Devotional

When God Says No

Scripture:   II Corinthians 12:7-10


I.    Vs 7                        Humility
People don’t like to lose and people don’t like to be told “no”, but losing and being told no is a part of the human experience. The issue is not being told no, but how should a believer respond to being told no by God. Paul shares his story and provides the church with instructions for dealing with the word no. The Lord wants you to totally depend upon him and this requires you to walk in humility. Paul had unmatched credentials, ascended to the heavenly realm and received divine revelation. So, the Lord gave him a thorn in the flesh in order to keep him humble. This was not a stubbed toe, because this pain would not go away with the passing of time. This thorn in the flesh would continually buffet him and satan was using this thorn to torment Paul. The devil was using this thorn in a negative way, but the Lord was using this thorn to drive away pride. *Point: This pain was not self-inflicted, had a divine purpose and was a test of his faith. Will you still love, obey, and trust the Lord when he says no. Deuteronomy 8:2 says “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or not.” When God tells you no respond with humility, because he resists the proud.

II.    Vs. 8              Prayer
Whenever I experience any level of pain, I cry out to my wife and the Lord. Now Paul was not married and so he cried out (prayed) to the Lord to remove this thorn in the flesh. Three times he asked the Lord to remove this thorn and three times the Lord said no. Paul desperately wanted God to remove this affliction and this pain lead him to pray and not complain. So often issues in life cause us to focus on the problem instead of the Lord. *Point: Don’t pout, but pray with a willingness to accept the Lord’s answer. Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” The Lord’s will must be more important than relief from the thorns of life. You seek answers from the Lord through his word and prayer, but he has the right to say no. This means God has the divine prerogative to do whatever he wants to do without needing permission from anybody. *Life Lesson: What you want may be good (relief from pain), but what the Lord gives you is better (grace). The Lord uses pain for various reasons to include the process of Christ likeness. *Point: Christ suffered and so will you.     

III.    Vs. 9              Right Attitude
You should respond with humility, prayer, and the right attitude about living the rest of your life with thorns. Paul didn’t get mad, frustrated, or complain, but he accepted God’s will for his life. In short, Paul was content with his thorn in the flesh. *Note: Philippians 4:11. His attitude was that God’s power working in and thru him was more important than the removal of a thorn (pain). Charles Swindoll said “I’m convinced that life is 10% of what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” Listen up: God is in charge of your life, but you are in charge of your attitude. *Point: A bad attitude is totally unacceptable. The Lord gave Paul grace to live with a thorn in the flesh. He would bring more glory to God, because he had a thorn that would make him depend upon the Lord. Example: You are married, because being married brings more glory to God than being single. You are single, because being single brings more glory to God than being married. So, married people and single people both have thorns. The good news is that the Lord will give you married and single grace to go along with the thorns. That’s what makes his grace sufficient, because the Lord’s grace is more powerful than any type of thorn. The right attitude about your thorn will make you glad that the Lord gave it you. Amen!      

IV.    Vs. 10              Praise
Paul stopped talking about his thorn and started praising the Lord. He understood that this thorn gave him power and strength that he needed to serve the Lord. Paul turned his pain into praise and thanked the Lord for giving him a thorn. *Point: He thanked the Lord for saying no and he made a decision to live like all things do work together for good. Job had more than a thorn and he “arose and rent his mantle and shaved his head and fell down upon the ground and worshipped. Paul’s thorn had a divine purpose and it made him better and not bitter. So, the next time the Lord tells you no…Respond with humility, prayer, the right attitude and get your praise on. 

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives
Bro. Mack

Devotional

Making Bad Decisions

Scripture:   I Samuel 8:1-18, 12:22-24

I.    Vs 1-9                        Signs of a Bad Decision
It has been said “that the quality of your life will be the result of the 
decisions you make.” This biblical narrative outlines the bad decisions that 
were made by the elders of the nation of Israel. The elders wanted a king, 
because Samuel was old and his sons were corrupt. They walked not in his ways, 
would do anything for money, took bribes, and perverted justice. Life is full 
of decisions, but as believers these decisions must be approved by the Lord. 
Any decision not approved by God is a bad decision, so never judge a decision 
strictly based upon the results. Let us review some signs of a bad decision. 
The request/decision from the elders (nation) was unbiblical, because they 
wanted to be like all the other nations. Their motive for wanting a King was 
wrong, because being like the world is not approved by the Lord. This decision 
violated God’s will because they were rejecting the Lord. Refusing to line up 
with God’s will is a form of rebellion, because they no longer wanted the Lord 
to reign over the nation. Wanting a king was the fruit, but rejecting God was 
the root. You see a decision on the surface can look good to others, but the 
Lord will be the final judge. This decision dishonored the Lord and was a form 
of idolatry, because they served other gods and had forsaken the Lord. Your 
decisions should glorify the Lord, bring you closer to him, and make you more 
like Christ. This decision harmed others and made the situation worse. Having 
a king was not the issue (Deuteronomy 17:14-15), but the issues were finding a 
new judge and idolatry within the nation. *Point: Don’t ignore the signs and 
the Lord must approve your decisions.

II.    Vs. 10-18              Consequences of a Bad Decision
When you go shopping at the mall the merchandise at every store has a price 
tag and every decision has a price tag. Before you make a decision, have a 
little talk with Jesus. Because Samuel discussed the matter with the Lord, the
Lord outlined the consequences of the bad decision that Israel was about to 
make. Samuel begged them to change their mind, but they refused. So, Israel 
was about “to get what they wanted, but lose what they had.” The new king was 
going to start a military draft, over work and under pay the people, mistreat 
the women, take their land (eminent domain), enforce high taxes and forced labor. The 
new king was (and he will take) going to take, take, take, and take. This new 
king was going to hurt Israel and his motto was not going to be lead the 
people, but bleed the people. This is not the worse part of the story, because 
a bad decision is expensive. Israel had a king, but not the King of Kings. The 
Lord said that he “wouldn’t hear them or help them.” Psalm 66:18 says that “If 
I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” The Lord told 
Israel that he was not going to answer the phone, so when they cried out the 
call would go straight to voice mail. The message would say “If this is Israel 
don’t leave a message, because the Lord is not going to call you back.” Before 
you make a decision count the cost. *Point: Decisions come with a price and a 
consequence, so make good decisions.

III.    Vs. 12:22-24              Grace & Mercy is Available
I have made bad financial decisions in the past and had to pay a stupid tax. 
Well praise the Lord, because I have learned to make better decisions with the 
Lord’s money. The good news is that despite your bad decisions the Lord still 
makes his grace and mercy available. You made a bad decision, but the Lord 
will not forsake his people. Bad decisions may change your circumstances, but 
the Lord will not change (he will not stop being God in your life). His name 
is great and it was his decision to make us his people. So, when you make a 
bad decision follow Samuel’s example and pray. Ask the Lord to teach you the 
good and right way (decision). Don’t let the consequences of your decision 
cause you to not serve (obey) the Lord or fear him with all you heart. 
Finally, remember the decision may not have been good but, God is good and all 
the time God is good. *Point: Make good decisions and the steps of a good man 
are ordered by the Lord.

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives
Bro. Mack

Devotional

The Price of Ministry


 Scripture:  Luke 10:30-37


Note Vs 30: This verse provides the definition of ministry (people) and shares 
the condition of some people that need the Lord.


I.    Vs 31-32                        Time
This certain man was robbed, wounded, and near death, but the religious 
leaders did not take the time to provide him with any assistance. The priest 
did not take the time to stop and the Levite basically said “I will pray for 
you.” They both passed by on the other side and refused to invest any time on 
a helpless individual. This was an opportunity for them to (practice what you 
preach) and minister to the needs of their neighbor. Could you imagine calling 911 
and being put on hold or the police/fire department refusing to come to your 
house. Well this man called 911 and you see what happened. *Point: You have to 
deal with people in order to reach them with the gospel. Question: How many 
times have you walked pass somebody and refused to help (minister) them? I’m 
talking about when the Lord told you to help the person. Maybe we are just too
busy, too lazy, or just don’t care, but the Lord always had time for people. It 
is important to spend time with family, friends, and people who need the Lord. 
Remember Jesus did eat with sinners and he died for everybody. Spend your time 
wisely and don’t pass by on the other side.


II.    Vs. 33-34               Compassion
This man did not need pity or sympathy, but he did need help with his physical 
situation immediately. This certain man was half dead and he needed heart felt 
compassion. Compassion: You help someone in need, especially when they can’t 
help themselves. *Point: feed/hungry, cloth/naked, drink/thirsty. This 
Samaritan showed compassion to a stranger and treated him like a neighbor. He 
came to the certain man, showed him compassion, bound up his wounds, and gave him 
a ride to an inn. The Samaritan took care of the certain man like he was a 
family member. The Bible says “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do 
good unto all men.” Galatians 6:10. This Samaritan did what the Jews were not 
willing to do and what the Lord does for believers every day. The Lord shows 
us compassion when we are hurting and paid the price of redemption at Calvary. 
Psalm 116:5 “Gracious is the Lord and righteous, yea, our God is merciful.” 
The Lord is full of compassion and we need to share his compassion with 
others.


III.    Vs. 35              Money
You may be familiar with the statements “put your money where your mouth is” 
or “put up or shut up”. Well this Samaritan was willing to make a financial 
investment in the well-being of another human being that probably did not look 
like him. Don’t miss the fact that the certain man in this story was probably 
a Jew. *Point: The mandate from the Lord is that we minister to everybody. So 
we are in the grace business not the race business. The church should be a 
reflection of the community and most communities look like Baskin-Robbins. It 
takes money to minister to people, because we are trying to reach the world. 
Back to the Samaritan. He spent the night at the inn, provided food, lodging, 
medical care and left at least two days pay with the host for future expenses. 
He promised to return later to check on the certain man’s condition. This 
Samaritan did everything possible to make the certain man whole physically and 
we should do everything possible to make people whole spiritually. Money is a 
vital part of ministry and giving keeps selfishness at bay. This Samaritan 
saved this man’s life and ministry requires money to save souls. *Point: 
Salvation is free, but ministry cost. So, be a good believer and share your 
resources with others. *Read Matthew 25:14-30.


IV.    Vs. 36-37        Obedience
The issue is not about giving time, compassion or money, but will you obey 
God. Jesus told the lawyer to go and repeat the deeds of the Samaritan. The 
Holy Spirit will lead you to the people that need your help, but will you pass 
by on the other side. Or, will you (share Christ) help people. People do need 
your time, compassion, resources, but most importantly they need Christ. Being 
Christ like means that you get involved in the lives of other people. Remember 
Jesus fed people with a boy’s lunch, because hunger would keep them from 
focusing on the truth. Life has many distractions and we have to remove things 
that will hinder the gospel. Paul said that “I be free from all men, yet have 
I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.” His purpose was 
that he might by all means save some. We obey God, because we want people to 
obey the gospel. Read Matthew 25:35-40 and pay the price of ministry.

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives
Bro. Mack

Devotional

Hannah: Happy Mother’s Day

Scripture:  I Samuel 1:1-28

I.    Vs 1-8                        Her Sorrow
This is more than a story about a childless woman, it is a story about the 
redemption of a nation. The Lord sent his son to redeem the world and Samuel 
was sent to redeem Israel. The book of Judges declares that “In those days 
there was no King in Israel, so every man did that which was right in his own 
eyes. Samuel was a very important part of God’s plan and so was Hannah. The 
fact that she could not celebrate Mother’s Day caused her a lot of pain and 
sorrow. Her home life was depressing, because she had to help raise Peninnah’s 
children. Hannah was barren (no children) and had to share her husband with 
another woman (Peninnah). She had to endure year after year of not receiving a 
Mother’s Day card, because the Lord shut-up (closed) her womb. Yahweh the 
giver of life stopped her from conceiving and this caused her to refuse food, 
weep, and have a broken heart. Peninnah (adversary) was not gracious and made 
Hannah miserable by provoking her daily. Don’t you see Peninnah saying “I’m 
successful and blessed and telling Hannah she was a failure and barren. Hannah 
was frustrated and only a son could fill the emptiness in her heart. *Point: 
We were born with a huge hole in our soul that only Christ can fill. Hannah 
needed a son and we need the Son of God.

II.    Vs. 9-18               Her Supplication
Hannah is in deep distress and she turned to the only one who could change her 
hopeless situation. She turned to Yahweh with tears and a broken spirit. 
Hannah’s affliction lead her to the Tabernacle and she not only prayed, she 
made a vow to give her man child back to the Lord forever. A vow is serious 
business, but let’s examine her prayer for just a moment. Her prayer was 
sincere, because she was in bitterness of soul and wept sore. Her prayer was 
specific, because she requested a man child (son). Her prayer was unselfish, 
because she vowed to give her son back to the Lord forever. *Point: Your 
prayers should be sincere, specific, and unselfish. This was a Nazarite vow 
which is a binding contract with the Lord. *See: Numbers 6. Hannah was 
dedicating her son to the Lord before she ever had a son. This was a prayer of 
faith and trust. *Point: Hannah had the qualities of a mother before she had 
any children. Take your sorrow to the Lord.

III.    Vs. 19-23              Her Son
Hannah and Elkanah had been trying to have children together for years, but 
this time was different. This time the Lord remembered (opened her womb) 
Hannah and she conceived. Hannah had a son, but this was so much more than 
just an answer to prayer. A childless woman was considered to be under a 
curse, because being a mother was a blessing directly from the Lord. So, in 
biblical times women attached their womanhood (value) to bearing children 
(son). Children (son) would carry on the family name and provide for their 
parents in old age. Hannah named her son Samuel and this privilege was 
normally reserved for the father. Samuel means name of God and this would 
serve as a reminder to Hannah about the goodness of the Lord. Every time 
Hannah called Samuel she thought about the Lord. Every time she saw Samuel she 
thought about the Lord. *Point: God is good and Samuel was living proof. To 
all the mothers, when you see your children remember God is good.

IV.    Vs. 24-28        Her Sacrifice
Hannah enjoyed her blessing and weaned Samuel for about three years and then 
she give him to the Lord. Don’t miss the fact that before she honored (kept 
her word) her vow, Hannah made sacrifices to the Lord. She sacrificed animals 
and she sacrificed her son, but Samuel was a living sacrifice. He would serve 
the Lord as a judge for his entire life. *Point: Hannah did what every mother 
must do and that is she gave Samuel to the Lord. Her decision was complete, 
irrevocable, and a sacrifice of her God given blessing. *Here is a question: 
When the Lord blesses you with something/somebody do you honor him with the 
blessing?  Don’t enjoy the gift and forget the (Lord) giver of the gift. 
Hannah did not stop being a mother, because she gave Samuel to the Lord. The 
commercial says “that you are in good hands with Allstate”, but I believe 
“that you are in the best hands with Jesus”. To all the mothers: Happy 
Mother’s Day and thanks for all your sacrifices.

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives
Bro. Mack

Devotional

The Goodness of the Lord

Scripture: Psalm 27:1-14

I.    Vs 1                        His Role In Your Life
The goodness of the Lord should be recognized and celebrated by his people.
So, David offers a psalm of praise not for what the Lord has done, but praises
the Lord just for being the Lord. Number one recognize the Lord’s role in your
life. He is the Lord, which means he is in the position of authority in your
life. The Lord makes the rules, runs the show, and your life revolves around
him and not yourself. So, the Lord is my light and light destroys darkness. I
don’t have to live or walk in darkness, because of the Lord. The Lord is my
salvation which speaks to safety and deliverance. I don’t have to live in
fear, because the Lord has delivered me from (you fill in the blank).
“Finally, my brethren be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might”
Ephesians 6:10. The Lord is my strength (power), so your power to live comes
from the Lord. *Point: God is good and he is your Lord. So as his servant your
life is safe in his hands. Don’t try to play the role of Lord in your life.
Let go and let God have his way.

II.    Vs. 2-3               Protector
The Lord is your protector, so when trouble comes have confidence (trust/find
refuge) in the Lord. So, when the wicked, enemies, foes, come against you the
Lord will fight for you. Exodus 14:14 says that “The Lord shall fight for you
and ye shall hold your peace”. So, you are alive today, because the Lord has
protected you. I grew up in an urban environment and I can testify to how the
Lord has protected me before and after I came to faith in Christ. Think about
all the times that the Lord protected you and say Amen. Remember the Lord will not
leave you or forsake you, but he will protect you.

III.    Vs. 4-7              Presence Of The Lord
When someone is good to you, you will have a desire to spend time with them. I
love spending time with my wife (brown sugar), children, grandchildren, and
God’s people. There is someone who has been better to me then I have been to
myself and that is the Lord. David wanted to spend time in the presence of the
Lord, because God is good. Being in the presence of the Lord is not about a
location, because the temple had not been built. The Lord made this point
clear in John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such
to worship him”. God is good and has been good to you, so you should want to
spend time with him. In order to have an effective relationship with anybody,
you must be willing to spend time with them. The same thing is true of your
relationship with the Lord, because in his presence is fullness of joy. In the
presence of the Lord offer sacrifices of joy, sing praises to his name, and
make your requests (prayer) known. *Point: The Lord is good so spend time with
him.

IV.    Vs. 8                 Obedience
We should respond to the goodness of the Lord by obeying his word. You can’t
say the Lord is good and then turn around refuse to follow (obey) him. David
said that “thy face will I seek Lord”. You are his servant and servants don’t
have any rights. You only have the right to obey the Lord, because Psalm 100:3
says “Know ye that the Lord he is God, it is he that hath made us and not we
ourselves, we are his people and the sheep of his pasture”. *Point: Follow
Nike slogan and just do it. Because he is good and he is Lord. Remember Romans
2:4 “despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and
longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to
repentance”. Christ must be Lord in principle and practice.

V.    Vs. 9-10             Content
Someone once told me that as a believer you are living in either one these tents,
the tents are called content or discontent. The goodness of the Lord makes it
possible for you to be content. David understood how much he needed the Lord,
so he was content with God. You may be without a husband, wife, children,
mother or father, but the Lord is more than enough. Child of God, you must
learn to be content with the Lord, because he is that good. Job experienced a
moment in his life when all he had was the Lord. News flash: Only the Lord can
satisfy you completely. David said “If my father and my mother forsake me,
then the Lord will take me up”. My mother passed away almost nine years ago on
Mother’s Day and I needed to hear that. Thank you David and thank you Lord.
Paul said in Philippians 4:11 “Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have
learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content”. *Point: You have to
be satisfied with God.

VI.    Vs. 11-12             Wisdom
David wanted the Lord to teach him and lead him, because the world he lived in
was dangerous. He needed wisdom for living around his enemies, because they
wanted to destroy him. You see information alone is not enough, because the
path is not always clear (plain). So, you need wisdom that can only be
provided by the Lord. You may have a GED or a PHD, but you are not smarter
than the Lord. James 1:5 makes it clear that “If any of you lack wisdom, let
him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not and it
(wisdom) shall be given him”. Going thru life as a believer without wisdom is
dangerous, because you have an enemy named satan. The devil has only lost one
fight and he lost to Jesus. *Point: Let the Lord teach you, lead you, and seek
his wisdom. The Lord is good and he is smart too.

VII.    Vs. 13-14             Patience
In closing, David says that the goodness of the Lord kept him from giving up.
Question: Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel, quit on God. “Ok I will
raise my hand”. Living for Christ requires many things and one of them is
patience. Have you ever said “take your time Lord, but hurry up”. The reason
we have drive-thru windows and lines for ten items or less at Walmart is
because people don’t like to wait. Alright Immanuel, I see you at Walmart with
more than ten items in the express line. LOL. You get the point, nobody likes
to wait, but patience is a sign of spiritual maturity. David said “wait on the
Lord and he will strengthen your heart”. God is good, but living for him
requires patience. Remember Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles,  they
shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint”.

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives
Bro. Mack

Devotional

Tools of the Devil

 Scripture: Numbers 13:25-33 & Numbers 14:1-4


I.    Vs 25-29 & 31-32                  People
A tool is an instrument that is used for a specific purpose and the devil has
some tools that he loves to use on believers. The Bible tells the church not
to be ignorant of the devil’s devices, so we need to “Be sober, be vigilant,
because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” I Peter 5:8. Let’s take a look at five of the devil’s favorite tools, so we can be prepared to face the enemy. The first tool that requires our attention is called people, because Israel choose one leader from each tribe to search the land. They came back forty days later to report that the land flowed with milk and honey. The land has everything that the Lord promised Israel before they ever left Egypt, but people occupied the land. Caleb saw the Lord, but the ten spies only saw the Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, and Canaanites. The ten spies said that the people are strong, very great, and brought up an evil report that weakened Israel’s faith.
The devil is still using people today to cause doubt in your mind about what
the Lord can do. The devil will use anybody that will make themselves
available to be used by him. Remember Peter (Matthew 16:22-23) and Judas (Luke 22:3-4). *Point: Don’t let the devil use you and don’t let people cause you to miss out on a blessing or doubt the promises of God. This was the promise land and you must walk by faith and not by sight. The ten spies were right, we can’t, but God can.



II.    Vs. 28                   Circumstances
Israel not only had to deal with the people in the land, but the cities were
walled, so the second instrument in the devil’s tool box is called
circumstances. Everybody has to face circumstances in life, but believers
don’t face them alone. We have the Word, Spirit, and the Lord, so our
circumstances are nothing but another opportunity to trust God. A wall can
represent many things other than a physical barrier. A wall can be finances,
job, relationship, or education, so the issue is not about the size of the
wall, but how big is your God. Nothing is too hard for the Lord, so everything is easy. You make things difficult when you don’t trust him and focus on the circumstances instead of the Lord. *Point: Don’t avoid your circumstances and don’t avoid the Lord. You are about to learn something about the Lord that only certain circumstances can teach you and don’t forget you did cross the Red Sea. Tell the devil that “this wall is not bigger than my God.”


III.    Vs. 33                  Fear
The third instrument goes all the way back to the garden of Eden, because sin makes us afraid (cowards). Remember fear and faith can’t co-exist in the same room, so Adam/Eve hid themselves. The people were giants and when Israel looked in the mirror they saw a grasshopper. They should have seen the Lord and that the people were so big that it made it impossible to miss. Fear will cripple and paralyze your faith in the Lord. People are afraid to fly, afraid of crowds, and public speaking, but the God has not given us a spirit of fear. Hey Christian the bigger they are the harder they fall. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Remember David killed Goliath with a slingshot and cut his head off with his own sword. Faith made this possible, because we should depend on God and not man. The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Fear is not our friend.


 IV.    Vs. 14:1-2             Discouragement
The whole nation wept, lifted up their voice and complained, because they were discouraged. The devil has a high success rate with this tool, because
discouragement spreads like a virus. You see, fear and discouragement leads to unbelief. People become discouraged with life (suicide), marriage (divorce), job (quit), Lord (stop going to church), because the devil knows how use this tool. The nation of Israel was not pleased with Moses, Aaron, and the Lord, because discouragement causes the tongue to speak death not life. They would rather have died in Egypt than die in the wilderness near the promised land.
Israel was willing to quit two feet away from the finish line, because they
were discouraged. Israel had already forgotten Deuteronomy 1:21 “Behold, the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee, go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee, fear not, neither be discouraged.” News flash: If the Lord wanted them to die, he would have left them in Egypt.
*Point: If the Lord wanted you to die in your sins, he would never have sent
Jesus to Calvary. Child of God stand on his promises, because your blessing
could be right around the corner.



V.    Vs. 14:3-4                Your Past
The final instrument in the devil’s tool box is your past, because he loves to
use your past against you. Everybody has a past, but there is no future living in the past. Hey don’t let the devil beat you up about what you were or what you did before you came to faith in Christ. Read I Corinthians 6:9-11, but focus on verse 11. Paul said “Brethren, I count not myself to have
apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Israel wanted to fire the Lord and Moses, then go back to Egypt. Egypt represented many things, but the number one thing it represented was the past. News flash: They were slaves in Egypt. Child of God, you were a slave to sin and Jesus nailed your past to the cross and set you free. Don’t live like a slave, but live like a saint. You can’t change your past and your past was life without Christ. Let’s move forward to the promised land with God.

I hope this was a blessing to you.


Because He Lives
Bro. Mack

Devotional

Gratitude

Scripture: Luke 17:11-19

I.    Vs 11-12              Afar Off

Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and he took the most direct route which was through Samaria. This fact should not be taken lightly, because the Jews would have nothing to do with the Samaritans. Some things never change, because even today people refuse to deal with other people for various reasons that are not biblical. These ten lepers consisted of Jews and a Samaritan, because pain has a way of bringing people together. *Point: Jesus Christ can bring people together and believers should not be afar off from one another. Now back to leprosy. A leper was considered ceremonially un-clean and had to stay away (afar off) from other people, because of their condition. This means no Temple worship, job, or fellowship with other people. *Sound familiar. During this time most people believed that leprosy was a result of sin and God’s judgement. These lepers had to ring a bell and shout unclean, unclean, unclean when they traveled. They had to stay afar off and because of our sin we were afar off from God. But, Romans 5:10 declares that “when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” So child of God you should be grateful and show the Lord gratitude because you are no longer afar off. *Point: Do this with your life and your lips.

II.    Vs. 13               Mercy

They all asked the Lord for the same thing and that was mercy (compassion). The Lord was going to provide compassion to ten men with leprosy, because their lives had been without mercy. The lepers had not received mercy from other people because they had to live in isolation. Most of the community believed that leprosy was a form of Godly punishment, so they would not even attempt to show them any mercy. *Point: You should be glad that the Lord is not like people, because he is full of grace and mercy. Psalm 106:1 “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever.” The Lord never runs out of mercy and his mercy is even available to a person with leprosy. So, we should be grateful that we serve a merciful God. *Even during this current storm the Lord has been merciful to us. Let us show others the same amount of mercy that the Lord has shown us.

III.    Vs. 14-16              Cleansed/Healed

The Lord saw their pain, heard their cry for help, and he spoke healing in their life. How many times has the Lord noticed your situation and spoke a word of healing to you thru his word. He told them to contact a priest and they were healed as they went (obeyed). *Note Leviticus 13. They all obeyed and they all were healed, but only one of them was grateful. *Point: Do you take the Lord for granted and treat him like he owes you something. All ten lepers should have returned to give thanks to the Lord, because without him they were hopeless. A diagnosis of leprosy was like having a death sentence. The priests had the authority to pronounce a person clean or unclean, but only the great physician has the power to heal. These lepers were now free to re-enter society and Christ has provided every believer with spiritual healing to enter heaven. *Point: You should be grateful that your sins have been forgiven and there has been a change in your life, since Jesus entered your heart. Read I Corinthians 6:9-11 and II Corinthians 5:17. These lepers knew that they had been healed, but the Samaritan had an appreciation for the one who had changed his life. Gratitude brings glory to God.

IV.    Vs. 17-19             Faith

The Lord inquired about the other nine former lepers, because only the Samaritan gave God the glory. The Lord healed ten, but he only saved one. The statement “has healed you” can be translated “has saved you”. So many people want the fish, loaves, and healing, but they don’t want Jesus. *Point: So if you know Christ as savior you have millions of reasons to be grateful. Gratitude should be your daily attitude because salvation is more than enough reason to thank the Lord.

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives

Bro. Mack

Devotional

He’s Alive

Scripture:  Luke 24:1-49

I.    Vs 1-3          Empty Tomb
Easter Sunday is the day in which we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus
Christ and thank him for making salvation available to the entire human
race. In our court system the goal is justice and the people require
evidence for justice to prevail. People also require evidence as it relates
to Jesus Christ being alive, because Christians say that he was crucified.
Our text provides four pieces of evidence to prove that Jesus is alive and
every day is Easter to a believer. Evidence number one is that Mary
Magdalene, Mary, and Salome entered an empty tomb. The body of Jesus was not there and the angels told them “why do you seek the living among the dead”. We have found the Rosetta Stone, Lascaux Cave, Venus De Milo, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, but nobody has found the body of Jesus Christ. The reason nobody has been able to produce his dead body is, because he is alive. All of the gospels declare that the tomb was empty and Jesus is alive (Matthew 28, Mark 16, John 20). *Point: If Jesus is not alive, then show me the body. Show me the body and I will stop going to church, preaching his word, praising his name, and giving to the Kingdom. Because I Corinthians 15:17 says “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, you are yet in your
sins.” You can’t show me his body, but I can show you an empty tomb.


II.    Vs. 4-8       His Word
The second piece of evidence is the Word of God, because the text says that
they remembered his word. Jesus told them that he was going to be delivered to sinful men, crucified, and rise the third day. He told them these facts while he was alive and before the events took place. Now it’s the third day and they are searching an empty tomb. We have a record of his word and it’s called the scriptures (Bible). History has a record of every man that ever served as President of the United States and we accept the report that
George Washington was the first. So, God has a record and his report is more valuable than a dollar bill. The record is his word and his son who said “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live”. The Bible is much more than history, but it is his story. The word says that he died for our sins, was buried and rose for our justification. Christ is alive, because the Word says “that Christ died for
our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he
rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” I Corinthians 15:3-4 


III.    Vs. 27-43          The Witnesses
It is much easier to convict a person of a crime when you have DNA and
reliable witnesses to verify the events related to the crime. The Lord has
provided us with DNA (his blood) and several people have testified that he
is alive in our text. The third piece of evidence is these eye witnesses to
the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, let’s start with the women at the
tomb, Cleopas, the disciples, the marks on his body, and he ate with them.
Paul presents even more evidence in I Corinthians 15:5-7 and states that
some of the witnesses were still alive at the time of his writings. Christ
spoke to people and told them that he was alive. Witnesses are very
important in the court of law and the Lord has provided several witnesses to declare that he is alive. They saw him, talked to him, and even ate with
him, because he is alive. These witnesses saw him over a forty day time
period after the resurrection until he ascended to heaven. He is coming
again and I’m coming with him.   


IV.    Vs. 44-49         Changed My Life
The final piece of evidence is that millions of lives have been changed,
because Christ is alive today. The text says that he suffered, and rose on
the third day, so that the gospel could be preached to all nations. I’m a
living witness that he is alive, because I’m not the same. He changed my
life and I’m a new creature in Christ Jesus. I will not give you a list of
the things I did before Christ, because the list is too long. I’m not
perfect, but I’m not the same either, because he lives. Because he lives, my
sins are forgiven, I have a home in heaven, and my life has purpose. So,
thank you Lord for all you have done for me. He is not just alive on Easter,
but he is alive every day.    

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives
Bro. Mack

Devotional

The God Of A Second Chance


Scripture: Isaiah 38:1-6


I.    Vs. 1       (Serve)
Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became the King of Judah and his father Ahaz was not a very good role model. Ahaz was probably the worst King ever to reign in Judah, because he continually did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord. So, Hezekiah removed the high places, cut down groves, and reopened the house of God (Temple). The Bible states that
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, clave to the Lord, and the Lord was with him.
He made a decision to serve the Lord and now he finds himself sick unto
death. It’s one thing for the doctor to pronounce that you will not leave
the hospital alive, but the prophet Isaiah (man of God) told him that “thou
shalt die and not live.” These are two of my favorite words in the Bible,
“but God”. But God was about to give Hezekiah a second chance to serve him.


*Point: Whenever you are tempted to withhold forgiveness from another
person, remember the number of times the Lord gave you a second chance.
Grace: The Lord giving you what you don’t deserve. Mercy: The Lord not
giving you what you do deserve. I don’t know about you, but I need grace and mercy. I need a second chance. 


II.    Vs. 2      (Pray)
Hezekiah did not ask for a second opinion from another doctor, but he cried
out to the great physician. I’m so glad that there is a balm in Gilead to
make the wounded whole. He turned his face to the wall and asked the Lord
for a second chance. Hezekiah understood that Isaiah could not help him, but nothing is too hard for God. There is nothing wrong with calling the pastor for help, but call upon the name of the Lord first and you may not need the pastor. The Lord allowed the sickness and he sent Isaiah to give Hezekiah the test results, but Hezekiah still prayed.

*Point: Never forget that he is still able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. Hezekiah was on his deathbed and life only allowed him one phone call, so he called the Lord. Church during this season of uncertainty call upon the name of Jesus. He is the only one who can help us. Psalm 120:1 “In my distress, I cried unto the Lord and he heard me.” 

III.    Vs. 3         (Praise)
Hezekiah was not bragging, but he was praising the Lord for allowing him to serve such a great God. He wanted the Lord to remember his testimony before he was placed on a bed of affliction. Hezekiah wanted a second chance to walk before the Lord in truth, to do what was right, and to praise the Lord. Hezekiah did not cry, but he wept until the Lord gave him a second chance.

*Point: How much weeping have we done, because of the spiritual condition of our nation. The coronavirus has produced a terrible situation, but our spiritual situation is worse. John 11:35 and Luke 19:41,  “Jesus wept.” He wept when Lazarus died and over the spiritual condition of Jerusalem. We have a reason to weep and we also have a reason to praise him.  

IV.    Vs. 4         (The Word of God)
I spent nine years in the military and during basic training there is
nothing like receiving a letter from a loved one. Well the Lord wrote you a
love letter (Bible) and Jesus paid the postage with his blood. The Lord
heard Hezekiah’s prayer and he gave Isaiah his word. Right now the Lord
maybe giving all of us a second to take his word seriously. The Lord turned
Isaiah around before he was able to completely leave the King’s palace. News flash, he turned him around with his word. Hezekiah was going to get a second chance to hear the word of God.

*Point: How important is the word of God to you? The word of God was important to Hezekiah before he became sick and he wanted a second chance to hear from God. Jesus said that he was the bread of life, so are you hungry? Prayer and the word of God are two ways to spend time with God. 

V.    Vs. 5-6         (Life)
The Lord gave Hezekiah fifteen more years and this was a second chance to
live for the Lord. I’m a living witness of the Lord giving a person a second
chance, because growing up in a urban setting was very  dangerous. I’m so
glad, I made it to the cross. Hezekiah was told that his sickness and the
Assyrians would not kill him. So, give your life to Jesus today and live for
him today. Because only in Christ will you live and never die. 

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives,
Bro. Mack

Devotional

We Need The Lord’s Help

Scripture: II Chronicles 7:12-15
   
I.    Vs. 12       (Sacrifice)
They sacrificed animals in the Old Testament and the Father sacrificed his
son in the New Testament. You are the sacrifice in the church, because
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that
you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which
is your reasonable service.” Some saints are not willing to make any
sacrifices, because they have not decided to become a sacrifice. Israel
spent seven years building the Temple and celebrated (dedicated) the
finished product for fifteen days. They brought silver, gold, oxen and sheep
for an offering to the Lord. The Lord wants to help us, but we must be
willing to make some sacrifices. David said “I will not offer burnt
offerings unto the Lord my God of the which doth cost me nothing.” *Point:
They brought their sacrifices to the Temple and we are currently unable to
enter the Church. We can still make sacrifices by mail, online, and meet the
needs of people in the community. 


II.    Vs. 13-14a      (Humility)
The Lord can withhold rain and send pestilence (plague/disease/death),
locusts, and devour the land. The coronavirus is impacting everybody and
believers need to respond with humility. The church should be the first
people in line to acknowledge that they need the Lord. Pride is our enemy
and hinders the Lord from helping us. I Peter 5:5 “Yea, all of you be
subject one to another, and be clothed with humility for God resisteth the
proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” Everybody wants to be blessed by
God, but everybody does not want to be humble. Christ is our standard and he
was humble. *Point: We need to understand that only the Lord can help us and
we can not save ourselves. 


III.    Vs. 14b         (Prayer)
Our current situation makes it very clear that we need to call upon the name
of the Lord. Nothing wrong with calling upon family and friends for help,
but we need to call upon the Lord first. We all have been guilty of turning
to people who can’t help us. *Point: We find ourselves on Facebook,
snap-chat and the phone telling everybody our business. News flash, they
can’t help us and all we have to do is call on Jesus. The text says that the
Lord shut up heaven and sent the pestilence, so we need to talk to him. So
here are a few tips related to the coronavirus. Wash your hands, practice
social distancing, cover you cough, stay at home and
PRAY-PRAY-PRAY-PRAY—–. *Point: If Jesus prayed, how much more do I need
to pray. I’m praying for you, please pray for me. Read Matthew 6:9-13 which
is the model prayer.


IV.    Vs. 14c         (Obedience)
The entire human race is messed-up, because one man (Adam) disobeyed God.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” Romans 5:19. The text says
that we need to seek the Lord’s face and he wants total obedience. So, often
we treat obeying God like a menu and only choose the things that we want to
obey. This is a horrible spiritual decision that will not result in a
blessing or produce a mature believer. Nike has a very popular slogan “Just
Do It” and this should be our attitude in relation to obeying the Lord. Read
Deuteronomy 28.   


V.    Vs. 14c-15         (Repent)
The requirement for healing and forgiveness in this passage is repentance.
The Lord wants to help us, but we must be willing to repent(change your
mind/turn from sin/surrender to God). Sin causes us to go in the wrong
direction and the results are often deadly. *Point: Nobody gets away with sin
and I mean nobody. You don’t hear much about sin anymore and our society
does not take God serious. The Lord does love us, but he has always hated
sin.  Read Psalm 51 and see how David dealt with his sin.

I hope this was a blessing to you.

Because He Lives,
Bro. Mack