Saturday, March 25, 2023

Led Astray...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 3 / NT + Titus 1

"For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain."- Titus 1:10-11

A number of years ago a friend took a trip to New York City. While she was there a street vendor sold her a wireless phone for the house. When she returned home and opened the box, she found a number of rocks nicely wrapped in Styrofoam. She had been deceived and sold a box of rocks. She was led astray.

There are those in the church community that are selling boxes of rocks today. They are religious charlatans. They talk well and are winsome in their appearance, but they are deceivers at heart. The outside looks good, but their teachings will ruin whole households. They do all this for the sake of monetary profit. Those who are not careful will be led astray.

Time and again we are reminded in the New Testament to be spiritually discerning. We are counseled to tag those who teach error and rebuke them. We may be encouraged to be tolerant in many ways, but when it comes to the gospel message, we should only accept sound doctrine. "Hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught" (vs. 9) and you won't be led astray. 

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 4 / NT +  Titus 2

Friday, March 24, 2023

All at once...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 2 / NT + Proverbs 7

"With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life." - Proverbs 7:21-23
The day of high pressure salesmen still lives. They will do their very best to sell you a car, a TV, new windows for your house and onward the list goes. They look for your weak spots and they surreptitiously seduce you to buy, buy, and buy. With smooth talk you are lead to believe that you need and should have whatever they're selling. You may resist, but if you're not very careful, you will make the purchase... all at once.

Temptation to sin is a lot like the high pressure salesman. It comes with smooth talk and seductive prodding. You're never told that the price of sin is devastating to the soul. The gleam and glitter is highlighted with skill and keen strategy. Your weak spots are played upon and you're led to believe that it will all be good. You may resist, but if you're not very careful, you will fall into sin... all at once.

Be very careful my friend. Be very prayerful as well. Temptation comes knocking every day with new and better offers that are intended to catch you off guard. May you be prepared with the words of Joseph in Genesis 39:9, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" Because, if you don't "Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes." (Ephesians 6:11), you will surely fall into sin... all at once. 

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 3 / NT +  Titus 1

Thursday, March 23, 2023

His Cupboard is never bare...

 Today's Readings: OT - Hosea 1 / NT + Psalms 30-31

"How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you." - Psalm 31:19
My sweet wife is an extraordinary manager of our home. She shops carefully and faithfully stocks the shelves with good food. She has a "Costco" card and shops there regularly, filling the cabinets with all that our family could possibly need for weeks to come. She stores up for those she loves.

The Lord doesn't need a "Costco" card. His goodness is great and he has closets and cabinets filled to overflowing with his goodness. Those who revere his Name, who love him in heart and take refuge in him, will find that he bestows his goodness with tremendous generosity. The Lord has stored up for those he loves.

Never fear my friend, the Lord's cupboard is never bare. Come to him in faith, with love and reverence in your heart, and you will find an abundance of goodness beyond your greatest expectation. His shelves are overflowing with all that you need for the journey ahead. Take refuge today in the One who stores up for those he loves.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 2 / NT +  Proverbs 7

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

The Love of Another...

 Today's Readings: OT - 2 Chronicles 31 / NT + 2 Timothy 4

"Do your best to come to me quickly,  for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry." - 2 Timothy 4:9-11
How sad to see marriages deteriorate because the husband or wife has become too caught up in their career. Their love for each other has been replaced by an overwhelming love for the job. The preoccupation can also be something or someone else, but whatever the reason, the relationship is deserted... for the love of another.

Demas was committed to the Lord and Paul as they labored together in the ministry. Then he fell in love with the world and left it all behind. What a sad legacy to be recorded in the Scriptures for all time. It seemed that over the long haul the world wooed Demas from his first love. He deserted Paul and the mission... for the love of another.

Where is your devotion today my friend? Are you as committed to the Lord and his call as you were in the beginning? Does the ministry of the Word still have your wholehearted devotion? Or have you been wooed away by another pursuit and deserted His greater purpose for your life... for the love of another?

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - Hosea 1 / NT +  Psalms 30-31

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

For life's Emergencies...

 Today's Readings: OT - 2 Chronicles 30 / NT + 2 Timothy 3

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:14-17 
I remember the first Boy Scout knife I owned. It was more than cool; it had a knife blade, fork, spoon, and can opener. It was all a guy ever needed for the emergencies of life. Today I own a wide selection of knives that include a number of "Leatherman" products. A "Leatherman" is also more than cool; it has multiple knife blades, a saw, scissors, multiple screwdrivers, a file and still more than I can list. It is all that a guy will ever need for the emergencies of life.

When Paul rounded out his counsel to young Timothy, he directed him to his spiritual "Leatherman". He reminded Timothy to continue to use it with confidence. He reviewed the many qualities of the tool and explained how useful they are in daily life. When all was said, Timothy was assured that the Bible was all a guy will ever need for the emergencies of life.

Take a moment to look at your spiritual "Leatherman"... isn't it more than cool? Do you have it sharpened in your heart and ready for use? Do you use this spiritual tool that God has blessed you with day by day? The Lord didn't give us His Word to set on the shelf. When he gave us the Bible, he gave us all we will ever need for the emergencies of life.

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Chronicles 31 / NT +  2 Timothy 4

Monday, March 20, 2023

Passing the Baton...

 Today's Readings: OT - 2 Chronicles 29 / NT + 2 Timothy 2

"You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others." - 2 Timothy 2:1-2
During the Olympics we find a wide variety of competitive races. Most involve one athlete who will carry the whole race by themselves.  But the "relay" race depends on the involvement of many. At certain points in the race the next athlete picks up the cause until they pass it on to the next team member. The relay race is all about "passing the baton".

When Paul taught, mentored and wrote Timothy he was passing on the great truths of the gospel. He expected Timothy to do the same by entrusting these truths to reliable believers who would also pass them on to others. Gospel truths are not to be hoarded and kept as eternal trophies. They are intended to change our lives and be passed on to a new generation. We are expected to "pass the baton".

Every believer has great gospel truths to pass on to others. The theme of the "Great Commission" is the heartbeat of this passage. We are to "make disciples", who will "make disciples", who will "make disciples". Who are you mentoring today? Do you have someone to whom you are "passing the baton?".

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Chronicles 30 / NT +  2 Timothy 3

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Refresh someone today...

 Today's Readings: OT - Isaiah 27 / NT + 2 Timothy 1

"May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus." - 2 Timothy 1:16-18 
There are those of whom we can ask help if it's convenient and there are those who will drop everything to help. It's even rarer to find a person who will go out of their comfort zone to search for someone to help. Such a person truly refreshes the soul.

Onesiphorus was just such a person to Paul. He searched hard for Paul until he found him and then helped him in many ways. At a time of great discouragement, this Christian Brother came along side when he was needed the most. His effort far exceeded a kind word and it brought him into the most uncomfortable settings, but as a result, he refreshed Paul's soul.

Are you waiting for the opportunity to help someone to come knocking at your door? Are you available only when it's convenient? Why not be an Onesiphorus today and search for someone who needs help? Why not make the time today and... Refresh someone's soul?

Tomorrow's Readings: OT - 2 Chronicles 29 / NT +  2 Timothy 2