Bible Devotions

God’s Word and Beef Jerky

While pondering awhile ago this analogy came to mind:  (I mean no disrespect towards God and His Word!)  God’s Word is like beef jerky.

What?  That’s right, at first bite beef jerky is tough and kind of hard to chew.   God’s Word can be like that sometimes.  Especially, if you haven’t given your life to Christ yet. In that case, God’s Word can be incredibly difficult to read.  The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

After you continue chewing on the beef jerky, you start noticing how rich and flavorful it is.  Again, I say God’s Word is like that too!  The more you read, the more you start understanding just how rich and flavorful it is.  One of the psalmist described God’s Word like this in Psalm 119:103: “How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Then the beef jerky becomes tender in your mouth, from all the chewing.  Yep, you guessed it!  God’s Word is like that too!  The bible has this uncanny ability to touch your heart right where you need special care.  It has the power to heal, to comfort and to tenderly correct us when we need correcting. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Have you stopped to consider how God is in the every day routines of life?  Even in the simple task of eating beef jerky, God’s grace and mercy and truth abound!

P.S.If you don’t know Christ yet and want to just, call out to Him.  He’s faithful to hear and answer your prayer.   You might pray something like:

Lord I believe your word when it says “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and that I am include in the word “all”.  Your word says the punishment for sin is death and I deserve it.  Your word also says “the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ” (Romans 6:23) .  So today, I’m asking for forgiveness and seeking a new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) .  Thank you, Jesus for saving me.  Amen.

 

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What Do You Pray About?

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:2-6 NKVJ

Prayer is essential for keeping your relationship with Christ alive and well. How many human relationships would stay together, if the couple never spoke to one another? Probably not many would survive. Without speaking so many things can be misinterpreted. Paul urges the Colossians to “continue earnestly in prayer”. Do not become complacent or lazy about praying. It may be easy to stop praying, but the consequences would be devastating. Proverbs 12:24 “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.”

Prayer is a vehicle that draws us closer to God and others. In our prayers, we praise God for who He is, what He’s done for us and thank Him for all He’s giving us. It’s important to continue giving thanks with vigilance. Prayer is also a weapon we must use to defend our walk. We when praise our God as He deserves, our enemy hates it! If ever you find the enemy hurling negative thoughts your way, try thinking about everything you can thank God for. In doing so you will be submitting to the Lord, resisting the devil, and the result is he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Prayer is not only about God. We pray for others’ needs as well. There’s several little tricks for helping us remember all the folks we can pray for. One is the five finger prayer. I used this one to help teach my son how to pray. It’s very effective and easy to remember. It something goes like this:
1. Your thumb represents those closest to you, so pray for your family and friends.
2. Your index (pointer) finger represents those who pointed you to Christ, so pray for those you lead you to your savior, pastor, Sunday school teacher, etc.
3. Your longest finger represents those in authority over you. That means the president, government, police, teacher, husband, etc.
4. Your ring finger is also the weakness finger. This reminds us to pray for the weak. Pray for single moms, widows, orphans, the sick, and the homeless.
5. Lastly is your little finger. This represents you, so pray for what you need.

Did you notice the order? Everyone else’s needs came before our own needs. That is honoring to God. When prayer becomes like breathing to you, meaning you find yourself talking to God about everything throughout the day, it you stay on track with the Lord. You begin to develop God’s perspective in your life. As a result you choose your word carefully. You walk in wisdom and your speech is full of grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer anyone who asks you why you have such a hope.

How’s your prayer life today? Is it filled with requests all about you? Or do you remember to pray for others? Are you praising God before you rattle off your requests? Talk to God, He’s waiting.

Father God Above, thank you for being as close as a pray away.  Help us to remember we are in your presence every time we pray.  May we learn to bring you into all situations in life through pray. In Jesus’ name Amen.

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Are You a Headless Chicken?

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:15-18 NKJV

No one has ever seen God, they say. But Jesus said in John 14:9 “He who has seen Me has seen the Father”.  Jesus Christ is God – He is the image of the invisible God, who reigns over all creation. He gave us His Spirit to confirm that truth in us. John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

Before anything was created, Jesus was there, with God and was God. John 1:1-4 describes Jesus this way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” Everything exists by Him, meaning He holds it all together and for Him, meaning all of this is for His pleasure.

I once saw a television program that was doing a story about a headless chicken. There was this farmer, who went to collect a chicken for dinner. He proceeded to cut of it’s head, but the chicken squirmed out of the farmer’s hand and ran around. The chicken, no joke, lived for more than two weeks without a head! How can this be? They had footage of the chicken being hand feed by pouring the food down it’s throat! Yikes! My apologies if this is too graphic, but it’s a great illustration. Can a body function with out a head? Not usually.

How often do we, as Christians, operate like the chicken without a head? By that I mean, we squirm out of our Lord’s hands and want to do things our way instead of His way. Now, with the chicken it only lived a shorted while. What would happen if we chose to disconnect from the head? How long would we last?

There are plenty of pictures of this principle in scripture. Let’s look at just three.

-John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Can a branch cut off from the vine  survive? No, it withers and dies over several days.

-Psalm 1:3 “He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall  prosper.”Can a tree survive without water? Of  course not. Given plenty of water it produces fruit. The same can be said for the Christian and God’s Word.

-Romans 12:5 “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” We are described as a member of the body, just like we have a hand or foot or a kidney (for that matter) in our physical body.

If we are the body, who is the head you might ask? Jesus Christ is the head of the body of Christ. So let us remember to hold fast to the Head as said in Colossians 2:18-20  “…holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”

Are you holding fast to Christ the head? If not, why?

Lord Jesus, thank you for being our head.  In you we live, breathe, and have our being.  Thank you for sustaining us.  Direct us on your path this day. In your name we pray. Amen.

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Faith, Hope, Love

Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, Colossians 1:4-5 NKJV

The Colossians had faith, love and hope, so much so that it was heard of by others who didn’t live in Colosse. When you think about faith, love, and hope what do you suppose are the identifying attributes that cause people to take notice? Faith is trusting in God no matter what the circumstance may look like.

Let’s look at a few versus where Jesus points out faith of others.

  • In Matthew 8:9-11 in the story of the centurion “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” The Centurion believed and told Jesus to just say the word and his servant would be healed.
  • In Matthew 9:1-3 “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith…” Jesus probably got a kick out of seeing these four guys tear up the roof to lower their paralytic friend down in front of Jesus to be healed. These friends acted so their friend could be healed. Their faith was demonstrated.
  • Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Faith demonstrates belief. We can see how important faith is in Matthew 9:29 “Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” If things are done according to our faith, then we better start implementing our faith, don’t you think!

What about hope? How can you tell someone has hope? If they have hope, they have faith. No hope, no faith. The two are integrated and can not be separated.

  • Hebrews 6:19 says “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast”.
  • 1 Peter 1:13 says we should rest in hope: “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;”

In who do we hope? First Peter 1:20-22 tells us “so that your faith and hope are in God.” Having hope in our Lord, means we wait patiently for His promises to come to pass. First Thessalonians 1:3 “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father”. Remember every word He speaks will not return void as Isaiah 55:11 says “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

We’ve looked at faith and hope, now we’ll look at love. How is love demonstrated?

Luke gives us a clue in Luke 6:35 “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.” God’s love is greater for John says John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus said in John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” We too, should lay aside our selves for the love of others.

Why do we love, because Jesus commanded it.

  • John 13:34-36 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
  • First Corinthians 13:13 “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

Apparently, the Colossians were doing all this and Paul takes note of it and re-confirms they are following the truth of the gospel. This reminds me to always affirm others when I see them following the word of God too! Who can you affirm today?

Father above, how great you are! Thank you for your hope that does not disappoint, your love that never fails and faith that lasts forever.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

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