[Please bear with me as I express my love and devotion for my wonderful wife Debbie. I have been praying this week that God would rekindle my love for Debbie; we just celebrated our 41st year anniversary! After suffering a stroke March 20th, 2011 and spending the next 5 months recovering; I have not been as loving a husband as I should have been. Debbie has DEVOTED HER LIFE to my wellbeing and the Lord made me aware this week of how poorly I have responded; so my prayer has been for my Abba Father to rekindle my love and devotion for her. Thankfully the Lord has answered my prayer!] “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:22-24) [Debbie and I wanted to be sure because of our age difference and my past; so we took time apart to seek the Lord. That night Debbie was in a service where a message in tongues was given confirming to her God’s favor. I was in prayer that same night and the Lord took me to the following:] “TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” (Eccl. 4:9-11) [I called her after my prayer time and we both shared what the Lord had done to confirm to us!] “He who finds a wife FINDS WHAT IS GOOD and receives favor from the LORD.” (Prov. 18:22) [We were married on March 1st, 1975; then moved to Darrington where I was Pastoring. We pastored together in Washington State for 17 years and then we were called to Cleveland, TN. Debbie has worked at our General Headquarters since 1991.] “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, HUSBANDS OUGHT (our duty or obligation) TO LOVE THEIR WIVES AS THEIR OWN BODIES. He who loves his wife loves himself.” (Eph. 5:25-28)
NON OTHER THAN GOD JOINS US TOGETHER IN HOLY MATRIMONY IT’S UP TO US TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that WE OUGHT TO LOVE OUR WIVES AS OUR OWN BODIES!
[Jesus followers were going to mourn for him, but what did the find?] “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” (John 20:1-2) [Notice; they found an empty tomb, grave clothes and A FOLDED NAPKIN!] “Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And THE NAPKIN, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but WRAPPED TOGETHER [folded] IN A PLACE BY ITSELF.” (John 20:6-7) [The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes. Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, WHILE THE CLOTH THAT HAD COVERED JESUS’ HEAD WAS FOLDED UP AND LYING TO THE SIDE. In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition. When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished. Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe himself, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, “I’m done”. But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the folded napkin meant, “I’M COMING BACK!”]
JESUS IS COMING BACK TO RECEIVE US UNTO HIMSELF; WE MUST BE READY!!!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that JESUS IS COMING BACK TO RECEIVE US UNTO HIMSELF, TO BE WITH HIM FOREVER!
[The Word of God has been preserved for us, why? Because our Abba Father wants us to recognize its great value in our lives; the importance of us hiding it in our hearts; then speaking the word as if it is our own!] “For the word of God is ALIVE AND ACTIVE. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12) [Many groups of people have translated the word and there are many versions available; so which one do we use? I am mostly a KJV person; all my memory work has been KJV. I now realize that many people like the ease of reading the NIV, with this understanding; it is the Holy Spirit that makes the word alive to us, so get in in your heart any way you can!] “EVERY WORD OF GOD IS FLAWLESS; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” (Prov. 30:5) [Our Abba Father taught His people to write out the Word of God so it could be seen by all! David said this about the word:] “I have HIDDEN YOUR WORD IN MY HEART that I might not sin against you.” (Psa. 119:11) [As we hide the word we can declare:] “…the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart SO YOU MAY OBEY it.” (Deut. 30:14) [The Word declares and teaches us about our Lord and Saviour Jesus:] “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and THE WORD WAS GOD. He was with God in the beginning. THE WORD BECAME FLESH and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2, 14) [When we learn the word we learn about:] “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and HIS NAME IS THE WORD OF GOD.” (Rev. 19:11-13)
REMEMBER; EVERY WORD OF GOD IS FLAWLESS!!!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that THE WORD OF GOD IS ALIVE AND ACTIVE!
[In six days EVERYTHING that God spoke, CAME TO PASS! Our Abba Father is wonderfully amazing; he can accomplish awesome things by just breathing on them. It was now time for Samuel to anoint a King over Israel; God chose Saul] “The Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for GOD IS WITH YOU…As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and ALL THESE SIGNS WERE FULFILLED THAT DAY.” (1 Sam. 10:6-9) [As I think back to 1971 many years ago; The Lord God changed a twenty nine year old drug, alcohol and sex addicted sinner (me) into a God called preacher of the gospel! It was a great struggle for me to believe that The Lord would really use me because I had been so bad for such a long period of time. We had a Youth Convention at the Kirkland Church in 1974; I was asked to speak and as each time before I would pray and diligently seek the Lord for what He wanted me to present; and as before, I would receive wonderful inspiration, but when I stood behind the pulpit I would grab ahold of the edges put my well prepared notes down and read my message, too afraid to look up. Dear Sister Emerson, my Pastors wife, finally told me how boring that was, so at this Youth Convention I told the Lord as I was walking up to preach; “Please Jesus, I want to trust in you!” He said to me: “Put your notes down and step back from the pulpit and I WILL HELP YOU.” I obeyed, and preached my most anointed message up to that time!] “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING; in all your ways SUBMIT TO HIM, and he will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6) [I praise you Abba Father, this morning with my whole heart, I THANK YOU for your faithfulness!] “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CONFIRM YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:10-11) [How important it is for us to always trust our Abba Father, for He will NEVER leave us nor forsake us!]
IT TRULY “TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS”, WONDERFUL!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that WE MUST MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CONFIRM OUR CALLING AND ELECTION!
[God saw that “it was good…] “And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And GOD SAW THAT IT WAS GOOD.” (Gen. 1:9-10) [I am aware that the ocean and all its beauty has been here a long time, but Lord I thank you for creating me and my family, and allowing us to enjoy your beauty!] “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I PRAISE YOU BECAUSE I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE; YOUR WORKS ARE WONDERFUL, I know that full well.” (Psa. 139:13-14) [I praise once more Abba Father, this morning with my whole heart, I THANK YOU for my wonderful family and friends!] “Search me, God, and KNOW MY HEART; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psa. 139:23-24) [How important it is for us to be right in the sight of our Abba Father, once again: it is only His perception of us that matters! Jesus said:] “…store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, THERE YOUR HEART WILL BE ALSO.” (Matt. 6:20-21) [Thank you Lord that you know our hearts!] “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…your heavenly Father knows that you need them…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU AS WELL. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matt. 6:31-34)
THANK YOU FATHER FOR PROVIDING ALL OUR NEEDS!!!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that ALL THESE THINGS WILL BE GIVEN TO US AS WELL!
[I’m praying for the Lord to give me wonderful inspiration as I write these devotions this week!] “You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. YOU GIVE LIFE TO EVERYTHING, AND THE MULTITUDES OF HEAVEN WORSHIP YOU.” (Neh. 9:6) [As I sat in church yesterday I asked myself this question…did we come here to worship you Lord?] “I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD…The poor will see and be glad– you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them…” (Psa. 69:30-34) [I praise you this morning with my whole heart Abba Father, I THANK YOU for my wonderful family and friends!] “For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. COME, LET US BOW DOWN IN WORSHIP, LET US KNEEL BEFORE THE LORD OUR MAKER; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” (Psa. 95:3-7) [How important it is for us to be right in your sight Abba Father, after all it is only YOUR perception of us that matters!] “…about the Son he [our Abba Father] says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. THEY WILL PERISH, BUT YOU REMAIN; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. BUT YOU REMAIN THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NEVER END.” (Heb. 1:8-12)
LORD, YOU ARE FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING; WE BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP YOU!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that THE LORD LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORK OF HIS HANDS!
[This is the Psalm of Praise; or rather of thanksgiving. This is the only psalm bearing this precise title. It is all filled with grateful adoration, and has for this reason been a great favorite for the people of God ever since it was written. Nothing can be more inspirational this side heaven than the sacredness of this noble psalm giving praise to our awesome Abba Father!] “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that THE LORD IS GOD. IT IS HE WHO MADE US, AND WE ARE HIS; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. FOR THE LORD IS GOOD AND HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER; HIS FAITHFULNESS continues through all generations.” (Psa. 100:1-5) [Think about these beautiful words describing our worship to the one who created us for himself, WE ARE HIS; He died to save us, and NOW LIVES to insure our entering into our eternal home!] “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise. I WILL BE CAREFUL TO LEAD A BLAMELESS LIFE– when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart.” (Psa. 101:1-2) [Please Abba Father enable us to live in a manner that greatly pleases you!] “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, SO GREAT IS HIS LOVE FOR THOSE WHO FEAR HIM; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he REMOVED our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so THE LORD HAS COMPASSION ON THOSE WHO FEAR HIM; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (Psa. 103:11-14) [Thank you Father that you know how frail that we really are, we often disappoint you; yet you love us and encourage our hearts, by your Holy Spirit, to remain faithful to you!] “…FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children– with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.” (Psa. 103:17-18) [It is God’s nature to love us!] “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge [fully knowing Him] of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us EVERYTHING WE NEED for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:2-3)
THANK YOU ABBA FATHER FOR CREATING US AND MAKING US YOURS!!!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that WE CAN FULLY KNOW OUR ABBA FATHER!
[A principal part of the Jewish religion consisted in outward washings and cleansings: on this ground THEY EXPECTED TO SEE GOD, to enjoy eternal glory: but Jesus here shows us that a cleansing and purification of the heart, from all offensive affections and desires, is essential in ORDER TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD. As long as our soul is not delivered from all sin, through the blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we can have no Scriptural hope of ever being with God!] “Blessed are THE PURE IN HEART, for THEY WILL SEE GOD.” (Matt. 5:8) [The one whose conscience is faultless; whose heart is without deception and not under the influence of unholy passions.] “Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has CLEAN HANDS AND A PURE HEART …They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication [justification] from God their Savior.” (Psa. 24:3-5) [Create in me a clean heart – Mending will not benefit; my heart is altogether corrupted; IT MUST BE NEW MADE, made as it was in the beginning. This is exactly the sentiment of Paul: Neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but A NEW CREATION; and salvation given under the Gospel dispensation is called a being CREATED ANEW IN CHRIST JESUS.] “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow…Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. RESTORE TO ME THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psa. 51:7-12) [Flee from sin, run after goodness. Righteousness – WHATEVER IS JUST, HOLY, AND INNOCENT. Faith – loyalty both to God and man, refining that grace by which thy soul may be saved, and faithfully discharging the duties of whatever office we may hold, that we may be used of the Lord to save the souls of others. We must have Agape Love – to God and man.!] “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, ALONG WITH THOSE WHO CALL ON THE LORD OUT OF A PURE HEART.” (2 Tim. 2:19-22)
YES, ABBA FATHER; KEEP MY HEART PURE FOR YOUR USE!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that WE CAN CALL ON THE LORD OUT OF A PURE HEART! –Bill Stockham
[Whatever comes my way, I will cry unto you Abba Father, – I will never cry out to any other god, but to only to you! – I will not fall out with you because of afflictions, but always look to you, and wait upon you, – let me never speak to you in a cold and careless manner, but cry out to you with the greatest persistence and fervency of spirit, as someone who will not let you go except that you bless me!] “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For YOU HAVE BEEN MY REFUGE, A STRONG TOWER AGAINST THE FOE. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings. For you, God, have heard my vows; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.” (Psa. 61:1-5) [What a wonderful relationship we can have with God to truly find our “REST” in our Abba Father and never be shaken up by what is happening all around us!] “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I WILL NEVER BE SHAKEN.” (Psa. 62:1-2) [What a mighty “rock” we put our trust in!] “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; MY HOPE COMES FROM HIM. Truly he is my ROCK and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my MIGHTY ROCK, my refuge.” (Psa. 62:5-7) [Our God is such a wonderfully AWESOME, and amazing God!] “One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “POWER BELONGS TO YOU, GOD, and with you, Lord, is UNFAILING love”; and, “YOU REWARD EVERYONE ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAVE DONE.” (Psa. 62:11-12) [Is anything too hard for the Lord to do?] “Look, I am coming soon! MY REWARD IS WITH ME, and I WILL GIVE TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:12-14)
I THANK YOU AWESOME FATHER, FOR YOUR UNFAILING LOVE!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that OUR LORD WILL GIVE TO EACH OF US ACCORDING TO WHAT WE HAVE DONE!
[This is the promise God made to Abraham (who was called Abram at this time): In your future generations, when the Messiah, who shall come from your linage, shall all families of the earth be blessed; for as Jesus shall take on him human nature from the descendants of Abraham, HE SHALL TASTE DEATH FOR EVERY MAN, his Gospel shall be preached throughout the world, and countless blessings be poured out on all mankind through Jesus’ death and intercession.] “The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I WILL MAKE YOU INTO A GREAT NATION, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen. 12:1-3) [IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD TO DO? Abraham is now 99 years old…] “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; YOUR NAME WILL BE ABRAHAM, FOR I HAVE MADE YOU A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS.” (Gen. 17:1-5) [What seems impossible for us is “NO BIG THING” for God!] “God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.” Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “WILL A SON BE BORN TO A MAN A HUNDRED YEARS OLD? WILL SARAH BEAR A CHILD AT THE AGE OF NINETY?” (Gen. 17:15-17) [Listen to our Abba Father’s impossible promise!] “IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and SARAH WILL HAVE A SON.” (Gen. 18:14) [Is anything too hard for the Lord to do?] “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me WILL DO the works I have been doing, and they will do even GREATER THINGS than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. YOU MAY ASK ME FOR ANYTHING in my name, and I WILL DO IT.” (John 14:12-14)
NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR THE LORD!
Be blessed as you praise The Lord, knowing that WE MAY ASK JESUS FOR ANYTHING IN HIS NAME, AND HE WILL DO IT! -Bill Stockham