Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Noah's Fault


NOAH’S FAULT

Isaiah 54:9:  “To Me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.  So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.”

            Noah simply obeyed God and built a huge boat.  No one had seen rain yet.  God watered the earth with dew and underground springs.
            God made rain fall that flooded the earth.  
            Why does God call the flood He caused the “waters of Noah?”        
             
             
            Genesis 6:9 says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”  Compared to ALL the other people who were evil, Noah was the single exception. 

            How can God blame Noah for the flood?

            Genesis 18:32 shows that Abraham was desperate to save people (Sodom) from destruction.  He bargained with God down to as small a number as ten.  For ten righteous people, God agreed not to destroy the city.

            Let’s count Noah’s family:  Noah is one.  His three sons make four.  Their   wives make eight.  God would generously have included Himself, bringing Noah’s total to nine.  All Noah had to do is convince just one more person to believe in God, and the whole world would have been saved!

            It took 120 years for Noah to complete the ark.  God hoped for one more person to believe in Him.  Noah built the ark in plain sight, using specific wood, cut to specific lengths.  Didn’t one person wonder aloud, “Hey Noah, what the heck are you building?”   

            Did Noah ever feel love and compassion for others, like Abraham did?  Why didn’t he satisfy the curious with answers to why he’s building this gigantic boat?  “Let me tell you about God’s great love for you!”  Can we believe that during those 120 years, Noah couldn’t have turned one heart to God?
            We’re disciplined to remain focused until we complete a task.  But was Noah’s focus selfish (smugness?) only for his family’s safety?  How many opportunities did he miss answering people’s questions with God’s love for them?    
           
            Noah was righteous, but he wasn’t right.

            Noah’s focus was only vertical—his relationship with God.  He totally ignored the horizontal focus to demonstrate God’s love to the people around him.  Believers’ job is to shine Christ’s light for all the world to see. 

            Apparently, the flood was Noah’s fault!

Take Home Nugget

            Noah’s rationalization that he’s too shy won’t cut it. 
            Every person is responsible.  Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

Believers are righteous through Christ, but we’re also salt and light to the world.  Who is far from God that we can show His love?
           
Adapted from “The Waters of Noah” by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.  November 4, 2016.  www.HolyLandMoments.com

J.D. Griffith

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Thank You For Your Sacrifice When Serving

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SACRIFICE WHEN SERVIN
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1 John 3:16:  “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our life for our brothers.”

            Every member of our Armed Forces sacrifices something for our welfare.  They have sacrificed much—loss of limbs, loss of family, loss of inner peace—so that we can live freely in peace and safety.  Often, Veterans pay the ultimate price for citizens to live peacefully in the USA.    
            Veterans don’t die to forgive people from sin, or die to pave the way for our salvation.  No veteran ever died to provide someone eternal life.  But many veterans did die so that we might have the freedom to live safely and without fear in the USA. 
            Thank you, each Veteran, for your sacrifice!
             
            For those brave soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our freedom, we compare their sacrifice to Jesus’ sacrifice.
            Veterans’ love for country can compare to Jesus’ love for sinners.  Love is love—especially when dying so that others can live.  We citizens humble ourselves thanking veterans for their service so that we can celebrate the freedom we often take for granted.  We bar-b-que outside eating on picnic tables in back yards or parks watching football games on TV in honor of veterans’ service.

            Thank you, Veterans, for your sacrifices when servomg our country!

            We don’t give our peace and safety much thought doing fun things on a day off from work and school.  We don’t even give our freedom much thought as we argue which channel to watch on television.  Are we even conscious of being grateful?

             That’s the real question, isn’t it?  Are we grateful?  Living gratefully is a deliberate choice.  That’s where Jesus’ and veteran’s sacrifices often differ.  The freedom we enjoy that veterans allow us is physical safety in a glorious land governed by our Constitution.  The freedom that Jesus offers Believers is forgiveness of sins, adoption into God’s family, salvation from eternal death to eternal life—and comes from Almighty God.

            Thank You Jesus, for Your sacrifice!

            Believers, especially, ought to be deliberately grateful every minute of every day to Jesus for His sacrifice for our inner peace! 
           
Take Home Nugget

            Jesus came for you.  Jesus died for you.  His sacrifice was for you!    Jesus allows Believers to have life to the fullest—“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”—as citizens of heaven. 

Holy, gracious Father, Thank You for keeping our veterans safe from all harm for the many ways they sacrifice for us.  Thank 
You for sacrificing Your Son for our eternal life!  Thank You Jesus, for offering sinners forgiveness, salvation, and fullness of life.  Amen.
J.D. Griffith



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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fulfillment, Finally!

FULFILLMENT, FINALLY!

Twelfth of twelve parts in Breathtaking Promise series

1 John 4:8, 16:  “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. … And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

            Finally, fellow sojourners, it is the outgoing, super abundant overflowing love for others—putting them and their interests first, before ourselves—that fulfills God’s Law.  The previous devotion, God’s Church, said, “The world is slowly learning the painful lesson that when we keep God’s holy Law, it keeps us; but when we break His Law, it breaks us!”

            And, we also learned that God is gathering only a small number of souls to Himself now, rather than the multitudes.  He is allowing the world to discover for itself that human laws don’t work.  Human laws will never work.  They’re destined to fail, because humans don’t practice God’s holy Law of love!

            DUH!    

            God allotted 7,000 years, or 7,000 millennial days, for His kids “free will” to live and govern our way.  We are nearing the end of the 6th millennial day under the devil’s control (John 12:31).  Satan knows this.  His time is getting shorter every day to fulfill his evil plan of stealing, killing, and destroying people’s lives. 
            Check out the lesson, linked below.
           
            The great news is that Jesus said, “I’m coming soon!” (Revelation 22:7, 12).  Christ WILL RETURN and He‘ll establish God’s government with perfect law on earth.  Saints will come back to life and reign with Christ this thousand years (Revelation 20:4). 

            God will prove that His way is best.

            Revelation 20:1-2, 3b says, “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.  He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. … After that he must be set free for a short time.”

            After Jesus’ thousand-year reign on earth, only a few will reject God.  Imagine Jesus’ millennial reign without the devil’s meddling interference.  It’s too wonderful for me to even imagine peace covering the whole earth!

Take Home Nugget

            So, while Believers know that God formed and shaped people in His physical image (Genesis 1:27), we finally get a glimpse of His fulfillment.  God wants His children to not only look like Him, but also to be transformed in our minds to act like Him.

            God’s breathtaking promise is finally fulfilled when His kids are LIKE Him!  
             
Heavenly Father, now I know that it’s only by suffering and gaining life experiences that develop me into being like You.  That’s a fulfillment I happily accept!  Amen.

Adapted from “Your Awesome Potential! (Part 2)” by David C. Pack.  The Real Truth Magazine.  March, 2016.  Pages 1-2, 28-30.  Ohio.  www.RealTruth.org

J.D. Griffith





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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Abba's Excitement

ABBA’S EXCITEMENT

Luke 15:18-20 shows Jesus telling the end of a parable:  “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’  So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was a far way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”

            Believers often complain that ‘waiting on God’ takes too long.  God is cool, calm, and composed up in heaven—when our worlds are falling apart on earth.  It seems that we pray repeatedly asking God to act on our behalf.  We wonder if anyone’s listening.

            We can be assured that our heavenly Abba IS listening.  Apostle Paul urges us to cry out to God, calling Him “Abba” in Romans 8:15.  He hears every prayer we utter.   
            Is Abba ever in a hurry?

            The reckless son in the opening Scripture must have felt restless, itching to escape his boring life before asking dad for his inheritance.  He may just have been a kid who longed for excitement living life in the fast-lane.

            His older brother watched, maybe wondering, What does he think he’s doing?  Why does he want to leave Abba?  Where does he think he’s going?  Then he watched lil’ bro’ set out on a donkey loaded down to the max.  We can only guess his thoughts.  Were they, How long until he returns home with his tail between his legs?

            Did he even hug him Good-bye?

            It wasn’t long before both sons got their satisfaction. 
            Dad was excited!
             
            This is where Jesus wants us to pay close attention.  The younger son had his fun spending his entire inheritance.  He ended up broke, tired, and hungry.  Only then he decided to return home (as a broken son).  

            It’s only when we’re broken that God has our complete attention.  This is (godly) character-building time.  Abba runs to welcome us home.  (See the lesson, linked below).
            This dad shows our heavenly Father, or Abba, who also gets very excited when He sees one of His kids returning home sorry and repentant. 

Take Home Nugget

            The Bible never shows God in a hurry.  But God’s Son Jesus sees the excitement in heaven when one of His siblings returns home! 
            That’s exactly why Jesus agreed to die in our place.
            This is His parable.  We can trust that Abba acts exactly the same way as this earthly father acted when seeing his son returning home! 

Thank You, Abba, for welcoming me back home when I’m broke and broken.  Amen.

Adapted from “When God Ran” by Joseph Prince.  November 2, 2016. www.josephprince.org.  South Carolina.

J.D. Griffith






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Friday, November 4, 2016

God is Good All the Time


GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME

Psalm 91:5:  “You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day.”

            There was once a very wise and great man named Nahum Ish Gamzu.  Nahum was his given name.  Ish Gamzu identified him as one who always said, “This, too, is for the best.”  Nahum found every situation—good or bad—a gift from God.

            Nahum’s outlook on life’s disappointments was weird.  Maybe we can learn something from his insistent positive attitude towards God’s characteristic goodness.

            The story goes like this:  Nahum’s distinguished student was a first century rabbi named Akiva.  As daylight began fading on one of Akiva’s travels, he entered a village.  Hoping to find shelter for the night, Akiva knocked on the door of the first house he saw.  The homeowners turned him away.  Three more homeowners responded the same way.  No one invited Akiva inside. 

            Hearing his mentor’s voice in his head, “This, too, is for the best,” Akiva smiled.  Shrugging off people’s inhospitality, he decided to find a place to camp in the woods.  Akiva knows that God is good ALL the time.  (See lesson linked below).

            In the woods, Akiva found a spot to rest and lit his lamp.  He also found: for his donkey that hauled his stuff, and a rooster—who would wake him each morning—a place to rest.  But soon a lion ate his donkey.  Then a jackal ate his rooster.  A strong wind blew out the flame in Akiva’s lamp.  Sitting in total darkness, Akiva heard Nahum’s voice insisting, “This, too, is for the best.”

            Akiva decided not to freak out over losing his donkey and rooster.  He decided to agree with Master Nahum.  He thought, God is good all the time, and soon fell fast asleep.

            A ruckus from the town didn’t waken Akiva.  He woke up on his own, feeling refreshed.  But upon leaving, Akiva discovered that the Romans had pillaged the village overnight.  All the people were taken captive.  If Akiva had stayed with any of them, he would have been captured, too!  Akiva smiled, assured once again that Nahum’s words are true.  By God’s hand, the people’s inhospitality was for his best. 

            Akiva realized that If God hadn’t killed his donkey, rooster, and his light, the Romans would have discovered him and hauled him off, too.  Akiva fell on his knees thanking God that, “this, too—sparing my life—is for the best!”

Take Home Nugget

            Remembering that little phrase can alter people’s awful situations, our days, and even our lives!  May we remember Nahum’s insisting that this (God’s will) is for the best.    
Praise God that Believers have nothing to fear during the day or night…because He is good all the time!

Adapted from “All for the Best” by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein. October 30, 2016.  www.HolyLandMoments.com

J.D. Griffith






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Friday, October 28, 2016

God's Church

GOD’S CHURCH

Eleventh of twelve parts in Breathtaking Promise series

1 Corinthians 3:9:  “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

            Every time a devotional series winds down I get a shiver up my spine.  There is only one devotion to go before Breathtaking Promise ends.  Has EVERY POINT been covered?
            We’ll see.

            Now that we’re yielded to God’s Spirit to transform us into Christ’s likeness through Sanctification, we’re living life by faith.  Pretty cool, huh?  But let’s return to being God’s building, from the opening Scripture. 

            God is building His family.  Every Believer-in-Christ is His building, His workmanship.  And God is building His Church, not man.  Jesus said, “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”  (Matthew 16:18).  Then, Jesus gave His apostles authority to use the keys of the kingdom of heaven! 

            True Believers—those who are serious about “working out their salvation with fear and trembling”—are products of His workmanship.  What is our foundation?  Apostle Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
            May our lives (living by faith) also be built on that same stable, solid foundation of Jesus Christ at work in us!  Every Believer is God’s building, His Church that only God can build with people—as the Bride of Christ!

            Oh my. 

            Revelation 19:6-7 proclaims, “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and the loud peals of thunder shouting: ‘Hallelujah!  For our Lord God Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and the bride has made herself ready.’”
            Do you realize that Believer’s “fine white linen” is being stitched as righteous works of God are accimplished through His saints?  “Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Revelation 19:8). 

            Is that chill running up your spine now?

Take Home Nugget

            What’s truly fascinating is that God is only working with a small fraction of people today.  He’s not scrambling to gather the masses to Himself—YET.  The world is graciously being given time to figure out that man’s way won’t work.

            Human religions, governments, philosophies, cultures, values, educational systems don’t, and will NEVER work.  The world is slowly learning the painful lesson that when we keep God’s holy Law, it keeps us; but when we break His Law, it breaks us!

 Holy Father, I’d rather get living correctly now than learning Your way the hard way.  Please keep me in Your family, safe and secure in Your way, Your Law.  Amen.

Adapted from “Your Awesome Potential! (Part 2)” by David C. Pack.  The Real Truth Magazine.  March, 2016.  Pp. 1-2, 28-30.  Ohio.  www.RealTruth.org

J.D. Griffith





                   Written for http://www.Biblestudyforkids.com  

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