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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

Category

Bible

Just a Thought

If we are patient to do God’s will, He will take our weakness and give us His strength


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.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Judas Betrays Jesus

by Robert Brock

Judas Betrays Jesus

Mark 14:43-52

“And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely,” Mark 14:44.

In William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, Caesar’s close friend, Marcus Brutus, helped the Roman senate stab the dictator to death. Caesar looked Brutus in the eyes and said, “Et tu, Brute” (you too Brutus?). Jesus looked Judas in the eyes and said, “Friend, wherefore art thou come?” (Matthew 26:50).

Judas went on all the mission trips; he was trusted as finance officer of the first church and carried the purse. None of the other apostles doubted Judas’ integrity or loyalty. When he left the last Passover meal, the eleven thought he went to give alms to the poor. Actually, he went to betray Jesus to the Pharisees for the price of a servant.

In John 10:9 Jesus said, “I am the door.” Judas kissed the door to Heaven and went to hell. How close to salvation can one get and still miss the mark? “Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12). In Matthew 13, Jesus taught that Satan would plant tares among the wheat. Tares are weeds that look like real wheat but are empty. Peter said in Acts 1 that Judas had taken his own life.

THOUGHT: We must make sure we do not sell out Jesus 
for much less than Judas did—a TV show, a few extra hours of extra sleep—while our pew remains empty.

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Just a Thought

God doesn’t give us a blank check for superhuman strength to do whatever WE want, but He will always provide what we need to do what HE wants.


Philippians 4:13 

 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Pilate Resorts to a Custom

by Robert Brock

Pilate Resorts to a Custom

Matthew 27:21-26

“Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified,” Matthew 27:22.

Pilate was not in charge. God had allowed the Pharisees to back him into a corner and force his hand. After Lazarus’ resurrection, the Jewish leaders met. “If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation” (John 11:48). Pilate proclaimed Jesus innocent several times and asked the Jews whether or not they wanted him to release their king. The Jews sprung their trap; He says He is king. If you release Him, you are no friend of Caesar’s.

In spite of the Jews’ vindictive plan, Pilate proclaimed under Roman law that Jesus of Nazareth was the King of the Jews and had that statement nailed to His cross. Pilate had asked Jesus whether He really was the King of the Jews, and Jesus had responded “To this end was I born” (John 18:37). The Pharisees pleaded for the release of a thief named Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus.

Even though Jesus was promised in Genesis 49:10, the Jewish religious leaders willingly gave him up to be crucified. The Jews wanted to protect their plush positions granted them by Caesar to rule the people and keep down riots.

The Pharisees paid the soldiers to spread a rumor that Jesus’ disci-ples carried away His body and hid it. Jesus raised many believers and sent them to town wrapped in grave clothes, implying to the religious leaders: “What are you going to do about this?”

THOUGHT: God springs His trap on His enemy in His own time.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Peter’s Empty Boast

by Robert Brock

Peter’s Empty Boast

Matthew 26:33-35

“Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples,” Matthew 26:33-35.

Two thousand years later on the other side of the cross, we see Peter’s brag as empty. However, when it was proclaimed, it was sincere to Peter. This was a public proclamation of Peter’s faith in the Lord, even though he did not understand the vanity in his boast. Noteworthy, all the other apostles swore they too would die for him, when in all actuality, Jesus would die for them. The entire passage has a prophetic ring. The Good Shepherd would die for His sheep, and they would scatter. However, after the crucifixion and all His resurrection appearances, they actually did die for Him. By that time, their testi-mony was sincere. The death of the saints has always been the seed of the churches. When one was martyred, a thousand stepped up and laid their lives on the line. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.…Nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35-39).

THOUGHT: They were disciples indeed. How sincere is our faith?

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Just a Thought

Brothers and Sisters, we are NOT required to roll over in the face of the wolves.


Jude 3 

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The Impulsive Action of Peter

by Robert Brock

The Impulsive Action of Peter

John 18:10, 11

“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant‘s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:10, 11.

“Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). “Then said he unto them, But now…he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough” (Luke 22:36, 38). “And he [Peter] said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death” (Luke 22:33). Peter was definitely confused since Jesus had told them to carry a sword. In all this confusion, Satan was able to persuade him to deny Jesus three times.

We must not be too judgmental toward Peter’s expectations of a king. In Matthew 19, Jesus had promised them a throne as princes when He set up His kingdom. Coming down to the crucifixion, He was telling them He was going to let the Jewish leaders kill Him. Peter had given up three years of his life following Jesus, expecting to set Him on the throne. One can become so fearful of making wrong decisions that he becomes nonfunctional, not wanting to make a mistake and offend God.

THOUGHT: Often we have to go through many experiences with God before we can learn to just do what He says, even if we do not understand. We might end up like Paul, battered and bruised, but a little closer to learning how to live by faith.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The Way We Should Always Pray

by Robert Brock

The Way We Should Always Pray

Matthew 6:5-13

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” Matthew 6:9, 10.

In Jesus’ instructions in the Sermon on the Mount, one sees two sets of instructions regarding prayer. The first is private prayer. “But thou when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). “Thou” is singular. Often, there are things we are thankful for that are private, not for public information. “Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do” (verse 7), Jesus qualified this; it is not some older, nervous man using Lord over and over; it’s heathen repetitions, meaning mantras. The Muslims must say Allah’s name hundreds of times a day in memorized prayers. Catholics say the entire Rosary, asking Mary to be their mediator thirty times. The heathen mantras, repeating their god’s name over and over to the point of exhaustion, is basically an unknown tongue used for self-hypnotism, praying to a dead idol that could do nothing for them. Jesus teaches, do not do that. God is looking for a broken heart and contrite spirit, not a bunch of gibberish. Some modern Christian music comes close to resembling mantras.

Prayer helps us realize we are helpless without His care and provision. When Jesus began using the word “ye” in this passage, He was speaking of prayer in public worship: our Father, give us, forgive us, lead us and deliver us. These are all plural pronouns, including the entire congregation we are praying with.

THOUGHT: Prayer is one of the most unique parts of the Christian experience; the creature is speaking to his Creator. Then, he studies his Bible, and the Creator is speaking to the creature. How amazing God is! Do not neglect such an awesome privilege.

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Now May Be Such a Time As This

 

Esther 4.14.JPG

 

Esther 4:14

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Most of us are familiar with the story of Esther, but we will recap just briefly here to provide some background for our Devotion. Our text for today’s Devotion is Esther Chapter 4. 

Due to circumstances in the Palace, Esther had managed to get herself married to the King of Persia, Ahasuerus. Readers may recall that at this time, the Jews were in bondage to the Persian Empire.  This story takes place towards the end of the bondage when a large number of Jews had been allowed to return to Jerusalem to begin rebuilding the Temple there. It takes place around the time of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Esther was a Jewish woman. She also had a cousin Mordecai who had basically raised her into adulthood. Mordecai was obviously Jewish and an official in the King’s government. During the course of time, Mordecai had managed to offend the most powerful man in the Kingdom other than the King himself, a man named Haaman. Haaman was so deeply offended and angry that he tricked King Ahasuerus into issuing a decree ordering all of the Jews in the kingdom to be killed.

Of course, Mordecai was alarmed when he heard of the decree and he right away sent a message to his cousin Queen Esther pleading with her to go see the King and get this order stopped.  Esther had a problem, however; people just could not drop in uninvited to see the King. Doing so was very likely to result in the death of the visitor; the king was entitled by law to have anyone approaching him whom he did not call put to death. Needless to say, this concerned Esther greatly; she sent a message back to Mordecai saying basically: “Hey I can’t do that! I might get killed!”

Mordecai pointed out some important things in his answer to Esther.

  • She and her family would be killed anyway. The death order was for all of the Jews
  • If you don’t do it, God will find somebody else to do it if that is His plan; God will accomplish His plan
  • What if you specifically were put into the palace just to be ready and standing by “for such a time as this?”

Now we get to the meaning of this in our own lives. Few would doubt that today we are living in “such a time as this.” Nobody, at least in this country, is ordering that all Christians be killed. Sadly, that is not the case everywhere. Even in our own country, the environment in which we live is growing dangerous. Our society is degenerating around us. Sin and immorality are running rampant. The family as we know it is under assault from everything to no-fault divorce to the legalization of gay marriage. In some of our schools, our children are not even allowed to pray or read their Bibles.

To speak the truth about certain issues is considered hate speech; if one speaks in support of Biblical marriage it is considered hateful and bigoted. To even share the gospel with a person and tell them Jesus is the only way to God is considered hateful and exclusionary of other “religions.”

It is a dangerous time. People can be publicly admonished and humiliated. Christian activities are sued and threatened with legal action. People have even lost their jobs simply for expressing what they believe the Bible teaches.

Many Christians are remaining silent, and are not willing to speak the truth in this culture we live in. We look around us, see what has happened to others, and become unwilling to speak out with the truth.  We fear what will happen to us; we fear the repercussions of our actions. Does that sound familiar? Esther faced a similar dilemma in our Bible story. In her case it all ended well, as Haaman’s terrible plan was stopped; Esther became willing to step out on faith and speak up in a dangerous environment.  What about us?

  • The decay of society is going to affect us all, whether we speak up or not. Remaining silent certainly will not stop it. Speaking the truth in love is the only way to stop it. If we do not speak, the changes will still affect us in the end.
  • If it is God’s plan for a certain thing to stop, it will stop through us or someone else.
  • What if we have been specifically called and placed in a particular situation? What if we are the person God has placed in a certain time or place for “Such a time as this?”

We can learn much from Esther’s actions in the situation she faced. What we face today in our society is quite similar. If we face such a situation, perhaps we need to consider that we are God’s chosen way to deal with it. Perhaps we are His planned agent for change. We may or may not know if we are or not. God will, however, protect us and keep us safe if we step out and speak the truth in love to a world that is dying around us.

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