Category Archives: Devotional

Why I preach.

It is always a joy and a responsibility to preach God’s Word. And I have the privilege to preach each Lord’s Day at Cumberland Bible Church. I am grateful for the opportunity.

Not too long ago, a thought came to my mind: “Why do you preach?” It was a questions that I could not let go without answering it. So here is my answer.

As I prepared my answer, I noticed three distinct audiences to whom I preach.

My first audience is God, and therefore, I preach to please God. I preach to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and to honor God’s Word. I preach Christ!

My next audience is God’s people — Christians.  I preach to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. I preach to build up the saints in their faith. I preach to bring comfort to the afflicted, to lift up the downhearted, and to refresh the spiritually weary. Furthermore, I preach to bring conviction of sin and repentance. I preach Christ!

The final audience is the unconverted. I preach to reach them with the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that they may call upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save them from their sin, to bring them peace with God, and to give them eternal life. I preach that they may have life. I preach Christ!

It is amazing to think that one sermon is to accomplish all that is listed above. However, it is not my craftiness of speech or rhetoric that accomplishes the aforementioned tasks, but it is in preaching Christ that the Holy Spirit takes the preached word to accomplish His purposes of exalting God, equipping and edifying the believer, and evangelizing the unbeliever. I preach Christ! To God be the Glory!

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A thought that has been going through my mind lately is “yet ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2). Why is it that we do not ask God for the things that we desire? Why do we self-censor our prayers?

Jesus makes an extravagant promise about prayer. After the Last Supper, Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer. He tells them, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).

Later while they were walking to Gethsemane, Jesus tells them, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. . . .. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:5-7). Our fruit bearing will express itself in answered prayer: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you” (John 15:16).

As Jesus comes to the end of his final teaching with His disciples, he drives home his point. “And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 16:23-24).

Six different times Jesus says, “Ask and I will give it to you.” All of Jesus’ teaching on prayer in the Gospels can be summarized with one word: Ask.

Are you asking? If not, why not? Jesus says to ask, and He will give, that is an extravagant promise about prayer. So ask!

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Is God Worthy?

How worthy is the God you worship?

If you were to give God all your earthly possessions as a thank offering, would he be worthy of that?

If you were to serve God every moment of your life in selfless ministry to others, would he be worthy of that?

If you were to give your body to be burned at the stake of his name, would he be worthy of that?

If you were to find a hymnal and sing every song it contained a hundred times over to the glory of God, would he be worthy of that?

To these and hundreds of imaginary situations like them, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”

God is worthy of your greatest gift, your noblest act of service, your very life, for “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18)

Praise God for His worthy character!


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Happy, happy New Year !

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
unless the days are passed in thy presence,
in thy service, to thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids, every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith;
and give me a desire to show forth thy praise,
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbor,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my hears full of love,
my soul free.

Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.

May thy fear be my awe,
thy triumphs my joy.

Source: Arthur Bennett, The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975, seventh printing, p. 206.

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Resurrection of Christ

Was Christ’s physical body resurrected from the dead?

How you answer this question makes all the difference in the world. Without the bodily resurrection of Christ, you might as well tear up your Bible, fire the Pastor, and close your church because Christianity is false, and there is no hope for salvation and immortality.

The physical resurrection of Christ is the very capstone of our faith, and without it Christianity crumbles. For this very reason the resurrection of Christ is constantly attacked; and therefore, we must be equipped to defend this essential point by looking at both the biblical and historical record.

The Bible is jam-packed with references to the physical resurrection of Christ. For example, Peter declares that Christ’s “soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:31-32). John also declares, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

Furthermore, the confessions of Christianity are replete with references to the physical resurrection of the Redeemer — from early church history to the Reformation. For example, Cyril of Jerusalem thundered, “Let no heretic ever persuade thee to speak evil of the resurrection.”

Additionally, the characteristics of Christ’s body bear eloquent truth to his physical resurrection. Jesus invited his disciples to examine his resurrected body so that they would know beyond any doubt that it was His exact same body. “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have” (Luke 24:39).

Was Christ physically resurrected from the dead? Absolutely! Apart from this affirmation there is no Christian faith.

We serve a risen Savior!

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The growing season is here and the earth is coming into bloom. In order to get to full bloom, the vegetation must experience the process of growth. Much is the same for the Christian. Are you growing?

James tells us that we must “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22) .

The Christian must not come to God’s Word just merely for information to be learned, but he must come to it as life changing truth meant to transform.

So how does this transformation process work?

First, the Bible student must seek meaningful connections between the Bible passage and contemporary living; therefore interpretation always precedes application.

Application needs to be rooted in the central theme of the text. Once you understand the principle taught in the passage, then you can more easily apply the principle in your life in a way consistent with the Word of God.

The Bible is written in concrete not abstract words. It is written for real people. Application focuses on biblical answers to common issues.

Therefore, when you are looking to make application, then consider points that center around such matters as attitudes, conduct, character, and knowledge of God. Consider also the contexts of human relationships— marriage, family, employment, school, social life, recreation, the church, community, and nation.

Now that you have the application you must implement it. And Implementation requires you to take action.

Grow in Grace!

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Sovereignty of God

When you hear the term “sovereignty of God,” what is your reaction? What are your thoughts?

I believe that as believers we need to promote and exalt the sovereignty of God in every way that we can, because a proper understanding and appreciation for the sovereignty of God will absolutely change our lives and the way we see the world around us, and the way we respond to what takes place in our lives.

The doctrine of ‘God’s Sovereignty’ simply means that God is in control. God’s sovereignty is His absolute rule and control over all of His creation. Everything happens because He either DIRECTLY causes it or He consciously ALLOWS IT. Nothing enters history that does not come under the complete control of God. That’s what the Bible teaches about our God.

One way to understand God’s sovereignty is to believe that God has a “LOCK” on everything.




He KNOWS all things for His GLORY and our GOOD.

That’s a brief biblical summary of the doctrine of God’s sovereignty.

Grow in Grace!

(Thanks to Pastor Brad Bigney for his thoughts on the subject)

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Object of your Prayer

How would you characterize your prayer life? What is your attitude towards prayer? Do you tend to see prayer as the vehicle to Jesus, who is like some genie in a bottle that we command to give us our wishes? Do seek God’s hand more than you seek his face?

Some though provoking questions to evaluate your prayer life. Below is letter attributed to a Civil War soldier. This note was found on his dead body after the Battle of Gettysburg.

This soldier expresses God’s prayer priorities and the ultimate desires of the heart shaped by the Holy Spirit.

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
            I was made weak, that I might humbly learn to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
            I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
            I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
            I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
            I was given life, that I might enjoy all things
I got nothing that I asked for,
but everything that I hoped for
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered
            I among all men am most richly blessed.

Jesus doesn’t want to deny our desires, but as we seek His face, He helps us to remove the false objects of our affections so that we will have the greater blessings He longs to lavish on us.

Grow in Grace!

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Be an Example

Many Christians don’t know how to live the Christian life simply because they don’t have a role model to follow.

Are you being a good example to other believers? Does your life exhibit qualities that set the example for others to follow?

You might be thinking why do I have to be an example, and second, in what way am I to suppose be an example to others?

Paul in writing to Timothy commands him in 1 Timothy 4:12 that he is to be an example to other believers in his outer life and in his inner life.

In your outer life, you are to be an example in word and in conversation.

As an example in word. You are to be exemplary in your speech. You are to be honest and speak the truth in love.

Your speech is important because a person’s speech reflects what is in his heart. Your speech is to be encouraging and edifying. All types of  sinful speech must be avoided., such as angry speech, impure speech, and slanderous words.

Next, you are to be an example in conversation. Your life is to be controlled by the Word of God, and you are not to be an hypocrite.

The word conversation means conduct or manner of life.

Therefore, you are to be a model of righteous living who manifests his biblical convictions in every area of his life.

You are to be an example to other believers in what you say and how you act. You are to be an example with your lips and your life.

Paul continues to exhort Timothy to be an example to other believers. He turns from the outer life to the inner life.

First, you are to be an example in love. Biblical love is far different than the emotion our culture calls love. Biblical love is a self-sacrificing love. For example, biblical love is illustrated in in John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Literally speaking this verse means that are you willing to die for your friends. But figuratively speaking are you willing to give them your time? Love is to be the motivation for your life– first toward God and then towards others

Next, you are to be an example in spirit. This word simply means do you have an inner enthusiasm and the excitement of a child of God. Are you passionate about God? Are you passionate about your Christian life?

Third, you are to be an example in faith. The idea here is faithfulness. It means you trust God and are faithful towards Him. Do you have an unswerving commitment? Are you someone who can be counted on?

Finally, you are to be an example in purity. This means that you live your life in such a contradistinction from that of how the world lives, thus showing how truly a godly person is to live. It means sexual purity both in actions and in the intentions of the heart.

Will you be an example for others to follow? It takes effort in cooperation with the Holy Spirit, but the dividends pay off for you and for others.

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A Biblical Focused Mind

School is back in session, and it is time for the students to put their minds back into gear. But, spiritually speaking, is your mind in gear? Is your mind disciplined in its thinking or does it wander? You might be prone to answer, “You can’t really control your mind; it just goes where it wants to go.” And that answer would be wrong.

God has given us a leash for our mind in Philippians 4:8. In this verse, He tells us what our minds need to be focusing on. Our minds are not to wander but are to be disciplined. Simply put, our minds are to think on things that are virtuous and praiseworthy. But what things are virtuous and praiseworthy?

Paul explains those things that are virtuous and praiseworthy to be things that are

  • true

That which is found in God (2 Tim. 2:25), in Christ (Eph. 4:20:21), in the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), and in God’s Word (John 17:17).

  • noble

That which is worthy or respect. Believers are to think on whatever is worthy of awe and adoration, i.e., the sacred as opposed to the profane.

  • just

That which is right. And what is right is defined by God and his character.

  • pure

That which is not besmirched or tainted in someway by evil. It is morally clean and undefiled.

  • lovely

Those  things that commend themselves by their intrinsic attractiveness and agreeableness. They give pleasure to all and cause distaste to none.

  • of good report

That which is admirable; it enjoys a good reputation, such as kindness, courtesy, and respect for others.

So let’s focus our minds on the things that God would have us to think on so that we might experience joy in our lives.

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