When the prophet Nathan exposed King David's sin with a parable, David wrote this psalm of repentance. He realized that though he had sinned against Bathsheba's husband and the people of Israel, ultimately his sin was against God who had trusted him with position and authority. All sin is ultimately a sin against God who alone is the standard of righteousness. We sin against His goodness and grace. We sin against His mercy and love. Whenever His sentence is against us, He is perfectly justified in pronouncing it.
Numbers 11:21-23 (NIV) 21. But Moses said, "Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, 'I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!' 22. Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?" 23. The LORD answered Moses, "Is the Lord's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you."
Although people die every day, we still need to keep our faith in God because, without our faith, we have nothing to keep us going every day. Imagine if no one believed in God and everyone was for themselves in this world. The world would be an awful place to live in every day if that was the case. Luckily it isn't.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
A careful reading through the life of the Apostle Paul will yield insight concerning those who surrounded him. In this brief devotion, I want to focus on two of Paul's friends -- Luke and Demas.
Luke was a true and faithful friend to Paul, staying with and supporting him to the very end of his life, even through the worst adversities (2 Timothy 4:11). Then, there was another friend, whose name was Demas, about whom Paul wrote positively at first, (Col. 4:14; Philemon 1:24) but who did not remain faithful to the end. Paul records that Demas forsook him because he "loved this present world." (2 Timothy 4:10)
As the end of the age approaches, we also will be tested as to where our love lies; with the Father, or with the world. The apostle John writes, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15) I do not believe that Demas lost his salvation, but he did lose his capacity to sense and express the love of the Father, which damaged his testimony, his spiritual relationships, and undoubtedly cost him heavenly rewards. What kind of friend will we be to God? Will we be faithful, or will we allow the love of this world to quench our fire, and compromise our relationships?
When the apostle Paul wrote this letter to his young student Timothy, he taught him some profound truths that I often apply in my life. I suppose when Timothy received these instructions, he was about my age - a young man still developing his skills at evangelism, teaching and instructing.
Early in my Christian walk, I grabbed hold of a passage - let no man despise thy youth, but rather be an example in word, in conversation, in love, in spirit, and in faith. This was my mantra in the first years of my walk.
Matthew 12:48-50 (NIV) 48He replied to him, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" 49Pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. 50For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Leviticus 6:9, 12-13 (NIV) 9"Give Aaron and his sons this command: 'These are the regulations for the burnt offering: The burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, till morning, and the fire must be kept burning on the altar.
12The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out. Every morning the priest is to add firewood and arrange the burnt offering on the fire and burn the fat of the fellowship offerings on it. 13The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NIV) 4Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
The Jewish people refer to this passage as the Shema. Jesus said it was the greatest of all the laws of God. He also said that all the Law could be summed up in this passage. First it tells us that JHWH (LORD in all caps) is our Elohim (plural for God in Hebrew). Then it tells us JHWH is one. Here we have the mystery of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They are one. There is no difference amongst them. Religions with many gods distinguish the differences and purposes for each god, but the God of the Hebrews is one. We refer to that as monotheism. A perfect God can only be one.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.-Proverbs 22:6
Proverbs 22:6 is a well-known verse. It's often quoted when a child is going astray. It says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." I think that is a great verse, but here is the question I want to ask you, if you are a parent: Have you done your part? Have you actually trained up a child in the way they should go?
Romans 12:1,2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Not only do we receive God's power in our lives when we acknowledge our weakness, but God's power in us works best when we keep the Gospel at the forefront of our minds. The Gospel declares to us our utter dependence on Him, His mercy, and saving grace. When we rely on His strength alone, we receive freedom and peace. But when we rely on our own abilities, talents, or intelligence, we crowd out the potential for God's power. Like the apostle Paul, we should rejoice whenever we remember our weaknesses because then we will be able to see God's full work and power within us.
When we speak of the power of the Holy Spirit, many people--even Christians--misunderstand the meaning of power. They tend to define power as the world defines it.
In the world's view, power conveys the ability to control people, events, and circumstances for our own advantage. In the world, power brings independence and self-sufficiency, with no need for God's help or the assurance of others.
While many devote their lives to achieving this goal, this type of power can never satisfy the soul or bring joy or peace. The world's power is temporary, leaving a person always wanting more.
The Holy Spirit of God is a gift that is given to all who trust in Jesus Christ. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the life of every believer, it is impossible to live a life of obedience to God.
Only when we surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit will we experience freedom from the control of sin and the flesh. Paul explains our need for the Holy Spirit in the first half of Romans 8.