Archive for Devotional

Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/14/2022

Send to Kindle

Verse of the Day

April 14th, 2022

Scripture

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
 

Devotion

In the church at Corinth there were some who were challenging the authority of the Apostle Paul and the message he had preached to them. Our verses for today form part of his response to the challenge. In verse 3, he acknowledges that he is human, but he will not wage war against the challenge with mere human, worldly weapons. That is, he will not use anything that is sinful, devious, and underhanded in the war. He has something more righteous and more potent at hand.

He will wage war with God’s mighty weapons. What are God’s weapons? He does not say specifically. Given the nature of the opposition, however, one weapon is clearly intended—the Word of God. Paul regarded the Word of God as the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). Paul will wage war with the truth of the Word of God.

The fact that the Word of God is the primary weapon Paul has in mind here is clear from the fact that the opposition consists of “strongholds of human reasoning” and “false arguments.” The challengers, in other words, were trying to undermine Paul and his message with mere human reasons and arguments rather than with the Word of God. Understandably enough, the best weapon to use in such circumstances is the Word of God itself.

Since the weapons of the challengers were not biblically based, they were keeping people, including themselves, from the true knowledge of God. Since they were not biblically based, they were “proud obstacles” to the true knowledge of God. They were formed on the basis of human willfulness and pride, rather than on the basis of a humble submission to God’s Word.

The kind of thing that happened in Paul’s day happens now. People challenge the teachings of those committed to the Word of God with mere human reasoning and false arguments.

Like Paul, we must be ready to take up our primary weapon against such incursions. We must be ready to wield the sword of the Spirit.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Thursday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Weekly Devotional: Gems From Pastor Jim 4/11/2022

Send to Kindle

by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 18:15-17 “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the fault. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If that person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. If the church decides you are right, but the other person won’t accept it, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”

These verses have been used and abused so often in the church. Because of our sinful nature and often spiritual immaturity, we have used them for our own advantage. Jesus gives us clear instructions on the right way to deal with sin in the church, but most churches either don’t understand them or ignore them altogether. The purpose of Jesus is reconciliation, not alienation.

Notice first of all that this passage deals with private matters of sin between believers. It is about issues that affect personal relationships, not community relationships. We are to deal with personal issues as they come up so that they do not become issues that affect the whole body.

It is so easy to sit in judgment of another. It’s another thing to work with another with the intent of reconciliation. When someone sins against you, you are to go to that person in love and humility and seek peace. If that doesn’t happen, take one or two others with you who are spiritually mature and do so that they may be able to offer wisdom on how to restore peace between you and to God. If that doesn’t work, then the matter needs to be brought before the church so that the church can decide what must be done for the good of the body and individuals involved.

Also, before a person is judged to be in the wrong, the accuser must first be sure that his own sins are dealt with before God. Only the pure in heart should ever try to hold another believer accountable for sin.

Needless to say, everyone involved seeking peace should first of all be much in prayer so that the discernment given will be from God and not man. It is only when all efforts fail that a person is then alienated from the church’s fellowship. As long as a person is stubborn and too proud to listen to wise and godly counsel he cannot be a part of the fellowship of the church. When the will is broken and the offending party humbles himself before God and man, peace can then be restored.

I believe that applying these verses in the life of the church is needed, but it should be done sparingly. It is necessary to hold one another accountable for sinful behavior, but it is a very serious matter to remove someone from the fellowship of the church. We better be right before God before we exercise this step in the peacemaking process of the church.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Verse of the Day and Devotional 4/7/2022

Send to Kindle

Verse of the Day

April 7th, 2022

Scripture

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. – Psalm 111:10 ESV

Devotion

Our verse of the day appears in four places in the Bible; three times in Proverbs and once in Psalms. Psalms 111 was written by David; we know that David followed our verse of the day as a principle in life. He understood this from his experience, and we can assume that he taught his children the same. David was crowned king, but he had to wait for that title. Saul threatened his life on many occasions, and he had to make wise decisions to survive. David ruled with wisdom and he instructed his son Solomon to love and fear God.

Solomon learned that wisdom from the Lord is far greater than wealth and riches. When given the chance to ask for anything, Solomon, a young man enthroned as a king, requested wisdom from God. In response to his humble wish, God said to Solomon: “God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.” (2 Chronicles 1:11-12).

Solomon ruled the nation with that wisdom. He says three times in Proverbs that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. An example of Solomon’s wisdom is his judgment in the dispute over who was the actual mother of an infant child. Solomon offered to split the living child in half, understanding that the true mother would choose to give the child to another woman instead of seeing him killed (1 Kings 3:16-28). The Queen of Sheba travelled 1,200 miles to confirm the stories of his wisdom and dignity. Every question that she raised was solved by King Solomon (1 Chronicles 9:1-5).

We also need God’s wisdom to live in this world. Wisdom will not come naturally to us; rather we have to ask the Giver for the wisdom. Paul says: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).

God’s wisdom is available for ordinary Christians like you and me. Many think that we cannot gain that wisdom from God. But the Word promises us “God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:28-30). If we are in Him, we have His wisdom and we can grow in that wisdom.

By Subish Johnson, Bible League International partner, India

Inspirational Image of the Day

Thursday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 4/4/2022

Send to Kindle

by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 18:6-7 “How terrible it will be for anyone who causes others to sin. Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but how terrible it will be for the person who does the temptation.”

The world is full of people who make it their life to tempt others to sin. We cannot escape them. They infiltrate every area of our lives. They have become such a part of living that we scarcely recognize them anymore and don’t seem to care. We accept their presence and allow them to influence our thinking and living.

Think about it. Take note of everyone today who offers you some way to sin. Listen to the lyrics of the songs you hear. Pay attention to what you read. Look around you at work and take note of how things are being done. Pay attention to the ads on TV and the content of the shows you watch. Listen to what others are saying to you. If you take note of these things, you will discover just how much temptation to sin you encounter each day of your life.

It takes great determination to resist the temptations to sin. It takes a lot of prayer and exposure to God and His Word to have the willpower to say no. It takes staying close to the Lord to even recognize much of the temptations we encounter to lure us away from God.

It is a terrible thing to fall into sin. But it is even worse to be the one who leads others into sin. Stay alert and don’t let sin have a foothold in your life. And, make sure that you don’t cause others to sin along the way. There are people watching you. They notice how you live and talk. If they respect you, they will conclude that if it’s okay for you then they can do it, too. If you are a believer, then it is obvious how you can influence others to sin.

Guard your soul and strive to live a godly life always. Sin is a big deal to God as is being the cause of another person falling into sin. Terrible is the fate of those who lead others into sin. Terrible is the fate of those who fall into sin and do not repent. How we live does matter to God.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Verse of the Day and Devotional 3/31/2022

Send to Kindle

Verse of the Day

March 31st, 2022

Scripture

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. – 1 John 5:4-5 NIV

Devotion

What does the word “world” mean in the Bible? Sometimes it just refers to the earthly portion of God’s good creation. This is the sense Paul used when he referred to the “creation of the world” in Ephesians 1:4. In our verses for today, however, the word has a definite negative connotation. It refers to the earthly portion of God’s good creation in so far as it has been taken over by Satan and infected with sin. “World” in the first sense of the term is not something that needs to be overcome. It is simply the place of our habitation as human beings and it is good. “World” in the second sense, in contrast, needs to be overcome.

It is the second sense of the word Jesus used when He said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus is not saying that he had overcome the earthly portion of God’s good creation, but that He had overcome the power of sin and the devil at work in the earthly part of God’s good creation. The reason Jesus came to earth was not to destroy the earth, but to destroy “the devil’s work” in the earth (1 John 3:8). The whole point of Jesus’ mission is to purge the earth of evil so that God may dwell with His people on earth (Revelation 21).

It is through our faith in Jesus Christ’s overcoming of the world that we overcome the world. Because of our faith, we have already overcome the world. We are already new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are already the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). We have already overcome Satan by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). And we continue to overcome whenever we resist, counteract, and destroy the works of the devil in our lives. In fact, whenever we resist the devil he will flee from us (James 4:7).

In Christ, you are an overcomer. Indeed, you are “more than a conqueror” (Romans 8:37).

Inspirational Image of the Day

Thursday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 3/28/2022

Send to Kindle

by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 18:1-6 About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Which of us is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a small child over to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I assure you, unless you turn from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. And, anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trust in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck.”

Faith is being simple-minded before God. It is simply trusting in God. It is that absolute confidence that God always stays true to His character and His Word. Faith is not letting the things we don’t know or understand throw us for a loop. It is enough to know that God knows. Faith is letting God worry about details and how to take care of us when we get into messes. In other words, faith is simply living in the comfort and security of God’s love.

Little children are reactionary. They sometimes react in negative ways that are not acceptable behavior in the world. They must be taught and disciplined so that they will change their behavior and attitude into a more acceptable way of life. If a child never learns and adapts, he will never mature to the point of fitting into life in the world. It will affect relationships and his ability to enjoy life.

Like little children, faith grows up. But, like all of us, there always remains a little bit of a child in us. He who forgets how to act like a child ceases to live. All joy goes away and all that remains is a miserable life waiting for it all to end. And, so it is with faith. We must never lose our childlike qualities of faith that enable us to trust and enjoy the life we have in Christ. We must get rid of the bad, but retain the good.

There is a grave danger for anyone who causes a child of faith to wander away from God. Anyone who leads a child of God away from God will be responsible for it. His fate will be such that it would have been better if he had never been born. Be sure that what you teach and preach leads a person to Christ and not away from Him.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Verse of the Day and Devotional 3/24/2022

Send to Kindle

Verse of the Day

March 24th, 2022

Scripture

At harvest time, Cain brought a gift to the Lord. He brought some of the food that he grew from the ground, but Abel brought some animals from his flock. He chose some of his best sheep and brought the best parts from them. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift. But he did not accept Cain and his offering. Cain was sad because of this, and he became very angry. – Genesis 4:3-5 ERV
 

Devotion

Our verse of the days says that God accepted Abel and his gift, but he did not accept Cain and his offering. What does this mean? Does God prefer animal offerings rather than offerings that came from plants or fruits? Was God being unfair to Cain?

In the big cities of Indonesia, you can find many street beggars. Sometimes, they approach you to ask for money, and if you feel led you can give them some. This can be called a donation, which is different than an offering. A donation is giving some type of help, whether money, food, or things people need. We usually donate to people who are having a rough time, to people who need our help.

I think an offering is different. An offering is something you give to a person that you consider higher than you. You give out of respect and even submission. The amount might be the same, but the mentality is different.

Cain brought some of the food he grew. I believe that this is the issue. He was giving to God half-heartedly. He didn’t give to God with a right heart and attitude. What about Abel? While Abel also brought some animals from his flock, he chose the best sheep and brought the best parts from them.

Our verse of the day also say that God accepted Abel and then his gift. The Lord accepted the person first. He accepted the attitude, the heart of the person, then the gift.

Cain was rejected not because of his gift, but because of his heart. God knows our hearts and He wants us to be wholeheartedly for Him. He doesn’t want us to be half-heartedly living for Him. He wants all of us.

By Thony Ronaldo, Bible League International partner, Indonesia

Inspirational Image of the Day

Thursday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 3/21/2022

Send to Kindle

by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 17: 19-20 Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You didn’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

How much faith do you have? Does your faith enable you to move the mountains in your life? Is your faith enough to help you overcome whatever life brings you? There is nothing in life that is beyond our ability to handle if we have faith in God. If we have absolute trust in Him, we will not lose heart, or hope. Faith shapes the way we think about life’s circumstances. If we lack faith we will be overpowered by life and live in defeat instead of victory. Faith draws us closer to God. When the tough times of life overwhelm us, faith makes the Lord more real and precious to us. The journey is often very difficult, but faith makes any journey possible.

Faith is rooted in relationship. A faith that is rooted solely in the brain is no real faith at all. Faith that will move the mountains is rooted in the heart where Jesus is. The more Jesus influences our lives, the more we trust Him in life. Jesus changes us from the inside out and that change enables faith to take root and govern our lives.

How much faith do you have? Is it enough to move the mountains out of the way in your life? Jesus said that just a little faith can make the impossible possible. There is no limit to the victories you can have over the obstacles in your life if you but believe in God’s ability and willingness to help you. Buckling underneath the heavy loads of life is simply a lack of faith in Him who can carry them for us. He is able to do immeasurably more than anything we ask for Him to do or for us to imagine Him capable of doing. Ask anything in the will of God and don’t doubt and He will do it for you.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Verse of the Day and Devotional 3/17/2022

Send to Kindle

Verse of the Day

March 17th, 2022

Scripture

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. – 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5 ESV

Devotion

When the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, it is done so by human beings. Individual human beings, one might say, take ownership of it and become responsible for it. This does not mean that the Gospel is nothing more than the creation of mere humans, for the Apostle Paul says “it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16), but it does mean that those who preach the gospel become its heralds or representatives. It is in this way that Paul can refer to “our” Gospel. The Gospel he preached was the Gospel of an individual herald of the Gospel who had made it his own.

As is the case for all heralds of the Gospel, the effectiveness of Paul’s preaching was dependent upon the activity of God. If Paul’s Gospel was to be something more than mere words, if it was to have a transformative effect in the lives of its hearers, then God would have to be at work in his preaching. And Paul is saying in our verses for today that he is convinced God was indeed at work in his preaching to the Thessalonians and that this must mean God had chosen them to accept the Gospel.

The reason Paul was convinced that God was at work was the way he experienced his preaching of the Gospel to them. He realized that the words he spoke were not mere words, mere theological information, but that they came with power, with the Holy Spirit, and with deep conviction. They came, that is, with the “power of God for salvation,” with a sense of the presence and enablement of the Holy Spirit, and with no doubt in his own mind. Although he had made the Gospel his own, he sensed that he was not alone. The Holy Spirit was with him.

Every Christian is involved in some way, shape, or form, in the spread of the Gospel. Today, since we can do nothing apart from Him, ask God to be involved in your part of that great enterprise, just as He was with Paul.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Thursday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================

Weekly Devotional: Gems from Pastor Jim 3/14/2022

Send to Kindle

by Jim Hughes

CrossMatt. 16:26 “And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?”

There are so many whose only goal in life is to gain as much of the world as they possibly can. They buy into the lie that the more you get out of the world, the happier you will be. They become convinced that this life is all the life there is and so it only makes sense to go for it. Fame and fortune become their necessities in life. Live for today and don’t worry about tomorrow becomes how they live. Death is not a concept that is taken seriously as far as how it affects how they live.

Then, when their dreams are not realized, they have nothing else to live for. Life becomes a pain instead of a joy. Negativity rules the soul. Anger is not unusual. Defiance is common. For those whose only life is wrapped up in the world, they are disappointed and disillusioned. It may come early or late in life, but it does come.

Yet, everyone must somehow come to grip with their soul. No matter how much one may try to bury it, no one can go through life without dealing with it. What happens after death? Can it be true that there is eternal life? If so, where do I fit into it? Will I go to heaven when I die? Is there any criteria I have to meet in order to get there? If I don’t make it to heaven, then what? Is there really a hell that awaits me? Really, is gaining all I can from this life worth the risk of losing my soul? What if there is a heaven and hell?

Whether we want to or not, we must think about these things. Waiting until you die to find out if it is all true or not is not a good idea. If it is all true, which I know it is, then if you have not lived so that you are ready to die, you will go to hell. Life is not about gaining what the world has to offer; it’s about living in Christ so that when you die you will go to heaven and not hell.

About the Author:

Jim Hughes

Spending his formative years in Ft. Wayne, IN, Jim followed the love of his life to southeast Iowa where they married and have spent the majority of their lives. Jim has pastored several churches throughout his life and has worked many years in local factories to help support his family. The father of two married adult children and one son still at home, Jim is a first-time author.

C Through Marriage came into being through many years of pastoral and life experiences. The book first took on a life of its own over 20 years ago when I sought to address the much publicized moral failures of prominent leaders in the church. In the chapter on Chasity, I include the guideliness that I developed then to protect one’s self from such failures.

I am a firm believer in order to make sense out of life you have to use much common sense. We need to get back to the basics of what has worked for many, many generations. If is isn’t broke, why try to fix it? I strive to return to the basics of what really works in all my writings.

Inspirational Image of the Day

Monday Inspirational Image

========================================
This site contains Third Party Advertising, using online behavioral tracking technology. Some of the links in the post above are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers.
========================================