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I'm Brett Farmer! This is where I post my devotionals and Bible studies.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

He Will Never Leave Or Forsake you

Deuteronomy 31:6(NIV)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

I work in a fast food restaurant. And as much as we may like to think otherwise, food service is kinda predictable. And despite the appearance of chaos it can be boring. Unlike most nights at work, some of my coworkers and I had a reality check. A man accompanied by his large family came into the restaurant and placed a order that came out to be $70 in value. In the confusion that almost always manifests in a gigantic order like this, the 5 year old daughter of this man wandered into our playground and got left behind. She came out of the playground after falling and looking for comfort from her family, she realized her father wasn't there. It was tragic to see her face filled with sadness and fear. We did our best to comfort her and we gave her some food. Her father soon came to store having realized he left his child, and he scooped her up and gave her a hug.

In Deuteronomy 31:6 Moses is passing the torch to Joshua. And He gives Joshua one of the greatest advice a leader can receive. "Be strong and courageous....for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never you nor forsake you." Unlike the lost child in this incident there is no chance that God will accidentally forget us. He will always be near us ready at a moments notice. The same God who freed the people of Israel through plagues, parting the red sea, and sustained them in a dessert for 40 years was going to be with Joshua in the same way! And guess what, that is our God too!The same God who set fire to Elijah's alter is our God. The same God who helped david, young boy, defeat a giant is our God. The same God who used a Joseph who was sent into slavery by his Jealous brothers is our God.The same God who used Mary, likely teenage girl, to unfold His plan of salvation for all humanity is our God.

And the Bible tells us he will never leave or forsake us! In fact Jesus said in the parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14), that God like the Shepherd would leave 99 sheep to find 1 lost sheep. That is love beyond measure! So remember next time you feel scared and alone to be strong and courageous and not to fear because God is with you!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Trust and Verify

It's not uncommon to listen to my dad preach on Sunday, and challenge everyone to verify his sermon that day. To study the Bible and confirm, that whatever my dad says is God's message for his congregation is true and Biblical. Like, Ronald Reagan said, "Trust, but verify." These are the two questions I want to look at today. Is that statement Biblically correct and what does this apply to?

So, is it in fact Biblically correct to trust someone but to verify your trust? To verify what they say or do is Biblically correct before giving them your full trust? I say yes. In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus addresses false prophets, "Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves." (Matthew 7:15 NLTse) Jesus even continues and tells us how to know identify false prophets. "You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn-bushes, or from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." (Matthew 7:16-20 NLTse) So, what I believe Jesus is saying here is this. You can learn how to trust someone by the fruit they produce, their actions. How are we supposed to know the difference between good fruit and bad fruit then? The answer is the Bible! You can't know the Biblical definition of good if you do not know the Bible. If we continually strive to learn God's word, knowing when to trust people becomes easier. The psalmist in Psalms 119:11 encourages to hide God's word in our heart in addition in Psalm 119:105 the psalmist says "Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path". In other words, if we study the Bible and learn more about God and his laws and his love for us, the knowledge will help us know how God wants to guide our lives. This applies to knowing how to know to trust others. The Bible is God's blueprint for all of our lives. We can compare the way people act or what they say to the Bible and this tells us if we can trust them.

Now contrary to what some people believe this does not constitute judging. In fact, the often misquoted "Do not Judge others..." verse is in the same sermon and chapter of Matthew spoken by Jesus. The fact is this, you cannot pick out 1 verse and quote it out of context, you have to study the entirety of the passage. And in this case, most people quote the first half of the one verse. The entire passage is this “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye. “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. (Matthew 7:1-6) Contrary to popular belief, we are actually allowed to judge people, if we are willing to pay the price of being judged in the same way by God. We also are warned not to judge people on things we are guilty of. In fact, Jesus addresses this again in Matthew 18:15-20 and encourages us to lovingly point out sin to fellow believers.

Ok, so now we know, you can learn to trust someone by the fruit they produce. What does this apply to though? Well the context of Matthew 7 has to do with dealing with fellow believers and false prophets. I personally apply this to my Pastor, Sunday School teacher, your worship leader, or anyone proclaiming God's word. If it has to do with God and the Bible I want to verify it. I even apply this to myself: the songs I choose to listen too, the songs I sing in church, the blogs I post, and the way I live my life.

The most important person this applies to is yourself. I don’t want to unintentionally send an incorrect message to anyone by anything. Jesus also says in Matthew 7:21-27 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Just, because you say you love God and play the part right doesn't grant your name being in the Lambs book of life. You see, its more important to take all of these things and apply it to yourself. We must "Get rid of the Log in our own eye!", we can speak the truth and have the knowledge to see others good fruit, but, ultimately we must show others the correct message to teach and live through our lives. We should make this our prayer.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24
Don't take my word for it though, "Trust and Verify".