Biblical Prosperity


“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:7-8

In a day and age where we are all pressured in climbing the ladder of financial success and prosperity, (even now in the church unfortunately), it is a rare treasure to find people who define success & prosperity the way God truly defines it in His word. Even now as a pastor, I’m having to re-shift some career priorities due to the pressures of climbing the monetary ladder of prosperity. We’ve all felt it; some ways different than others, but the in the end, it reaches to every young adult in college, every middle management personnel, etc.

The historical context of this scripture is God speaking to Joshua the apprentice (now in command) immediately after Moses dies. You can read this passage from verse one through to verse nine. No doubt that Moses was deep “shoes to fill,” so one could only imagine what pressures Joshua was feeling to step up to the plate leading the people of Israel, and not fail. God knew this, and fervently encouraged Joshua that He would be with him “whithersoever thou goest” (vs. 9) So God does something truly profound: He tells Joshua just exactly how to be successful and prosperous in his new position.

Let’s take a real look at the opening passage again, and notice EXACTLY WHAT GOD SAYS is the criteria to “make your way prosperous” & “have good success”

  1. “observe to do according to all the law” (obedience to God)
  2. “turn not from it to the right hand or to the left” (consistency & endurance)
  3. “meditate therein [the book of the law] day and night” (devotion & worship)

I find that one of the biggest heartaches within the modern church is that the message of the gospel has become so unapologetically selfish pursuing more money, wealth, and “things” of this world that don’t amount to anything eternally speaking. The devil has without a doubt crept in swaying the minds of our pastors enticing them to pursue what is pleasing to the flesh and somehow attempting to justify it by twisting scripture out of context; just like Satan does so regularly.

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”
Leonard Ravenhill

Remember: When we came to God, it was about us surrendering to Him, and giving our lives for His will; not us treating God as a “genie in a lamp” to do our bidding. It’s no different each and every day for us to take up our cross and follow Him.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

If we truly want to be successful, we start by recognizing where true success comes from: God.

  1. Love Him
  2. Live for Him
  3. Stay the course!

It’s that simple!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

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Strangers & Pilgrims [part 2]


“[7] But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. [8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” -Philippians 3:7-8 (KJV)

(Today is the second edition of a “part one” written previously. If you haven’t read that one, I would encourage you to start with that one first. Click here to read that one.)

I find it blatantly interesting & theologically appropriate that the apostle Paul chose the word “dung” to describe “all things” compared to winning Christ.

As a born again Christian that I’ve been most of my life (childhood, teen, young adult, etc.), I’ve found that this is one of the hardest focuses to maintain. Don’t misunderstand me, you know this truth if you have been radically saved by faith in Jesus; I’m referring to an unwavering, continual path of consistent mental dedication living every single day as though EVERYTHING else outside of Jesus is truly, “dung.” Let’s look at what the original text of the New Testament defined it as:

Dung: Original Greek Word “σκύβαλον” | Transliterated Word: “skubalon” | Phonetic Spelling (pronunciation): “skoo’-bal-on” which means, “any refuse, as the excrement of animals, offscourings, rubbish, dregs of things worthless and even detestable.”

I want you to see what I’m seeing this morning.  Two parts: Not just worthless, but even detestable, meaning even undesirable!  That’s a tough one there! Many things I know I have put “sweat, blood, and tears” into, I realize I don’t need to. If anything, I shouldn’t, especially if those things become idolatrous. (putting anything above the Lord). It’s ok to work to provide meals and shelter for you and your family, of course. What the issue can be is pursuit of no satisfaction putting everything monetary above our spiritual needs of maturity in the Lord, and personal growth.

Remember: The Lord has never seen the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37:25) We all have the same amount of time in every day; just 24 hours. We need to examine our daily time investment portfolio. In it’s assessment, what percentage of that time is invested into eternity?

When we put so much stress and anxiety over the littlest things on this life, I want us to start seeing our lives here on earth the same way Paul did: Nothing is of real value compared to Jesus. Our parking spots my get taken, our plans might be rescheduled or even canceled, we might not get that promotion at work, we might even have tragic loss of monetary things, but we have to be encouraged and remember that none of this will even be a glimmer of thought 100 years from now. (See Romans 8:28)The fist part to this message I described us born-again believers as “renters” temporarily living in this earth knowing the Bible tells us this is not our home.

John 15:19 – “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

John 17:16 – “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Colossians 3:2 – Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

1 John 2:15 – Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Today, ask the Lord to help you see our lives here for what it really is.  If we know the Word says that we will all be judged by our works, (Romans 2:6, Matthew 16:27, Ecclesiastes 35:19) then we really should have a re-shift of priorities. In eternity, it will not be whether we got that two-story house, or the in-ground pool, sports car, etc., but what will be known about you is whether you put Jesus FIRST IN ALL things or not.

As Christians, we truly are strangers here, so let us stop worrying about “fitting in”

As Christians, we truly are pilgrims here, so let us remember we are just “passing though”

Lord I pray for all who are reading this that know in their heart that if they put half as much effort in their walk with you as they do other goals or obligations, they’d have a much stronger walk with you. Teach us all daily this important truth. In Jesus name we pray, Amen!!!!  [Watch this video, and listen to the powerful message in it]

Strangers & Pilgrims

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” – 1 Peter 2:11

This morning in my prayer time, I wept bitterly like a baby. If you’ve been saved by His grace, regenerated by His Holy Spirit, set established on the Rock of Jesus Christ, delivered from your sin, … You know it. You remember when His power and love hit you like a ton of bricks. Even the most hardened, stubborn, non-emotional person will weep in the presence of the Lord. The problem with us good-intending Christians is we get caught up in the cares of the world (education, better job, bigger house, nicer yard, newer cars, etc.) that we miss sight of what is truly important: Jesus. That’s it. Of course there’s nothing wrong with these ambitions; the issue I’m referring to is having these ambitions far above our ambition for the Lord, time with Him, our prayer closet, etc.

I’m hitting home the simple reality of what the Bible refers to us as “strangers & pilgrims.” If we tightly grasp this revelation, many things we place our focus on will no longer be seen so important anymore. Simply put, “This is not our home.” I’ve never seen anyone who rented a residence put a ton of finances or efforts into its improvement. Some yes, of course, but I’m talking a “full overhaul.” They don’t own it; it’s not theirs. The same is to be said of this world: We don’t own it, we are not of it; the only thing we look forward to, and invest our efforts into is the “end of our lease” here on earth.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

In another way to say the last embolden portion of that verse: Our investments are a direct reflection of what’s important to us. Whether the currency of time & energy, or monetary currency, we put energies toward our desires and focuses.

As Christians, we have to ask ourselves, “Do we ‘invest’ an adequate amount of our ‘currencies’ in our spiritual ‘portfolio?’ ” I know I haven’t been the “investor” I’d like to be. But the Lord is showing me day by day just how depraved I am without the time I need with Him.

So many things in our life we invest into that aren’t necessarily bad, are the biggest distractions because we have a sense of justification toward them more than we atually should, especially if it falls in the “need” category.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

I would sincerely ask that if you are reading this right now, though this devotion is short and simple, play this song at the bottom of this message while spending some much-needed resources of time in intercession with Jesus. If you do this with all your heart, (and if need be repent of loosing sight of the priority of Him over other cares of this life), I would be shocked if it won’t bring tears to your eyes. If He is or was your first love, make Him just that today. He is the ONLY one who can bring you true peace.

The Desired Gifts

“Follow after charity [love], and desire spiritual gifts, …” – 1 Corinthians 14:1a

In meditating in God’s Word, this single verse stands out; not in the way you might be expecting. I’m not writing a message on “tongues,” or “prophets/prophecies,” and/or it’s relevance for today, I’m simply talking about GIFTS… GOD’S GIFTS. That’s it. In every capacity of quantity, quality, and measure. I’m simply going to give you the Word.

I’m coming from what I call the, “Two Principles of Gifts”:

  1. Gifts are given with the intention of the recipient receiving. (At least a genuine one from a “cheerful giver.”)
  2. Gifts are given with the expectation of stewardship by the receiver.

Whether it’s a birthday, holiday, or for whatever occasion, the gift given is given with the expectation that the intended receiver would receive it. In addition to that, no one appreciates giving a gift to someone who after having received it, you find out later that the recipient wasn’t “all that appreciative” in caring for it.

Imagine if you cared for, fed, and loved a litter of puppies that once weaned, you gave one of them to someone who received it, but didn’t take care of him/her at all. It would at most be upsetting, and at very least be disheartening.

Think of how God might feel when as He is described as the “giver of life,” who gave us the best gift of all, His only Son (John 3:16), we having the opportunity, either rejected it, or received it, but eventually loosing a sense of good stewardship with His “gift of life.” (Hebrews 2:3, 10:38, & 12:25)

Understanding those very simple, yet very logical principles, there is by-far, no greater giver than God Himself!

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? – Luke 11:11-13

So God is the best giver? Yes; without a doubt! Any Christian, from any doctrinal background would agree! And He desires to give unto us that we would receive and utilize! It is undebateable that whatever the gift truly coming from God, it is with intent to empower, equip, and improve us spiritually. God’s gifts in any measure are purposeful! Not a single one is given in vain. So if we know and believe that, regardless of our theological upbringing or denominational alignment, we should always approach God with a heart that says, “Lord, WHATEVER you desire for me to have AND utilize for your glory, I WANT IT!

The Word today is for us to “DESIRE” His gifts! Regardless of what gifts they may be, or what gifts you think may, or may not be “available” for today. Whether it be prophecy, interpretations, gifts of faith, joy, peace, temperance, …whatever it is!

What’s also great is understanding that phrase in James 1:17, “…with whom is no variableness…” meaning, God is just and righteous! The Bible tells us that He doesn’t “play favorites” (Romans 2:11)

(Note: It is to be perfectly clear that no divine gift, whatever it might be, is given to be received for selfish reasons. Unfortunately, in today’s modern Christianity, we are bombarded with this idea that we are to “name and claim” these monetary or financial “blessings.” So for sake of genuine clarification, I am not referring to these “gifts.” We know the Bible tells us not to prioritize that above spiritual blessings. (1 Timothy 6:10, Matthew 6:19-24) Regarding any gift given by God, His Word is clear: It is for serving others.)

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” – Ephesians 4:12

As said by a mightily-anointed woman of God I know (my wife), true Christianity & holy living is rooted in “selflessness,” while true worldliness & sin is rooted in “selfishness.” This couldn’t be a more accurate “measuring stick” of theological discernment.

Today, with a heart of selflessness for God and His perfect will, genuinely ask God to give you EVERYTHING He desires to give you. (Even if it may be a gift you were taught wasn’t “applicable for today.”) Remember, if it’s truly from God, it is a “GOOD GIFT.” Crucially, God does not give a “stone” if you’re asking for bread, so whatever you ask of Him, you won’t get a “stone” or “serpent” (See Matthew 7:11).

The more you study the scriptures, the more you will find that literally EVERYTHING we receive from God (divinely) is a gift! Starting with salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), all the way through our sanctified life (Ephesians 2:10). He justifies us through His grace in salvation, (Romans 3:24, Titus 3:7), and He also empowers us by His grace in sanctification. (Titus 2:11-12)

“… for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6

Lastly, like God is accurately characterized as a giver, we too are to be “givers.” Of course that is to be true of all actions or characteristics attributed to God…We are to be like Christ!

“Be followers [imitators] of me, just as I also am of Christ.” – I Corinthians 11:1

“…Be ye holy; for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:16b

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Christ Jesus, the most precious gift, was given that we might receive life eternal, and that we would be transformed from selfish receiving/taking, to selfless giving preferring one another above ourselves. (Romans 12:10-16; Philippians 2:3)

Prayer: “Lord, I thank you for ALL your gifts you’ve given me, including the ones you wish me to have; whatever they may be, Lord, I ask that you would in your mercy and love bestow them onto me that I may be equipped by you and for you to do the work of the ministry you have called me unto.

O My God, I Trust in You! [part 2]

Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” -‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:5‬‬

In yesterday’s manna, we looked deep into just how trustworthy our God is! We know that when we have trials that overwhelm us, we can turn to the Lord, and we can be restassured that He is able to deliver! Today however, I’d like us to look at our relationship with our trustworthy God, and ask ourselves if we have truly “committed our way unto Him?”

If you’ll notice in Psalms 37:5, it does give us our “end of the bargain” by committing to Him as well as trusting in Him. Yesterday I referenced the Biblical reality of the scriptures giving conditions. Examples: “IF you abide in me,” (John 15:7) “You will seek me and find me WHEN…” (Jeremiah 29:13) “IF any man purge himself…” (2 Timothy 2:21) and countless more! A time when the Philistines were I continue threat against the Israelite nation, the prophet Samuel spoke the word to God’s people and this is what the Lord said regarding His desire to deliver His people:

“And Samuel spake unto all the house of Israel, saying, “If ye do return unto the Lord with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods and Ashtoreth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” -‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭7:3‬‬

You see there’s absolutely no doubt that God wants to deliver us from peril or trials, but it is equally imperative that we realize our commitment to God it is just as important as our trust in Him. This verse in 1 Samuel 7:3 shows the conditions before God will deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. 1.) returning to the Lord 2.) put away other gods 3.) prepare their hearts unto the Lord 4.) serve Him ONLY.

Throughout my life I’ve found that sometimes God, though wanting to deliver us, will allow us to remain in “the pit “simply to get our attention to call out to Him. King Hezekiah is one of many perfect examples of this life principle.

“In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.’ Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying,’I beseech thee, O Lord , remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight.’ And Hezekiah wept sore. And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, ‘Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord.” – 2 Kings 20:1-5

There is no doubt that God delights in mercy (Micah 7:18-19), but His mercy is designed for us to receive when we submit, surrender, and commit to Him! God’s desire is to “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” as stated in the same reference of Micah chapter 7. We have to remember that Christ came to die on the cross to pay the penalty for sin not that we can be forgiven and continue life as usual, but that we would be forgiven and we would abandon our trespasses total commitment and trust in Him!

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” -‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:16-18‬‬

“Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.” -‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:61‬‬

“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” – Psalms 145:18-20

You see I not only trust the Lord in His power, might, and mercy, but I have committed my life to Him in service to His ministry. As human beings, yes we will fail, however we have an advocate with the Father and His name is Jesus! Bible assures us that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness! (1 John 1:9)

Today, trust AND commit.

O My God, I Trust in You!


“O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” -Psalms 25:2

It’s no secret that all the contributors to the book of Psalms at some point, and in many accounts fell into distresses, turmoils, and trials. The one thing that stands strong however, is their unwaivering trust they all had in the Lord their God! They knew that no matter what was to befall their path, the Lord will direct them.

Having considerable amount of examples of scripture to use in which every author, every patriarch, had considerable opportunities to trust the Lord through the impossible, (or at least what seemed to be impossible), the Psalms stood out to me in its quantity, quality, and simplicity. The 25th chapter continues in this light:

Mine eyes are ever toward the Lord; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net. Turn thee unto me, and have mercy upon me; for I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O bring thou me out of my distresses. Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins. Consider mine enemies; for they are many; and they hate me with cruel hatred. O keep my soul, and deliver me: let me not be ashamed; for I put my trust in thee. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee. Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles. -Psalms 25:15-22

Today, the Lord is directing me in this topic to greater revelation. Sometimes it’s easy for me to get over anxious, worried, or fearful, but when we learn to put our trust in the one who made the heavens and the earth, it’s not so fearful. You see because God cannot lie, any and every word the Lord has given us through scripture, you can rest assured He will accomplish. Some of course come through conditions as we see throughout the Word, however, when we fulfill those conditions (examples: turn to, trust, repent, keep the covenant, fear the Lord, etc.) God is faithful to His Word & His promises!

“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations” -Deuteronomy 7:9

“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep [you] from evil.” -2 Thessalonians 3:3

“God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” -1 Corinthians 1:9

In times of heart-ache, persecution, slander, financial distress,… no matter what the obstacle, don’t give up, don’t let go, don’t lose trust, don’t lose hope! Another favorite of the Psalms in this light is this:

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;” -Psalms 91:2-9

If any scripture to memorize, it’s this:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” -Proverbs 3:5-6

The Lord is faithful, and near to a broken and contrite heart. So when you find yourself if fear or distress, turn to the Lord and trust Him and His Word! Listen to this song and let it encourage you!

The Victory in Surrender

“For whosoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it.” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:25‬)

The words of Jesus here can be a tough “pill to swallow” for some, if not most. We all as individuals have our God-given life that at each new day we wake up pursuing ways to stabilize or increase monetary improvements on our value of living. This however is not, nor should it ever be “the focus” of living when following Jesus as His disciple. Having a nice house is not wrong, nor is it wrong to have a nice car; of course not. It is however out of God’s prescribed order if those “things” have us. (See Matthew 6:33) Take a look at what Jesus told Peter two verses previously:

“But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew‬ ‭16:23‬)

We have to ask ourselves, “Do I honestly savour the spiritual need? Or the natural want?” If the natural, then it’s time to surrender. Verse 24 (in-between the two verses mentioned), it says:

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”‭‭ (Matthew‬ ‭16:24‬)

We learn very quickly & clearly throughout the scriptures that in God’s economy, we must “go down” before we can “go up.”

“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (Peter‬ ‭5:5‬‬)

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:11‬‬)

“Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.” (Proverbs‬ ‭3:34‬‬)

“Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.” (Psalms‬ ‭138:6‬‬)

Today, if your heart’s number one affection is on anything other than God & His word, let’s surrender today to find the victory in Christ!

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Colossians‬ ‭3:2‬‬)

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew‬ ‭6:20‬‬)

Comfort in Mourning

The Bible teaches unmistakably that we can triumph over bereavement. Working at a funeral home, I see a great amount of pain, loss, and hurt. The Psalmist said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Self-pity can bring no enduring comfort. The fact is, it will only add to your misery. And unremitting grief will give you little consolation in itself, for grief begets grief. Sorrow, or mourning, when it is borne in a Christian way, contains a built-in comfort. “Happy are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.” There is comfort in mourning, because we know that Christ is with us. He has said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Suffering is endurable if we do not have to bear it alone; and the more compassionate the Presence, the less acute the pain.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” – ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬ ‭(KJV‬‬)

We can be rest assured that though this life here on earth is not always easy to bear, the Lord will always be there for those who call upon Him in times of suffering. The psalmist says that the name of the Lord is a strong tower, and they that run in it shall be saved. When the storms rage, and the rain pours, the first thing we do is to run for shelter; this is no different than we are towards our Heavenly Father. 

“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

When my mom passed in 2011, it was tragic and unexpected. As a Christian, was it painful? Yes of course. As a Christian was it hopeless? No definitely not. You see when we realize that A.) this is not our home, and B.) it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), we start to have a clear appreciation for the umbrella that is our God. He alone is our strength, and it is made perfect in our weakness.

And he said unto me my grace is sufficient for thee for my strength is made perfect in weakness most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Anything, Short of Everything, is Nothing.

True love requires everything. Part-time love is full-time selfishness. You might think, “Wow, that sounds harsh.” Well, considering that there are no “standards of life principles” in this entire world that compares to God’s holy word, you might find it to be all too true upon Biblical reflection. Additionally, every single truth expressed in His precious word is hung directly on the following life principle:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” -‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭22:37-39‬)

A “full-time God” is not looking for “part-time Christians.” If firstly God is love (1 John 4:7-10), and secondly Jesus said that the world will know we are His disciples by our love (John 13:35), shouldn’t we naturally connect the obvious truth that there is no such thing as “partial love”? Infatuation, lust, or covetousness may fall into category, but not love.

Let’s look at marriage as an example:

  1. Marriage is a divinely mandated covenant between a man & a woman (Genesis 2:18-25). 
  2. The Bible plainly speaks that it is a life covenant. (Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:9). 
  3. The Bible also makes a VERY STRONG comparison to our relationship with Him, to be EXACTLY like a marriage covenant! (Ephesians 5:20-33) 

In today’s society & culture, a marriage can be dismantled nearly as easily as it was founded by the drive-through wedding chapels maskeraded by the drunken masses of lasciviousness. In short, marriage today has little to no meaning anymore. Statistically we’ve seen more unwed pregnancies, and “shackling up” than we’ve ever seen in our nation’s history. We’ve violently trampled over what the Bible defines as love with the calloused heels of fleshly lust, personal satisfaction, and self-centered convenience. So inadvertently what you’ll find is, the more we are desensitized about “love” in the natural sense of application, we see that unfortunate effect on our spiritual sense of application: Our love for Jesus. 

Think about it… My wife coined a very simple yet profound term that rocked me to the core: Selfishness or Selflessness? It really is a good measuring stick of personal reflection. Do we seek and pray when life is good, and all is well? Or do we tend to find our prayer closet at the mercy of personal trial? Do we find that all, or at very least, most of our prayers consist of a personal “wish list”? When was the last time we found ourselves just praising His glorious name for all His goodness in the very peak of our worst times? Did you know that just like our commitment to a marriage (promising our spouse an undying love and commitment specifying a, “For better OR worse” relationship), it is just the same with God? Job understood that very well. Even when God consciously allowed the raging dog Satan to ravage Job’s life, he responded just as we are to respond to all fiery trials or hardships.

“Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net…He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I entreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to my wife, though I entreated for the children’s sake of mine own body. Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth. Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”‭‭ -(Job‬ ‭19:6, 9-27‬)

What a POWERFUL declaration! He states (paraphrasing), “God has allowed this, my kids are perished, everyone dear to me has abandoned me, BUT I can enscribe in stone with an iron & lead pen that My Redeemer Lives!” We all know the premise of his story, even the victorious outcome, but did you know that part of his response to his devistating trial? Despite any natural desire of the flesh to be angry at God with the ‘all-too-familiar conundrum’ of “Why do bad things happen to good people,” he remained FAITHFUL to his God. That’s what true, Biblical, love looks like. That is, “For better OR worse”. 

Literally anything short of ALL of Job’s “heart, soul, mind, and strength,” he would’ve done exactly as his wife suggested: to “curse God and die.” No seriously, that really was her advise. (Job 2:9) Worst advise ever, right? I’d say so.

The truth is because of the curse of sin that mankind has allowed in, bad things will (not might) happen to ALL people. (Romans 3:23; Matthew 5:45) So we have to get passed this subconscious idea that once we come to Christ, all our problems just go away. He provides, yes of course, but remember:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”‭‭ -(John‬ ‭16:33‬)

Concluding, if we say that we love God let us be reminded what the Bible has to say about love and its attributes. 1 Corinthians 13, but specifically verse 7

“Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”‭‭ -(1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:7‬)

-Lust endures some things. 

-Love endures everything. 

-If it’s not everything for God, we’ve really sacrificed nothing.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, if there be anything in my life that I’m holding back from you, expose it, and forgive me as I today surrender it to you. Take all of me, not some of me. As David the psalmist prayed, I pray to thee now: Let all the words of my mouth, and all the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer!”

“There Is Absolutely… NOTHING HIDDEN”

Although we’d probably all prefer to think that what happens behind closed doors, “stays behind closed doors,” it honestly doesn’t. Sticking to scripture, whether we realize or believe it or not, the Bible is abundantly clear on this topic.

“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out.”‭‭ -(Numbers‬ ‭32:23‬)

As kids, we try all sorts of ways to do wrong, and get away with it. As parents, you see it all the time. In many cases, it’s quite humorous; much like the image chosen for this devotion! Truth is, that’s EXACTLY what we look like to God when we attempt to justify our caving to temptation while metaphorically “tip-toeing” in indulgence. While the previous scripture is pretty well known making a clear-cut case for this theological reality, it’s not necessarily the “central themed scripture” that birthed inspiration for today’s devotion. I ran across the following passage while reading Job, and noticed a profound part that screamed right at me:

“In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand. For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings. There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.”‭‭ -(Job‬ ‭34:20-23‬)

I’d like to reflect on this passage in two-part:

  1. The obvious embolden portion that illustrates the reality of God seeing everything that mankind does whether good or bad.
  2. The ‘not-as-obvious’ part where the passage opens using words like “moment,” “troubled,” “midnight,” and “taken away.” To me, that screamed prophetic scripture to the Second (not first), coming of the Lord!

“And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”‭‭ -(Matthew‬ ‭25:6‬)

“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is…Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” -(Mark‬ ‭13:32-33, 35-37‬)

Job is clearly writting much of what he personally doesn’t understand. That is because it is the Holy Spirit writing this through him! He understands that what is done is never “unseen” with God, however, I’m pretty sure he himself personally didn’t quite fully know exactly what he was really saying now that we can compare Jesus’ words in the gospels of Mark & Matthew!

As Christians, when we become “born-again” (John 3), the Bible declares we have been set free! We have also been set free from the law of sin and death!

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”‭‭ –(John‬ ‭8:36‬)

“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sinLet not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” –‭‭(Romans‬ ‭6:6-7, 12-14‬)

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”‭‭ –(Romans‬ ‭8:2‬)

If we have truly been freed, then we should no longer allow the feeding of our fleshly indulgences even behind closed doors where we think (either consciously or subconsciously) that there will be no consequences. Don’t ever forget that the works we do not only will be seen, but rewarded (judged) either good or bad.

“But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:” –(‭Romans‬ ‭2:2-6‬)

“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” –(Revelation‬ ‭22:12‬)

We need today to take a real personal look in the mirror, seek out our secret sins, and repent. Let’s stop fooling ourselves, and start allowing God to penetrate the deepest parts of our heart purging us of all the lusts of the flesh that so easily entangle or beset us. (Hebrews 12:1) Today is new; START NEW!

“The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.‭‭” -(Proverbs‬ ‭11:18‬)