SufficientSelf's Bible Study & Devotional 2.0

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“Abundantly Pardon”


“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7

Sin has cursed our world. It has destroyed families. It has sanctioned murder, and unspeakable injustices in our world. It has stained the consciences of man. It has broken up marriages, and destroyed trust among friends. It has destroyed what God saw that was good in the beginning. It has rightfully sentenced us to death, and punishment throughout eternity. However, this verse lays out a precious attribute of God in response to our sin. If the wicked and unrighteous repent or turn away from their sin, then he will have mercy on them. Not only mercy on them, but he will abundantly pardon them. What a glorious thought! We serve and know a God who not only pardons the sinner, but does in abundance. That means there is plenty for me, and plenty for you! Regardless of what the world says, we have all come short of the glory of God. We are cursed in sin nature. But God is merciful, and he will forgive us of our sins and trespasses. The sentence to death that fell on man becomes a sentence of life. For we just begin to live when we die. For to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Why? He will abundantly pardon. May the Lord bless you and keep you.
 

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“Preach the Gospel”


“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel; not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” 1st Corinthians 1:17

My beloved, now more than ever do preachers, pastors, and evangelists need to heed to the wisdom of the Apostle Paul. We need spirit filled preachers that are full of the Holy Spirit, and called by God to this gospel ministry. We don’t need a self-help message. We don’t need a new book or program. We don’t fancy slides, or all the bells and whistles. We don’t need the wisdom this world has to offer. We need men to stand up and preach the simple gospel message: Christ, and him crucified. We need preachers to seriously handle and rightly divide the Word of God. We need sound doctrine to be belted from our pulpits. We need men full of the love of God to stand and declare the truth of what God has done for mankind. We need our old fashioned prayer warriors to hit the altar. We need the name of Jesus lifted up. Why? The cross of Christ is the most effective message ever preached, and is the only hope for the sinner and the saint. The call still remains, preach the gospel!
 

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“For Now”

“Stand in awe, and sin not; commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” Psalm 4:4

We have no idea what it will be like to stand in the glory of God. Our physical bodies would die if we saw him as he truly is in his glory without our resurrected souls in a glorified body. “Stand in awe” evokes the entire mystery and beauty of standing and beholding almighty God. Why? His marvellous works. His perfect ways. His righteous judgment. His love to the unlovable. His truth throughout eternity. The realized plan of salvation. The beauty of a creation not cursed by sin. Everything about God is awesome and unspeakable-- all we can do is stand in awe! I won’t be able to speak, or reason it out. I’ll just stand, fall or kneel and behold him as the God of all creation. His very presence will drive away the forces of evil and darkness. When I am there, I won’t be able to sin. I’ll no longer be cursed. For now, I’ll strive to live right in his eyes. I’ll strive to enter in at the straight and narrow gate. For now, I’ll think and meditate on the word of God and listen for him to speak through the word. For now, I’ll commune with him in prayer. For now, the deepest thoughts of my heart will God know and comfort. For now, I can’t behold him in the awe of his glory, but one day I will “stand in awe, and sin not”.
 

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“The Good Shepherd”


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are the sheep of his pasture. We are needy. We are helpless at times. And, unless, someone stronger than us cares for us we will surely perish. A sheep wouldn’t last very long without the tender care of the farmer or shepherd. We would surely be destroyed without the watchful eye of the Good Shepherd.

The Good Shepherd loves his flock so much that he gave his life for the sheep. Why? It was the glorious plan of God to redeem mankind and to save a multitude for eternity. Our Shepherd loved us so much that he died for us. I have been saved 10 years, and I have not gotten over the fact that he actually died for me. What wondrous love he has for us. Jesus has secured a plan of salvation purchased with his own blood. Why? For the Glory of God.

When I am weak, he is mighty. When I am proud and puffed up, he is humble and kind. When I am tempted by sin, he is able to deliver. When I am unsure, he is steadfast. When I am unlovable, he is loving. When I am in need, he has abundance. When I am down trodden, he picks me up. I am a sheep, and he is the Good Shepherd.

We serve a wonderful, merciful, and loving savior. He is preparing a place better than this world for his children. He is restoring our broken, fallen nature. He is leading us on the only path of righteousness. He goes before us and fights the battle. He is with us in the bad times. He is with us in the good times. When death’s chilly hand is on us, the warmth of his embrace will be even sweeter. We have been blessed in so many ways. We are drinking from our saucers because the cup is overflown. We may experience trails and trouble in this life, but a brighter world than this is awaiting those who are in the care of the Good Shepherd.
 

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“His Workmanship”


“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath foreordained that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:8-10

Our salvation is the perfect gift of God. Many people all over the “denominational spectrum” have an imperfect view on the relationship of works to salvation. Some groups teach that salvation is faith plus works. Which, in my understanding, negates the work of Christ on the Cross. Others are satisfied if you pray a pre-written prayer and they never see you or hear from you again. Some will say that good people go to heaven.

The most Biblical understanding of works is summarized as this: works are the product of a lively faith. If your faith is real, and focused it must produce works. You’ll bear the fruits of the spirit in your life. You’ll have a greater desire to take part in worship, prayer, and service.

Paul tells the church at Ephesus that they (believers) are the workmanship created in Christ. How? Born again by the Spirit through the blood of the lamb. For what? Good works that God has foreordained for his church to walk in. The church of God (not the denomination) has been set aside from all eternity to be the light in a dark and dying world. The church is destined to do the works of Jesus Christ on earth. Which is to love our neighbors, serve one another, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and bring mercy and peace wherever we go. Why? To preach the Gospel of Grace in a lost, dying, and sin cursed world. The believer has been set apart for those good works. Not to save them, or earn any merit in salvation, but to be the evidence of the work Christ has accomplished in their soul. We are his workmanship.
 

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This is an old video of an old hymn sand in the old Southern Appalachian style. We call it "lining out"... Enjoy!
 
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