1 How Can We Know The Way?
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
There are many different views and opinions on the way to heaven. A common misconception is the old idea, "If my good, outweighs my bad, then I will go to heaven." Some people believe that a loving God could not send people to hell. There are different religious beliefs that a person can be "prayed in" after he dies. Other people say they don't believe that there is a heaven or hell and that life ends after death. All of these ideas are wrong. According to God's Holy Word there is only one way to heaven. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." God is holy, and we are born in sin. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9) The one and only way to go to heaven is by accepting Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Believe in Him and He will guide you all the way.
2 One Thing Thou Lackest
"And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions." Mark 10:17-22
This man wanted to be saved. He even went to Jesus, the right person, in his search for eternal life. Only one thing stood in the way of his salvation... his riches. We don't have to sell all we have and give our possessions to the poor to be saved. Jesus knew that this man's wealth was more important in his life than treasures in heaven. Is one thing standing in the way of your salvation? Maybe you are a big sports star and you don't want to surrender that part of your life to Jesus. There is nothing wrong with playing basketball, unless you let it come between you and the Lord. You may enjoy going to worldly places and you don't want to give that up. That one thing may be standing in your way of finding salvation for your soul. Search your heart. Is there one thing in your life that is keeping you from coming to Jesus? "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37)
3 One Thing Is Needful
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-41
I enjoy planning meals and having guests in our home, but I must admit that I am much like Martha. When someone comes over I am usually "careful and troubled about many things." I like for people to come, but I don't seem to ever have enough time to get the house clean and I feel rushed in getting the meal done at the right time. I have become so busy with other things that I have not invited anyone to visit in a long time. I think that much of our stress is caused by being too busy. We try to work too many things into our schedules and rush from one place to another. We eat fast food and drive in the fast lane. We need to listen to these words of Jesus as He told Martha, "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Jesus taught the disciples to serve one another as He washed their feet. We need to serve one another. But we must also take time to sit at the feet of Jesus. We must take time to pray and read His Word as we seek His will for our lives. I am reminded of Psalm 46:10 that begins, "Be still, and know that I am God..." You may be working hard and going strong for the Lord. You may have many responsibilities at work and even at church. Don't let all these other things come between you and worship. We are to serve the Lord, but we also need to worship the Lord.
4 One Thing I Know
"Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” John 9:24-25
Let's back up and read the first of this chapter. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:1-3) The very first words of this chapter tell us that Jesus passed by. I am so glad that Jesus passed by where I was one day, I was a young girl and my grandfather was preaching when God showed me that I was lost and on my way to hell. I was spiritually blind until God let His light shine in my heart. I prayed and asked Jesus to save me and He has been with me all the way, ever since. There is not a day that I don't talk with my Lord. There was nothing I did to deserve salvation, but I am so thankful that Jesus paid the price on that old rugged cross for me. There are many things I don't know, but I can say like the blind man, "One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." This verse reminds me of that blessed old hymn, Amazing Grace. It was written around 1770 by John Newton and is still a favorite hymn of young and old today.
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed!
Thro' many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;
'Tis grace hath bro't me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.
When we've been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise Than when we first begun.
4th Of July
5 "One Nation Under God"
"And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I shuold not call any man common or unclean." Acts 10:28
Our country was founded on Christian principles and Bible doctrine. Now, there are many who want to take God out of our government, our schools, and just about all public places. They want to remove "In God We Trust" from our money and historical monuments. There are petitions to stop prayer in the name of Jesus. As Christians we need to stand up for the Christian beliefs on which this nation was founded. Our country began as "one nation under God". When I was young, our school day also began with the pledge of allegiance to the flag and each student recited these words, "one nation under God". Many of the countries have been established since Bible days, such as Israel, Egypt, and Italy. When I think of how young America is compared to these nations, it is amazing how God has blessed this country in the last 230 years. I believe that God will continue to bless our nation as long as the Christians in our country try to hold us together as "one nation under God". We read from Isaiah 55:5 in Sunday School and it was mentioned that if America was in the Bible is was in this verse, "Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee." The next verse is also good, "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" John 1:11-12 also tells us, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" Jesus came to God's chosen people, but they rejected Him. He made the way of salvation open to other nations and other people. We need to seek Him while He may be found and pray that God will keep His blessing on our nation.
6 Not One Thing Has Failed Of God's Promises
"And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof." Joshua 23:14
These are part of the last words of Joshua. He reminded the children of Israel that God had delivered them out of Egypt and blessed them in the Promised Land. He wanted them to know that God had kept His Word and His promises. Joshua also charged them, "And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 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 24:13-15) I am glad that I can say with Joshua, that not one thing has failed of God's promises. We have many promises in our Bible and we can be sure that God's Word never changes. Our friends and family may tell us something and then forget what they told us. They may promise to help us with a task and something come up that hinders them from following through. We may make promises that we can't keep. But God will always keep His Word. Not one thing has failed. Jesus said, "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:18)
7 This One Thing I Do
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14
Regrets. Who doesn't have regrets? Probably the older you are, the more regrets you have. You may regret some of the decisions you made in the past. You may be ashamed of some of the things you did. Your regrets may not be of things you did, but things you failed to do. As you get older and look back on your life there may be things that you wish you would have said to the people who were important in your life. We can look back and ask God to forgive us, but we should not dwell on the past. You may think that your past was too sinful for God to ever forgive. If we confess our sin He will forgive our sin. King David said, "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12) Paul said, "...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind..." Before the Lord saved Paul, he consented to the death of Stephen and persecuted the church. (Acts 8:1-3) After the Lord saved him he had to forget those things in his past. We can't undo our past, but one thing we can do is to forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things of God. "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
8 One Thing Have I Desired
"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple." Psalm 27:4
It was David's desire to be in the house of the Lord. David offers up praise to the Lord, the Good Shepherd, in Psalm 23 and he says, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever." We can praise the Lord anywhere, but it is special to sing songs of praise with one another at church. We also enjoy the fellowship of one another at church. Many different people can come together and have that common bond of salvation and fellowship together. We meet together for praise and fellowship, and we also meet at church to pray. Jesus said, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer..." (Matthew 21:13) We can turn off all the things of the world in our minds and bow at an old-fashioned altar and pray to our Holy God. We also go to church to be spiritually fed. We gain power and strength as we learn from God's Word. There are many reasons I like to go to church, but the most important reason of all, is to worship. I can worship God as I hear the birds sing in the morning, or as I look into the beautiful sky in the evening. I can worship as I drive alone in my car. I can worship any place and anytime, but I like to worship in the house of my God. We should have a holy reverance for the house of the Lord and go to worship. Tomorrow is the Lord's day. Go to church, and "behold the beauty of the Lord."
9 One Lost Sheep
"Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:1-7
We like to tell this story to our children because it is so simple they can understand it. Jesus told it in the presence of the Pharisees and scribes who thought they needed no repentance. They kept the letter of the law and foolishly relied on their own righteousness to bring them to God. Let's look at Luke 5:29-32, "And Levi made him a great feast in his house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He came to find the lost sheep. I am glad that He left His home in glory to save lost sinners. I was that one lost sheep and I praise the Lord for saving me and carrying me on His shoulders. Praise the Lord!!!
10 One Fold And One Shepherd
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again." John 10:14-17
We saw how there is rejoicing in heaven over one lost sheep that is found. Each one is important to Jesus. Here we see that each sheep is part of one fold. Sometimes I think about the people I will see when I get to heaven. All the great men and women of the Bible are there and we will be able to talk with them through eternity. We will see Moses, and Enoch, and King David, a man after God's own heart. All who have been saved down through the years will be together in heaven, and we worship the Lord forever. Not only will there be men and women of Bible times in heaven, but our loved ones that were saved will be there. Each time a Christian friend dies, I think of my Dad meeting them in heaven and the conversations they must have together. Heaven will be like a large family reunion with all of the family of God together. Our churches need to work together for the Lord, knowing that all that are saved are part of the "one fold". Not only did Jesus say that there is one fold, but He also said that there is one shepherd. Our theme this month is "One Way". There is no other way to get to heaven than by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ to save you. There are many different religions and they have their own gods, but there is only one God of salvation and one Good Shepherd. The man-made gods of false religions can't save you. Don't trust in the shepherd of "good works" to save you. Romans 3:10 and 23 tell us, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:... For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Each person must accept Jesus as his or her personal Lord and Savior. Don't think that you can go to heaven on your parents' or grandparents' salvation. Grandma may have been a holy, Christian believer, and she will want to see you in heaven. But if you are hoping that Grandma will let you in at the gate of heaven, you are making a big mistake. Jesus said, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." (John 10:9) I have heard preachers say that God doesn't have grandchildren, only children. Do you believe? "Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:24-28)
11 One Body And Many Members
"For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body.” I Corinthians 12:12-19
Sometimes I read scriptures and I have to pray and really study to understand the meaning. That is not the case with these verses. Here is a simple comparison of our body and the body of Christ. As each person is saved God puts him or her into the body of Christ "as it hath pleased him". We need to love and accept each Christian in the body of Christ. "And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness." (I Corinthians 12:21-23) Don't judge other Christians by their looks, or their wealth, or even their knowledge. We are all individuals, but we are all part of one body and God gives each of us a purpose. "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues... But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way." (I Corinthians 12:26-31) God has given each member of the body different gifts. Find the gifts God has given you and use them for His glory. (And for those who want to know the "more excellent way", read the next chapter.)
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." Ephesians 4:1-6
In my search of the scriptures for verses to use in our theme of "one" I have found that "one" doesn't always mean "one" as a single one, all alone, by itself. In these verses Paul admonishes the believers to work together to keep unity. In this instance we see that "one" can be a joint effort of the whole. We saw this in our text yesterday as we realized that we are part of the "one" body, but we are many members. Sometimes with so many different members, we don't always see things the same way. This is not new to our generation, as we see in this letter written to the believers at Ephesus so many years ago. Paul asked them to be longsuffering, and to bear with one another in love. He reminded them that we all serve One Lord, and we are all of one faith, and one baptism. He further reminded them that there is "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Each one of us received the gift of salvation, through no works of our own. A rich man in our church should not lift himself up above a poor man because we can't buy salvation, but we all receive salvation through the wonderful grace of God. Work to keep unity in your church family.
13 One Talent
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And like wise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. and so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather whether I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." Matthew 25:14-29
We talked about how God has given each of us gifts and we need to use those gifts for His glory. Today I want to challenge you to use your talents for the Lord. I know that the word, "talent", in this story is money, and I will get to that in a minute, but first let's talk of talents. God has given each of us talents "according to his several ability". Some people seem to have many talents, and just as in our text above, the more they use their talents for God, the more their talents seem to grow. If you have five talents, or two talents and you are using them for the Lord, that is wonderful. If you have to search to find your talent, don't hide it, but give it to God and watch it grow. If you can sing, then sing to praise the Lord. If you can teach, then teach of God's goodness. My Mom is a wonderful seamstress. You might wonder how she could use a talent for sewing for God. She has often made and given dresses to children and widows in her neighborhood. She uses her God-given ability for others. Find your talents, and use them for God.
Now let's look at talents as money. We need to give our tithes and offerings to the Lord. God have given you everything that you have. He has given you the things that you see, your food and clothing, and a place to live. He also gives you things you don't see, like the air you breathe, and hope and peace. We need to give a portion back to Him. We can give tithes to our church and we can give love offerings to missionaries and those in need. I have used these verses before, but let's look at them again. "Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:8-10)
14 One Hour
"Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:36-41
Some people have many talents to give to the Lord. Some have more money to give to the Lord. We should give to the Lord according to our ability to give, as those who have more should give more. Have you ever stopped to think that we all have the same number of hours in a day? We all wake up each morning with our day spread out before us, and when the night has come, we can't get any of it back. We take time to eat, time to work, sometimes we play, and eventually we rest. How much time do we give to our Lord? Jesus asked the disciples to watch with Him. It is sad that in His greatest trial, His disciples could not even watch one hour. What about us? How much time do we give to our Lord? Do we feel that one hour a week on Sunday morning is all we can spare in our busy schedules? Jesus said, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation..." Jesus is preparing a home for us to live in for eternity, surely we can give Him a little more time today.
15 One Gave Thanks
"And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." Luke 17:11-19
We may not have much money to give to the Lord. We may not have great talents to give to God, and our time may be stretched to the limit, but we can all give thanks to God. What can we thank Him for? First of all, we can never thank Him enough for the gift of salvation. "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (II Corinthians 9:15) Then we need to thank Him for everything else. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." (I Thessalonians 5:18) When should we thank Him? "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" (Ephesians 5:20) "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." (Hebrews 13:15) Only one of the ten lepers returned to give thanks to Jesus. We think that is bad, but how many take only one month in twelve to thank God? We plan a big Thanksgiving meal and prepare for days, then say a short prayer of thanks. We should get up every morning and give thanks to God for giving us another day. Are you like the one who fell down on his face to give Jesus thanks, or are you one of the nine who kept going on their way?
16 Can We Find Such A One?
"And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass. Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt... And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath shewed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art:" Genesis 41:32-33, 37-39
Many of us know this story. King Pharaoh dreamed that seven fat cows were eaten by seven skinny cows. Then he dreamed that seven good ears of corn were devoured by seven thin ears of corn. God gave Joseph the interpretation, that seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of famine. Joseph suggested that Pharaoh choose a man to gather and store food in the seven years of plenty so that there would be food during the years of famine. "And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?" What does the world say about us? Do our co-workers say that we walk in the Spirit? Does our family see Christian love in our lives? The world is searching for satisfaction and they will never find it in money, alcohol, drugs, or the lust of the flesh. Jesus is the only one who can give peace to a troubled soul. And the only way they will come to Jesus is through us. The world is out there asking, "Can we find such a one?" Be that one. Be that one to show them love. Be that one to point them to Christ. Be that one that makes a difference in someone's life.
17 One To Stand In The Gap
“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed,... Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane,...neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean... Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken. The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD." Ezekiel 22:23-31
I don't know how many times God warned the children of Israel. This passage is very clear to show the sin of the land. We see the sins of the priests, the princes, the prophets, and the people. God calls out through Ezekiel, "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." We saw in our verses yesterday how the world is looking for "such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is". Here in Ezekiel we see that God is looking for one to "make up the hedge, and stand in the gap", but He found none. The enemy was coming and God wanted to save the city, but He could find no one to stand for right. We need to learn from these scriptures. There are many in our country who have violated God's law, and profaned His Name and His Word. I believe today that God is still looking for Christian people to "stand in the gap". The enemy is trying to break through the walls of our homes and our churches to break down our country. We need to stand firm on our Christian beliefs. Many are falling away. Many people who were faithful to the Lord and faithful to church years ago, now don't see the need to serve God. Can God count on you to "stand in the gap"? Stand strong in the Lord.
18 One Against Four Hundred And Fifty
"So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel. And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.” I Kings 18:20-22
I began this devotional web site for my sons who went away to college. I tried to give them verses to think about that would help them in their daily living. There may have been times they felt like the only Christian in their suite. There may have been times when they felt like the only Christian in their dorm. There may have even been times when they felt like the only Christian on campus. You may also feel like you are the only person living for God in your home, school, or workplace. Elijah came right out and asked the children of Israel, "How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him." We cannot live to God and follow after the things of the world. Notice the next line. "And the people answered him not a word." No wonder Elijah said he was the only man of God left. God proved Himself on Mount Carmel that day as the fire fell on the sacrifice that Elijah offered. The 450 prophets of Baal were slain and that made Jezebel mad and she threatened to kill Elijah. Elijah ran to Mount Horeb. "And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." (I Kings 19:9-10) You may take a stand for God and find that you are the only one standing. God sent a great and strong wind, but He was not in the wind. Then He sent an earthquake but He was not in the earthquake. "And after the earthquake a fire: but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." (I Kings 19:12-14) Many today are looking for God to speak and move in big, earth-shattering ways, when He may be trying to speak to them in a still small voice. Elijah still felt like he was the only one, but in verse 18 God told him that there were seven thousand in Israel that had not bowed to Baal. You may be the only one taking a stand, but you are never alone. Listen for God to speak to you in that still small voice.
19 By One Sin Entered The World, And By One We Are Saved
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses,... But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:12-21
Our text above tells us that sin entered into the world by one man and passed on to all men. We know Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" and Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Only one can save you, Jesus Christ our Lord. We are having our Youth Jubilee this week and about 30 young people have bowed on their knees and asked the Lord to save them. They found the one way to salvation. They felt the grace of God in their hearts. It was wonderful to hear these young people testify that God had saved them. You, too, can enjoy the fellowship with the Lord and learn of His amazing grace. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)
20 The Voice Of One Crying In The Wilderness
"The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Mark 1:1-3
In looking for verses of those who were singled out, and mentioned as "one" I noticed these familiar verses. "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight." Isaiah foretold this messenger in Isaiah 40:1-3, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." John the Baptist was The Messenger who followed through til death and delivered his message. He is described as "The voice of one..." God could have sent an army to prepare the people for His Son. He sent the angels to the shepherds and could have let them deliver the message in song. But God chose "one" to carry the message. God may have put you in a special place to carry the message for Him. You may think that those around you won't listen to "one". Just remember that God sent John as "the voice of one" and lift up your voice to Him. Say with the Psalmist, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and keep looking up." (Psalm 5:) Determine in your heart to be "one" that will lift up your voice for the Lord.
21 There Cometh One Mightier
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." Mark 1:4-8
John was "the voice of one crying in the wilderness" that was foretold by the prophet Isaiah. Gabriel appeared to Zacharias in his old age and said, "Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John." (Luke 1:13) Mary went to see Elisabeth "And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy." (Luke 1:42-44) Yes, John was a mighty man, filled with the Spirit even before his birth, but he said, "There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose." When we are small in our own eyes, we are big in the eyes of the Lord. Our problem today is that we are big in our own eyes, and that makes us even smaller in the eyes of God. We don't have that awesome respect for God that our forefathers had. We need to see how mighty God is, and we will see how small we really are. Let's finish with more prophecies from Isaiah 9:6-7, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."
22 One Accord
"And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Acts 2:42-47
Our week of Youth Jubilee has come to an end. But for many of these young people their lives are just beginning. Many have been saved by the marvelous grace of God. We spent the week singing and praising God. We heard good preaching which has given spiritual growth. The different churches came together in "one accord" and the Lord blessed his children. It is wonderful to see the way so many people, from so many different places can work together for the cause of Christ. The women worked together in the kitchen, and the men worked together keeping the soft drinks available and trash emptied. We also worshipped together in the services. We sang together and we prayed together. "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." Praise God!!!
23 He That Planteth And He That Watereth Are One
“I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” I Corinthians 3:6-8
The last plate had been served. The last cup of iced tea had been poured. Everyone was busy: washing dishes, wiping tables, stacking chairs, and bagging trash. We collected salt and peppershakers and then I started gathering the glass jars of red, white, and blue flowers to put away for another day. One little boy came up to me and said, “Those are pretty flowers. You just gotta keep watering and watering.” I carried those jars to the shelf and as I went back for more he said again, “You just gotta keep watering and watering.” He then turned and ran off to join the other kids. I had to make one more trip and when I got to the corner table, and picked up the last jar, there was about two inches of water in the blue marbles in the bottom of the jar. I laughed as I showed it to the women in the kitchen and repeated the little boy’s words, “Those are pretty flowers. You just gotta keep watering and watering.” In his way, this small child tried to help as he watered the flowers. As I thought on this I remembered these words of Paul in I Corinthians 3:6-8, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” I want to thank each of you who had a part in the Youth Jubilee. We all labored together. The Word of God, the precious seed, was planted in the hearts of these young boys and girls. Others watered, and God gave the increase. Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for the unity you showed as you all worked together in “one accord” for the Lord’s work. Thank you for cooking and cleaning, and giving your time and talents for God’s glory. All through the week, as the preachers and singers planted the seed, you kept watering, and watering, the garden of pretty flowers. And you did it with smiling faces, even when I didn’t have my camera in hand. Thank you! God only knows how these lives will bloom… and you helped water.
24 Love One Another
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." I John 4:7-11
We looked at many instances in the Bible where "one" is mentioned. This week I want to look at God's instructions regarding "one another". We will begin with "love one another". "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous." (I John 3:11-12) The very first family had problems loving one another and we must be careful that we don't let hate come into our Christian relationships. It can show up in the form of pride when we become self-centered. It can also show up as jealousy and envy. Jesus said, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:34-35) Can the world see that you are a Christian by the love you show to others?
25 Comfort One Another
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” I Thessalonians 4:13-18
One of my co-workers just had a dear friend that was killed in a motorcycle wreck. She told me that his mother told her that the only thing that is helping her through this is that a week or so prior to the accident he assured her, that he knew he was headed for heaven. Just as our scripture tells us, she is finding comfort in these words. When a Christian friend dies, we can comfort one another, knowing that all pain and suffering has ended for that person. Christians can find comfort in knowing that we will live together in heaven throughout eternity. Death is not the only thing that brings sorrow to our hearts. Many times we are sad or lonely and need comforting. When we have been hurt we need comforting, just as a child who has fallen and skinned his knee. When my children were young I would put my arms around them and comfort them when they needed it. Now that they are older, they will sometimes wrap their arms around me to comfort me when I am feeling low. Listen to your friends. Try to comfort them in times of trouble. And when you can't find the right words, and you are too far away to reach around them, assure them that you are praying for them, remembering the words of our Lord, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:16-18)
26 Edify One Another
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." I Thessalonians 5:11
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another." Romans 14:19
We can help our hurting friends find inner peace as we try to comfort one another through God's Word. Another way to have peace between our members is to edify one another. We are prone to think we are better and more spiritual than our friends, and we often lift up ourselves with pride. We also promote ourselves at the expense of others, because the lower they sink, the higher it makes us feel. It is sad that Christians don't edify one another as God's Word commands. The world often describes Christians as hypocrites and we can't have a positive impact on their lives if they don't see the love of God in our lives. Just a few words can go a long way in lifting the spirits of a downtrodden friend. Our problem is that instead of helping one another back up after a fall, we often want to step on them while they are down. You can begin today to make a difference in the lives of those around you if you will take the time to "edify one another". Speak words that will encourage one another, instead of those that discourage. Say something nice to someone and you may bring cheer to a heart and a smile to his or her face.
27 Be Kind To One Another
"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32
This is one of the first verses we used on this web site. We looked at several verses that told us what to "be" and what "not to be". This is such a simple message and we try to teach it to our children. We want our children to learn kindness. Verse 31 tells us what we must do to let our hearts be filled with kindness, "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:" There is little room for kindness in an angry heart. We could turn the phrase around and also say there is little room for anger in a kind heart. We won't speak evil of our friends when kindness rules our thoughts. I have often noticed that sometimes people are kind to strangers, as holding the door for them, and they are bitter towards other Christians, and won't even speak to them. God's Word tells us to be kind and forgive one another, as God forgives us. When you hold a grudge against another person, you are hurting yourself. The anger and bitterness eats away at you and grows in your heart. It's time to forgive and forget. Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery, but he found room in his heart to forgive them and he showed them great kindness. (Genesis 45) Be kind... not just to the strangers you pass on the street, but to your children, and your parents, and your spouse, and your coworkers.
28 Bear One Another's Burdens
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
We all have burdens to bear. We may have physical burdens, mental burdens, or even financial burdens. We may carry the burden of a broken heart over someone we love. When we are going through these trials we often feel like we are the only one struggling under the load. We have already seen how Elijah told God that he was the only prophet of God left against the 450 prophets of Baal. (I Kings 18) After the great victory of Mount Carmel Jezebel sent a death threat to him. "And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." Elijah left his servant and went on alone. When I am burdened, it is intensified by the feeling that I am alone, and that no one cares. In the darkest of night Satan whispers that no one cares. Don't let him rob you of your joy. Remember that Jesus cares and that He wants to help you carry your load. Listen as He speaks, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden in light." (Matthew 11:28-31) Let the Lord help carry your burden. Then you can find strength to help bear the burdens of others.
29 Forgive One Another
"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." Colossians 3:12-14
These two verses sum up many of the thoughts we have seen about how we are to treat one another. We are told to be merciful, kind and longsuffering with one another. We are not to lift ourselves above another with pride, but we are to be meek. Notice also, that we are to forgive one another. Jesus taught the disciples to pray, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew 6:12-15) Did you read that last verse? Maybe we need to write that one again, "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." You may say, "But you don't know what that person did to me!" Let me remind you of what Jesus said as He hung on the cross, suffering for the sins He did not commit. "And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." (Luke 23:33-34) I know that we don't have the power to forgive within our flesh, but we can pray to the Lord and ask Him to give us a forgiving spirit.
30 One That Feared God And Eschewed Evil
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” Job 1:1
There are preachers and teachers today that give out the message that God wants all His children to be healthy, wealthy, and have no problems. I don't know where they find Bible doctrine to support their beliefs. Job "was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil" yet he lost all his wealth and his health. It is often hard for us to accept, but sometimes bad things happen to good people. I have been told, "Job was in the Old Testament and things changed when Jesus came." Yes, praise the Lord, we are living under grace, but that doesn't mean that Christians will never have any problems. Let's look at some scriptures in the New Testament. "There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:1-5) God may use sickness, or troubles in our lives to bring us back to Him, but that is not always the case. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. I am also reminded of the story of the blind man. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:1-3) Sometimes God may choose to use difficulties in our lives for His honor and glory. Don't be quick to judge others when they are having problems. God has told us in His Word that He will supply our need. He has not promised to make us all rich in earthly goods. We may have problems on earth, but we have the Lord with us, to help us through our problems.
31 One Prisoner Named Barabbas
“Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scouraged him, to be crucified." Mark 15:6-15
Many, many years ago I heard Preacher Danny Sykes preach from this text and I have never forgotten it. Imagine that you are Barabbas in the dark prison. You hear the roar and noise of the people. Suddenly you hear the people yell your name, "Barabbas, Barabbas, Barabbas". Pilate speaks to the people, but you can only hear their reply, "Crucify him. Crucify him. Crucify him." Then the guards come to get you and you know that they are coming to hang you on the cross, but instead, they let you go. I wonder what Barabbas did as they released him. The Lord Jesus Christ took his place on the cross. I can testify today that I also was lost in sin and worthy of death, but my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ took my place and died for me. Are you still held captive by the chains of sin, while Satan yells to crucify you? Or, have you accepted God's gift of salvation and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to take your place? Jesus died for "whosoever believeth" but not everyone has accepted Him. Don't let Satan keep you bound by sin any longer. Trust in the Lord to save you and set you free. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
32 One That Worshipped God
"And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.” Acts 18:7
Here is one verse about one man. First, we see that this man, Justus, welcomed Paul into his home. Do you welcome the man of God into your home? If your preacher or Sunday School teacher came to visit you would you open your doors and make them feel welcome? Would you have to hide the magazines on the coffee table, or take some of the videos off the shelf? If we keep in mind that God sees all and knows all, we might do a little "house cleaning" in our lives and homes and remove those things which have "an appearance of evil". Next, we see that Justus is described as "one that worshipped God". These four little words tell us a lot about this man. We are not told that he gave great sums of money to the temple. We don't read that he preached to the multitudes or sang before thousands. The words used to describe him tell us that he "worshipped God." This tells me that he was an humble man who gave God the praise and worship that He deserves. We may go to church two or three times a week, and that is good, but do we really worship? We need to "turn off" the thoughts that crowd our minds and set our eyes on Jesus, and just worship Him. Last of all, we see that his house was next to the synagogue. I think this tells us that Justus wanted to stay close to the house of God. We live in the world, but we should walk as close to God as we can. Don't stray too far away from God's house. Be faithful and attend the worship services when your church doors open. If your best friend wrote just one sentence to describe you, what would she say? If your pastor plans a special worship service, can he count on you being there? Purpose in your heart to be one that worships God.
33 One Called Saul, Of Tarsus
"And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priest to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hast sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Acts 9:10-17
Saul was an evil, wicked man, who persecuted the Christians. He went from place to place trying to stop Christianity. Until one day, on the road to Damascus, the Lord met him and turned his life around. No other power on earth can bring such a change to a person's life. People can try to clean-up their lives on the outside, but until they have a change on the inside, it is all in vain. I am so thankful to the Lord that He met me on my road to hell and turned my life around. He gave me peace, hope, and joy. He lives within my heart and helps me live a life that I could not otherwise live. If you feel like you are too bad to be saved, look at this man, Saul. He persecuted and killed Christians. God turned him around and gave him such a love for Him that he spent the rest of his life telling as many people as he could what the Lord had done for him. God can turn your life around. He can make a change in your heart and give you a love that you never knew existed. Today could be the day you turn around and start living for God.
34 One Year To Cheer Up Your Wife
"When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken." Deuteronomy 24:5
There are many unusual laws in the Old Testament, especially Leviticus and Deuteronomy. I am glad that we are under grace, and we don't have to follow the law of Moses. Most of the laws would be really hard for us to follow in our day and age. Here is one that I have often thought about. For one year, after a couple had just been married, the man was not to go to war, or have a job, but he was to stay home to "cheer up his wife". I don't know how the new couple survived, maybe this did not include farming the land around the home. I guess they still raised their meat and vegetables to eat. I think we all like a certain amount of attention. It is nice when your spouse takes time to give you special love and affection. It would be good for us to have more time to train up our children in the ways of the Lord. We spend most of our time working to have more money, which takes away from the time we have, to spend the money we have. This verse shows us how important it is to spend time with the ones we love. What would your boss say if you called in for just one week, or one day, and said, "I am staying home today to cheer up my wife (or husband)"? This is vacation time for most of us. If you don't usually take a vacation with your family, maybe this year you should take that special time to "cheer up" those you love.
35 One Little Lunch
"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten." John 6:5-13
About seven years ago, my son had to make a big project in shop class. He made a horse-shaped swing and hung it from a high branch of a tall tree beside our house. This week my daughter was sitting on the swing and it broke. I guess it grew old and worn from the years of being used and being out in the weather. My daughter said that it made her sad that it broke because that was her "quiet place". She would go out there and sit with the dogs and meditate on things. When David made the swing, he never knew that it would become a special place for his sister. Because he has been away in school for the last four years, he has not seen her sitting on the swing. To him, it is just something that he did to make a grade in high school. In our scripture above, the little boy did not know that Jesus would use his small lunch to feed the five thousand. He gave it willingly to the Lord and it was used mightily. We don't realize how God can use the small things in our lives when we give them to Him. There may be something that you said or did years ago, that is still a blessing to someone else, just as this swing had been to Susanna. Give your best to the Lord, and He can use it in ways you may never know.
36 The Last One
"And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there." Revelation 21:21-25
When I searched for all the times that "one" was used in my Bible, this came up as the last "one". I used to wonder how you closed a gate if both sides were of one pearl, but verse 25 answers that question, the gates are never closed. This is my last devotion on "one" so I thought it was appropriate to title it "The Last One". One day, my breath of air will be my last one. One day the song I sing, will be my last one on earth. One day the meal I eat will be my last one on earth. One day, the ride in my car will be my last one. The book of Revelation gives us a picture of the end of time. In this chapter it also gives us pictures of the new heaven and the new earth and the holy city, new Jerusalem. I hope that you are prepared to take your last breath. I pray that you are ready to meet God. Verse 27 warns, "And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life." One day will be your last one. Are you ready for the last one? You must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sins to have your name written in the Lamb's book of life. Don't wait until it is too late. Trust in the Lord to save you today.