Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry


Daily Devotions

Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Men Often Speak Well of False Prophets

by Mark Clements

Thursday, October 3

Men Often Speak Well of False Prophets

Luke 6:20-26

“But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your
consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets,” Luke 6:24-26.

In Luke’s account of one of Jesus’ early sermons, he recorded Jesus pronouncing four blessings upon those who find their ultimate purpose and hope in Him, no matter their circumstances. Jesus followed the pronouncement of blessings with four warnings against those who find their ultimate purpose and hope in temporary worldly pleasures. Those who cast away concern for God, and His eternal purposes are swept up in the pursuit of immediate pleasures found here in the world. Satan has done a good job of making sure people who seek earthly comfort are able to find it. This world offers riches to be enjoyed, feasts to consume, jokes to be laughed at, and flatteries in which to boast. Jesus pointed out that those who join themselves to false teaching for personal gain are quick to receive praise from the world, since they have adopted secular standards.

What did this mean for the true prophets? The Bible recorded the way in which God’s true spokespersons were treated by the world. They were ridiculed, outcast, persecuted, attacked, tortured and even killed. However, true prophets were obedient to God’s calling and were willing to endure temporary discomfort for the eternal rewards of Heaven. Today, consider which means more to you. Do you pursue the applause of fellow humans or the embrace of your Creator? Earthly praise will end with the earth, but God’s pleasure will last forever.

JUST A THOUGHT: Men may talk about you, but what does God say?

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-False Prophets Have Always Been Present

by Mark Clements

Wednesday, October 2

False Prophets Have Always Been Present

2 Peter 2:1-3

“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction,” 2 Peter 2:1.

Counterfeit spiritual authorities have been in existence since the time of Adam and Eve. One of the hallmarks of God’s creation is man’s tendency to reject the sovereign rule of its Creator. From the Fall of Lucifer to the Fall of Adam and the consequent depravity found in every human since, it has always been easy to find examples of people who mislead others into theological error. In an effort to warn his readers, Peter reminded his readers that false teachers have been among God’s people from the beginning. What could they expect from counterfeit spiritual authorities? Peter wrote that false teachers would begin by introducing heresy that denies the lordship of Jesus Christ, they would show evidence of fleshly living, including sensuality, blasphemy and greed. They would seek also to exploit God’s people for their own gain.

We can be sure such heretics persist among God’s people today. Satan would love nothing more than to convince would-be believers into thinking that they are following Jesus when they are really following him. These false teachers offer a counterfeit to Christianity and fool many people. Remember, these false teachers are condemned by God and will reap destruction. We must not only remain vigilant in adherence to God’s truth, but also we have a duty to protect those who would be exploited by the greed and sensuality of those caught up in man-made religion. We will be able to recognize false religion by studying the beautiful truth of God’s Word and hiding it deep in our hearts.

Not everyone who calls himself Christian follows Christ

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-False Prophets Are Present at the End

by Mark Clements

Tuesday, October 1

False Prophets Are Present at the End

Matthew 24:11-14

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold,” Matthew 24:11, 12.

Jesus did His best to prepare His church for His physical absence. Since He was God in the flesh, when He shared with His disciples the things that would take place after His ascension, He spoke with authority. Jesus knew that false teachers would target true churches in order to destroy the work of God. These false teachers would not be irreligious, but would deceptively blend into the Christian crowd with malicious intent. The pervasiveness of false prophets does not destroy the appearance of religion, but seductively leads people away from a genuine relationship with God. More and more churches would be filled with unregenerate people who claim to follow Christ, having embraced a false gospel, which is unable to save anyone. As Jesus said, this would lead to an increase in lawlessness, which in turn would lead to a dramatic decrease in genuine love of God and others. Man-made religion, without spiritual regeneration, leads to the destruction of souls, churches and communities.

How should true followers of Christ prepare for the end times as Jesus warned? First, Jesus wants His followers to expect an increase in the number of false prophets. It is incumbent upon Christians to be able to identify truth from falsehood, in order to discern true teachers from false teachers. Secondly, Jesus challenged His followers to persevere in the truth until the end of their lives. As difficult as it may become for followers of Jesus to combat heresy, genuine Christians will cling to the truth of the gospel tightly, and faithfully obey the command to make disciples of all nations, for the glory of God.

JUST A THOUGHT: Do not allow your love for God and others to grow cold.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Jesus Warned About False Prophets

by Mark Clements

Monday, September 30

Jesus Warned About False Prophets

Matthew 7:15-20

“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them,” Matthew 7:18-20.

As Jesus revealed the way of God’s kingdom to His disciples, He encouraged them to consider new ways of discernment according to the will of God and not the impulses of man. On one hand, Jesus warned them about harshly judging others and condemning them as guilty before God (Matthew 7:1-5). On the other hand, He also did not want His followers to naively embrace everything they heard. What His disciples needed was a way to discern the difference between those who sought to glorify God, and those who sought to damage the work of God. In today’s text, Jesus advised His followers to look more deeply than the simple appearance of those who exercise spiritual authority.

Like a ravenous wolf that dresses up in sheep’s clothing in order to destroy the work of God. Jesus warned that false teachers would do their best to trick God’s people into believing they were harmless. They would try to gain access to the hearts of believers and destroy their faith. God’s people must exercise discernment. We must see whether the works performed by those who claim spiritual authority match their profession of faith in Christ. Jesus plainly said, that if the teacher is good, his work would be good, like a tree that produces good fruit. If the person is faithless, their work will be of the flesh, evident for all to see. The admonition to God’s people is to observe the fruit of those in authority to determine whether their words will edify or destroy the work of God.

JUST A THOUGHT: Spiritual people produce spiritual fruit.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Our Model for Loving Each Other

by Wally Fry

Sunday, September 29

Our Model for Loving Each Other

John 15:9-13

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you,” John 15:12.

Our Savior expects obedience; yet, His burden is light. Here, Jesus issues a command and immediately tells us exactly how we can fulfill it. He never leaves us hanging on something important such as this. We are to love each other as He loved us. That is direct, and it is simple. We are to love each other as He loves us. How is that? One word will sum that up perfectly: sacrificially. Our Lord sacrificed Himself for us, and we are to do likewise for those around us.

Does this mean that we are to literally, physically give up our lives for another? Maybe it does, maybe it does not. Yet, clearly, we are to give up our wants and our desires for those we love even if that literally never means our physical deaths. We are to die to those things of our own, and then live to give them to others. We are to die if only to ourselves.

This is not rocket science, and we need not overanalyze it to carry it out as we are commanded to do. When a choice has to be made, we simply choose another’s needs in place of our own. This is a cliché, but clichés work because they contain truth. Here is the Jesus commanded hierarchy of human need: Jesus first, others second and us last. This will never happen by accident; it begins when we think of another in the way Jesus thought of us.

JUST A THOUGHT: If we are unwilling to put the needs of others first, then how can we demonstrate to others that Jesus gave Himself for them?

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-A New Application of an Old Commandment

by Wally Fry

Saturday, September 28

A New Application of an Old Commandment

Matthew 5:43-48

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy,” Matthew 5:43.

Here, Jesus references back to possibly several places in the Old Testament where God’s people are instructed to love their neighbor. There is, however, a problem with the thought process His listeners were using, and Jesus clearly identified the issue. He said, “Ye have heard” that they were to love their neighbor, and that it was okay to hate their enemies. The problem was that they had heard, and been taught that. Neither they nor the ones who taught them that had ever read that in Scripture. Simply put, this was a man-made perversion of God’s Word.

Many have not changed much in the way they handle God’s Word. They still attempt to twist it and turn it to meet their own selfish desires. Once again, people were looking for the loophole; once again, there is no loophole.

Our title today calls this a new application of an old commandment; that is technically not true, in that the commandment has not changed. So, this is not so much a new application as it is a correct teaching. God says what He means, and means what He says. We are not to hate anyone; God has always been perfectly clear about that, and the fact that loving all others is a hallmark of those who are His. God loves us always, despite what we may or may not do; likewise, we are to love others, despite what they may or may not do.

JUST A THOUGHT: God’s love for us does not come and go based on what we do; our love for others should not either.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The Power of Loving God

by Wally Fry

Friday, September 27

The Power of Loving God

Joshua 23:6-13

“For the LORD hath driven out from before you great nations and strong: but as for you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day. One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God,” Joshua 23:9-11

For years, God’s chosen people faced great odds against them constantly. They faced years as slaves to the Egyptians, a difficult Exodus from there to the Promised Land, then adversaries that seemed unbeatable. Yet, time and time again, God gave them the victory. When they stuck with God, victory came easily; when they turned from Him, they failed despite their own efforts. Sometimes, they needed a reminder straight from the mouth of God as to just how these great victories came to be. God’s model is simple. Love me and I am with you; reject me and you are on your own.

The concept here has not changed. Those who love God still have the power of God behind them as they move through life accomplishing His will; however, there is one truly important difference between the believers of that time and our own. Then, God’s power in their lives came and went as He willed. Under the New Covenant, God’s power for those who love Him (the saved) never leaves. God, through His Holy Spirit, is in us permanently and forever at the moment we become one of His.

The difference this makes in the daily reality for us today is astounding and cannot be overstated. God’s power, strength and protection never leave us; it is there and available to us anytime we need it, and anytime we call upon it. The only real question is whether we make that call or try to do it on our own!

JUST A THOUGHT: God is always there. Where are we?

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The Blessings of Loving God

by Wally Fry

Thursday, September 26

The Blessings of Loving God

Deuteronomy 11:10-17

“And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be full,” Deuteronomy 11:13-15.

God is not some giant cosmic candy dispenser; we do not put in an obedience coin and receive a blessing piece of candy. So, our relationship with Him is not an exact mirror of the one He had with the Israelites; that was more transactional in the sense that they obeyed and followed and blessings followed. When they failed to obey, blessings were lost and cursings followed. Yet, we can apply this to our lives today. How are we blessed by loving God?

A transaction did take place under the New Covenant. We owed a debt for our sin, and Jesus paid it with His death. Three days later, He arose and gave us new life. That is, we receive new life if we trust Him. We first love Him by our repentance of our sin, belief in Him and what He did on that cross and through His resurrection. The blessings that follow are immeasurable.

We get some blessings from this new relationship that even His chosen people did not. We get a release, on an eternal basis, from the penalty of our sin. We do not have to strive and struggle to repay it, because Jesus already has. We get something else they did not get. We receive the very presence of God’s Holy Spirit in us at the moment of our regeneration. He never leaves us, and guides and takes care of us forever. What blessing could be bigger than that?

JUST A THOUGHT: There was a time when the Holy Spirit came into and left the lives of God’s children; now He never leaves us or forsakes us.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

by Wally Fry

Wednesday, September 25

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Leviticus 19:14-18

“Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD,” Leviticus 19:18.

God is clear here; we are to love our neighbor as much as ourselves. His Word is clear, yet, our shadings of that Word are often not. In the parable of the good Samaritan, the man questioning Jesus was quick to try to redefine just who our neighbor was. When preaching the Sermon on the Mount, we heard Jesus say, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38). Then, as now, everybody wants a loophole. We especially want to find that loophole when it comes to putting our own agendas aside and going along with God’s. We have much love in our hearts; the problem is we love the wrong person. We love ourselves.

There are not any loopholes; our Lord was crystal clear in this passage. Lest we misunderstand, Jesus told us Himself later, as He distilled the entire Law into two commandments, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

We do not save ourselves by keeping His commandments; yet Jesus taught repeatedly that if we do love Him, we will keep them. He does not make this difficult; He summed the entire Law up for us: Love God and love each other. Again, we never secure our salvation by our obedience; our obedience flows from that salvation. Obedience tells the world something. A simple refusal to obey tells the world something, too.

JUST A THOUGHT: We often spend much time worrying that folks get what they deserve. What if God applied our own philosophy to us?



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