Whom Do We Please?

In Galatians 1:10, Paul states, For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

His gospel didn’t come from a desire to please man. His first obligation was to please God. He didn’t shape his message just to please his audience. He was more concerned about pleasing God.

I think Paul was making a contrast between himself and those in verse 9 who brought the different gospel. Apparently, in some way, that different gospel was built around the idea of pleasing man.

There have always been preachers who have desired popularity, fame and fortune above all else, and there are some still. It’s part of fallen human nature that even those charged with the responsibility of proclaiming the gospel can fall into the trap of trying to be popular rather than faithful.

Paul said, For if I still pleased men, I would not be a servant of Christ. For Paul, it was one or the other. He couldn’t direct his ministry towards pleasing men and at the same time direct it to pleasing Jesus Christ. If his concern at first wasn’t to please Christ, then he wasn’t a servant of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

I believe every preacher of the gospel faces the temptation to please men by preaching only what wont offend. However, giving in to this temptation may result in tolerating sin and a lukewarm congregation. Flattering speech or failing to preach against sinful lifestyles that may be present in the church in order to grow financially or grow in membership numbers will only lead to damage to Christ’s church. Preaching should always be to seek God’s approval and not man’s.

Although Paul was addressing ministers of the gospel, the same message goes for each of us!

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment

Godly Wisdom

Proverbs 2:1-5 says, My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. 

This is like a prayer. In fact, it’s what we should all pray. To really be able to live a Godly life, we first need to know what God expects. The first part of verse 1 says “receive my words“. The heart is the place for the commandments and the Word of God to be hidden. If we receive the wisdom of God and apply it to our heart, we’ll do the things that are right in God’s sight.

Romans 10:10 says, For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  If we would spend even half the time learning the Word of God as we spend searching for worldly wealth and recognition, we would find the treasures of God. Knowledge is accumulated learning while wisdom is a gift from God. As we learn the secrets of the Bible, we will have a reverent fear of God and be filled with His knowledge.

Proverbs 2:6 tells us, For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. As already stated, wisdom is a gift from God. We read in James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Knowledge comes out of His mouth, not ours! The knowledge is in His Word. He is the source of all wisdom and His wisdom brings peace.

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | 2 Comments

Obedient Abraham

Abraham means: Father of a Multitude. He was a man of faith who followed God even in the most challenging of circumstances.

The life of Abraham is a study in faithfulness, obedience, and sometimes blind trust. It’s also the story of a God who keeps his covenant promises.

Abraham and his wife, Sarah, lived in Haran where Abraham owned a great number of livestock. But God changed all that. He said, “Leave your country and your people and go to the land I will show you.” God didn’t mince his words. He didn’t even ask Abraham if he wanted to move. He simply told him to go. To add to the challenge, God didn’t tell Abraham where he was going. He only said, “Go.” And then God made Abraham a promise. “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.”

We can only imagine what went through Sarah’s mind when Abraham told her what God had said. “Leave our home? Go on a journey to nowhere? Have children even though we’re too old?” But Sarah trusted Abraham, just as Abraham trusted God. They said good-bye to their families and, along with their nephew, Lot, their possessions, and their servants, they set out southwest toward Canaan.

Throughout his life, God tested Abraham’s resolve to obey him. And, time and again, God reconfirmed his promise to Abraham—a land, a nation, and a blessing.

Abraham’s name and God’s promise of a nation were even recalled when Mary was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. “God has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever even as he promised.”

Abraham isn’t honored because he was a perfect man. He wasn’t. Abraham is the most significant patriarch because of God’s call and covenant with him and Abraham’s courage to be obedient.

Larry cobb

 

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment

Church Discipline

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus tells us what to do if you are sinned against. He said to go and confront the guilty party directly.

Matthew 18:15-17: Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector

Rather than huddling with others in the church and getting the rumor mill started, we should go to the offending brother or sister first – not griping and gossiping to others. Some use this method under the guise of “sharing a prayer request.” Instead, speak to that brother or sister directly.

This doesn’t mean we should take Jesus’ word here as a command to confront your brother with every sin they commit against you.

Jesus said, if he hears you, you have gained your brother. You’ve gained him in two ways. First, the problem has been cleared up. Maybe you realized that he was right in some ways and he realized you were right in some ways, but the problem is resolved. Second, you have gained him because you’ve not wronged your brother by going to others with gossip and only one-half the side of a dispute.

Others should become involved only if the offending party refuses to listen. If he remains stubborn and unrepentant they are to be refused fellowship. Jesus said, let him be to you like a heathen.

This sense of being refused participation in the body of Christ is what Paul meant when he said to deliver such a one to Satan in 1 Corinthians 5. There’s a sense in which the unrepentant one is chastened by being placed outside of the “protection” of fellowship.

Even so, they must be treated with love in order to bring about a full repentance and reconciliation.

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment

A Time For Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a time for everything. Even those times in life that we wish would never end eventually give way to something new. Too often, man wants to “do his own thing” in his own time. God wants us to wait upon Him. If we search for His guidance, He will show us the next step on our journey through life. However, He doesn’t always give us the appointed time for us to take that next step. At times, instead of going full steam ahead, He wants us to wait until He shows us when He wants us to move forward. At other times, some hold back even when God clearly directs us to go forward.

For those who don’t like change, moving from their comfort zone into a new situation can be frightening. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Every day we must live in a close, trusting relationship with God, always looking to Him for direction. When we do this, God promises to direct our paths. He will lead us to His plan for our lives and remove all obstacles and enable us to make the right choices.

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | 1 Comment

Darkness to Light

Colossians 2:6-7 says, As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

When we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, that is only the beginning. We then have to continue to grow in our relationship with Him. The relationship with Christ began when God made us free from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his Son, as Paul said in Colossians 1:13. We acknowledged that we were sinners, we repented of our sins, and we accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. As a result, we passed from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God.

When Jesus first appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 26:18, He told him that he was to preach the gospel to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God. The lost are blinded by Satan to the reality of their lost condition and to the truth of the gospel.

We aren’t supposed to stay the same way we were when we first believed. Instead, we’re called to grow to be like Christ in every way. Paul tells us in Romans 8:29 that for whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Foreknowledge means that God intended from the very beginning to love and redeem man through Jesus Christ. He took the lead in freeing us from the power of darkness and He also takes the lead in conforming us to the image of His Son.

Galatians 2:20 tells us that we have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Since we no longer live, but Christ lives in us, we should forsake life in the power of our own strength and hold to the life of Christ dwelling within us. We should continue to learn as much as we can about this new life we have in Christ and never stop giving thanks to God. We have much to be thankful for.

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment

Truth

John 8:32 says, and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Truth today is a very elusive thing in our society.  Too often, truth depends on how one decides to define it and many have no trouble telling little “white” lies. However, there is only one truth that will set people free from sin, degradation and Satan’s control. The truth of Jesus Christ found in God’s Word.

God’s Word testifies to the truth which frees one from sin, the world and the demonic grasp of Satan. More revelation of “truth” isn’t needed to complete the gospel of Christ. Saving truth is revealed only from God by His Spirit and doesn’t originate from any person or from human wisdom. 1 Corinthians 2:10 says, But God hath revealed them (meaning the things He has prepared for us) unto us by His Spirit for the Spirit searcheth all things, yes, the deep things of God.

The things God has prepared for those who love Him can be understood by the believer through Spirit’s revelation. As the believer reads and studies the Bible, the Holy Spirit helps us understand the truth. It’s only through the Holy Spirit that God’s truth and wisdom were revealed to man. John 14:6 says, Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment

Revival

If God would send revival to America, does that mean He would protect America and ensure the future of this country? Jonah told the city of Nineveh that they would be destroyed in forty days. At that message the King of Nineveh ordered national prayer, fasting and repentance. The whole population prayed for mercy and God spared the city.

If there is a revival in America’s churches and the power of God comes among us, no one yet know how pervasive its effects will be on society. Will the Supreme Court reverse decisions that have insulted God? Will conviction of sin close down the blatant sex trade? Will society honor marriage vows and protect unborn babies? Will we, as a nation, truly honor God with our lives and our actions? Will we once again be the planting of righteousness our forefathers intended? No one but the Lord can truly answer these questions, but we can hope that the answer to each one will be yes.

We do know that God answers the prayers of His people. If there is a mighty outpouring of prayer, faith and righteousness, God will answer the fervent petitions of His people to spare their land. Our hedge of protection has been broken down, but an army of godly intercessors can stand in the gap for the nation.

The promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is that if we do the things God requires, God has obligated Himself to hear our prayer and heal our land.

We have this confidence, that with God’ power made manifest in a mighty spiritual revival, we can have the faith to seek God for good times and abiding grace to overcome bad times. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Excerpts from Steps to Revival by Pat Robertson

Larry Cobb

 

 

 

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment

Perseverance

After Jesus arose from the dead, He instructed His disciples to tarry in Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Although their lives were in danger, they gathered in an upper room to wait and pray for the promise of the Father. Day one came and passed and nothing happened. The same for days four, five, six, seven, eight and nine. Imagine their fear and a faith that might have been wavering after waiting day after day and nothing happened. Jesus was no longer with them, yet they waited and prayed as they had been instructed to do. They believed the promise Jesus had given them and they held on to it.

When the day of Pentecost, the fiftieth day after the Passover, had finally come, the miracle happened. The Bible tells us there was a sound like a mighty, rushing wind that filled the room where one hundred and twenty remained. While they were praying, cloven tongues of fire appeared over the heads of each one there. They were each filled with the Holy spirit and began to speak other languages as the Spirit gave them utterance.

A crowd of people from all over the known world heard the noise and gathered outside the room where they heard uneducated Jews speaking in each of their native languages. They listened to Peter as he preached to them and cried out, “What should we do”? Peter, who only a few weeks before had shown fear to a servant girl, preached with such power that 3000 souls were saved that day.

The same God who visited His people at Pentecost in Jerusalem has the same desire to visit His church in America, today. However, we have to persevere as those in the upper room did 2000 years ago. He is the same yesterday, today and forever!

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment

Prayer

Jesus told us to pray without ceasing. In one story that Jesus gave as an illustration, a family had gone to bed and was asleep when a neighbor began pounding on their door. The father of the house looked out and found that the neighbor needed some bread to feed a guest who had arrived unexpectedly. The father angrily slammed the window because he and his family were in bed for the night. However, the neighbor was persistent and kept on pounding and shouting until, in order to shut him up, the father opened the door and gave the neighbor some bread and went back to bed.

It wasn’t the neighbor’s need nor his friendship that helped him get what he needed. It was his desperation that helped him prevail. In Matthew 7:7, Jesus said, Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you (Amplified Bible).

If we really have a need; whether it’s for healing, guidance, etc., we must pray in desperation. We have to be like the neighbor above. He got what he needed because he persevered. He wasn’t going to give up. He kept knocking until the door opened to him and the father of the house provided his need.

In Jeremiah 29:13, God said, And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Be strong. Don’t give up. The answer is on its way!

Larry Cobb

Posted in Devotionals | Leave a comment