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No Fear

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 56:3,10-11 (NKJV)

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.

In God (I will praise His word), In the Lord (I will praise His word),

In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?

You see this statement on t-shirts today, "No Fear." It's a macho thing to do. But what do they base this bravery on? Typically it is the teenager who feels he is immortal, that nothing will happen to him. Yet the fear of death grips everyone at some point, and for good reason. Death is not just annihilation, you will be somewhere for eternity. The bible talks about heaven and hell. No one talked more about hell than Jesus.

For the believer in Christ, death has no sting. The bible says that to be absent from the body (death) is to be present with the Lord. Only the Christian can say "No Fear." Truly what can man do to me?

Matthew 10:28 (NKJV)

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

The Purpose of Miracles

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 16:20 (NKJV)

And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.

This is the last verse of the gospel of Mark and speaks of the many miracles that the apostles performed. They were able to miraculously heal, speak other languages, raise the dead. It seems that these abilities would be useful today. But this verse explains why God allowed them to do such things. The miracles were called signs which confirmed or authenticated the word they were preaching. Where is that word today? It is in our Bible, both old and new testaments. Now that God's word is complete, it no longer needs authentication. The word itself stands as its own testimony. Of course what is the greatest miracle of all? It is the miracle of the new birth--that we can become children of God.

Hebrews 2:3-4 (NIV)

How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Shocked into obedience

Posted by: David Carroll

Numbers 15:32-36 (NKJV)

Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him.

Then the Lord said to Moses, "The man must surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp." So, as the Lord commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.

Stoning to death someone who broke the law to keep the Sabbath day holy? As I read this I felt uneasiness in my stomach about my own sin and disobedience. I thank God we are no longer under law but under grace. But still, the message comes across loud and clear. God will not tolerate willful disobedience of his word. It makes me realize the magnitude of God's holiness and the depth to which Jesus went to pay the penalty for my sins and the sins of the whole world. Lord, let me fear you, let me be wholly devoted to you and surrendered to you.

Romans 6:14 (NKJV)

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

What should you fear? What can you trust in?

Posted by: David Carroll

Numbers 14:20-24 (NIV)

The Lord replied, "I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times--not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their forefathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it. But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

Of the twelve spies who went to spy out the land God had promised, ten were doubtful that the Israelites could ever take it, but Joshua and Caleb were confident, only because they knew the promise and the power of their God. It is reasonable to trust in the Almighty One and He is trustworthy because of his promises.

I want to be like Caleb, with a different spirit, who follows God wholeheartedly.

We would have fled too

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 14:27 (NKJV)

Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.'

Mark 14:31 (NKJV)

But he spoke more vehemently, "If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they all said likewise.

Mark 14:50 (NKJV)

Then they all forsook Him and fled.

Jesus predicted that his disciples would abandon Him when He was taken away to be crucified. Peter boasted that he would not and the others agreed. Then we see that indeed all of them left Jesus just as he had said they would.

All of them left but Jesus did not. Jesus was willing to lay down His life for them. Aren't you glad that Jesus did not shirk his commitment to the Father. He had prayed that "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will but thine be done." We are weak, but He is strong. We have such little faith but He is faithful and true.

The "cup" Jesus was anguished about was not the physical suffering, but the contemplation of being forsaken by His Father. Since He became our sin for us, the Father is of holier eyes than to look upon sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

What does God desire of us?

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 51:16-17 (NKJV)

For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart--These, O God, You will not despise.

I've been reading through all the Levitical Laws detailing very specific instructions on how the Israelites were to bring their sacrificial offerings. These were peculiar and very bloody. It is not until we see Jesus on the cross that be begin to understand the incredible extent to which God went to make it possible for us to dwell with Him.

In these verses, we see what it is that God wants: a deep heartfelt brokenness over our sin and genuine repentance. He wants our devotion to Him, our surrender in obedience. He wants us to love mercy, to desire to know him and please him.

After a person comes to God through Christ, there is no longer the need for external ceremonies and rituals which act as roadmaps and disciplinarians. The sacrificial laws were an imperfect picture of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

1 Samuel 15:22 (NKJV)

So Samuel said: "Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Hosea 6:6 (NKJV)

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Only One Way

Posted by: David Carroll

Numbers 9:13-14 (NKJV)

But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of the Lord at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.

'And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep the Lord 's Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.' "

I am fascinated by two ideas in these obscure verses deep in the middle of all the "boring" Levitical laws that no one ever preaches on or reads. First of all, remember that the Passover is an Old Testament picture of the coming sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, notice that if someone failed to keep the Passover ordinances that he will be cut off from his people and he will have to bear his own sin. Going to the real meaning, we see that if someone were to reject Jesus and what he did for us, that he would be "cut" off from among God's people. That is to say, he would spend eternity cut off from God's presence which is hell. Moreover, he would have to bear his own sin instead of choosing to accept Jesus' offer of bearing his sin for him.

Now in the second verse, notice that even a stranger must obey the ordinance in exactly the same way as the people of God. Every one must come to God the same way, through the sacrificial blood atonement of Jesus Christ.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

How to resolve any biblical paradox

Posted by: David Carroll

Matthew 22:29 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God."

Anytime you are wondering what to believe in, go to the Bible. What ever it says, believe it.

Anytime you are concerned because you can't figure out how God could have done something, be it a miracle or whatever, you are expressing doubt in His awesome power.

Once you get these two principles right, you can go as deep as you want to in any subject and you never have to fear because you can take comfort that what you don't understand, God does and is able to do all things.

Mark 10:27 (NKJV)

But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."

The impact of words

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 12:17 (NKJV)

And Jesus answered and said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at Him.

Have you ever known someone who always seemed to know the right things to say? No matter the situation, be it difficult or awkward or even pleasant, they seem to have an easy time with words.

Jesus was sparring with the Pharisees who were always trying to trip Him up. But they were always frustrated by his brilliant and penetrating replies.

I am praying that God will give me the mind of Christ, so that I might be able to always impart words of grace to those I speak with.

Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Jesus, God the Son

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 45:6-7 (NKJV)

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

When I first started reading this psalm, I was unsure whether the king spoken of was an earthly king or not. Then I got to these verses. No doubt about it, this speaks of the Messiah King who is God and yet is anointed by God with the oil of gladness. There is only one who is both God and a man who worships God and that is Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.

Note that He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. May that be true of me.

Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

God will not be cursed

Posted by: David Carroll

Leviticus 24:13-16 (NKJV)

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him.

"Then you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.

Reading through Leviticus has been sobering for me. Of course, I have to keep in mind that God is using his relationship with the Israelites (his special people), as a teaching aid to all of us to demonstrate the seriousness of our sin problem and the absolute holiness of God. The seriousness of the sin can be measured by the penalty God demanded.

What does it mean to curse God. Certainly we have seen the outright mocking and derision some hold for any kind of idea of God. But how far does this go? The Jews to this day won't even mention God's name in spoken word or even in print. I have noticed how rabbis will write "G-d" to avoid even spelling his name out of consideration of this very passage of Leviticus.

I remember after I got saved, my language changed quite a bit. When I would hear others use God's name in a curse I would wince and still do till this day.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

Doubt Mixed With Faith

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 9:23-24 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

This man said that he believed but then immediately asks the Lord for help with is unbelief. Which is it? In this case, he wants to believe, that is to have faith, but he recognizes that his faith is not perfect that that there are still lingering doubts. So this unbelief is not a refusal to believe but rather recognition of weakness. So he asks for help with his fledging belief. This is a wonderful example of how we should be: willing to believe, willing to trust, but conscience of weakness and totally dependent on the Lord for help.

This is an incredible thought, that the power of God in which "all things are possible" is waiting only on our belief before acting. Lord I believe, help my unbelief!

God's Welfare System

Posted by: David Carroll

Leviticus 19:9-10 (NKJV)

'When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the Lord your God.

Our governmental welfare system is broken. It discourages those who are on it from getting married, it encourages them to have even more illegitimate children, and it discourages them from finding work.

Notice God's welfare system above. The poor have the right to glean in the fields around the edges and corners, and they are allowed to follow behind the harvesters to pick up what ever may have been dropped. Not only are the poor allowed to do this, but the landowners are commanded to leave these behind for this specific purpose. However, the poor must work for their sustenance; it is not handed over to them.

Our welfare system is a modern invention. Perhaps we should rethink the whole thing.

1 Timothy 6:18 (NKJV)

Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,

1 John 3:17 (NKJV)

But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

Call it what it is

Posted by: David Carroll

Leviticus 18:22 (NKJV)

You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

The Bible is very clear, homosexuality is a sin detestable to God. There are churches that condone this behavior today. The only way these churches can do this is to say that the Bible is not the word of God. I wonder what these churches base their hope in?

This sin is grouped with all sorts of other sins and is just one of many. Never think that because a Christian says homosexuality is sin that he is overlooking other sins. No, they are also sins, but no one is trying to parade them out as an alternative, and even wholesome and good lifestyle. That is the problem with homosexuality--calling evil good.

Romans 1:27 (NKJV)

Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

Do you really know yourself?

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 7:14-16 (NKJV)

When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"

I heard my pastor say that if you want to see what a person is made of, just jostle them up and see what spills out. We put on our best faces for the world to see but so often it is all just a front. We think we might be doing something quite admirable but have we ever examined the true motivations that lie behind.

Jesus said "apart from me you can do nothing." If we desire please God, we need Jesus to do it through us. It is only by dying to sin and self and allowing Jesus to live in us that this is possible.

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Need a Miracle? Pray

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 6:46 (NKJV)

And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.

In this chapter, Jesus had just finished feeding the 5,000 with only two fishes and five loaves of bread. And He was about to walk out on the water to the disciples who were struggling with their boat in a storm. But Mark records that Jesus departed to the mountain to pray. Crowds had pressed in on Him all day, but He wanted to be alone with His Father in prayer. From the text we can know that he spent about ten hours in prayer on that mountain before going out to his disciples on the lake at about 3:00 AM.

Jesus was doing incredible miracles, demonstrating his power, but more importantly, demonstrating who He is. But in His humanity, he needed that connection with His Father. Not in short popcorn prayers but in long extended prayer, at night and on the mountain alone. If Jesus needed such time of prayer, how much more should we, if we need a miracle, spend concerted time in prayer alone with our Father in Heaven.

Matthew 6:6 (NKJV)

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

The power of unbelief

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 6:4-6 (NKJV)

But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house." Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.

Only when the gospel is heard and believed does it have power to change lives. Jesus hometown acquaintances were intrigued with his wisdom and teaching but they were unable to believe his words. It was not that Jesus tried to heal and found that He could not do it. It is that God will only act in response to faith. That is why Jesus said that if we have faith as small as a mustard seed we would be able to move mountains. That would not be our power but God's power made willing by our faith.

Jesus was amazed at their unbelief. His hometown friends were too familiar with "good ole Jesus" to recognize Him for who He was. The bible says that familiarity breeds contempt. Perhaps we should check our own level of awe and reverence for the things of God.

Hebrews 11:6 (NKJV)

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Peculiar Practices

Posted by: David Carroll

Leviticus 11:44 (NKJV)

For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

God gives the Israelites instructions regarding what is clean and unclean. Animals with split hooves and who chew the cud are clean while others are not. It seems so strange. While we can see obvious health benefits for some of these laws, others have no rational basis.

In the above verse God tells us what is going on. To be holy means to be set apart. Certainly obedience to such detailed ceremonial practices would set God's people apart. God's people are to live differently from everyone else.

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

How Little We Know

Posted by: David Carroll

Mark 4:26-29 (NKJV)

And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

A farmer knows how to grow and harvest a crop. But does he really know what is happening? The above verse says that our crops of fruit and vegetables come from the earth. Basically a seed has the ability to build a wonderfully sweet, succulent cantaloupe out of ... well, dirt and water basically. And it attaches itself to a solar energy source as well. It was not until recent times that man has begun to understand the workings of DNA and the marvels of life. However understanding how a thing works is not the same as understanding how it came to be.

Why does the seed produce a live plant? Because the seed contains life itself. In the same way, the word of God which is sown in men's hearts produces life. All that is required is fertile ground which is prepared to receive the seed.

The Perfect Sacrifice

Posted by: David Carroll

Leviticus 7:37-38 (NKJV)

This is the law of the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the trespass offering, the consecrations, and the sacrifice of the peace offering, which the Lord commanded Moses on Mount Sinai, on the day when He commanded the children of Israel to offer their offerings to the Lord in the Wilderness of Sinai.

These verses summarize the seven preceding chapters of the details God had given to Moses regarding the ordinances of sacrifice. By the length of the passage and by the minute details we know that this must be very important to God.

The laws concerning the sacrifices of the Old Testament all paint a picture of the perfect sacrifice of God the Son, Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 9:12-14 (NKJV)

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Delight in the Lord

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJV)

Delight yourself also in the Lord , And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord , Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.

You can have your desires! This is a wonderful promise. When I delight myself in the Lord, then I find my desires line up with His desires. Notice the verbs in these verses that relate to us: delight, commit, trust. I find great pleasure in considering the things of God. When this is true, I find it easier to surrender myself to Him. Now notice the verbs that relate to God: shall give and shall bring. This is strong wording and expresses the certainty of this promise.

Our Sin Nature, God's Provision

Posted by: David Carroll

Leviticus 4:27-31 (NKJV)

'If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering. Then the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and pour all the remaining blood at the base of the altar. He shall remove all its fat, as fat is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offering; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet aroma to the Lord . So the priest shall make atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.

This passage talks about an unintentional sin for which we are still culpable. To our natural minds this seems unfair. We did something wrong and didn't know it? In God's economy, we still must be redeemed and forgiven of this guilt. Willful disobedience will never be forgiven. But this speaks of our sin nature. Once we become aware of it, we must carefully take the steps prescribed by God to atone for it.

The Bible speaks of a very bloody religion. Such a requirement by God seems horrific. God wants us to understand his absolute holiness, our absolute lack of holiness, and the unfathomably costly sacrifice He has made to allow us to bridge the gap.

The Bible tells us that the rituals of the Old Testament were mere "shadows" of the real to come. The animal had to be without blemish, just as Jesus was perfect. The animal was a substitute, just as Jesus is our substitute. Each sin was placed on the animal identifying it with the sin, just as Jesus identified with us and our sins taking them on himself. The animal had to die giving its life to the offerer, so Jesus had to die giving us access to His life.

Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV)

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

New Devotional

Posted by: David Carroll

I love you Lord...

John 3:16 [NKJV]

For God so loved the world

... because you first loved me.

Waiting on the Lord

Posted by: David Carroll

Exodus 40:36-38 (NKJV)

Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, the children of Israel would go onward in all their journeys. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not journey till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

The Israelites enjoyed the company of the Lord in their camp as the Lord tabernacled with them. They could see Him as a pillar of cloud by day and as a pillar of fire by night above the tabernacle. They certainly would not up and pack up the tabernacle while the Lord was stationed there for fear of defiling the holiness of that place. But when the Lord moved, they felt the freedom to move too.

We should be like that. If you are a Christian your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Lord is residing in you. Wait on Him. Don't move until he moves.

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV)

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?