with everything we have to those things that God has for us. We have to drop the Nehushtans, the brass objects, in order to reach for the gold. We must be willing to press towards and reach for the more excellent prize

Seasons

Posted: 10/09/2009 in Devotion
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Earlier I went to go check my mail and get something eat. After going to the post office I went and ordered my meal from a place across the street. While I was waiting for the order to be cooked, I started looking at the trees. The leaves are starting to change colors. I had the thought of cycles in the seasons that we see.

I started thinking how it will be looking like the world is “dying”. But within a few short months, there will be a renewal. The world will begin to “live” again. I thought how like mans one cycle in this life.

I started to think that is just the way mankind is as well. We are born in the spring of our lives. Go through summer during our school years. During the fall season we work, marry, have kids, and so. Summer can also be included in that as well. Then when we get to where we can’t work any more and start to slow down, we come to the winter of our lives. But what then?

The bible says that we “are appointed once to die”.(Hebrews 9:27 King James Version) But then what? The rest of the verse says that  after death there will be a judgment. Now I am not going to focus on the judgement aspect. But think about this. After our winter, we come back to spring again. We will live again. But the great part about that is this. We will never go through winter again. But only if we have become one of his children as stated in John 1:12, “As many as received him (Jesus), to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

What a day when the believers in Christ will go through the spring, get to summer and stay there for eternity. I know I can’t wait.

John 3:14-17  (KJV)

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 16 For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

This passage contains one of the best known verse from the Bible. But I am going, instead, to center on verse 14. When I read this verse I had one question come to mind. Why would Jesus compare himself with a serpent? Some other questions I had were these. Why not something or someone else? Instead Jesus chose a serpent. And a serpent that is mentioned only three times in the Bible, that I know of. Here is the third and final time it is mentioned.

But now the question becomes, “What about this serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness? What is so special about this serpent?”

 

The beginning of the answer begins in Numbers 21:8,9.

8 And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

 

But let’s go back a few verses to see why this brass serpent had to be made. Israel had just got done defeating an army a short time before this. God was taking them in a way that they did not want to go because of the people along the route. So they started to do what they always do. They complained. They complained about everything they complained about before. No water and/food. Their leaders. God. And so on.

God in order to chastise them, sent in fiery or copper colored serpents. After people started to die from poisonous bites, they went to Moses and confessed their guilt. They asked Moses to go to God and ask for the removal of the judgment, the serpents. God instead told Moses to have a brass serpent made and place it on a pole in the middle of camp. He told Moses what to tell the people if they got bit. Anyone who followed the directions would live. Read Numbers 21:1-9

This is the first time that this serpent is mentioned. The third time as stated previously was in a conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. The second time is mentioned in 2 Kings 18:4.

 

4 He (King Hezekiah) removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and called it Nehushtan (thing made of brass).

 

The second this serpent is mentioned is when Hezekiah was cleaning house. He destroyed the “brasen serpent that Moses had made”. Now we have some of the background of this serpent. But the question still remains, “Why did Jesus compare himself with a serpent”?

This question becomes more important when you see that in scripture many times it is seen as something evil or has an evil connotation to it. Even more puzzling when you realize the serpent is usually mentioned when talking about Satan. (Gen 3:1, 2 Cor 11:3, Rev 12:9, Rev 20:2) The serpent is called crooked. (Job 26:13, Isa. 27:1) All the way at the beginning, we see the serpent as the first creature of creation cursed. (Gen 3:14) There are many more examples of where the serpent is clearly identified with evil.

And why did God have it made of brass? Brass is associated with judgment. Look at the altar, the bronze sea, and all of the tools used in the order of sacrifices. The altar was made of brass. The bronze sea was a huge basin made of brass. All the utensils were made of brass. Jesus feet in Revelation were like brass. Brass has something to do with judgment of sin.

While I was thinking of the question of why Jesus was comparing himself to the brass serpent Moses had made, the word curse came to mind. The serpent was the first of all creation that was cursed as seen in the Bible. (Gen 3:14,15) God used a picture or representation of the result of their sin to cure them. (Numbers 21:8,9) The people sinned, judgment came, and God provided a way out of judgment.

When man sinned, he became his own judgment for that sin. Therefore God had to use a likeness of this judgment as he did in Numbers 21. In the instructions that God gave to Moses to give the people as laws, rules and regulations, God also said something about hangings in Deuteronomy 21:23.

 

23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

 

God said the same thing in the New Testament as well.

 

Galatians 3:13 (KJV)

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

 

God said, in Deut 21:23, that the “body was not to remain upon the tree”, but shall be buried the same day it was hung. Why? For he that is hanged is accursed of God. Was Christ cursed? By no means. The Bible gives warnings about calling Christ accursed or being a curse. But the one who knew no sin had to be like one that had sinned. God had to come in the likeness of man in order to save man. He had to appear to be under a curse to free us from the curse. That is he had to take the curse of sin upon himself.

So the answer to the question is this. To free us from the spiritual poison placed in us by the serpent who beguiled Eve in the garden. So we can live in the relationship that God had intended from the beginning. But the best answer can be found in the text at the beginning.

 

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

1 Corinthians 1:21-29 (KJV)
“For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And the base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh glory in his presence.”

God tends to work in strange ways. He sometimes uses things that we may not necessarily think could be used to further his kingdom. Someone with cancer, a little child, and many other circumstances. Sometimes he will use small things and at times he uses big things. But what ever he uses, he uses the way he sees fit. To us some of things may seem impossible. That there is no way they could happen.

Let me list some of these very things that to us, especially in today’s world, seem foolish and nonsensical.

In Genesis 6-9, we find God using Noah to save a remnant of all the people and land animals at that time. He calls on Noah to build a huge boat out in the middle of nowhere. There is not even a body of water close by in which to float this ark in. Add to that, the reason the ark is to be built is because it is going to rain for a large period of time. But the question on the lips of those at the time was, “What is rain? What are you talking about?”
To them this ark being built was nonsense and foolish.

In Exodus, we read how Moses was told to strike a rock to get water out of it. (Ex. 17:1-7) How does one get water from rock? Squeeze it? Pull it? Stomp on it? Twist it? How does one get water out of rock? Can you get enough to feed a whole nation of people? God told Moses to strike it. Further on in the book of Numbers (20:3-11) God told Moses to get water out of another rock. This time by speaking to it. We all know that getting water of rock is foolish, but God saw that it was done, twice.

In the book of Joshua we read how the first city in the promised land was captured. How God told Joshua to go walk around the city one time for six days. Then on the seventh day, he was to walk around it seven times. So for that one week, they walked around a city for a total of thirteen days. Myself give me a few bombs, a tank or two, some missiles, maybe some special ops. But to walk around a city thirteen times? Now that is also foolish.

But that is not all they had to do. The last time around the city of Jericho, they were to blow trumpets then yell at the top of their lungs. Then they were supposed to just go on in and clean house. I still want some special equipment in to accomplish this. But God had his own plans. When the Israelites did what they were supposed to do. God caused the walls to come down and they were able to just walk on in. They then proceeded to take the city.

And there are many more examples, of this type of foolishness. A woman in her nineties has a son (Gen 18:10-12). An axe head floats in water (2 Kings 6:4-7) God stops the earth from rotating, or as the Bible says the sun and the moon stopped (Josh 10:12, 13). God uses three hundred men to defeat an entire army. These three hundred men were all that was left of over two thousand (Judges 7:6,16,21).

These are just some of the many examples in the Old Testament. Men today would say that these were just stories. None of these things could happen. Well except for a small force of men being able to make a large army look like fools. You can’t get water from rock. You cannot defeat a city by walking, horn blowing, or yelling. You can not get an axe head to float. Not without trickery or stacking the deck in your favor. It is impossible for any of these things to happen.

The New Testament has some of its own types of foolishness. You have people walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33). Virgins giving birth (Matthew 1:18-25). Men rising from the dead. Men traveling huge distances in a short amount of time. People dying and coming back to life. These are all listed and there are more besides. But God had his hand in these things, too. The only one that would make sense today is the virgin having a child. Medically we can do this today. And there are plenty more.

The great thing about all of these examples is that God’s ways are higher than ours. Nothing will keep him from accomplishing what he has planned. Mans wisdom is nothing compared to his. Our wisdom is wrong when it comes to the things of God. God does not need man to tell what he can or can’t do. Even when we know it can’t happen to today, unless you are a magician.

God makes man’s wisdom look like foolishness. At the same time we tend to see that what God does and has done is foolishness to us. But then this does not matter. Why? God wins. He made the rules and he can break them if he wants to. No matter what our wisdom says about it.

The cross is just one such thing. Why would anyone choose such a grisly display? Why would someone just to go through so much pain and agony? To further the goals and aims of God Almighty. He did it so that weak man will not have to go through the same type of thing. To lift the weak above the strong. To bring down the wisdom of the wise. To be able to show that his power is above all. But more importantly so that man cannot say that he has perfected himself.

That is Gods right alone. We are to have glory in the works of Christ and not in our own works. Our works will one day disappear. Christ’s and God’s work will be eternal. Put your trust in the foolishness of the cross. Put your faith in the God who performed all the foolish works in the Bible. If you don’t, you will lose more than you seem to gain. God chooses to use us because of what we aren’t. He changed us to what we are. He will change us to what he knows we can become. God’s foolishness is wiser than mans wisdom. His weakness is stronger than mans strength. Choose to be foolish, weak and base where the world is concerned. And you will see what God can do to mess up the wise, strong and mighty.