Satisfying Words

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, April 27, 2015
Based Upon Luke 4:21

Today is the day for your spiritual wealth, healing, freedom, and relief from blindness! Today is the day that if you receive the Words of Jesus, whatever He says, that you can rest assured that you can enter into a relationship so satisfying, that you will never hunger or thirst for worldly things again!

Whenever Christ is near to share a message of deliverance, and you wish to receive it, it’s yours for the asking. Unfortunately, so many who have close encounters with the Lord, fail to receive the blessing, because they just don’t believe that His bounties are for them. They “believe” God on behalf of others, but when it comes to them, they become so self-centered that they think their sin is stronger than God’s power to set them free. Others don’t receive the blessing, because they are unwilling to surrender their will to Him. They would much rather control the direction that their proverbial vehicle is traveling, than to yield the wheel to the One who never gets lost and always carries His people safely to the destination He has chosen for them.

Ask yourself these questions: “Am I traveling the roads of life with God? Am I willing and submissive enough to surrender my helplessness to God, so this day can be the day I exchange my life of sin and shame, for eternal life, without sin unto salvation?

Mission: Freedom for Captives

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, April 26, 2015
Based Upon Luke 4:16-22

There are a great many of us, me included, who love to read a passage in the book of Luke, which demonstrates that it was the custom of Christ to go to synagogue on each Sabbath for worship. It is an almost too obvious fact that a Jewish person would do so. They wholeheartedly embraced the blessing of seventh-day Sabbath rest, which God established as a sign of His power to create and recreate us. And, for millennia, people all around the world have not ceased to keep the custom Jesus modeled during his more than 33 years living on earth, which was given to us at the time of creation.

Although this fact seems to be the focal point of Luke 4 in many discourses and pieces of literature and commentaries among Sabbath keepers, I would like us to also focus a bit on what He actually did that day in the Synagogue.

The Bible says, “And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.” (Luke 4:17–20). It was at this moment during one of the may Sabbaths Jesus kept in fellowship with other believers, that Jesus announced His powerful ministry of redemption.

He firmly established His anointed prophetic mission to deliver helpless sinners from our bondage to sin, and give us the power to live for Him forever.

I love the fact that though He could have made this proclamation at any time at all, which would in no way have diminished its import, our loving Savior chose the sanctified day of rest, to share the blessing with us all. This blessing is now forever recorded for all the world to experience.

Your Deliverer Stands Ready

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, April 24, 2015
Based Upon Exodus 20:2

The many years of slavery that God’s people endured in Egypt are instructive for us even today. Slavery itself can be an object lesson about the slavery to sin that human beings endure from day to day. We are constantly bombarded with the insults and injuries of this world’s pharaoh, the devil, who would rather endure the punishment of heaven than to let us be free from spiritual slavery.

One of the most encouraging aspects of the exodus from Egypt is that the Lord did not give up the process of liberating Israel because of Pharaoh’s insolence. God did not allow even the people’s complaints in the wilderness to intimidate Him into leaving them in captivity. The Red Sea, kingly armies, and impossible odds were no match for God. His purpose was to show the entire world that all things are possible with Him. He wanted His people to know that He would deliver them by any means necessary.

Are you bogged down with the unfortunate reality of sinful bondage? Does it seem that the Lord has brought you to a dry desert to die? Do you often feel that it was better when you served sin in you spiritual Egypt? The Lord is saying to your soul, “I have brought you out of bondage for a purpose.” You see, God did not go through all of the twists and turns of leading the exodus only to allow the people to whither and die. The Promised Land was in view. If they had been faithful to Him, in His strength, they all would have entered.

When the temptation comes to believe the struggle with sin is too difficult to bear, just look up to heaven and reach out in faith to your deliverer. Look upon Jesus and live, knowing that that ol’ serpent the devil cannot harm you with his deadly venom if God is on your side. Look to Jesus and live!

Don’t Take On This Fight Without Him

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, April 23, 2015
Based Upon Acts 19

Name-dropping is such an obnoxious habit. You’ve encountered these people: You know, the ones who want to impress you by slyly mentioning the name of someone with whom you might be impressed in order to validate their associations, products, or services. While some name-droppers know the people they mention, most are just hoping to swindle you into believing they actually have something of value to offer, when they really don’t. Their connection is hollow at best.

What happens when our lives are flooded with a deluge of trials and we know people whose connection with God is strong, but ours is not? Will their strength carry us through? I know what some of you are thinking: “When I am weak, my friends can pray for me.” This is true.

The Bible encourages us to intercede for one another and be supportive when our brothers and sisters are in need.

However, there are people who refuse to pray, and think the prayers of others will make them holy. There are people who refuse to study the Word of God for themselves, but think that overhearing great sermons on occasion will be sufficient to keep them when the times get rough. There are those who refuse to embrace fellowship with believers and God during weekly church services and repeatedly hearken back to some childhood event when they got “saved.” Our God is a Present Help in trouble. He is our daily Manna who comes down to nourish us with spiritual food. He is our Personal Redeemer who is able to keep us from falling.

Our theme chapter highlights what happens when we get into the ring with the devil thinking we can namedrop our way through a fight with him. The Bible says, “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:13–16). The moral of this story is have a daily relationship with God for yourself and all will be well, but simply saying the name of Jesus in a sentence with no vital connection with Him, is a detriment to spiritual health.

The great thing about God is that He is still available today, to accept you into fellowship with Him.

As you choose daily to abide in Him, He will fight your battles.

When trials come, He will always step in and supply the help you need. Never, ever go to battle with the enemy in your own strength. Jesus defeated him in heaven. Jesus defeated him at the cross. Jesus defeated him at the empty tomb. Jesus will defeat him in the lake of fire. Why not let Jesus defeat him in your life? He has a proven track record with outstanding results.

Freedom Now. How To Never Go Back

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Based Upon: Exodus 14:11-12

There are those that have been enslaved for such a long period of time that they cannot conceive of themselves being free. The burden of their captivity has broken their spirit, and it is nearly impossible to instill hope in them. After many years of hoping and being disappointed, they cannot be convinced that a change is possible.

People of color endured centuries of slavery in the United States. Their slave masters gave them inferior food, poor living conditions, attempted to take their religion from them, and promoted disunity amongst them. Now, many years later, many people whose ancestors endured the slavery still demonstrate a slave mentality. This defeatist mentality is apparent in limited aspirations, pessimism, violence, poor eating habits, consistently choosing bad relationships, and other life-defeating circumstances.

As God delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian slavery, the road was rough. At every turn they opposed the process of liberation God had employed. When they experienced the slightest trials, they desired to go back into slavery. Instead of looking forward to the final stages of liberation, they envisioned themselves as content slaves. This was sad. The Lord gave them signs in the sky by day and night to let them know that He was with them. He amplified the seventh-day Sabbath so they could regain a grasp on God. He provided them manna from heaven and water in the desert, yet they desired the debilitating meats of slavery. They, no doubt, would rather have drunk the wine of bondage than the fresh water of progressive freedom.

Today, many that have chosen to follow Jesus begin to become discouraged as they grow. Sometimes the difficulty that comes through sacrificing self and sin on the altar of liberation is overwhelming. They allow the enemy to coax them into yielding Godly religion, heavenly bread, that is, the Word of God, and the hope of complete freedom that comes at the second advent of Jesus. Let the Lord invigorate you. Allow Him to instill a victorious mentality within you. As we grow through the sometimes difficult processes of emancipation, not giving up, we may appreciate the ways in which God leads us. We grow in optimism and welcome the opportunity to lead others to spiritual freedom. We want to tell the whole world about our emancipator Jesus Christ. Do not cherish a slave mentality. Accept the freedom that comes from knowing Christ. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36).

Holy Presence of God–In You

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Based Upon: Exodus 3:4-5

Much can be said about the holiness of God. At the sound His name demons flee, diseases lose their grip, and broken hearts are bound up. God’s presence inspires unholy men to become worldwide evangelists, prostitutes to become His witnesses, and the dumb cannot help but to speak eloquently.

Moses had a close encounter with this God, the One whom angels adore and humankind worships. During the beginning stages of Moses’ ministry, God spoke to him through a bush that, though on fire, was not consumed. As Moses sought to understand the nature of this grand display, the Lord spoke to him. The first thing He told Moses was to take off his shoes, because the very ground beneath him was holy. This is not the only time this occurred in Bible history. “And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” (Joshua 5:13, 15).

What made the ground that was just ordinary moments before these men’s encounter with God holy? The answer is simple yet beautiful. The fact that God was present made even the ground holy.

Is God present in your life?

If He lives in your heart, you too are holy.

Was the ground holy by nature? Just as the composition of the ground is ordinary by itself, we are as well. When God inhabits a person, place, or thing, it automatically becomes holy. Pray that the Lord will so permeate your life that you will be seen as holy in God’s estimation. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

What You Need to Get Into This A-List Event

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, April 19, 2015
Based Upon: Zephaniah 1:12-15

Often we see events depicted in the Scriptures with different outcomes for people, depending on their attitude toward the Lord. For instance, in the parable of Matthew 22, the king invited guests to the wedding feast of his son. There were those who refused to attend. There were those who chose to attend and have a wonderful time in honoring the son. Eventually, the king is depicted as visiting with the invited guests. Much to his dismay, he discovered a man that chose not to have on the garment that was appropriate for the event. The king asked him how he got in not having on the appropriate attire. The man was speechless, and the king commanded that he be tied up, taken out, and punished.

Two groups are represented as being at the feast. The ones that had on the garment representing the righteousness of Christ, and those who chose to present their own insufficient righteousness.

The king saw both, but between the two, there were different outcomes.

Such is the case in the first chapter of Zephaniah. The Lord is depicted as being on the verge of unleashing His wrath upon all idolaters. He is especially concerned with those who claimed to be His people, yet chose to worship Baal, Molech, and Dagon instead. The Lord said, “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.” (Zephaniah 1:7). Although Matthew and Zephaniah are not speaking of the same event, the imagery is clear. Those who choose to trust in anything other than the Lord, will always lose. God is a jealous God.

The contrast is made between those who love the Lord and others who do not. “And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil. Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.” (Zephaniah 1:12-13). “And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.”
(Isaiah 65:21-22).

When the Lord unleashes His wrath against wickedness, there are two groups present. To one group it is promised that they will build on earth in vain, and in the end, be utterly destroyed. The other group will build on the new earth and benefit fully from the fruit of their labor.

The distinguishing mark between the two is their relationship with God.

If we choose to honor the Lord for all He has done for us and by His grace remain faithful to Him, we soon will enter into eternity without sin unto salvation. If we choose to despise the blessed gift of salvation and put anything above God, we will be bitterly disappointed and reap the bitter reward of wickedness, which is eternal ruin. Which group are you choosing to be a part of? “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15).

More Precious Than This?

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, April 16, 2015
Based Upon: Proverbs 2:4-5

Solomon was the wisest man living in his day, and his admonition is proof. He was a man, though plagued with sin, as we all are, who knew what it was to seek after God. Solomon is the one who said, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7). It seems that he had a healthy obsession with godly wisdom.

Many are in hot pursuit of riches. Some spend almost all that they have on lottery tickets. Others invest large sums in the stock market and real estate. Still others dig in the earth with hopes of discovering some priceless artifact or precious gem. Solomon is saying that the tireless energy we expend seeking the riches of this world, can be better used seeking God’s wisdom. It is in searching that we begin to understand reverence for God, and departing from evil. It is in seeking God with all of our heart, that we begin an intimate relationship with Him. Seek the Lord while he may be found. Search for Him and you will find the knowledge of God.

Great Day Coming

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Based Upon: Isaiah 11:8-10 & Galatians 3:26-29

We are looking forward to a day when the Lord Jesus will settle inequity for the last time. He will gather all of His people together, from every nation, kindred, tongue and people to the great reward of the righteous. For those who are in Christ, there will no longer be a distinction. There will be no male, female, bond, free, Jew, or Gentile. All will be united under the singular bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26-29). Predators will cease to exist. Children will be able to play with snakes that were once deadly, without the possibility of being hurt. There will be absolutely no blight of sin present forever.

This is the ultimate fulfillment of the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ. When He bursts through the clouds of heaven at the last day, He will have fully accomplished His mission of salvation. His substitutionary death, which started the events for our salvation, will have been completed. The empty tomb, where Jesus once laid, will stand as a living memorial to the power He exhibited over hell, death, and the grave. It will prove that He is able to raise sinners to the level of saints in His sight. The judgment of His house and cleansing of His people will have already seen its end; therefore, when He returns, He will be able to bring His eternal reward with Him. In that day, the ultimate fulfillment of all prophecies, attributed to the prosperity of His people, will be apparent. It will be a wonderful day! It will be a great day! It will be a glorious day! I look forward to it, how about you?

Satisfaction In The Presence of God

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Based Upon: Isaiah 6:3

Satisfaction is usually associated with having one’s needs fulfilled. If an individual is hungry, and then has a plate of wholesome food, they should be satisfied. When a marriage is successful and each spouse feels complete and happy in one another, they can be considered as satisfied. When a child of God has food and clothing, that child should be satisfied, not ambitious for worldly riches or fame (1 Timothy 6:8).

In my studies several years ago, I encountered an interesting facet of contentment. It was about the fulfillment that angels must posses when in the presence of God. David, the one beloved of God, understood this kind of satisfaction when he wrote, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11). In the presence of God, we may find all that we need. There is abundance in His presence. There is peace in His presence. There is life in His presence. It is impossible to be proud while engulfed by His presence.

When Isaiah was in vision, he witnessed heavenly worship. “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3). The angels praised the Lord to the point that the very pillars of heaven shook (Isaiah 6:4). It occurred to me through further study, that although the angels are incredible specimens of beauty and power, they are so satisfied by the presence of God, that they lose sight of themselves. His splendor so overwhelms them, that they cannot recognize the light with which they are covered. Their greatest joy and pleasure is to adore Him.

The Lord is more than worthy of our praise. If sinless, beautiful angels adore Him, what hinders us? “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our make.” (Psalms 95:6).