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Devotions for Life

Intellectual Honesty

“I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” (John 3:12 NIV).

The eighteenth century French philosopher, Denis Diderot wrote, “Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: ‘My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly.’ The stranger was a theologian” (1713-1784). He lost his faith and part of the reason was that the theologians of his day gave no freedom to explore new ideas, and that he was persecuted for his quest for truth. He was taught you had to have a blind faith to please God. Unfortunately, he became an atheist.

But what was he saying in this quotation? Wasn’t he criticizing the theologians for refusing to allow others to use the light they had to guide them in the vast forest of this world? I sympathize with Diderot although I believe the path he took was misguided, yet not without the help of foolish theologians.

We are blessed with good translations of the Bible, wonderful works on science proving the existence of God, and tools to research the Bible so that we don’t have to depend on “experts” to tell us the meaning of God’s word. You don’t need to “know Greek or Hebrew” if you know how to use a variety of Bible translations.

Today, we are freer to express our opinions and beliefs regarding anything and not fear being excommunicated as heretics. If Diderot lived today he could have seen God doesn’t demand blind faith, but intellectual honesty.

Blind faith keeps people under the thumb of powerful religious leaders. The Lord asks us to explore the adventures of faith. God says, “Come now, let us reason together. . .” (Isa. 1:18). Even Jesus said if you don’t believe Him, believe the works He performed that you might know He came from the Father (Jn. 10:38).

The New Testament also appeals to the fulfillment of prophecy relating to the coming of Jesus, His birth, death and resurrection. An intellectually honest person would see that these prophecies, such as Isa. 53, written hundreds of years before Jesus was born could not have been fulfilled by accident. God orchestrated time to bring about the fulfillment of those prophecies so that we might believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I challenge everyone to examine anything I teach or preach and show me where I am wrong, and if after studying what I’ve presented from God’s word and it is found to be true, I ask them if they are totally honest with themselves to obey it – not because I said it, but because it is God’s will.

We must follow the light we have, and more light will be given to us.

Hymn: “Send The Light”

Dear Father in heaven, give us more sincerity and honesty with ourselves and especially with You. May we be willing to change whatever is amiss, and to correct our thinking about anything You have taught us in Your word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Rob Redden, Arroyo Grande, CA (rredden604@aol.com)



Rod And Staff

Ponder: How can a rod and staff comfort me?

Scripture: “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4b, NKJV).

In his younger days, David had shepherded his father Jesse’s flock. As king, he was the shepherd of Israel. In both cases, his over-all performance was quite good. Still, this shepherd needed his own Shepherd, and the Lord was it.

Shepherds carried two wooden instruments. One was basically a big club to ward off predators. The other was a long pole, sometimes with a crook at one end. A shepherd used it to help him walk, especially in rough terrain. Both are mentioned in Psalm 23:4, but scholars disagree as to which Hebrew word refers to what instrument.

We might not immediately think of either as being an instrument of comfort; yet David said he was comforted by them. What would he have found comforting about God’s rod and staff?

First, there is the fact that God would protect him, just as a shepherd protects his sheep. David certainly needed God’s protection from his enemies – not only foreign armies, but treasonous subjects, including his own children! But he also needed God to defend him against Satan’s temptations. We need such protection too, do we not? “Let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them” (Psalm 5:11).

Second, knowing that God recognized him as one of His own would be of great comfort to David, as it should be to the people of God today. As the sheep went into the fold, they would pass under the shepherd’s rod/staff and be counted (see Leviticus 27:32). Even so, the Lord knew David and recognized him as belonging to Him, as a sheep in His flock. We still have this same assurance. Paul told Timothy, and by extension tells us, that “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19).

God’s rod and staff comforted David, and they still comfort us. We take enjoy the assurance that the Lord will defend us, and that He recognizes us as His own. What more could we ask?

Song: Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us”

Prayer: God of all comfort, we happily confess that You are the giver of all that is good. We are thankful that we can rest with the full assurance that You are with us, that You recognize us as Your own, and that you will defend us from Satan’s onslaughts. May we always be comforted by Your rod and Your staff. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Joe Slater (Justin, TX)
jaslater1954@gmail.com



Dress For Success

Text: “I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: My justice was as a robe and a
diadem” (Job 29:14 NASB).

The book, “Dress For Success,” was written as a guideline for proper attire,
especially when one is interviewing for a job or wanting to make a proper
impression as an ambassador for an employer. The idea is to always be respectably
presentable in the eyes of others. Sadly, as the book suggests, “Most Americans
dress for failure.”

God has a book which deals with many things, including how His children should
dress, both literally and spiritually. First, God wants us to clothe ourselves
in a respectful manner, in public. After all, we are representing Him.

God is not concerned with whether one wears a $500 suit or $50 jeans. Nor is
He concerned with how we dress when it comes to fashion or style. What He
is concerned with is that we dress modestly. “Likewise, I want women to adorn
themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair
and gold or pearls or costly garments” (I Tim. 2:9).

This verse, in principle, applies to men as well as women.

But, what is modest? One writer says, “If a woman’s heart is inclined toward
godliness, she will wear clothing that is neither provocative nor revealing in
public, clothing that does not reflect negatively upon her personal testimony
as a child of God.”

This includes such things as slits, low cuts, short shorts etc. I know that this
goes against the idea of “keeping in style,” thus choices must be made. Will one
dress to bring God’s approval? Or will one dress for man’s approval and in a way
that presents a negative testimony toward God?

Secondly, God is concerned with our spiritual dress.

“And put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and
holiness of truth” (Eph. 4:24). The NIV says, “clothe yourselves with the new
nature, which was created according to God’s image in righteousness and true
holiness.”

If we will clothe ourselves in righteousness, both our spiritual attire and our
physical attire will merit God’s approval.

Satan will try to confuse our thinking. He will tempt us to follow the current
acceptable styles as approved by man. The question is, “Shall we strive to
please God or man?”

Whether it is literal or spiritual attire may we determine, in our hearts,
that we will dress for spiritual success for God.

Are you dressing for spiritual success, or spiritual failure?

Hymn: “Beautiful Robes Of White”

Prayer: Our heavenly Father, we ask for wisdom and understanding of Your will
for both spiritual and physical attire and for the courage and strength to do
that which pleases You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Roy Allen Crutcher, Mount Carmel, Il.
racrgc@aol.com