Sunday, November 17, 2013

Evil speech. Spreading a brother's moral failing behind his back.

People will trash their brother behind their back. They seem to justify their unloving speech because it is not a lie. "Its okay I'm only spreading the truth." When people do this they are not walking in love. There is no good will towards their brother. There is no desire to help turn a brother away from ways that are hurting him and restoring him to God's ways which are good for him. 

When a person walks in love they want to restore a brother not trash him publicly. There goal is to restore their walk with God not to disgrace them in the community. Notice in the passage below that every effort is made to first privately speak to the brother with the attitude of restoration. Then if that doesn't work then its okay to slightly enlarge the private conversation by adding another one or two in the hope of restoration his walk. Then only if the all else fails then it is to be told to the church. But even in telling it to the church the goal is to have a community motivator, although unpleasant, drive the person back into right relationship with God. Loves goal is to restore and not to speak evil of others. What if God aired all our dirty laundry from our lifetime just because it was true. Thankfully God is willing to cover our sins and doesn't maliciously spread our moral failings. 

Matthew 18:15-18

15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

( please note there are exception is the Bible where it was in the best interest of the church to handle a situation immediately and publicly)

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

Saturday, October 19, 2013

God's great faithfulness to a stubborn people

Here is a portion of Nehemiah 9. If you have time open your Bible and read it in context.

Nehemiah 9:16-22

16 “But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly;
They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.
17 “They refused to listen,
And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;
So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
And You did not forsake them.
18 “Even when they made for themselves
A calf of molten metal
And said, ‘This is your God
Who brought you up from Egypt,’
And committed great blasphemies,
19 You, in Your great compassion,
Did not forsake them in the wilderness;
The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,
To guide them on their way,
Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.
20 “You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.
21 “Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.
22 “You also gave them kingdoms and peoples,
And allotted them to them as a boundary.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

Friday, September 20, 2013

Rebellion then trouble - Call to repentance with blessings promised

In the Book of Joel God's people had sinned. As a result of their sin they were experiencing trouble. One trouble from God's hand was various kinds of locust ravaging the land. They were also warned that a great and mighty people is coming and they should tremble. These things were happening due to their rebellion.

Then in Joel chapter 2  verses 12-17 God calls them to a  wholeheartedly repentance. To save space we'll just look at verses 12 and 13. 

12 12 12 “Yet even now,” declares the Lord,
    “Return to Me with all your heart,
    And with fasting, weeping and mourning;
13 13 And rend your heart and not your garments.”
    Now return to the Lord your God,
    For He is gracious and compassionate,
    Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness
    And relenting of evil.

Then if the people repent and the spiritual leaders seek God then blessing can return.

Joel 2:25
25"Then I will make up to you for the years
That the swarming locust has eaten,
The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.

In fact what I find amazing is God willingness to respond to repentance and make up for the bad years they experienced. And those bad years were from their own rebellion. They deserved God's disciplining hand for those years. But with repentance God was willing to make up to them those bad years they deserved. God is good. 

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jesus, through whom grace and truth were realized, preached repentance

Matthew 4:17

17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

Saturday, July 27, 2013

When we refuse to obey - then change our minds

When we refuse to obey - then change our minds

One thing we see in the passage below is willful disobedience of a son followed by repentance. This passage is an encouragement to me because when I refuse to obey, and then repent, I can know that God will regard me as one who does His will. 

Matthew 21:28-32

28 “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They *said, “The first.” Jesus *said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" ( )

Saturday, July 13, 2013

God teaches us ways to avoid self inflicted poverty

The purpose of this devotion is to avoid some sources of self-inflicted poverty. But this teaching does not suggest that everyone that is poor has brought it upon themselves. There are many factors that can lead to poverty that could be out of and individual's control. Here are just a few examples: layoffs, injuries, and living in a country that has an oppressive government. 

Lets start our devotion in Proverbs chapter 6. In verses 1-5 God is trying to protect His children from self-inflicted poverty. He steers them away from the dangers of  becoming surety for a stranger / neighbor. We are instructed that we should not guarantee another persons debt. One example would be to co-sign for a stranger / neighbors car loan. If that person can no longer make their payments then the bank will come after you and demand payment. We, and our families with us, can be brought to financial ruin through such practices. But because God loves us He steers us away from this form of self-inflicted poverty. 

Continuing in chapter 6 we will find another source of poverty. Verses 6-11 show that being lazy and loving sleep will cause poverty to overtake you. 

Proverbs 6:9-11
How long will you lie down, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest”—
11 Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man.
The sluggard is lazy and does not want to work. But even if circumstances force him to work he proves to be a thorn in his employer's side and runs the risk of being fired. He can be late or even miss work due to his unwillingness to get out of bed. And even once he arrives at work he does his work half-heartedly. And because he lacks the self-motivation, which is one characteristic of the diligent, he ends up requiring extra supervision. The lazy one is a grief to his employer and inevitably he will lose his job . So through either unwillingness to get a job, or being fired due to poor work performance, the sluggard lacks earning power and poverty overtakes him. 

Proverbs 10:4
Poor is he who works with a negligent hand,
But the hand of the diligent makes rich.
Proverbs 20:13
13 Do not love sleep, or you will become poor;
Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food.

In Proverbs 6:6-8 the sluggard is asked to observe the work habits of the ant. The ant is diligent and needs no supervision. The ant thinks past the need of the moment. It continues to work because it anticipates needs in the future and stores up for that future lack.

Proverbs 6:6-8
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
Another source of poverty is being pleasure centered

Proverbs 21:17
17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; 
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich. 

In the first half of verse 17 we see someone who begins with wealth and then loses it by being pleasure centered. This person could have received wealth through an inheritance and then squandered it through the pursuit of pleasure. A perfect example of a person who is pleasure centered and dwindles from a wealthy state to a poor state  is the Prodigal Son. That passage is found in Luke 15:11-32. Also, in the second half of Proverbs 21:17 (above)  we see the effect of being pleasure centered from a different perspective. The person who lacks riches is prevented from rising to a wealthy status due to a focus on pleasure.

A few other verses to consider. 

Proverbs 23:21

21 For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty,

And drowsiness will clothe one with rags.

Proverbs 28:19

19 He who tills his land will have plenty of food,But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

Saturday, June 8, 2013

How quickly do we respond to God's instructions?

How quickly do we respond to God's instructions?

Pay attention to the word "immediately" used more than once in the passage below. They showed no hesitation. They responded to the Lord immediately.

Matthew 4:18-22

18 Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He *said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 21 Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (