Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sinking Sand

"Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it."  Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)

Expanation for Matthew 7:24-27 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1372:  "The house represents a religious life; the rain represents divine judgment.  Only the house built on the foundation of obedience to God's word stands, which calls for repentance, rejection of salvation by works, and trust in God's grace to save through his merciful provision.  See notes on James 1:22-25"

"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.  For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.  But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing." James 1:22-25, (ESV)

Expanations for James 1:22-25 from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1878: 
"1:22 be doers.  The fact that James calls professing believers to be "doers," rather than simply to do, emphasizes that their entire personality should be characterized in that way.  See notes on Matt. 7:21-28.  deceiving. Lit., "reason beside or alongside" (as in "beside oneself").  This word was used in mathematics to refer to a miscalculation.  Professing Christians who are content with only hearing the word have made a serious spiritual miscalculation."
"1:23 looks.  A forceful Greek word meaning to observe carefully and cautiously, as opposed to taking a casual glance.   mirror.  First century mirrors were not glass but metallic, made of bronze, silver--or for the wealthy--gold.  The metals were beaten flat and polished to a high gloss, and the image they reflected was adequate but not perfect (cf. 1 Cor. 13:12)."
"1:24 forgets what he was like.  Unless professing Christians act promptly after they hear the word, they will forget the changes and improvements that their reflection showed them they need to make."
"1:25 perfect law.  In both the OT and NT, God's revealed, inerrant, sufficient, and comprehensive word is called "law" (cf. Ps. 19:7).  The presence of his grace does not mean there is no moral law or code of conduct for believers to obey.  Believers are enabled by the Spirit to keep it (see note on Rom. 8:4).  liberty.  Genuine freedom from sin.  As the Holy Spirit applies the principles of Scripture to believers' hearts, they are freed from sin's bondage and enabled to obey God (John 8:34-36)"

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I pray that we will continue to put our faith in You, Jesus, and that we will build our house upon the rock (which is You, Lord).  I pray that You will protect us from this sinking sand that is enveloping the world.  I pray for those unsaved and in bondage to their sin and pray that You would knock on the door to their heart and I pray that they would let you in and repent from their sin.  You, Jesus are the truth and You alone sets us free.  Thank you for all the blessings that You have given us and thank You for never leaving us for You have said in Matthew 28:20, "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When You Don't Know What to Pray For

Here are some Bible verses that deal with how to pray, what to do when you don't know what to pray for anymore, and pray without ceasing. 

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."  Romans 8:26 (ESV)

(Explanation for verse Romans 8:26 from The MacArthur Study Bible, page 1664, "8:26 Likewise.  As the creation (v. 22) and believers (v.23) both groan for ultimate restoration, the Spirit does as well.  groanings too deep for words. Divine articulations within the Trinity that cannot be expressed in words, but carry profound appeals for the welfare of every believer (cf. 1 Cor. 2:11).  This work of the Holy Spirit parallels the high-priestly work of intercession by the Lord Jesus on behalf of believers (see Heb. 2:17-18; 4:14-16; 7:24-26)

"For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him?  So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." 1 Corinthians 2:11 (ESV)

"Pray then like this:  Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name.  Your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Matthew 6:9-14 (ESV)
(Explanation for Matthew 6:15 from the MacArther Study Bible, page 1370:  "Matthew 6:15 neither will your Father forgive your tresspasses.  This is not to suggest that God will withdraw justification from those who have already received the free pardon he extends to all believers.  Forgiveness in that sense--a permanent and complete acquittal from the guilt and ultimate penalty of sin--belongs to all who are in Christ (cf. John 5:24; Rom. 8:1; Eph. 1:7).  Yet, Scripture also teaches that God chastens his children who disobey (Heb. 12:5-7).  Believers are to confess their sins in order to obtain a day-to-day cleansing (1 John 1:9).  This sort of forgiveness is a simple washing from the worldly defilements of sin, not a repeat of the wholesale cleansing from sin's corruption that comes with justification.  It is like a washing of the feet rather than a bath (cf. John 13:10)).  Forgiveness in this latter sense is what God threatens to withhold from Christians who refuse to forgive others (cf. Matt. 18:23-25)"

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

(Explanation for 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 from The MacArthur Study Bible page 1802: 
1 Thess. 5:16, Rejoice.  Joy is appropriate at all times.  Cf. Phil. 2:17-18; 3:1; 4:4
1 Thess. 5:17, Pray.  This does not mean pray repetitiously or continuously without a break (cf. Matt. 6:7-8), but rather pray persistently (cf. Luke 11:1-13, 18:1-8) and regularly (cf. Eph. 6:18; Phil. 4:6; Col 4:2, 12).
1 Thess. 5:18, Give thanks.  Thanklessness is a trait of unbelievers (cf. Rom. 1:21; 2 Tim 3:1-5).  "This is the will of God" includes 1 Thess 5:16-17)

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up those in prayer reading Your Word today.  I pray that all of us will forgive others and be thankful to You for everything we have.  I pray for those reading these Bible verses who are unsaved.  I pray for their salvation and that the truth in Jesus will set them free. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Jesus tells of the close of the age and speaks of the tribulation in Matthew 24. 

"As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"  And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ', and they will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these things are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.
(Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1404, Matthew 24:10, many will fall away. Lit., "cause to stumble"--suggesting professing believers who fall away--and even turn against "one another" in shocking acts of spiritual treachery.  Those who fall away in such a manner give evidence that they never were true believers at all (see not on v. 13).

So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.  And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days!  Pray that your flight  may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.  For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.  And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.  But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.  Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand.  So, if they say to you, 'Look he is in the wilderness,' do not go out.  Of they say, 'Look, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
(Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1404, Matthew 24:21 great tribulation.  The words "such as this has not been" and "never will be"--along with the description that follows--identify this as the yet-future time in which God's wrath shall be poured out upon the earth (see note on Rev. 7:14).  Jesus' description of the cataclysms that follow closely resemble the outpouring of divine wrath described in the bowl judgments of Rev. 16 and his subsequent appearing in Rev. 19 (see note on Matt. 24:30).

From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
(Explanation for these verses from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1405,  Matthew 24:34  this generation.  This cannot refer to the generation living at the time of Christ, for "all these things"--the abomination of desolation (v. 15), the persecutions and judgments (w. 17-22), the false prophets (w. 23-26), the signs in the heavens (w. 27-29), Christ's final return (v. 30), and the gathering of the elect (v.31)--did not "take place" in their lifetime.  It seems best to interpret Christ's words as a reference to the generation alive at the time when those final hard labor pains begin (see note on v. 14).  This would fit with the lesson of the fig tree, which stresses the short span of time in which these things will occur (see note on v. 32). 
But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.  For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.  Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 
(Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1405, on verse Matthew 24:40-41 one will be taken. I.e., taken in judgment (cf. v. 39) just as in Noah's day ("swept them"; v. 39).  This is clearly not a reference to the catching away of believers described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself,  My master is delayed, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hyprocrites.  In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
 (Explanation from the MacArthur Study Bible, page 1406, for Matthew 24:45-51, The evil slave represents an unbeliever who refuses to take seriously the promise of Christ's return (cf. 2 Peter 3:4).  Though he is an unbeliever (as demonstrated by his punishment -- see note on Matt. 22:13), he is nonetheless accountable to Christ for the stewardship of his time.  Jesus was teaching that every person in the world holds his life, natural abilities, wealth, and possessions in trust from God and must give account of how these things are used.)
Matthew 24:3-51, (ESV)

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up those reading Your Words today.  I pray that none of us would be deceived into believing a false prophet or a false religion.  Please keep those who are true believers in Your care.  I pray Jesus' words in  Matthew 24 would soften hearts to the truth and freedom of salvation that is only found in Jesus Christ.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Rapture

I recently saw a Christian movie about the Rapture.  It was where a man who was unsaved, but was starting to think about who Jesus is and what it means to him.  The Rapture occurs in the movie and all chaos occurs.  I looked up in the Bible the verses that speak of the Rapture.  Here they are:

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.  For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  Therefore encourage one another with these words."  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (ESV)

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.  I and the Father are one."  John 10:28-29 (ESV) 
The explanation for John 10:28-29 is from "The MacArthur Study Bible",  John 10:28-29, page, 1562:  "10:28-29  The security of Jesus' sheep rests with him as the good shepherd, who has the power to keep them safe.  Neither thieves and robbers (w. 1, 8) nor the wolf (v. 12) can harm them.  Verse 29 makes clear that the Father ultimately stands behind the sheep's security, for no one is able to steal from God, who is soverign control of all things (Col. 3:3)  See notes on Romans 8:31-39.  No stronger passage in the OT or NT exists for the absolute, eternal security of every true Christian."

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger or sword?  As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to spearate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:31-39 (ESV)

"And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing." Acts 8:39 (ESV)
Explanation for Acts 8:39 from "The MacArthur Study Bible" page 1606, "8:39 carried Philip away. Elijah (1Kings 18:12; 2Kings 2:16) and Ezekiel (Ezek. 3:12, 14; 8:3) were also snatched away in a miraculous fashion.  This was a powerful confirmation to the caravan that Philip was God's representative."

"Let not your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God; believe also in me.  In my Father's house are many rooms.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."  John 14:1-3 (ESV)

"Behold! I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (ESV)
Explanation for 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 from "The MacArthur Study Bible" page 1711.  "15:51 mystery.  This term refers to truth hidden in the past and revealed in the NT.  See notes on 2:7 and Eph. 3:4-5. In this case, the rapture of the church was never revealed in the OT.  It was first mentioned in John 14:1-3, when it is specifically explained and is detailed in. 1 Thess. 4:13-18 (see notes there).  Sleep. See not on 1 Cor 15:18."
"15:52 twinkling of an eye.  This was Paul's way of showing how brief the "moment" will be.  The Greek work for "twinkling" refers to any rapid movement.  Since the eye can move more rapidly than any other part of our visible bodies, it seems to well illustrate the sudden transformation of raptured believers.  trumpet will sound.  To herald the end of the church era, when all believers will be removed from the earth at the rapture (1 Thess. 4:16) dead. . .raised. According to 1 Thess. 4:16, they are first and the living saints follow (1 Thess. 4:17)."

It is comforting to know that those who truly believe in Jesus Christ and are saved through Him, when the time comes, will be raptured up to heaven and will not have to endure the Tribulation. 

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  Thank You for saving us.  Thank You for never leaving us.  Thank You for Your provision and blessings. I pray for those who are unsaved that they would come to know You, Jesus as their Lord and savior.  I pray for these Bible verses to touch the hearts and minds of those enveloped in darkness.  I pray that You will show the truth those who wish to know. I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Do Not Repay Evil for Evil

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.  Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.  For
"Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.  But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?  But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed.  Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ and Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil.

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, (verse 20)because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. (verse 21)Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him."  1 Peter 3:8-22 ESV

Here is an explanation for verses in 1 Peter 3:20-21.  This is from the MacArthur Study Bible, English Standard Version page 1894.
"3:20 did not obey. . .in the days of Noah.  Peter further explains that the abyss is inhabited by bound demons who have been there since the time of Noah, and who were sent there because they severly overstepped the bounds of God's tolerance with their wickedness. The demons of Noah's day were running riot through the earth, filling the world with their wicked, vile, anti-God activity, including sexual sin, so that even 120 years of Noah's preaching, while the ark was being built, could not convince any of the human race beyond the eight people in Noah's family to believe in God (see notes on 2 Peter 2:4-5; Jude 6-7; cf. Gen. 6:1-8). Thus God bound these demons permanently in the abyss until their final sentencing.      safely through water.     They had been rescued in spite of the water, not because of the water.  Here water was the agent of God's judgment, not the means of salvation. (see note on Acts 2:38).

"3:21 corresponds to this, now saves you.  Peter is teaching that the fact that eight people were in an ark and went through the whole judgment, and yet were unharmed, is analogous to the Christian's experience in salvation by being in Christ, the ark of one's salvation.     Baptism . . . through the resurection of Jesus Christ.      Peter is not at all referring to water baptism here, but rather a figurative immersion into union with Christ as an ark of safety from the judgment of God.  The resurrection of Christ demonstrates God's acceptance of Christ's substitutionary death for the sins of those who believe (Acts 2:30-31; Rom. 1:4).  Judgment fell on Christ just as the judgment of the flood waters fell on the ark.  The believer who is in Christ is thus in the ark of safety that will sail over the waters of judment into eternal glory (cf. Rom 6:1-4).     not as a removal of dirt from the body.      To be sure he is not misunderstood, Peter clearly says he is not speaking of water baptism.  In Noah's flood, they were kept out of the water while those who went into the water and were destroyed.  Being in the ark and thus saved from God's judgment on the world prefigures being in Christ and thus saved from eternal damnation.    an appeal to God for a good conscience.     The word for "appeal" has the idea of a pledge, agreeing to certain conditions of a covenant (the New Covenant) with God.  What saves a person plagued by sin and a guilty conscience is not some external rite, but the agreement with God to get in the ark of safety, the Lord Jesus, by faith in his death and resurrection. (cf. Rom. 10:9-10; Heb. 9:14; 10:22).

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus, I lift up those reading this today.  I pray that they will find comfort in You as they go about their day.  I also pray for the unsaved who are reading this, that they will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  I say these things in Jesus' name. Amen.

I used this little painting of a cruise ship to symbolize Noah's Ark.  I know that Noah and his family were not on a cruise ship, but his was the only painting I had completed that could possibly symbolize Noah's Ark.  I didn't want to delay posting this devotional.  I hope you all have a lovely, blessed day!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

1John 3:22 and More

When I take a walk with my sweet golden retriever, Amy Rose I usually pray silently.  They are just simple conversations with Jesus.  So many times I am in awe of His beautiful creation in all those springtime flowers!

I have been reading "The MacArthur Study Bible, English Standard Version.  It is a really good Bible to have because it gives you an explanation of what the Bible verses mean.  I came across 1John 3:22-24 and then read the explanation.  I will type the verses here and also the explanation.  I hope you will find it helpful in your walk with our Lord Jesus. 

"and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.  And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.  Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.  And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us." 1John 3:22-24 ESV

Here is the explanation for 1John 3:22, "The second benefit of love is answered prayer (see v. 19, By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him).  Since love is the heart of obedience to the law (cf. Matt 22:37-40; Rom. 13:8-10), its presence in a life evidences submission to God, which he blesses by answered prayers."  (MacArthur Study Bible ESV, page 1920)

Here is the explanation for 1John 3:23-24, "Cf. 4:13.  These verses again repeat the three features of this epistle--believing, loving, and obeying--which are the major evidences of true salvation.  The third benefit of love is the abiding presence and empowering of the Holy Spirit." (MacArthur Study Bible ESV, page 1920)

Talk to God and read the Bible.  Are you truly saved?  Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you and show you the truth.

Let's pray:  Dear Lord Jesus,  I lift up everyone who is reading this today.  Thank You Lord for  all the blessings You have provided me.  I pray for those searching for Jesus.  I pray that they will find the one true Jesus found only in the Bible.  I pray that the spirit of deception will be withered away in Jesus' name and not touch us.  I ask for the Lord to protect us and keep us safe.  I pray Psalm 91 over you all and over my household.  I say these things in Jesus' Holy name. Amen.

Have a wonderful day everyone!