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The Real Deal

Posted by: David Carroll

1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV)

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

When you look at someone and hear them speak a few words, you really don't know much about them. To really know someone, it takes time to get to know their heart.

Pastor once said, if you really want to get to know what is inside a person, just jostle them up a bit and see what spills out. Don't be fooled by the fa??ade, people put up a good front. Someone else said character is what you are when no one is looking.

You can fool yourself but you can't fool God

Posted by: David Carroll

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.

King Saul had been given instructions from God through Samuel to wipe out the Amalekites and all of their livestock too. Saul decided to keep the cattle and sheep. He figured that it would be such a waste to destroy them all. After all, he could use them to make sacrifices to God. Seems like a pretty good rationalization. But it was a direct disobedience of God's command.

God instituted the sacrificial system to teach us about the ultimate sacrifice that He would provide through Jesus Christ. Sacrifice must cost something. Saul's planned sacrifice was not a sacrifice at all, he was attempting to gain material value through deception.

We are all pretty good at this type of rationalization, calling wrong things good things to get what we want. The problem is, we don't even see it for what it is.

Proverbs 15:8-9 (NKJV)

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.

The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves him who follows righteousness.

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.

How to know the will of God

Posted by: David Carroll

John 7:17 (NKJV)

If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.

Do you want to know the will of God? First of all, realize it only comes by revelation, specifically, in God's word. Secondly, realize that it is not until you are obedient to His word that it becomes self-evident as being truly His word. The verse above says: "Do His will, and you shall know about the doctrine." God will not reveal his truth until you are ready to respond to it. And when you respond to it, He will begin to reveal more truth.

Sin, against who?

Posted by: David Carroll

1 Samuel 12:23 (NKJV)

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.

Notice that it is not a sin against the one whom I failed to pray for, rather it is a sin against the LORD. That is the way all sin is. It is God who is offended by our sin.

Notice the consequences too, in ceasing to pray for others, the implication is that the intercession will stop and I (the praying person) will not teach the other person the "good and right way." Who does the prayer change first? The one praying. How is he changed? He helps others, then they are changed. This is how the will of God works in prayer. It changes me first and then I change others.

Psalm 51:4a (NKJV)

Against You, You only, have I sinned

Speak a little softer so I can hear you

Posted by: David Carroll

Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)

A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

Proverbs is a book of wisdom not a book of rules. This one, however, I need to make a rule in my life. This verse does not say that you must give an answer that will let someone off the hook, rather, it describes the manner in which the answer is given, soft.

You understand that a word given harshly only authorizes the other party to react to the manner in which it was given and not to the truth of the word that was spoken. The Bible says to speak the truth in love.

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.

When work is not work at all

Posted by: David Carroll

John 6:28-29 (NKJV)

Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?"

Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."

Man always wants to do some sort of work to earn his way. It's just his human nature to think this way. These men had the chance to ask Jesus directly about this issue. Jesus made two points: 1) it is not your work it is God's work, 2) even your part is not even a work at all but rather belief. How hard is that? It turns out that for some it is easy and for others it is very hard because of their stubbornness.

Matthew 11:30 (NKJV)

For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

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.

You are eternal, like it or not

Posted by: David Carroll

John 5:28-29 (NKJV)

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

I heard my pastor say one time, people who don't believe in God think they can just crawl in the grave and pull the dirt over their eyes and cease to exist. You can't escape that way. There is coming a day of judgment. When the Bible speaks of being saved, the idea should come in you mind: "saved from what?" God's judgment is what you can be saved from. Everyone is guilty of sin and is deserving of the punishment that God's justice requires. He offers a way out, but that offer must be believed and received.

Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment

John 5:24 (NKJV)

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

I have some additional thoughts about the idea of eternal existence. In the information sciences, there is a principle that there is a difference between the information and the medium the information is carried on. The medium of the information might be ink and paper or a CD-ROM or even smoke signals in the sky. The medium has mass, or energy as in a radio signal. Anything that has mass or energy must exist in time. The actual information however has no mass. Weigh a blank CD-ROM precisely. Now put a lot of information on it like some music. Weigh it again and there is no difference in the weight. The information has no mass but it is real. Anything that has no mass is timeless; it exists outside of our space-time domain. Your body has mass but the way your body is made is entirely specified in the genes of your DNA. Your body is the hardware but your gene arrangement is software. The specific arrangement of the genes in your DNA is the information that defines you. That information is timeless or shall I say--eternal. You are an eternal being whether you like it or not. You will exist somewhere for eternity!

Sick of Sin

Posted by: David Carroll

John 5:12-15 (NKJV)

Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."

The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well.

Jesus healed the lame man and left the scene. Later Jesus came to find the man and then told him to stop sinning or a worse thing might happen to him. I love the way Jesus sought this man out to give him the real message. What does it mean to sin no more? This is repentance which is a change of mind and heart about sin. Repentance is turning away from sin and self and turning toward Jesus Christ. After Jesus said this to the man, notice that the man immediately went to tell others about Jesus.

What is the "worse thing" that could have happened to the man? It could be that there is connection between sickness and sin. There are scriptures that would lend support to this idea. Certainly this is a sin cursed world we live in and the perfection of paradise is ruined because of man's sin. However, if this man had not repented of his sin, he would have come under judgment. So too will you and I if we have not repented of our sins.

The Kinsman Redeemer

Posted by: David Carroll

Ruth 2:19-20 (NKJV)

And her mother-in-law said to her, "Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you."

So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, "The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz."

Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, "Blessed be he of the Lord , who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!" And Naomi said to her, "This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives."

The little book of Ruth is a beautiful love story about a young gentile widow who moves away from her country to Israel with her mother-in-law. She cares for her mother-in-law by gleaning the leftovers in the barley fields during the harvest with the rest of the poor people. She meets Boaz, the wealthy land owner who has his eye on her. It turns out that Boaz is a relative of her dead husband and according the law, he then pays off all of her husband's debts and marries Ruth. They become the great-great grand parents of King David.

That is a touching story in itself but it is also a marvelous picture of God's salvation. Ruth represents the church; Boaz is a type of Christ. In the beginning of the story Ruth is a poor stranger to the community who does not know Boaz even exists. She is introduced to him through his kindness to her. Ruth submits herself to Boaz and invites him to be her kinsman redeemer. He gladly pays the price for her to be redeemed. After her marriage to him, she becomes a full member of the community and has every thing Boaz has!

Living Water

Posted by: David Carroll

John 4:13-14 (NKJV)

Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

I have found that I really don't like the taste of water if I am not thirsty; I'll drink soft drinks or tea but not much water. One thing I have noticed however, when I am really thirsty, nothing satisfies like a cool drink of water. We need water to live. You can go for many days and even months without eating, but you can go for only a matter of a few days without water.

Jesus is obviously not talking about physical water but is speaking by analogy to some sort of spiritual satisfaction. The world is looking for satisfaction but what they find never seems to last or really satisfy. They search in the wrong places. If they only knew how desperately thirsty they were and how much Jesus could satisfy their deepest need for a fulfilled life. People need Jesus.

Psalm 34:8 (NKJV)

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

To God be the glory

Posted by: David Carroll

John 3:30 (NKJV)

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John the Baptist had it right. He knew that he was just the messenger and that Jesus was the Message. John the Baptist's disciples were thinking that Jesus was cutting in on their territory and taking followers away from John. For John the Baptist, there was no sense of rivalry; he had a pure sense of humility.

I know that there is a temptation that leaders of the church face today. Success and talents can puff up with pride. So this verse applies to every work done for the Kingdom. Apart from the enablement and work of the Holy Spirit of God all such work would be futile. All is done for Him, by Him, and through Him for God's glory and not our own.

John 15:5 (NKJV)

"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

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.

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.

His Name is Wonderful

Posted by: David Carroll

Judges 13:17-20 (NKJV)

Then Manoah said to the Angel of the Lord , "What is Your name, that when Your words come to pass we may honor You?"

And the Angel of the Lord said to him, "Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?"

So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering, and offered it upon the rock to the Lord. And He did a wondrous thing while Manoah and his wife looked on--it happened as the flame went up toward heaven from the altar--the Angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar! When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground.

Manoah was visited by the Angel of the Lord announcing the birth of Sampson. When the Old Testament speaks of the "Angel of the Lord" it is referring to a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. The first clue here in this verse is that the Angel would not give His name seeing that it was beyond human ability to hear or understand. The final proof that this is the Lord Himself is the fact that the Angel of the Lord received the sacrifice and worship of Manoah and his wife. No mere angel would accept such worship.

Jesus is called Wonderful because he indeed deserves our astonishment and rapt attention.

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Born of God

Posted by: David Carroll

John 1:12-13 (NKJV)

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Being born again is a confusing idea for many people. John makes it clear here that we are not talking about a natural birth but a supernatural one. This verse speaks of receiving Jesus. To receive something means that something has been offered; in this case it is Jesus Himself who is offered. The receiving is the same thing as believing in His name. His name is His authority which gives you a right or a power to become a child of God. A child has special privileges: he can ask for things from his father, he can expect his father's provision and protection, most of all his love. Of course a child can also expect to be disciplined from time to time as part of his upbringing.

So even though we are not talking about a natural birth here, which seems to strain the comparison, everything else about being a child is a beautiful and wonderful picture of what it truly means to be a child of God.

The Right Way

Posted by: David Carroll

Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)

There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

There are a lot of different religions in the world today. Can they all be right? Of course not; truth by definition is exclusive. Why do these cults and other "isms" continue to grow? Religion is all about man and what he has invented for himself. Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship. No other religion has a savior. In no other religion does God provide a way for a man to be saved without any merit (good works) on his part.

Don't fall for the "feel good" "I'm OK, you're OK" trap. All ways do not lead to God, even the ones that "seem right." There is only one way that leads to eternal life and all others lead to eternal death.

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He is Risen!

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 24:1-7 (NKJV)

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.' "

When Jesus rose from the dead, He proved that He is the Son of God just as He said. The leaders who were opposed to Jesus knew that he had prophesied his resurrection on the third day. They figured in their minds that Jesus' disciples would try to steal His body and then claim he had risen from the dead. Knowing this, they posted guards at Jesus' tomb for the express purpose of preventing this. All that it would take to prove that there was no resurrection would be to produce Jesus' body. They could not do that, because He is alive!

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.

Putting out the fleece

Posted by: David Carroll

Judges 6:36-40 (NLT)

Then Gideon said to God, "If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put some wool on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised." And it happened just that way. When Gideon got up the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.

Then Gideon said to God, "Please don't be angry with me, but let me make one more request. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew." So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

Christians have used this story about the fleece as a method of determining the will of God. They will say something like "God, I want to do X, if you want me to do X, then I will take it as a sign of your approval if you will cause it to stop raining tonight." This is a dangerous misunderstanding of this text. Certainly Gideon lacked faith and it is wonderful that God was gracious enough to condescend to Gideon's weakness. However, this request of Gideon's was not for guidance.

God had already told Gideon that he was to rescue Israel. Gideon was asking for reassurance that God would give him victory. In other words, Gideon was saying, "God, what you have asked me to do is going to take a really big miracle, please give me some assurance by first doing a small miracle as a sign?"

So how do you know the will of God? The model this text presents is this: God's will for you has already been revealed by His Word which in our case is the Bible. God can and I'm sure does answer such prayers for assurance today. One point however, Gideon's request was for God to do something that could only be explained as a supernatural miracle and not as just a natural coincidence.

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 Ultimate Intercessor

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)

And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

Like he did with Job, Satan accuses Peter and the disciples by saying that if God will allow him to test them with trials and difficulties that they will fall away. God allows it and Jesus says something marvelous, "I have prayed for you" and then He prophesies that they will (when not if) return and strengthen the others.

Jesus always draws his own back to Himself; he will not let them fail. I have noticed that before I came to trust in the Lord, I would flounder in sin for a long time. Now, I feel the tug of my Lord drawing me back even after a short while. The reason we don't fail the test and fall away is not because of our willpower, but because Jesus intercedes for us.

Jesus died for the world but Jesus prays for his own.

Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV)

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Love and Discipline

Posted by: David Carroll

Proverbs 13:24 (NKJV)

He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

There was a study done once on the results of raising children in different types of environments. In homes where there was great freedom (low discipline) and little affection (low love), the children tended to grow up with many problems in life. In strict homes without much love, things were better but still there were some problems. For the opposite home in which there was much love but also very little discipline, things were better still but there were still problems. In a disciplined environment balanced with great love, the children turned out best. That is what this verse teaches.

I went through obedience training with my dog a number of years ago and the results are that my dog is very obedient to me and yet absolutely loves me and is anxious to please me. We learned that obedience was not obedience unless it was obeyed instantly. We learned that good behavior was enforced with pleasure and bad behavior was discouraged with the consequence of pain. These principles work for humans too. I have said many times that I wished I had gone through this obedience training with my dog prior to raising children because I believe I would have done a better job. The good news is in the following verse:

1 Peter 4:8 (NKJV)

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NKJV)

My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord , Nor detest His correction;

For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.

A Fatal Disease

Posted by: David Carroll

Psalm 89:48 (NKJV)

What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave? Selah

We all have a terminal illness. Death is common to all men. I don't know when it will happen but it could be today. When the Sunday School teacher asked who all wanted to go to heaven, a little boy did not raise his hand. When asked why, he said that he thought they were getting up a group to go right now. I agree with him; death is not something we look forward to easily. The Bible calls death an enemy which will one day be defeated and "swallowed up in victory." However, as much as we are clinging to this world, we can know for certain where we will spend eternity. Do you know where you will spend eternity?

John 5:24 (NKJV)

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

Dead or Alive

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 20:37-38 (NKJV)

But even Moses showed in the burning bush passage that the dead are raised, when he called the Lord 'the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him."

Jesus was talking to the Sadducees who did not believe in the resurrection of the dead because they could not find it in the Law of Moses. The interesting thing about the resurrection is that not only will they be resurrected who will spend eternity with God in Heaven but also those who will spend eternity apart from God because of their choice to reject Him. Some people may think that they can just crawl into the grave and pull the dirt up over them to escape this world. No, we are eternal beings whether you want to be or not! You will spend somewhere in eternity. Do you know where you will be?

John 5:28-29 (NKJV)

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth-- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

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.

Recognize the signs of the times

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 19:42-44 (NKJV)

"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."

Jesus had just made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and you would think he would have been pleased, after all the people were praising Him. But Jesus was lamenting over what he could see would happen in a few years. Jerusalem was leveled by the Romans under Titus in 70 AD. Jesus said to Jersualem, "You did not know the time of your visitation." How sad, He had come for them as the Messiah yet they did not recognize Him as such. Daniel's 70 week prophecy in chapter nine, clearly delineated the exact time that the Messiah would be "cut off." They should have been able to calculate the time.

Today, we see signs of the end times. We can't calculate the time of His return but we can know that "when you see these things" the time is near. Jesus wept that Jerusalem was not ready for him. Are you ready for Him?

The cost approach to value

Posted by: David Carroll

Proverbs 13:11 (NIV)

Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.

When asked "What is the greatest power you ever witnessed?" Albert Einstein answered, "compound interest!" The secret to compound interest is that you have to spend less than you earn. The Bible says that money gained by dishonest means will dwindle away. And why is that? Because the value of a thing is measured by the cost or the effort of obtaining it. Working hard for the money earned makes you appreciate it and encourages you to keep it.

We say that salvation is a free gift. And from the above argument you might think it has little value. Yes, it is offered freely to us but that does not mean it did not cost. It cost God the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. And that makes salvation the most valuable thing we could ever possess.

Defend or Learn

Posted by: David Carroll

Proverbs 13:10 (NIV)

Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

It is part of all of us. Pride, it makes defensive and argumentative when others question and advise us on our ideas and actions. They may be wrong but they may be right, even if only partially. At the very least there is value in understanding the different perspective. The bible tells us to be wise, and take such advice as a time to learn something.

I need to heed this myself!

Keep it simple

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 18:17 (NKJV)

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."

The gospel of Jesus Christ is not complicated. As a matter of fact, if we make it complicated, we cause people to stumble. A child is simple and humble and without fear. That is the way God wants us to approach him with no ideas of merit or status. A child is full of eagerness and expectancy and how that is demonstrated when a person truly gives their whole heart to Jesus Christ.

Here it is, the simple gospel: The Bible says we are all sinful and cannot be with God because He is too holy to allow sin in heaven. But the Bible says that Christ died in our place to take away our sins. He came back to life on the third day just as he said he would. He offers forgiveness of sins as a gift to us that he has paid for by his death on the cross. To be saved from our sin and the consequences, we simply accept his gift to us by believing. Then we begin to let him tell us what to do as we thankfully obey him.

Where is the Kingdom of God?

Posted by: David Carroll

Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV)

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you."

The Jews were expecting a messiah who would restore their great kingdom, an earthly reign. Jesus makes it clear here that the kingdom of God is a relationship. We learn in school that a kingdom has boundaries geographically. But a kingdom also has a King and his subjects. When a person makes Jesus Lord, he is granting Jesus authority to rule and reign in his life. That is a kingdom relationship.