Monday, July 31, 2006

I Don’t Deserve This

Have you ever heard anyone say, "I don't deserve this!!" Or better yet, have you ever heard yourself saying “I don’t deserve this”? And you may be right, there may be times in our lives that we were treated wrongly, gone through situations that weren’t fair, that weren’t right.

We expect life to be easy, to be fair; and it doesn’t always work out that way. In 1970, there was a song sung by Lynn Anderson – “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.”

When we look around, we see people who are suffering for their wrong doings, and we may think that the thing they suffer from is what they deserve. For example, it is hard to think that a murderer does not deserve to spend time in jail. The guy at work who is always late and does a bad job probably deserves to lose his job.

deserve (verb) - To acquire as a result of one's behavior or effort: earn, gain, get, merit, win. To be worthy of; merit.

Psalm 28:4 - Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve.

We understand when it is obvious that “bad” people suffer for their actions.

BUT I DON’T DESERVE THIS - That is really quite a statement and it may be ABSOLUTELY TRUE.

The Bible is absolutely FULL of examples of people who did mot DESERVE what happened to them.

Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers; sold as a slave in chains; thrown into jail, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, and forgotten about for years after he helped the King. Did he deserve this? The answer is very easy “NO.” Genesis 39:2 says, “The Lord was with Joseph.”

Daniel was shipped off to a foreign country, thrown into a lion's den, and hated by those that he worked with while he served the King. Did he deserve this? Again, “NO.” But look at the result when he was delivered from the circumstance that he “Did Not Deserve.” Daniel 6:26 - I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end.

John the Baptist was beheaded. Did he deserve this? Again, “NO.” Luke 7:28 – “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he."

Paul was cast into jail, ship wrecked, stoned, and beaten with rods. Did he deserve this? Again, “NO,” Colossians 1:24 - “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.”

Our ultimate example: Did Jesus deserve to be beaten, whipped, stripped and then hung on a cross? NO, NO, NO! Hebrews 12:2 – “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured.”

None of these men DESERVED (earned) the treatment that they received; yet, even as great men of God, it happened.

“The undeserved circumstances, events, and treatment we face will either defeat us or develop us more into the likeness of Christ, depending on how we respond.”

“I have my rights” – you are absolutely correct.

Galatians 2:20 – “I 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.”

IT IS NO LONGER I WHO LIVES – YOU ARE DEAD to this world, YOU ARE DEAD to the way the world conducts itself. You are alive in CHRIST. You have rights, every single thing that the WORD of GOD tells us are our rights.

We have a different set of RIGHTS. Luke 6:27 – “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.”

And it goes on to list some of our other RIGHTS as a Christian. We are told in Romans 12 that we are NOT to conform to this world. We are to be a different people. How different?

Galatians 5:22 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control.”

It is really all about having the right perspective and the right attitude.

I have slowly been reading Foxe’s Book of Martyrs – A woman watched her child scalped and then beheaded. Then they took her, whipped her, removing patches of skin. Then when she would still not deny Christ, they heated an iron chair till it was red hot, sat her in it; and she praised God while she cooked.

Thanking and praising God – that is quite a testimony!

Stephen in Acts 7:59 – “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”

If we can keep a right attitude, we will not seek revenge on people.

Hebrews 10:30 – “For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. And again, "The Lord will judge His people."


Think about this -- Do We Deserve Salvation?

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Do we deserve to be called the Children of GOD?
Do we deserve to have a relationship with Almighty God, the creator of it all?
Do we deserve the blessings that HE gives us?
Do we deserve to have HIS HOLY SPIRIT dwelling within us?

I remember thinking how UNDESERVING of all this I was. It was during a praise and worship service in 1986 while I was attending Christ For The Nations. The presence of GOD was so real; yet with 2000 people around, it was just me and HIM. I began to cry when I realized Who I had been, who I was and who HE was. I did not deserve any of what He had given me. I didn’t deserve the love that HE had given me. From that experience, I have tried to keep an attitude of thankfulness. I could have died in 1975 in a car accident where I had been pronounced dead. I was not a Christian at that time. If it weren’t for HIS mercy, where would I be today?

I pray that each of us would always remember that, and that each of us would have an experience with Almighty God that would give us a true perspective of what we deserve.

James 1:2 – “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Today's devotion is written by my brother Tom.
He too is a minister, and loves to teach God's Word.

To contact Tom by E-mail:

To contact Jim by E-mail:

Friday, July 14, 2006

Has God Failed You?

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Deuteronomy 31:6

[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.   
Hebrews 13:5
Have you ever felt like God failed you in an area that you were believing Him to move in, and the outcome just wasn't what you expected from God or His Word (the Bible)?

Some people are so sure they understand every aspect of God and scripture and what He (GOD)has promised them, that they will THINK they can demand God to do something they ask for because they think it is a "clear-cut promise." They THINK they can just claim it and it must happen!

I have even heard people say things along this line, "God if you don't do this, based on the Bible, then you are a liar, and I will no longer believe in you."  While they say they are not being irreverent but holding God to His promises, I think it is quite an irreverent way for a "man" to talk to God.

There are promises in the Bible that I personally have stood on and they never came to past. Maybe it was for someone's healing, or for a job, etc, But you know if it doesn't turn out the way we expected, the fault is not with God being a liar (what a terrible way to think) but with our FINITE mind not understanding what God was doing in a given circumstance.

One thing is for sure God did NOT fail us. The bottom line is that we misinterpreted scripture and God's will in a given situation. 

I like the strong words found in Romans 9:20 " Nay but O man [MERE MAN IN COMPARISON TO GOD],
who art thou that repliest [ANSWER, QUESTION, DISPUTE, ARGUE, CONTRADICTS] against God. Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?"

Also we see the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY correct Job on this very attitude in Job 40:2 - "Shall he [Job] that contendeth [FINDS FAULT, ARGUES] with the Almighty instruct [HAVE THE ANSWER FOR] Him?..." Job saw how wrong his attitude was and in verse 4 properly answered the LORD with, "Behold I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I lay mine hands upon my mouth."

Boy can I relate to Job! I have needed to put my hand(s) over my mouth and repent of some attitudes and words I felt when God didn't do it the way I expected Him to.

Do you, for a moment, think God knew less than you what was best in a given situation, or why something happened and He didn't seem to intervene?

Do I have all the answers to all what happens around me and you? - NO!

But at least we need to NOT blame God or get upset with Him.

In the future when you stand before God and He reveals Himself in ALL your past situations, you sure will wish you had just trusted the LORD with that situation and just moved on!

We must realize our understanding of things is limited.
As I Cor. 13:12 states, "For now we see through a glass, darkly {obscurely, blurred]; but then face to face, now I know in part [fragmentary fashion, incompletely]; but then shall I know [fully, completely] even as also I am known."

Only in eternity, face-to-face with the LORD, will it all be crystal clear.

As we think on the words in today's devotion and the scripture passages referenced, let us look inside our hearts to see if we have have a wrong view of God and of those circumstances that we just don't understand. 

Today, by faith, GIVE them to the LORD and LEAVE them with the LORD, and MOVE ON with God's plan for you.

TRUST Him with them, and someday in this life, or more LIKELY in the life to come, He will make all those things crystal clear.

Just remember God has NOT failed you and He NEVER, NEVER, NEVER will!


Monday, July 03, 2006

Freedom To Be Free

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty [freedom] wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage". Galatians 5:1

In this passage, Paul is making a passionate appeal to the Christians of
Galatia to recognize the freedom they have by God's grace and to encourage
the Galatians to reject the false teaching of the *Judaizers. This was the
heresy Paul came against in his letter to the Galatians.  So many today fall
into a similar problem.  

* Note:
The Judaizers taught that Gentile believers could not be true
Christians unless they were circumcised and followed the Mosaic law.  

Interesting that we, as Christians, have liberty (KJV) or freedom
(Gk. eleutheria) to be free (Gk. eleeutheroo). Both of these words come
from the same Greek word "eleutheros".  This freedom happens at salvation.

You don't need to get FREE after you are saved, you need to learn how NOT
to put yourself under bondage of the law.

Why would such a statement even need to be said?
It was said to the Galatian Christians as they were having problems by
thinking of putting themselves under the law AFTER becoming Christians.

They got saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, and NOW they're trying to please God by keeping "the law" of the Old Testament.

Fellow Christian, this freedom is already yours.  
Please, do not allow legalism to come or stay.

When we put ourselves under the law, we are acting as a child who has no
freedom of action.  A child must follow a set of rules as prescribed by his
parents or guardian.
Why? Because he is not old enough to act alone.
When we get saved we are no longer under the guardianship of the law.
When we put ourselves under the law, we are like adults putting ourselves
under rules that were made for children.
Spiritually, as Christians, we are to be living in dependence upon the indwelling Holy Spirit. We should obey the LORD and His word; not because the law forbids us to do wrong and commands us to do right, but because we're led by the Holy Spirit; it pleases the Lord Jesus; and because of our love for the LORD.   

(Note for youth: You are still under your parents in the natural, but the Holy Spirit wants to direct your spiritual life, if you'll ALLOW Him.)

What Christ did cannot be coupled with performance to earn salvation. All righteousness came through Jesus Christ alone.  Any addition implies that Christ's sacrifice is inadequate, insufficient, incomplete and unfinished.

Someone who has been made free in Christ can still live in bondage; but it is
because they are allowing themselves to be deceived and they and/or others
are putting them into bondage.

When we try to follow the law to feel that we are acceptably walking with
God, we are attempting to earn at least "part" of our salvation ourselves. When we do so, we are declaring that Jesus is no longer our righteousness
alone, but Jesus and law (which is wrong). The law and grace for salvation are incompatible!!! We're saved by Grace ALONE, through FAITH alone! Not by any laws or of our own doing.

We are FREE!  Don't buy into the lie that you must earn God's favor.  Don't come under bondage to legalism, Jesus made you to be FREE.

I would encourage all of you to take the time to read Galatians as it is only
six chapters long and will prove to be an epistle that will bring freedom to
your life.

Also please know, this is NOT a license to sin, quite the opposite.
I am free to not sin!!! WOW!!!

Romans 6:1,2 states:
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer herein?"

When I got saved GOD changed my want too's.

Praise God I don't want' to do those things that would be against God or the Bible!

Thank you LORD for your precious setting me free through becoming a
new creation (II Cor. 5:17). That you LORD that I'm free from sins power over my life.  I will not allow myself to come under the bondage of  legalism
in any form. Thank you for complete freedom in my Christian walk.
In Jesus' Name! Amen!

If you don't have this assurance of salvation please write me ( or please go to: