God’s Righteousness

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

“‘Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.'”

Matthew 5:6 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In His “Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented a series of “Blessed are . . . ” statements which modern-day theologians reference as “The Beatitudes.” The problem with grouping them together is it tends to discourage the study of each statement individually. If we look at them as separate indicators of desirable characteristics in those who follow Christ, they take on much more meaning.

With the indicator noted above in Matthew 5:6, Christ emphasized the importance of “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” as personal descriptors of a devoted Christian. He also noted: those seeking righteousness to this extent will be filled. In other words, if a follower truly hungers and thirsts for righteousness, time and energy will be spent trying to emulate the example Christ gave us when He was on earth, since everything He did was done in a manner well-pleasing unto God. We see this in Matthew 3, verses 16 and 17:

16 — “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, low, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him.”

17 — “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'”

Matthew 3:16-17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Thus, one must first “hunger and thirst after righteousness” in order to be filled. This hungering and thirsting will increase our “searching of the scriptures” which will allow God to “fill our desire for righteousness.” The more we learn from the scriptures, the more we understand of what God wants from those of us who follow Jesus’ commandments.

As newborn Christians, we are to “desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow” in likeness to Christ. This growth is how we are filled with God’s righteousness.

1 — “Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”

2 — “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

1 Peter 2:1-2 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Peter goes on to say that those who believe and follow Jesus are “the chosen ones;” thus, they shall be filled with righteousness if it is searched and applied. He goes to great lengths in this chapter to describe the differences between those who believe and those who do not believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”

1 Peter 2:9 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In searching the scriptures, if we hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness, we will learn how emulating Christ’s actions and attitudes, while He was on earth, will satiate us and increase those behaviors in us. Thus, we “shall be filled,” and we shall become more like Christ as we continue to grow and live for Him.

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of God’s righteousness.

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Photo Above: by permission from Benjamin South @facebook.com.

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Matthew 5:6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (15 February 2022). https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205%3A6&version=KJV.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 3:16-17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Matthew-Chapter-3/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Peter 2:1-2; 2:9. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (15 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1-Peter-Chapter-2/.

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Havoc and Destruction

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

29 — “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.”

30 — “Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.”

Luke 17:29-30 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Christian Living is not just a part-time endeavor. We cannot look back with longing to our way of life before becoming a child of God. We cannot give a half-hearted effort to living according to Jesus’ commandments. We are expected to give our all. No, He does not expect perfection, but He does expect us to look toward eternity with Him while having no regrets for leaving our past sinful selves behind.

“Remember Lot’s wife.”

Luke 17:32 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

When God’s angel saved Lot and his family from the wrath God wrought upon Sodom and Gomorrah for the sinful ways of those who abode there, they were warned to leave and never look back. However, as they were making their way to safety, when the sounds of havoc and destruction brought down upon the two cities fell upon Lot’s wife’s hearing, she turned and looked back. Immediately, she was turned to a pillar of salt to serve as a reminder to God’s people as to what happens when we disobey God.

15 — “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, ‘Arise, take thy wife and thy two daughters which are here lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.”

16 — “And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth and set him without the city.”

17 — “And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad that he said, ‘Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, . . . “

Genesis 19:15-17 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

God had already made many concessions to Lot’s efforts to save Sodom and/or Gomorrah from the total destruction of God’s wrath. In doing so, He proved to Lot there were no others in the two cities who cared about or wanted to enlist God’s love for them. The entirety of the two communities served Satan in their sinful ways. God’s patience had worn thin. As Lot and his family were ushered from the two cities by angels sent from God, they were told to head for the mountains, not to settle in the plains. Lot once again begged God to allow them to settle in the small plains community of Zoar rather than go up into the mountains. Once again, God conceded.

23 — “The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.”

24 — “Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;”

25 — “And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.”

26 — “But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”

Genesis 19:23-26 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In the book of Luke, Chapter 17, verses 29-32, Jesus discusses the escort of Lot and his family from the destruction that was about to be rained down upon the two cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sinful and unremorseful ways. He likens this to the day He returns to take His people up to heaven. The destruction of the unrepentant, unbelieving, Satan serving multitudes will be swift, unannounced, and complete.

Are you ready for that day?

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32 — “Remember Lot’s wife.”

Luke 17:32 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Genesis 19:15-17. “Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (6 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1611_Genesis-Chapter-19/.

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Luke 17:29-32. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (6 February 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/1611_Luke-Chapter-17/.

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Out of Your Mouth

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

Ephesians 4:29 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Do we even think before we speak? Have we ever contemplated the perception others hold of our vulgar language? It seems in this day and time, every other word out of the mouths of some is a vulgarity of some sort: MF this, OMG that! Where did it all come from?

When I was young, I remember fearing retribution if I even thought a vulgarity. Such words were not typically uttered in the hearing of mixed company. As a general rule, men respected the presence of a woman and omitted such words from conversation. The impact of language on children was also considered. “Children Learn What They Live” (Nolte, 1954). Today, many women have language as atrocious as that of most men. This is sad. Even before birth, children hear these words as a part of everyday communication.

In verse 29 of Ephesians chapter 4, the apostle Paul exhorts the Christians at Ephesus to keep corrupt communication out of their mouths altogether. He told them every spoken word should be considered carefully and have a purpose. It should instruct, lift-up, praise, and exhort. Idle vulgarities were not to be voiced because of the negative influence and effect they have on others.

Do you think before your speak? Do you stop, think, and rephrase before you say words that impact others negatively? This is one area of living to which Christians are to pay special heed. Your spoken word reveals more to others than you might think. Do the words you speak reveal Christ in your life?

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Photo Above: by bekky bekks @Unsplash.com.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ephesians 4:29. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (31 January 2022). https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ephesians-4-29/.

Nolte, Dorothy Law. (1954). “Children Learn What They Live.” childrenlearnwhattheylive.com. (31 January 2022). https://childrenlearnwhattheylive.com/.

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Unchecked Anger and Sin

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

26 — “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”

27 — “Neither give place to the devil.”

Ephesians 4:26, 27 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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Have you ever been so angry you could spit nails at another person? I am sure all have been at one point or another. It is normal to be angry, even to be tempted to lash out at someone due to anger, but — as Christians — we are never to give in to such impulses.

In verses 26 and 27 of chapter 4 in his epistle to the Christians at Ephesus, Paul addresses a number of behaviors that may be a part of the person we were before becoming a Christian. One of those tendencies was to become angry toward another person and to seek revenge because of that anger. Paul cautions them in this. He tells them to be angry if they must, but do not stay angry.

Do what you must to gain control of your anger and set it aside by nightfall. When the sun goes down, allow yourself the enjoyment of watching the beautiful colors of the sunset with gratitude and admiration. Know those colors are a reflection of God’s love for us. He said, “do not let the sun go down on your anger” (v26). In other words, don’t let the day pass and allow that anger to destroy your sleep or the sleep of others.

He said, “Be angry, and sin not:” Don’t rant and rave. Don’t threaten. Don’t hurt yourself or anyone else. Work through your anger and set it aside.

When we allow sin to overtake our behavior, we do things we should not do. We do things Christians are instructed to not do by Jesus and the apostles. In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus instructed the crowd to “turn the other cheek when others do you wrong.”

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38 — “‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:'”

39 — “‘But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.‘”

Matthew 5:38, 39 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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On another day, Peter asked Jesus if seven times is sufficient to turn the other cheek to someone who does us wrong. Jesus answer to Peter was: “not seven times but seventy times seven times.”

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21 — “Then came Peter to him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Til seven times?'”

22 — “Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto the until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.‘”

Matthew 18:21, 22 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

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When you think of it, through our belief and faith in Jesus and through our obedience to Him, we are forgiven many multitudes of sin over and above seventy times seven. Truly, grace doth abound in His forgiveness of an obedient Christian.

If we as Christians strive to emulate Christ — and that is to be our goal — we must learn to set our anger aside. Do not sin due to anger: such anger is merely Satan trying to lure us back into our old ways and away from Christ. Set anger aside. Forgive the other person toward whom your anger is directed and forgive yourself for being so angry. Holding onto the anger does not really harm the other person; it harms you. The ultimate consequence of holding onto anger can be the loss of your life due to a heart attack, a stroke, an aneurysm, or some other catastrophic health crisis. If we leave this world in a state of such anger, you can be assured: we will answer for it in the day of judgment.

When I was a teenager, in church services we sang a song that I dearly loved because it teaches this concept in such a harmonic manner. “Angry Words,” has ever been one of my favorites.

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Angry Words – A Cappella Hymn – YouTube

Words and Music: Horatio R Palmer (1867)

KeyEb Major

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Photo Above: by Andre Hunter @Unsplash.com.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Ephesians 4:26-27. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 January 2022). EPHESIANS CHAPTER 4 KJV (kingjamesbible.me).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 5:38-39. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 January 2022). MATTHEW CHAPTER 5 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 18:21-22. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).” U.S. Congress. (30 January 2022). MATTHEW CHAPTER 18 KJV (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

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My Morning Prayer

by tkbrown
Thank You, Jesus
for bringing me through this night to another day.
Show me the things you would have me do and say.
Give me opportunity to help another along the way.
Be my sunshine when skies look dreary and grey.
Touch your healing hand to ailments producing fray.
Whisper love to family and friends when troubles weigh
upon their lives, seeming to unbearably lash and flay.
Allow me to touch someone as I bow my head and pray.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

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As I begin each morning, I thank God and Jesus for the restful night and a brand new day. As the Apostle Paul instructed the New Testament Christians in Thessalonica:

“Pray without ceasing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

I try to continually engage a prayerful attitude about all that I do, think, and, say. I am far from perfect, and I need His help every step of the way. There is no sweeter way to progress through life than in prayerful supplication of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul traveled much, taught God and Christ daily, wrote epistles to a number of New Testament churches, and edified Christians in every possible way. He enjoined the followers at Philippi to:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Philippians 4:6 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

Here, he offered encouragement to not worry regarding the needs of this life, but rather to let God know what we need every hour of every day.

God will provide if we but heed His command as Jesus–in His Sermon on the Mount–instructed:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV).

If our thoughts are centered upon God and His kingdom, if we focus on these things — we will not have time to look at the world and those in it. We will be given more than our feeble minds could ever conjure.

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Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 KJV “Pray without ceasing.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Philippians 4:6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). PHILIPPIANS 4:6 KJV “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 6:33. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). MATTHEW 6:33 KJV “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

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Picture above: reene black @pixabay.com.

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My Morning Prayer

by tkbrown
Thank You, Jesus
for bringing me through this night to another day.
Show me the things you would have me do and say.
Give me opportunity to help another along the way.
Be my sunshine when skies look dreary and grey.
Touch your healing hand to ailments producing fray.
Whisper love to family and friends when troubles weigh
upon their lives, seeming to unbearably lash and flay.
Allow me to touch someone as I bow my head and pray.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

~~~~~~~~~~

As I begin each morning, I thank God and Jesus for the restful night and a brand new day. As the Apostle Paul instructed the New Testament Christians in Thessalonica:

“Pray without ceasing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:17 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

I try to continually engage a prayerful attitude about all that I do, think, and, say. I am far from perfect, and I need His help every step of the way. There is no sweeter way to progress through life than in prayerful supplication of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul traveled much, taught God and Christ daily, wrote epistles to a number of New Testament churches, and edified Christians in every possible way. He enjoined the followers at Philippi to:

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Philippians 4:6 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV).”

Here, he offered encouragement to not worry regarding the needs of this life, but rather to let God know what we need every hour of every day.

God will provide if we but heed His command as Jesus–in His Sermon on the Mount–instructed:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33 — “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV).

If our thoughts are centered upon God and His kingdom, if we focus on these things — we will not have time to look at the world and those in it. We will be given more than our feeble minds could ever conjure.

~~~~~~~~~~

Sources:

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). 1 THESSALONIANS 5:17 KJV “Pray without ceasing.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Philippians 4:6. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). PHILIPPIANS 4:6 KJV “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). Matthew 6:33. “Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version” (KJV). U.S. Congress. (13 November 2021). MATTHEW 6:33 KJV “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

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Picture above: reene black @pixabay.com.

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Walking in the Spirit

~~ a devotional ~~

by tkbrown

22 — “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”

23 — “meekness, temperance: against such there is no law,”

24 — “and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

25 — “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Galatians 5:22-25 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In Galatians 5:22-25, Paul tells the church at Galatia, the Spirit works to increase love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance in those who live and walk in the Spirit. Based on this text, Paul tells us it is possible to “live in the Spirit” but not “walk in the Spirit.” Some might differ with this interpretation of these words. However, I would direct your attention to the last part of verse 25. There Paul says, “let us also walk in the Spirit.” Since the first part of the verse notes, “If we live in the Spirit,” Paul is telling us we can “live in the Spirit” and not “walk in the Spirit.” Thus, if we “walk in the Spirit,” others can see a difference in the pre-Christian person we were and the Christian person we are continually becoming.

Let’s look back up to verses 22 and 23. Here, we see, “the fruit of the spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” Then in verse 24, Paul says, “”and they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. ” Thus, if we ‘walk in the Spirit,’ we belong to Christ and have ‘crucified’ our “fleshly affections and lusts.” This does not mean we will automatically exhibit the traits associated with walking in the Spirit. It means we must do something to achieve those traits as a part of whom we are becoming. We must crucify the cravings and fruit of the flesh in order that we might “walk in the Spirit.” Looking at verse 16 of Galatians chapter 5, Paul states, “if we walk in the Spirit, we will not fulfil the lust of the flesh” — in other words, we will “crucify the flesh.”

16 — “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

17 — “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

Galatians 5:16, 17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

In verse 17, we read: the flesh and the Spirit engage in behaviors contrary one to the other. Thus, if we belong to Christ, we cannot do the things that we would in the flesh–we will “walk in the Spirit.” As we continue to “walk in the Spirit,” we will see an increase in the “fruit of the Spirit” in our own behavior and a decrease in the affections and lusts of the flesh displayed in our lives.

These verses tell us: belonging to Christ means we will strive to emulate Him in our daily living. The term, “American,” means I am a citizen–a member, if you will–of the United States of America. When we look at the word, “Christian,” in this same light, being a Christian means we are a citizen of–a member, if you will–of the kingdom of Christ, (Acts 11:26). As such, we strive to abide by the laws, guidelines, and statutes set forth by Christ for the New Testament churches of Christ. Paul established churches of Christ among the Gentiles; there were seven churches of Christ in Asia. The other apostles established churches in the area where Christ lived, taught, healed, and preached. Each church was taught, by the apostles, to emulate the life of Christ as they grew in the faith.

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Acts 11:26 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

Thus, as we grow in the faith, we will see our lives increase in: “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.” We will begin by “crawling,” as newborn babes in Christ. Then–just as a babe must grow from toddler to young child, older child, pre-teen, teen, young adult, and finally to adulthood–we must grow as Christians. It will be a life-long endeavor if we continue in the faith and hope of an eternal life in heaven with God and Jesus Christ–God’s Son.

1 — “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”

2 — “as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”

3 — “if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

1 Peter 2:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)

First, we nurture a babe with milk, then with puree of solid foods, and finally he/she is able to digest solid food. In like manner, we must also nurture our Spiritual Self by “laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking.” Then, “as newborn babes [in Christ], desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby [in Christ].” In 1 Peter 2, verses one through three, we see: “if we are able to lay aside these fleshly affections and lusts,” then we “have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

My daily prayer is that I might continue to lay aside my worldly lusts and affections of the flesh and grow in the nurture, the admiration, and the wisdom of the Lord. I ask that God strengthen me in the faith, hope, knowledge, goodness, and graciousness of Christ Jesus that I might live a life pleasing unto Him and ultimately be granted an eternal home in heaven.

May God be with all who endeavor to live for Him through the name of Christ Jesus.

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Source:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Acts 11:26. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Acts 11:26 KJV – And when he had found him, he brought – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Galatians 5:16-25. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” biblegateway.com. (25 April 2021). Galatians 5:16-25 KJV – This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). 1 Peter 2:1-3. “Holy Bible: King James Version (KJV).” bible gateway.com. (25 April 2021). 1 Peter 2:1-3 KJV – Wherefore laying aside all malice, and – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: By Ferhat Deniz Fors @Unsplash.com.

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Blessed are the poor. . .

“. . . the poor in spirit. . . .”

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Oftentimes, when we read the Bible, we do so with our mind somewhere else. For example, how often have we read The Beatitudes with our thoughts truly centered on the meaning of those words. Today, I decided to center my devotional upon one scripture, separated from The Beatitudes and viewed in detail according to the scriptures. For this purpose, I chose:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Matthew and Luke present scriptures that say something a bit different from the other–even though both are relating a scripture from the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. While Matthew (above) refers to “. . . poor in spirit . . .,” Luke, in chapter 6 and verse 20, says:

And He lifted up His eyes on His disciples and said, ‘Blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.'”

Luke 6:20 — Holy Bible: New Testament (KJV)

Granted, most who are poor are also poor in spirit because the poor are usually the downtrodden, those who are accustomed to doing without. When a poor person does without, there is usually no repercussions to anyone for allowing this to be–no one suffers other than the person who is poor. Thus, both presentations are correct. One does not detract from the other.

I decided to see what the Old Testament (Old Covenant) says about the “poor” or the “poor in spirit.”

For all those things hath mine hand made,and all those things have been, saith the Lord; but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

Isaiah 66:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament (KJV)

Here, God–Himself–acknowledges that the poor person is much more likely to “fear the Lord” and strive to live according to the Lord’s word. The wealthy are typically much more inclined to focus upon the fortune amassed and the means necessary to keep it. However, being poor by itself does not grant an eternal home with God. Rather, God said, “. . . even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.”

If we are contrite in spirt, God is able to mold and shape us according to His will. Thus, the “poor” must also be “poor in spirit.” He or she must have “a contrite spirit and tremble at [His] word.” Here, I must ask myself: Do I have a contrite spirit? Do I tremble at God’s word? Even if I think the answer is “Yes,” I must study on it to know the truth. The Beatitudes are a small portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, which tells us “the spirit” of those who will go to heaven. How often–when we recite these in worship services–do we look at ourselves to determine if our spirit is right with God?

In Luke 18: 9-14, Jesus tells a parable regarding differences between the haughty, self-righteous man and one with a contrite heart.

  • 9 — “And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:”
  • 10 — “Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.”
  • 11 — “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself: God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.”
  • 12 — “I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess.”
  • 13 — “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.”
  • 14 — “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Thus, Jesus said, those who are haughty in spirit will be least in heaven–if they even make it there–and those who are of a contrite, repentant spirit will be in heaven.

Have we ever TRULY REPENTED of something specific we have done? Have we talked to God about it as if He were a long-lost friend whom we had wronged and were begging their forgiveness?

Each of us has, or have had, something for which we should repent with such a spirit! Others may not be aware of this sin, but WE ARE! WE know what we have done, and we know it is wrong–even if it is not wrong in the eyes of man. Are we willing to humble ourselves as this publican did–as the apostle Matthew must have done? Matthew was a publican when Jesus called him to be His disciple. Have we ever declared ourselves to be a sinner” because of our sin whether it be past or present? The cleansing such a prayer provides is beyond the imagination of most.

Reading on in the same chapter, Luke 18: 15-17,

  • 15 — “And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them; but when His disciples saw it, they rebuked them.”
  • 16 — “But Jesus called them unto Him, and said, ‘Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.
  • 17 — “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”

Infants have no sin. They are pure of heart. If they do wrong, they do not realize it is wrong, thus it is forgiven. Jesus goes on in Luke chapter 18 to show that even those who have done good all their lives may be lacking what it takes to make it into God’s kingdom and into heaven. The parable of the ruler shows how a “good person” may not have a “contrite spirit.”

Luke 18: 18-25

  • 18 — “And a certain ruler asked him saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
  • 19 — “And Jesus said unto him, ‘Why callest thou Me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.”
  • 20 — “Thou knowest the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother.”
  • 21 — “And he said, ‘All these have I kept from my youth up.'”
  • 22 — “Now when Jesus heard these things, He said unto him, ‘Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.”
  • 23 — “And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”
  • 24 — “And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, He said, ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”
  • 25 — “For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

From an early age, this parable was powerful to me. I began sewing by hand at about the age of seven or eight. So, I knew how tiny is the eye of a needle! I knew, if this man had been good all his life, yet lacked the contrite spirit required to be a child of God, I must change my ways. For, while I rarely disobeyed, I was far from sinless; and it was time I look that sin in the eye.

There have been times throughout my life when I had to look deep into my soul and come face to face with God about something I had done which was keeping me apart from Him. My prayer, now, is: if anyone reading this devotional has been pricked in the heart and has need for a session of supplication unto you, God–give him or her the strength to humble self before you.

Here in the United States, we are beginning to see the first days of spring–signs of “life renewed,” which has been our subject today. Not all days here are pleasant–some reap harvests filled with pain. On those days, I try to remember–“This, too, shall pass. — Anonymous.

I hope, wherever you are, you can–at least–enjoy some of the weather bestowed upon you. Blessings!

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Sources:

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Matthew 5. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Matthew 5:3 KJV – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for – Bible Gateway.

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Isaiah 66:2. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Isaiah 66:2 KJV – For all those things hath mine hand – Bible Gateway

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993). Luke 18. “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (29 March 2021). Luke 18 KJV – And he spake a parable unto them to – Bible Gateway.

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Photo Above: by geralt @pixabay.com.

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Blessed are the peacemakers . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

Matthew 5:9 — “Holy Bible: King James Version” (KJV)

I grew up going to Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and Worship Services from the age of two. So, by the time I was a Freshman in High School (1st year), I was well versed in the Bible. After my fourteenth birthday, I was asked to teach the Sunday night Bible Class for children. There were five ranging in age from five to twelve.

At one point in Physical Science class during my Freshman year, we were studying the Big Bang Theory versus Creationism. I was the only person in the room who supported Creationism. The teacher and all other students in the room supported the Big Bang Theory. Subsequently, I was the recipient of jeers and ridicule from all others in the room–including the teacher. After that–through my High School years–I did not like science and took no more science classes throughout. I never complained to anyone about the incident. In fact, I was in undergraduate studies seventeen years later (1985) when I first mentioned it to anyone. However, I launched extensive Bible Study–personal and group–because I wanted to be able to respond intelligently to questions about the topic.

When my youngest child was a toddler, one Wednesday night in Bible Class we were discussing scientific evidence against Creationism and how to discuss it with others. I asked the preacher (who was teaching the class) how to explain–when engaged in house-to-house Bible Study with someone–the earth’s age when the Bible indicates an age of 6,000 to 7,000 years, and science has unearthed dinosaur and other fossils which are said to be millions of years old. I was convinced by his answer.

He responded, “There is nothing in the Bible that says there were not other worlds before this Earth was created.” He was right! No where does the Bible even hint there were no worlds before this one. Genesis 1:2 says, “And the earth was without form, and void; . . . ” (Eds. Bible Gateway, 1993). This indicates elements existed from which God “formed” the earth. Who can say those elements did not include dinosaur fossils from the remnants of previous worlds?

As I went through Undergraduate and Graduate classes in college, I never had that dilemma again. During undergraduate Physical Science classes, I talked with the instructor after class one night about what had happened in High School. She said, “I will never do that to you or any other student. That teacher was wrong for allowing the other students to ridicule you, and he was wrong for joining them. There was no excuse for his behavior.” Immediately, I knew this instructor knew what she was made of and what other instructors should be made of. After that, I was never afraid to engage as an equal, and the ridicule never again occurred. I grew to really enjoy my science classes because they presented ideas that stimulated my desire to study both sides–Creationism and Scientific Theory.

I do believe there were other worlds that existed before this one. Science is now proving this to be possible by the evidence being amassed to support past life on other planets. Now, as the asteroid flew past our planet in 2018 (Earl, 2018; George, 2018), a meteorite from another asteroid recently fell to a driveway in England (Lewis, 2021), and just last week, one flew past Vermont so closely it “shook and rattled buildings” (Eds. Associated Press, 2021; Eds. CBS Boston, 2021: Hall, 2021), divergent scientific theories attempt to explain the cosmic events. One theory regarding the 2018 meteorite noted the similarities between it and comets sailing through outer space. It was quite long and would have done much damage if it had hit the earth. It probably would have severed a part of the earth which would then have joined it traipsing around through space. Was it perhaps a fossilized portion of another word?

Through the years, I never created a scene about any incident related to the topic of Biblical Creationism Theory versus Scientific Theory of Earth’s beginnings. I peacefully said what needed to be said and exited the topic. I was never one who enjoyed heated disagreements. I have always preferred to calmly discuss concerns to resolve any disagreement. I have continually prayed about this and other related and similar concerns. I have noted much by way of scientific research supporting rather than disproving Biblical Creationism. I have seen the truth of 2 Peter 3:16 which says, “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of things in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction,” (Eds. King James Bible Online, 2007). As much as I wish it were otherwise, I can do or say nothing to change the beliefs of those so hardened against the scriptures. I must accept it and move on. I will say, though, my extensive studies on the topics have only served to strengthen my beliefs in God, Christ, and the Creation.

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Sources:

Earl, Jennifer. (16 April 2018). Asteroid the size of a football field makes ‘surprise’ flyby close to Earth. “Fox News.” foxnews.com. (21 March 2021). Asteroid the size of a football field makes ‘surprise’ flyby close to Earth | Fox News.

Eds. Associated Press, Wire Service Content. (8 March 2021). Meteor Spotted Over Northern New England and Canada. “U.S. News.” The Associated Press: apnews.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor spotted over northern New England and Canada (apnews.com).

Eds. Bible Gateway. (1993) Genesis 1 “Holy Bible:” King James Version (KJV). biblegateway.com. (21 March 2021). Genesis 1 KJV – In the beginning God created the heaven – Bible Gateway.

Eds. CBS Boston. (9 March 2021). Meteor Over Northern Vermont Seen By People Around New England. “CBS Boston.” Microsoft News: msn.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor Over Northern Vermont Seen By People Around New England – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com).

Eds. King James Bible Online. (November 2007). 2 Peter 3:16. “[Holy Bible] King James Bible Online.” kingjamesbibleonline.org. (21 March 2021). 2 PETER 3:16 KJV “As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be…” (kingjamesbibleonline.org).

George, Steve, CNN. (6 November 2018). Cigar-Shaped Interstellar Object May Have Been Alien Probe, Harvard Paper Claims. “WBZ 04.” CBS Boston: boston.cbslocal.com. (21 March 2021). Cigar-Shaped Oumuamua May Have Been Alien Probe, Harvard Paper Claims – CBS Boston (cbslocal.com).

Hall, Louise. (9 March 2021). Meteor tears across Vermont sky: ‘Extremely bright and absolutely spectacular.’ “Independent.” Microsoft News: msn.com. (21 March 2021). Meteor tears across Vermont sky: ‘Extremely bright and absolutely spectacular’ (msn.com).

Lewis, Sophie. (9 March 2021). Extremely rare meteorite found in wake of spectacular U.K. fireball may contain the “building blocks of life.” “CBS News.” cbsnews.com. (21 March 2021). Extremely rare meteorite found in wake of spectacular U.K. fireball may contain the “building blocks of life” – CBS News.

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Photo Above: by Daniel_Mingook_Kim@Unsplash.com.

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All Things Work Together . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Romans 8:24-39

  • 24 — “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
  • 25 — “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.”
  • 26 — “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
  • 27 — “Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
  • 28 — “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
  • 29 — “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
  • 30 — “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
  • 31 — “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
  • 32 — “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
  • 33 — “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”
  • 34 — “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
  • 35 — “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
  • 36 — “As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.'”
  • 37 — “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
  • 38 — “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come,”
  • 39 — “nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Source: Holy Bible, New King James Version (NKJV).

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Notes:

In the eighth chapter, twenty-eighth verse of his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul tells us to keep uppermost in our mind the promise: “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Oftentimes, we tend to become discouraged by all the negatives in our lives, and we might complain there are not enough positives happening. The past year is one of the times this might be more apt to occur. Is this something you struggle with? Are you discouraged by all that has happened to you, your loved ones, your family, and your country during the past year? If so, you are not alone. Many others struggle with the same spiritual ailment. Furthermore, it is not a new trial faced by modern-day Christians. It has been here since the inception of Christ’s life on earth and before.

When we are tempted by Satan or one of his many demonic slaves, we can rest assured that nothing they do can harm our soul–unless we allow it. There is an old saying my Mama often quoted: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” (Anonymous). As many have pointed out, words can and do hurt, often for a lifetime. However, Paul is telling the Romans, “If you are one of those who have been called according to His purpose, Jesus life, death, resurrection, and ascension offers hope for life after death through Him becoming “sin”–all of the world’s sin–and the sacrifice of His life in place of ours. All who hear His calling, obey His commands, and continue in His Light have this “hope,” and those who abide in His Way can be assured of eternal life with Him and God the Father.

When we mess up, if we have heard and obeyed the requirements He sets forth in the New Testament, Christ and the Spirit make intercession for us with God the Father. Christ determines who is abiding Him and who is not. If I abide in His Way unto death, I not only have the hope of that gift, He assures me I will receive that gift, and I will be in heaven after I die. If I know I am abiding in Him, I no longer have to hope for eternal life, I can know I will receive it–I can “see” it.

I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am a sinner. Because of my sin, I deserve eternal damnation, not eternal life with God and Christ. When I sin, I have the assurance, as God’s child, Christ will make intercession and insure that sin is wiped from my slate IF I repent of that sin and go back to living the way He has instructed. He also has assured me–as Paul states in Romans 8:28–I can know that whatever happens to me in “this life,” it all works together for my good.

Each trial and tribulation we endure–and remain in Him as we endure–works with all other events in my life for my good. If I learn from my mistakes, I can also learn from the mistakes of others. I can ask (pray) for guidance when I do not know what I should do in a specific situation. He will guide me to the answer in some way. I may read the answer in something I come across. I may hear someone talking and “say” the answer even though that person is talking to someone else. I can even “know” His will by the fact that I have no choice as to what I do. Someone or some statute tells me what I “must” do. Even when what I am doing appears to be sin to others, if I learn from it and address it through prayer, He makes intercession for me. If the prophets of old were hindered from attending tabernacle by being cast into a dungeon–or by some other means–it was not held against them when they addressed it through prayer to God.

Again, whatever life throws at us, we can know it will work to our ultimate good if we abide in the way Christ set forth. No one else can do it for me, and no one else can offer me forgiveness for my sin unless that sin involved that person in some way. We can rest in peace with the assurance that everything we experience and endure will work together for our good. This is faith in His promise. He said it–albeit through His apostle–but He said it; so, it is true.

God knew before we were ever birthed on this earth, what our response would be to His calling. He is omnipotent. He was, and is, and always will be. His Son is basically His apology to mankind for not having a plan for “all” to be forgiven and live eternally with Him in heaven.

I, personally, appreciate His sacrifice. What more can one do to let another know he/she loves that person? God’s Son died on the cross for MY SIN– not His sin–MINE! How can I ever justify not abiding in His Way? How can I ever “not” want to spend eternity with God and Jesus Christ?

If you heed Christ’s calling and obey the instructions He set forth, you too can be assured of your home in heaven. So, whatever happens here on earth–know there is a purpose for it in God’s great plan for things. Know, that everything will work together for your good, too–if you heed and abide in His Way!

In the book, Acts of the Apostles, chapter 10, verses one through five tell of Cornelius, an Italian centurion. He and his whole house were good people; they gave alms and prayed for guidance. Their faith and Christ-like actions came to God’s attention. As a result, God maneuvered events in Cornelius’ life so he and his house could know what they must do to be a part of Christ’s church and abide in heaven forever. Thus, Cornelius and his whole house immediately became Christians–in the middle of the night–and they became the first “Gentiles” to be added to Christ’s church.

Prior to this time, God’s plan of salvation had only been available to those of the Jewish nation. If a Gentile wanted to be the recipient of that salvation, he/she had to first become a part of the Jewish nation. Then they could be offered God’s plan. Christ’s birth, death, resurrection, and ascension changed this. He freely “gave” so that we might “freely live.”

So, if a person iis truly searching for answers, as we see in the example of Cornelius and his household, God will guide that person to the answers, or He will guide others to that person to provide those answers. Then, the choice lies with that person. He/She has the choice to obey or to reject Christ’s teachings. So, the choice that person makes determines their eternal destiny.

I pray that all will want to live with God and Christ in heaven throughout eternity. However, His Word tells me this will not be the case. Many will not believe or obey Christ’s teachings. Even so, I continue to pray all will obey Him.

My hope and prayer is that each of you will have a peaceful and blessed day amid all the turmoil in the world about you. Be Blessed and Stay Safe!

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Photo Above: by Jasmin Ne @Unsplash.com.

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