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Archive for the ‘Devotions by Martin Drummond’ Category

To hear this Morning Devotion, please click  Apathy toward apathy 

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I’ve felt a heaviness in my heart since yesterday morning.

The reason? The moral decay of our nation is accelerating and too few of us Christians are trying to put our feet on the brakes.

I know that I can’t wag fingers at the apathy of other Christians who obsess over chasing the “good life” while terribly bad things are happening around them.

You see, even though I haven’t joined the Conga line of living for earthly success, I also haven’t done as much as I could have to call believers to proactivity in their faith.

Yesterday, I read again an article about the increasing influence of the homosexual community with Disneyworld in Orlando. Gay Day has become a signature event for the park with countless thousands of gays parading and pirouetting on streets and in attractions that have been the domain of traditional families for decades.

I read of how multiple meeting spaces and exhibit halls through the park are used for hedonistic purposes such as pornography sales and sexual liason planning for offsite locations.

As bad as that was, what really wounded me was the statement from a Disney spokesman that fewer and fewer parents are expressing concern about the Gay Day activities, and even fewer are asking for refunds because of what their kids see happening during the course of the day.

Traditional family parents just don’t care as much about what the homosexuals do in at DisneyWorld, it appears.

That’s bad enough.

But then I read last night another story that showed the erosion of godly values, not among the carnal-minded who are only doing what they’ve always done, but instead among those who should be digging in their heels — traditional family parents.

You can read the story yourself at this link, but the gist is this: fewer and fewer parents even care what filth is put on TV. As societal values decline, so does the impartation of godliness to children.

To think of where we are now regarding national moral standards as compared to 50 years ago is absolutely mind-boggling.

It’s a bad thing when the gatekeepers of social influence are increasingly characterized by the absence of godly character.

With Disneyworld being more concerned about embracing gay attendees than they are about offending godly attendees, it is obvious that the Disney Corporation has decided which worldview is increasing in power and which one is declining.

Sadly, traditional Christians haven’t done enough to persuade them otherwise.

I share the above this morning because of what I read today in my One-Year Bible:

While Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites—men, women and children—gathered around him. They too wept bitterly” (Ezra 10:1).

After the return to Jerusalem of the Babylonian exiles, many of the Jewish men ignored God’s warning and command against marrying non-Jewish wives. As a result, the decay of faith among the Jews accelerated and all sorts of problems occurred for the semi-restored Israel.

The root of the woes was the marital binding with ungodly spouses.

Ezra was overcome with sadness when he arrived in Jerusalem and saw the mess the disobedient believers had made of their lives and of their wannabe nation.

He then led a national move of repentance and sending away of the ungodly, foreign wives. It was a terribly painful, disruptive time, but better in the long run.

The question you and I have to answer is this: do we care what is happening to our nation’s morality and, ultimately, to our national fabric?

Will we continue to let the people of the world play with matches while we share space in an increasingly dry forest?

Or will we allow our saddened hearts to compel us into demanding that they go somewhere else to play with matches?

Better yet, will we do all that we can to water the dried-out trees and saplings around us with the Living Water so that our circles of influence are less vulnerable to the flames?

As I said above, we can’t expect carnal people to stop being carnal people, particularly as fewer Christians even care about such.

What we can do, however, is encourage Christians to embrace personal holiness and to stand against the influence of unholy living through letter-writing campaigns, by economic boycotts, by pouring out the Living Water of God’s encouraging Word to everybody we meet AND by praying, praying, praying for more Americans to humble themselves.

As we all call on God, He will hear our prayers and heal the land.

II Chronicles 7:14 says so.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click  Better than expected

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It’s really a good thing when somebody says he or she is preparing a nice meal for you and that you should be at his or her place at a certain time.

Not having to cook is good.

Not having to clean up is even better.

Knowing that somebody wanted to bless you is better yet.

And then, when you show up and you find the meal to be WAY better than anything you’ve ever eaten, now that is the best!

You pinch yourself and than ask, “Is this really happening?” For you didn’t know that food could taste SO good.

Even if the above hasn’t happened to you, I know that you can conceive of its possibility.

To a far greater extent, this is the idea that I gleaned from a passage in my One-Year Bible reading today.

Here is what stirred me so:

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — these things God has prepared for those who love Him” I Cor. 2:9

I have seen some incredibly beautiful settings and things and people during my life with some of them nearly taking my breath away.

I realize, though, that world travellers and super-model photographers have seen a whole lot more beauty than have I.

Yet, even the person who has seen the most beautiful that the world offers has seen nothing compared to what awaits believers in heaven.

Now that is saying a lot.

To see a majestic bald eagle soaring above a Smoky Mountain ridge with the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky and trees in fall colors is spellbinding.

To see a young set of parents joyfully cuddling their newborn on a picnic blanket at a lakeside park is even more compelling.

Compared to heaven, though, such pictures fall far short of the threshold established by the glorious perfection of God’s presence.

The fact is that nobody — other than the Apostle Paul — has seen anything close to the awesome glory and beauty of heaven.

And even Paul’s experience, recorded in 2 Corinthians 12, was only a faint glimpse from an extra-dimension distance.

If heaven is so amazing, then don’t you want to make sure you spend forever there?

I certainly do.

That’s why I obeyed the Gospel years ago with my verbal and baptismal confession of Christ and that’s why I strive to become more like Him as the years pass.

I want to see more people joining the ranks of those “who love Him” so that they will receive an eternity of blessing beyond what any eye has seen, any ear has heard or any mind has conceived.

Hmmmm…. I think I’ll start planning a meal that will hopefully far exceed the expectations of the invitees.

If they declare that the meal was beyond their expectations, that will provide a good trigger for my mentioning of I Cor. 2:9 and of how God yearns to bless forever those who live for Him.

This is my prayer.

Perhaps it will be yours, too.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click A legacy lost
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I can just see the family members hurriedly sifting through every bag, chest and drawer in their house as they search for proof of who they are.

There is a look of desperation that grips their faces, a look that is rooted in the fear that their mission will fail.

The men in these families know what is at stake. And so do their wives.

Failure means exclusion from the priesthood, even though they know that they are descended from the priestly line.

It is a terribly sad micro-story recorded in Ezra 2:59-63, an account that shows the failure of an unknown number of families in terms of documenting their priestly geneology.

In Ezra 2, thousands of Jews are preparing to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city after decades of desolation. The new king in Babylon, Cyrus of Persia, is even helping with the project’s cost. The core objective of the Jews is to rebuild the temple and resume the worship practices of the Jews.

Priests would be the overseers of this long-desired resumption of Jehovah worship. Not only would the priests derive the great satisfaction of serving God and their people, but they would also derive their financial support from offerings at the temple.

The descendants of the priests Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai had to have been thrilled when they first heard the king’s plan. But then when they realized that they would have to provide their ancestors’ documentation of temple service, things got tough.

All they had to do was to find an ancient counterpart to an ordination certificate or a diploma from a priestly seminary or some temple document with Grandpa’s signature in a place required for the priest on duty.

They found nothing, despite the likely repeated sifting of their homes and repeated trips to the homes of close relatives.

This failure had to have been emotionally devestating, made even worse by the realization that a few moments of careful filing decades earlier would have prevented this calamity.

I’m sure that you can imagine how the descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai felt when they had to accept the fact that their places as temple servants were forvever lost due to filing errors.

So how does this sad story relate to us?

What are you doing to secure your legacy? To pave the way for your biological or spiritual descendants to follow in your footsteps of serving God?

Serving as a priest in the Jerusalem temple is not an option for you and for me. However, if you’re a Christian, you are part of God’s new “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:9) called to declare the praises of God. And you are pass on that role to those who follow in your footsteps, whether it be your biological children, your relatives’ or friends’ children, a younger adult convert or any other believer of the generation after yours.

It is so good when I encounter a Christian teen whose solid faith can be traced to the careful imparting of God’s love and truth from faithful parents who received the same from their parents who received the same from their parents.

It’s like being one of the soon-to-be-priests in Babylon who are packed and ready to go to Jerusalem, with Grandpa’s priestly ordination certificate tucked into his inner robe right next to his heart.

Dear friend, be careful in the living of your faith so that God is served and pleased. But NEVER forget to be equally committed to imparting that faith to your child, to somebody else’s child or to a young adult who can carry your torch of faith after you’re gone.

Your legacy will be served and your spiritual descendant will experience a sense of joy, not confused loss, when he or she senses God’s call to return to Him.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click Fear buttons

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Everybody has fear buttons.

I’m talking about those buttons in our individual lives that are periodically pushed by others or by unexpected life circumstances.

We might get by for a bit when others “tap, tap, tap” on those buttons, but sooner or later the fear monster jumps up like a jack in the box and we’re discombobulated for a bit…. or for a long time.

Some buttons involve strained, core relationships that are on thin ice.

Some buttons involve failing finances that are barely keeping up with even a minimal standard of living.

Some buttons involve a lengthening list of aches and pains that appear destined for deterioration into serious health woes.

And some buttons involve people who seem to pad their sense of joy by taking away yours via mean words or actions.

Oh yeah, there are also the buttons involving job loss, national political turmoil, community immorality, and many others.

I doubt that you have all these buttons on your chest.

I imagine, though, that you have at least one of them.

Even if it is smaller and it is somewhat obscured by your shield of faith.

God knows we have these buttons. It’s part of our human existence.

God also knows that He’s provided the remedy for fear buttons.

It’s the big button called “FAITH” that we can choose to place over our heart.

The more that we push that FAITH button, the smaller the fear buttons become and the smaller the fear monster appears when somebody or something does push the fear button.

Because of a growing faith, we can experience a shrinking fear of feeling abandoned if somebody breaks a relationship with us.

Because of a growing faith, we can remain hopeful even when our net worth and mortgage status are screaming “Hopeless!”

And because of a growing faith, we can keep hope-filled even when the doctor’s face is glum, when the gossip factory against us is running three shifts and when our once-wholesome society sprints toward godlessness.

Here is the key fact in all of this — God is still on the throne.

And He promises to sustain and save the souls of those who seek and serve Him.

That is all the reason we need to push the FAITH button whenever one or more of our fear buttons are being pushed by another or by circumstances.

I was reminded this morning in my One-Year Bible reading that faith always trumps fear when people see God accurately.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble? When evil people come to devour me, when my enemies and foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident….

For He will conceal me there when troubles come; He will hide me in His sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock.” (Psalm 27:1-4, 5 NLT)

Life has been pushing several of my fear buttons lately. It hasn’t been enjoyable, to say the least.

But for every push on the fear button by a circumstance or by a particular person, I’ve learned to P.U.S.H. even harder and more frequently on the FAITH button.

P.U.S.H. as in continuing to pray until something happens.

Why? Because of my absolute confidence that the same God who WILL deliver my soul to the eternal blessing of His presence will also deliver earthly blessings to me so that I can serve Him as a poster child for faith overcoming fear.

He’s done it before. He’ll do it again. For me. And for you.

We just have to keep pushing the big button in the middle.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click  Add to your ‘Attaboy!’ list

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I want to be seen by God as Apelles was seen by the Apostle Paul — as one whose fidelity to Christ has stood the test.

And I want to seen by God as the godly women Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis were seen by Paul — as one who works very hard for the Lord.

Apelles, Tryphena, Tryphosa and Persis were mentioned in my One-Year Bible reading for today from Romans 16. Paul is ending his epic letter to the Christians at Rome and chooses to affirm a number of people who had endeared themselves to his heart because of the faithful love and service to God’s Kingdom.

It’s an uncluttered passage that promotes the idea of unity, volunteerism and the fact that God values the ministry efforts of women as much as He values the ministry efforts of men.

It is refreshing to read Paul’s words. It is also instructive for those of us who are struggling now with the vitality of our faith.

God sees what we do for His sake.

Faithful Christians are to observe others’ Kingdom efforts, too, offering words of encouragement and appreciation just as Paul did.

Can you imagine how encouraged Apelles, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Pesis and the other named believers were when Paul’s letter was read to the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Christians in Rome?

They didn’t serve in order to get on Paul’s “Attaboy!” list, of course. Yet their loyalty to God and gratefulness for His blessings surely were boosted as they heard their names and received the handshakes and hugs from fellow believers.

I want to encourage you to affirm the ministry efforts of others in your congregation or some other Christian setting. Tell them verbally or in writing of how you appreciate their efforts.

And then look for others in your circle of influence to whom you can provide the blessing of affirmation.

It’s the right thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click Letting go of the handlebar

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While teaching Jessica how to ride a bike some 20 years ago, the time came when I had to take off the training wheels and then — gulp! — let go of the handlebar and seat.

I knew quite well that Jessica would fall sooner or later when she turned too sharply or became distracted and ran into something or applied the brakes without remembering to put down her feet.

And she did fall, of course.

But not without my being close by to make sure that the fall wasn’t too severe and to make sure that she had encouragement to get up to try it again.

Jessica and I both needed to test her level of learning and commitment to doing what was necessary to safely ride a bike.

Fathers need such times of testing for their children in order to know if the child has learned to do things in a proper, safe fashion.

And so it is with our Father God.

He allows times of testing in our lives so that our measure of learning about the right way of doing things might reveal the character of our faith.

If we pray more and read the Bible more and if we attend church more, then the testing displays the basis of our hope.

If we pray less, read the Bible less, attend church less — all because we’re blaming God for not protecting us — that, too, displays the basis of our hope.

Which pattern have you displayed lately during your times of testing at home or at work or at school or at the doctor’s office?

God knows that the testing of stress coming against you is not easy.

He also knows, however, that He can’t run alongside of you holding onto the handlebar and seat and still know the real measure of your reliance upon Him.

You can’t know it, either, until He withdraws His sustaining hand for a time.

In today’s One-Year Bible reading, we see God withdrawing His hand for a bit in order to reveal the depth’s of King Hezekiah’s heart. In 2 Chronicles 32, the account is given about an ominous threat against Jerusalem by King Sennacherib of Assyria.

It’s a vivid story that is filled with detail and intrigue. God miraculously protected Jerusalem and her people because Hezekiah had displayed excellent spiritual leadership.

Later in the chapter, though, Hezekiah’s faith became corrupted and pride took over for some reason. God saw this and decided it was time to let go of the handlebar and seat.

But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart” (v. 31).

When God withdrew, it was very likely the withholding of Holy Spirit’s voice warning Hezekiah about the carnal motives of the Babylonians. Hezekiah blindly and pridefully showed off all his wealth and the kingdom’s wealth to the visiting government officials from Babylon.

Those officials went home and told their king about all the stuff in Jerusalem and the foolish king who showed it to them. Next thing you know, Babylon starts making plans for a future conquest of Jerusalem.

It’s a sad sequence, this testing that revealed pride that produced weakness that resulted in vulnerability that led to destruction and bondage.

I pray that times of testing that God allows in your life will not reveal the same, but instead will reveal a tap root of faith that cannot be pulled out by storms or droughts.

Even if the tests do lead to a fall because you pridefully turn the wrong way or you become distracted or you put the brakes on faithful living without planting your feet on the Rock, just remember that your heavenly Father is close by waiting for you to cry for help.

Just like I was with Jessica.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click Apathy is not acceptable

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Her courage should be better known.

I hope that this Morning Devotion spreads the story to more people. I also hope that you’ll pass the story on to others, as well.

For we all need to display courage within our family as Jehosheba displayed courage within hers.

As told in 2 Chronicles 22:11, this woman was the daughter of Jehoram, a deceased king who had ruled for eight years over the Southern Kingdom of Old Testament Israel. After her father and stepbrother died, Jehosheba’s stepmother launched a bloodthirsty effort to take over the kingdom herself.

I won’t go into the details of the bloody sequence of events that occurred between Jehoram’s horrible death and Queen Athaliah’s power move to become the ruler of Judah. That sequence described in 2 Chronicles 21-22 shows how cold and ruthless people can become when God is not in control of their lives.

With her son killed during a trip to the Northern Kingdom, and his brothers already dead because of attacks on Jerusalem by marauding criminals, Athaliah saw her chance to be the boss.

So she arranged for the murder of all her grandsons and actually succeeded except for one who was rescued before the killing and hidden away for six years.

Who would risk her life by defying the queen’s wishes and rushing away the prince before Athaliah’s hit squad could reach him?

Jehosheba, that’s who.

The Bible makes a clear inference that Jehosheba was able to get away with her plan only because she was the daughter of a king and was the wife of the ruling priest in Jerusalem.

She had the family connections to gain entrance to the palace in order to grab the toddler named Joash. She had the insight to be spiritually tipped off that a threat to David’s kingly line was about to launch. And she had the faith that gave her strength to do what was right, regardless of the threat against her own survival.

As a wise woman of God, Jehosheba had to have perceived the evil within Athaliah. After all, Athaliah was the daughter of Queen Jezebel, the ultimate role model for evil women. Jehoram had married Jezebel’s daughter in a move aimed at political reconciliation with the arch rival Northern Kingdom.

Despite the evil she faced, Jehosheba acted boldly to save the child in order to save the Promise.

Where was Joash taken?

To the temple to live secretly with Jehosheba and Jehoiada the priest.

Jehosheba and Jehoida raised Joash as their own for six years before declaring him king at age 7. He received an incredible amount of teaching about faith during those years following his rescue. Joash would also receive a lot of governance help, of course, after his appointment and he would eventually reign for 40 years.

Without the help of a courageous Jehosheba when he was a year old, though, Joash would have met the end of a sword while still a baby. And God’s promise to David would have died out.

There are all sorts of life applications from this story. But I simply want to ask you one question: Who among your relatives is God stirring your heart to help because of an attack he or she is facing at home or at work or at school or with his or her health?

You have access into some aspect of that relative’s heart and mind that outsiders don’t have. If the attack is coming from within the family, you know the family dynamics of who is helpful and who is harmful.

You also have access to the wisdom and courage-prompting power of God.

Imitate Jehosheba. Courageously, wisely intercede to help the relative under attack. Pray for direction. God will show you and strengthen you. And He will help you to turn the crisis into a season of teaching about God.

As shown also in the life of Esther, it is for times such as these that God saves us and uses us.

As always, I love you
Martin

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