Wednesday, December 31, 2014

with Brother Rick

Revelation 22: 17
  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.
V- 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.

Here we are! Another year has passed us by, and tomorrow we begin 2015. I pray that you are excited about reading through the Bible in 2015. I AM!! I also pray that you have set some spiritual goals for yourself, your family, and your church. As for myself, I need to pray more. I need to study more. I need to control my reactions to people, I am in the construction business, its not easy. We all have room for improvement. The point is this: don't be content with your spiritual condition. Strive to do better!! Philippians 3: 13, 14 says,  “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” God has given each and every one of us a specific purpose in this life. Are you fulfilling that purpose? May we all draw closer to God in 2015.

In the text, Jesus gives us two VERY important bits of information. If we were to recap the Bible as a whole, we would start with the creation of all things including man. God created Adam. Adam had a perfect life. Adam disobeyed God, and man fell from the grace of God. Romans 5: 12 says, “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” From the moment Adam ate of the forbidden fruit, the spirit of man was separated from God. Man created his own way of worship, man created his own means of pleasure, and man has been plunged deeper and deeper into the depths of sin. From Adam until now, God has provided only one way for man to be reconciled unto himself. Man has concocted many ideas on the subject. Man has performed many false ways to get to God. But God has only provided ONE!! And his name is JESUS. Acts 4: 12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

In the final words of the Bible, in our text, we find a blessing and a warning. First, God once again has offered us a way out of our sin. How many times in 2014, did God offer you a path away from your sin, a way out of your dysfunction? Don't act so holy, you are as dysfunctional as the rest of us. 1 Corinthians 10: 13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” What are your hangups? What is the sin that so easily besets you? May we strive this coming year to put it behind us and draw closer to God. Our text offers us the water of life freely. We have a Savior who is willing to save our souls, and we also have a Savior who is willing to give us the grace and strength we need to overcome our sin. Sometimes we forget that we have the power to say, “NO” to the flesh, the world and the devil, and “YES” to Jesus.

Lastly, Jesus gives us a warning, and I want this to be the last thing you remember this year. THE BIBLE IS THE FINAL AUTHORITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you want victory this year, it won't come from money, it won't come from Obama (I had to get one last shot in before 2015), I won't come from your works. If you want victory in 2015, it will come from the BIBLE. If you will read it, believe it, meditate on it, obey it and apply it, YOU WILL BE VICTORIOUS. But, as the scripture says, if you try to change it, alter it, pervert it to please self; there is judgment coming. Just take God at his Word and let God have free will.

I pray you all have a Happy New Year!! Be careful tonight, I'll meet you in Genesis in the morning.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

with Brother Rick

Revelation 4: 1, 4, 10, 11
  After this I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
V- 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
V- 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
V- 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

As we finish our devotions this year; just like my life, I want to finish right. I will not dare to get into an expository study in this book, but we cannot leave Revelation without covering some highlights. And these verses contain the big ones.

First, in verse 1, the Bible says that John was called up, or caught up into heaven to see the future events, such as the Tribulation Period, the Millennial Reign, the Final Judgments, and the Revelation of New Jerusalem. I believe verse 4 is a picture of the rapture of the church. The previous scriptures contain letters to the seven churches which also represent types and pictures of churches throughout the generations leading up to the Laodicean church which we believe to be the present day church. If you study this letter out, you will find it to be SPOT ON. We are the lukewarm church; not hot, not cold, just going through the motions of religious activity. And Jesus is calling from the OUTSIDE. Revelation 3: 20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in unto him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” If I could say one thing going into this new year, “Friend, find yourself a church that has their focus on JESUS!!” Not the sports programs for the kids, not the fancy rock music and the big screens, not the mega scene with the grand lights and coffee bars. But find you a place where you can grow in the WORD OF GOD!! Despite how you feel, despite what you believe, despite what your family thinks, If it don't line up with the HOLY BIBLE, it is not from God.

Back to the text, notice what happens when we are raptured out of here. Yes, I believe we will see loved ones, but that is not the focal point. Yes, I believe we will have glorified bodies. 1 Corinthians 15: 51- 53 says, “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” Yes, we will have glorified bodies, no more hurting, no more disease, no more pain, not more suffering. Caroline Blackwell is not suffering this morning, she is with Jesus. Buddy Smith is not suffering this morning, he is at the feet of Jesus. Both of these folks left this world yesterday and put on the incorruptible. I kind of envy them this morning.

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon his face,
The One who saved my by his grace;
When he takes me by the hand,
and leads me through the Promised land
What a day, glorious day that will be.

Now we get to the meat of eternity, the purpose of this life and the life beyond. We see the four and twenty elders doing what we should be doing now and forever more. They are at the feet of the Lord praising his name. Friends, we will spend all of eternity praising God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Why wait until then? Why not start praising him now?


Have A Blessed Day!!! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

with Brother Rick

Revelation 1: 5
  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.

We will finish our devotional journey through the Bible on Wednesday, New Years Eve. As we finish up in the final book of the Bible, we could possibly stay here for months, but for times sake we will focus on several major topics. We know through the study of the apostle John, that he was exiled to the isle of Patmos for preaching the gospel. John was the last of the 12 apostles to survive as the church was persecuted severely in these days. God allowed John to see the events that would take place in the end times. The book includes Christ's directions to His churches. We see Christ as the slain and risen Lamb. We see the judgments of the coming tribulation period on earth, which is a display of the wrath of the Lamb. We see the return of Christ to earth and His Millennial reign. And we also see the new heavens and the new earth in the last chapters. God leaves nothing to the imagination. We know how the story ends. This being said, we have no excuse. Every Bible believer should give thanks today for what Jesus has already done, and for what he is going to do.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ begins with the salutation which gives the main theme of the book as well and the main theme for the entire Bible. Notice in the text that John gives three titles to the Lord Jesus, First, Jesus is the “faithful witness”. Christ came to this earth to bear witness to the Father. Jesus says in John 17: 4, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Jesus also says in verses 25, 26, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” Christ is the faithful witness.

Secondly, John reveals Christ as, “The first begotten of the dead”. 1 Corinthians 15: 54- 57 says, “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We have eternal life through Jesus Christ. We are overcomers through Jesus Christ. We have victorious over death, hell and the grave through Jesus Christ. Romans 8: 36, 37 says, “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Our eternal life is secure.

Lastly, John gives the Lord the title of, “The prince of the kings of the earth.” Jesus is preeminent and Jesus is Lord. Philippians 2: 9- 11 says, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

John gives these titles to the Lord Jesus for one reason and one reason only. Jesus is worthy, Jesus deserves the praise. Look at the verse. Jesus bought the right to be preeminent because he washed our sins in his own blood. We owe Jesus our lives. In response to this great sacrifice, Paul give us our duty as followers of Christ. Romans 12: 1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Give it all to Jesus, He gave it all for us.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

with Brother Rick

Hebrews 13: 10- 14
  We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.
V- 11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.
V- 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.
V- 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 
V- 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

As we finish today in this epistle to the Hebrews, I pray that all have seen Jesus as a Better Savior, a Better Security, and today we will look at Jesus as a Better Sanctuary. One thing that most overlook when they come to Jesus is that he bore our reproach openly, and we will bear his reproach openly. We have become a religious society that believes and teaches that the Christian life is a cake walk and there is no suffering allowed. Some even go so far as to teach that suffering in the Christian life signifies disobedience to the Lord. That does not line up with scripture, and it is a LIE.

The Bible says in our text that the beast that was offered for sin was taken out of the city and its flesh burned. Our text says that Jesus suffered without the gate. Jesus was rebuked by the people that he died for. Jesus was reproached by those who claim to be his followers. Jesus was crucified by those who claimed to be looking for his coming. But he was carried outside the camp. How many of us will go with Jesus outside the camp? How many of us will suffer for the Lord? How many of us will stand for God's word in the face of persecution. Philippians 1: 29 says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;”

The first sanctuary was a place that was consecrated by God where his people would come regularly to worship and offer up sacrifices to gain acceptance. Our sanctuary, the Lord Jesus, requires one visit to enter in and never leave. Come to this sanctuary and gain acceptance into the family of God. Ephesians 1: 6 says, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved,” Come to this sanctuary and gain forgiveness for your sins once and for all. Acts 5: 31 says, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Come to this sanctuary and and receive power to become a child of the living God. John 1: 12 says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” Come to this sanctuary and find rest for your souls, rest from the world, rest from the bondage of sin. Matthew 11: 28 – 30 says, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly at heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus is a Better Sanctuary.

Are you willing go outside the camp and suffer with the Lord? Are you willing to stand against the scoffers of the current administration and claim Jesus as LORD? Obama and his socialist Muslim cohorts want to kill Jesus. Are you willing to stand outside the camp and claim him as YOUR Savior? We can enter into this sanctuary and find refuge from persecution.

Jesus bore our reproach openly, and we will bear his openly. It’s time for true Christians to come out of the closet. It’s worth the risk!! 

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

with Brother Rick

Hebrews 12: 8, 9
  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof ye are all partakers, then ye are bastards, and not sons.
V- 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

In this text, we find the evidence of our spiritual family membership. We have family in the flesh. We have mothers, fathers, some have siblings, and aunts and uncles. We acquire these fleshly families simply by being born of their flesh. Our text says that we who are saved are part of God's spiritual family. It's not a fleshly family, it is a spiritual family, but it's family just the same.1 John 3: 1 says, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” Through the blood of God's own Son, we have been offered entrance into God's family. And the evidence of this membership is that he treats us like family, HE CHASTENS US. We know that God is our Father, because he whips us when we rebel against his word. We know that God is our Father, because he disciplines us when we do wrong. God never accepts our rebellion, he never condones our sin, he never overlooks our transgressions. God takes the switch and beats us back into submission. This is a Bible fact.

The text reveals the proof of sonship. Those who teach that God loves and never chastens, have never known the God of the Bible. Those who teach that God only pampers and loves and gives kisses and fairy tale dreams, are living in a fairy tale dream. God chastens those that he loves. God corrects his children in a way that gets their attention. Sometimes its a whisper. Sometimes its a stern voice. Sometimes its a loud yell, and sometimes its the rod of correction, depending on our rebellious state. But one thing is for sure. God NEVER overlooks our rebellion to his commands. The text is very direct. If you are a son, God chastens you when you do wrong. If you are without chastening, and there is not conviction. If your sin has no moral bearing in your heart or conscience, then you are a bastard and God is not your Father, that's the proof. When the liberal crowd says they are happy in their sin, and God is fine with it. They are deceived by the devil and God is not their Father.

The text goes on and makes a comparison of the fleshly Father with the heavenly Father. We all have fleshly fathers, they may not be around, they may not have had a place in your life, but they are real. And unfortunately, some have walked away from their fatherly responsibilities. But, our heavenly Father is alive, he is real, and he is very much a part of our lives. In fact, he is watching you right now. He knows your thoughts. He sees your motives. He understands your next move. And his desire is for you and me to have the very best of this life and the life to come. But we are his children and we represent him. We are part of the family of God, and the world knows it. Do you represent your family well?

Once, while I was out in sin and living for the devil, my fleshly father told me he was ashamed to call me his son. At the time, it didn't mean much, I did what I wanted to do. But as I look back, I see that I was a disrespectful, degenerate child, and deserved punishment. I have tried over the years since I have been saved, to restore that relationship with my earthly father. And I never want to lose that again. Its the same with my heavenly Father, I want him to be proud to call me son. 2 Corinthians 5: 20 says, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Will your actions today, put a wedge between you and God? Will your words today bring chastening from your heavenly Father? Will your attitude today bring shame and reproach to God the Father? I know God loves me because he chastens me when I do wrong. He wants the very best for me and that takes discipline.

He's still working on me.

Friends, If the heavenly Father doesn't chasten you when you sin, I would take out my birth certificate and make sure you have the right father. Here's the question of the day;
Who's your daddy?

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Monday, December 15, 2014

with Brother Rick

Hebrews 8: 12, 13
  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
V- 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

 In verse 6 of this chapter, we see that Christ has become the mediator of a better covenant. This new covenant provides something that the old could not. Where the old supplied only temporary covering for sin, this new covenant washes our sins away. Where the old covenant could not pardon, the new covenant completely pardons. Where the old covenant gave hope for future forgiveness, the new covenant gives the believer security for eternal forgiveness and freedom to live in this present world. Jesus is that security, Jesus is that freedom. John 8: 36 says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

 We see in this epistle that there are two covenants that are addressed. One is the covenant God made with Israel when he gave them the law. This covenant was the conditional and temporary Mosaic covenant. The terms of this covenant were conditioned upon the fulfillment of its terms. It offered life, but only to those who kept the law. It contained Judgments governing Israel's social life. It contained commands which portrayed the righteous will of God. And it contained ordinances, which governed the religious life of Israel. We also place the old covenant laws into three categories; the Moral Law, the Ceremonial Law, and the Civil law.

But the new covenant is redefined in Hebrews 8: 6, the Bible says, “But now, hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” The new covenant stands in complete  contrast to the Mosaic covenant. Its promises are better and its terms are unconditional. The old covenant was faulty in that it could not take away sin and it could not give the guilty conscience peace. The new covenant gives power to the believer to wash sin completely away and offers peace that passes all understanding. We know that the new covenant was promised to Israel and Judah, it began at Calvary and runs through the millennial age and throughout eternity. But we, as part of the church, have part in this new covenant, and we are recipients of the better promises that the new covenant offers. We have begun to enjoy the new covenant now. Israel as a nation will not reap the benefits of the new covenant until the Lord's return and “all Israel shall be saved”, Romans 11: 26- 27.

We as Christians are enjoying three things that the new covenant offers.  We have the promise of salvation. God promises to save us from our sins, not in our sins. God promises to save us from the penalty of sin, which is death, Romans 6: 23.  God promises to save us from the power of sin, and God promises one day to save us from the very presence of sin. Secondly, we obtained forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1: 13, 14 says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”  And thirdly, we have the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God has put his Spirit in us as a comforter and a guide through this life. John 14: 16 says, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever;” Jesus also says in John 14: 26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have told you.”

Friends, we are part of something big. Its bigger than Obamacare. Its bigger than the Super bowl. Its bigger than Super Ball jackpot. Its bigger than anything this life has to offer.

We have security in Christ. Does your life portray the security that Jesus offers?

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jehovah Mekadesh – The Lord Who Sanctifies

Exodus 31:13 – “Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.”

The Scottish preacher John McNeill liked to tell about an eagle that had been captured when it was quite young. The farmer who snared the bird put a restraint on it so it couldn't fly, and then he turned it loose to roam in the barnyard. It wasn't long till the eagle began to act like the chickens, scratching and pecking at the ground. This bird that once soared high in the heavens seemed satisfied to live the barnyard life of the lowly hen. One day the farmer was visited by a shepherd who came down from the mountains where the eagles lived. Seeing the eagle, the shepherd said to the farmer, "What a shame to keep that bird hobbled here in your barnyard! Why don't you let it go?" The farmer agreed, so they cut off the restraint. But the eagle continued to wander around, scratching and pecking as before. The shepherd picked it up and set it on a high stone wall. For the first time in months, the eagle saw the grand expanse of blue sky and the glowing sun. Then it spread its wings and with a leap soared off into a tremendous spiral flight, up and up and up. At last it was acting like an eagle again.

What's this got to do with sanctification, you may ask? Well, Ray Steadman defines “sanctify” as “to put to its proper use.” Most of us know that sanctification is being set apart for service, but if we add this component, then to be sanctified is to be set apart for your proper use. What is the proper use of the believer? Stedman goes on to say that "this is holiness, this sense of dependence and availability to God. This is what makes the world sit up and take notice as they see Christian men and women living the kind of life that is always adequate for every circumstance."

So, our verse here in Exodus, as well as several verses in Leviticus, is teaching us that holiness should be the goal of every child of God. Leviticus 11:45 – “Ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 19:2 – “Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy.” Leviticus 20:7 – “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 20:26 – “For ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy.” But this call for personal holiness is not just an Old Testament application. Paul in Ephesians 5:27, speaking of the church says, “That it should be holy and without blemish.” Peter in 1 Peter 1:15 says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy.” John in Revelation 22:11 says, “He that is holy, let him be holy still.”

This name for God, Jehovah Mekadesh, the Lord who sanctifies, just like the other names of Jehovah, is emphasizing another of the amazing attributes of God – His holiness. And just as Moses in the Law, Ezekiel in the Prophets, Christ in the Gospels, and Peter, Paul, and John in the Epistles all call for personal holiness in the lives of His saints, so we should strive to exercise restraint in our physical life, temperance in our emotional life, and holiness in our spiritual life. So shall we live in such a way that is pleasing to our God in His demand for holiness in our life for Him. According to Spurgeon, “The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and doctrines of truth and applies them with power. These are heard in the ear and being received in the heart, they work in us to will and to do of God's good pleasure. The truth is the sanctifier, and if we do not hear or read the truth, we shall not grow in sanctification. We only progress in sound living as we progress in sound understanding. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Do not say of any error, "It is a mere matter of opinion." No man indulges an error of judgment, without sooner or later tolerating an error in practice. Hold fast the truth, for by so holding the truth shall you be sanctified by the Spirit of God.”

Quote – “We must choose between holiness and hellishness.” - Unknown

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

with Brother Rick

2 Timothy 1: 11, 12
  Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
V- 12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless, I am not ashamed: for I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

For those Bible believers and students of the word of God, who believe we are living in the last days, this second epistle to Timothy is a book in which we must take heed. The parables of Jesus and the letters to the seven churches in Revelation reveal an increasing apostasy through the church age. In 2 Timothy, not only were individuals turning away from gospel truth, but entire regions were turning away. 2 Timothy 1: 15 says, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” False teachers had taken root and were eating away the life of the church like cancer destroys the physical body. 2 Timothy 2: 17 says, “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom Hymenaeus and Philetus.”

Spiritual reprobates, who possessed worldly fame and recognition, were actively engaged in opposing the truth of the word of God: You know that crowd, those who serve for filthy lucre and insist on bringing the world into the church. Its like mixing oil and water, it won't mix. Rock music, country music, rap music, just will not mix with spiritual songs and hymns. Bible worship and biblical church conduct will not mix with seminars, bake sales, sports conferences and other worldly activities. Church is church and all the rest IS NOT!!!!!!
2 Timothy 3: 8 says, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Doesn't this sound like our current spiritual condition? The average church member is content to listen to fairy tales and religious human invention rather than established biblical truth. 2 Timothy 4: 4 says, “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

But our text reveals the heart of a man who could not be moved by the apostasy of others. Paul could not be persuaded by the falling away of his comrades. Paul stood his ground when all others forsook him and went their own way. Tony Hutson says it best, “If you don't learn to walk A-LONE, you won't walk FOR LONG.” I think that is right. Paul understood what happened that day at Calvary. Jesus bore our reproach openly and we must bare his openly. There is no such thing as a closet Christian. We are children of God and happy about it. We stand on the verbal inspiration of the scriptures and we will not be moved. We believe that Jesus died for the church. And the church is where ministry is birthed. For I am not ashamed of the gospel. Jesus is my Lord. Jesus is my Master. Jesus is my hope. Jesus is my only way to the Father. Jesus is all in all. Where does Jesus stand in your life? Isaiah 9: 6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Oh, what a Savior! Oh, what a Savior! Oh, what a Savior is mine!
Unto the uttermost, wonderful, glorious!
Oh, what a Savior is mine!

In the text, Paul states that he is not shamed, he knows in whom he believes, and he is persuaded that God is able to keep that which he has committed. What have you committed to God? Is it your soul? If so, then you should have not problem serving. Have you committed your mind? Then you should have no problem with God's Word. Have you committed your body? Then you should have no problem following the Lord instead of following the filthy flesh and a deteriorating world's system. A committed man will stand out in a crowd and proclaim the name of the one in whom he has put his trust.

Paul warns Timothy in 3: 12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Will you commit and make a stand today? You should! Jesus made a stand for you.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

with Brother Rick

1 Timothy 2: 5
  For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

As we saw yesterday in our devotion, this pastoral epistle contains significant doctrine that dictates qualifications and conduct of ministers within the church. In the second chapter, Paul gives us instruction on worship within the church. In verse 1 of chapter 2 the text says, “I exhort you therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks, be made for all men;” When we come before the throne of grace, we open up the door for communication with God. Friends, do you know how privileged we are to have access to God the Father?

Do you realize that Jesus has broken down the wall and made a way for you and I to pray to a holy God.  I have access to God through Jesus. I don't need a priest to go to God for me. I don't need Mary to make intercession for me. I don't need Buddha to go to his god for me. I don't need Muhammad to go to his god for me. I don't need Joe Smith to go to his god for me. I can go myself. Rick Ivester, a priest of the most high God can go into the holy of holies in the name of Jesus and make intercession for my family, for my coworkers, even for my enemies, Yes, that's right we are commanded to pray for our enemies. I do pray that Obama will accept Jesus as Savior. Yes, I pray that Al Sharpton will shut his big mouth and get saved by the grace of God. Yes, I pray that Kim Jong-un will turn to God in repentance and accept Jesus as his Savior. We can't save them, but we can pray.

In the text, Paul gives the doctrine behind the prayer. When I see some of these wicked individuals praying and mentioning prayer as they lie, deceive and fill the hearts and minds of the ignorant with false hope, I can't help but wonder, “who are they praying to?” Our text reveals to us that there is only one God. Allah is not the God of heaven. Buddha is not the God of heaven. The only God who can save souls is the Creator, the God of the Bible. We call him God, Yahweh, Jehovah, Elohim, Adonai, He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the God of the Bible. He is the Creator of heaven and earth. He is God, and there is only one. Don't be deceived, all roads don't lead to heaven. All Bibles aren't the Word of God. All churches don't worship the one true God. God is God and there is no other.

Not only is there one God, but there is only one way for sinful man to get to God. You and I cannot approach a holy God on our own. This sinful flesh needs a mediator. God will not hear our prayers on our own merit. It can't happen and will not happen. Our text reveals that there is one God and one mediator between God and men. That mediator is JESUS. Acts 4: 12 says, “Neither is there salvation in an other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” 1 John 4: 11 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 2: 1, 2 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” All of these verses give us the idea that we need someone to go to God on our behalf. Yes, I have access to the Father, but not own my own. I need a mediator. And his name is Jesus. Only God's Son can open that door. Only the sinless Son of God can make a way to God the Father, and his name is JESUS.

Paul goes on in chapter three and gives us the doctrine of the deity of Christ. Not only is Jesus the Son of God, but Jesus is God the Son. Jesus is the express image of God's person, Hebrews 1: 3. Jesus is able to give us access only because he is God. Don't ask me to explain it, just trust the Bible. Only the blood of God himself can wash away our sins. Only perfect unspotted blood can make us white as snow. 1 Timothy 3: 16 says, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” God is a Spirit, John 4: 24, and he manifested himself in the flesh and came to earth in the person of his Son Jesus Christ. We can go to God only through his Son, Jesus.

Paul gives us the root of the gospel in this text, there is only One who can save, there is only One who can forgive sins, there is only One who can give us access to God the Father. There is One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. That being the case, don't you think you ought to know him and fellowship with him?

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”, John 14: 6. There is only one road, you better get on it!!

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

with Brother Rick

1 Timothy 1: 15
  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came in the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

The two letters to Timothy and the one to Titus are called the “Pastoral Epistles”. They contain qualifications for ministers in the church and they contain principles for pastoral care in the church. God has left nothing undone. The church and the believers have everything they need doctrinally to conduct the affairs of God  as a body and as individuals. The problems come when man interferes with God's plan. Do you want to know why there are twenty two different denominations of churches in your neighborhood? Because man has interfered with God's plan. Everyone can't be right!! Do you want to know why there is a church on every corner in this area? Because man has interfered with the precepts dictated in the word of God. Do you want to know why there are women in our pulpits, divorced men in authority, and yes, even sodomites teaching and preaching the word of God in our churches? It's simple. Man has interfered with the church doctrine that God has set before us. I am not a Bible scholar or a rocket scientist, and it takes neither to understand what God is trying to tell us in these short letters to Timothy and Titus. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS READ IT AND BELEIVE IT. Even I can do that.

For example; 1Timothy 2: 11- 14 says, “Let the women learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in transgression.” Many of today's so called female pastors, and by the way, there is no such creature as a woman preacher, try to pervert these verses and say that the culture of the times dictates the authority of the commandments. If that's the case, why did God go all the way back to Genesis to give proof of the principle? The cultures were not the same in Paul's day as they were in Adam's. Man has always had authority in the home, in the tabernacle, in the temple, and in the church. Don't add to the scriptures, just believe what it says, and leave pride at the house.

Next, 1 Timothy 3: 2 says, “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” The list goes on, but I want to deal with one issue. The scripture says that one of the qualifications for a bishop (pastor) is that he must be the husband of one wife. This DOES NOT mean “husband of one wife at a time”, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you really need God to tell you not to marry but one woman at a time. This commandment is saying that a divorced man CANNOT pastor a church. How can a man lead a church if he can't run his own home? He can't!!! How can a divorced man preach and teach you how to have a successful marriage when he has failed in his own? He can't!!! Your church is only as effective in the ministry of the gospel as the individual homes of the people in it. These are simple and very definite precepts for qualifications for ministry in the church, yet they are perverted today in every way, because man feels he knows more than God.

Our text gives us two things that are vital to the success of the minister. Paul led Timothy to the Lord and left him in Ephesus and Asia minor to perform the work of a pastor. In the text, we first see the primary goal of the pastor. It is not to write books and become the media celebrity that we see in the limelight today. Paul gives the primary goal in the text. Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS. A biblical pastor has a heart for lost souls. That is his job, to lead people to Jesus, and take care of the flock once they are saved. If your pastor doesn't have time to preach to the lost, he has wandered from his calling. Secondly, Paul reveals to Timothy an attribute that will keep him on the right level with his people. Paul says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; OF WHOM I AM CHIEF.” Paul was not too big for his britches. He was able to minister to the kings as well as the bum in the street. If Paul could humble himself and witness to the lost in the streets, so could Timothy and so can you and me. 1 Corinthians 9: 22 says, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” If your pastor is too big and famous to call on you when you are sick, he's too big for God. If your pastor needs body guards to rush him on and off the stage, he's too big for God. If your pastor is too busy to pray with you and comfort you when you are hurting, friend, you need a new pastor.

There are BIBLE qualifications for the ministry. We have turned the work of God into a free for all, and God is not in it. It must line up with the scriptures before God will touch it.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Paul admits he was not worthy to accept this calling, but I'm glad he did. God doesn't call the fit, he fits the call.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jehovah Sabaoth – The Lord of Hosts

Isaiah 47:4 – “A for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.”

A young boy traveling by airplane to visit his grandparents sat beside a man who happened to be a seminary professor. The boy was reading a Sunday school take-home paper when the professor thought he would have some fun with the lad. "Young man," said the professor, "If you can tell me something God can do, I"ll give you a big, shiny apple." The boy thought for a moment and then replied, "Mister, if you can tell me something God can't do, I’ll give you a whole barrel of apples!"

As the Lord of Hosts, our great God shows His omnipotence and omniscience. There is nothing that God cannot do – there is nothing that God does not know. Amos 4:13 tells us, “For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.” Again in Isaiah 44:6, “Thus saith the Lord the king of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Christ tells John in Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, … which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Christ, our Redeemer, is Jehovah God – the omnipotent [all-powerful] One – the omniscient [all-knowing] One – the omnipresent [present everywhere] One. Thus is the greatness of our Lord and our God.

This particular name gives Him all authority over all the hosts [or armies] of heaven and earth. This truth is given in Daniel 4:35, “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand.”

But what does all this mean to us – the individual child of God? How does this help us? How does Christ’s position as the Lord of hosts help us? Let’s look at an example in the history of Israel, God’s chosen people. In 2 Kings 6, the nation of Syria camped about Israel and besieged the capital city. The Prophet Elisha was not worried, but his servant was greatly distressed and asked the prophet, “What are we going to do?” Elisha’s answer is in verse 16, “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.” And then he prayed that God would open the servant’s eyes, which He did, “And he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” These were the hosts of heaven. And we have access to the same hosts that Elisha did. In Hebrews 1:14, God tells us, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” He says that we are surrounded by ministering spirits [angels] who will fight for us just as these hosts in their fiery chariots did for Elisha.

This is how David can with such confidence declare in the Psalms: “He is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence (Ps 62:2)”; “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and horn of my salvation and my high tower (Ps18:2)”; “He is a buckler to all those that trust in him (Ps 18:30)”; “And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies (Ps 27:6)”; “In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me (Ps 56:11)”; and “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God (Ps 20:7).” The sweet psalmist of Israel knew that each one of us can put his trust in the great God, Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts. Paul says with the same confidence in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” And in Hebrews 13:6, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” And we can have the same confidence that David had – the same confidence that Paul had – the same confidence that Peter had – and the same confidence that John had. For we have as our God the great Jehovah Sabaoth.

Quote – “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing; Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing: Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same, And He must win the battle.” – Martin Luther

Thursday, December 4, 2014

with Brother Rick

1 Thessalonians 1: 7- 10
  So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
V- 8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
V- 9 For they themselves shew of what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
V- 10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

We find in this epistle to the church in Thessalonica, a commendation from Paul for the example this Gentile church had set for the believers in Macedonia and the rest of the early churches. They helped set the standard for the New Testament Church. They helped establish the conduct that would help other churches to grow in the Lord. How many of our churches today follow this biblical example? How many of today's churches worship according to the leading of the Holy Ghost? How many of today's churches hold true to Bible doctrine, not man's opinions? I pray that you and your family attend a solid New Testament church, not because grandma was a charter member, not because they have a great basketball program for the kids, not because the softball team is league champions 5 years running, not because your wife or husband grew up in that church, but I pray that you and your family attend your church because it is the place where you are continually fed by the word of God. Colossians 3: 16 says, “Let the word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Does this sound like your church?

First, Paul commends them on their ability to spread the gospel. We are instructed as a local body to go out into the community and spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Every local New Testament church is sanctioned to have a structured outreach program; not a program to feed the poor, or build habitat homes, or rally to help families at Christmas, and these works certainly have their place. BUT, lets keep the main thing the main thing. Every local New Testament church is sanctioned by God to have a structured program that specifically goes out into their community to share the good news of God's own Son, Jesus. The church in Thessalonica had their focus in the right place.

Secondly, this body of believers had the testimony of staying unspotted by the world. They turned from serving idols, they turned from serving the flesh, they turned from serving the world, and the turned from serving Satan. James 1: 27 says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” They had a testimony of saying “NO” to the world and “YES” to Jesus. May we all strive to have this testimony.

Lastly, They lived their lives as if Jesus would come at any moment. What will the Lord find you doing when he returns?These believers were waiting on Jesus. These believers conducted their lives in a fashion that would be pleasing to God when Jesus returned. Friends, Jesus is coming back, and I pray that we all would walk in such a manner that he would not find us in sin if he returned, what a tragedy that would be. Mark 13: 35- 37 says, “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto all, Watch.”

Jesus is coming, may we all be ready and WATCH.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

"He Knows My Name" - MVBC Young Ladies Trio

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