Friday, November 3, 2017

The Power of Music

11/03/2016 2 Kings 3:15 PBJ Devotional

“But now bring me a musician. And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon him.” (2 Kings 3:15 ESV)

Music played by someone who loves the Lord, is indeed, a “minister of music.” They create more than just sound. They create a pathway for the spirit of the Lord to flow into a situation that can bring clarity and refreshing. Anointed music can bring the presence and power of the Holy Spirit and usher in the prophetic word of God! Such was the case with Elisha.

“Composure and serenity of soul were essential if the prophet was to hear the voice of God within.” Ellicott’s Commentary

“…the playing of any skilled minstrel had a soothing effect on those possessing the prophetic gift generally, and enabled them to shut out the outer world, and concentrate their whole attention on the inward voice which communicated to them the Divine messages.” Pulpit Commentary

Anointed music can also sooth the depressed, drive back demonic spirits, and bring times of emotional and spiritual refreshing to the afflicted.

“Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well." (1 Samuel 16:16 NIV)

I am personally grateful for the men and women who have recognized their gifting and honed their skills for the sake of ministry to the body of Christ and the world. I have personally benefited over the years. I owe them a debt that I can never repay!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Titus 3:1-2 Devotional

11/01/2017 PBJ Devotional

“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” (Titus 3:1-2 ESV)

Throughout the Scriptures we are reminded, as in verse one, to do every good work. Here the work is defined with respect to our attitude toward others. Humility and determination will be needed to bring every prejudice into check. For us to be successful in this biblical admonition, we must not see ourselves as better than others. We are the children of God, by faith alone in Jesus Christ, but we are not better than our neighbor who may be carnal or unsaved! We are not of greater value to God than another, for he sent Jesus Christ into our world to save all men. How can we exemplify the love of God to the world in which we live if we believe that somehow, as Christ followers we are better than others? This is why we are instructed to have our speech seasoned with grace, to be peaceable, gentle showing every consideration for all men. Only as we walk in the power the Holy Spirit can we accomplish such a task!

Father God, as I consider the years that I have served I recognize that there have been many times when I have fallen short of this command. Forgive me for my pride and prejudice. Forgive me for speaking out of anger and being harsh with others. Help me humble myself that I may extend to all men the love of the Father, the forgiveness of Jesus, and the fellowship of the Spirit. Amen.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

10/03/2017 PBJ Devotional

At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, "Ask what I shall give you." 9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” (1 Kings 3:5, 9 ESV)

Understanding:  שָׁמַע  shaw-mah'; a primitive root; to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.

Mind/Heart: לֵב Lav = inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding, heart (of moral character), mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory, inclination, resolution, determination (of will), conscience.

Here is my paraphrase of what Solomon is asking God for. Give me a hearing heart, attuned to the will and wisdom of God, that in obedience, I may have what is necessary to fulfill God’s purposes for the good of His people.

When you consider the position that you are in, perhaps as a parent, spouse, employer, minister, elected official, whatever you place in life you find yourself, you are encouraged to ask God for wisdom.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (James 1:5 ESV)

James gives us a good working definition of the wisdom that we seek. “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”  (James 3:17 ESV)

The wisdom we seek is also enhanced by our life experience and training, which, in turn, helps us to rightly discern good from evil.

“For everyone who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action), for he is a mere infant [not able to talk yet]! 14 But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.” (Hebrews 5:13-14 AMPC)  

The Apostle Paul’s prayer for all of us all is that we would continue in our spiritual grow to full maturity in discernment and truth, bringing honor to God and blessing to others.

And this I pray: that your love may abound yet more and more and extend to its fullest development in knowledge and all keen insight [that your love may display itself in greater depth of acquaintance and more comprehensive discernment], 10 So that you may surely learn to sense what is vital, and approve and prize what is excellent and of real value [recognizing the highest and the best, and distinguishing the moral differences], and that you may be untainted and pure and unerring and blameless [so that with hearts sincere and certain and unsullied, you may approach] the day of Christ [not stumbling nor causing others to stumble].  (Philippians 1:9-10 AMPC)

Lord Jesus, I earnestly ask that you would “Give me a hearing heart, attuned to the will and wisdom of God, that in obedience, I may have what is necessary to fulfill God’s purposes for the good of His people.” Amen.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Destruction of a Nation

09/25/2017 PBJ Devotional

100 years before, Jonah was sent to the city of Nineveh with a message from the Lord to repent of their evil or face destruction. From the king down, all of the people and the animals fasted and prayed in sackcloth and ashes. God rewarded their humility extending to them forgiveness, grace, and mercy.

During the years that followed, the glorious truth of God’s mercy had been forgotten as an entire nation progressively slipped back into the slimy pit of self-indulgence, greed, and oppression. So grievous were their sins that God sent a second prophet, Nahum with a proclamation of judgment and certain destruction.

”Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard.” (Nahum 2:13 ESV)

But what of those good men and woman who have not bowed the knee to this societal norm? Thiers alone is the sure promise that they have not been forgotten. He knows them by name. God himself is their refuge and salvation!

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.” (Nahum 1:7 ESV)

As I read through this small book I could not help but think of America and the extraordinary grace that has been bestowed upon our nation. I also could not get away from the painful truth of our rebellious actions and the grievous sins of our current society! Have we grown so hard-hearted that we no longer fear this Holy and righteous God? Are we approaching the point of no return only to face His fierce judgment?

Father God, I thank you for your tender mercies that You have bestowed upon our nation in generations past. I thank you that in times of trouble You continue to be our strong and mighty Fortress.

Father God, please raise up your prophetic voice once again over our nation. Convince us of Your Love and kindness. Help us to shake off our lethargy, draw us by your Holy Spirit into the heartfelt prayer of repentance. Help us to humble ourselves before You, that we would receive Your forgiveness, unmerited favor, and blessing. Help us to escape the judgment that comes upon any nation that forsakes God! Raise up intercessors that will be faithful to pray for our people. Grant that I may be in their number.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

09/24/2017 PBJ Devotional

“Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 23:50-51 ESV)

What are you looking for? In what ways do you avail yourself in your search for the kingdom of God? Very little is known of this man Joseph. The little that we do know about him stands boldly before us.

·      First, he was a man of influence as a member of the Sanhedrin.

·      Second, he was a man of courage, recognizing Jesus as the Messiah, refusing to go with the crowd demanding his death.

·      Third, he was a man in right standing with God; he was a “good and righteous man.”

·      Fourth, he did what no one else could do in his service to Christ. He alone went to Pilate seeking permission to take care of the body of Jesus Christ. Joseph prepared the body of Christ for burial and placed him in a new tomb. Though his service to the Lord Jesus was exceedingly brief, he did what no other disciple could have done. He accomplished his part in fulfilling a prophetic task. Like the poor widow woman who gave all she had, this man Joseph gave what he could and will always be remembered in history as a man who was faithful to play his part, to do what he could for the cause of Christ. In the end, his dream of seeing the kingdom of God would be realized!

Heavenly Father, I come humbly before you. My heart, my sincere desire is to give my all for the cause of Christ. Help me to be a faithful servant, to do what I can, where I can, when I can for you. Help me to be like Joseph, a man who fulfills his destiny, recognizing that he has been strategically placed, earnestly seeking to see the kingdom of God! Amen.