All posts by Rick Morgan

Rick's mission here on planet earth is to love his wife and kids, to be the husband and father that God has called him to be and to serve Him. He likes to encourage people to read the Bible everyday and does so through his devotions at http://www.diggingtheword.blogspot.com

Rejoice!

Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

How happy are you today? It’s a few days before the big day and there are a lot of reasons to not be happy so tell me if you are ready to rejoice or are you ready to recline and take a nap?

We cannot know what it is like to live before Jesus time on earth and to have to keep our faith without the fulfillment of prophecy to give us assurance, I think that it would be more difficult to keep the faith if I were living before Christ came to earth, faith is more difficult when there is less tangible evidence.

This guy Simeon was a Godly man, he had blind faith, it had been hundreds of years sine the last prophet spoke and it probably seemed that God had checked out on his people. Simeon didn’t know that the messiah was going to visit him in the temple that day but when it happened he couldn’t help but get excited to see what had been promised.

The baby was good news which caused Simeon and Anna to praise God, they were ready for the Messiah to come and redeem God’s people, their excitement is something that we seldom see these days at Christmas time. The Christ child gets lost in all of the excesses that we have cluttered around his birth. If we keep our eyes on the true reason for the season then we can really rejoice!

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Hurry To The Manger

Luke 2:15-18  When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  16  They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.  17  After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  18  All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished.

Every birth is an exciting miracle but this one was even more exciting and more miraculous than normal. This birth was predicted for hundreds of years, this child would be born in the lineage of the kings of Judah, this child’s arrival was exciting to the angels in heaven.

The shepherds receive the exciting news from the angels and they couldn’t wait to get there, not because they don’t believe the angels, they had to get there because they were sure that this child that was born was a special child. They were excited and had to get there because they had faith that what the angels said was true and they had to see him as soon as possible and after they found the baby they couldn’t contain the good news, everyone that they came into contact with was going to hear about it.

Delays are dangerous and can be very costly.

The truth about Jesus has been made known to us and we all decide for ourselves how to react to the news. Many think that they can check out Jesus at a later time when it is more convenient, they think that Jesus can wait, but none of us know how much time we have.

We need to be spiritually sensitive to the good news, it should be something that we can’t wait to know more about and we should be eager to tell others about it after we have checked it out for ourselves.

Are you excited that we have a Savior? Does it really sink in how desperate our situation was?

Got A Light

Matthew 5:14-16  “You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Luke 11:36  If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.

We usually separate The Beatitudes from the following verses about being salt and light and don’t put the two concepts together but I think that shining our light has some prerequisites.

Living for him with the attitudes and character that please him will make you a bright light in this dark world, if you are not doing that then there won’t be any light, you will look like everybody else that is living in the dark. But if you are living the beatitudes lifestyle you will stand out.

You are going to be strange in a world that seeks happiness in favorable circumstances and pleasant emotions, the world tells us to look out for ourselves but God’s expectations are different, he taught that happiness is found in living for him and when we live for him we will be a shining light in this dark world.

You have the potential to be the light, as a child of God you already have the light in you but you have a choice whether you will let it shine out for everyone else to see. Are you going to put a lamp shade or even worse a blanket over it so that it doesn’t help anybody else?

The light of good deeds are for God’s glory, don’t put the light on yourself so that you will get the credit, the world needs the real source of light and what it can do in their lives. If we live like his chosen people and have the beatitude attitude then we will want our light to shine on Jesus instead of ourselves so that they can see his love and kindness. That’s what this dark world needs.

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I’m So Happy

Psalm 92:4-6 You thrill me, Lord, with all you have done for me! I sing for joy because of what you have done. O Lord, what great works you do! And how deep are your thoughts. Only a simpleton would not know, and only a fool would not understand this.

Psalm 16:11 You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Psalm 119:47 How I delight in your commands! How I love them!

In the Declaration of Independence we proclaim that we have been “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It seems pretty obvious that the average American really likes the pursuit of happiness part.

Right about now the song “Happy” by Pharrell should be going through your head. Our entire culture is built on seeking happiness in the things that the world has to offer. The world has a lot of cool stuff but the problem is, it doesn’t bring very much happiness for very long.

Long term happiness isn’t found in hanging out with ungodly friends, listening to the advice of self-help books and horoscopes, accumulating more cash and conforming to the cultural input around us, these are all dead-end streets.

Happiness in God’s presence
Psalm 16:11

Can you be happy in God’s presence? Maybe his presence is a scary thought instead of a pleasant one, if so then there are some changes that need to be made. We should be happy in his presence after-all that’s where you will spend eternity if you are a member of his family.

Happiness in God’s word
Psalm 119:47

Can you be happy in God’s word? Does the idea of studying God’s word sound like a total bore? If we realize that these really are God’s words then we should be excited to hear what he has to say and we should be motivated to live according to his commands.

Happiness in God’s work
Psalm 92:4-6

Can you be happy in God’s work? Sometimes the work that he is doing in our lives is painful and it may seem like there isn’t any reason to be joyful. When we really think about it and look at the blessings that we have it is easy to see that he is at work and that he has blessed us and we can put our hope in him despite the circumstances.

I will remember the enthusiasm of the Psalmist in these passages of scripture, he is so excited at these three thoughts, God’s presence, his word and his work in my life should energize me each day.

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Jesus Will Reign

Luke 19:11-14 The crowd was listening to everything Jesus said. And because he was nearing Jerusalem, he told them a story to correct the impression that the Kingdom of God would begin right away.

He said, “A nobleman was called away to a distant empire to be crowned king and then return.  Before he left, he called together ten of his servants and divided among them ten pounds of silver, saying, ‘Invest this for me while I am gone.’  But his people hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We do not want him to be our king.’

And as for these enemies of mine who didn’t want me to be their king—bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.’”

It is interesting that Jesus used current events in this parable to teach the people about God’s Kingdom. In the true story Herod Archelaus went to Rome to stake a claim for the kingdom that his dad Herod the Great had left to him in his will. Archelaus had dealt harshly with the Jews before this and a lot of Jews went to Rome to protest his petition to become king. Despite their efforts, Caesar Augustus made him ruler from 4 BC to 6 BC. Archelaus was the reason that Joseph was afraid to leave Egypt and return to Nazareth.

Luke is very straight forward about the reason for this parable, Jesus told this parable before he left Jericho and headed for Jerusalem, he needed to correct a misunderstanding. There were many people that thought that Jesus would rule here on earth right away and they felt that this trip to Jerusalem was a good time for it to start.

Jesus had to tell them that it wasn’t time, he spoke to the issue before, trying to get people to realize that he wasn’t going to overthrow the Roman government and be their earthly king. They hungered for immediate relief from the Roman government but that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. (John 18:36)

Jesus told us that in God’s plan he wasn’t going to reign yet but instead he was going to die. Jesus was here to cover the death penalty that we are all facing for our sins. They thought that they wanted him as king but what they needed most was a Savior.  (John 3:16)

Jesus came to earth as a lowly servant, a sacrificial lamb, he was obedient to God’s will and as a result he has been crowned king and he will return to reign. (Phil 2:8-11) When he returns he will judge us for our allegiance to the king:

  • Did you accept him as king or did you reject him?
  • Did you use the resources that he gave you to help prosper the kingdom?

There will be a great reward for our faithfulness to the Lord, I need to be faithful like the servants that anticipated the kings return and invested his money, he has given me resources that I need to use wisely.

Thank you Lord for your great sacrifice that took the death penalty away from me. I acknowledge you as King and want to submit to your authority in my life at all times.

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Jesus Victory Over Sin

Romans 6:6-11 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.  When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

We all love to make plans and try to take control of our day, we make plans and then we face the roadblocks to our plans, the rest of the world likes to get in our way. There is a plan that hasn’t been altered or modified, that would be God’s plan, it has been the same since the beginning of time.

Satan knew that God’s plan to break the power of sin was an assault on his power, the grip that he had on man was coming to an end, Satan was fighting back for thirty-three years but he failed to stop the plan. Satan worked to spoil God’s plan from Jesus birth all the way to his death, from King Herod all the way to the soldiers nails, but the plan kept on.

Jesus set me free, my sin was taken to the cross and they have been removed from the record books, the spreadsheet that was being kept has been deleted without any payments being made by me. Jesus paid off the entire balance. The only payments that I can make is to live for Jesus in obedience to him, I can offer my life as a living sacrifice. (Romans 12:1-2)

I now have real life that is worth living. Life without bondage and fear, life with hope and a bright future, a life that will never end. I need to share this good news with everyone.

Thank you Lord for giving me real life without the bondage and fear that so many people are still trapped in. I pray that they will hear the gospel message and receive your powerful healing in their life.

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Obedience Isn’t Always A Logical Choice

Luke 5:1-5 As the crowd was pressing in on Jesus to hear God’s word, He was standing by Lake Gennesaret. He saw two boats at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.

He got into one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from the land. Then He sat down and was teaching the crowds from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we’ve worked hard all night long and caught nothing! But at Your word, I’ll let down the nets.”

Jesus had been doing a lot of work in Capernaum for several days and he was drawing a large crowd. Today they were gathering around him very early, they must have missed some sleep in order to go find Jesus and listen to him teach and to watch the miracles.

It was so early that the fisherman were still cleaning up their nets after a long unsuccessful evening, there isn’t any longer night for a fisherman than the night that he catches nothing, these guys were ready to go home and get some sleep.

Instead of going home to get some rest the future disciples get a fishing tip from Jesus, at this point they have been up all night and their nets are probably cleaned up and are ready to be put away, nevertheless Peter does what Jesus asked him to do.

This time their nets are filled more than they have ever been with fish, they had to call their friends over to help them, what a payday this is going to be! No, they didn’t get rich, instead of cashing in on the biggest load of fish that these guys have ever had, they leave it all behind and followed Jesus.

I need to be obedient to what God wants me to do. Sometimes we get frustrated when the whole world seems to be against us, we can loose our focus and decide to quit but if God wants us to do something then we need to be faithful and obey, chances are that we will see bigger results than we ever thought possible.

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Christ Following

Matthew 4:19 “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!”

There are a lot of distractions in the world but for the Christ follower that wants to be obedient, the number one focus should be on making disciples, it’s what Jesus spent his time doing everyday. He started his ministry with the call to the first disciples and he ended his ministry by telling his disciples to go make some more disciples.

Jesus told his potential disciples up front what we was going to do with them but I don’t think that they really understood and I am pretty sure that they didn’t realize the process as it was going on. Jesus subtly brought them along one tiny step at a time, just the same as he has done with me, he knew that there would be a process and that I wouldn’t suddenly become a mature, faithful follower right away.

Jesus spent three years in close daily contact with this group of men, showing them the new way of life and the new way of thinking, he did so through his teaching but most important he did it through his lifestyle.

Disciples don’t get made by themselves, I need to be intentional and make it a part of my lifestyle, I need to be about building relationships that God can use.

Help me Lord to step out and intentionally work at making disciples, I want to live so that my walk is consistent with my talk, so that you will get the glory.

Who’s In Charge

1 Peter 2:13-14 For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.

Ever since the Garden of Eden, Satan has tempted us by questioning authority, he lied about God and Adam and Eve began to wonder about God’s intentions and whether the rules that he gave them were fair.

God’s commandments have been questioned every moment of every day ever since that day and we can see the consequences all around us but we still want to live life our way.

Accepting authority and being submissive is required of every child of God, it is necessary in our relationship with God and in every other relationship that we have. From family to the work place and in government, there is an order that God designed to help us live together in harmony.

We see the idea of submission demonstrated in the Trinity, all of them working together in unison, each of them fulfilling a role and each of them bringing glory to the other and doing what is beneficial to the whole.

✔ Jesus sought to bring glory to God the Father. (John 15:10)
✔ Jesus willingly died for us. (John 10:17-18)
✔ The Holy Spirit gives Jesus glory. (John 16:13-15)
✔ God the Father gave glory back to Jesus. (John 8:54, 17:24)

Too bad we do not get to enjoy this oneness and cooperative spirit from the people that we relate to but that doesn’t get us off the hook. We need to be submissive and give ourselves to helping others and building them up. (Philippians 2:3-8)

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What’s In Your Wallet

Matthew 6:19-21  “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

1 Timothy 6:17-19  Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.  Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.  By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.

Accumulating wealth is a great idea, go for as much of it as you can get, in fact let’s be greedy about it. Just be sure that you are talking about the treasure that you are storing away in heaven.

Just you use your earthly wealth correctly it will help you accumulate more heavenly wealth. The best use for our earthly wealth is to use it to help people in need and use it to help spread the gospel message around the world.

I must not be proud of how well I can provide for my needs or place my trust in my earthly wealth, instead I need to be generous and willing to help those that are in need that I have the ability to help.

Help me Lord to remember that my money belongs to you, help me to know how to use it for your purpose.

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