VIDEO Be Not Deceived

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. Galatians 6:7

One doesn’t have to look far in modern media to find examples of God, and especially Jesus Christ, being made light of; in some cases, mocked. While some would say, “It’s all in good fun; no harm, no foul,” is that a risk worth taking? God does not seem to take mocking lightly. As the writer to the Hebrews wrote, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

King Belshazzar, the successor to Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, learned that the hard way. At a drunken feast, he mocked God by having the sacred vessels from the temple in Jerusalem, which Nebuchadnezzar had confiscated decades earlier, brought into the feast to be used in profane ways. But in the midst of their mockery of God, a heavenly hand appeared and wrote words of judgment on the wall. The words prophesied the end of Babylon, a destiny that occurred that very night when Babylon was invaded by the Medes and Belshazzar was slain (Daniel 5:30-31).

There is a universal principle at work in human affairs: “God is not mocked” are words to live by, today and always, for we will reap what we sow.

God is not deceived by externals. C. S. Lewis

Galatians 6:7 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Pure Worship

Today's Devotional

My house will be called a house of prayer.  Mark 11:17

Jose pastored a church known for its programs and theatrical productions. They were well done, yet he worried the church’s busyness had slipped into a business. Was the church growing for the right reasons or because of its activities? Jose wanted to find out, so he canceled all extra church events for one year. His congregation would focus on being a living temple where people worshiped God.

Jose’s decision seems extreme, until you notice what Jesus did when He entered the temple’s outer courts. The holy space that should have been full of simple prayers had become a flurry of worship business. “Get your doves here! Lily white, as God requires!” Jesus overturned the merchant’s tables and stopped those who bought their merchandise. Furious at what they were doing, He quoted Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7: “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ But you have made it ‘a den of robbers’” (Mark 11:17). The court of the gentiles, the place for outsiders to worship God, had been turned into a mundane marketplace for making money.

There’s nothing wrong with business or staying busy. But that’s not the point of church. We’re the living temple of God, and our main task is to worship Jesus. We likely won’t need to flip over any tables as Jesus did, but He may be calling us to do something equally drastic.

By:  Mike Wittmer

Reflect & Pray

Why do you attend church and meet with believers? What expectations of yours might you need to let the Spirit change?

Father, show us where our expectations of worship fail to please You. Help us see that it’s all about You.

Sunday Reflection: The Blessing of Salvation

The world tells us that it’s not worthwhile to grieve our sin—that we should forget about past mistakes and seize the day, lest we miss out on something exciting. But grief is a useful and necessary part of being human. Consider what happens when, instead of avoiding pain, we seek God’s comfort, or we try to do right by others who are suffering. And keep in mind that the Lord is no stranger to grief. For example, we see in John 11 that Jesus wept for His friend Lazarus. And on the cross, He experienced unfathomable grief and pain for the sake of the world.

Whether we are mourning our own personal losses or the sins of the world, the Lord is with us. And He assures us of more than comfort when we surrender our suffering to Him: He promises His saving grace.

• God doesn’t always tell us the reason we are suffering or in pain, but He does promise to comfort us. This week, meditate on 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. What does it mean that God is the “Father of mercies and God of all comfort”?
• Think about Jesus grieving for His friend. What does that tell you about the Lord’s heart?

Apostasy with Prosperity

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

One of the most tragic movements in Christendom today teaches that God promises to make each Christian prosper in material wealth. Suffice it to say, the Bible teaches no such thing, as seen in our text and elsewhere, but this false teaching is not new and is associated with apostasy.

Consider chapters 17 and 18 of the book of Judges, which describe a period of rampant apostasy and confusion. The chapters provide character sketches of an itinerant Levite, the tribe of Dan, and a man named Micah. First we see that Micah steals 1,100 shekels of silver from his mother, who then places a curse on the unknown thief. Micah, fearing the curse, confesses the crime. His mother tries to lessen the curse by dedicating all the money to the Lord and converts 200 shekels into an idol. Micah places the idol with his others and consecrates his son as priest, even though they are of the tribe of Ephraim. Later, he hires the Levite to be his priest and exclaims, “Now know I that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest” (Judges 17:13).

In the next chapter, spies of the Danites go to the priest for God’s blessing on their efforts to find land that they can conquer. When the marauders return, they recruit the Levite to a more prosperous position. He joins them, having stolen Micah’s idols, and establishes the tribal priesthood.

Each one in this story was confident that God would bless them materially because they had the trappings of religion. The common denominator was greed. Their desire for personal prosperity led them to a prostitution of the true worship of God. But whenever religion is “used” to justify the “love of money,” it suffers degradation. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). JDM

Build Not On A Shaky Foundation

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me.

—Jeremiah 9:23-24


It is true that much church activity is thrown back upon a shaky foundation of psychology and natural talents….

We live in a day when charm is supposed to cover almost the entire multitude of sins. Charm has taken a great place in religious expression. I am convinced that our Lord expects us to be tough enough and cynical enough to recognize all of this that pleases the unthinking in our churches: the charm stuff, the stage presence in the pulpit, the golden qualities of voice….

I feel sorry for the church that decides to call a pastor because “his personality simply sparkles!” I have watched quite a few of those sparklers through the years. In reality, as every kid knows at Fourth of July time, sparklers can be an excitement in the neighborhood—but only for about one minute! Then you are left holding a hot stick that quickly cools off in your hand.   TRA032-033

Lord, confirm for each of us as pastors our divine call, that we might indeed build on a strong foundation. Then bring conviction and repentance to any in our congregations who are judging us with the wrong criteria. Amen.


Called to Be a Voice

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand…and he laid it upon my mouth.

—Isaiah 6:6-7


Most surely the Church has a service of compassion to render to the world, but her motives are not humanitarian. They are higher than this by as much as the new creation is higher than the old. It is inherent in the Christian spirit that the followers of Christ should wish to minister to the bodies as well as the souls of men. But the call to give God’s prophetic message to the world is something apart.

The call to witness and serve comes to every Christian; the call to be a Voice to mankind comes only to the man who has the Spirit’s gift and special enabling. We need not fewer men to show mercy, but we need more men who can hear the words of God and translate them into human speech. GTM088-089

It is not enough that we are willing and eager to work for God, but the work itself must be of God.

… This is one of the deepest deaths that Christians are often called to die. Indeed, our work is unacceptable to God and useless to ourselves and others until it first has been bathed in the blood of Calvary and touched with the sign of crucifixion. It must cease to be our work and thus become His and His alone. CTBC, Vol. 2/359


Living in Two Worlds

Matthew 16:26

We live in not one, but two worlds. One is temporal; it is a world populated with people, in which we live and work. The other world is the one within us, an immensely private world, occupied by one’s self alone.

Realizing that there are two worlds, the vital question is how does one live comfortably in both? On one side is the tangible life of mankind, dominated exclusively by material needs, instinctual reactions, intellect, economics, science and technology. On the other side, too often ignored, kept under wraps, is the actual world of the spirit. Excursions into that tiny corner of the heart where one tries to preserve immortal spiritual values are, alas, all too infrequent.

But how to live in both worlds with integrity? That is the question and the challenge. The schism between the spiritual and the temporal has deprived man of the nourishment he desperately needs. The undeniable truth is, however, that although the spiritual may have been repressed, there is still a great yearning for it.

The existence of the soul is of no concern at all to some. To others the very idea of its existence seems absurd. It is intellectual bigotry to assume that we can only believe what can be confirmed by laboratory proof. We all know that there are many things we’ve never seen that are real, the most priceless, according to Jesus, being the soul. To His disciples it could not have been made clearer. “What good will it be for man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt 16:26).

Many were surprised when the book Care of the Soul, by Thomas More, a noted psychotherapist, remained at the top of the New York Times best seller list for several weeks. What the author claims is that the enfeebling malady of the 20th century, affecting us individually and socially, is what he calls “loss of soul.” He is speaking what the world should be hearing.

We care for the soul by honoring it, by living as much, or more, from the heart as from the head. When Christ is enthroned in the heart and life, the two worlds, the spiritual and the secular, are bridged. Sacredness then exists as much in the marketplace as in the monastery. By the grace of God all can live in both worlds, enriched within by His presence, and made influential for good in the challenging world without.

Arnold Brown, The War Cry