Friday, July 31, 2015



Matthew 5:33-37 "You have also heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the LORD.'  (34)  But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, 'By heaven!' because heaven is God's throne.  (35)  And do not say, 'By the earth!' because the earth is His footstool. And do not say, 'By Jerusalem!' for Jerusalem is the city of the great King.  (36)  Do not even say, 'By my head!' for you can't turn one hair white or black.  (37)  Just say a simple, 'Yes, I will,' or 'No, I won't.' Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Christ does not forbid judicial oaths. Note, (1) God sometimes swears by himself (Gen_22:16-17); (2) Jesus made oath before the Sanhedrim (Mat_26:63); (3) Paul made oath to the Corinthians (2Co_1:23). He does forbid all profanity and idle oaths, such as were common among the Jews, and still so defile the mouths of men. –People’s NT Commentary

These oaths that Jesus speaks of here would have more to do with swearing to accomplish something such as revenge, or some great feat. The problem with such an oath is again a matter of the heart. It is saying, “I will accomplish what I set out to do and nothing shall stop me.” To add to that an oath such as, “by God,” or “as sure as the sun rises,” etc. is to claim yourself greater than God. As James points out in the passage below we do not know what life holds for us in the next few minutes, let alone in the long term.

James 4:13-16 Look here, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit."  (14)  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it's here a little while, then it's gone.  (15)  What you ought to say is, "If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that."  (16)  Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.

Jesus points out that anything more than a simple “yes” or “no” is from the evil one and James here reiterates this. It is evil because it is generated from a desire to build up ourselves as something special above what we truly are, which is exactly what Satan attempted to do long ago. We have already pointed out that we are to be humble in all of our dealings and that our wrath does not work the righteousness of God. Many oaths are made in a moment of anger with a desire for revenge. Romans 12:19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the LORD.

This takes us to another matter of the heart – trust. When we feel the need to take revenge we refuse to trust that God will judge fairly and that He will keep His promise to bless those who are persecuted for His sake. On top of that we fail to respond with prayer, forgiveness and blessing toward those who use us and hurt us.

Other translations of Matthew 5 use the word, “Swear” and some commentaries include the use of ungodly language (cussing) when they discuss this passage. Along those lines let it suffice to quote the apostle Paul. Ephesians 4:29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

Father in heaven, Thank You we can trust You to bless us and to judge fairly. Help us to yield to Your Holy Spirit in all our dealings. May we be found peaceful, trusting and faithful. May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2015



Matthew 5:31-32 "You have heard the law that says, 'A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.'  (32)  But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

I know there are those of you reading this who have been divorced. Please understand that divorce is not the unpardonable sin. Also, there is more to the full story about marriage, divorce and remarriage than Jesus covers in this short passage. For the sake of this study I don’t intend to go into all of that, but urge you to study it further on your own. Jay Adams has an excellent book titled, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage that covers all the scriptures dealing with this subject.

I quoted part of Malachi yesterday and will add a verse to it today. Malachi 2:14-16 You cry out, "Why doesn't the LORD accept my worship?" I'll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.  (15)  Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.  (16)  "For I hate divorce!" says the LORD, the God of Israel. "To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, "says the LORD of Heaven's Armies. "So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife."

In God’s economy marriage is not a disposable commodity and yet, even in the church many treat it as such. God’s desire for marriage is the procreation of godly children. For that to happen the parents must be godly. In part, that means we treat each other with love and respect. Men, your wife is not a lesser creature. She is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Love her and live with her with understanding. (1Peter 3:7 my paraphrase)

Both men and women have come to me over the years looking for ways to make their spouses conform to the scriptures. Read this carefully… It doesn’t work that way. Your approach has to be to ask yourself, “Am I following the scriptures? Am I doing my part? Am I living out what I know the scriptures teach I am to do?” 1Pe 3:1b-2a “They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.” This passage is speaking specifically to the wife’s duties, but that phrase can also be true of a husband who loves his wife God’s way.

God hates divorce. He says it “overwhelms her with cruelty.” The same is true when the wife divorces the husband. It is cruel in God’s sight. He sees marriage as a covenant. In a covenant each party involved agrees to do his/her part. In a contract each party only agrees to do his part if the other party does hers. I urge you to work with your spouse as much as possible by first making certain you are doing what the scripture requires of you. Treat your marriage as a covenant, not a contract.

Father in heaven, Your Word tells us that he who finds a wife finds a good thing. May we be found faithful in loving our spouses. Give us hearts that love as You love. Help us see our spouses as our equal partners in the gift of new life You have given us. And for those of us whose spouses are not following You and Your ways, may our godly, loving lives win them over to You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015



Matthew 5:27-30 "You have heard the commandment that says, 'You must not commit adultery.'  (28)  But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  (29)  So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.  (30)  And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

I had a married friend who would look a pretty girl up and down lustfully and say, “Just because I’m on a diet doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.” The problem with that thought process is just like our devotional from yesterday. It spirals downward. A thought turns to a longing (covetousness). A longing turns to dissatisfaction with what we already have (ungratefulness). Dissatisfaction turns to bitterness and eventually it all turns to external, sinful action (adultery).

“You shall not covet,” is the tenth commandment. Taking a nonchalant attitude toward it is unloving and selfish. Remember, love is the fulfillment of the law. So it is unloving to covet, lust after what belongs to your neighbor. It is also unloving toward your wife. Malachi 2:14-15  You cry out, "Why doesn't the LORD accept my worship?" I'll tell you why! Because the LORD witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.  (15)  Didn't the LORD make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are His. And what does He want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.

Note: Did you notice God’s desire for marriage? “Godly children from your union.”

I have sat with many a woman who has been cheated on by a husband caught up in pornography. They all ask the same question, “Why am I not enough?” They are devastated by the cruelty and rejection they feel involved with this act of their husbands “looking at the menu.”

Someone might say, “Well I’m not married, so this doesn’t pertain to me.” 1 Timothy 5:2 Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.

Loving your neighbor as yourself pertains to all of us. When we treat another person like a prize to be won we are being selfish, and rude. Love is not rude and does not demand its own way (1Cor 13).

Don’t get me wrong here. I understand, first-hand the struggle this can be. When I was 12 I stumbled upon a pornographic magazine. To my shame I looked and then I looked for more of the same. It became an insatiable appetite in me that is still a struggle to this day. I have to stop the temptation the moment it appears.

I have given my dear wife permission to hold me accountable. At any time she can ask me what I’ve been looking at, watching and doing. On my computers I have an application created by which sends a report of my internet activities to Evelyn each week. This clears up any questions about my internet activity.

By granting Evelyn this permission I’m proverbially plucking out the eye that causes me to lust and cutting off the hand that causes me to sin. If we all literally plucked out our eyes and cut off our hands for this reason, very few, if any of us, would be whole. I know a young single man who recognizes the problem that this sin is for him and so he refuses to have a computer or even a smart phone because he knows how easy it is to access things he shouldn’t be looking at.

One more thing. In the day we live in this is not just a problem for men. Women viewing pornography has been on the rise since the internet became available. So I say to all Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Father in heaven, the commandments You gave us are for our benefit. Forgive us when we fail to see that. Help us to say with Job Job 31:1 "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman.” Fill our hearts with Your love and help us men to show that pure love to all women, the older as mothers and the younger as sisters. Also, help us to be diligent to guard our own hearts and the hearts of children that we may truly be godly. In Jesus Holy Name, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015



Matthew 5:21-26 "You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.'  (22)  But I say, if you are even angry with someone [without cause], you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.  (23)  "So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,  (24)  leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.  (25)  "When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison.  (26)  And if that happens, you surely won't be free again until you have paid the last penny.

First I wish to point out that the word for “without cause” is not in all the Greek texts. That is the reason that phrase is grayed out in verse 22. James tells us very clearly that our anger does not work God’s righteousness (James 1:19-20). Therefore, I urge you to not use that phrase as justification for anger. And don’t use Jesus’ indignation in the temple as justification for your anger either. He is completely holy and can be angry and absolutely not sin. You and I need a lot of help with that.

Verse 22 is a warning against anger. The warning being that to allow yourself to become angry you put yourself in jeopardy of judgment. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:27 that undealt with anger gives Satan a foothold. And let me tell you, if Satan gets a foot in the door he will cause as much damage as he can as fast as he can. Anger is the proverbial Pandora’s Box.

The next part of the warning moves from just being angry to name calling. At this point our anger has moved from just a heart issue to a verbal assault. The next step is speaking curses against the object of our anger. Proverbs 18:21 “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” At the point you have begun to speak curses your anger has turned to rage and the next step after that is at least causing harm if not actual murder. So, it seems prudent to take action as soon as you see anger rising in your heart. I mentioned James 1:19-20 above. James 1:19-20 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  (20)  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Matthew 5:23 takes us to a deeper love for God and our fellow man. If anger causes such harm and devastation for the person who is angry then I not only need to keep my own heart in check, but I must also quickly clear up any matters in which I have offended another. If you are even at the altar or, in modern days, in your pew with your offering dangling over the offering plate and suddenly remember someone has reason to be angry with you, leave the offering, but go and do all you can to reconcile with that person. Then come back and present your offering to the Lord with a pure heart and a clean conscience.

I know someone is thinking, “But that person doesn’t have a right to be mad. I didn’t do anything wrong.” Are you sure? Read verses 25 and 26 above again. Search your heart and ask God to show you if you did anything offensive and then ask Him if you’ve responded to the offended person in an offensive way. He loves you and will show you if you approach Him with an honest heart. You don’t have to admit to things you didn’t do, but be honest and understanding with yourself and the other person.

Our adversary is Satan and he is also known as the accuser of the brethren. Years ago we knew a young lady who had opened herself up to demonic influence. One evening at a bible study she sat in our living room on the floor with her knees drawn up to her chest. Speaking in a voice that was not hers she began turning herself to face each of us, one at time and accusing us of various sins. I’ll be honest, I was a concerned about what she would say my sin was. I started rebuking that demon in the Name of Jesus telling it to get out, but it didn’t stop and I was getting angry. She got all the around to me and accused me of some pretty heinous stuff. I bowed my head and asked the Lord why this thing was able to do this. In that moment He reminded me of the passage above. The King James Translation says, “Agree with thine adversary quickly.” So I did. I looked that young lady in the eyes and said, “You are absolutely right. I’m a low life sinner full of lust, greed and all sorts of sin. But it’s all under the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.”

When I said that she screamed at me to stop it. We all started singing every song we could think of about the Blood of Jesus. A few minutes passed and she began to weep and to say, “It’s gone. It’s gone.” God set her free in that moment.

Had I allowed my anger to take control instead of admitting my failure and proclaiming the goodness and salvation of Christ Jesus, I believe that demon would have won a victory that day that could have effected everyone in the room. There would have been much trouble instead of freedom and rejoicing.

Father in heaven, It is so easy for me to get angry, for us to get angry. Help us to look to You and to trust You when others persecute us, pick on us, and treat us with contempt. Help us to honestly admit our own failures and to show our adversaries the love that You have given us. Thank You for the power and fruit of Your Holy Spirit that helps us in all things to glorify You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, July 27, 2015



Matthew 5:17-20 "Don't misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.  (18)  I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.  (19)  So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God's laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.  (20)  "But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

At first glance this passage may appear to be saying that we are to follow all the Old Testament Law and some even quote this to propagate that teaching. The key here is in the phrase, “until its purpose is achieved.” Jesus accomplished the purpose of the law. Romans 10:4 “For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in Him are made right with God.”

So what was the purpose of the law? Galatians 3:19 Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law (specifically the ceremonial part of it) was designed to last only until the promised child, Jesus Christ fulfilled the law through His death, burial and resurrection. God gave His law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. (Emphasis Added)

Does this mean we can forget about the law? Paul answers that question for us in Romans 3:30-31 “There is only one God, and He makes people right with Himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.  (31)  Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? Of course not! In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law.”

Paul and Jesus talk about the law being fulfilled through love. Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God's law.

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied, "'You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) A second is equally important: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (40) The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments."

Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial parts of the law. After His death, burial and resurrection there was no longer a need for animal sacrifices and all that went along with them. According to Hebrews 9 Jesus died once for all. There is no need for Him to die over and over again because He was the perfect sacrifice that only needed to be offered one time. In that act of dying for us He fulfilled the requirements of the law for all mankind who would accept the gift He offered.

So, in Christ Jesus the law’s purpose is fulfilled. Those who believe in Him are then called to a life of good works which can only be fulfilled through faith and in love. One who loves his neighbor will not steal from his neighbor or lie about him or murder him, etc. No, love will demand that we treat our neighbor as we would desire to be treated.

As for being more righteous than the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees… Philippians 3:9b I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God's way of making us right with Himself depends on faith.

In the following verses from The Sermon on the Mount Jesus takes the letter of the law and breaks it down to issues of the heart.

Father in heaven, thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus for our sin. Thank You for making it possible for all to come to You for salvation through faith in Your son. Help us now to show that we truly believe by filling us with Your Holy Spirit and empowering us to walk in love with one another and You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Mom's Funeral

Red Letter Discipleship will resume on Monday, LORD willing. Today is the home going celebration for my mother.

Keep doing right, loving mercy and walking humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

God bless you.
Brother Steve

Thursday, July 23, 2015



Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  (15)  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  (16)  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

We are the light of the world. Jesus came as the original light (John 1:9), but here He passes onto us the task of being the light of the world. With that task is the instruction not to hide that light. Many mistake this light for the spoken gospel, but Jesus clarifies what He is talking about in verse 16 where He says, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out…” It is good deeds that shine the light. The word translated “deeds” in the NLT would better be translated “works” which carries the idea of an extended on going undertaking. In other words, let all your deeds, works be good in such a way as to show you are a child of God.

Elsewhere, Jesus tells us that the world will know we are His disciples by our love for one another. I have met many people who I could tell were believers by the way they did business and by how they treated other people. 

“For all to see-“ Don’t hide the fact that you are His child. Live righteously in front of others. Now this may seem to be a contradiction to Matthew 6:1 which tells us not to do our “good works publicly, to be admired of others…” It is not a contradiction but a command to know our motives. A pure motive is that “everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” An impure motive is that everyone will praise you.

This is not an impossibility because Christ tells us to do what we do openly for God’s glory, so it can be done. I believe the answer is found in prayer.

Father in heaven, as Jesus taught us to pray, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Cleanse our motives and cause us to live in such a way as to glorify You. May we live holy, pure lives and have motives and thoughts that please You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, July 20, 2015



Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

Salt was used for preserving food and flavoring it. Without salt meat would quickly go bad in the heat. Also, the table salt we use does not easily lose its flavor but the salt of Jesus time came from sources that weren’t always as pure as they needed to be for good flavor. Therefore, purity plays a part in this passage. If there is a lack of purity in us we may lose the ability to be of use in preserving others for eternity.

Think about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah from Genesis 18. The sin of these two cities and the surrounding area had become so great God decided to destroy them. Before carrying out His plan He told Abraham what He was about to do. Abraham carries on a conversation with God asking Him to show mercy for the sake of those who are righteous. He starts off asking God to spare the cities if He finds 50 righteous people, then 45, 40, 30, 20 and finally 10. Each time God agrees to spare the cities if He can find that many righteous people.

The Lord sends His angels to Sodom to check on the situation and while there they tell Lot to leave with his family. (I’m shortening this quite a bit. Please read Genesis 18:16-19:29 for the whole story.) Lot goes to talk to his daughters and their husbands. The wording of verse 14 leaves some question to how many daughters Lot had. Some translations suggest he spoke to the fianc’es of the two daughters he took with him. Others seem to suggest that he had other daughters who were already married. If the latter were true then in the city of Sodom was Lot, his wife, two daughters at home, at least two daughters married with their spouses. That is only 8, but the sons-in-law were not righteous either. The young men thought him a fool. So four people fled the city. Later in scripture Lot is described as a man who vexed his righteous soul. Nothing is said of the spiritual status of his daughters and wife.

Genesis 19:24 Then the LORD rained down fire and burning sulfur from the sky on Sodom and Gomorrah.

For a lack of 9 righteous people that area was destroyed completely. When you think your sinful actions don’t hurt anyone remember this story. Remember that your purity does make a difference because it preserves.

Father in heaven, remind us of the importance of being salt in this earth, good salt, flavorful, preserving, pure salt. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!



Matthew 5:10-12 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.  (11)  "God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are My followers.  (12)  Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

Jesus explains this beatitude and with it gives a command, that being, “Be happy about it! (‘it’-persecution for doing right).” And “Be very glad!” Then He gives this reason for such rejoicing, there’s a great reward.

I don’t like the idea of being persecuted, tortured or killed because I’ve done something right… “Right,” when we hear that word in the USA we tend to think of “my rights” instead of doing something righteously. Everything about the Sermon on the Mount goes against fighting for “my rights.” God’s way is so much different from ours and yet this is what Jesus was talking about when he said, "You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32.

We have yet to see real persecution in this country, but it may not be far off. How will you handle it? Will you be able to rejoice when people mock you, lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you follow Christ? Will you be happy about it or will you sulk in self-pity?

The second time Peter and John were arrested for preaching the Gospel they were flogged. Take a look at their response. Acts 5:41-42  The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.  (42)  And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: "Jesus is the Messiah."

They obeyed the Lord’s command to rejoice and they kept right on preaching the Gospel. May God grant us that kind of obedience and faith. May our eyes be set on the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ and on the reward that awaits us in heaven.

Father in heaven, grant us faith and obedience to rejoice when we are persecuted for doing right. May we always choose to do right regardless of the cost. And may You ever be glorified in our lives. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!



Matthew 5:9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.

One evening, after dark I was riding with a fellow pastor through town. We passed a Taco-Bell and the parking lot was full of a group of teenagers. Two of them had squared off for a fight. The others had surrounded them and were encouraging them to engage one another in battle. The pastor I was with turned the car around and pulled into that parking lot. My first thought was, “He wants to watch the fight.”

He stopped the car back a ways and began to pray out loud. “Oh Lord, please bring Your peace to this situation.”

In only a few moments the two angry young men dropped their arms to their sides, turned away and went to their cars. Not a single punch was thrown. The crowd dispersed and the whole bunch drove off in different directions.

It would have done more harm to jump out of the car and meddle in this situation. Proverbs 26:17 Interfering in someone else's argument is as foolish as yanking a dog's ears. But passionately praying for the situation brought peace.

“God blesses those who work for peace.” Do you work for peace or do you find yourself relishing in strife and trouble? Solomon had a great deal to say about those who like to stir things up.

They're Angry
Proverbs 15:18 A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them.
Proverbs 29:22 An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
Proverbs 30:33 As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.

We might think that it’s okay for us to be “righteously indignant” but James tells us that our anger does not work God’s righteousness.

They Separate Friends
Proverbs 16:28 A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends.
Proverbs 26:20-22 Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.  (21)  A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.  (22)  Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one's heart.

Verse 22 is a warning of the depth of damage that “Rumors” do. 
Before you repeat a rumor or listen to a rumor remember that their effect is to go deep into your heart. A rumor, true or not, will change your perspective of the person the rumor is about. It will cause you to judge that person in your heart. Don’t repeat them and don’t listen to them. Instead, be the one who changes the subject, stops the rumor, proclaims the truth, encourages the rumor bearer to go to the source and get the truth.

WARNING: (I’m climbing up on my soap box…) Do NOT repost or forward stuff on Facebook or email or other social media without being certain it is true and further, ask yourself, “Is this going to generate peace or strife? Will this advance the Kingdom of God?” (Climbing back off the soap box.)

They Love Sin
Proverbs 17:19a Anyone who loves to quarrel loves sin;…
Wow! That’s just scary. Do you love sin?

They Are Fools
Proverbs 20:3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.
If you do a word study on the word “fool” in the scripture you will quickly come to the understanding that God gives little hope to the fool.

So I urge you to follow Colossians 3:15.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
And Romans 12:18. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

Don't let the strife of the world pull you in. Don't let the anger of the masses control you heart and mind. Let the peace of Christ rule you and then extend that peace to those around you. Encourage others to trust God, to forgive one other and to seek means of peace instead of war.

And be blessed by God. 1 John 3:1a (KJV) Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:…

Jesus made peace with God for us by His death on the cross. When we work for peace we exemplify Christ and God calls us His children.

Father in heaven, thank You for the peace You give us in Christ Jesus. May that peace control our hearts today and may we be found faithfully working toward peace with others in every situation. In Jesus Holy Name, AMEN!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015



Matthew 5:8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.

Pure – This word translates, “clean.” Psalms 24:3-6 “Who may climb the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in His holy place?  (4)  Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies.  (5)  They will receive the LORD's blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior.  (6)  Such people may seek You and worship in Your presence, O God of Jacob. Interlude”

A clean heart, a pure heart? How is this possible for any of mankind? 1 Corinthians 1:30 “God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; He made us pure and holy, and He freed us from sin.” That’s how. Christ does it, did it for us, but note the rest of that verse, “and He freed us from sin.” He saved us that we would live in that freedom He purchased for us with His own blood. So, spiritually we are clean, pure in God’s eyes because of Jesus’ work on the cross, but are we pure in thought?

Psalms 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”

Why is it important for us to strive for purity in this life if Christ has already taken care of it in the spirit? Paul explains this to us in 2 Timothy 2:21-22. “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.  (22)  Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” And I like the way the Message paraphrases this passage. 2 Timothy 2:21-22 MSG Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.  (22)  Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness--faith, love, peace--joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God.

Is your heart pure? If the Savior were looking for someone for a special task would He consider you? Only you and He know the answer.

We have a dish washer for which I am very grateful and most of the time it does a great job getting the dishes clean. But, occasionally a dish will somehow go through all the cycles and still not be clean. I’ve gotten into the habit of looking inside any cups I pull from the cabinet before I fill them. I wouldn’t consider drinking from a dirty vessel. Why would God who is Holy, without spot or wrinkle, pour His Holy Spirit through a dirty vessel?

Those who have such a clean heart are promised that they will see God. We know that no flesh can see Him and live. Moses saw as much of God as was physically possible. In the spirit we can see Him and in eternity we will see Him in all His glory. But even now we can see Him at work like one can see the wind at work by the way it bends a tree or blows a flag. Those who are pure in heart will see this more readily than those whose hearts are full of self and sin. May we be among those who see God.

Father in heaven, as Your servant David prayed, create in us a clean heart. Renew a right spirit within us. Make us clean, usable for Your glory. And may we see You at work in us, around us and through us. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015



Matthew 5:7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

This is pretty straight forward. If you are merciful you will receive mercy. So what does it mean to be merciful? It is refusing to give a person the punishment they deserve. It is showing kindness and forgiveness to one who has mistreated you. It is to overlook insults and slights to find a way to bless the offender.

Years ago I heard a pastor relate this story. He was on his home from a preaching engagement far away from his home town. He was driving through the night and decided to stop at a road side truck stop and restaurant. When he walked in he was the only patron. He seated himself and waited several minutes for a waitress. When she approached his table she asked him abruptly, “What do you want?”
He replied that he’d like a Danish and a cup of coffee. She returned several minutes later and practically threw the plate with the Danish and the cup and saucer on the table. The Danish slid off the plate onto the table and some of the coffee sloshed out of the cup into the saucer and onto the table.

He had every right to demand to speak to the manager, but instead he calmly ate his Danish, drank his coffee and left a $50 tip on the table. As he was exiting the door the waitress ran up to him and said, “Mister, you’ve made a mistake. I don’t think you meant to leave this on the table.”
He said, “Oh, but I did.”
She said, “You couldn’t have. I treated you awful.”
He said, “I just figured you were having a bad day and I wanted to bless you.”
She began to sob and shared that she was a single mom who had just gone through a terrible divorce. This was the only job she could find and working nights wasn’t bringing in much money.
He stood there and shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with her and she became a child of God that night.

That is “Mercy.” God showed His love to us while we were still sinners by sending His Son to the cross for us. That is “Mercy.”

Micah 6:8 No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Emphasis added)

Do you love mercy? Oh I know you love it when others don’t get even for something wrong you’ve done, but do you love mercy? Do you love to show mercy to others? As a disciple of Jesus Christ we are called to be merciful. That means that we are not to be looking for ways to get even with others who’ve hurt us. Do you love mercy?

Father in heaven, thank You for the amazing mercy You’ve shown to us. May we be filled with mercy for others. When we are wronged, quickly remind us to be merciful, kind and forgiving as You have been and are daily to us. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!



Matthew 5:6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.

The word, “justice” would better be translated “justification.” The original word used gives the idea of being in a state that is acceptable to God. So this hungering and thirsting is a desire that can only be satisfied by being made right or righteous in God’s sight. One definition of the word, “justified” is; made just as if I never sinned.

Unfortunately, many give little or no thought to standing before God. Hebrews 9:27 “And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment…” None of us will escape the death of our flesh and after that is a judgment. The next verse in Hebrews 9 says, “so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him.” Those who have found the satisfaction for their justification in Christ long for His return and they will not be disappointed.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

It is important to understand that our justification before God is complete in Christ Jesus. Knowing this frees us to serve Him out of love, not out of fear. His return will not be to judge those who are eagerly waiting for Him, rather it will be to bring our salvation to full fruition.

See here what awaits both the believers and the unbelievers; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with His mighty angels, (8)  in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don't know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.  (9)  They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power.

If you are reading this and have never given much thought to eternity and your need of Christ Jesus I urge you to begin now. The Word of God teaches us that we are all sinners who fall short of God’s perfection and therefore deserve His wrath. But God is not willing that any should perish. He desires your salvation so much so that He made a way by sending His Son, Jesus Christ to come to this earth, live a sinless life and die on a cross in our place. Jesus being totally righteous took our sins upon Himself and paid the penalty when He died on the cross. Because He is totally righteous God did not leave Him in the grave but raised Him from the dead. And Romans 10:9-11 tells us, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  (10)  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. (11) As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced.’"

And so I urge you to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. Become a child of God today. If you have more questions about this please feel free to call Fairview Baptist Church at 765-452-9237.

As believers we do not need to fear Christ’s return but can look forward to it with great expectation that He will indeed and has indeed satisfied our hungering and thirsting by giving His life on Calvary’s cross.

Father in heaven, thank You for the promise that You have fulfilled in Christ Jesus by making us righteous through His sacrifice. Grant that we, Your children would have full assurance of Your love for us and live in love for You, instead of in fear of punishment. Through Christ our Lord, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015



Matthew 5:5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.

“Humility,” or “meekness” as many translations put it, is not weakness. It is the greatest of strengths. Psalms 119:165 KJV Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them (or cause them to stumble). Proverbs 16:32 Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.

The humble person, like Christ, is not easily offended, does not strike back quickly, will not speak evil of those who speak evil of him. The humble person is quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry. He sees no task as beneath him, no person unworthy of his time. The humble driver yields the right of way, does not demand his way but walks in God’s way.

The humble are blessed. They are blessed because they are at peace and content with God’s plan. Take all they own now and they do not fret for they know they shall inherit the whole earth. They have the promise, they believe the promise and it gives them great joy, peace and contentment now. They know whom they have believed and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which they have committed unto Him against that day (2 Timothy 1:12 my paraphrase). So they do not need to fight and grasp for the stuff of this life. They are already living the abundant life of trust in God’s everlasting and certain promises.

Are there tasks that are beneath you? Are there people not worthy of your time? When you drive do you rush to get ahead of the next guy? Will you kneel down and tie someone else’s shoe? When insulted do you feel you must insult back?

Father in heaven, You alone know our hearts clearly. Show us our humility level. Make us know who we really are and then re-make us to be like Jesus who is meek and lowly in heart and help us to find rest unto our souls. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, July 13, 2015



Matthew 5:4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

To “mourn” is to grieve. The Israelites mourned over the losses they had experienced through the years. The Temple at this time was a fraction of the size it was in Solomon’s day. It’s splendor had dwindled as well. The Israelites, though they had some religious freedom, were captive to the Roman government. This was another reason to grieve. But the biggest reason for them to grieve is the reason they and the Temple were in this condition. It was because of sin.

2 Corinthians 7:10 For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There's no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.

We’ve all seen people cry on national television because some “indiscretion” has come to light. The question arises in us, “Is this person grieving because they got caught, or because they really see the devastation of their sin?” In other words, “Are they sorry enough to make a change?” I see it with my grandchildren. One will hit the other causing a cacophony of screaming, crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth. A parent will get involved and part of the discipline involved is to make the offending party tell the victim, “I’m sorry for hitting you.” Sometimes the apology comes with little cajoling and sometimes it comes after more screaming, crying, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Is it true godly sorrow or godly mourning if in 30 minutes we are re-living the entire scenario all over again?

Most theologians seem to agree that the type of mourning Jesus is talking about here is godly sorrow over one’s own sin, the sin of her people and her nation. Do you mourn over your sin? Do you mourn over the sin you see around you? Do you mourn over the sin of your nation?

Those who do so will be comforted. Mourning over your own sin that leads to repentance (See “REPENT” from July 8 for more on this) results in salvation. What an awesome comfort that is; saved from eternal death, from hell; saved to a new abundant life in Christ and saved to eternal life with Him forever. And He gives His Holy Spirit, the Comforter to each of His children (John 14:16).

Read this Old Testament promise in Isaiah… Isaiah 61:1-4 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon Me, for the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.  (2)  He has sent Me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies.  (3)  To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for His own glory.  (4)  They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations.

Jesus quotes from this passage in Luke 4. He is the fulfillment of this promise. Count the number of times the word, “mourn” is used here and look at the blessings that are coming to those who do so.

Today I urge you to see your own sin as God sees it. He does not laugh, nor joke about our sin. It breaks His heart and it causes great trouble for us and for our nation. Proverbs 14:34 NKJV Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.

Please note that this sorrow that leads to repentance does not lead to discouragement, depression or suicide. That kind of sorrow is worldly sorrow. See 2 Cor 7:10 above. 

James 4:7-10 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  (8)  Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.  (9)  Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.  (10)  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up in honor.

Oh Lord God, May we see our sin the way You see it. May we truly grieve such that our hearts turn away from sin and turn to You and Your righteousness. May others see our lives and know we are Your true disciples because we keep Your commands and truly love each other. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, July 9, 2015



Matthew 5:3  "God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him,  for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

The word “poor” here can be either literal or figurative. In this case it is often translated, “poor in spirit.” Either way it is a picture of one who sees his need for help which he cannot provide himself, nor can any human source. God alone can help. God alone can suffice.

Those who are humble enough to see they need God are the ones Jesus is talking about. We live in a world of “self-made men and women.” They take credit for all their accomplishments and claim to have no need of their Creator. In many cases they mock Him and proclaim, “Look what I have built, what I have done.” The Kingdom of Heaven is not theirs. It is reserved for the humble who know they need their Creator.

1.  The poor in spirit are those who are contentedly poor. They are thankful for what they have and set out to use it for God’s glory, but if all they have is taken from them they do not fret for no one can take their greatest treasure from them. No one can remove their Savior, Friend, God.

2.  The poor in spirit are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They value others more than themselves. When others are blessed they rejoice. When others weep they weep with them.

3.  The poor in spirit have no confidence in their own righteousness. They rely fully on the finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary for their salvation. They do works of righteousness not to earn God’s love, but because they love God who first loved them. They are confident in His love, keeping their eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Father in heaven, grant that we may hold fast to You, keeping our eyes on Jesus. Help us to hold the things of this world loosely enough that should you see the need to remove them from us, we willingly release them with no sorrow. Rather may we release them with joy knowing that Your love has something better in store for us, knowing that You will never leave us, nor forsake us. Grant also, that we may serve You without fear of punishment, but with love for You. Free our hearts to by humble. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

-The idea for the three points on “poor in spirit” are taken from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew.

Matthew 4:19  Jesus called out to them, "Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!"

There is more to following Jesus than just caring for our own souls. The Father desires that all men would repent (2Peter3:9). He also desires that His house would be full (Luke 14:23).

2 Kings 6:24-7:19 tells about a time when Samaria (Capital of the ten tribes of Israel during the reign of King Joram) was surrounded and under siege by the Arameans. The siege had become so intense the people of Israel had turned to cannibalism. I urge you to read the entire passage, but for our purposes today I’m going to paraphrase a part of the story.

There were four lepers who stayed at the gate of the city. They were outcasts because of the disease that ate away their flesh. In conversation they decided to go to the Arameans and surrender hoping they would either be fed or put out of their misery. When they arrived in the camp of the enemy they found horses still tied up, tents full of food and other items, but no Arameans. The night before the Lord had caused a sound like an approaching army to be heard among the Arameans who fled leaving everything behind. The four lepers started feasting and then thought better of what they were doing. Their country men were back in the city still starving and so, (2 Kings 7:9) “Finally, they said to each other, ‘This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren't sharing it with anyone! If we wait until morning, some calamity will certainly fall upon us. Come on, let's go back and tell the people at the palace.’”

They knew they dare not keep the good news to themselves. As a follower of Jesus Christ you will learn to share with others what He has done for you. You will fish for people. If you make Jesus Lord of your life, you will not be able to be silent about Him. His message will burn in your bones like a fire. He said, "Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" What He says happens. So follow Him and fish for people.

Father in heaven, Fill us this day with Your Holy Spirit power to witness for You that others may join the banquet of Your love, forgiveness and peace that we experience. May many lost souls come to know You today through our fishing, our lives, our words for Your glory.
In the Name of Jesus, AMEN!!!