Category Archives: Passages of the Bible

A Contemplation of Crowns

Revelation 19:16 (NKJV) “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
 

Some refer to them as England, others as Great Britain, but the name most appropriate for today is the United Kingdom – all the above referring to a single nation, who is mourning the passing away of their dearly beloved, Queen Elizabeth. She was queen regnant of 32 different sovereign states during her life, and served as monarch of 15 of them at the time of her death. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.
 
I haven’t done extensive research, but I’m hearing through the gracevine that she had faith in Christ. Queen Elizabeth is quoted as saying, “For me the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life.”
 
Franklin Graham posted the following on his IG account, “I’m especially grateful for the Queen’s friendship with my father Billy Graham. He cherished their friendship that was built on a shared love for Jesus Christ and belief in God’s Word. My father had the privilege of meeting with the Queen more than a dozen times, and she was a gracious host, inviting my parents to visit Buckingham Palace on several occasions. My father said he found Queen Elizabeth “to be a woman of rare modesty and character,” and made a pledge to pray for her and her family every day. He also appreciated how she often talked about Jesus Christ during her public addresses—there was never any question about where she placed her faith. Queen Elizabeth once said, “I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
 
We mourn the Queen’s passing, but find solace in the comforting truth that because of her faith in Jesus Christ, she is home in heaven forever.
 
All this leads to our passage for today.


Revelation 19:16 (NKJV) “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”


England, a.k.a Great Britain, a.k.a. the United Kingdom has a new monarch, King Charles III. When I heard about it, it seemed almost surreal to me. Wow! A new king! It made me think how one day, and it could be very, very soon, at the passing of this era, the world will crown a new King, the King of kings, Jesus Christ. This will be the true and final “United Kingdom.” Just as the transition of power was inevitable, it was expected (Queen Elizabeth was 96 years old when she passed), so too this is inevitable, and the expectation mounts each and every day.
 
Are you ready for the coming of Christ? You can only be ready if you’ve placed your faith in Him and are abiding in Him.
 
Maybe this is a sign for us to see, a not so subtle reminder…the King is coming.
 
Looking forward to His return, 
– Manny

Tragedy or Triumph?

Philippians 1:21–23 (NKJV)
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.”

You may have heard the news:

The close-knit Colorado family of Calvary Chapel fellowships is mourning the deaths of Scott Cox and his wife Nancy. Scott served as Senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Windsor, Colorado. The couple died following a tragic auto accident on Monday, July 4, 2022. Scott and his wife Nancy started the church back in 2006. They are survived by their children Alex and Charlie. Please pray for their sons, their extended family, and the church, as they mourn this tragic loss.

Our hearts our broken, shattered…and yet I wonder, can we accurately refer to this as a tragedy?

In our passage for today, Paul informs us of that fact for the Christian – to die is “gain.” He even said he had that deep desire to depart and be with Christ, which is FAR BETTER. Death for us is a departure to glory, to heaven, where we as believers will live forever and ever in the very presence of God (John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:1-7).

But…if you’re like me, or even Paul the Apostle, we’re torn between the two, aren’t we? We long to live long lives on earth, to love our family, to serve the people. If you’re faithful, like Paul the Apostle, or Scott and Nancy Cox it would mean fruit from your labor. It’s a tough choice Paul said.

Thank God the choice is not ours, it’s His…and the truth is, Father knows best. God knows what’s best for everyone involved. May that comfort our hearts.

As I ponder the passing of Scott and Nancy, I’m also reminded of the fact that any of us can die suddenly. We all have an appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27), a race to run and finish one day (2 Timothy 4:7). Are we ready? As Christians we are, and we should not be afraid. Christians live in the invincible principal meaning we can’t die unless God allows it, and when He does, we’re home in heaven.

The challenge is for those we leave behind. Please pray for the family and the church.

It’s good to weep…and it’s good to worship. Praise God for the saved lives of two people who understood what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21a, “For to me, to live is Christ.”

May we all have that simple, saving summary of life.

Your brother in Christ,

  • Manny

Learning from an Ant

Proverbs 6:6–8 (NKJV) “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”

What a shame that we have been degraded to the point of having to be taught Bible truths by bugs! Imagine that…instructed by insects – but it is helpful – and I think at times, necessary for some.

1. Notice the ant’s inner Motivation (v. 7)
Having no captain, overseer, or ruler, meaning there’s no one pushing them, no one watching them, and yet they continue to work productively. No one has to tell them, “Ok, chop, chop, break’s over, get back to work.” No, the ant has a heart to work, honestly, and productively, they need no external motivation.

Christians should be the hardest and most faithful workers of all because we’re aware of the fact that ultimately, we work for Jesus. 

Ephesians 6:5–6 (NLT) “Workers, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart.”

2. Notice the ant’s thoughtful Preparation (v. 8) 
They’re “go-getters,” and they’re “gatherers” As go-getters they don’t sit back with a sense of entitlement saying mom, dad, family, friends, society, and government owes it to me. No, they go out and get it, they labor…they work for it.

We’re to do the same – and on the flip side, we should not support the lazy. Don’t misunderstand me, I know the Bible encourages that we give generously to the poor, but not to freeloaders interested only in handouts. We read in:

2 Thessalonians 3:10, “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”

Amen!

Warren Wiersbe said, “The biggest thieves of all are the lazy people who could work but won’t, the people who consume what others produce but produce nothing for others to use. The “sluggard” and the “slothful man” are mentioned at least seventeen times in Proverbs, and nothing good is said about them. We need to recognize the fact that work is not a curse. God gave Adam work to do in the Garden, even before sin entered the scene.”

I like what one person said, “Work is the meat of life, and pleasure is the desert.”

Another said, “It’s better to wear out than rust out, so beware of handouts.”

When there’s a genuine need – praise God that so many are sensitive to the Spirit and they give to the helpless, but if a man needs to learn to walk and work, we musn’t get in the way…we might cripple him for life.

Ants are “go-getters” and they’re “gatherers” (savers). Notice again what we read in:

Proverbs 6:8, “Provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.”

I realize this isn’t always possible for all of us, but I know of one young man who prior to the pandemic had close to 6 months of wages in his savings account. When the virus hit, and his industry was hit, he was furloughed and lost his income, but he was okay financially until he found another job, because he was a go-getter and a gatherer, a saver…like the ant.

God help us to be hard workers, go-getters, and do all that we can to save up for a rainy day. May we learn from the revelation of creation…even an ant.

Love you! Your brother in Christ, 
– Manny

The Prideful Truth

Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV) “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

You’ve may have heard that story about a minister, a Boy Scout, and a computer expert who were the only passengers on a small plane. The pilot came back to the cabin and said that the plane was going down but there were only three parachutes and four people. The pilot then said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So, he took one and jumped.

The computer whiz said, “I should have one of the parachutes because I am the smartest man in the world and everyone needs me.” So, he took one and jumped.

The minister turned to the Boy Scout and with a sad but sure smile said, “You’re young and I’ve had a blessed life, by God’s grace I know I’m saved, so you take the remaining parachute, and I’ll go down with the plane.”
The Boy Scout said, “That won’t be necessary, sir, the smartest man in the world just picked up my backpack and jumped out!”

A satirical story to illustrate the truth of today’s Proverb, “A man’s pride will bring him low (very low), but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

We all have it, and it challenges us every day…pride resides within us and fights to take over. The dictionary defines it as, “A high view of oneself; a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”

The world is proud of their pride, but Christians shouldn’t be. Pride is the root of all sin.

When I think of humility I think of honesty. I know who I am apart from Christ, a weak, wretched, wicked man. I don’t deserve anything good, and I’m not entitled. The truth is, I am NOTHING and can do NOTHING without HIM (John 15:5), but God has been gracious to me.

May we swallow the pride and walk in humility. We’ll be blessed by the results.

Your brother in Christ,

  • Manny

Selections from Song of Solomon

Manny & Shelly read this devotional together.

This morning I read Song of Solomon chapters 1-8

If you’re married and want God’s blessings on your Agape and Romantic love, this is a great book to read. I’m so blessed with my wife Shelly – the greatest gift after salvation.

Here are some highlights and thoughts from today’s reading:

The Song of Solomon can be seen as a love relationship between God the Father and Israel, Jesus and His Bride (the Church), or the love between a husband and wife. I leaned towards the latter this time around (for the most part).

3 times in the book we have that exhortation, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem…do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” (until the time is right).

• Isn’t that the way it is (should be) for us as Christians? Don’t stir it up. WAIT on the Lord, He will bring that person your way when you’re both ready!

Song of Solomon 2:10, “My beloved spoke, and said to me: ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’”

• I love that, “Come away…” And together we ride off into life, as husband and wife, the Great Adventure.

Song of Solomon 2:16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his.”

• After marriage we belong to each other, we take care of each other. Paul said the same thing in 1 Corinthians 7:4.

Song of Solomon 3:4, “Scarcely had I passed by them, when I found the one I love. I held him and would not let him go.”

• So applicable in marriage – til death do us part, don’t let anything separate you. Also applicable in our relationship with the Lord, hold tight Manny, hold tight, ‘cuz the world is trying to rip Jesus out of your heart.

Song of Solomon 4:9, “You have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes.”

• Look what you’ve done to my heart, my sister, my spouse. I’ll never forget the first day I first set eyes on Shelly. I can still see her beauty, her smile, her dimples, her big brown eyes, her thick bushy beautiful brown hair, her sculptured curves – and after just one look, I somehow knew I would marry her.

Song of Solomon 5:16b, “Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend.”

• This must be the heart of our marriage relationship – friendship; the deeper the friendship, the greater the trust, we can tell each other secrets, we can be there and help each other for the rest of our lives.

Song of Solomon 6:9a, “My dove, my perfect one, is the only one.”

• The only one. Out of all the billions of women alive, out of all the fish in the sea, Shelly, you’re the only one for me!

Song of Solomon 8:7a, “Many Waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.”

• The storms and Tsunamis of life will hit hard, but true love will prevail, endure it all, it is absolutely impossible to drown true love, and that true love is rooted in a true and genuine relationship with the living-loving God.

Song of Solomon 8:13, “You who dwell in the gardens, the companions listen for your voice – Let ME hear it!”

• How many husbands would say that to their wives? “Let me hear it. Talk to me babe, don’t just talk to your friends, talk to me, tell me your heart.”

Song of Solomon 8:14, “Make haste, my beloved…”

• As Song of Solomon comes to an end, I can’t help but shift gears to the other Beloved of the book, how it pictures the relationship of  the Lord Jesus with His bride (the Church). In closing we pray, “Make haste, my beloved, come Lord Jesus, “O Lord, come.” (1 Corinthians 16:22b)

Happy New Year!

Manny2020

Wow – it’s hard to believe we’re in the year 2020! If you know me at all, you know that I’m weird in certain ways and 2020 evokes a couple of quick thoughts. First of all, a little superficial rhyme, I told my son the other day (from a Spiritual perspective of course) “Good and plenty in twenty, twenty.”

He rolled his eyes.

The other little thought was more of a prayer, “Lord, grant me 2020 vision from a Spiritual perspective.” I pray that I’d keep my eyes on Jesus all year long. This is what the author of Hebrews told us to do. We read in Hebrews 12:2, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  The Greek word translated “looking” (aphorao) literally means to “turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something else.” In this case, someone else – we are to turn away from all others, and fix our eyes on Jesus…that “2020” vision sure helps when things get tough.

According to this passage, Jesus endured the cross because He never lost sight of the joy that was before Him. What do you think that “joy” was? I believe that joy was reconciliation with the Father, and the salvation of the church. He was able to “see” you and me, free and forgiven, in heaven – with Him, forever. If we look to Jesus, we’ll find that in one one sense, He’s looking to us.

Friend, I pray that 2020 is a Happy New Year for you, but you know as well as I do that it will have its unfair share of challenges and heartaches. May we remember, the only way we’ll make it through with a smile on our face, or better yet, joy in our hearts, is if our Spiritual vision is 2020 – if we keep our eyes on Jesus.

Are you Ready?

Life after Death

1 Chronicles 22:5b, “So David made abundant preparations before his death.”
 
I know it sounds a bit morbid, but the truth is, we must always be ready to die. Over 151,000 people die every day, and unless we experience the rapture – – one of these days we too will be part of that 151,000!
 
We must always be ready and guard ourselves from the thought that it won’t happen to me, because it can happen to any of us, anytime (James 4:14).
 
I was reading a chart on the odds of a person dying based on age and gender – I found it fascinating. If you’d like to check out the odds, I’ve provided a link below, but keep in mind that odds are not gods, and the one living God has already circled the day of our departure on His calendar ‘cuz we all have an appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27). 
 
Question: What will we leave behind and what are we looking forward to?
 
David is a great example for us in the way he made “abundant preparations before his death” (let’s take some time to ponder that concept). 
 
You probably know the story, how David had it in his heart to build a temple for God – but he wasn’t allowed to because he’d been a man of war. God chose David’s son Solomon instead – but David didn’t get bitter, he got better and did all that he could to help his son and the nation of Israel to have a place where they could honor the Lord, David invested into their spiritual lives. What about us, what are we leaving behind for both family and flock?
 
And what are we looking forward to – Heaven or Hell? With or without God? (see Revelation 20:11-15). Not everyone goes to heaven, only those who are prepared by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. David was a true believer, he was ready to die, he knew he was going to heaven (Psalm 23:6)…how about us?
 
So…beloved, buy life insurance, settle those differences with loved ones, say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done. Leave godly things behind and look forward to God ahead – ‘cuz at the end of the day, it’s not until we’re ready to die, that we’re actually ready to live.
 
Your brother in Christ,
– Manny 
 
Odds of Dying – Link

Why the Jews?

genesis 12 (3)

Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

By the time we reach Genesis 12 in the Old Testament God has covered the first 2,000 years of human history. He’s covered the fundamental topics such as creation, marriage and family, the fall, the flood, the Tower of Babel which was man’s attempt to reach God on His own (Babylon is symbolic of man’s religion), and therefore God used different languages to scatter the human race throughout the face of the earth.

We now come to the lineage of Abraham – the Jews. Abram (his original name) is first mentioned in Genesis 11:26 and interestingly enough the rest of the Old Testament will virtually focus on this man and his descendants. You might wonder why? Is it because He loves them more than He does the rest of the world? No, that’s not the reason. Although they ARE a chosen people to be a sign and sent to the rest of the world, the truth is God loves everyone equally. We read in Galatians 3:28,“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That passage teaches us that although there are distinctions, there are no spiritual advantages, it doesn’t matter if you’re Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.

So…why is the Bible (especially the Old Testament) all about the rise and fall of Israel? And the simple answer is because it was through the Jews that Jesus would come. Our passage for today is Genesis 12:3,“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God chose and preserved the Jews because it was through them that Jesus would come who would be a blessing to all the families of the earth.

I pray you would enjoy your journey through the OT, that you would have a special place in your heart for the Jews and Israel, and most of all, that you would know, love, and be blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Love you! Your brother in Christ,
– Manny

The Most Asked Questions in America

Question

Okay, so I just read an article that covered the most googled questions for all 50 states in the USA. Wow, what a wide spectrum of questions we have from sea to shining sea, and like the sea, they’re deep – big time!

Here’s a sample:

Alabama: “What is love?”

Florida: “What is my life purpose?”

Idaho: “What is the relationship between religion and science?”

Illinois: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Indiana: “When will the world end?”

Louisiana: “Is masturbation a sin?”

These are some deep questions, far beyond what we might typically suspect people are asking nowadays. Love, life, purpose, religion, science and sin? Hmmm, maybe people aren’t as superficial as we thought, at least not deep down inside, or in the privacy of their own keyboards and computer screens. Perhaps people really are looking for answers to the big questions of life.

As I was reading, I noticed, many of those winning questions had to do with death. For example in Montana and New Hampshire the top question asked was, “What happens when you die?” Massachusetts was similar, “Is there life after death?” Here in California they asked, “Why do we have to die?” And then my heart just sank when I read the most asked questions in the state of Maine: “Why do I want to die?” and New Mexico, “How to commit suicide.”

Maybe you have some of those same questions. If you do, I just want you to know that there is a God who loves you and has a lot of life for you to live. Please, don’t give up. I know, I know…it’s so hard sometimes, and it’s harder to believe when you’ve gone through those epic tragedies that rock our world. But I know a mom who lost her little boy to cancer, I know a woman who was raped, I know a young mommy whose child was molested, I know a grip of sons who have never met their dads, and all of them are living their lives with purpose, not necessarily understanding everything, but finding a supernatural healing for their hearts from the God of the universe. You need to know that God is able to take even the tragedies and calamities of life, and somehow, someway, turn them into victories. I’m not saying that the event itself was good, not at all, but it can be used for good as we trust over time (Romans 8:28). Remember, we’re not home yet, “we’re fish out of water,” and keep in mind that pure and perpetual good will only be found in our homes in heaven.

Maybe your mind is messing with you; if so, you’re not alone, it could be drugs, demons, or flat out depression; all I can tell you is that there is power in the Name of Jesus. He died for you on a cross, they put Him in a grave, but He rose from the dead 3 days later. If you put your trust in Him you will be saved and set free; you’ll find hope and healing for your heart. Jesus is real, He’s alive, and He’s right here for you.

Its not just you, your keyboard, and your computer screen…God is there, God is here.

Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Whoever you are, I want you to know the reason I write is because I love you, and the God who made you is right here just waiting for you to come to Him, because He loves you with a perfect love.

– Manny