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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The Assurance of Jesus’ Promise to Return

by Beverly Barnett

Monday, August 19

The Assurance of Jesus’ Promise to Return

John 14:1-6

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also,” John 14:3.

Our devotional today is from a wonderful, assuring, promise of Jesus. It is one that we can be confident will come to pass and reassures us when we are despondent or depressed. It is one that gives us a hope filled future. We can look forward to the day when Jesus comes again, but should we pass in death from this life before He returns to catch us away; our eyes will open to a glorious sight in the presence of Jesus. This promise you can carry in your heart and mind through the difficult times of life.

While we think on our future home, we must not forget to be present in this one. C. S. Lewis writes, “This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave this present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next….It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”

As we journey through this life, waiting on the next, be active, be alive! Our job as believers is to be busy until the Lord returns or until we see Him face to face.

REFLECTION: “Blessed assurance Jesus is mine—Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!”

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Jesus Predicted False Prophets

by Beverly Barnett

Sunday, August 18

Jesus Predicted False Prophets

Jude 16-21

“How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit,” Jude 18, 19.

One morning I saw an advertisement for a ministry group that claims to be healers and prophets. These so-called preachers, these men and women, entice with uplifting words that sooth the conscience of a guilty sinner and proclaim messages without sustenance. However, their so-called prophetic visions, dreams or claims that God speaks to them audibly is scary because they already have thousands of followers.

On their website, the head man speaks with an ordinary sounding voice, while sitting outdoors in front of an orchard. He looks normal, like an uncle or a friendly pastor, no robes or strange posture. But, his claim of being a prophet of God, hearing the voice of God, as do the other co-ministers of this group is unscriptural. Peter says by inspiration, “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage” (2 Peter 2:18, 19).

These are some of the deceivers Jesus warned us about. They are false prophets, speaking lies but claiming they speak for God. The only way we can know the difference is by reading and studying God’s Word.

REFLECTION: “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (1 Corinthians 13:8-10).

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-The Way of Balaam

by Beverly Barnett

Saturday, August 17

The Way of Balaam

Numbers 22:27-35

“Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face,” Numbers 22:31.

Balaam was a prophet for hire, and those are the most dangerous kind. Balaam was respected in the kingdom of Median, for his soothing words, and his lack of condemnation of sin. That made him a popular prophet.

As the children of God left Egypt, and crossed through hostile lands the sheer number of them intimidated the smaller kingdoms. The kings of Moab and Median formed an alliance and sent messengers to Balaam and asked him to curse Israel. But the Lord spoke to Balaam and said not to go with them and not to curse Israel. And a second time they sent high ranking ambassadors with gifts to Balaam so that he might put a curse on God’s people. And the second time he inquired of God. Was God’s answer the first time not good enough? The Lord’s answer was go with them, in other words, you have already made up your mind to do what you want so go.

And we know the rest of the story, how Balaam’s talking don-key saved his life. But that is not the end of Balaam’s story. Balaam could not curse God’s children so he chose another tactic. He encouraged Balak to corrupt the people whom he could not curse. The way of Balaam is worldliness: eat, drink, be merry, gather stuff, be a workaholic, forget God and His teachings, do whatever makes one feel good. (See Numbers 25:1-3; Numbers 31:16; James 4:4; Revelation 2:14.) The way of Balaam is still familiar in the world around us today!

REFLECTION: “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:15).

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Lot’s Ineffective Testimony

 

by Beverly Barnett

Friday, August 16

Lot’s Ineffective Testimony

Genesis 19:12-14

“And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law,” Genesis 19:14.

Our testimony is important. Ask anyone who has lived a life in disregard of God and then tried to influence a loved one to do or become better, like Lot tried to do. Do not be like Lot!

Lot was a husband, father and a person of influence in the city of Sodom. We know this because he sat at the city gate. But, it is apparent that he did not use his influence to teach people to worship God and Him only, even in his own family. It is hard to teach a child to love God and keep His commandments if they do not see it in their parent’s life.

Apparently, even though Lot may not have participated in the sexual deviance that was rampant in Sodom and Gomorrah, he never actually condemned it either. Sadly, the same thing has happened in our families and in church membership today. We hear the excuse it is an alternate lifestyle, and God loves them so should we. While the latter is true, love does not mean we should not condemn sin, and pray for them to see their sin and repent. Sexual deviance is a sin against God, and it has consequences. Lot would not speak out against theses sinful lifestyles. His silence was consent, as a result, his sons-in-law rejected his pleads to leave the city before the coming destruction. The Bible does not state how many daughters, sons-in-law or grandchildren were killed because they would not listen to Lot. We only know that Lot, his wife and two daughters escaped the city. Even to lose one person because we will not take a stand for God and His commandments is one too many.

REFLECTION: “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, 
and sow wickedness, reap the same” (Job 4:8).

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-We Must Try the Spirits

 

by Beverly Barnett

Thursday, August 15

We Must Try the Spirits

 John 4:1-3

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world,” 1 John 4:1.

False prophets are not the same as false preachers. A false prophet predicts a false future. For example, there is a religion that has prophets in their leadership roles. They are high ranking, make the rules, carry out discipline, and predict the future. They are false prophets. The Bible clearly states that the prophets were until John, meaning John the Baptist. (See Matthew 11:13; Luke 16:16.) These men and women deceive many and are not guided by the one true Spirit. They predict that people will get better and better and this will eventually lead to Heaven on earth. This doctrine is totally opposite to what the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:1-3.

That is why this warning in our Bible reading today is so relevant in our time. There are so many false teachers, preachers and so called prophets proclaiming lies, and thousands believe them. They sound good, give false hope, but in the end it will not happen.

It is vitally important, that we not only try the spirits, we must judge them by what the Bible says. The Bible is our guide to faith and practice. But, the Bible will not jump in our head and heart just by being in our house lying on a table. We must open the Bible and study the treasures of knowledge it contains. We must hide its truths in our heart and meditate on it throughout the day.

REFLECTION: Biblical knowledge is power, especially,
when false teachers, preachers or prophets speak.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Jesus’ Identification of False Prophets

 

by Beverly Barnett

Wednesday, August 14

False Prophets Are a Part of This Age

Matthew 24:9-14

“And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many,” Matthew 24:11

We live in a time when there are at least three religious channels on cable television, and multiple religious webcasts and Facebook pages. They talk about, preach about, sing about, and have movies about religion. There are books by religious authors that line the shelves in Christian bookstores. Religiousness is a multimillion dollar visible, outspoken business. With religious teaching so visible and accessible, we should be growing more like Christ, staying away from sin that can wreck our life and testimony, and be shrewdly aware of the messages of false prophets. However, I am afraid many have been lulled to sleep by their soothing messages that tickle the ear into rejecting the fact that time is short, and the harvest of lost souls is waiting for a Savior. They preach a dangerous message that all is well, be happy, eat, drink and be merry; these my friend are wolves in sheep skins.

Be wary when listening to religious broadcast, if they spend the majority of their airtime promoting, or offering special deals if one will send them a monthly donation, rather than preaching and promoting Christ. The Bible warns, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). Too many are in it for the money and lifestyle it will bring them.

REFLECTION: “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).

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-Jesus’ Identification of False Prophets

Sorry for the absence of these for three days; the person who posts them online for the Bogard Press was suddenly sick. They are better now, though!


by Beverly Barnett

Jesus’ Identification of False Prophets

Matthew 7:15-20

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves,” Matthew 7:15.

False prophets or preachers may look innocent; they may look cool; they may sound uplifting. They may even tell good jokes, have a pleasant voice, but the message they preach is far from the truth of the Word.

Let us make a distinction between a false preacher and one that preaches something that may make us uncomfortable in our sin. A false preacher misinterprets the Scriptures; he may teach a doctrine around one Scripture and never harmonize it with other verses. He also may interpret Scripture in a way that causes contradictions in the Bible. He may use phrases such as “God wants you to be rich and prosperous.” That is a contradiction of the truth.

On the other hand, a preacher of the Word of truth may be annoying when he preaches loud. He will never be satisfied with a stagnant church body. He will always harmonize Scripture with Scripture when teaching a biblical truth. He may not be the most popular man in church because his message will step on toes. He will always seek to please God rather than man. And, if he is a good shepherd, he will smell like his sheep!

REFLECTION: Our preference is not always considered by God when He sends the man He wants to teach and guide His children.

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-How We Can Face Depression

by Beverly Barnett

Thursday, August 8

How We Can Face Depression

Psalm 73:1-28

“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end,” Psalm 73:16, 17.

Let us not ignore the fact that believers do become depressed from time to time. Depression can result from many different reasons; they may be emotional, physical or circumstantial reasons. And, it is not shameful or a lack of faith if you seek Christian counseling or medical treatment for depression.

Mild depression can be lessened by reading and meditating on God’s Word, praying, taking a walk, listening to uplifting Christian music, opening your blinds or curtains to let the sunshine in, doing something for others, eating nourishing food and many other things.

Above all, seek God’s will and let God lead you through your circumstances as you focus on Him and His goodness and His mighty power instead of your physical deficits or your circumstances. One day we will get a new body until then we have to adjust to what we have now. When circumstances are bleak, depend on God, use His strength, let Him show out, and then, praise Him! Nothing can change a person’s perspective on overwhelming circumstances more than to fellowship with his church family and remember God’s promises.

REFLECTION: “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:5, 6).

 

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Bogard Press Daily Devotional-How Elijah Became Discouraged

by Beverly Barnett

Wednesday, August 7

How Elijah Became Discouraged

1 Kings 19:1-12

“Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So
let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time,” 1 Kings 19:2.

Emotional highs and lows can happen within a few hours of each other for many leaders; that is why it is so important to keep one’s eyes focused on the task and not the trials. God used Elijah as the spokesperson to prove that God is real and great over the prophets of Baal, and to bring His people back from the idol worship of Baal. Elijah had just experienced and seen firsthand the awesome power of God, but one hateful woman brought him to despair, into running and hiding in the wilderness. We are much like Elijah, victorious one day, and hiding the next.

Despair, defeat, depression are tools of Satan. If he can keep us looking inward at ourselves, then we will not look upward to God at His ability to do what we cannot. How many pastors, leaders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, youth workers, have quit because they looked inward and not upward? Even Jesus said He could do nothing without the leadership of God. “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). If Jesus realized this, we should also realize we can do nothing without God’s power through the Holy Spirit. Do not be like Elijah, do not let a woman or man steal your courage; keep doing what God is leading you to do—follow God.

REFLECTION: Remember this: “And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God” (Luke 18:27).

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