You Make A Difference When Your Light Shines

Daily Devotion | Day 279

“He answered and said to them, ‘He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:37-38, NKJV).

Jesus is a sower of good seed. He hasn’t stopped sowing good seed. Today’s passage is taken from one of Jesus’ famous parables. The world is the field within which He sows, because the world is His. From the beginning of time, Jesus’ plan has been to fill this world with His goodness and light. He does that by planting good people in the world.

The good people are righteous people. Jesus calls them the “sons of the kingdom.” That is, they are born of God and made light of the world. They live by the norms of the kingdom of God. They are led by the Spirit of God (see Romans 8:14). As they increase on the earth, they fill it with the light and glory of God.

At your new birth, God gave you fellowship in the inheritance of the saints in light, delivered you from the power of darkness and transferred you into the kingdom of His Son, Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:12-13). At that time, you became a child of the kingdom. And, you will remain a child of the kingdom as long as you walk in the light of God, i.e. as long as you walk righteously with God. The Bible says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness [i.e. walk in sin], we lie and do not practice the truth” (1 John 1:5-6).

 How do you know the children of the kingdom? They practice the truth. What does it mean to practice the truth? It means to live a righteous life. When you do that, the Bible says you’re walking in the light, as you should.

While Jesus plants good/righteous people in the world, the devil opposes Him by planting evil people among the good. Jesus calls these people the “sons of the wicked one.” The word of God says, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother” (1 John 2:10).

Jesus says the children of the wicked one will be around until harvest time, i.e. until the end of the world. Then judgment will come upon them. But “the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43).

As a Christian, you have the honor of being a child of light. You may not realize this, but as you walk in holiness and practice righteousness, you’re contributing to the light in this world. Each time you sin, you’re contributing to darkness. You are a child of light. Choose light. Live in the light, and make a difference in this world.

BlessingMay your light shine brightly and attract more people to the Lord. Amen.

For further studyMatthew 13:1-52 and 1 John 3:1-24

Bible Prophecy about Self-Love in the Last Days

Daily Devotional: Day 160

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy” (2 Timothy 3:1-2, NASB).

We’ve been living in the last days since Jesus ushered in a new generation with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:14-21). The last days is a long period stretching from Pentecost to the Last Day when Jesus shall return to judge the living and the dead. During this ‘last days’ period, the Bible gives us prophecies regarding specific events that will occur. Some of these events have happened; others are happening now; and still others are yet to happen.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul predicts nineteen (19) specific moral traits that will be characteristic of people during the last days. At the end of the list, Paul cautions Timothy to avoid such people. Today, we will focus solely on the first trait: “men will be lovers of self.” Before we continue, let’s note that before Jesus came, people were showing these traits. However, Paul’s prophecy is signaling that these traits will become so pronounced, prevalent and so obvious that it will be impossible to miss or deny; not only that, the context also suggests that this trend is not expected to improve until Jesus returns.

Paul’s prophecy is unfolding before our very eyes with breathtaking accuracy. We are ‘officially’ in the age of self-love and self-worship. We have a new religion, and the god of this religion is SELF (me). The temple is me; the high priest of the religion is also me. Membership in the religion is restricted to one person, me. You’ll find this self-worship in nearly all facets of life.

Social media has become the ideal platform for self-glorification and vanity. Moreover, the emergence of SELFIE is a much welcome technology for lovers of self. With it, it’s easier now for people to pose from anywhere and flaunt their flesh for the world to admire, like and praise their looks. Adults and young people alike are caught up in it. Adults are behaving like kids, and kids are behaving like adults. Desperate for affirmation, some social media users, for example, will like their own post or post things like, “I love me,” “Happy Birthday to me,” etc. Self-centered worship has even crept into our churches. Our preaching is becoming more about self-improvement and self-realization; how to unleash the best you. Prayers and songs are tailored to fit this line of messaging with an emphasis on positive “I am” declarations.

We are even seeing a trend toward sologamy, i.e. self-marriage. Yes, people are marrying solo. It’s not legally recognized, yet. But make no mistake; the legalization of every lifestyle begins with the first step. If you’d like to find out more about this phenomenon, click here to see a news report about it.

We can understand why Jesus said, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Mark 8:34). Bible prophecies are meant to instruct, warn and encourage us, so that we can watch and pray, and not be overcome by the snares of satan. A major obstacle between us and Jesus is our self. Let’s die to self and embrace the freedom in living for the glory of Christ alone.

The grace of our Lord be with you today. Amen.

For further study: Galatians 2:20

A Home in Heaven, Prepared by Jesus

Daily Devotional: Day 146

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3, NKJV).

That some people are without a regular and fixed place they can call home is a distressful social phenomenon. From apartments and condominiums to town-houses and single-family homes, millions of people around the world must work hard to keep a roof over their heads. Paying your bills on time will ensure that you don’t end up homeless. Your survival depends on it. But, not everyone is fortunate. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “there were roughly 554,000 homeless people living somewhere in the United States on a given night last year [2017]. A total of 193,000 of those people were ‘unsheltered,’ meaning that they were living on the streets . . .” (http://thedataface.com/2018/01/public-health/american-homelessness).

While we’re on earth, we must do what we can to provide a home for ourselves and help others find a home, too. For us Christians, we know that this world is not our final destination. Heaven is our eternal home. And, Jesus assures us in today’s Bible passage that there is enough room in His Father’s house for everyone of His followers. This is a message of great hope and consolation. Jesus has not forgotten us. He promises to come back for us so that we will be where He is.

Notice that we are not the ones to prepare the home is heaven. Jesus Himself does the preparation. You can, therefore, be sure that your home in heave will look awesome. This is blessed hope for all who follow Christ as their Lord and Savior.

As you go about your daily business, don’t forget that you have a home in heaven, a home prepared by Jesus Himself. Strengthen yourself with these precious promises (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-4). Here’s what you need to know about the home Jesus has prepared for you: no homelessness, no rent, no landlord issues, no fear of eviction, no mortgage problems, no credit history issues, no bills, no taxes; a home made in heaven, just for you. Jesus can’t wait to welcome you and show you around your true home. No matter what happens here on earth, let not your heart be troubled. Prepare for your best life. Prepare to meet Jesus. It will be awesome!

May the Lord bless and keep you today! Amen.

For further study: Revelation 21:9-27

End Times: False Christs and Prophets

Daily Devotional: Day 93

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:23-25, NKJV).

The biggest threat to Christianity today is the spread of false doctrines. False doctrines have been around since Genesis chapter 3. We find it throughout the history of the Church. Today, however, the phenomenon of false teachings has reached epidemic proportions, and there is no sign that the trend will change anytime soon. That shouldn’t surprise us. As you can see from today’s Scripture reading, Jesus prophesied that this will happen. Jesus was addressing the nature of his Second Coming and the events that will precede it.

Some of the events prophesied by Jesus have already been fulfilled, for example, the destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 by Titus, son of the Roman Emperor Vespasian (AD 69 to AD 79). Jesus predicted other events that have been progressively fulfilled throughout Church history, and other events will happen in the future. It is beyond the scope of this devotional to get into all the details. God willing, in the future, we shall study these prophecies one by one.

For today, let’s focus on Jesus’ prophecy that many false christs and false prophets will arise. Notice that Jesus did not name names. He wants us to use His words as tools for spotting the false christs and false prophets in our midst. Jesus added that these false servants of God will demonstrate great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect, i.e. born-again believers. This prediction is being fulfilled before our very eyes.

What do false christs and false prophets have in common? False doctrines. And what are false doctrines? Teachings which contradict the Bible. At times these false teachings are subtle and therefore not easy to spot because they are nicely wrapped in Bible terminology.  It may take careful study and prayerful discernment to uncover the deception that lies beneath.

Jesus wants us all to pay attention to His end time prophecy. Being able to spot false christs and false prophets will help you to protect yourself, your friends, your family, and perhaps your fellow church members from spiritual contamination. 

False doctrines are like yoghurt. They come in different flavors, but it’s false nonetheless and they all have one effect: deception. For your convenience, here are  a few of the major flavors and sources of false doctrines that have greatly influenced Christianity in the past and even now: GnosticismRome’s Papacy, The Ecumenical MovementThe Emergent/Convergent Church, and The New Apostolic ReformationThe sources of these false doctrines are from diverse Christian traditions namely, Charismatic/Pentecostal, Protestant/Evangelical, and Roman Catholic.  

May the Lord bless you, and may His Holy Spirit guide you always and establish your faith on the solid ground of biblical truth. Amen.

For further study: Matthew chapter 24

Star Life

Daily Devotional: Day 51

“And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3, KJV).

Today’s Scripture is part of the revelation given to the prophet Daniel concerning the end of the world. Much was revealed to Daniel, but our focus today is about what the Bible says will happen to those whose names are written in the Book of Life. The Word of God gives us a two-fold description of those who shall be spend eternity with God. First, the Bible says that they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament. The same Bible tells us in Proverbs 9:10 that, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” This means, the Bible defines a wise man as one who fears the Lord. The person who fears the Lord submits himself to God and his holy Word, careful to obey God and stay from iniquity. As you fear God, you grow in God’s wisdom. When Christ appears, the Bible says, the wise shall shine as brightly as the firmament. This is a manifestation of the glory reserved for those who fear God.

The Bible also says that those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever. Again, this is the expression of the glorious life that is reserved for God’s children – those who lead others into the righteousness of God. Many people in life walk in darkness, deceived by the world and Satan. God wants us to lead people away from ungodliness and help them turn to Jesus for salvation. We do this by our example and teaching. For our reward, when Jesus appears, we shall shine as stars forever. Don’t be ashamed to spread the light of God’s truth. Great is your reward when you lead people to the truth of Christ Jesus. Think of how brightly the stars shine. The Bible isn’t talking about the fading glory of sports stars, TV personalities or movie stars. God will make you shine forever like the stars of heaven. Think about it. And you’ll realize that you don’t need validation from this world. Your true glory comes from above.

 Prayer:

Thank you, Daddy, for the glory that shall be revealed when Christ returns. Grant me wisdom, knowledge and boldness to live as a Christian and to point souls to your truth. In the Name of Jesus. Amen. 

For further study: Romans 8:16-30