Daily Devotions

DAY 19 Prodigal Christians

     We first meet the soon-to-be prodigal son in Luke 15:12.  It is easy to discern that he had a yearning to taste the things of the world.  He was anxious to leave his father, family and home.  His father’s love and caring no longer constrained him.  Did he think he would have a better life out there in the world?  He will soon find out.

     In order to facilitate a soon departure the prodigal son asked his father for his share of the inheritance.  It seems that his request was more of a demand, for his words were:  “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.”   There is no polite “please” or “thank you” from the son showing his unappreciative and ungrateful spirit.  It seems that the father quickly, but reluctantly no doubt, acquiesced to his son’s request.

      I see the prodigal son’s father as typifying the Christians’ Father.  At our plea for salvation God instantly and freely heaps His blessings upon us.  We become His children – His family members – and being so we have an inheritance the world could never match.  We learn in Romans 8:17 that God makes us His heirs and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.  We can’t even begin to imagine what that inheritance will be like.

     In verse 13 the prodigal son gets his inheritance and soon splits to a far country.  The far country is not named but we can know some things about it.  First, that far country is typical of the sinful world without God.  Sin rules in all countries.  Second, though this is not common thought, that far country like all countries was Satan’s world.  Remember when the Devil offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if he would worship him?  See Matthew Chapter 4 Satan is the present temporary ruler of the world’s kingdoms.

     Third, that far country to which the prodigal son fled would overcome him – would get the best of him.  Those who live in this world following the world’s system must become victims of it.  That goes for prodigal sons and prodigal Christians alike.

     Unlike the prodigal son a prodigal Christian does not have to leave home to flee Father God.  All he has to do is cease being faithful and stop serving God.  That will surely produce a prodigal Christian.  A prodigal Christian, like the Prodigal Son, will soon experience defeat.

     We will take notice of the Prodigal Son’s lifestyle next time.  It should be a real enlightener for Christians.  Until then may GOD BLESS YOU

DAY 18 Prodigal Christians

The beginning of a new sermon titled “Prodigal Christians” is where we are today. No doubt the title immediately brings to mind the parable of Jesus which is commonly called, The Prodigal Son. You may want to read Luke 15:11-24 before you proceed. We will call attention to verses of the text as we proceed.

I agree with the preacher who suggested that a more appropriate name for that parable would be “A Gracious God” or “Our Gracious God” rather than The Prodigal Son. The real point of that parable is a gracious God who welcomes home a wayward sinner and restores him completely.

Furthermore, I see this parable more as a rebuke of the hypocritical, self-righteous Pharisees who maligned the common Jews who came to belief in God and lived for God. Similarly there are many BIG TIME preachers and evangelists today who act like the rest of Christendom are their subjects instead of God’s.

Since we will be discussing the Prodigal Son and Prodigal Christians we should first define what is meant by the term prodigal. The English word prodigal comes from the Greed word meaning: to be wastefully or recklessly extravagant in spending money or resources.

Question: Could there not be wasteful Christians as well as wasteful sinners? Certainly and this sermon will make that truth very clear. As a matter of fact, though I don’t have any numbers, I think the number of prodigal Christians equal or surpass the number of faithful Christians in our churches today.

In this sermon we will use information given for the Prodigal Son to draw a parallel with prodigal Christians. I hope you understand that I am not altering or polluting Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. I am merely showing how information for the Prodigal Son adapts well to the possibility of prodigal Christians.

Tomorrow we will meet the Prodigal Son. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU

DAY 17 Christian Citizens

We pick up today from where we left off yesterday. We have discussed various similarities between our earthly and heavenly citizenships. Today we continue with the same.

It has been mentioned that citizens of earthly countries may be called upon to defend their country. Well, Christians are in an incessant battle of defending their heavenly home – the kingdom of God. We are truly in a holy war as Paul warned Timothy. “This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare.” I Timothy 1:18

Paul saw the defense of the Gospel as warfare – a spiritual war. He even called two of his faithful companions “soldiers.” They were Epaphroditus and Archipus. All Christians are in God’s spiritual army but many are not in the battle. Could that be why Christianity is actually losing the spiritual battle?

With whom are we at war in defense of the kingdom of God? Here in America our enemy is lost American citizens. Just as we are in God’s army the lost Americans are in Satan’s army. I believe many Christians do not truly understand that lost people hate Christians and Christianity. All we have to do is read these words of Jesus: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” Luke 21:17

We are all too familiar with war and the costly preparation for it. Earthly countries train and equip their citizens to fight wars. They mass produce weapons of all kinds and sizes to kill their enemies. Is there a day that passes without graphic pictures of wars in progress around the world? Will they ever stop? Yes, when Jesus Christ returns and takes charge.

Christians are engaged in a spiritual battle. Our training, battle dress and weapons vary greatly from that of earthly wars. Paul described the pieces of our battle armor as truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith and salvation. For our weapons Paul named just one, the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17 The truth is there are many Christians falling in spiritual battle these days because they have unkempt and missing pieces of the spiritual armor.

Spiritual warfare is waged when the church and Christians seek to save souls through evangelism. Rather than blowing them away with earthly weapons we try to give them a new life through salvation. They then may lose their physical body in battle but their spirit would be saved for eternity. How wonderful it would be if the only war was spiritual in nature where souls were saved rather than having their bodies blown away by battle weapons.

I hope I have succeeded in relating the fact that Christians are dual citizens. They have citizenship both in America and heaven. I hope I have adequately presented the dilemma of those who have American citizenship alone. They will not enjoy heaven unless they gain dual citizenships as Christians have.

Look for another sermon tomorrow. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU

DAY 16 Christian Citizens

In our last meeting we talked about our earthly citizenship as Americans. In this session we will probe the dual citizenship of Christians. Christians everywhere have a dual citizenship. They are both a citizen of their earthly country and a citizen of heaven.

We become citizens of America by our physical birth or by the act of naturalization. Christians, thank God, have another greater citizenship, that of heaven. “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20 Paul reminded the Philippian Christians that even as citizens of Philippi their true “conversation” (citizenship) was in heaven.

We Christians in America can ever rejoice while we live our earthly citizenship because we simultaneously are citizens of heaven. When we leave our earthly citizenship we instantly enter our eternal heavenly citizenship. Those who possess only an earthly citizenship do not have that promise or possibility.

We must not forget that behind the governments of this world there is an invisible, sinister power, Satan. Earthly citizens, the lost population, are really subjects of Satan. The Bible declares him as the “god of this world.” II Corinthians 4:4 That is why Satan could offer Jesus the kingdoms of this world when he tempted Him. See Matthew Chapter 4 One day Satan will be deposed and Jesus Christ will be enthroned as the sole Ruler of the world.

As citizens of heaven Christians are governed by a Theocracy – God rules. The Word of God is our constitution, if I may so casually say. Our heavenly constitution supersedes America’s constitution. Earthly governments are becoming more belligerent toward God, Christ and Christians. If they should order us to act against God we are first bound to obey our heavenly government, God, Christ and their Word.

Earthly citizens are obliged to obey the laws of their land. Christians are bound to obey the laws of their land and the laws of God. That should not be a problem because if we obey God we will obey our earthly government. There is one exception to this. America’s anti-God, anti-Christ and anti-Christianity stance is strengthening every day. They continually maneuver to muzzle Christians from speaking the truth. We must not yield to their demands and threats just as Peter and the disciples did not. See Acts Chapter 5

Citizens of earthly countries seldom if ever experience peace in their land nor do they feel safe anymore as a result of unstable civil conditions around the world. Even so, Christian citizens can have peace no matter what goes on around them. Where does this peace come from? Our Savior Jesus Christ.

Here is what Jesus said to His disciples while on their way to the Garden of Gethsemane the night He was taken captive. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Jesus wants His peace to dwell in the hearts of Christian citizens. We have no reason to be hopelessly troubled. We just need to keep our minds on Jesus and what is waiting for us when He returns.

Tomorrow we will continue our thoughts on the dual citizenship of Christians. Until them may GOD BLESS YOU

DAY 15 Christian Citizens

As stated in yesterday’s introduction the dual citizenship of Christians is the focus of this sermon. I know we all understand that Christians are first earthly citizens. We became citizens of America by our physical birth or we were naturalized. Because we are American citizens it is the American government to which we are subjects.

As you may or may not know, America’s government was drafted and ratified to be a Constitutional Republic. Tragically most Americans think that we are a democracy which is an indictment for our educational system’s ineptness. A lesson in government is not the intent here but I will offer this warning. The real danger is our government is transforming itself into a totalitarian government exercising total control over its citizens.

A constitutional government is one that is guided, controlled and constrained by a constitution – an official document of governance. The official governing document for America is “The United States Constitution.” Complementary to the Constitution we have the Bill of Rights. These two articles form the legal framework for America’s government. I dislike throwing more cold water but our matchless, precious articles of governance are being ridiculed and riddled by our present government.

As American citizens we are subject to the laws of the land. As Christians we are commanded to obey our country’s laws. As American citizens we enjoy the rights and privileges afforded by the government. America has worldwide acclaim for the freedoms extended to its people. As American citizens we may also be called upon to defend our country. Sadly that seems to be an everyday demand.

Many people do not know that human government exists because God ordained it. Governments are accountable to God. In Romans chapter 13 we read that human government is the instrument of God. Human government is supposed to maintain civil order and protect the people. It is duty bound to police and punish lawbreakers and reward the law abiders.

The fact is governments are failing God and the people worldwide. The world blares with civil unrest, chaos, terrorism and wars. Earthly citizens everywhere are anxious, perplexed and frightened. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are fueling angry protests globally. It is my belief that the governments are most to blame because they are becoming more anti-God, anti-Christ and anti-Christian. That is a recipe for disaster as we know.

Can we not say that our earthly citizenship is tenuous at best? There is no real peace or hope for earthly citizens. Our earthly citizenship is wrought with trials, troubles and tribulations. The woeful truth is if all one has is an earthly citizenship, an American citizenship, they have not much.

Is there something better? Yes and we will speak of it tomorrow. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU…

DAY 14 Christian Citizens

This begins a new sermon which I have titled, Christian Citizens. By way of INTRODUCTION I give these opening thoughts. There are two classes of American citizens, the lost and the saved, with the former far outnumbering the latter. This unbalanced citizenship encompasses the earth.

The gist of this sermon is the contrast between lost American citizens and saved American citizens. Everyone everywhere is a citizen but not all citizens are Christians. There are also Christian citizens all around the world but those in America are our concern here.

Since we are dealing with citizens and citizenship let us give a definition of “citizen.” A citizen is (1) a member, native or naturalized, of a state or nation, as distinguished from an alien (2) a person owing allegiance to a government and entitled to its protection. My comment: We have a pathetic situation in America with a huge host of aliens and illegal citizens who hold no real allegiance to America. IT IS RUINING OUR COUNTRY!

Our emphasis will be on the dual citizenship of Christians. Lost Americans have only their earthly citizenship – their American citizenship. Saved Americans are citizens of both America and heaven. BIG DIFFERENCE. When Americans who have only their earthly citizenship die they become citizens of hell. When saved Americans die, because they have a heavenly citizenship, they become eternal citizens of heaven.

You have probably heard the expression, “ Born once – die twice. Born twice – die once.” We can similarly say, “One citizenship – die twice. Two citizenships – die Once. That may be kind of silly but true nevertheless.

In this sermon we will make a comparison between those having just an American citizenship and those having dual citizenships both in America and in heaven. I hope you are among the latter.

Tomorrow we will discuss Christians as earthly citizens. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU…

DAY 13 Christianity: A Separated Life

Thus far this sermon has purported two truths concerning Christian separation. (1) God separates Christians at salvation by imparting His holiness to them (2) Christians are to separate themselves unto God by sanctifying themselves – by living holy lives.

At this point I think we all understand that separation from the world is essential to the Christian faith. James straightforwardly declared any faith that was not accompanied by works dead. See James 2:20. I think a major part of the works of faith has to be spiritual separation – separation of the believer from this world.

Surely there are many Christians who, like myself, know Christians who are not living the separated lives that faith requires. There could be several reasons for this but perhaps the most common is they just have not felt the importance of Christian separation. How important is separation?

1. Separation is validation of one’s faith. A Christian knows whether or not he/she is actively and ardently seeking to separate from the world. A Christian should also realize that the degree of their separation dictates their degree of usefulness to God.

2. Separation is a witness to the lost. Lost people will not detect or be impressed by our faith if we are not a separated Christian. It is the difference in character and lifestyle that captures the attention of the lost. We can tell them how faithful we are but separated living is the “proof of the pudding.” We cannot entice lost people to want what we have if we don’t have something different and better.

3. Separation is preparatory for heaven. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14 We must possess holiness if we wish to gain heaven. That holiness comes from sanctification. Sanctification is received from the Lord at salvation and further gained from our personal conduct of faith.

This closes our sermon, Christianity: A Separated Life. If I have adequately presented the matter we have come to know: (1) God separates believers unto Himself at salvation by granting them a state of holiness. (2) Christians are to separate themselves unto God by sanctifying themselves. This is done through living holily.

In our next meeting we will begin another sermon. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU…

DAY 12 Christianity: A Separated Life

In our last devotion we learned that God demands Christians to separate themselves unto Him through personal sanctification. We also were shown specific ways by which are to separate from the world. Today we wish to discover how Christians can to separate themselves from this world and unto God.

We begin with these words of Paul to the Roman Christians. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

In verse 1 Paul instructed Christians to “present your bodies a living sacrifice.” We should first understand that our “body” is the whole person: body, soul and spirit. The word “present” here means to give or to yield. Christians are to give themselves wholly to God for His service and use.

In verse 2 Paul admonishes Christians to “be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” Christians are not to conform themselves to this world. That means we are not to pattern ourselves after the people of the world. I wish it were not true but it seems that Christians are copying the attitude and ways of the world more and more.

To combat conformation to this world we are told to “renew our mind.” How do we renew our mind? We bring our thinking, both morally and spiritually, in line with the Word of God. Naturally, in order for us to do that we must first know the Word of God so that we can direct our thinking. Again, it seems increasingly noticeable that Christians have the same mind as those of the Word.

I believe that constant application of Romans 12:1-2 will make separated Christians for God and Christ. However, I also believe that we cannot transform and renew ourselves without proper assistance. That assistance is found in:

1. The Holy Spirit. “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16 If we let the Holy spirit lead us we will not conform to the world and our mind will be more Christ like. We will agree with God, Christ and the Word.

2. God’s Word. “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17 Jesus prayed this to the Father. According to Jesus the Word of God will sanctify us (make us holy) and provide us with the truth. The more of the Word we have in us the less we will be conformed to the world.

Today we saw how Christians are to separate themselves from the world and where our help is for accomplishing it. Much has been said about Christian separation. Tomorrow we will note the importance of Christian separation. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU…

Day 11 Christianity: A Separated Life

In this session we search the truth that Christians are to separate themselves unto God by personal sanctification.

Aren’t you glad that God sanctified you (declared you holy) at salvation? God’s holiness is what separates Christians from the lost world. What some of us may not know is that God’s declaration of our holiness is not the end of the matter. Christianity is an ongoing pursuit of personal sanctification or holiness.

Here is a fitting quote from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. “Thus sainthood, or sanctification, is not an attainment, it is the state into which God, in grace, calls sinful men, and in which they begin their course as Christians.” Notice: sanctification is a state in which “they begin their course as Christians.” This course is one of continual growth in personal sanctification or holiness.

1. “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.” I Thessalonians 4:3-4 We are to remain sexually pure thereby sanctifying ourselves before God.

2. “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Corinthians 7:1 We are to cleanse (purge) ourselves of all fleshly lusts which will allow us to be holy in the sight of the Lord.

3. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (conduct or lifestyle)” I Peter 1:15 God commands Christians to be holy by their own manners, conduct or lifestyle.

If we are separate ourselves unto God by personal sanctification there are some things we must avoid. Here are three Bible verses that identify them.

1. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” Titus 2:11-12

2. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness…?” II Corinthians 6:14

3. “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” II Thessalonians 3:6

In the above three verses we are instructed to: (1) avoid ungodliness and worldly lusts (2) not to be wrongly associated with unbelievers (3) to disassociate ourselves from misbehaving Christians. Because of our innate sinful inclinations this is not always easy but it is necessary if we want to be the separated Christian God would have us to be.

Today we learned that as Christians we are to sanctify ourselves by living holily before God. Tomorrow we will learn how we can accomplish the act of personal sanctification. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU…

DAY 10 Christianity: A Separated Life

Christianity surely is to be a Spiritual separation from the worldly life. Yesterday we learned that separation from this world comes at salvation because God sanctifies us. He imparts His holiness to us making us an image of Himself. We further learned that God rightly has ownership of us because He created us to be engaged in good works – righteous works.

Though we are granted a holiness status with God at salvation there are several sources of holiness from which we must continually draw. The Bible lists these sources of sanctification as:

1. Jude 1 reads: “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father…” James addressed his letter to “them that are sanctified by God the Father.” We cannot be saved except God sanctify us (make us holy) at salvation.

2. I Corinthians 1:2 reads: “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them which are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints…” Paul speaks of Christians as being “sanctified in Christ Jesus” which makes them saints or holy ones. The more like Christ a Christian becomes the holier he is.

3. I Peter 1:2 Peter writes to the: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit…” Peter sees believers as God’s elect (chosen) by sanctification (being made holy) by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Godhead so therefore must be holy. Our holiness is proportionate to the amount of control we give the Holy Spirit.

4. John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” Jesus prayed to God the Father for His disciples. He asked God to sanctify the disciples by the truth which is the Word of God. Surely we understand that the more of the Word of God we know and the more it rules us the holier we will be made.

Praise to our gracious God who amply provides what Christians need – sanctification or separation by holiness. We now know that sanctification is provided by God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Word. Christians ought not lack sanctification with the abundance and power of these sure sources.

When God surveys humanity from on high He sees two vastly different groups. The first is the lost people. These are void of God’s sanctification. They have not been set apart by God’s holiness. The second group is the saved people – those who have been sanctified (made holy) by God at salvation. In which group are you?

This finishes Part 1: God Separates Christians Unto Himself. As we continue tomorrow we will hear how Christians separate themselves unto God. Until then may GOD BLESS YOU.