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  1. Matthew 14:22-33 “Peace in the Midst of the Storm.” By Alan “And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33 The account of the Lord Jesus walking on the water is a wonderful story that shows us His lordship over His creation and loving care for His saints. Before we begin this devotion, let me bring a reminder that the disciples in the ship were Jews and were familiar with the account of how the LORD God takes care of the saints; even on the dangers in the sea. “They that do down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; these see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep.” Psalm 107:23 and 24 God, in either Testament, God is Lord over all of the creation. The Bible is a wonderful book. The Bible is God’s Word and it gives us an understanding of God and His will for our lives. It also gives us peace in our hearts as we go through the storms of life and the hope of eternal life in heaven. “... tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.” In this world, all of us go through storms of life. We have physical, mental, and spiritual problems. We have fears in our hearts, doubts, wants, needs, and stress, in our family and work. Everybody has storms in their lives. The Lord Jesus wants us to have peace in the midst of our storms: whether those storms are physical, mental, spiritual, societal, governmental, family, or work related. What a wonderful story! This story tells of the power and majesty of the Lord Jesus. Jesus is truly Lord. “... walking on the water.” During the time of their deepest anxiety of life, the disciples saw the Lord Jesus walking on the water. Also, there was a very big storm on the water at the same time. How was it possible for Jesus to walk on the water? Can you walk on the water? Do you know of anybody else that can walk on the water in front of other people? Did Confucius walk on the water? Did Buddha walk on the water? Job knew, as the Jews knew, and as those who know their Bible know, only God in heaven, the LORD, can walk on the water. Job 9:8 says, “Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.” Jesus could walk on the water because He is Lord. Colossians 1: 15-17 says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” Because Jesus created all things, He is Lord and has the power to walk on the water! God, who lives in heaven, is invisible to all of us. The Lord Jesus is His only son. Jesus is the image of God. The Lord Jesus created this world and all that is in it. He created all of the things that you see and all of the spiritual things that you cannot see. The Lord Jesus created: the oceans, land, mountains, islands, our body, the thrones, or the governments, of this world, the angels, the Devil, or Satan, heaven and hell. All of the creation of the Lord is used for His purposes. “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus can give us peace in our heart in the midst of the storms of life. The disciples were on the boat and the storm was raging. They thought that maybe they would die. Some of the disciples were fishermen. The disciples knew the dangers of the sea. Also, they never had seen a person walking on the water. The disciples had never seen a person walk on the water, so they thought that a ghost was coming to them. At the beginning, they did not understand what was happening. They were very scared. Then they cried out with fear. Like the disciples, so often in our lives we are fearful of the dangers in our paths and do not have a full understanding of the spiritual happenings around us. The Lord Jesus said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” The Lord Jesus does not want the Christian to have fear in their hearts. The Lord Jesus also said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” The Lord Jesus gives the Christian peace in our hearts. The Christian has peace in their hearts that only Jesus can give. Jesus gives the Christian peace in the midst of the storms of live. When a Christian dies, he knows that he will ascend into heaven and live with Jesus. “Come.” When Jesus spoke these words the apostle Peter realized that it was the Lord walking on the water. Peter had faith in the Lord. So, Peter asked the Lord if he could come on the water and walk to Him. Jesus said one word, “Come.” We need to come to Jesus in the storms of life! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Peter is a good example. In verse 29 we see how Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus. How did Peter walk on the water? Because of his faith the Apostle Peter was able to walk on the water. Faith is an amazing thing. We all need to have faith. “Lord, save me.” But, now we see that Peter took his eyes, his thoughts, off of the Lord Jesus, and looked at the wind and waves. Then he became afraid. Then he started to sink .That caused Peter to cry out, “Lord, save me.” “Lord, save me.” All of us need to pay careful heed to these words of Peter. If you are not a Christian then you need to cry out to Jesus and say, “Lord, save me I do not want to go to hell. I do not want to go to hell forever. Lord save me! I am a sinner and deserve to die and go to hell. But, Lord, in your mercy save my soul.” If you are a Christian, and you have taken your eyes and thoughts off of the Lord Jesus and onto the world and all of its problems then you need to turn your eyes on Jesus and say, “Lord save me.” In the hymn book there is a song called, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.” The stanza says, “Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” Jesus is Lord and He is truly wonderful. We need to take our eyes, our thoughts, our actions, off of the things of this life and trust in the Lord Jesus for all of our needs and give Him our fears. “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” In verse 31 we read these wonderful words, “And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? Faith pleases God but doubting does not. When we doubt, and criticize the Bible, and the things of God, then we displease God. The Bible, and all of the doctrines, stories, miracles, prophesies written therein, are to be believed and not doubted. With very little argument, the greatest defender of the faith in the Chinese world was Wang Ming-Dao, July 25, 1900-July 28, 1991. Wang Ming-Dao is one of the best examples of the work of the scriptures in the heart of a Chinese convert. After salvation, as he was teaching in a Presbyterian mission school, because of his biblical stand to be immersed, he was dismissed in 1920. Later on, in the beginning days of the Charismatic Movement in China, he openly taught against the Charismatic movement and denominational hierarchies. Wang Ming-Dao became known for his indigenous church work. From 1955-1980 he was imprisoned, twice, by the Communist government. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wang_Ming-Dao Through all of his intense verbal, spiritual, cultural, family relations, religious, denominational jealousy, and governmental persecution, Wang Ming-Dao maintained a rock-solid faith in Christ, doctrinal integrity, and inward peace through his personal storms in life. Wang Ming-Dao said, 王明道「魔鬼敗壞信徒的計策很多,但最毒的莫過於使他們對神的話發生疑惑,因為這是根本的方法。」“Satan has many scheme’s to destroy the believer, but the greatest poisonous, and the original, method is nothing more than to cause them to doubt the word of God.”[1] The English translation is a free translation from the author. The Lord Jesus saw that, without divine intervention, Peter would quickly drown and lose his life. But, until Peter called out for the Lord to save him Jesus did nothing. But, when Peter called out to Him then Jesus saved him. When we call upon the Lord to save us He will do so. “I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” Psalm 18:3 Many a person, in time of extreme distress, potential loss of life, war, accidents, and other physical dangers or spiritual dangers, have called upon the Lord for not only the eternal salvation of their soul, but for physical deliverance. “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” The Lord Jesus took Peter’s hand then both Jesus and Peter walked back to the boat walking on the water. Peter embraced Jesus! When they got back to the boat the wind ceased. When Jesus and Peter arrived back to the boat the other disciples realized the wonderful thing that Jesus did. Then the disciples worshipped Jesus. They said, “Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” As Job realized that only the Lord in heaven could walk on the waves of sea, so must we. The confession that Jesus was the Son of God was a confession that Jesus was the Lord from heaven and equal in attributes, character, power, and authority. Both the Father and the Son are eternal and worthy of worship. Psalm 2:7 and 12, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. ... Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” In conclusion, we need to be like Peter and the rest of the men in the boat. We need to worship the Lord Jesus. Why not be saved today? Call upon Him in prayer and say, “Lord save me.” [1] Wang Ming Tao, Treasuries of Wang Ming Tao, Volume II The Hard Road, (Touliu, Taiwan: Conservative Baptist Press, 1996), Page 256.
  2. Alan

    Glory in Heaven

    “Glory in Heaven.” Daniel 12:3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; And they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” According to the scriptures, what is wisdom? And who is a wise person? “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 A person who fears the Lord, and is trusting in the Lord for the salvation of their soul, has wisdom. God looks at the heart. Our motives, our character, our personal righteousness (or sanctification), and our walk with the Lord will determine the glory, or rewards, we will have in eternity. In the scriptures, we see a contrast between various people who were wise in salvation and wise in sanctification. Contrast in Salvation The fool trusts in his own heart, merits, works, religious ceremonies, wealth, influence, and other foolish things for the eternal salvation of his soul. The rich man in hell was a fool and Lazarus was the wise person in Contrast after Salvation After salvation, a wise person is one who decides to forsake the pleasures, comforts, ideology, philosophy, and the striving for wealth, fame or other worldly pursuits, in order to please the Lord in heaven. Lot was wise in salvation but not in his personal walk with with the Lord. Abraham was wise in salvation and in his walk with the Lord. Lot was righteous in the heart but not in his character. Abraham was righteous in his heart, character, and beliefs. “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” Winning souls is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. Proverbs 11:30, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” When an individual tells another person, whether by word of mouth, testimony, preaching, a tract, or the manner of his life, and the person witnessed to turns to the Lord in salvation, then that person who witnessed is wise and in eternity will 'shine as the brightness of the firmament.' As the glory of one star is different from the glory of another star, so are our rewards in eternity. Sanctification – Holiness – Right Living Righteousness in our life, or Sanctification, or Holiness, is wise and will be rewarded in eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:4 and 7, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; … For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” In a direct reference to the shameful living of the Corinthian believers (who were righteous in soul but not in daily living), Paul the apostle wrote, “I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?” 1 Corinthians 6:5. Please take careful note. The lives of the Corinthian saints were 'shameful' even though they were wise in salvation, Paul clearly said they were not wise in judging; i. e., they could not discern spiritual things. Lot is an example of this type of saint. They are unrighteous, unholy, and not sanctified, in their life. 1 Corinthians 6: 8 & 9. They allow the world, the pleasures of the world, the deceitfulness of riches, to destroy their testimony. Therefore, they do not win souls by either word of mouth nor testimony and their glory in eternity will not be so bright. In eternity, those saints who lived in the flesh and taught false doctrine will be ashamed. A wise Christian is one who is righteous in his daily walk with Christ. Abraham was a man righteous in his heart for salvation and righteous in his heart in his walk with the Lord. Abraham was holy and sanctified in his life. Since the scriptures have been written down the personal testimony of Abraham has caused the salvation of many throughout the ages and in many lands. Therefore, in eternity, the glory of the rewards given to Abraham will cause him to shine as the stars for eternity. Righteous in Belief A heart belief, before salvation, in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine cannot save the soul. 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” The saint who walks with the Lord will take heed about every doctrine he believes. A heart belief in Buddhism, Taoism, baptismal regeneration, salvation by works, and other erroneous methods of salvation will cause a person to spend eternity in hell. As Timothy preached salvation by grace, through a sincere, and repentant, heart belief in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; Timothy could win those people to Christ. Timothy could lead many to righteousness through correct doctrinal salvation preaching. In eternity, Timothy, and many other sound gospel preachers, will shine as the stars in heaven. A heart belief in an incorrect, or unrighteous, doctrine, after salvation, will cause the believer to be deceived. The false teachers (some are saved, but teach erroneous beliefs), that are teaching in the churches (or an Internet theologian), is causing confusion among the saints by using deceptive doctrines and bibles. After salvation, a belief in incorrect, or unsound, or corrupted doctrines, will cause many saints to lose their rewards in eternity. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, they will be ashamed of their erroneous doctrinal beliefs. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” 2 Timothy 2:5 If a man that is in the ministry, or a teacher of the scriptures in any capacity, teaches unsound doctrine, then he is not striving lawfully (according to the scriptures), and is not leading people to sound doctrine, or, a belief in right doctrine. Unsound doctrine would include, but not limited to, corrupted bibles (any modern version starting from the RV of 1881 is a corrupted bible), heresies like the Charismatic Tongue Movement, The Gap Theory, any form of a non-belief in the creation of the world in six days, Calvinism, CCM music, Ecumenicalism, and any perversion of the Second Coming of Christ (Preterist, A-millennialism or Post-millennialism). “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was. ” 2 Timothy 3:8 & 9 Saints, who resist the truth of the scriptures, are in error. Paul the Apostle will be rewarded, and shine as the firmament in heaven, for eternity. But, the saved teachers of false doctrines in the churches will be openly shamed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Concluding thoughts If a person is not a Christian, the wisest decision they will ever make it to trust in the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. If a Christian is to be wise in their relationship with the Lord Jesus, our lives, and the lips of our mouths, should be a testimony of the saving grace of the Lord Jesus and His work in our lives. If a Christian is wise, sanctified, and is striving lawfully, according to the correct doctrines in the scriptures, he will be able to lead other saints to a sanctified life. In eternity, the wise saint will shine as the stars in the heavens. “The Galactic Bulge – A field of White Dwarf Stars” Note: A White Dwarf is actually bluish white. Courtesy of NASA – the Hubble Space Telescope “Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search (SWEEPS) “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” Daniel 12:3 “… for one star differ from another star in glory.” 1 Corinthians 15:41
  3. Alan

    Trust in the Lord

    Psalms 37:1-5, “Trust in the Lord.” Verse 1 – 5, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” David was King over the nation of Israel. He was not a pastor, a religious leader, or a priest. He was a man who trusted in God and God anointed him become King. David trusted in God and in the promises in the Bible. So, God lifted him up in his life. A lot of people commit evil. We see, or hear; people do evil, commit crimes, war, deceit or other bad things. Sometimes we see evil people become famous or rich. Sometimes this causes us to worry or to envy them. God says not to worry or fret. Why? They will perish like the grass one day and spend eternity in hell. Instead of worrying, or being jealous, we need to trust in God and do good. Verse 9 says, “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.” The Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 All of us have desires in our lives. We have plans and hopes for our lives, our jobs and our families. God can help us overcome obstacles so we can have these desires. God wants to bless us. We need to know and enjoy the things of God as written in the Bible. 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” In order for God to bless us, we need to decide to commit our lives to Him. God knows our situation and when we trust in Him, He can give us our needs and desires. Jesus is Lord. When we trust in Christ as our Saviour, He promised to give us eternal life in heaven. Titus 1:2 says, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” God knows the situation of this world. He knows that it is full of evil. So often, because we see the wicked prosper, we forget God. God knows that the wicked will be punished in God’s proper time. By studying the Bible, we can know God. We can know how He will punish the evildoer in the future. And, because we have Christ in our hearts we can overcome the Devil and the world. So, we need to trust in God and not worry. He will bless us when we trust in Him. May God bless all of you. Alan
  4. Alan

    Psalm 19:1 Integrity

    “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” Proverbs 19:1 The meaning of integrity is moral soundness or purity; incorruptness, uprightness; honesty. Job is an excellent man of integrity. Job 2:3, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [ hate ] evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.” Job eschewed, or hated, evil. Job was upright, morally pure, incorrupt in business, and honest in his dealings. A person who hates sin, and stays away from sin, is a person of integrity. Psalms 97:10, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.” Job, a man of God, was a man of integrity. “... than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” The meaning of perverse is: to be obstinate; in the wrong; disposed to be contrary; or stubborn. Balaam, a false prophet, because his way of life was contrary to God, was perverse. Numbers 22:31 & 32, “Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.” Balaam, and other false teachers, are obstinate, contrary, and stubborn against the ways and doctrines of God as written in the scriptures. They are fools and perverse in the sight of God. Jude 11, “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” See also 2 Peter 2:1-22 Conclusion Job is a fine example of a man of integrity. Job maintained his integrity in spite of intense physical, mental, social (his three friends), and spiritual testing. In these last days of spiritual unrest, false teachers, political uncertainty, wars and rumors of war, legal persecution, verbal animosity, and other trials of these perilous last days, we need to maintain our integrity. May God bless you all.
  5. Alan

    Right in the Sight of the Lord

    1 Kings 15:11-15, “Right in the Sight of the Lord” 11 "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. 12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron. 14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. 15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels." The heart of King Asa was perfect in the sight of the LORD. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23 All of the issues of life; eternal salvation from hell, service to the Lord, and our relationship with others, are determined with the attitude of our hearts. Like Asa, we need to have a perfect heart in the sight of the Lord. God established King Asa For 41 years, King Asa reigned in Jerusalem. King Asa did the will of God as recorded in the scripture. God blessed him and established him. God is also willing to establish us in our homes, our jobs, in our spiritual life is we do His will. Colossians 2:6 & 7, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Salvation is by faith in the Lord Jesus as ones personal Saviour. As we obtained salvation by faith, after we get saved, we need to walk with Jesus by faith. The Lord Jesus is the root of the tree. A person cannot see the root of the tree. The root establishes the tree. The Apostle Paul is teaching that as we take deep root in the Lord Jesus, the Lord builds us up and establishes us in the faith. As we discover these wonderful truths, as Paul said, we need to have a thankful heart. God uses the scriptures to establish us and to teach us His will. This includes correct doctrine, holiness and righteousness in our lives. We need to listen to and study the scriptures in order to be established. King Asa Followed God Asa trusted in and loved God. As King, Asa determined to fear God and do what is right in the sight of God and not man, or society. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” When we put our trust in God, and do those things that are right in His sight, than we are safe. We have a safe home in eternity and God will protect us on the earth. The fear of man brings a snare. When a person fears man, or society, he caught in the snare of the devil. False religion is the snare of the devil. When we fear God and trust in Jesus as our Savior then God will bless us. Deuteronomy 12:28, “Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou dost that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.” 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” When we obey the Lord Jesus then the Lord Jesus will answer our prayers. One of the reasons why the Lord Jesus does not answer our prayers is because we miss-use His name, we say, ‘Lord Jesus,’ but, we do not do what is pleasing in His sight. We need to do what is pleasing in His sight, not ours. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4: 4 King Asa knew the history of King David and did as King David did. King David is a good example for all of us. King Asa removed the Sodomites and the idols King Asa was a very moral person and righteous in his authority. The physical act of sodomy is vile, unnatural, destroys society and the family. King Asa obeyed the commandment of God in removing the Sodomites and the idols from the land of Israel. “There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.” Deuteronomy 23:17 Exodus 20:3 & 4 “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” In the New Testament, we read that an idolater will not enter into heaven. Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” King Asa removed the evil things in the kingdom of Israel. We need to get remove evil things, thoughts, beliefs, personal agendas, and desires, from our lives. Dedication God blessed King Asa with wealth. King Asa brought the dedicated things into the House of the Lord. Three items are mentioned: Silver, gold, and vessels. King Asa knew his wealth came from the blessings of God. In our age, the visible house of the Lord is the local church. We need to dedicate our lives to the Lord Jesus and to the furtherance of the gospel. 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Every Christian needs to learn how to behave themselves in the church. The church is not an entertainment center, or a social club. When a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will love the church. If a person loves the Lord Jesus, he will learn how to behave in the church. In a local New Testament, Bible believing, independent, fundamental, Baptist church you will find the doctrinal truth of the scriptures and practical behaviour that pleases the Lord. The Removal of the Queen The Queen of Jerusalem, Maachah, was King Asa’s mother. King Asa’s own mother was involved with idolatry. Because King Asa wanted to do that which was right in the sight of the Lord, instead of doing that which is right in the sight of man, King Asa removed his own mother from being Queen. So often, in churches, in politics, in the affairs of this world, people who know to do right do not do right because they fear man and want to please a person, or an organization, or a denomination, or the lay people of the church. This was the attitude of King Saul. “And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.” 1 Samuel 15:24 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 The Chief Shepherd of the local, New Testament Church, is the Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 5:4, “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” The pastor of every church has only one person he must be accountable too; the Lord Jesus. The pastor obeys the Lord Jesus through the scriptures. Like King Asa, good pastors will remove any false teacher, false bibles, or individuals following the gods of this world (music, methods, a denominational hierarchy, or anything contrary to scripture), from any church office. The Apostle Paul gave us an example in 1 Timothy 1:19 & 20, “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they learn not to blaspheme.” The blasphemy of Hymenaeus and Alexander was a departure of the faith; they were heretics. Concluding Thoughts King Asa was a good king. He loved the Lord in heaven as David loved God. King Asa removed evil from the Israel as David removed evil. King Asa had a perfect heart with God. We need to have a perfect heart with God.
  6. Alan

    Pleasing God & Peace

    Proverbs 16:7, “Pleasing God & Peace.” Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” God can give peace to a person, or a nation, or He can take away peace from a person, or a nation. Isaiah 45:6 & 7, “That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” Most people seek peace through worldly and physical pleasures. Most people love pleasure more than God and sometimes the saints love pleasure more than God. 2 Timothy 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” When a person pleases God than God can give that person peace. God wants us to give us peace in our hearts. The Lord Jesus said, John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” In the early church, the disciples were persecuted severely for their faith in Christ and in the ages since that time, more persecution arose from various false religions and leaders. In the midst of these persecutions, the Lord Jesus gave these people peace. Even though we sometimes have problems and difficulties, the Lord Jesus can give us peace in our hearts. We need to learn how to please God. Colossians 1: 9 & 10, “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” God can give us peace in our hearts and peace among our enemies if we please him.
  7. “Four Principles concerning the New Testament Church.” King Solomon, and the nation of Israel, was seven years in building the Temple. Wow! Seven years is a long time. It takes a long time to get a large job accomplished. Sometimes when a person starts a work, and it takes a long time, they get discouraged and give up. King Solomon did not get discouraged and he did not give up. He finished the task that God told him to do. The task of building the Temple was a very important task. King Solomon is a good example to persevere in a task. It is hard for a person to persevere in a large task. The Apostle Paul stated that the stories in the Old Testament were examples to the saint in the New Testament. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.”1 Corinthians 10:6 Furthermore, Paul stated, “For whatsoever things were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 As we ponder on the faith, and principles, that guided the Old Testament saints, as our examples, we can learn, obtain patience, comfort, and have hope. Our pondering of the saints of old will also help us as we work for the Lord, see souls saved, enjoy working for the Lord in Church, and enjoy the fellowship of the saints in church. How did King Solomon persevere for seven years building the Temple? and, how may we learn from his experience? I would suggest that the reader, in connection with this devotion, read 1 Chronicles 29 Four Principles for building the Temple that King Solomon learned from his father. The Temple was the Lord’s house to do the work of the Lord. King Solomon learned four principles from King David his father concerning building the Temple. The fathers should teach the sons the things of God. Fathers should teach these principles not only by words, but also by heart-felt action. First Principle in Building a Church Building a Church is a Great Work Concerning the building of the Temple, King David said that the work of the Lord was great. “Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the LORD God.” 1 Chronicles 29:1 King David said that the Temple was the Temple of God and not for man. And, King David said that building the Temple of God was a great work. The attitude of David is an example for the saints in the New Testament Church Age. The building of the local, New Testament, church is a great work and it is the Lords House. Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The Lord Jesus started to build His church through soul winning efforts. “And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.” Mark 1:17 In order to become a part of the church of the Lord Jesus, a New Testament church, you need to become saved. The primary reason why we have churches that do not believe sound doctrine, full of hypocrisy, full of charismatic foolishness, full of evil practices, is due to the lost nature of the “members.” 1 Timothy 3:15, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” In a true New Testament, independent, Bible believing, Baptist church, you will find the truth of the scriptures. A true saint seeking to learn correct behavior, righteousness, holiness, and doctrinal truth, will leave an unsound church and find a sound one. The untoward behavior as found in a lot of churches in age of Laodicea is not of the Lord. A Polite Reminder Before I continue this devotion, may I remind the reader that in the New Testament Church Age there are no denominations, no bishops controlling local churches as we see in the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church and other denominations. A saint in seeking to learn correct behavior, sound doctrine, will not learn these matters in a man-made religious denomination, backslidden saints with a heart problem, nor by an, “internet theologian.” Man-made denominations, internet theologians, out of church saints, Theological Seminaries, will not teach the saint sound doctrine and correct behavior in the New Testament Church. The New Testament churches, local assemblies, followed the baptism of John the Baptist, (Baptist is a title not John’s last name), the authority of the Apostles, and after the Apostles died, the absolute authority of the written scriptures. The Lord Jesus did not organize any denomination, Seminary, nor internet ministry. Second Principle in building a church The Church is for the Lord Jesus We need to be like King David. Building a church is for the cause of the Lord Jesus and His work. It is not a social work. It is not an entertainment center. It is a place for the preaching of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a place where the Bible is taught. Because it was a great work King David prepared the materials with all of his might. 1 Chronicles 29:2 says, “Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.” We need to serve the Lord with all of our might. Furthermore, we are we need to start today. John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Third Principle in Building a Church We Need to Love the Work King David said, “Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house.” 1 Chronicles 29:3 King David loved the Temple and he loved the Lord. King David loved the house of God and gave his own financial resources (carnal things), for the Temple of God. Psalm 26:8 , “LORD, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” Psalm 18:1, “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.” When Solomon was a child, he saw that his father, King David truly loved God with his heart and loved the Temple of the Lord and gave of his gold (carnal goods), for the building of the Temple of God. In our hearts, we need to love the Lord Jesus and the church. Ephesians 5:23-25 , “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Colossians 3:2, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” As with King David, those saints who love the church, who love the salvation of souls, who love the preaching of the scriptures will give of their carnal goods, willingly and lovingly, for the furtherance of the local church. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 The Old Testament saints are an example in the area of giving to the house of God in the New Testament. “Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? for it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it together for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of this hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the alter? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar.” 1 Corinthians 9:8-14 The Lord Jesus ordained that in the New Testament local (physical), church, that the ministers of the gospel, and the church itself, to be taken care of the saints of the assembly through their offerings as the Old Testament saints took care of the Temple; as the law “saith.” The obedience of this ordinance by the Lord Jesus does not put the New Testament saint under the law, but, the Lord Jesus, through the Apostle Paul, commands us to follow the example of the law. As Paul states, the law of Moses concerning giving was given for “for our sakes.” King Solomon made the decision to love the Lord. 1 Kings 3:3a, “And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father.” Song of Solomon 8:7, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.” Sometimes we let the problems of this life quench our service for the Lord Jesus. King Solomon was able to persevere because he loved the Lord and loved the work of the Lord. Our children notice whether we love the Lord and the church. To love the Lord Jesus and to love the church is a good principle in our lives. Can we not say that to love the Lord and to love the church is the greatest principle? Fourth Principle in Building a Church We need to be willing to build the church. In 1 Chronicles 29:5 King David asked who was willing to consecrate his service to prepare to build the Temple. “The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hand of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the LORD?” 1 Chronicles 29:5 I have already quoted 2 Corinthians 8:12 in connection with the giving of our carnal goods (or finances), to the church, but, it bears repeating as a willing heart and mind is essential in all of the work involving the Lord Jesus. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2 Corinthians 8:12 In verse 6, the people willingly offered to consecrate themselves to prepare the materials for the Temple. “Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly.” 1 Chronicles 29:6 Application When Solomon was growing up he saw the willingness of the his father, King David, and the willingness of the people, to serve build the Temple. Our children look at us and see if we willingly serve the Lord. We are an example to our children. And the Old Testament saints are an example to the saints in the New Testament. King Solomon was willing to build the Temple. In fact, King Solomon was determined to build the Temple. 2 Chronicles 2:1, “And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.” King Solomon willingly made this decision because of his love to God and to the Temple of God. King David and the people rejoiced in preparing to build the Temple. In and 17 King David and the people with great joy prepare to build the Temple. When King Solomon was a child, he rejoiced that he could help prepare to build the Temple. In fact, King Solomon, the wisest man in the world, when the Temple was built, said, all the saints ought to rejoice. 2 Chronicles 6:41, “Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.” We need to consecrate, to love the Lord Jesus, and willingly serve the Lord Jesus in building His church. As we build the church, through soul winning efforts and the teaching and preaching of the scriptures, we need to have a joyful heart.
  8. Alan

    Be Still. Psalm 46:10

    “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God: Every saint should realize that God is God. God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. We need to sit back, be still, and just meditate on the attributes and character of God. We need to understand that the very essence of God is eternal and beyond our human comprehension. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Exodus 3:14 So often, we ask unnecessary questions and seek un-attainable answers. It is not within us to understand all of the plan, actions, methods, and work of God due to our finite understanding. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29 So, God told us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” “I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” God has a plan to exalt Himself on the face of this earth. His plan was prophesied in the Old Testament by the prophets and revealed to us in the New Testament. This plan unfolds in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the exaltation of Christ as the Saviour of the world. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4 The plan of God to exalt Himself continues through the church Age, the 7 Year Tribulation Period, and 1000 Year Reign of Christ on the earth as, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” The plan of God to exalt Himself on the face of this earth will culminate in eternity. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:1-3 God knows exactly what He is doing and His plan will come to pass exactly as He has planned it. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
  9. 1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom.” 1 Kings 4:29-34, “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” Wisdom and understanding is very important. We need wisdom is our lives. We need wisdom to learn how to raise our family, working on our job, dealing with our neighbors, and those in the church congregation. As God gave King Solomon wisdom; so can the Lord give us wisdom. “If any of you ask wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 James does add one thought concerning asking God wisdom that we need to consider in our hearts. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” James 1:6 & 7 “And God gave Solomon wisdom” Why did God give King Solomon wisdom? In 1 Kings 3:5-15 God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and said, “… Ask what I shall give thee.” 1 Kings 3:5 I am going to ask the reader of this devotion to read, and consider, every word that occurs in the dream of King Solomon. God is looking at the heart of King Solomon and Solomon is speaking from his heart. In his heart, King Solomon knew that God wanted His people to walk in righteous and in truth. “..according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness...” 1 Kings 3:6 King Solomon was very humble and of a sincere heart. At this time, Solomon was 20 years old. In 1 Kings 3:7 Solomon said that he was a servant of God and was like a little child. “… and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.”1 Kings 3:7 Most people are very proud and will not follow the ways of God. Most people are unwilling to be a servant of God. Even though Solomon was king he felt that God was his king. King Solomon willingly called himself a servant. Solomon believed that he was a servant of God in order to do the will of God. 1 peter 5:5-7, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” King Solomon humbled himself. God made us. He is the King in Heaven. God is not our servant. We are His servants. God resists a proud person. One of the reasons why God does not answer a Christian’s prayer is because they are not humble nor sincere. If we want God to give us wisdom, we need to walk in unrighteousness, truth, be humble, and sincere . 1 Kings 3:9 “Discernment” ! Kings 3:9, “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” God gave King Solomon wisdom because he asked for wisdom in order to discern between good and evil and to judge the nation of Israel. Solomon did not ask wisdom for his own fleshly desires or experience. He asked God for wisdom to lead the nation of Israel according to the will of God. King Solomon was unselfish. He did not ask for wisdom to help his own desires. He did not ask for money. He did not ask for health. King Solomon loved God and loved the nation of Israel. King Solomon wanted wisdom to help him to discern between good and evil. Long before God gave Solomon wisdom, Job wrote the definition of wisdom; “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the LORD, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 Most people are selfish and they do not care to help others. A Chinese proverb says, “To care nothing outside one’s window – one does not care what is going on beyond one’s own surroundings.” 俗語說「兩耳不聞窗外事」 It is the will of God for Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants all Christians to discern between good and evil. The Lord Jesus wants us to discern between evil and good, right and wrong, and good and bad doctrine. Ephesians 4;14 , “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” A Christian who is not concerned about good doctrine, or is unwilling to forsake bad doctrine, is like a child who is unconcerned about the parents guidance, is deceived, and is like the waves of he sea driven hither and yonder by every wind of the heretics of this world. A lost person, or an immature Christian, cannot discern between good and evil. But a mature Christian can discern between good and evil: or judgment. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 God blessed King Solomon “And Solomon's wisdom excelled of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” 1 Kings 4:30The East country would include Iran, India, China and Japan. “And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” 1 Kings 4:34 Even today, in the Western world, when a person thinks of wisdom, he thinks of King Solomon and the book of Proverbs. King Solomon was humble, righteous, and sincere in the sight of God. He asked for wisdom to judge the nation of Israel and to learn how to discern between right and wrong. We need to have the same attitude. God can give us wisdom if it is His will. says, Proverbs 2:6, “For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
  10. 1 Samuel 30:6, “Encouragement.” “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” 1 Samuel 30:6 Enemies on Every Side In addition to the world, his own flesh, and Satan, David had many other enemies. In this passage, 1 Samuel 30:1-20, we will consider three of them: the Philistines, the Amalekites, and King Saul. David had so many enemies that desired to kill him that he was living in the wilderness like a hunted animal. On some occasions, such as his relationship with Achish, he was able to live in a city. In spite of his enemies, David maintained a personal relationship with God. David, in his close relationship with God, wrote, “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.” Psalm 27:11 David based his daily path through life, his every day decisions, on the leading of the Lord in his life. David knew the will of God in his life and followed it, except with notable exceptions that are not related to this passage, to the day of his death. Physical Background - Ziklag 1 Samuel 27:1-7 For his service to Achish, Achish gave the city of Ziklag to David. While David was preparing to battle with Achish (1 Samuel 29), against King Saul the lords of the Philistines demanded that David and his men refrain from entering the battle. As David and his men of war returned to Ziklag they discovered that the Amalekites had burned the city, carried away all of the women and children captive, and took away the spoils of the city. Because David made the decision to leave Ziklag to help Achish, the men of war blamed David. Furthermore, due to the great distress and anxiety in their heart for the loved ones, the men of war were going to put David to death. Great Distress In times of one of the most stressful times in his life, David discovered that his own men turned against him and was preparing to stone him to death. David was greatly distressed. Unless God intervened, David was going to die a very painful and agonizing death. In David’s time of extreme distress, he encouraged himself in the LORD. To further understand David and how he could encourage himself in the Lord we need to look deeper in his soul before this horrific incident occured. Spiritual Background - David’s Relationship with God From a child, David fell in love with God, the Law of God, the work of God, and the will of God in his life. As a child, then a teen-ager, and then a young man, David created and sang Psalms, had faith, walked close with God, and continually encouraged himself in the knowledge of eternal salvation in heaven, judgment to come and the wonderful promises of God as revealed in the scriptures. From his younger years until this time of extreme crises, David desired to have a close relationship with God. David wrote, “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD for all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4 In the heart of David, the house of the LORD, the LORD Himself, the holiness of God, was beautiful. In his close relationship with the LORD God in heaven, David discovered the beauty of holiness. “Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2 David, from a child, with noted exceptions, walked in the Spirit. Contrast the relationship of King Saul with God The relationship of King Saul with God was not good, or, it was non-existent. In eternity, we will discover whether he was truly a saint. We do know that King Saul walked in the flesh after two years in the King’s office. The power as the King of Israel went to his head. Actually, the phrase “went to his head,” while it is a good phrase, it is not entirely correct to describe a person who lets pride run his life. The phrase, “went to his heart,” is more precise. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” King Saul had a heart problem. To King Saul, the sacrifices of God were just a religious ceremony, and, he listened to the voice of the people instead of obeying the voice of God. “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Samuel 15: 22 If a person was honest with himself, like King Saul, a lot of our problems are the result of our own sinful pleasures, worldliness, fleshly desires, wrong decisions, and pride. Please study James 4:1-10. In other words, we are walking in the flesh and not in the Spirit, Romans 8:5-8, and the fruit in our lives are the fruits of the flesh Galatians 5:15-21 David obeyed God with a loving heart and walked with God. David put his trust in the work of God in his life. David walked in the Spirit and enjoyed the fruits of the Spirit. Please read Galatians 5:22-25 As we walk in the Spirit, we also can enjoy the fruits of the Spirit. “... but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” In spite of all of the distress David experienced, he believed that God was the solution to the problem. David placed his faith completely in the hands of God. In times of distress in our lives we need to be like David and encourage ourselves in God. God in on His Throne in Heaven and He will accomplish His will in our lives. David knew that God had anointed him King over Israel and that God would help him in his time of extreme distress. David inquired of the Lord and plainly asked what should he do. “And David inquired at the LORD, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt overtake them, and without fail recover all.” 1 Samuel 30:8 The Victory David inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him, and David did what God told him to do. David did not question God, David did not walk in his own will, and David simply did what God told him to do. “And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, either sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all.” 1 Samuel 30:18 & 19 The military success of David in recovering all of the captured people and spoils from the Amalekites is one of the most successful military campaigns in the history of mankind. This story is also written to encourage all of us in our walk with the Lord Jesus. In times of distress in our lives, we need to inquire diligently of the Lord that His will is and wait patiently for Him. We need to encourage ourselves in the Lord and in the wonderful promises in the scriptures. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
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