Devotional: While We Were Yet Sinners…

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

As the holiday season is upon us, there is a need for much reflection.  Many people around the world are awaiting for December 25th as the “celebration” of Jesus birth.  Some families will be reunited with gifts, hugs and laughter to be exchanged.  It truly seems like a time when hearts are open to one another full of love, joy, hope, mercy, forgiveness and acceptance.

For all Christendom the focus of this season is centered around a babe lying in a manger inside a barn wrapped in swaddling cloth.  While that humble scene was the way our Saviour came into the world, let not our focus stay on just the arrival of that sweet little baby.  Matthew 1:21 states the purpose of why that little baby came into the world… “[a]nd she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”  The birth of Jesus didn’t occur just so another couple could have a darling new baby, but He was born with a purpose.  His purpose was to save people from their sins.  Jesus was born as “[…] the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29

A shift in attention is needed during this season.  While the mystery of Jesus’ birth was an amazing feat, our mind must fixate on WHY Jesus had to come.  He had to come to save people from their sins…“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” – Romans 5:19  Jesus had come to the earth to be an example of how we can live a life of obedience and continual overcoming in childhood through youth, and through adulthood.  He then conquered sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:51-57), so that if we remain faithful and follow His example we too can inherit eternal life (1 Timothy 6:11-12).

One of the most beautiful aspects about Jesus coming to the earth is found in Romans 5:8“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  God sent Jesus to the earth not even knowing if anyone would accept the sacrificial offering of His life on the cross.  Jesus came and died for the whole world, for each and every one of us and our family members not even knowing if we would love Him in return.  He did it all in the hope that at least ONE person might accept Him as their Lord and Savior.  That at least ONE person might accept His sacrifice.  That at least ONE person by faith may lay hold on all the promises found in His word, so that they too may live a life of continual overcoming.  Jesus came as a baby, “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52) and then in His adulthood was crucified all in hope that at least ONE person would come to live again with Him in glory.  That thought is definitely something to celebrate, not just during the month of December but for eternity.

God Bless,

Family Blueprint

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Devotional – Enemies of the Cross

“And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” – Mark 10:27

So many times as a parent I hear my children say, and other’s children as well, that “it’s too hard to always share”, “it’s too hard to always be kind”, “it’s too hard to always use kind tones” and so on and so forth.  Immediately as parents our first response seems to always be “you have to do it anyway…” or something of the sort, right?  Is just telling the children they have to do it anyway, when they have no unction to do it on their own, setting them up for failure in some way, shape or form?  Is forcing them to alter their behavior for the time being going to solve the underlying issue?

Sometimes we the adults have the same issues as our poor innocent little children.  We begin whining and complaining to others or even God and say “it’s too hard to stop getting angry and going off all the time”, “it’s to hard to stop lying”, “it’s too hard to stop cheating, “it’s too hard to stop drinking and smoking”, “it’s too hard to stop gossiping”, “it’s too hard to stop…sinning”.  Sounds strikingly similar to the children’s complaint of impossibility, doesn’t it?  It seems as if just making attempts to modify our behavior without getting to the root of the problem is causing all these issues.  Matthew 3:10 states “the axe is laid unto the root of the trees” in order to cause that evil fruit, fruit that is unlike Christ, to die off.

What is truly the root of the problem in not overcoming these unbecoming traits of character in our lives?  It can be summed up in one word.  Unbelief.  Mark 10:27 lays it clear for us that in and of ourselves we cannot overcome, we cannot be victorious, we cannot be saved, what we need is the power of God working in our lives to make our salvation possible.  The disciples even questioned Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:25-26  The disciples themselves who walked with Jesus for 3 1/2 years had to understand the concept “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13  Does that mean we don’t have any work to do in order to be saved?  

While God provides the power to overcome, we have to be a willing participant in the process to allow the transformation to take place.  We have to make the conscious effort to make the right choices, that are in accordance with God’s word.  “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” – James 4:17.  We must Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:7-8  We must “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.: – Philippians 2:12  Therefore, we have a work to do:  1. Submit to God (in prayer and claiming His promises), 2. Resist the devil by making the godly choice to turn away from the temptation, never lingering nor yielding. 3.  Draw nigh to God in earnest prayer so that He may draw nigh to us.  4.  Ask God to cleanse our hands to no longer participate in those sins; ask Him to purify our hearts and imaginations so that we will no longer have the desire for those things.

The question to ask ourselves today is “Have we become enemies of the cross of Christ by stating that it is too hard to give up things that we know are not pleasing to God?”  Have we not only resisted His pleadings in our own lives, but have we also encouraged others to ignore His voice as well, stating that God doesn’t care what we do?  We must remember if our goal is to make it to His kingdom, we must believe in the power of the cross to overcome, that in it sin and death are defeated so that we may have victory unto eternal life with Him in heaven.

God Bless,

Family Blueprint

Devotional – A Heart Divided

“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.” – 1 Kings 18:21

The phrase “you want to have your cake and eat it too”, can some times be applied to our spiritual walk with our Lord.  For example, when I give my children different options for dessert after dinner, there are times when they sway between which one they desire most.  There have even been times in which my children were so conflicted they asked if they could have both.  Most times our parental reply would be “No you can only choose one.”  Even though they may have been disappointed initially when they couldn’t have both, each would be satisfied with their choice. Much like choosing which dessert you want after dinner is like our Christian walk, God in His love and mercy always offers us a choice in all we do.

God never forces us to choose to love Him.  The bible says “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” – Revelation 3:20  God doesn’t barge in like an uninvited house guest, but He also doesn’t leave us unattended or forsaken either.  The bible clearly states He stands at the door and knocks, He awaits for us to choose to open the door and allow Him to come in.  What a beautiful love!  That Christ would stand at the door, while it may have been shut in His face, and continues to knock in hope that it will be opened unto Him.  If we do decide to answer His call and open the door, what will He find?  Will it be vacant, ready to receive Him?  If the house of our heart is already occupied Christ isn’t able to come in, no matter how much we may desire Him to.  Opening the door to Christ is one thing, making room for Him to stay in us is another.

What if a husband and wife are living happily married, then one day the wife comes to the husband and says “I found someone else that I love too, can he come and stay with us?”  If the husband sincerely loves his wife, his reaction would be “NO! NEVER!”  He wouldn’t want to share his wife, nor her love and live with her divided heart.  He would want her to make a choice.  The same principle applies to God, He is our husbandman, He loves us so much that He died for us not even knowing if we would love Him in return.   But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8  

God chose us, His heart was and is not divided when it comes to us.  All He desires of us in return is a love reciprocally undivided (click here to see what that entails).  We cannot have sin and satan in our hearts and still try to jam pack God in there with them.  As a scientific principle, darkness and light cannot dwell together, therefore sin and righteousness cannot dwell together either.  We as the owner of the heart are bound to allow for one to overcome the other.  Which will we choose?  The one who thought we were worthy enough to die for or the one who wants us to die with them in misery.  God desires for all His children that He formed in their mother’s wombs to be with Him in paradise when He returns.  He leaves us with these words found in Joshua 24:14 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve” God bids for us, like the children of Israel of old to make a choice, His hearts desire is that our decision will be “[…], but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

 

God Bless,

Family Blueprint

 

Devotional: A Persistent Faith

“Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” – Matthew 15:28

Have you ever desired something from a friend or family member so badly that you kept asking until you received a definitive response.  As a parent, its like when your child(ren) keep asking you for something and they do not stop until they either receive their request or receive a definite no.  Parents/guardians since we are the first example of Christ to our child(ren), by our example are we teaching the young ones to have confidence in God’s word as they can have confidence in our word?  Do our children know the things they should persist for in faith?  Are we ourselves exhibiting a persistent persevering faith in seeking Christ for an answer no matter the circumstance or ridicule we may receive?

In Matthew 15 is a beautiful story of a woman who had a persistent faith.  Jesus had gone into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon when a Canaanite woman (also known as the Syrophencian woman) came unto him crying that her daughter was possessed by a devil.  Since we know the ministry of Jesus was about preaching, teaching and healing we could all assume He was getting ready to help this poor woman.  However, it seemed like the answer to her prayer didn’t come until after she endured a series of tests.  Does the same happen with us?  Does God try our faith to see if we are persistent and truly believe in His power to perform what we know He can do?

Her first test came in verse 23, after she came to Jesus explaining her problem and need of assistance the bible says “[H]e answered her not a word.”  It seemed like Jesus didn’t even acknowledge her request.  Many times in our life when we pray, we expect an immediate response.  However, do we ever feel as though our prayers are just not being heard.  What is our response to that feeling?  Do we give up or do we persist?  Praise God this woman persisted!

Her second test came in verse 23, after the woman continued seeking Christ for help, Jesus’ disciples instructed Him to send her away because she was so insistent.  It’s like when we express our earnest request to others and they either downplay it or when they don’t see God give an immediate answer in the affirmative they become discouraging.  The question is, do we persevere even though it seems like no one else is on our side?  Praise God this woman persisted!

Her third test came when Jesus finally responded in verse 24, “he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  In verse 25-26 when she realized she had Jesus’ attention she “worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” After all that persisting, Jesus responds to her by saying He was sent to help others.  Do we ever feel as though Jesus is helping everyone but us?  Do we ever begin to feel as though we aren’t even worthy of having our prayers answered?  What is our response when that happens?  Do we keep seeking God for His divine aid or do we fade away?  Praise God this woman still persisted!

 

In verse 27, this woman even still persisted because she knew the love of her Savior desired to save everyone.  “She said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  This woman knew, even though it seemed as if her prayer weren’t heard; even though others ridiculed her presence in seeking the Lord; even though it was implied she wasn’t even worthy of help she was fully persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate [her] from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus [her] Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39  She knew the power and love of Christ could do anything, and that His love was so great He would not leave her desolate.  

After the series of tests she endured in verse 28 Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”  There aren’t many people in the bible that Jesus expresses they had great faith.  Many would have been discouraged at His lack of response, His follows vocalizing their distaste of their presence and, lastly discouraged at the feeling of not being worthy of God’s divine help.  However, this Canaanite woman persevered through these seemingly discouraging trials.  The beauty of the story lies in verse 29, after He healed her daughter the bible says “And Jesus departed from thence…”  The reason why this is so beautiful, it shows that Jesus went to that place just to help that Canaanite woman who had so great a faith in Him and His saving power.  The same thought should come over us, even though it seems like we are having to go through trials and tribulations before our prayer is answered, Jesus is drawing near just for you, so keep persevering for Him with all your heart.

 

God Bless,

Family Blueprint

Devotional: Faithful not fearful

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fearhath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18

 

A couple years ago, my family and I were all cooking dinner together in our kitchen.  My back was turned to everyone as I cut up some vegetables, when I heard the Lord say “turn around”.  When I turned around, I discovered our 9 month old son was choking, not able to take a breath nor make any sounds.  I quickly picked up our son doing a mouth sweep.  I could feel nothing in his mouth nor throat so I began to do a back pat, attempting to dislodge any items.  I alternated between the two methods for what seemed like ages but was only a few seconds, hoping to discover something.  To no avail my son was beginning to turn blue.  We had already called 911 and were awaiting their arrival, as I still couldn’t by myself dislodge the item.  I then realized in my panic and fear I had forgotten to pray.  Unbeknownst to me, my husband and I ended up praying silent prayers simultaneously for God to help our son.  Immediately after the prayer he began to cry, and his color was being restored to his face.  The ambulance arrived shortly after and saw our happy, playful son talking and laughing.  We still advisedly went to the hospital to have him checked but they found nothing.  To this day 3 years later we still do not know what he choked on, but God does.

Whenever I think of that story I always ask myself, “what if my first instinct was to pray…what would have been the outcome?  Would he have chocked for so long?  Would he have turned blue?  Would we have needed to call 911?”  It reminds me of a similar story found in Mark 4:35-41 in which Jesus and His disciples went into a boat to head to a new destination.  During their journey a horrible storm came, the bible says “[a]nd there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.” – vs 37  The description of the storm sounds very severe, so much so that it says the boat was full of water and seemed like they were beginning to sink.  Any normal person in that situation probably would have reacted just like the disciples, fearful.

The question to ask is “where was Jesus during this storm?”  Verse 38 states “[a]nd he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?”  Jesus was in the back part of the ship resting peacefully.  Next it says “[a]nd he [Jesus] arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  And he said unto them [his disciples], Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?” – Mark 4:39-40  Jesus equated their fear with having no faith.  As I said before any normal person would be fearful, these events seemed terrifying.  However, when you think about it God’s people are not called to be normal they are called to be faithful.  The disciples had forgotten to pray.  Their panic and fear lead them to Christ, not their faith.

How many times are we lead to Christ and fall on our knees due to our fear and not our faith?  The bible says “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” – Hebrews 11:6  Do we by faith, make Christ our first resort and not our last?  Are we seeking Him daily, hourly even to strengthen our relationship with Him or do we only seek Him in our time of need?  “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” – Isaiah 55:6   There is coming a time where only the faithful will be able to reach God, are we becoming one of them? Do we by faith seek Him “being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” – Romans 4:21 temporally and spiritually?  The reason why many of us, respond in fear first is because we have not truly been faithful to God, but we must remember He is always faithful to us.  From today forward we must go to God in faith, not fear, “[seeking] first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; [then] all these things shall be added unto us.” – Matthew 6:33

 

 

God Bless,

The Family Blueprint

Devotional: Obedience is Better than Praise

 And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, 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

 

A Bermuda tradition, at least in our family, is to have the children jump off the pump house into their father’s or grandfather’s arms.  Now what makes this such an event is that the pump house is about 4.5-5 feet off the ground at some residences.  So the question the children have to ask themselves is, “Do I have faith that daddy or papa will catch me?”  So after the child has listened to the command, and if he or she obeys, it obviously shows that he or she has faith in the promises of the one catching them.  Children often speak about their father’s and grandfather’s as strong amazing men.  They praise them because they are in awe of them.  However, what about, even after all that adoration, the child doesn’t obey?  Well it could be for two separate reasons (or both):  1.  He or she doesn’t have faith in the person’s word who promises to catch them.  2.  They could just be rebellious and stubborn.

In 1 Samuel 15, there is a story of Israel’s first king, King Saul, he was given a set of instruction  by God through Samuel.  The question to ask is, did Saul obey the Word of God?  The answer is no, he disobeyed, and claimed it was because he was trying to keep what he thought to be the best gift and offer it to God.  When Samuel came he discovered Saul had not obeyed the explicit instructs from God.  Samuel explained while God does love sacrifice (worship) from his people, He loves and desires obedience MORE than sacrifice/worship.  He then went on to explain to Saul the reason for his act of disobedience and his consequence, his heart sins, :  “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” – 1 Samuel 15:23

How many times in our Christian walk have we believed if we just worship God, giving Him our best praise song & proclamation, He won’t really worry about if we are obeying His Word or not?  Many times we gloss over the Word of God and don’t take in to account that God truly desires us to follow what it says.  Many times we are like Saul.  We know what God wants us to do, however due to either our lack of faith or our rebellion-thinking we know best, we choose another way.  “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” – Proverbs 21:2  God doesn’t just desire our worship and praise, He longs for our obedience to His word.  He longs that we will believe His word when it says “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” – Deuteronomy 30:19  Saul unfortunately chose disobedience to God’s commands and by doing so he inevitably chose death.  “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23  How unfortunate for Saul, and us when we choose our own way, which isn’t God’s way.  “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” – Proverbs 14:12

Even though we may have lived our lives like Saul, believing our worship and praise will cover our disobedience, God is a loving and merciful God who forgives.  He says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9  He desires us to have a revelation like Saul that “to obey is better than sacrifice”.  He wants us to by faith lay hold on His law and promises in His word, and that He can and will help us to obey all His commands.  “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13  Just like the story of Cain and Able, both were told the explicit instructions of God in regards to worship and atonement.  However, one brother obeyed and the other did what was right in his own eyes.  One was accepted by God and the other was not.  God explained to Cain “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door…” – Genesis 4:7  God doesn’t want sin lying at our doors anymore.  We must realize that “to obey is better than sacrifice (worship)”.
God Bless, 
The Family Blueprint

Devotional: According to your Faith…?

“According to your faith be it unto you.” – Matthew 9:29

Has a gift ever been offered to you, but because of your doubting of the giver, the full blessing in its entirety was never recieved?  In our lives blessings are offered to us all the time by God Himself, but we do not get to fully receive them because we either do not believe its possible or we give someone else the credit for God’s gift.  By not believing that it was possible for God to perform such a miracle in our lives, what is that called?  A lack of faith.

This should cause us to question:  are things granted to us according to our belief and unbelief?  Do we not receive the full measure of blessings that God would have us to receive because we don’t truly believe the promise in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  This idea of blessings isn’t limited to tangible things such as cars, houses and temporal items that will just burn when He comes back.   We need to ask ourselves if we are receiving the blessing of feeling forgiven?  Also have we not receive the blessing of victory over sin, because we do not believe it is truly possible?  Have we not received a Christlike character because we believe our hereditary tendencies are too strong?  These are the blessings, and victories, that God truly desires to give to all man, woman, boy and girl.

Two incidents, one found in Matthew 9:27-31 in comparison to another one found in Mark 8:22-26 truly draws out the parallel of we are only given according to what we believe Jesus is capable of.  The first story in Matthew 9 is about two men who are blind asking for Jesus to heal them.  Jesus asks them a pertinent question “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (vs 28)  They claim they believe.  Then Jesus touching their eyes, answers them and says “According to your faith be it unto you” (vs 29). They weren’t just healed according to how Jesus desired to heal them, He told them according to what you believe is possible from God through Him it will be done unto them.  Verse 30 reveals by their complete healing that they were “fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.”(Romans 4:21).  Do we have that kind of faith?

The story in Mark 8 is about a man who was blind and was brought to Jesus for healing.  Jesus in the story took saliva and put it on the man’s eyes, then asked him what did he see.  Verse 24 reveals this man didn’t fully believe in Jesus ability to heal because he saw “men as trees, walking”, he couldn’t yet see clearly.  Was this due to Jesus inability or the lack of faith in the man?  Obviously it was the lack of faith on the part of the blind man.  Jesus had to again lay hands on him to heal him for the second time.  Verse 25 reveals that he then had more faith to receive full healing.

These two incidents draw a comparison to two separate classes of people.  One class that fully believes in the power of Christ and another that lacks faith in the complete power of God.  The word of God lets us know that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” – Romans 14:23 and that “without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6  The two blind men in Matthew 9 were diligently seeking Christ with all their heart, soul and body for complete restoration, believing in His power.  Are we doing the same?  Are we seeking after Christ with everything within us for complete restoration of our heart, soul, mind and body from this world of sin?

 

God Bless,

The Family Blueprint

Devotional: Heartache to Honor

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18

 

Many times we may look at people and things, admiring or aspiring to what we are beholding.  We love what we believe to be the “end result”.  However, what we fail to do many times is count the cost of what it took to get there.  What did someone have to give, lose, and/or even gain in order to be where they are now?  When we are attempting to meet a life goal, there may be times when everything seems to be failing us.  We could begin to feel “this [end result] isn’t worth it”, but feeling is not faith, we need to count the cost.

Jesus goal, on earth, was to save humanity.  However, at what cost and heartache did He have to suffer to fulfill His goal?  His own family wasn’t sure of His purpose, thus didn’t stand by him.  When Jesus showed His community that He was the fulfillment of prophecy, they tried to kill Him.  His church leadership forsook Him, and they sought to kill Him, being eventually successful.  People accused Jesus of being led by the devil.  When He desired prayers from His friends in Gethsemane, because the agony of sin seemed too much to endure, His friends slept not acknowledging His serious need.  When the band of soldiers came to take Jesus, his friends, “the disciples forsook him, and fled.” – Matthew 25:56  When He was in trial no one came to His defense.  Even while on the cross He was ridiculed and contested.  Jesus’ own Father had to turn His back to Him, because the sins of the world were placed upon Him.  While the cost Christ had to pay for our sins would seem unbearable to most, to Him it was worth it!!!

The question we must ask ourselves is, since Jesus is our example and we are to walk as He walked, will we have to endure similar costs and heartache?  The answer is yes.  Friends and family may not understand our stance for Christ, thus ridicule us and even turn away.  Our community and church may be contesting things that God has instructed us to do.  People may say we are being led by the devil, even if we are basing every decision off the Word of God and Spirit of Prophecy.  We may turn to our friends for prayer and they may not see the necessity for our soul’s salvation.  Others may rise up against us, and no one may come to our rescue nor defense.  When being persecuted, others may ridicule and abhor us.  It may feel as though Christ himself has forsaken us.  We may be feeling like Christ on the cross when He said “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” – Mark 15:34  However, PRAISE GOD, He never leaves us nor forsakes us and we will never have to experience the complete separation that Christ endured for our salvation.

Even though your Christian walk may seem hard and bleak at times, when you are being faithful, God’s word is sure!  He encourages us by saying “12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.  14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you […].  16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” – 1 Peter 4: 12-14,16  We must consider our present sufferings as “light affliction, which is but for a moment, [and] worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” – 2 Corinthians 4:17  

What is the glory and honor that the Bible says we have to look forward to, when we are faithful to God and His word?  That glory which shall be revealed in us is His character being fully manifested in our lives.  What a beautiful promise!!  Even though your current Christian journey may seem hard, your present suffering for Christ’s sake is worth it!!  To have His character fully revealed in you is worth it!!!  To eventually go to Heaven and live with Him forever, is worth it!!!  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  That the trial of your faith […receives] the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:6-7,9

 

 

God Bless,

The Family Blueprint 

Devotional: A Good Ground

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. – Matthew 13:3,8

 

Jesus explains the parable to His disciples in Matthew 13:23 “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”  Some may think well the person who has the “good ground” must be a perfect or righteous man to bear so much fruit.  However, this is not the case.

During Jesus’ first coming to the earth He says “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” – Mark 2:17  Therefore, the person who has this good ground isn’t a perfect man, but one who believes “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

A person with the “good ground” believes that God and His word have the power to change their life.  They know and understand that  “without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6  Therefore by faith, they lay hold on all the promises they discover and allow the Holy Spirit to do the work of transformation in their lives, making the necessary changes, omissions and transitions.  They have the proclamation: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” – Romans 1:16  They believe in the power of Jesus Christ to save them from sin, not in sin.

A “good ground” hearer doesn’t just stop at the reading and hearing of the Word of God.  “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” – Psalm 1:2  They allow God to transcribe His law on their hearts and say “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” – Psalm 40:8 Having complete surrender and obedience to Christ by faith they say “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” – John 5:30 

The key to becoming a “good ground” hearer is in humbleness of mind and submission.  Many times we read or hear the word of God with preconceived ideologies and a proud heart like the rich young ruler (wayside, stony or thorny ground hearers); thus we are not receptive to being broken up and open to the Holy Spirit’s transforming power.  The “good ground” hearer through yielding and the power of Jesus Christ, no matter the obstacles, trials or temptations going on in his or her life, will be able to say “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” – Luke 22:42  They will stand fast and trust as Job and not be moved, nor discouraged, nor dismayed, they will not turn their back and doubt the one who has saved them from the pit of sin.  They shall proclaim “[I] shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;” – Psalm 91:5  Because they know that “God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

One may ask, why are there different amounts of fruit borne?  Because there are different amounts of faith people exercise.  For example the Centurion and Canaanite woman, the theif on the cross and the disciples.  While some had extraordinary faith and were able to claim much promises and bore much fruit immediately, some were slow to accept light and only bore a small amount of fruit in the beginning.  However, they all lived up to the light that they had received.  A good ground hearer is desirous and searching for how can they better please God daily, hourly, at every moment and in every circumstance.  They never want to reach a plateau in their Christian walk and believe “every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” – 1 Corinthian 9:25  The Word of God bids us “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” – 1 John 2:6

Allow your heart to be broken up by the power of Jesus Christ; brought in from the wayside, thorns and stones removed to be a “good ground” hearer today!

 

 

God Bless,

Family Blueprint