July 21, 2021

Getting Back on Course
2 Peter 3:17-18

No matter how far away from God you have drifted, you’re always welcome back. That’s the lesson from Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son–the foolish boy who followed a pleasure-filled path to ruin before returning to his father and finding redemption (Luke 15:11-32). Perhaps ruin has not yet come to you, but you know that your heart has grown cool to the things of God. Whatever your drifting story, make this the day that you point yourself back to the Lord.
 
As with any sin, the first motion toward getting back on course is to acknowledge that you have slipped away from the Lord. Then you confess and repent, which is like turning your boat in the opposite direction and paddling toward God with all your strength. If you’re wondering exactly how to do that, I suggest a strategy I use every morning. Before I step out of bed, I give myself to God by acknowledging, I surrender my entire life to You for this day. When something comes up that runs counter to His plan and I consider pursuing it, the Holy Spirit reminds me that I am not my own. Only God’s way will do for me.
 
Every day we choose whether to row or drift. As for me, I choose to vigorously pursue God.
Peter gives a warning to be on guard against attitudes and ideologies that would carry you away from truth (2 Peter 3:17). Instead, choose to paddle your lifeboat toward the Lord by meditating on Scripture, praying, and living obediently. Practicing the spiritual disciplines keeps a heart warm toward God.

God Bless,
Robbie

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also,
being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be glory both now and forever. Amen”

2 Peter 3: 17-18



July 14, 2021

The Signs of Drifting
Hebrews 2:1-3

Regularly gathering in the house of the Lord with brothers and sisters in Christ provides an “anchor” of support and accountability. But skipping church in order to pursue other interests is an obvious sign that a believer has begun to drift away from God. Less apparent are the men and women who mentally skip the worship service. The act of attending means nothing unless we make a deliberate decision to receive God’s Word and apply it to our life. As the writer of Hebrews warned, if we do not pay attention to what we have heard, we will drift away from it (2:1).
However, Sunday morning is not the only time for receiving a steady diet of nourishing principles and encouragement from the Bible. We should be in its pages every day, reading and meditating for ourselves. When our interest in what God has to say decreases, we’re already slipping out into troublesome waters. The only way to keep our way pure is by following His Word (Ps. 119:9).
If Bible reading is neglected, a prayer life has usually faded as well. Prayer is the way believers communicate with the Navigator. If we stop talking with Him, the God who once seemed so close soon feels far away. That chasm in our spirit is one more sign that we’re far from shore and safety.
many a captains guide his cruise ship through a narrow channel. The crew members are intensely focused on their tasks because drifting means disaster. Life is full of narrow channels to navigate. We cannot afford to drift away from God and His Word. Only He can bring us safely through.

Robbie

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;”

Hebrews 2: 1-3

 


July 3, 2021

Formula for Personal Growth
James 1:22

Growing in Christ involves far more than just attending church, tithing, and listening to a sermon. In fact, many believers do these yet remain stagnant in their walk. There are two elements necessary for us to become more like Jesus: instruction and involvement.
 
The first of these, learning truth, is vital to a healthy walk with God. Our Savior proved the importance of instruction by devoting much of His time on earth to it. The apostle Paul is another example, as he wrote letters to educate Christians about godliness.
 
So how can we gain knowledge and understanding? One of the most important and effective ways is to read the Word of God. Scripture instructs us that just as newborns crave milk, we are to desire His Word so that we might grow. I pray your spiritual thirst will become insatiable.
 
Yet simply listening to the truth does not mean that we’ve acquired it. I know many people who love attending Bible studies and expanding their knowledge base, but their lives remain unchanged. Just as today’s passage teaches, we have to apply the Word to our lives. Even so, actual growth requires more than merely inputting information. It requires action. James 2:26 states, “For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.”
 
Are we careless hearers, deceived into thinking that we’re growing? Or are we listening intently and abiding in the truth? If we’re truly maturing, our lives will be increasingly Christlike, and our desires will align more closely with God’s heart. Make sure that you are listening and responding to His truth.

Robbie

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
James 1:22



June 9, 2021

Dying to Be a Servant: A Parable
John 12:23-26

Once upon a time there were two grains of wheat lying on the floor of a warm and cozy barn. But one day, the farmer came in and told them, “I want to take you out of this comfortable barn and plant you in the earth. I’m going to place you in the cold ground and cover you with soil. It will be dark, and you will die. But I promise that you will multiply and become very fruitful.”

The first grain of wheat turned down the suggestion. “No way!” he said. “Count me out. I like my comfort, and I don’t want to die.” But the second one, after carefully considering the pain and discomfort of dying, decided the promise of a future harvest was worth the sacrifice. So the farmer took him outside and planted him in the ground, while allowing the first grain of wheat to remain inside the barn.

A few days later, a small green sprout appeared over where the seed had been planted. Then it grew and became a tall stalk of wheat that produced one hundred more grains. For the next forty years, the farmer planted all the seeds that had originated from that first grain of wheat, and year after year, the harvest multiplied. However, the grain of wheat that stayed in the barn remained there by itself, never multiplying–but he was very comfortable.
Which grain of wheat are you? Are you playing it safe, or have you let Christ plant you in the world? The only way you’ll ever become useful and fruitful in God’s kingdom is to abandon your own selfish desires, get out of your comfort zone, and serve the Lord by serving others.

God Bless
Robbie

And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
John 12: 23-26


June 6, 2021

Live Intentionally
2 Timothy 4:6-8

Paul was a man who lived life to the full. His goals were to know Christ, abide in His power, fellowship in His suffering, and preach the gospel (Phil. 3:10; 1 Cor. 1:17). In doing so, he aligned his aspirations with the Lord’s, diligently worked to fulfill his calling, and persevered through opposition, persecution, and suffering. He could face the end of his life with confidence since he’d “fought the good fight,” “finished the course,” and “kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7).

We’d all like to be able to say the same at the end of our lives, but that means we have to follow Paul’s example. How are you doing at setting goals for your life? Have you thought beyond the immediate and set some long-term objectives? Our culture is so fast-paced that few of us take the time to actually consider where we’re going. But you don’t want to finish your life and find out you were on a course other than God’s, fighting the wrong fight, and struggling to keep the faith.
Why not set aside some time this week to get alone with the Lord. Then ask His help in setting goals that will take you where He wants you to go. Consider every area of your life–personal, relational, financial, and vocational–but make spiritual goals your primary emphasis. Then write them down.
If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting. Maybe it’s time to get out of your rut and find a new path. God will help you change direction and accomplish new goals that align with His will. Don’t settle for the mediocrity of an unplanned life. Start living intentionally.

God Bless
Robbie

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4: 6-8



May 21, 2021

Choosing Love over Rights
Matthew 5:38-48

We talk a lot about rights these days. Yet the attention given to human entitlements hasn’t brought about corporate or personal freedom. Instead, most people are prisoners of jealousy (you have greater rights than I do!), greed (I deserve more!), or bitterness (my rights have been violated!).
 
Instead of focusing on the privileges due us, we should take the biblical perspective of loving enemies and forgiving persecutors (Matt. 5:44). Believers lay down their rights so they can take up the cause of a holy kingdom. That doesn’t mean that we let people trample on us. Rather, we offer a proper response according to biblical principles. In short, believers should be more concerned about showing God’s love to those who do wrong than about demanding their rights.
 
Maybe you’re thinking, But, he doesn’t know how I’ve been mistreated. Indeed, I do not. But what I do know is how Jesus Christ, our example, reacted to terrible abuse. He was betrayed by His friends, persecuted by His people, condemned by His peers, and crucified for our sins. Yet He said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34).
 
Before assuming that Jesus’ capacity for forgiveness and love is out of reach for mere human beings, remember: His Spirit dwells in believers. We can choose to give away our rights and let God’s love work through us.

God Bless
Robbie

But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
Matthew 5:44

 



May 12, 2021

Selfish Christianity
John 6:22-27

Which interests you more—who Jesus is or what He can do for you? I’m afraid that too many of us are more concerned about what He can give us than we are about getting to know who He is.

But this is nothing new—Jesus had this problem when He walked on earth. The crowds often sought Him out for what He could do for them. Even though their needs were quite often legitimate, Christ knew their motives.

There is a fine line between selfishly trying to use the Lord to get what we want and humbly coming to Him with our needs and struggles. Some of the issues we bring to Him are so pressing and urgent in our minds that our desire for Him to take action in the way we want becomes greater than our willingness to submit to His will. At times, what we call “faith” is really a demanding spirit.

We must remember that our needs will come to an end, but Jesus Christ will remain forever. If our prayers have dealt only with presenting our requests to the Lord, we’ve missed a great opportunity to get to know the One with whom we’ll spend eternity. Let’s invest time in pursuing intimacy with Christ. Then we can enjoy the benefits of that relationship forever.

How much of your communion with God is devoted to your needs—even legitimate ones? Are you spending any time getting to know the Lord? Although God delights in our prayers and tells us to pray about everything, He also wants us to come to Him just because we enjoy being with Him.

For His Glory
Robbie

“Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
John 6: 26-27
 


April 21, 2021

Learning from Failure
Luke 22:31-34

The disciple Peter was a man of great faith and bold action. But as readers of the New Testament know, his brash style sometimes led him to make humiliating mistakes. More than once, this disciple had to wear the label of “miserable failure” rather than that of “obedient servant.”
 
We can all relate when it comes to falling short of expectations. Obedience to God is a learning process, and failure is a part of our development as humble servants. When we yield to temptation or rebel against God’s authority, we realize that sin has few rewards, and even those are fleeting.
 
Failure is an excellent learning tool, as Peter could certainly attest. Through trial and error, he discovered that humility is required of believers (John 13:5-14); that God’s ways are higher than the world’s ways (Mark 8:33); and that one should never take his eyes off Jesus (Matt. 14:30). He took each of those lessons to heart and thereby grew stronger in his faith. Isn’t that Romans 8:28 in action? God caused Peter’s failures to be put to good use as training material because the disciple was eager to mature and serve.
 
God doesn’t reward rebellion or wrongdoing. However, by His grace, He blesses those who choose repentance and embrace chastisement as a tool for growth.
 
We would probably all prefer to grow in our faith without ever making a mistake before God’s eyes, but we cannot deny that missteps are instructive. Failure teaches believers that it is much wiser and more profitable to be obedient to the Lord. That’s a lesson we all should take to heart.
 
God Bless
Robbie


“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know.”
Luke 22: 31-34



April 14, 2021

The Value of Seeking the Lord
Psalms 119:1-8

We all have ambitions and desires. And while these are not necessarily wrong, we should analyze our priorities: Where do I invest my time and energy? What or who occupies my thoughts? As important as our earthly pursuits, responsibilities, and relationships may be, they cannot compare to the value of a life spent seeking the Lord.

First of all, consider what it means to seek something. The word connotes a strong desire and an energetic quest to achieve it. Suppose you discovered a very productive vein of gold on your property. You wouldn’t just stroll out and look at it occasionally. No, you would gather some equipment and diligently go out each day to chip away at the rocks and collect the precious metal.

In the same way, seeking the Lord is not a quick and occasional encounter, but a wholehearted effort to know Him more intimately and follow Him more closely. Those who unreservedly pursue this kind of fellowship with God are determined to spend time with Him; they also want to forsake anything that could hinder growth in their relationship with the Lord. God’s committed followers boldly claim His promises and trust Him to fulfill His Word. Their experiences with the Lord bring amazing satisfaction yet cause them to hunger for more of Him.

The Christian life is meant to be a pursuit of God. To walk through the door of salvation and stand still, never drawing any closer to Him, is to miss the treasures that are available in Christ. Those who seek Him soon discover that knowing Him is the greatest reward of all.

God Bless
Robbie

“Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!”
Psalms 119: 2



April 1, 2021

Life’s Great Liberator
Luke 4:16-21

From some people’s countenance, we judge them to be happy. Smiles, makeup, and stylish clothing can create an appearance of inner peace. Internally, though, many are in bondage.
In today’s passage, Jesus clarifies His purpose: He has come to set free those in captivity. Christ was referring to several types of bonds that can imprison our souls.
 
First, Jesus breaks the chains of sin. All people have broken God’s law and consequently live apart from Him (Rom. 3:23). But Christ’s death and resurrection free us when we accept His gift of forgiveness and place our trust in Him. Then we can have a relationship with the Lord.
 
Secondly, He liberates us from persistent sins like jealousy, bitterness, and gluttony. His Spirit resides within each believer and provides the power to overcome wrong choices that seemed to “own” us. He enables us to do what He desires—by bringing immediate healing or by giving guidance and strength in the ongoing battle.
 
The Creator of mankind made us with a void in our hearts for Jesus to fill. Everything we put there—whether it seems like a good thing at the time or an obvious bad choice—will ultimately leave us empty. And we will remain in bondage until God frees us and then provides the only true satisfaction.
 
Are you one of those people who appear happy and seem to have life figured out, and yet inside feel uneasy and empty? Jesus Christ is the only One who can redeem you, forgive your sins, and fill the vacant place in your soul. Allow Him to liberate you today.

God Bless
Robbie

“And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Luke 4: 17-19



March 4, 2021

Sowing Spiritual Seeds
John 4:34-38

Think about everything that contributed to the story of how you came to know Christ as your Lord and Savior. It’s probably not possible to fully count all those spiritual seeds that God used to draw you to Him. And not all the people who sowed good seed into your life knew what the outcome would be.
 
We also have the opportunity and privilege–every single day–of sowing seeds into the lives of others, such as our friends, co-workers, children, grandchildren, or even strangers. God takes what you plant and adds to it. He leads others to sow further seed or “water” the ground. Little by little, truth gets cultivated in their lives. What greater thing could you do?
 
Conversely, you might focus on providing your kids with plenty of material security and send them to the best schools and colleges–and yet it would count nothing for eternity. But when you sow into their lives the things of God and the qualities of Jesus, you’re feeding their spirits. The seeds that affect their hearts, view of God, and desire to make a difference for Him in the world are what will produce genuine, lasting fruit and a great harvest in their lives. Whether or not you ever see the results, the Lord is using you profoundly when you sow this kind of crop.
 
God sees all the little things you do; He’s interested in more than just “big” things. The fruit of His Spirit–such as kindness, patience, and self-control–often manifests itself in quiet ways that others may never give you credit for. But such spiritual seeds accomplish powerful work in His kingdom.

Robbie

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.

35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift- up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!
John 4: 34-35



February 12, 2021

Grounded in Truth

Psalms 25:4-10

If we’ll let the truths of Scripture fill our minds, guard our emotions, and influence our conduct, God will richly reward us. I’m talking about spiritual blessings here (though He at times chooses to bless materially as well). By reading and meditating on His Word, you’ll learn to understand His ways. This isn’t something we can figure out on our own, because His ways are unlike ours—they are higher, bigger, and eternal.
 
Also, your relationship with the Lord will grow increasingly more intimate because He chooses to reveal Himself to those who seek Him and obey His instructions. When you see that God always keeps His promises, your confidence in His faithfulness will soar. No matter what the situation, you’ll know you can trust Him. Then He’ll transform your worries into joyful anticipation about what He’s going to do next in your life. Even if hard times await, you’ll be convinced that the Lord will work them out for good.
 
A life grounded in truth is powerful. Those who live by the Word develop spiritual discernment, which guides their choices and guards against deception. Because they demonstrate wisdom and godliness, the Lord enables them to impact others greatly. Since He knows they can be trusted, He also gives them greater responsibilities and opportunities for service in His kingdom.
 
With all this available to us, wouldn’t it be wise to invest our time and energy in building the truth of God’s Word into our lives? The other activities which clamor for our attention seem so important or pleasurable, but none of them can offer us the spiritual riches of a life grounded in truth.
 
For The Kingdom
Robbie
“Show me Your Ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.”
Psalms 25: 4-5