Devotionals by Rev. Gary E. Crum, www.GOSPELyielded.com
A WEEK OF DEVOTIONALS - DRAFTS
John 3:16, 17 KJV For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
These verses are perhaps the most well-known statement in the Bible of the path to eternal life.
In these words, Jesus, the Son of God walking sinless among us sinners, speaks of his mission to us, and the love that initiated it: the love of God, the Father, the First Person of the holy Godhead.
These words cannot be ignored – they are either the path to eternal life or this devotional book is built on a lie, and I assure you it is not built on a lie. No other truth exists whereby we must be saved (see Acts 4:12), for it is to believe in and follow Jesus that we will gather with him someday into eternity. Even today we shall find God’s goodness enlivening us on earth.
We come to Jesus as a little child, believing about him, believing in him, not as we believe a philosophy or a historical biography - - no, much more than that – we believe that Jesus lives today and is intimately involved with our spiritual maturing – our sanctification – each moment.
Matthew 16:24,25 KJV Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
LIFT UP YOU HEART IN GRATEFUL PRAYER TO GOD: for his abundant mercy
The Divine Fig Tree
Proverbs 27:18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honored.
If the fig tree is kept healthy and a farmer waits patiently, the fruit appears. If the farmer is slothful in caring for it, or if fruit is sought from it without first planting and fertilizing it, the farmer is bound to face disappointment. No fruit will be forthcoming.
So it is for a person in a subordinate position: if the boss gets good work and diligent behavior from a subordinate, the subordinate, if he/she has a caring boss, should often be rewarded.
Is this not expected?
God is the most dominant entity in the universe. He has divine expectations spelled out in the Scriptures for his children –- us.
Do you want to be a worthy creation of God? Then be obedient. Are you sometimes disobedient? Well, tell the truth, are you? (Here’s the answer -- you are -– the Bible says sin is a universal-experienced activity of man -– except for the from-heaven-incarnate baby in the Virgin Mary’s womb, Jesus.)
The greatest fact in the universe is that even though we all fall short of God’s expectations -– even some of us may be sinners such as murderers, arsonists, etc. -- God, the Boss of Bosses, if you will, does not forever fire you from his presence. He is merciful, and loves each of us so much that he is willing to forgive us even when we sin, if we will believe his Son, Jesus, who died for us so that we might have eternal life, and follow Jesus daily.
LIFT UP YOU HEART IN GRATEFUL PRAYER TO GOD: for creating and saving you
Albert’s Forever Guide
Psalm 48:14 KJV For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
I once visited a big strong man who in his mid-fifties was injured in a terrible motor accident. (I will call him Albert, but that is not his real name.)
Over the years Albert grew progressively worse. Albert’s life was beginning to spiral downward to the end of all flesh.
One summer evening, my regular visit found Albert sitting mutely in his recliner in the front room. Though awake, he was now unable even to utter a word: a strong man of note, brought even lower.
Still, on that evening, which turned out to be the last time that I saw Albert alive, he still managed to testify greatly of his faith. At the end of my visit I looked back at him from the moonlit door to say that “I would be back” -- in what later I learned was the last time we would meet -- and Albert looked me in the eye from his recliner and slowly raised his right arm high.
Then he then wordlessly, tearfully, triumphantly, pointed heavenward!!
I will never forget it.
Friends – please expect to blossom spiritually, gloriously, in your last days on earth; even if you, like Albert, are called to linger in a disability. You will gain an ever-growing faith and clarity, guided nearer and nearer to God while he prepares you for the worldly end and the eternal blessings abundant. Such Christians surely arrive in heaven with “faith muscles” that are bigger and more blessed than otherwise might be achieved!
Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
LIFT UP YOU HEART IN GRATEFUL PRAYER TO GOD: for his constancy of love
Peace in Times of Trouble
1 Samuel 1:18 KJV And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.
The verse above is about an Old Testament woman named Hannah. Hannah was facing problems at home; and problems in her body. She was being constantly tormented by her husband’s other wife who had borne him many children. Hannah was barren -– she could not get pregnant -- though she desired greatly to bear children for her husband. Her husband loved her, and she was a good person, but she was nevertheless miserable in her daily situation.
Then this amazing verse we listed above – all her anguish and bodily-worries vanished! She was no longer a tormented soul; she was “no longer sad.”
How did this change take place? Did her God suddenly answer positively her prayer? No – though a miraculous pregnancy eventually did come, by the grace of almighty God -- but that happened after her sadness ended.
You see, Hannah had turned it over to God – including the worrying about it.
This level of faith made it possible for Hannah to return to the same situation she had been in before she prayed, but no longer with the sadness and turmoil lingering.
Mature Christians know that God lovingly hears us, and that we can always be sure that he will take the right steps at the perfect time for our highest eternal benefit.
1 Peter 5:6,6: KJV Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
LIFT UP YOU HEART IN GRATEFUL PRAYER TO GOD: for the heavenly Burden-Bearer
The Myth of the Insignificant Moment
2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Luke 12:2-3 KJV "For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.”
Mark 9:41 KJV "For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ, assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.
Do you ever feel like your moments are just insignificant ones tied together into an unimportant, insignificant life?
The fact is that every thought, word, and deed anyone does has eternal significance, whether done by someone famous like Elvis Presley or by someone not world-famous, like me and maybe you.
Our life’s moments are by God’s Grace for building our legacy as a true follower for the risen Christ, or they in a very significant sense are forever contaminated moments: great joys to the Devil. They please the Evil One, so they are still significant: significantly sad to your Creator.
Yes, may you when Christ returns on that last day be made by Jesus more famous than Elvis ever was, and be forever blessed for the daily thoughts and acts you offered to Christ right there in your own home town.
Nothing done for him according to his teachings is ever insignificant!
LIFT UP YOU HEART IN GRATEFUL PRAYER TO GOD: for our eternal significance
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
Daniel 3:28 KJV Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
Here we see the brave, faithful three Israelites refusing to bow to the pagan idol, and therefore condemned to death by the evil king. The king expected to see them cruelly destroyed by the huge furnace fire into which he had them thrown, they were miraculously unharmed, and a fourth person, whom I believe was Jesus, and the pagan king himself said looked like the Son of God (v. 25), was with them in the fire before they emerged unscathed.
From the verse quoted above we see the testimony of the three men: 1) they yielded their bodies, 2) they did worship only the true God, and 3) they were delivered from the fire.
What fires are you braving for the Kingdom of God? Are you focused on God’s Kingdom? If so, then like the three men in the story, you will have God’s blessings.
Here on earth there may be troubles, but here and in the life eternally to continue in heaven you will see the goodness of the Lord.
Psalm 34:19 KJV Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
LIFT UP YOU HEART IN GRATEFUL PRAYER TO GOD: for faith-building deliverances
Psalm 15:4 KJV In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.
Honorable, commendable people are keepers of promises even if the future deed they assured you they would do becomes something they wished they did not promise; and even if fulfilling their promise hurts more than they had imagined. Their respect for themselves and their value of their words, and their respect for you, cause them to deliver on a promise.
Now, let’s admit an exception to keeping a promise: it is honorable not to keep the promise made to meet a friend for a taco lunch later today if a grim medical emergency comes up – the undone though promised deed is minor, and the excuse is due to a life-threatening event.
Still, inform the friend as soon as feasible, and apologize,
We are given bible rules (e.g., do not steal), we are given ways to be (e.g., to love God, and keep our promises even when it hurts), and expectations of being rewarded in the future: having our acts have good consequences (e.g., laying up treasures in heaven).
The Father seeks to move us to the light, using every true argument to do it. His gentle words of truth and motivation plead in many ways, but always consistently with each other, even as he provides a perfect model of virtue and sacrifice, his Son, Jesus.
2Corinthians 1:20 KJV For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
LIFT UP YOU HEART IN GRATEFUL PRAYER TO GOD: for his many gifts and promises
end of Draft