READ THE WORD DAILY

Reading the word daily is a good way to Develop the habit of studying the scriptures and applying them to your everyday life. Simply set time aside each day, and soon daily Bibler reading will become a lifestyle!

DAILY DEVOTIONALS - March 2019

Read Romans 6:15-23.

If you think you can live a godly life by your own strength, you are in deep trouble. Although we play an important role in our sanctification and are commanded to obey the Lord, we cannot grow into Christlike people without depending on Christ Himself. Therefore, we must surrender completely to our rightful master and loving King—the Lord Jesus Christ.

We cannot grow into Christlike people without depending on Christ Himself.

Every person on the face of the earth has either sin or Jesus as their master. There are only two choices; there is no third. The question is: Which master are you obeying?

Slavery to sin produces unbearable guilt here and now and eternal separation from God forever (see v. 21). In contrast, slavery to righteousness gives you freedom from guilt and shame and guarantees you eternal life (see v. 22). If you choose to serve sin, you will eventually receive the wages you deserve—judgment. But if you choose to serve God, He will give you the gift you could never earn—eternal life.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, the greatest gift you can give yourself is to remember today whom you serve. You are a slave to righteousness; you belong to the family of God. May you find grace at hand to live according to your blood-bought identity!

Prayer: "Search me, God, . . . See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24). I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

"But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life" (Romans 6:22).

Keep a sharp lookout! For you do not know when I will come. . . . Watch for my return!
—Mark 13:35, 36 (TLB)

The great Dwight L. Moody used to say, “I never preached a sermon without thinking that possibly the Lord may come before I preach another.” Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, the distinguished British clergy-man, said, “I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps he may interrupt my work and begin His own. I am not looking for death. I am looking for Him.” That is the way a Christian should live his life—in the constant anticipation of the return of Jesus Christ! If we could live every day as though it may be the very last one before the final judgment, what a difference it would make here on earth! But we don’t like to think that way. We don’t like to think that our carefully made plans, our long range schemes may be interrupted by the trumpet of God. Too many people would rather say, “Oh, well, the end of the world hasn’t come yet, so why think about it – it’s probably a thousand years away.”

"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9

This is the seventh of the beatitudes: and seven was the number of perfection among the Hebrews. It may be that the Saviour placed the peacemaker the seventh upon the list because he most nearly approaches the perfect man in Christ Jesus. He who would have perfect blessedness, so far as it can be enjoyed on earth, must attain to this seventh benediction, and become a peacemaker. There is a significance also in the position of the text. The verse which precedes it speaks of the blessedness of "the pure in heart: for they shall see God." It is well to understand that we are to be "first pure, then peaceable." Our peaceableness is never to be a compact with sin, or toleration of evil. We must set our faces like flints against everything which is contrary to God and his holiness: purity being in our souls a settled matter, we can go on to peaceableness.

Not less does the verse that follows seem to have been put there on purpose. However peaceable we may be in this world, yet we shall be misrepresented and misunderstood: and no marvel, for even the Prince of Peace, by his very peacefulness, brought fire upon the earth. He himself, though he loved mankind, and did no ill, was "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Lest, therefore, the peaceable in heart should be surprised when they meet with enemies, it is added in the following verse, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Thus, the peacemakers are not only pronounced to be blessed, but they are compassed about with blessings. Lord, give us grace to climb to this seventh beatitude! Purify our minds that we may be "first pure, then peaceable," and fortify our souls, that our peaceableness may not lead us into cowardice and despair, when for thy sake we are persecuted.

 Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. 

Everyone has a worldview. Our worldview is influenced by many things. It’s influenced by our culture, by our upbringing, and by our education or lack thereof. It’s influenced by the books we read or the lack of books we read. It’s influenced by the media we expose ourselves to.

A worldview is comprehensive. It will affect every area of our lives, from our morality to how we spend our money to our politics to how we vote. It affects everything about us. What we want to have is a Christian worldview, and more specifically, a biblical worldview.

C.S. Lewis said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” That’s how we need to view life: through the lens of Scripture, through the eyes of a follower of Jesus Christ.

The only way to have a biblical worldview is by studying and memorizing Scripture and spending time in it every day. We want to run everything through a biblical grid, asking ourselves, “What does the Bible say about this?”

Sometimes people have an emotional worldview. They base their views on how they feel. They’ll say, “Well, I just go with my heart, because the heart wants what the heart wants.”

Here’s what the Bible says about our hearts: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT).

Don’t go with your heart, because your heart can mislead you. Don’t go with your emotions, because your emotions can mislead you. And certainly don’t go with the culture, because that will mislead you. Go with the Bible. It will never take you in the wrong direction. Learn to think biblically.

Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

This scripture has led many to believe that water baptism is a part of salvation and that the born-again experience cannot be a reality without it.

This same kind of thinking would make seeing Jesus a prerequisite for salvation, based on John 6:40.

It is faith in the redemptive work of Christ that produces salvation - not our actions. However, James writes that faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:20).

Faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone; it must be acted upon.

This is what Mark is referring to when he speaks of baptism.

Water baptism is a command of Jesus and is the initial action taken upon believing. Mark's statement could be rendered, "He who believes with saving faith (i.e. faith that produces actions) will be saved." In this sense, water baptism is very important. It is an opportunity to act on your new profession of faith. Anyone who refuses to follow Jesus' command to receive water baptism, may be suspected of not really believing.

Water baptism is a command, but keeping this command does not produce justification. Jesus administered forgiveness of sins without any mention of water baptism.

Philip told the Ethiopian eunuch, who asked Philip to baptize him, that if he believed with all of his heart, he could be baptized (Acts 8:37). Philip used water baptism only after an individual believed. This is also how Mark used water baptism.

Mark 16:18 "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

This either speaks literally of supernatural protection if we pick up a snake, or symbolically of protection in our fight against the devil. Since the other four signs in this list are literal, it is most probable that this means physically taking up snakes.

The apostle Paul experienced this supernatural protection from a viper when he was shipwrecked on the island of Melita (Acts 28:3-5). However, this is the only recorded example of this type of protection in the New Testament.

There is no record of the disciples picking up snakes just to prove they were believers. That would be tempting God (Lk. 4:9-12). This, as well as drinking any deadly thing, is a promise that if we pick up snakes accidentally or are forced into that position because of our stand for Christ, we can believe for supernatural protection.

The power that is now working in believers is the same power that worked in Christ to raise Him from the dead. Everything we have as believers in Christ comes from our union with Him. Therefore, what is true of Him is true of us too. We have come to share in Christ's throne, to partake in the authority that the throne represents, and to exercise divine power and dominion. There is no place in the New Testament that tells us to ask God to do something about the devil. Rather, we, (the church) are told to do something about the devil. This is because we have been given delegated authority over the works of the enemy. God desires that the church be enlightened to this, and walk in victory.

John 19:30 "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."

When Jesus cried, "It is finished," He was not referring to the whole plan of salvation as being completed. He still had to descend into the lower parts of the earth and lead the captives out (Eph. 4:8-9), as well as come back from the dead and ascend to the Father to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).

Paul made it very clear in 1 Corinthians 15:14 and 17, that if Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our faith is vain and we are yet in our sins.

Why is the resurrection so important? The resurrection of Jesus makes Christianity different from religion because we are dealing with a real, live person, not just principles. Christianity is fellowship with a real person who is alive.

Also, forgiveness of sins is not obtained by a doctrine, but by Christ Himself. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, He cannot give salvation to us. However, He did rise from the dead and now He lives forever to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).

It is Christ living in us that gives us power to live a victorious life. If there was no resurrection, there would be no power.

The resurrected life of Jesus is the guarantee of our physical regeneration.

Because Jesus conquered death, the fear and sting of death have been removed for us. This produces great comfort for those who believe.

So, faith in the present ministry of Jesus is essential to true Christianity, and would be impossible if Jesus was not alive. Without Jesus being alive, Christianity would be just another dead religion.

Mark 16:20 "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen."

The Lord confirmed the preaching of His Word with miracles. If Jesus and the first century Christians needed the Word confirmed with the miraculous (Heb. 2:4), then we do too. There is no scripture that says these miraculous signs have passed away.

Some people have interpreted "that which is perfect" in 1 Corinthians 13:10, as being the complete Bible. This has led them to believe that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased. Although God's Word is perfect (Ps. 19:7), it is not the "perfect thing" that is referred to here. 1 Corinthians 13:8 does say that tongues shall cease, but it will not happen until "that which is perfect is come."

In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul says, "when that which is perfect is come, we shall see face to face." This speaks of seeing the Lord face to face, instead of vaguely, as through a dark glass, as it is now. Some might argue that this is speaking in a symbolic sense, instead of literally face to face. But the next comparison in this verse says that then, "when that which is perfect is come," we shall know all things even as we are also known. There is no other way to interpret this, except as a description of when we will stand before the Lord, after this life. Then we will be face to face, and know all things even as also we are known.

Verse eight says that at the time prophecies fail and tongues cease, knowledge will vanish away. This is talking about the next life, or the new heavens and earth, because one of the signs of the end times is that knowledge shall increase (Dan. 12:4).

So the "that which is perfect" that Paul speaks of, cannot be the Bible. It has to be either our glorified body, or Jesus at His second coming. Either way, these verses establish that until "that which is perfect is come," tongues and prophecy will remain. They are still valid gifts, and even today, it is God's will to accompany the preaching of His Word with miracles.

Luke 24:49 "And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high."

This filling of the Holy Ghost is subsequent to the born-again experience.

Paul reveals in Rom. 10:9, that a person has to confess with his mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in his heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, before he can be saved.

It is possible to be saved, yet not have what Jesus said was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Since the Holy Spirit is now given freely and we don't have to tarry for His coming, we can receive salvation and the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time. However, it is not automatic. We must ask and believe for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, just as we believed for salvation.

Speaking in tongues is unique to the Church Age. This is because when a person speaks in tongues, his new born-again spirit is speaking (1 Cor. 14:14), not his mind. Before salvation, our spirit was the part of us that was, "dead in trespasses and sins." Until we received a new spirit (2 Cor. 5:17), the Holy Ghost could not give us this supernatural communication with the Father.

There are two kinds of speaking in tongues which are clearly spoken of in 1 Corinthians 13:1. They are called "the tongues of men and of angels." The tongues of men are the known languages in which the disciples spoke. The tongues of angels, or heavenly languages, are the tongues that all Spirit-filled believers can speak, and are what Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 12-14.

Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth and teach us all things. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost is the single most important key to receiving revelation knowledge from God.