David Virts

David Virts

Weekly Devotional

207, 2020

July 2nd, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: Revelation 9:13-16 Title: Numbers in Revelation

Question of the Day: What do we make of all the numbers given in the book of Revelation?

When we try to get a grasp on the death, destruction, devastation, catastrophes and cataclysmic events mentioned in this book, it takes our breath away. Many have tried to count the numbers of people killed compared to the population of the world today and have come up with a varieties of numbers. Let’s look at some of the references to numbers and some of the other comments given about people on earth during the tribulation and see what conclusions we can come up with.

In today’s text one of the various numbers in Revelation is given. Here is the text: “When the sixth angel sounded, I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the gold altar, which stands before God, which said to the sixth angel that was ready to blow its trumpet, “Cut loose the four angels that are in chains in the great river, the Euphrates.” The four angels that were unchained were loosed for one hour, one day, one month, and one year to destroy one-third of the people on earth. The number of the army that assembled was 200 million: and I heard their number given.” The following are some other numbers given throughout the book of Revelation:

Around the throne in heaven, mentioned in chapter 4, are four “living creatures”, twenty-four elders, One “sitting on the throne, one Lamb, myriads of myriads and thousands of thousand of angels, and in chapter 7 under the altar are the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God and for their witness, “a great multitude that could not be numbered” is mentioned, 144,000 fiery Jewish evangelists were commissioned to complete the Great Commission in chapter 7, and in chapter 14 after many events had transpired and many saints had been martyred, the 144,000 are listed—and evidentially not one of them is missing!

In chapter 6:8 we are told that the rider on the pale horse were given authority to kill one fourth of the people on earth with the sword, with famine, with pestilence, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

In chapter 8 the mention is made of seven trumpets, after the first trumpet burned up a third of the trees and all the green grass, after the second, one third of the fish in the ocean died and a third of the ships were destroyed, after the third trumpet one third of the waters of the world became bitter and many died, and after the fourth trumpet a third of the sun, moon, and stars had their light blocked from reaching the earth.

In chapter 9 the creatures that looked like horses with a scorpion-like sting tormented people for five months, and then in today’s text the number of the mounted troops totaled 200 million.

The number seven appears again in chapter 10 with the seven trumpet judgments, but no details are given (it must be very devastating and too horrible to describe).

In chapter 11 the two witnesses come to do their work, and when they are killed, their bodies laid on the streets of the city for three and a half days, and when they were resurrected and taken to heaven, a great earthquake destroyed one tenth of Jerusalem and 7,000 people were killed in the quake.

In chapter 12 Satan is thrown down from heaven and the people of Israel who were godly were protected for 1,260 days while Satan tried to destroy them.

In chapter 14 three angels gave their judgments and “one like the Son of Man” came to harvest the earth and destroy those who gathered for that great battle. In chapter 15 there were seven angels who, in chapter 16, went forth to pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on those who had taken the mark of the beast.

In the next chapters the wrath of God is poured out on Babylon and that “great city” is wiped out in one hour.

When we get to chapter 19, the Rider on the White Horse comes and wipes out the rest of the nations and the peoples of the world who have taken the mark of the beast—and all who had taken the mark of the beast were killed (chapter 14:11; 16:2; and 19:20).

The bottom line is this: from the numbers given it seems obvious that all of the people who had received the mark of the beast during the tribulation period were eventually wiped out—and that includes every non-believer. And that is how God concludes the judgment on this world as we know it today. There are more judgments later just after the nations of the world gather together for one last battle after the millennium and then there is the Great White Throne judgment in which all unbelievers are cast into the Lake of Fire. And it is then we will fully understand the judgment of God men who have rejected the gift of salvation and on all the demonic angels. We will understand fully what it means to have the wrath of God poured out and to see His holiness shine and dominate the universe—both the new heaven and the new earth. The numbers are staggering; the devastation overwhelming and complete; and then the judgment of God will be complete.

Prayer: O God, when we look at the advanced copy of the prophecy of what will happen in destroying the sin and wickedness of this world, we are in awe and stunned at the wiping out of all evil and the eternal punishment of those who have rejected You. We are sobered by this staggering information! Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

2506, 2020

June 25th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: Revelation Title: Judgment Using God’s Tools

Question of the Day: What tools does God have at His disposal to bring judgment on mankind?

Of course the short answer is everything! But here we are looking at Scriptures at the tools that God has used in the past to bring man into judgment. Since the time of the Great Flood of Noah man has been told over and over and in many different ways that God can and will judge man for his sin and rebellion and rejection of His Son, Jesus Christ. We can look at many of the prophecies of events that are yet coming up in the rapture, the tribulation, and on through to the end of the millennium when in various judgments and in various ways every man must give an account of himself to God.

As we center our attention on the book of Revelation, we find that the book outlines to us God’s plan to unveil His Son in two major ways: first as The Final Judge, and then as The King of kings and the Lord of lords. The book starts out giving us a glimpse of how Jesus will be unveiled in chapter one, and in chapters two and three His treasured position to the church. As He is unveiled He also gives scathing rebukes to the churches and shows us that believers are not immune to the severe discipline, corrections, and even judgment of His own children. They too must be judged from the perspective that they too must finally have sanctification completed in each life if they are going to live up to their billing as “God’s holy children” and to fulfill God’s expectations to them to be so saturated with the righteous character of God that they are forever finally holy, completely in body and soul and spirit, as He is holy.

In chapters four and five we have a scene that was shown to John in his vision of the command center of the universe, and what is happening in the throne room of God in His holy temple. John was allowed to see God the Father sitting on His throne and Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, standing at His right hand. Jesus Christ has always been the One commissioned to be the final Ruler of all and the Head of His body, the church, and here He is revealed in all His glory and the bottom line is this: all will fall at His feet and be subjugated under His direct rule as the rule of the devil and man’s failed rule of this world comes to a screeching halt. To do that the first thing that must be accomplished is this: those who are wicked must be fully unveiled for who they are, given a last chance to repent, and then wiped out completely. To accomplish that death and destruction come in wave after wave of famine, pestilence, wild beasts, and man killing man.

Here are some of the “tools” in the hand of God available to Him to use to bring about the destruction and dismantling of man’s failed rule here on earth under the tutelage of the devil: massive earthquakes, famines, pestilence, men killing each other, stings from horse like creatures let loose from the Abyss which give scorpion-like stings to unbelievers, that is, people who don’t have the mark of God on their foreheads, thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning, seven different references to earthquakes (seven times they are mentioned in Revelation alone), destruction of all trees and grass, death and destruction on the seas and oceans of the world, pollution of all the water on earth, sun moon and stars darkened (probably with the eruption of super volcanoes or something like that from the hand of God), drying up of the mighty Euphrates River, fire breathing horses that kill 1/3 of mankind, the judgment that came after each of the seven peals of thunder the destruction of which was so bad John was forbidden to write it down, the destruction that came from the plagues that the two witnesses brought as they wreaked havoc on the whole earth—like shutting up heaven so that there will be no rain, heavy hail (weighing up to 100 pounds!), the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood that the dragon spewed out of his mouth to try to completely wipe out Israel, painful bore-like sores, fire that scorched people, darkness that made men gnaw their tongues for pain and anguish, violent great earthquakes that made ever island flee away and brought down every mountain, Babylon destroyed in one hour with a great fire, and finally, when Jesus steps out to take His rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords, fire comes out of His mouth and destroys all that remain of His enemies! And that is just what is mentioned in Revelation!

While judgment is coming on this earth, believers who have been saved down through the centuries, both in earth and in heaven, are mentioned. It is interesting and instructive to note that several times this world will be judged for how they have treated believers—especially when they persecute and/or martyr them. In fact, God lets man have one last opportunity to repent by sending out 144,000 fiery Jewish Evangelists to give men a chance to repent, and many do, but sadly many do not and defy God and curse Him for the judgments. The bottom line is this: when The Final Judge is finished judging mankind and wiping out all unbelievers who have taken the mark of the beast, He then will take His rightful place, coming down on the Mount of Olives and reigning for 1000 years. Judgment complete! Reigning begins!

However, there is one more tool that God has in His arsenal to judge mankind: The Judgment Seat of Him who sit on the Great White Throne and, with His penetrating eyes and keen judgment coupled with His awesome power, He will judge all those who have ever lived and rejected His Son. They will be judged according to their deeds—the worst being rejecting the gift of eternal life that was offered by His grace, and then they will be banished forever to join all the demonic spirits—including the devil—in the Lake of Fire to be judged forever and be a trophy of the wrath and anger of God against all sin and sinners. For them that is the end, and that is where judgment for all unbelievers will end—forever, and God has the tools in His hand to make that happen!

Prayer: O God, it is fearful to even think of all the tools that You have in Your hand to judge all of mankind: You know every word spoken, every thought thought, every deed done, and every motive that will be yet exposed. My trust is fully in You and what You have done for me on Calvary to usher me into Your presence forever to begin the “eternal life” phase of my eternal existence! Amen! David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

1806, 2020

June 18th, 2020|0 Comments

Since God owns it all, how can I take care of what He gives me?
 

 Scripture Text: Luke 16:10-12 Title: The Boss’ Money?

Question of the Day: Would God trust me with wealth if I don’t use my boss’ money wisely?

Jesus used many illustrations from everyday life that cause us to stop and think, and then to instruct us on how to properly relate to others. In this section about the proper use of money, Jesus mentions how we treat our boss’ money and the things that he provides that are not ours. Here He talks about being faithful in small things, and then answers the question many of us would like to know the answer to: Why doesn’t God trust me with far more riches?

Today’s text says: “A person who faithfully handles a small matter will also be faithful in more responsibility; and the person who is dishonest in a small matter will be dishonest in a bigger matter too. If you can’t be faithful with financial matters, who would trust you with true and eternal riches? If you weren’t faithful with another man’s money or things, who will give you what will be your own vast riches?”

First Jesus acknowledges that money (here referred to as mammon) is “unrighteous”. Many refer to money as “filthy lucre”. Money can corrupt a person quicker than you can blink, and in this section Jesus cautions us to be very careful with its use. We are urged here to be faithful or trustworthy and just in our use of material things that belong to others. When we use the resources entrusted to us by our boss with care and for the purpose that he allowed us to use them, then we have learned step one in taking care of what belongs to others.

I remember in my first job on a construction site when I got to use a company pickup or tool or piece of machinery I thought, “what if this thing breaks?” or “what if the boss sees me doing this or that with his pickup?” With those thoughts coming to me, I was being urged to do what is right, learn to treat other’s property as if it was my own, and thus I was learning to be “faithful and just” as Jesus instructed us to do.

Jesus’ point is further amplified in His statement: “If you can’t be trusted to properly handle temporal things like money, then can you be trusted to handle the true eternal riches of God?” Do you know someone who seems to break things all the time—especially things that are not their own? Not only is that carelessness, but it is a test from God to see if we are ready to be trusted with handling more “things” and “money”.

The bottom line is this: Am I faithful and just and careful with what others have entrusted me with to make their business prosper? Then God is ready to give me more and more responsibility with eternal riches because I have taken the temporal things of this world and used them properly to serve Him. If I serve money or wealth, I will end up poor; but if I serve God and use the things entrusted to me with care, accuracy, and being faithful, then I am doing what God expects from me. So the boss’ money can be used to teach me how to handle money God entrusts to me!

Prayer: Lord, help me to use the temporal things of this world carefully as a test from You to see if and when I am ready to handle the eternal things and its riches. Help me to focus on being faithful, just, and accurate in handling everything—from my boss’ resources to the things that You have entrusted me with. Amen!

1106, 2020

WEEKLY DEVOTIONAL

June 11th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: Psalm 108:3-5 Title: Introducing God!

Question of the Day: What does it mean to exalt God in worship and praise?

We live in a strange world: God is everywhere around us because He is a Spirit being, and His Holy Spirit is omnipresent—just as God the Father is; yet this world acts as though God does not exist, and the way that they describe the events of their lives and the world around them, one would think that God really doesn’t exist. Then we come to the task of believers: to introduce God to the world around us. So how do we do that?

King David wrote today’s text: “I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among all people, yes, I will sing praise to You among all of the nations because Your steadfast love is so great toward me—it is higher than the heavens and Your faithfulness reaches all the way up to the clouds. So be exalted, O God, in Your place high above the heavens, and may Your glory be seen all over the earth. That way Your beloved children will be rescued. Show us Your salvation by Your right hand and answer the cry of my heart!”

When a believer walks into a room, who walks in with him? Of course, God walks in with him because He indwells every believer. So what happens when a believer walks into a room or into a situation wherever he his? It is as though the presence of God has an immediate impact on the surroundings of every believer whenever they encounter people. This author is acquainted with a man who took a rather low-level job in a restaurant. He never came in a proclaimed with a loud voice that everyone needed to listen to the gospel and repent, but all he did was to speak highly of God often in conversation. Like this: “Isn’t this a great day that God has made? The weather is good today.” Nothing more was said, and when at work he rarely witnessed to people, yet when they were about to tell a dirty joke or swear, they would turn to him and apologize. Now why would they do that? I believe that it is because they were aware of the presence of God in that person’s life, and they were affected by it.

It is fascinating to hear how many people in our world today try to shut God out of everything: those who report on severe storms never say anything about God who created the storm; those in psychology and psychiatry try to explain man’s problems without dealing with man’s number one problem: sin; those who are scientists rarely give God credit for the massive amount of things that we have learned about our world and our universe; many schools and universities have shut God out a long time ago, and refuse to believe He the truth of His Word; and newscasters rarely mention God and the vast store of absolute truth that is available to explain world events.

So, if they have shut God out, how do we bring Him back into the conversation and into the world that we live in so that people will again be aware of His awesome presence? David informed us in this psalm to “exalt the LORD above the heavens and let Your glory, O God be over all the earth.” Yes, God must be exalted in our world “high above the heavens”. Does man naturally exalt God high above the heavens? We exalt Him by giving Him the praise and honor and thanksgiving and adoration that He deserves. Then David went on and said to “let His glory be over all the earth!” And how is the glory of God over all the earth? Does man attribute what is happening in our world to the God of creation and the God who sustains this world? It is up to believers to keep in front of our world the facts about God’s existence and His involvement in our everyday lives. When we do, and when we are the salt and light of the world by bringing Him into everything we do and say, will we ever be able to convince our world as Isaiah said in Isaiah 6:3, “The whole earth is full of the glory of the LORD”? Could it be that one reason this world is so dark is because we don’t speak up and let the world know of our great God? The believer lifts high the name and reputation of God and exalts Him above all else—especially all the gods of this world. That is our number one job! That is our mission!

Prayer: O God, You have given each of us an awesome task of making You known to this world. We see evidence of Your power and glory every day, but does the world around us know because we speak up? We are reminded of the words of Psalm 107:2 where we are urged to, as the redeemed of the LORD, just to “say so”. Help us to let this lost and dying world know of the living and true God! Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

406, 2020

With Father’s Day coming up… it is good to reflect on the great love of our heavenly Father

June 4th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: Luke 15:11-24 Title: Father’s Day

Question of the Day: Fathers: would you give your rebellious teen son a large sum of money to blow?

We are all familiar with the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, so let’s recount some good lessons from it. The thing that impresses me most about the story is the father, and, of course, this becomes the great picture of our heavenly Father. First, the father gave the son, when the son insisted, a large sum of money, knowing that the son was young and restless and rebellious, and hung around with the wrong friends. Would you do that? Note that the father didn’t just give the kid a credit card and send him away and keep paying the bills all along; he gave the son a large sum of money—the total of the son’s inheritance, knowing what the son would do with that money.

Then the father didn’t run after the son or threaten him or demean him when he went away from home to “a far country”. In fact there is nothing mentioned in this story about a huge barrier to the son’s returning home—no conditions or threats that had been made, in fact nothing that would keep the son from returning home with a repentant spirit. Here are some more things we can learn from the father in this story:
1. He was willing to give his son his share of the inheritance—even though he knew that the son was young, immature, selfish, and arrogant, and would soon blow it on “riotous living”.
2. He released his son to his own sinful and willful and arrogant lifestyle, and it is never says here that he tried to hold back his son.
3. His father had plenty of hired servants, and took good care of them, so the son knew that if he went back home, he would be well fed. It is interesting to note that it was hunger that brought the son to his knees and back to his father.
4. His father was ready and eager to hear the repentant speech of his son; yet the son never got the whole speech that he had prepared out before his father stopped him.
5. He was so eager to see his son he gave him a royal welcome—even watching to see when his son was to return, and ran and embraced him.
6. The father smothered the son with love and affection—so much so that the son never got all the way through his repentant speech. His love and affection so overwhelmed the son that he forgot his full speech and his heart, which was already humbled, was now overcome with acceptance and joy because of his father’s reaction.
7. The father could tell without one word being spoken that the son, who he was eagerly watching for, had a broken spirit, and so he poured out so much love and affection that the son began to be restored and healed quickly.
8. The father waited to hear just one word from his son: the word “father”! And when he heard that word, then love and compassion just flowed. Actually, the father showed a lot of eagerness and compassion before the son had a chance to say a word, and isn’t that just like our Heavenly Father?
9. Since the son knew his father, he knew that if he ever returned home, he would have to have a repentant heart since he had blown all of his inheritance on “riotous living”.
10. The son also knew of no barriers that could keep him from going home: no “I told you not to blow that money on careless friends”; no “get out of here and don’t ever come back”; no “don’t come back until you have changed dramatically (because the father—like our Heavenly Father—knew that when the son came home he would have to humble himself greatly and be at the end of himself)”; and no other unwelcome thoughts that would make the son never to return.
11. The father cut his son’s speech short. By now he knew his son’s changed attitude, so he turned to a servant and gave instructions to have a huge “welcome home” party for him—you know, the fatted calf and all the trimmings.
12. The father gave the command to “eat and make merry”—just the two things the son needed right then to feel the most loved and welcomed home.
13. To the father, the son had been lost and dead; but now he was still alive and was now “found” in that he had returned home, and that was a cause for a great celebration. No wonder it says earlier in the story of the lost sheep and the lost coin that there is great celebration in heaven when one sinner repents!

So this story is packed with good information for us fathers as we can only imagine what it was like for this father to welcome his son home, and to have set such a good example for us to follow.

Prayer: Thank you, O Father in heaven, for Your great love when I was lost, dead, and rebellious. It was Your great love that drew me back home to your loving embrace and gave me incentive to return home for a great celebration and feast—and what a feast it has been for these 50+ years since I came running home. It overwhelmed me at first, and it still overwhelms me to think of all that You have yet prepared for me throughout eternity. I love calling You, “My Father!” Amen!

2805, 2020

May 28th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: Psalm 108:1-6 Title: Love and Faithful Question of the Day: When my heart is fixed on God, what am I specifically to be fixed on?

When we enter the presence of our great God, we think many times of a few things that dazzle our thoughts about all the things He is and has done for mankind—from giving us life to giving us eternal life forever in eternity. But as we travel this earth, what can we, as King David did, focus on that we keep coming back to as the most important things in our earthly existence? We could marvel at His creation, His knowledge, His vast understanding and wisdom, the fact that we cannot comprehend Him, and so on, but while here on earth and living in the grip of a world that is bound by sin and sinful people, that is not the most important thing for us to “fix our heart on” (as King David said it).

Here is today’s text: “My heart is fixed on You, O my God! I will sing and make a melodious song to You with all I have. So wake up, stringed instruments, and together we will wake up the dawn. I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among all people, yes, I will sing praise to You among all of the nations because Your steadfast love is so great toward me—it is higher than the heavens and Your faithfulness reaches all the way up to the clouds. So be exalted, O God, in Your place high above the heavens, and may Your glory be seen all over the earth. That way Your beloved children will be rescued. Show us Your salvation by Your right hand and answer the cry of my heart!”

Once again in this psalm King David was overwhelmed with praise and thanksgiving to the LORD. And why was David insistent on having his heart fixed on the LORD in song? He was overwhelmed with the steadfast love of the LORD for him: in fact he proclaimed what it was “great above the clouds”. Men for centuries have tried to describe the height of God’s love for example in songs like “The Love of God”. Many reasons come to our minds when we ponder this great love: one is that He has redeemed us from the jaws of destruction; we all know and feel so undeserving of that love; His love stays with us; His love tells us so much about Himself, His mercy, His grace, His kindness, His forgiveness; it is His love that rescues and restores us when we have gone astray; and, because the LORD describes us as His sheep who need so much care, He is constantly demonstrating to us that care.

So how high is God’s steadfast love? How high are the heavens? David proclaimed that the steadfast love of God is higher than the heavens. We could try to measure how high the heavens (the universe) are scientifically and never get an answer. But Scripturally the point is this: His love is high enough to cover the sinfulness of fallen man for all of eternity! Now that is great, high, steadfast, and overwhelming love!

Coupled with our feeling of being overwhelmed by His love, we are taken back with His faithfulness. He is faithful to forgive us (I John 1:9), to be kind and good to us, so show us His great love, to rescue us when we are in trouble, to allow His love to quiet our hearts, and to always be there for us. When we think of all the character qualities of God that mean so much to us, it must be these two thoughts: The LORD shows us His love and mercy, and in His grace He saves us, and to poor lost sinners, this is the greatest news of a lifetime. And then coupled with that, the fact that He is always there for us! David specifically said that God’s faithful character “reaches to the clouds”, which means that it is quite adequate to cover all that we will ever need for all of eternity.

Our assurance that our God is faithful is worthy of our contemplation often: what if His love and mercy only lasted for a few hundred years, or for 10,000 years? We would live in fear and dread every day of our lives of what He would yet do to us someday, but when we are told by His authority that He will be there for us forever, now that is a double dose of good news! And so it is His overwhelming and steadfast love coupled with His faithfulness that made the music in King David’s heart really zing! In fact, he was determined to tell everyone everywhere about those two character qualities. I wonder how I will see His steadfast love and His faithfulness today!

Prayer: O God, my heart too is fixed on Your love and faithfulness. These two character qualities are two that I must develop toward others as You have demonstrated them to me. Keep me mindful of them today, and ready to pass them along—even in song—to others. Amen! David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

2105, 2020

May 21st, 2020|0 Comments

Wickedness Silenced!

Scripture Text: Psalm 107:33-43

Question of the Day: What will it be like to have the wickedness in our world silenced forever?

We live in an evil wicked world: the world around us is full of corruption and decay; the governmental systems that run our countries are corrupt; it seems that everything from the music industry to the movie industry to the news networks to the school system is corrupt, and to make matter worse, inside each of us—even us believers—is enough evil to destroy our own lives. Yet we have been spiritually born again and have begun a process that will thoroughly clean us up—this is what the Scripture calls “sanctification”, yet we wait for God to step into our world and clean it up and straighten up all that is crooked and judge all that is evil and to land us safely all cleaned up and righteous before God in His presence forever as His holy children.

But for now we must live in this evil corrupt world, and in today’s text the psalmist give us a clue as to some of the things that will happen when the LORD straightens out this world: “It is He (the LORD) who turns rivers into deserts, springs of water into dry parched ground, and productive farmland into a salty wasteland—and all because of the evil of those who live there. He can also turn a desert into pools of water and dry parched land into a place where there are springs of water. It is in these places that He lets those who are hungry live, a place where they build a city, plant fields and vineyards and reap a bountiful harvest. By His rich blessings they are productive and He does not let their cattle herds diminish.”

“But all of that productivity will be diminished and decimated when He allows oppression, evil, and sorrow to come your way. He will take the rulers and bureaucrats and scold them and make them wander in desert wastelands, but He will bring up those who are needy out of affliction and their families will be as numerous as a well taken care of flock of sheep. Those who are upright will see when this happens, and wickedness will have its mouth closed. So the person who is wise needs to attend to these things and consider carefully the steadfast and overwhelming love of the LORD.”

Note the restorative things that the LORD does: He turns desert wastelands into productive land; He brings water to dry places; He causes His children to flourish; when He blesses His children, they become very fruitful; and yet when He destroys the wicked who have been in authority in governments, He brings them very low and at the same time raises up the needy and downtrodden. The attentive believer will see these things and know that it is the steadfast love of our God that has set the books straight and, without that love covering our lives, we have no hope at all. Wickedness will be put down: righteousness will prevail!

Prayer: O God, when evil things happen to us believers here on earth, it hurts us greatly. We can’t see how You will ever set straight that which is crooked and make righteous and holy all that is evil and corrupt as You, the Final Judge and the One who brings righteous living to this world is established as King of kings and Lord of lords—and for that we wait! Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.” It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

1405, 2020

Weekly Devotional

May 14th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text:  Hebrews 11:8-10  Title: Eternal City

Question of the Day: Since believers are to live in an eternal city, the New Jerusalem, why do we begin our existence confined to a world full of sin?

Imagine this: beginning your existence in the New Jerusalem with all of its glory and splendor, living with the second person of the trinity, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior providing the light for that city, and living with people who are righteous and holy, having never known sin and rebellion!  WOW!  What a treat that would have been, and what would we have missed here on earth?   We would have no sinful past to put behind us, no understanding of the holiness and righteous character of God, and no knowledge of redemption.  Then what if God had put us down here on earth with the free will to sin if we wanted and follow Lucifer in rebellion, and we had the opportunity to turn away from all the glory of heaven and the New Jerusalem that we had been used to.  What a contrast between the two, and so we come to the question of the day: why did God chose to have us be born into a world of sin and rebellion and then offer us the gift of salvation?

In a previous devotional we considered how believers long to live in that new city, the heavenly Jerusalem, to be in heaven with God and have access to the temple of God and the worship ceremonies there, and to be free from sin and rebellion once and for all.  Here are a few thoughts from Hebrews about that:

Hebrews 11:8-10: “By faith Abraham obeyed when God told him that He would be living in a place, and it would be his to leave to his descendants, and so he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he lived in the land of promise, in a foreign land in tents with his son Isaac and his grandson, Jacob, who were also heirs of that same promise.  How did he do that?  He was actually looking forward to a city with massive permanent foundations whose designer, architect, and the One who built it was God Himself.”

Hebrews 12:22-23: “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the Jerusalem in heaven, to the place where an innumerable company of angels reside, to the huge gathering of those who have been born again who now live in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all of His creation, and to the spirits of all believers who now live in heaven and have been made perfect and complete.”

Hebrews 13:14: “You see, this world in not our permanent place to live, but we are looking forward to that city which we will yet live in forever.”

So what would we have missed if God had chosen to let us live in the New Jerusalem first and then sent us to earth?  First, we would have no clear picture of the holiness of God.  The main reason for God’s creating the angelic hosts and mankind is to demonstrate to all of His creation that He is a holy God (and thus the consistent contrast throughout Scripture between light and darkness), and then to make it possible for mankind to experience His grace and love in buying them back from the slave-market of sin.  Second, we would have missed the thrill of gathering in eternity with millions whose lives have been touched by God’s grace, and who have made the choice to accept the gift of eternal live, offered by God’s overwhelming love—with full knowledge that not one of us deserved such an existence.

Then we would not have been able to see the ultimate outcome of those who chose to reject that love and grace, those who chose to rebel against God even though they were created in heaven and have access to all that we hope and long for, and to see them all cast forever into the lake of fire!  When we see that, we will understand the wrath and anger of God against all sin and rebellion, and the impression will be indelibly there for all of eternity.

And finally, we would not have lived a life here on earth full of faith, hope, and love:  by faith we accept all that God has promised us—both here and in eternity—and receive the gift of eternal life even though we live in sinful bodies and await their transformation, and by faith we believe all the things that have been promised us for all of eternity; we live in hope because what we see in this world is nothing compared to the glories of heaven, the privilege of being with our Lord Jesus Christ forever, living in a new body, the righteous life we can live; and we would know nothing of the love that come from a heart of gratitude having been transformed by the power of God, and the One who gives us the ability to love others—including ourselves—who are very unlovely.  It is by looking at these facts that lets us know that God’s plan to have us born into a world of sinners, being a sinner ourselves, but giving us the opportunity to be transformed by His amazing power into creatures of righteous living and people who know what it is to have an overwhelming love for our great God!  All of this prepares us for that Eternal City.

Prayer: O God, the more we know of Your perfect plan of redemption and of Your eternal plan for us, the more we marvel and anticipate eternity with Jesus Christ.  We can now worship and praise Your wonderful name, but we look forward to having redemption complete and worshipping You unhindered by the sinful body in which we now live.  What a great time it will be to worship You with all of our body, soul, and spirit and joined by the entire heavenly host for all of eternity!  This city, the New Jerusalem, will be a city that explodes with praise and worship to You, and to You alone!  Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611. 

705, 2020

Doctors and patients are pawns in a dangerous political brinkmanship

May 7th, 2020|0 Comments

Front-line physicians treating patients with SARS-CoV2/COVID-19 are seeing an alarming, escalating, orchestrated attack on chloroquine (CQ) and its safer derivative, hydroxychloroquine (HCQ). Both medicines have been safely used in millions of patients worldwide for malaria prevention and treatment since FDA-approved for safety and effectiveness in 1934 and 1955, respectively. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists CQ and HCQ as “essential medicines” because of safety, effectiveness, low cost, and wide availability.

 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself has published guidelines on its website: Hydroxychloroquine can be prescribed to adults and children of all ages. It can also be safely taken by pregnant women and nursing mothers.

About side effects, CDC says: “Hydroxychloroquine is a relatively well tolerated medicine. The most common adverse reactions reported are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and headache. These side effects can often be lessened by taking hydroxychloroquine with food. Hydroxychloroquine may also cause itching in some people. All medicines may have some side effects. Minor side effects such as nausea, occasional vomiting, or diarrhea usually do not require stopping the antimalarial drug.

On duration of use: CDC has no limits on the use of hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of malaria. When hydroxychloroquine is used at higher doses for many years, a rare eye condition called retinopathy has occurred. People who take hydroxychloroquine for more than five years should get regular eye exams.

NOTE: CDC guidelines for use in malaria do not even mention the fatal heart arrhythmia hyped in the fear-mongering articles in the media. Rheumatology guidelines for HCQ in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) do not require a baseline EKG to check heart rhythm, although doctors might order one before prescribing HCQ if needed for a patient with heart disease. SARS-CoV-2 itself, which can damage to the heart, may be responsible for some heart problems now blamed on HCQ.

So, CDC has said CQ and HCQ are safe and well tolerated for years to prevent and treat malaria. FDA later approved HCQ for treating lupus and RA, with millions taking much higher doses over decades, not days.

When used for COVID-19, successful worldwide treatment protocols recommend low dose, short duration (5-7 days) hydroxychloroquine early in the illness to help reduce severity and rate of spread, and reduce hospitalizations. Why the firestorm against HCQ to be used for 5-7 days in COVID-19, when it is used for decades at higher doses in Lupus and RA? It simply makes no medical sense.

Critics claim we have “no evidence” for use in coronavirus. They willfully ignore that we DO have data from 2002-2005 showing HCQ has potent antiviral action early in the illness of SARS-CoV. Why dont FDA, CDC, WHO, Dr. Fauci, the American Medical Association, and most media tell you about this?

Dr. Fauci, FDA and CDC have up to the minute, country by country data on number of cases, number of deaths, and number of deaths per million population. Their failure to allow, and even encourage, physicians to offer HCQ as an option to COVID-19 patients early in the disease is causing more deaths in America compared to countries using HCQ at the earliest onset of infection. Draw your own conclusions from some examples as of April 27, 2020:

The differences are stark. Patients in Third-World countries, where these inexpensive, long-established remedies are used early, when HCQ is most likely to be effective, are dying in far lower numbers than patients in the U.S., where politicians and entrenched bureaucrats interfere with physicians medical decisions.

India, Brazil, Israel, Costa Rica, South Korea and other countries are also using HCQ as prophylactic therapy to help keep doctors and nurses from becoming ill caring for COVID19 patients. Governors in 46 of 50 states prevent US doctors and nurses from access to this option for their protection, ignoring success in multiple other countries.

US physicians are restricted by FDA and many Governors to late use of HCQ in seriously ill hospitalized patients, which has led the US to higher complication rates, longer hospitalizations, more deaths, and devastating economic damage from the prolonged shutdown.

Our FDA, CDC, governors and state medical and pharmacy boards imply that “off-label” prescribing for HCQ in COVID-19 is illegal or fraudulent. Off-label simply means a new disease use different from the one originally approved. Politicians and FDA bureaucrats are causing serious damage over-ruling long-standing FDA regulations that allow doctors to legally prescribe any approved medicine for a new use.

Dr. Fauci, who has been directing the US pandemic response, has failed to report any of the many positive basic science and successful clinical outcomes results from the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries. Why?

Dr. Faucis focus has been that we need to wait for a vaccine to safely re-open the country. Why? He knows vaccines take months to years to develop. Surely he is also aware of the safety issues of vaccines rushed to market without adequate testing.

Political brinkmanship and hidden agendas –political or financial or both–are a dangerous and deadly game. HCQ is not a panacea, but it IS saving lives around the world.

The right to preserve our life is our most fundamental civil liberty enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution.  Doctors, nurses, patients, and civil rights attorneys must fight back with every tool at our disposal. We need to take legal action against agencies and Governors working against the public interest.

We do not have time to waste. People are dying. Our economy is dying.

705, 2020

Is Christ’s Kingdom near?

May 7th, 2020|0 Comments

  

Scripture Text: Luke 17:20-21 Title: Finding Gods Kingdom

Question of the Day: When do we need to start getting ready for Gods Kingdom?

Many people today have the idea that when Jesus Christ, the Messiah, comes and sets up His kingdom, then Ill jump on the bandwagon and follow and support Him and make it happen. But this cuts across everything taught in the Scripture. Jesus taught much about Gods coming kingdom, and here He points out the most significant thing about it.

The religious leaders of His day were always hounding Jesus, and it seems that as He neared Calvary, they were getting more and testier and more demanding. Heres what todays text says: “About this time the Pharisees demanded of Jesus to know when the kingdom of God would be coming; so He answered them, ‘Gods kingdom doesnt come by our just looking forward to it, or watching events unfold as it nears. Nor can you say, ‘Look, here it comes! or ‘Look, there it is! because the kingdom of God starts within you.’”

Many today want to wait till the Messiah shows up, and then decide whether He is true or not and follow Him and thus bring in the kingdom. But Jesus told them several things about Gods coming kingdom:

•  First, it is Gods kingdom, and He decides when and where and how it will come.

•  Second, Gods kingdom doesnt come any faster by knowing a lot about it and observing it come. We spend a lot of time thinking about whether Jesus Christ is returning soon to set up His kingdom, and we are told to watch and be ready; but if we wait to get ready until Jesus shows up, then we are too late.

•  One cant point to a sign and say, “Here is an indication that it is here!” Or “That is another sign that it is very near!”

•  Then Jesus makes a startling statement: “Gods kingdom starts within you!” From the rest of Scripture we know that when a person responds to Gods voice and His calling and bows their heart and life before God, they are born again, and Walla, the kingdom of God is right there inside you! Man is always looking for a coming monarch to set up a kingdom, and then they want to chose to get on His side; but Gods kingdom is made up of people who a long time ago accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, were born again, and now live and walk by the Spirit of God, and when Gods kingdom comes, we will already be part of it!

This puts Christs coming kingdom in proper perspective. When we are born again, Gods kingdom has already begun in you, and whether you die and go to heaven and then return with Him, or are here on earth when He comes, you are already part of His coming kingdom. But if you wait to decide until He actually comes, you may not make it through the holocaust that precedes His coming as all of His enemies are wiped out! It will be too late then to decide!

Prayer: Lord our desire is that everyone around us prepares their heart and is ready when You come with Your kingdom—and to be ready we must already be born again and waiting for Your return. Prepare my heart so that I am ready and “looking up” and watching and keeping my life pure so that when Your kingdom comes, Ill be there and fully ready to be part of Your great coming kingdom. Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

3004, 2020

Do those in heaven know when a person is saved, and can they see what is going on here on earth?

April 30th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: Luke 15: 7, 10, 32 Title: Angels rejoice!

Question of the Day: Why do angels rejoice when one sinner repents?

Jesus pointed the answer to that question in the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost prodigal son. He spoke it plainly in verse 9-10 when He said that the woman gathered her neighbors together to celebrate with her when she found one of her precious valuable coins that had been lost. “She said to her neighbors, ‘Rejoice with me for I have found the piece of money that I had lost. Jesus then commented, “Similarly, the fact is that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God when each sinner turns from his sin to God.’”

In eternity past God created a large number of angels to do His bidding and to demonstrate His power as a Spirit Being. It seems from what we know that He created them all at the same time, and that they dont procreate like human beings do. When God made the human race, He created two people—one male and one female—and from those two everyone was born, and their sin passed on down to each person born throughout the years. But with the angels, it is indicated in Scripture that God created all of the angels, and at that time they were all “good angels,”that is, they were free from sin. But there came a time before man was created here on the earth that Satan decided to “…be like the Most High God…” and to rebel against God.

When that rebellion took place, the Scriptures also indicates that one third of the angels decided to follow the devil and thus came to be “the demonic spirits,” or demons, or devils. Some of them now have access to heaven (that should be a surprise to us!), many of them come down here and help the devil carry out his dastardly and rebellious lifestyle, and finally there are a certain number, who because of their evil nature are confined to the bottomless pit.

So when a sinner repents on earth, the angels of God in heaven are aware of this great event, and break out in rejoicing. But why do they rejoice? They rejoice because at that point that human being has gone from following the devil and his evil ways, and have started on the road to sanctification—or becoming holy like Gods “holy angels.”The Bible three times refers to the good angels of God as “holy angels,” and why? Because they have never sinned, and evidentially will never throughout eternity join the rebellion against God and sin. They had one chance when Satan rebelled, and they chose to remain true and loyal to God and not join the rebellion—and that is why they are called “holy angels.”

So when we repent, become born again, and a child of God, we join their ranks because they can see the end product—we will one day stand before God all cleaned up and without sin—forever! Even now believers are referred to as “saints” or “Gods holy children.” What a great thought! No wonder the angels rejoice!

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the example of Your “holy angels” to us as we can see that it is possible to live free from rebellion and joining the devil and his ranks in an outright rebellion that leads them ultimately to the lake of fire. No wonder there is such joy in heaven—and will be great joy throughout all of eternity when the devil is cast out, and all of us join the “holy angels” in worshipping a God who is holy and must be worshipped as such. We worship You for Your holiness—indeed it is beautiful! Amen!

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

2304, 2020

Psalm 107:4, 7, 36 Title: City Dwellers

April 23rd, 2020|0 Comments

Question of the Day: Why does man have a passion to live in cities?

Many of the cities of the world are crowded, somewhat dirty, filled with people bustling here and there and a place where one can’t seem to get alone and away from all that city life brings.  So why would anyone want to live in a city?  Why are there such huge cities in this world—some of them over 20 million people?  Why do people seem to flock to a city and want to live there so bad?  Part of the answer is that we are social creatures and desire to be around others; but then others can be cantankerous and even dangerous to be around, so why do we want to live in a city?  Let’s look at some of what the Scriptures teach us about the passion to live in a city.

Here is today’s text: “Some of us have wandered in desert places looking for a city to live in.”  “Then He led them in a straight path toward that city that they longed to live in.”  “It is in these places that He lets those who are hungry live, a place where they build a city, plant fields and vineyards and reap a bountiful harvest.”  The psalmist is recounting how some had wandered in desert places hungry and thirsty and looking for a city, and when they cried out to the LORD He led them in a straight path to a city to dwell in.  These verses tell us about  those who had lived before the writer of the psalm wanted to live in a city and end their hunger and thirst and have a secure place to live.  The cities in those days were for the most part walled cities that offered some protection from invading armies, but they were eventually penetrated and broken down; but people still look forward to living in the protection of a city.

Here are a few verses from Hebrews that tell us a little more about the passion to live in a city:

Hebrews 11:8-10, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (ESV)  Abraham, the man of faith, was content to live in tents because his faith told him that he was looking for a city to come, a heavenly city.  Our treasures are neither in this life nor what this life can offer us; faith that is worth anything is firmly planted in eternity. The city we all long for is neither in this life nor on this earth; it is a heavenly city, and it is in that city like that where our deep passions are fulfilled.

Hebrews 12:22-24, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (ESV)  The heavenly city that is mentioned here is an eternal city; a city that is not here on earth.  This is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, or as the book of Revelation tells us, the New Jerusalem.

Hebrews 13:13-14, “Therefore let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured. 14 For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”  (ESV)   There is no city on earth that can satisfy our deep longing to live in a city.  Our passion is to seek a city to live in, the city which is to come.

This discussion would not be complete without a reference to the New Jerusalem mentioned in Revelation 21:1-4:  “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and  the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  (ESV)  Now that is a city that we all want to live in!  It is in that city that we will find total contentment and satisfaction—and it is because it is the city that God has prepared for us.

Prayer: O God, You have put a passion in our hearts for a city, a place where we can live where we will be totally protected forever, where our needs will always be fully met, and a place where all the pain and suffering of this life will finally be over, and this will be the pinnacle of our existence.  We love being part of Your eternal city where Your Son will light the city and where we will all be able to worship You unhindered.  Amen!

 

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

1604, 2020

We all return to our Father often when we have been away!

April 16th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: Luke 15:11-21 Title: Prepare to Run Away?

Question of the Day: What can a parent do when a teenager gets restless and rebellious?

Jesus stories have some of the most interesting insights. For example: if you have a son or daughter who is in their teens—or younger–and is getting rebellious or restless, what can you do to ensure that when they get to the end of their rope in a faraway place, that then they will return to you for help when they are ready to get their lives straightened out? Lets listen to the familiar story of the prodigal son and see what it was that brought him home.

“Then Jesus concluded with this story that He was familiar with: ‘There was a certain man who had two sons. The younger of the two said to his father one day, ‘Dad, give me my inheritance, now! So the father divided his inheritance and gave the younger son his share. A few days later the younger son gathered all of this possessions and moved a long ways away, and began to live a carefree life, carousing with his buddies—just living it up. And when he had spent all of his money, God sent a great famine after him, and soon he was destitute and living on the streets. So he hired himself out to a citizen of that area, and was given the job of slopping the hogs and herding them as they rummaged through the fields looking for something to eat. As he watched the hogs eat, he longed to be full eating anything—even the husks that the hogs were eating, but no one gave him anything to eat.

“Then he got up and went home to meet his dad. But to his amazement his dad saw him coming a long way down the road, had great compassion on his son, and ran to meet him, wrapping his arms around him and welcomed him home with an embrace. Then the son began his prepared speech, ‘Dad, I have sinned greatly against God and done wrong before you, and am no more worthy to be called your son. But the dad said to his nearby servants, ‘Run and get the best outfit available for this boy and get him properly dressed, and put the family ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet; then get that fat calf that we have been preparing for this occasion and butcher it and prepare a feast—lets celebrate! Here my son was as good as dead, but now I find out that he is still alive! He was long gone from home, but now he is found. And they all rejoiced and enjoyed a big feast.’”

The father had done many things right years ago or his son would never have returned. The boys memory told him that his dad always had plenty to eat; that he would need to humble himself and his dad would take him back; that he had been demanding and wanting his own willful way; that he had been raised to know that sin was ultimately against God; that he was now worthy only to be a servant; he was keenly aware that he had sinned against his dad; and he had a hunch that his dad would accept him home and at least give him a job and feed him.

Dont these things instruct a parent on how to prepare a rebellious son or daughter hopefully for their eventual return home? We must ask ourselves what we can do as a parent to raise a child properly so that if they ever did run away from home with a haughty demanding attitude, that when they got to the end of the rebellious road of life, they could come home and at least have enough to eat, and at best they could be restored to full status as the “son”. The fathers reaction to the sons return had been prepared long ago by what the he had done and by the relationship that he had developed with his son. Isnt that what our Heavenly Father has done for all of us?

Prayer: Lord, prepare our hearts as parents to make sure that the door is always open for a son or daughter to return home should they ever go off into rebellion. Help us to put You at the center of our homes and the thoughts of our children, and treat them respectfully in such a way that, even though we hate their rebellion and haughtiness, they are always welcome home! Father, thank You for being that Parent to us, the One who wait so long for us to return to You in humility and seeking forgiveness. Amen!

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

904, 2020

God’s Love to the Rescue!

April 9th, 2020|0 Comments

Question of the Day: What does God’s love do to rescue His children when they are in deep trouble?

From beginning to end of this psalm the writer chronicles the many things that God’s love does for His people and His children.  Just look at this amazing list and compare it to what you have gone through in your own life: isn’t His love totally overwhelming and amazing?

O God, help me to be aware of Your steadfast love that touches my life every day:

When I feel Your presence, I feel Your love; when You guide me, it is Your love that guides each path that I take.

When You pick me up when I am down, it is Your love that lifts me up,

When I am down and discouraged, I am encouraged because I know that it is Your love that does it.

When my enemies attack me and You come to my rescue, it is Your love that I see in action.

When I see the godly life of other believers, I am encouraged by seeing Your love in action in their lives.

When You supply my every need, I see Your love providing for me.

When I see the wicked people of this world put down and defeated, it is Your love that rejoices my heart.

When Your blessings are showered on me even though I don’t deserve it, it is Your love that sends them my way.

When I am hungry and thirsty, it is Your love that gives me food and drink.

When I long for a city to live in where I will fell completely at peace, it is Your love that has provided a safe haven for me.

When the storms of life are made to be quiet peaceful waters, it is the command of Your voice motivated by Your love that came to my rescue; when I meet with fellow believers and together we lift a song of praise to You, I am constantly reminded of Your uplifting love.

When I cry out for help when in trouble and distressing situations, it is Your love that answers my cry and delivers me.

When I am sick, it is Your love that brings healing to this old sin-cursed body.

When I sing songs, the theme of them is always Your steadfast love.

When I am in a dark damp prison, it is Your love that rescues me and breaks the bars of the prison and sets me free.

When my heart is bowed down with hard labor in prison and I fall down and there is no one to help me up, it is the Your steadfast love that brings me out of that mess.

Even when I have rebelled against Your Word and spurned Your counsel to me, it is then that Your steadfast love seeks me out and brings me back home,

When I have wandered from place to place on earth as though I am lost, it is Your steadfast love that tracks me down,

And when my soul is faint and weary, it is then that Your steadfast love comes to my rescue and lifts me up.

Need we say any more?  How long is your list?  It is psalms like this that make us so thankful to our God and ignites our hearts is praise to Him!

Prayer:O God, in this psalm You showed us how to make a list of all the things that we can be thankful for, and at the top of that list is Your steadfast love. We praise You because we feel Your arms of love around us daily.  Thanks for keeping me in the bull’s eye of Your great love!  What a rescue Your love brings to Your children!  Amen!

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping —a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

204, 2020

Difficulties and Relief!

April 2nd, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text:  Psalm 107

Question of the Day:Where do our difficulties come from, and how do we relief from them?

Any honest person will tell you that the difficulties that they found themselves in, were of their own making, because most of the problems that we face in life are self-inflicted wounds.  And if it were left up to our own strength to get out of the difficulties, we would be bound by our mistakes for all through our lives.  In this psalm the writer points out to us the role that God plays when we find ourselves in troubled circumstances.  Yes, many of our problems and difficulties are of our own doing, but what is God’s role in helping us get out of those problems?

In this psalm the writer speaks of four types of difficulties that people find themselves in.  He began each section with the word “some”; which indicates the various scenarios and difficulties we are in: some were hungry, thirsty, and faint; some lived in the dark and cramped confines of a prison; some suffered from the results of their own sinful foolish lifestyles which brought them near death; and some lived in dangerous situations like sailors out on the oceans facing the violent storms of the sea. What is interesting is that the same pattern emerged from each of those situations.  Here is how it played out:

First, here is an outline of the sections of this psalm:

Verses 4-9, some of us were hungry and thirsty and faint.

Verses 10-16, some of us lived in darkness and were imprisoned.

Verses 17-22, some of us suffered because of our foolish sinful ways, and were near death.

Verses 23-32, and some traveled across dangerous seas and nearly drown; they found themselves in highly dangerous situations.

And here is information that we need when we get into those difficulties:

Each situation that people got themselves into was of their own making.  Some had rebelled against the word of the LORD and turned away from His counsel, and because of that, they now found themselves in places where they faced death.

For those who rebelled, the LORD visited them with hard labor until they fell down with no one to help them up.

In that desperate situation they were hungry, faint, thirsty, bound in prison, suffering from their own mistakes and missteps in life, and because they defied death in dangerous circumstances.

And it was in that condition that they realized that there was no way out.

And it was also in those desperate circumstances that they finally in anguish “cried out to the LORD, and He delivered them from their distress.”

Then God intervened on their behalf and they witnessed first-hand His overwhelming and steadfast love and His many means of delivering them out of that situation where they faced death.

Then the LORD satisfied the longing soul, filled the hungry soul with good things, led them back into the straight and narrow way until they reached their desired destination, brought them out of darkness and chains, sent them His Word and healed them, delivered them from certain destruction, stilled the dangerous storms they were in, and brought them to their ultimate destination.

In each of these sections and in the opening verses of this psalm believers are urged to praise the LORD because they have been rescued out of their perilous situations.  They are urged to thank God for two things: first His steadfast and overwhelming love in rescuing them, and then to exalt Him for the fantastic things that He did to rescue them.  These rescuing tactics of the LORD are called the “wonderful works to the children of man!”  Every person who has experienced salvation has a testimony of the fantastic miracle that God did in their lives in bringing them out of “darkness and into His marvelous light”.  And, since we have been redeemed, we must “say so”.  And what must we tell people about?  Six times throughout the psalm the writer mentions the “steadfast and overwhelming love of the LORD”.  There are many things about our great God and the miracles that He does in guiding us, protecting us, keeping us on the path of righteous living, strengthening us for each day, and so on as he pours out His love on His beloved children.  There are enough things that the believer will experience throughout all of eternity to keep us telling forever about the steadfast love of our God!  We may not face difficulties forever, but we will experience again and again His steadfast and overwhelming love.

Prayer:O God, Your steadfast love brought us into the body of Christ, and it is Your steadfast love that will keep us each day throughout all of eternity.  We feel so undeserving of Your love, but we are so thankful for it—and will be thankful throughout life and right on into eternal life—the life that Your love has promised us.  Difficulties may be short lived, but Your love will last forever. Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

 

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping —a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

2603, 2020

Just come and drink!

March 26th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: John 4:10-14 Title: Water or Eternal Water

Question of the Day: What are the main contrasts that Jesus was giving to the woman at the well about “water”?

We all know about the importance of water in our world, and that there is good water and water that isnt fit to drink—like salt water—but one thing about water, you have to drink it daily to maintain good health. Since Jesus was at Jacobs well, weary, and thirsty, it was only natural that He spoke to the Samaritan woman about water. Water sustains life; water purifies; water makes things in our world grow; and water is absolutely essential for physical life here on earth. So how did Jesus contrast that with what He called “living water”?

Here is todays text: “About that time a woman from Samaria came to the well to draw water, and Jesus asked her a favor, ‘Please give Me some water to drink, By this time His disciples had gone away into the nearby town to buy some food. The woman said to Jesus, ‘How is it that you, being a Jew, asks me, a woman of Samaria, for a drink?She said this because the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew about the gift of God, and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him to give you living water.’”

“The woman replied, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw water with and the well is very deep, so how could You give me that living water that You speak of? Are you a greater person than our ancestor Jacob who dug this well for himself, his children, and his herds of cattle? Jesus said to her, ‘Anyone who drinks the water from this well will get thirsty again, but anyone who drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst again, but the water that I give him will be in him a well of water springing up that will be to him life forever.’”

Jesus immediately brought up the subject of water when He asked the woman for a drink. This surprised her because the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, and this request raised the curiosity of the woman. Jesus answered her question by bringing up the gift of God—salvation—and then introducing Himself as the One who could give her “living water”. The woman was hung up on the physical (and arent we all until we have been spiritually born again?) Then she asked Him a fantastic question: “Are you greater than our father Jacob…?” She had no idea who she was talking to.

Jesus informed the woman about the spiritual water that He gives, and that the spiritual water will make it so that the person would never thirst again. Then He went on to inform her that the water of life that He gives will become a fountain of life that constantly springs up to eternal life. What a great offer! Now the woman was ready, but Jesus gently had to tell her about her need, not just for physical water, but for spiritual cleansing from her sin—“You have had five husbands and you are now living with a man who is not your husband.” What an embarrassment to her, but at the same time, what a revelation!

At the end of their conversation Jesus gave the woman a brief lecture on worship of the Father, and then introduced Himself to her as the Messiah, and the woman immediately believed. How do we know? She immediately wanted to tell others about it, she left her waterpot there (remember now, Jesus was thirsty and needed a drink), and went into the city to bring the whole town out to meet Him. Mission accomplished! Many souls came to believe in Him and came to drink of the “living water”. This was the “spiritual water” that Jesus wants to give every person!

Prayer: Lord, thank You so much for the living spiritual water that You offer to all of us, and that we have had the privilege of drinking from. We now know that we will be drinking forever from that living water because You gave it and You have taught us to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. Living eternal water—what a gift for dry thirsty souls! Amen!

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

1903, 2020

Revelation 9:1-6 Title: Restricted Power!

March 19th, 2020|0 Comments

Question of the Day: How far can demonic powers go to touch believers on earth?

From one of the oldest books of the Bible, the book of Job, we find that the Adversary (Satan) seeks to destroy and disrupt the life of believers on earth, and is allowed into the presence of God to get permission before he can do anything to those believers.  This fact has given a lot of comfort to believers down through the centuries.  They have been aware that they were fighting the Adversary often through prayer, through living a godly life, and through spreading the Word of God around the globe—especially when they are involved in spreading the gospel that can set men free from his domination.  As we look through various other passages of Scripture like Zechariah 3:1-2, I Kings 22:19-23, as well as in today’s text, we find out more and more information about the devil’s restricted power.

In today’s passage we read: “And when the fifth angel sounded off, I saw a star fall from heaven to earth: and to this shooting star was given the key to the bottomless pit.  And when he opened the bottomless pit, smoke came out of the abyss like the smoke from a huge furnace, and the sun was further darkened because of the smoke.  And out of the smoke came locusts on earth, and they were given power like the sting of a scorpion.  And they were given orders not to hurt the grass, trees, or any other vegetation, but only those men who did not have the seal of God in their foreheads.  They were not given authority to kill men, but only torment them for five months—like the sharp stinging pain of a scorpion.  In those days men will wish for death, but they won’t be able to die; they will want to die, but death will escape them.”

When the fifth angel blew his trumpet, a star fell from heaven to earth, and to this star (the text says, “he”) was given a key to the shaft of the bottomless pit (or, the abyss).  When he opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, from that shaft rose smoke, like the smoke of a huge fire.  The sun and the air were again darkened with the smoke from the pit.  (This is the third time that it is mentioned in Revelation that the sun was darkened: chapter 6:12; 8:12; 9:2.)   Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth; and to the locusts were given power like the vicious sting of a scorpion.

Their instructions were this: “do not harm the grass on earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.”  These creatures (probably some demonic creatures since there are demons that are now being confined to the abyss, but will be released during the tribulation) they were given specific instructions.   They were told exactly what to do and go no further.  Obviously from the text they could have hurt (destroyed) the trees, grass, and green plants (but that had already been done), but their specific task was to torture those who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads.  Will there come a time when all believers on earth will have the seal of God on their foreheads?  Obviously so according to chapter 7:2-3!  So is the mark of the beast a retaliatory move against believers on earth who have been sealed by God?

Imagine this: many now pretend to be believers, but during this time of judgment there will be no doubt as to who is a believer and who is not!  The scorpions like creatures were allowed to torture anyone who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads, but for only a period of five months.  They must have had the power to kill them, but they were instructed not to kill them, but only sting and torture them.  Now is that for a precision strike!  These creatures had power to hurt the grass, green plants, and trees, and to kill men, but they were given specific instructions and they were to go no further.  They were given instructions to sting and hurt, but not kill, and only those men who did not have the seal of God in their foreheads.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God will always protect His children from what the demonic spirits would like to do?  And that is to wipe each one of us out!  And, they could hurt only those who did not have the mark of God on their foreheads, that is, those who had heard the gospel from the 144,000 and rejected it and refused to have the mark of God on their foreheads.  God is always looking out for His children, and here He had a purpose for them—and so they were spared the deadly sting.  One wonders when we get to heaven and have the veil lifted from our eyes, will we see all the ways that God protected us when we traveled through this life?   Won’t we be astounded and astonished and amazed at His protective power from satanic death strikes!

Prayer: O God, we turn to You for our total protection throughout this life—and not only from the visible foes that we now see, but from the invisible ones as the devil and his minions do everything the can to disrupt and destroy our lives.  Isn’t this what King David was saying when he said, “The LORD is my shield, my protector, my shelter, and the One who holds my right hand throughout life”?  Truly Your protection program is seen in the way that You restrict demonic forces!  Amen !

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

1203, 2020

Psalm 107 Title: Assurance: God’s Ability!

March 12th, 2020|0 Comments

Question of the Day: What are some of the things that God does on behalf of His children?

If one were to chronicle the answer to that question from Scripture, it would be a list of 1000’s of things that He can do and does regularly for His children.  How often have we heard the testimony of a fellow believer who has been rescued from various distressing situations?  These testimonies inspire us and help us to look to Him when we are ourselves “covered up” by life’s difficulties.  After all, is that not what the book of Job is all about—along with the many testimonies in the Bible of men and women who have faced impossible situations and extreme difficulties and been rescued?  In this psalm the writer doesn’t give us specific stories of those who have been rescued, but he does outline what God does in response to our “crying out” to Him, and in his words, we are greatly inspired and encouraged.

Here is a list of the things mentioned in this psalm that God does when we are in a distressful situation and cry out to Him for help:

Verse 2: He buys us back from the slavemarket of sin, that is, He redeems us.  Only the LORD can redeem lost mankind!

Verse 3: He can regather His people from every nation of the world.

Verses 4, 13, 19, 28; Psalm 106:44: He delivers us out of our distressful situations.

Verse 7:  He leads us in a straight path until we reach our desired destination.

Verses 8, 15, 21, 31: He pours out on undeserving sinners His steadfast and overwhelming love, and does a variety of miracles for them.

Verse 9:  He can satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts, and fill our hungry soul with good things.

Verse 12: he can bow down a wayward heart with hard labor until they find themselves chained and in prison.

Verse 14: He can bring us out of darkness when a death sentence has been issued against them and break those chains that bind us.

Verse 15: He can shatter the doors of bronze and cut prison bars in two.

Verse 20: He sends out His Word and heals us and delivers us from destruction.

Verse 23-27: He shows us His power when we are in dangerous situations—like a sailor in a violent storm—and it is He who created those violent storms!

Verse 29: He calms the storms that He had raised up and hushed the violent waves of the ocean.

Verse 30: He calms our hearts and makes us glad when the storm is over—and brings us to our destination.

Verses 33-35: He has the ability to turn a desert into rivers of water and dry cracked ground into a place of springs of water.

Verses 36-38: He gives us the desires of our heart—a city to live in where fields can be planted as He pours out His blessings on our livestock.

Verses 39-40: When we are brought very low, He punishes those who oppress us and sends them packing.

Verse 41: He finds those who are upright, makes them glad, and shuts the mouth of the wicked.

Of course this is only a short list of the things that God can do, but when we are in distressful situation, we must turn to Him and be assured that His steadfast love and His wonderful works will be sent our way post-haste!  He is attentive to the cry of His beloved children, and when we will but call, He will respond. The answer may surprise us in the way He answers, but the answer will come to bring honor and glory back to Himself when we, the redeemed of the LORD, just say so to the world around us.

Prayer: O God, what a list of some of the fantastic things that You do for Your children.  When we hear the stories of fellow Christians we are in awe again and again and our hearts well up with joy as we recount the many things You do for us on a daily basis.  Sometimes the answer is there before we even know to ask, and sometimes we wait for years for the answer; but when it comes, there is another outburst of joy and thanksgiving to You—our great God!  Your power is truly amazing!  Amen!

 

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

503, 2020

Revelation 8:1-6 Title: Prayers Answered!

March 5th, 2020|0 Comments

Question of the Day: What happens in heaven when the prayers of God’s saints are about to be answered here on earth?

One of the things that baffle the believer is the many times that God answers their prayers, and the many ways He seemingly chooses not to answer those prayers.  Some of those prayers have been brought before the throne of God for years while we wait for Him to act on our behalf, and some of them are answered before we recognize that we have a need and ask for them.  One of the prayers of many believers for centuries is that God will clean up the evil in this world, and allow us to “run the show” under the direction of His Son.  We know how things need to be done because we have read God’s Handbook, the Holy Scriptures, and so we wait for the signal from Him that righteousness is about to reign here on earth as it is in heaven.

In a few places in Scripture there are a few clues as to what happens when our requests have come up to the throne of God and God has chosen to answer those prayers.  But what takes place when we have sent up a request to God and then God, in His infinite wisdom, chooses to answer?  Part of the answer is here in Revelation 8 where the judgments of God are being poured out on the earth as He unveils His Final Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the time comes for Him to act, here’s what happened in heaven: “And when the Lamb had opened the seventh clasp, there was silence in heaven for half an hour; and I saw the seven angels that stand continually before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.  Then another angel came and stood at heaven’s altar, and he had a golden censer.  He was given a large quantity of incense, which he was to offer along with the prayers of the saints, on heaven’s golden altar, which is before God’s throne.  The smoke from the incense, which again was offered with the prayers of God’s holy children, came up before God out of the hand of the angel.  And the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from off heaven’s altar, and threw it down to earth. Instantly on earth there were voices heard, claps of thunder, strikes of lightning, and an earthquake.  Then the seven angels prepared to sound off.”

Here’s what we find out: God had decided to act and to bring judgment on earth, and at the same time He was answering the prayers of the saints.  These prayers had been pending “under the altar” for many centuries, and somehow and for some reason God has chosen this specific time to answer what could actually be the prayers of many saints down through many centuries.  When the time had come for action, an angel went to the golden altar that is before the throne, and he was given much incense that he was to offer along with the prayers of the saints, and when he did that, they rose up before God.  This tells us that when God determines that it is the proper time to answer our prayers, an angel went up to the altar, scooped up some incense, and offered it with our prayers to God.

When we are told to pray, we are told to bring our requests up to the “Father”, the One who tenderly cares for His children, and He, with the wisdom and ability that He has, answers those prayers in the time that He determines and in the way He know is best.  What is intriguing here is action of the angel in the answer.  Hebrews 1:14 informs us that the angels are ministering spirits who are sent out to serve those who are to inherit eternal salvation—that is, you and I as believers.  Though we cannot see these spirit beings, they are here for our aid, and when we get to heaven and have the blinders taken off our eyes, we will be able see throughout life all the things that they did to come to our aid.  Their action on our behalf is well chronicled in the Scriptures, and today’s text tells us just a little of how that action is taken and when.  Are we really that helpless that we need the angelic host to aid us—even in answering our prayers?  Evidently so!

Prayer: O God, we thank You for Your plan to help us through this life.  Many times we need specific instructions from You, and Your messenger is sent; we need to be strengthened, and an angel is dispatched; we are facing formidable foes that are determined to wipe us out, and angels are dispatched to defend us; and when we leave this life, it is angels that escort us forever into Your presence.  Thank You!  We need a lot of help!  Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

2702, 2020

Difficulties and Relief!

February 27th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text:  Psalm 107

Question of the Day: Where do our difficulties come from, and how do we relief from them?

Any honest person will tell you that the difficulties that they found themselves in, were of their own making, because most of the problems that we face in life are self-inflicted wounds.  And if it were left up to our own strength to get out of the difficulties, we would be bound by our mistakes for all through our lives.  In this psalm the writer points out to us the role that God plays when we find ourselves in troubled circumstances.  Yes, many of our problems and difficulties are of our own doing, but what is God’s role in helping us get out of those problems?

In this psalm the writer speaks of four types of difficulties that people find themselves in.  He began each section with the word “some”; which indicates the various scenarios and difficulties we are in: some were hungry, thirsty, and faint; some lived in the dark and cramped confines of a prison; some suffered from the results of their own sinful foolish lifestyles which brought them near death; and some lived in dangerous situations like sailors out on the oceans facing the violent storms of the sea.  What is interesting is that the same pattern emerged from each of those situations. Here is how it played out:

First, here is an outline of the sections of this psalm:

Verses 4-9, some of us were hungry and thirsty and faint.

Verses 10-16, some of us lived in darkness and were imprisoned.

Verses 17-22, some of us suffered because of our foolish sinful ways, and were near death.

Verses 23-32, and some traveled across dangerous seas and nearly drown; they found themselves in highly dangerous situations.

And here is information that we need when we get into those difficulties:

Each situation that people got themselves into was of their own making.  Some had rebelled against the word of the LORD and turned away from His counsel, and because of that, they now found themselves in places where they faced death.

For those who rebelled, the LORD visited them with hard labor until they fell down with no one to help them up.

In that desperate situation they were hungry, faint, thirsty, bound in prison, suffering from their own mistakes and missteps in life, and because they defied death in dangerous circumstances.

And it was in that condition that they realized that there was no way out.

And it was also in those desperate circumstances that they finally in anguish “cried out to the LORD, and He delivered them from their distress.”

Then God intervened on their behalf and they witnessed first-hand His overwhelming and steadfast love and His many means of delivering them out of that situation where they faced death.

Then the LORD satisfied the longing soul, filled the hungry soul with good things, led them back into the straight and narrow way until they reached their desired destination, brought them out of darkness and chains, sent them His Word and healed them, delivered them from certain destruction, stilled the dangerous storms they were in, and brought them to their ultimate destination.

In each of these sections and in the opening verses of this psalm believers are urged to praise the LORD because they have been rescued out of their perilous situations.  They are urged to thank God for two things: first His steadfast and overwhelming love in rescuing them, and then to exalt Him for the fantastic things that He did to rescue them.  These rescuing tactics of the LORD are called the “wonderful works to the children of man!”  Every person who has experienced salvation has a testimony of the fantastic miracle that God did in their lives in bringing them out of “darkness and into His marvelous light”.  And, since we have been redeemed, we must “say so”.  And what must we tell people about?  Six times throughout the psalm the writer mentions the “steadfast and overwhelming love of the LORD”.  There are many things about our great God and the miracles that He does in guiding us, protecting us, keeping us on the path of righteous living, strengthening us for each day, and so on as he pours out His love on His beloved children.  There are enough things that the believer will experience throughout all of eternity to keep us telling forever about the steadfast love of our God!  We may not face difficulties forever, but we will experience again and again His steadfast and overwhelming love.

Prayer: O God, Your steadfast love brought us into the body of Christ, and it is Your steadfast love that will keep us each day throughout all of eternity.  We feel so undeserving of Your love, but we are so thankful for it—and will be thankful throughout life and right on into eternal life—the life that Your love has promised us.  Difficulties may be short lived, but Your love will last forever.  Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

2002, 2020

Personal Witnessing Personified!

February 20th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: John 4:7 Title: Give Me a Drink!

Question of the Day: Why did Jesus ask the woman at the well to give Him a drink?

One of the things from which we can learn a good deal about from the life of Jesus is how to do personal evangelism simply and effectively. In this story there are many principles of personal evangelism pointed out by our Lord, and this is one of them. Jesus had travelled a long way that day and was fatigued, weary, and thirsty, so it would have been easy for Him to ask for a drink. Now dont you think that it would have been wise of Jesus to have a vessel along with Him with which He could have drawn water? But Jesus travelled light and depended on others to be there in a time of need—and that is a lesson that needs to be learned by every believer who has been specially called by God to do a specific task—as Jesus was.

The woman was not about to speak to a foreigner, and especially a Jew, and Jesus knew that He had to initiate the conversation, so He gave a simple request, “Please give me a drink.” Jesus travelled He travelled light, and had demanded that those disciples who would be His followers for three years also travel very light. So, with nothing to draw water with, Jesus depended on the woman for a drink; but there is far more to His request than that. Jesus had in mind to turn the conversation to “living water” and thus fill the deep inner longing and spiritual desire of the woman at the same time.

Meanwhile, Jesus was still thirsty and He patiently waited to speak to the woman about the “living water” and her need for that living water. The conversation would eventually come down to the question, “Are you greater than our forefather Jacob who gave us this well?” Jesus then contrasted the physically satisfying water of the well with the living water that would satisfy the deep inner longings of the woman. When the woman recognized her need, she turned around and asked Him to give her living water! What a turnabout of events. He had asked her for physical water; then He offered her spiritual water—and that is just what she needed most. What is interesting is the fact that it is never recorded that the woman ever drew water and gave Him something to drink!

There were two more things the woman needed to know: first, she had to be confronted with her sin of having been married five times and now just giving up and living with the next man; and then she needed a theological question answered about God being a Spirit being and how to properly worship Him—and all of this came after a simple request of Jesus to her for water! What is further fascinating about this passage is that every person who has every lived has been confronted by Jesus Christ at some time in their lives, and they have a decision to make; here Jesus simply said, “I who speaks with you am the Messiah.” The woman then got all excited and brought others to see Him too. And all of this started when He asked her for a drink!

Prayer: Lord, give me a simple question to ask others or a simple request to make of someone that will turn the conversation to spiritual things and meet that persons spiritual need. You have given us a good example here on how to do that, and may the conversation always turn to eternal things and speaking about our great God and Father in heaven—that others may know Him. Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

1302, 2020

What a privilege to worship Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man!

February 13th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: John 4:4-9 Title: Son of God: or Man?

Question of the Day: Why did Jesus refer to Himself as “the Son of Man” over 86 times, but as the “Son of God”only about 30 times in the New Testament?

This devotional may be controversial, but it does have a point, so read carefully. Of course Jesus is the Son of God, He is God; but at one time in history He was Man, and identified Himself over 86 times as “the Son of Man”, and in doing so identified Himself at that time as a Man, or as we would say, a human being. He had laid aside some of His eternal attributes (for example: being omnipresent, that is, present everywhere simultaneously). One example of how limited He was as a Man was when He said in John 5:19, “The absolute truth is this: the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father doing in this world; whatever the Father does, the Son also does.” (The same truth is repeated in John 5:30; and 8:28.)

Here is the main point: when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, the Spirit of God descended on Him in the form of a dove, and from that moment on He was filled with the eternal Spirit of God, and performed miracles and showed fantastic signs that proved who He was and authenticated the fact that He was acting in accordance with the Fathers will for Him. I believe that He was showing us what could be done with the power of God when a person is directed by the Spirit of God to complete the plan and purpose of God. Each miracle and each sign that He did proved that He was the Son of God.

Todays text is a good illustration of the contrast between the Son of God and the Son of Man: “About that time a woman from Samaria came to the well to draw water, and Jesus asked her a favor, ‘Please give Me some water to drink.” By this time His disciples had gone away into the nearby town to buy some food. The woman said to Jesus, ‘How is it that you, being a Jew, asks me, a woman of Samaria, for a drink? She said this because the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him to give you living water. The woman replied, ‘Sir, You have nothing to draw water with and the well is very deep, so how could You give me that living water that You speak of? Are you a greater person than our ancestor Jacob who dug this well for himself, his children, and his herds of cattle? Jesus said to her, ‘Anyone who drinks the water from this well will just get thirsty again, but anyone who drinks of the water that I give him will never thirst again, but the water that I give him will be in him a well of water springing up that will be to him life forever.’”

Many simply dismiss Jesus knowledge of the womans past and the fact that He just happened to be at the well at that time of day when she showed up, but I believe this: The woman was shocked that Jesus spoke to her because He was Jew (she must have been able to tell by His clothing or His speech), so she joined in the conversation with a question to Him: “Why are you, a Jew, asking me, a woman of Samaria for a drink?” From Jesus words to her later, He must have been able to read the situation and figure out that she had been married five times and that she was now living with another man.

We often think that Jesus knew these things because He was God, but He was still a man, and had to figure things out just like we do, so He must have been able to figure things out just like we would have. Possibly He had been here before and had heard about a woman described like the woman He met, and that she came to the well around noon, and thats why He hurried there, was weary from the journey, and sent the disciples away so that He could have no interruptions when talking with her.

One cannot take away from the fact that Jesus was “the Son of God”, but when He continually introduced Himself as “the Son of Man” I believe that He was admitting His humanness; He was fatigued from the journey and had sat by the well; He was very observant of the woman and somehow figured out her past history; and He was demonstrating to the disciples how they were to carry on their ministry after He was gone using the power of the Holy Spirit. He had to have told them later of the whole conversation because they had gone away into the city to buy food, and werent even their when the conversation took place! Here we have a great example of how the “Son of God” laid aside His deity temporarily to become the “Son of Man”.

Prayer: Lord, teach us to follow Your example and tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to complete the job, the mission, that You have given each of us to do. Help us to ever keep our eyes and our focus on You and what You want to do and are doing in our world; help us to complete the purpose in life You have outlined for us for Your glory. Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

602, 2020

Steadfast Love

February 6th, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text:  Psalm 107:1, 8, 15, 21, 31, 43

Question of the Day: What must be the response of the believer to the steadfast love of the LORD?

Throughout Scripture we are implored to thank God many times for His overwhelming and steadfast love.  We were brought into the family of God bathed in His love, and it is His love that keeps us each day of our lives and on into eternity.  Six times in this psalm the steadfast love of the LORD is mentioned, and instructions are given to believers to “say so”, that is, to tell others of the love of the LORD.  Let’s go through this psalm and list the various things that God’s love does for us—as outlined by the psalmist.

Verse 1 says, “All believers of all time are urged to give thanks to the LORD because He is good and because His steadfast love will last forever!”  Verses 8, 15, 21, and 31 say exactly the same thing: “We must thank the LORD for His overwhelming and steadfast love and for the wonderful works that He has performed for His children.”  And verse 43 concludes with this thought: “So the person who is wise needs to attend to these things and consider carefully the steadfast and overwhelming love of the LORD God.”

Here is a list of the things about the steadfast love of the LORD that the psalmist outlined for us, and these things ignite our praise for Him:

He has redeemed us from trouble, verse 2.

He will yet regather all believers of all time into one body, verse 3.

He delivered us from our distressful circumstances, verse 6.

He led them in a straight path to a safe city where they could live, verse 7.

He satisfied their inner longings and their hungry soul, verse 9.

He brought them out of the dark damp prison cells, broke the chains that bound them, and set them free, verse 14 and 16.

He gave the command and they were healed and delivered from their destructive lifestyles, verse 20.

He stilled the storms of life for them and quieted the waves of the oceans, bringing them to their destination, verse 29-30.

He turned rivers into a desert and poured out springs of water on dry cracked ground, verses 33-35.

He gave them their heart’s desire to live in a city where they could be safe, plant fields around it, and watch their livestock herds grow and multiply, verses 36-38.

We all can say “amen” to those things since we too have experienced them; and all of them grow out of the steadfast love that the LORD our God has showered on us.  When we are basking in the ocean of His love throughout eternity, which will win out—the wickedness and evil that surrounds us in this life, or the eternal and unfailing and overwhelming love of our great God?

Prayer: O God, what can we say about the great love that You have shown us throughout this life?  The one, yes, the only thing we look forward to in eternity is being with You forever and basking in the ocean of Your love!  Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

3001, 2020

Mercy Igniting Praise!

January 30th, 2020|0 Comments

Question of the Day: What is that ignites praise and worship to the LORD constantly from believers?

We struggle constantly with people in this world whom we thought we could trust to accept us, love us, and be there for us—and many times they are.  But it seems that when we need someone to be there for us, at times they are not.  A good portion of our lives we are left alone, stand alone, and from time to time feel stranded by life’s challenges.  So where can we go when we feel that way?  Where can we find constant solace and help?

Here are the words from today’s text: “Give praise to the LORD!  Yes, give thanks to the LORD because He is good and His steadfast love will last forever!”  We rely so much every day on God to be there for us and to be the same as He was yesterday and as He was for people in the days of the Bible.  Is there anyone in this world who is always there for us?  Is there anyone who is always good?  Is there anyone whose love is constant and steadfast?  It is those facts that make our relationship with God so rich and dependable.  Here are a few thoughts on those verses:

He is good!  We can be good to each other, and many times are good to each other, but there are days and times when we can be grouchy to each other and we can’t always be constantly good—our wicked flesh will not allow us to be—even if we are born again.  Can we really count on God to be good continually to us?  Again and again in Scripture we are told that “the LORD is good and His mercy will always be there for us.”

Another constant about our great God is that His love for us is continuous and steadfast—even during the most difficult times in our life and even when He is chastening us.  Can we really depend on that love to be there for us all the time, in every situation, no matter what we have done (or done wrong), or no matter who is attacking us today?  YES!  He has said that He will never leave us, that whenever we have sinned, there is always cleansing and forgiveness, and when we are in any difficult situation, all we have to do is to pause and commune with Him—and in an instant we are approaching the throne of grace to receive mercy in time of need!

OK!  God is good and His love is always there for us, but will those character qualities remain the same forever? That is the assurance from His Word!  Through the psalmist He said that He is good and that His overwhelming and steadfast love will endure forever!  What if that guarantee was only good for 30 days, or for this lifetime only, or for the first 10,000 years of eternity?

Our heart yearns for His love and His goodness to be on us FOREVER!  No pauses!  No breaks!  No end of them!  Why?  Because He is God and only He can love sinners, clean them up, and be there for them forever!

Prayer: O God, You have given us so many reasons to give thanks to You and to praise Your great name.  Your goodness tells us how You will deal with us—Your children—each day, and Your arms of steadfast and overwhelming love are felt around us each day.  Teach our heart to overflow with thanksgiving and praise—forever!  Amen!

David B. Virts has written a book called “Knowing, Seeking Worshiping — a study of the character of God.”  It is available by calling 615-945-0611.

2201, 2020

Baptism: an interesting twist, but what a great experience!

January 22nd, 2020|0 Comments

Scripture Text: John 4:1-2 Title: Baptism Stops?

Question of the Day: Why isnt it mentioned, after this account at the beginning of Jesus ministry,that no one baptized any more until after Jesus went to heaven?

John the Baptist came out of nowhere like a storm trooper and shook up the nation of Israel and informed them that they need to repent because Gods kingdom was coming soon, and to prepare the way for the Messiah. Then one day it happened: the Messiah came to be baptized and John, though he knew Jesus, didnt know until that moment that his close relative, Jesus, was the Messiah. After John saw the Spirit of God descending on Him and from that moment on he knew that Jesus was the Messiah.

It wasnt long before there was competition between Johns ministry of baptism and Jesus disciples who were baptizing—and right down the street from each other. Then one day it happened: some of Johns disciples and some other Jews got into an argument about the Jewish ritual of purification (or how you were to be made ceremonially clean). At the same time word got out to the Pharisees, who were one of the religious leaders of the day, that now Jesus disciples were baptizing more people that John the Baptist. The question is this: how would this controversy be resolved peacefully. John and Jesus certainly werent in competition with each other; they were working for the same Boss.

Then came up the question of whose ministry would eclipse whose, and it is instructive in this text how Jesus handled the situation. Here is todays text: “When Jesus heard how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples that John—even though Jesus didnt baptize, His disciples did—He left Judea and went again up into Galilee.” What is interesting about this is that it isnt recorded of either Jesus or John the Baptist baptizing after this event, and baptism wasnt practiced until after Jesus death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. Why didnt Jesus disciples baptize after this? Why did Johns ministry end right after this?

What we want to learn from Jesus in these verses is this: as soon as He heard that the Pharisees had heard of the controversy and that Jesus disciples were now baptizing more people than John, He left with His disciples and went up into Galilee. Jesus wasnt in competition with John the Baptist, and besides, John told the crowds earlier that Jesus would come to baptize, not with water like he did, but with the Holy Spirit—and that is just what Jesus did. What grace Jesus showed; He knew what the Father had given Him to do, and so did John; Jesus avoided open controversy and just moved on to the next event in His ministry and kept His focus on what He was sent to do. Grace trumped baptism, and when people had experienced grace through faith as they received salvation, baptism took a back seat. Why? The Messiah was here…and still is!

Prayer: O Lord, help all who are Your followers to follow Your example and avoid controversy. Help us to remember that we are not in competition with each other, that we all work for You, and that oneness in Your body is absolutely essential to bringing glory to the Father by completing the job You gave us to do. Make us one; keep our focus on You always. Amen!