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Showing posts from January, 2019
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Hear Pastor Rickey Lance's sermon on Romans 13 at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church of Murphy, NC.

Daily Devotional in Hebrews 6

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Daily Nugget:
In understanding this difficult chapter, it is important to understand one thing. “Therefore” in the beginning of verse one tells us it is continuing what was discussed in Chapter 5. That chapter ended after discussing those that were not growing in the things of God. Those people discussed previously should have been teachers (5:12), but instead were in dire need of the basics. In this chapter, it is talking about those people that had spiritual- growth problems.
The group of people this letter addresses were not growing in “perfection” (vs. 1). “Perfection” here is not saying that we can be perfect, as none can, we are just forgiven. However, these people were not moving on and understanding other spiritual things. They were not improving or “perfecting” themselves spiritually.

They were “stuck” in some of the things they had learned in Judaism. They were:

Not turning from their “dead works” (vs. 1) — the traditions and Levitical rites that were no longer for the church …

Daily Devotional in Hebrews 5

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Daily Nugget:
During Old Testament times, there were priests that served as mediators between God and
man presenting their prayers and sacrifices to Him. Before Moses, the priests’ duties were often done by the head of a household as did Job, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. During Moses’ day, God appointed priests from the Levite lineage, and this practice was intended to continue until the perfect priest came, Jesus Christ.

The old testament priests were not perfect. Their limitations were because:

They were ordained (“appointed by”) by men, although they were of an ancestry ordered by God (vs. 1). Not just any man could be a priest.They had to go to God with sacrifices and gifts (vss. 1, 3). The offerings were not a one-time gift. They had to be offered more than once. They were only temporary appeasements to a Holy God.The priests themselves were sinners. They also had to give an offering for themselves (vss. 2, 3).Soon the priesthood stopped. The sacrifices halted. Intercessory prayers …

Daily Devotional in Hebrews 4

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Daily Nugget:
Most know what it is like not to have rest. The constant working and daily activity can leave us tattered, harried, nervous, and without the peace we normally would have. The nine “rest”s mentioned in this chapter (found in vss. 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11) are speaking of a similar feeling one can experience when one does without another type of rest. In most of the references it is referring to a spiritual rest one has when they have done what the Holy Spirit had shown them to do. They no longer feel convicted, guilty, or oppressed by their conscience.

The rests referred to in this chapter are:

the rest God took after He created all in our universe (vs. 4), the rest one has when they are saved and have peace within their spiritual hearts, and the eternal rest all believers will one day have when they spend eternity with Jesus (vs. 9, 10).
Until a believer goes to his eternal rest, he is to work to please God. The “guidebook” to lead one through a life that pleases God is t…

Daily Devotional in Hebrews 3

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Daily Nugget:
One of the most dangerous conditions for anyone to have, Christian or non-Christian, is mentioned in this chapter. That condition is having one’s heart hardened (vs. 8). It is not referring to a problem with one’s physical heart. It is referring to the spiritual part of a person that has determined not to do what God had urged it to do. By refusing to do what God has shown it to do, it is directly disobeying God — a most serious situation!

To make it clear to the Hebrews, Paul reminded them what hard-heartedness cost their
forefathers in the wilderness. While in the wilderness, the Jews had a wonderful opportunity to follow God to a land He had reserved for them. By day, God led them in His direction by going before them in a column of cloud that stretched from heaven to earth. When it moved, they moved. When it stopped, they stopped. At night, it changed to a column of fire. Although they had many proofs of God’s helping them, they still doubted. Unbelief, the root cause…

Daily Devotional in Hebrews 2

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Daily Nugget:
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation: which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;” (vs. 3)

Many have heard the plan of salvation again and again. It has been heard so often by a GREAT salvation!
many, that it has lost its power and importance to them. It has been, for multitudes, commonplace and taken for granted. Too many have lost the wonder they once had when they first heard God’s message to them and learned what it meant. However, it still is

Salvation is great because of what it does. It is the only way any person will avoid seeing Hell. Our good works and deeds, religious rituals, or clean living will not pluck us from hell’s everlasting torment. Only the salvation offered by God will save us from hell.Salvation is great because it has saved countless souls. Billions have trusted in Christ’s finished work on the cross to pay for their sins and have been saved!Salvation is great because of its …

Daily Devotional in Hebrews 1

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Daily Nugget:
In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, he started off telling them who Jesus is. There are at least thirteen points he made about the Saviour, including:

Jesus was there at creation with the Father (vss. 1, 10). He made the worlds (vss. 2, 10).God has spoken to people through His Son, Jesus (vs. 2).Jesus is the heir of all things (vss. 2, 4).Jesus is the brightness of God’s glory (vs. 3).Jesus is the express ( to show by resemblance or copy) image of God (vs. 3).Jesus upholds (elevates) all things by His word (vs. 3).Jesus purged us of our sins (vs. 3).Jesus has finished what He was sent to do (vs. 3).Jesus is sitting at the right hand of His Father (vs. 3). God honors His son (vs. 9).Jesus is better than the angels (vss. 4, 5, 6, 13).Jesus’ throne is forever (vs. 8).Jesus loves righteousness and hates sin (vs. 9).Jesus will never change (vss. 11-13).
Jesus was not just a good man, as some cults portray Him. He is God in the flesh and God’s son at the same time. To deny Jesus is…

Daily Devotional in Philemon

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Today’s Nugget:
The letter (epistle) to Philemon is an unusual book as compared to the other New Testament inclusions. It is a personal letter to Philemon, a wealthy man and a laborer for Christ, who had church in his own house (vs. 2), from Paul. In it, Paul shares his concern to do right and his spirit to reconcile those that have parted ways.

Apparently, Onesimus was a runaway slave of Philemon’s. Onesimus ran to Rome, perhaps to hide his identity amongst the large population. There, the runaway met Paul, who was in prison. How they met in prison is not told. It could be possible that Onesimus was jailed for his running away, and that is how he met Paul.

Paul had the opportunity to lead this man to the Lord (vs. 10). It was not long until the two became good friends. Onesimus was a blessing to the now elderly, cold, imprisoned preacher. Paul had a great need of Onesimus, but there was something that was more important than the prisoner's comfort; it was doing the right thing.

F…

Daily Devotional in Titus 3

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Daily Nugget:
In advising Titus what he should preach, Paul defined how a Christian’s new character should be. A Christian should strive to not talk negatively about anyone, not fight with others, be gentle, and be meek (vs. 2).

Sometimes people that have been saved for a while agree that the Lord has changed them, but they forget how they were before Jesus made a difference in their lives. In verse three, Paul reminds Titus of what we used to do (vs. 3). Shamefully, we all have to nod our head in agreement that our sin was great before we were saved. We still, after we were saved, are not perfect; but God does change the believer.

These changes in our lives are not our doing. It is not we that did the changing without God’s help. For those that think they are a better person after they are saved because of their own doing, they are mistaken (vs. 5).

Many feel they have to “clean up” their life first and then get saved. The problem is we to begin with. Only God can change the inside of…

Daily Devotional in Titus 2

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Daily Nugget:
The world is unconsciously looking for reliable examples to follow. Because of that need for guidance, Christians have many eyes on them watching how they react in certain situations. If those observing eyes see them react favorably, it is a boon for the Christian beliefs and lifestyle. If unfavorable reactions are seen, it weighs negatively on other’s feelings toward Christianity.

Keeping this responsibility in mind, Paul reminded Titus how important it is for all Christians to make a difference in the community around them.

We are not just here to be saved, and soak up the goodness of God, but to be a testimony for Christ. Paul reminded three groups of their responsibilities. He addressed the:

Elderly men to “…be sober [calm], grave [serious], temperate [moderate in the indulgence of appetites and passions], sound in faith, in charity, in patience” (vs. 2). It is important for the older generations to help mold characters and temperaments. We teach most of the time by o…

Daily Devotional in Titus 1

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Daily Nugget:
In giving pastoral advice to another preacher, Titus, Paul shows us that we can often face what the early church had to be careful of. Early churches had to be careful of false teachers undermining the real work of God.

Paul’s warnings to Titus can help us identify some of the false preaching and teaching that go on in pulpits today. Some of the tell-tale signs of a “false preacher” include:

They are preaching things that they should not preach or teach. Perhaps some of what came from the pulpit was not even biblical, as happens too often in many pulpits today. Somehow what was said was often motivated by the preacher’s desire just to make more money for himself (vs. 11)Much of what was said ruined families. Perhaps unwise preaching brought division, rather than unity in families and caused problems (vs. 11). It may also have been doctrines that encouraged families to leave their church, and the result was that they stopped attending church altogether. Their having their …

Daily Devotional in II Timothy 4

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Daily Nugget:
The battle for living a godly life does not end when one is saved. It often just begins when one trusts Christ as Saviour; especially if one is determined to live an obedient, Christian life. Some succumb to the temptations of this world and lose their love for the things of God. Demas, spoken of in verse 10, was one such causality.
“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.” II Timothy 4:10

For a while, Demas was a faithful, fellow-laborer in Christ (Col. 4:14, Philemon 1:24) alongside Paul. Paul relied on Demas to help reach the lost. Like countless millions, however, the allure of this world caught his eye and lured him away from his main purpose in life.

Since I have been saved, I have seen many Demas’s. They got saved and started sitting next to us in a pew. They never missed preaching. When the doors of the church were opened, they were there. As the preacher preached, t…

Daily Devotional in II Timothy 3

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Daily Nugget:
Paul warns us that in the last days of the church, sin will be rampant. He lists 19 different sins (vss. 2-5). All of these iniquities have always been committed by individuals throughout history. In the last days, however, the commission of these sins will change civilization, and they will be committed without guilt or restraint. Although no man knows exactly when the Lord will return for His church, one has to admit that the prominence and rampant involvement of the sins listed in this chapter describe today’s spiritual condition very well.

One particular sin has done so much damage to the cause of Christ and Christian living. It may look Christian; it may use religious and Christian vocabulary. Perhaps it may even involve many doing things that are biblically correct, but it is very deceptive and dangerous. It is watered-down, liberal Christianity. It is a “… form of godliness, but denying the power thereof …” (vs. 5), and it is doing so much damage in the world toda…

Daily Devotional in II Timothy 2

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Daily Nugget:
One of the most important responsibilities all Christians have is to study the Scriptures forChurch is important, and one can learn quite a lot from the man of God in the pulpit, but it is up to us to study and learn what the Word of God says.
themselves.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Tim. 2:15

II Timothy 2:15 teaches us five things about studying the Word of God:

We get God’s approval when we think it is important enough to study what God has recorded for us in the Bible’s preserved words. Notice that the words God used are “study” and not “read”. We are to delve into it like we want to pass life’s tests and know God’s mind. It is the only source that will help us get through life’s difficulties and know more about the Father. Reading is a shallower, less urgent, and less purposeful approach of a subject. Studying takes time, rereading, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and a…

Daily Devotional in II Timothy 1

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Daily Nugget:
A parent’s influence is one of the most important guiding forces in a child’s life. Their habits and lifestyles often mold the direction of the young life in their care. Countless numbers of young people have lived a life of ruin because of their improper training, or lack of any guidance at all. Multitudes, however, have also lived a fruitful, content life because of the proper guidance from their parents.

Timothy, the young man to whom Paul was writing, was a product of a godly upbringing. Not much is said about his father, other than that he was a Greek, but Timothy had a godly heritage. His grandmother, Lois, started the chain of events that would affect several generations (vs. 5). She apparently got saved, and raised her daughter, Eunice, in the ways of the Lord. Eunice, in turn, raised her son, Timothy, with godly principles and upbringing. The result was a godly young man that God used.

A child always has a mind of his own, and can always choose to not obey and f…

Daily Devotional in I Timothy 6

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Daily Nugget:
Despite popular opinion, having wealth is not the way to happiness. Also, despite some
“religious” teachers, God does not necessarily want everyone rich. Wealth brings its own set of problems; many of them being spiritual.

The danger of having much is that with it comes many temptations (vs. 9). It is easy to covet more. Few wealthy people stop after reaching their initial goal of possessions. They often desire “just a little more”. Covetousness soon is a driving force in their life. It is not long after that a “love” for money develops, and that is where many get lost in what is really important in life.

Many say, “If I had money, I would not be tempted.” Although that is possible, look around and see what destruction having a lot has caused others:

Many put a priority on keeping what they have over spending time with their families and doing what is really important in this life. “I have to go to work this weekend to pay the bills for what we have.” Work becomes their m…

Daily Devotional in I Timothy 5

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Daily Nugget:
If you have ever sat in the front office of a church for any amount of time, you would find many coming through the door expecting a handout. Perhaps because the government passes out so much of other people’s money to them, they expect the church to do the same thing. Although many churches do help others, there is not a lot of scriptural basis for doing so.

As Paul said earlier in II Thessalonians 3, it is right for all that can, to work. In no way did he suggest to give charity to everyone as is done today.

To get a better idea of the early church’s view on giving, examine the restrictions that were given to one group of people they did try to help — widows. They did not just hand out their support to anyone that came through the door claiming to be a widow. To help them the widow had to be:

Unsupported, because she had no family to help her (vss. 4, 8, 16).A saved and godly women (vs. 5) known for a prayer life of praying night and day.At least 60 years old (vs. 9). Y…

Daily Devotional in I Timothy 4

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Daily Nugget:
Many of the problems the early church faced are very much a problem today. They had to deal with many that departed from the faith and followed “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (vs. 1). Being this is the “latter times” (vs. 1) Paul spoke of, today this problem is very present.

People, then and now claim to be Christians. They may be; they may not be. At first, they
make a profession of salvation and start doing something for the Lord. It is not long, and they are nowhere to be found.

Why did they wander away from trying to live for the Lord? They may not have been really saved and were only going through “religious” motions. If they were truly saved, then they are still saved; but they may have been “seduced” by demonic spirits.

Perhaps those spirits caused their feelings to be hurt, or offended their pride. They may have faced an overwhelming temptation and succumbed to it. There are thousands upon thousands of ways a man can be trapped in running the opposi…

Daily Devotional in I Timothy 3

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Daily Nugget:
This chapter describes the qualifications of church leaders: bishops and deacons. The bishop described here is not much like the ceremonial, denominational church heads that
we see today. That type of leader is not biblical. The ones described here are leaders of a local church. Nowhere does the Bible speak of a leader to be over multiple churches.

“Bishop” described here is the spiritual overseer and director of a local, assembly of believers. We would call him a pastor or preacher today.
Here we read of 16 biblical qualifications to be a pastor. They are:

Blameless. A pastor is to be above reproach with an exceptional, Christian testimony.Husband of one wife. The New Testament leader of a church should have one living wife. This also defines the leader as being male; as only men should (biblically) have a wife.Vigilant. He is to ever watch his flock to keep them from danger. He should be the warner of false doctrines and of the snares that often destroy Christian testi…