Psalm 100 – Serve with gladness – video devotional

Walk of Faith’s Summer of Psalms series continues with Psalm 100. When times are hard, sometimes we need help serving the Lord and maintaining joy. Today we see how and why we can still serve with gladness, and be rewarded now, and after this life.

Created on August 4, 2020

Your Sanctification

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A Walk of Faith Devotional from Dave Bunnell

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor. . .”
1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

There may be no human relationship whose integrity is more vigorously attacked by our enemy the devil and by our rebellious sin nature than the relationship of the marriage bed. Our fleshly desires and the influences around us make constant war against God’s call to purity.
      When we live outside the boundaries God has created for our protection and provision, it hurts us and our loved ones in tragic ways and opens the door for blasphemy from unbelievers. But when we allow Him to sanctify us, we become pure vessels, set apart to carry the good news of His salvation to the world.
     1 Thessalonians 4 teaches us that when we belong to Christ, we don’t have to be at the mercy of our sinful desires; we have the Holy Spirit within us to teach us how to control our own bodies in holiness and honor, and thus meet God’s standards for sexual morality. Those standards are found in the Bible and are easy to understand: Marriage is for one man and one woman for life. We are not to have sex with anyone to whom we are not married. We are not to refuse to meet our spouse’s physical needs. We are not to lust after others in our hearts.
     Brothers and sisters, if your life does not match God’s design for sexuality, today is the day to ask for and receive Christ’s forgiveness and allow Him to cleanse you from unrighteousness. If you are deviating from His standards in any way, the living word of God and the Holy Spirit of God plead with you now: Do not remain as you are; be sanctified.
God has all of the power, all of the wisdom, and all of the strength necessary to bring about even radical changes in your lifestyle and thought life. Surrender to Him and let Him do His work today. Your sanctification is His will. Let His will be done.

Handling Sorrow

A Walk of Faith Devotional by Dave Bunnell

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
–Nehemiah 1:3-4


Nehemiah was taken by surprise that day when he asked how things were in the home country of Israel.
Things are bad, was the report. Very bad. The capital city had suffered disgrace, and its people were very insecure because there was no gate to protect them from further trouble and harm. They had turned their backs on God and forgotten His covenant with them. So God had lifted His hand of protection from them for a time. Now they had begun to repent and return to the land, but the consequences of their sins lingered, and they were feeling vulnerable, humiliated, and defenseless.
Nehemiah was not personally affected. In fact, he lived in peace, safety, and extravagance as a servant and possibly a confidant of a powerful foreign king. But that didn’t matter now. Because Nehemiah loved his country, and more importantly, he loved the God who had formed his country and blessed it greatly with His presence, provision and protection in generations past. So this dire report shook Nehemiah’s soul.
At first, all he could do was cry. Just sit down and weep tears that welled up from a pain deep in his bones. This pain wouldn’t fade quickly. It would take several days.
Several days of mourning.
Several days of fasting.
Several days of crying out to the God of Israel and the God of heaven for His restoring hand to be upon His people once again.
Can you identify?
Do you mourn over the condition of your country, or your church, or your family? Are you in a situation where the people and places you care most about are in turmoil that rots your life with sadness while comfort seems to be so slow in coming?
If that’s the case, take heart. Because God uses a person who mourns what He mourns. God blesses the one who weeps when He weeps.
Nehemiah was such a man. So God had a plan for him. He would use Nehemiah to do some amazing things and bring about a level of restoration that seemed impossible in that moment when the bad news came.
For a time, Nehemiah would weep, and mourn, and fast, and pray. Then God would turn Nehemiah’s grief into dogged determination and utter reliance upon Him, and He would use Nehemiah as His instrument to rebuild a wall around the Holy City. Nehemiah’s resulting walk of faith would give him one of the most impressive testimonies in Bible history.
If the walls have come down for you, this book will be one you’ll enjoy studying. It will bring you hope, and give you guidance on how to be used of God to rebuild the walls once again.
If you’re grieving today over the news that has come your way, then God is already taking you on the first step of a journey of rebuilding. Now is the time for you to follow Nehemiah’s example on how to handle grief: When everything falls apart, take your tears to the Lord. In heartfelt prayer and an attitude of recognizing just how deeply you need Him, pray. Then today’s tears can become the seeds of tomorrow’s joy, because they will build your resolve and fortify your trust in a God who never disappoints those whose desire to serve Him does not wane and whose trust in Him does not waver.

Don’t look away

Unpleasant topic, but this unfortunately needs to be said.
A brief note to all those in leadership of churches or parachurch ministries of any kind:
If there is someone in your midst who is trying to satisfy sexual desires by acting inappropriately toward children or teen girls, do not make the mistake of looking the other way or hoping the problem won’t get worse if it’s ignored. Deal with it. Without delay. You have a duty to make sure the church, or camp, or other ministry you’re leading, is a place where women and children are safe. That means not creating a safe environment for those who are there to abuse them. Be harsh, not polite, with someone whose actions or words show that he is fantasizing about sexualizing young girls in the church. Some sexual harrassment and molestation happens because leaders who were made aware of the potential problem did nothing about it. Don’t let that be your story.

Let’s get back 2 church–neglecting it is hurting us

The worship team is here for practice for tomorrow’s service. We’re carrying on as much as possible, even though the world changed this year. I encourage you to do the same in your ministry, even if sometimes there are obstacles to overcome and sacrifices to make. And remember, that in these changes in the world’s attitudes, we are seeing yet another sign God gave us in His word that His return is closer than ever. The Bible says that the rapture will happen and the beginning of God’s judgment will overtake the lost world at a time when they’re crying out for “peace and safety.”
Most of all, try not to give in to the fear with the lost world, for whom it is understandable and for whom there truly is reason to fear. I have had several brothers and sisters lately wish me well with the words, “Stay Safe.” I’d prefer they wish me well with the admonition and encouragement, “Stay faithful.” Worry and fear I don’t need. An “abundance of caution” is a bit too much caution for almost any circumstance. It comes, too often, from a deficiency of faith. Which comes from a deficiency of encouraging one another in an assembly of believers worshiping Him and looking forward to His glorious appearing.
What we need to do in this last hour is what the word tells us to do when the signs of His coming become evident by matching every detail He gave us of what the pre-rapture moments in time would look like: We must be “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
We are in that moment, brothers and sisters. The fearful world wanting peace and security from a source other than God, cowering in fear and having an effect on the church’s faith so that we are also fearful and stop gathering. God knew it would happen, and spoke to us for this moment in Hebrews 10:25, the verse quoted above. So He specifically said, while the admonition to continue assembling and encouraging one another is for the entire church age, it is “all the more” important now.

Why would He forgive you?

Why would He do that?

“But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

–Isaiah 53:5-6, the prophecy of what the Christ would do to bring us forgiveness

I once heard a pastor tell his story of a conversation with a muslim man seated next to him on a plane. They talked about themselves and what they do for a living, and the muslim man was shocked when the pastor mentioned, rather casually, that he knows the Lord.

“You KNOW the God?!?” the man asked the pastor incredulously.

“Yes, through His word, through His Son, and by His Spirit, we can know God personally.”

“I just don’t see how that is possible for us to know a holy God,” the man said.

“Well, there is one thing that gets in the way of someone knowing a holy God. Let me ask you this question about yourself: Do you ever sin?”

The man looked down at his feet, his face growing flushed with embarrassment. After a moment of silence, he answered the question. “Yes, I sin. In fact, the reason I was so embarrassed by the question is because I am traveling today to visit another woman for an affair. My wife doesn’t know. I know it’s wrong, but it’s what I want.”

“And what,” the pastor asked, “do you think the God who made us will do to you for what you’re about to do?”

“I hope He will forgive me for it.”

Then the rather obvious question from the pastor: “Forgive you? Why would He do that?”

That was a question the man had no answer for. You can already tell the reason. Because in Islam, and indeed, anywhere outside of biblical faith, there really is no good reason for God to forgive any of us for any sin we commit. In the passage quoted above, we read God’s evaluation of humanity: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” The entire human race messed up. All together we turned our backs on a holy Creator who had a right to our obedience. And lest any of us hope we can find a way not to share in the guilt upon everyone else, God then shows you and me our individual guilt: “We have turned, every one, to his own way.” That means it isn’t just humanity as a whole—it’s you and I as individual persons. You personally are a sinner. You personally are in danger of God’s judgment for your sins. And like the man on the plane was realizing, there was no reason he could hope for forgiveness.

That’s where God came up with the solution. Christ Jesus “was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed…. and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (From Isaiah 53)

Your guilt and mine were placed on the holy Son of God on the cross, where He absorbed all of the punishment for every wrong in your life, and died in your place for you. Because He was sacrificed in our place, we can be forgiven and have peace with God—indeed a relationship with Him as our Father—by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Why would God forgive? If you don’t believe on His Son, He won’t. But to those who believed on Him, “He gave the right to become children of God,” He tells us in the gospel of John. Like the man on the plane, you have done things that were wrong and offended your Maker. But God loves you and wants to forgive you. Through your faith in His Son, He will.

The Greatest Blessing

A Walk of Faith devotional by Dave Bunnell

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD
does not count against him
–Psalm 32:1-2

Imagine you’re being given the opportunity to have everything you want for the rest of your life — to just snap your fingers and see your wishes granted. But imagine there is one catch: in return, you must forfeit God’s forgiveness of just one of your sins. Would you take the offer?
Not if you were wise. Because if we did not have salvation, the forgiveness of sins, and the eternal life it brings, there would be no gift or blessing that could be of any real value.
We tend to put a lot of things on our “wish lists,” convincing ourselves that if we just had that certain something, or if that certain circumstance changed, or if that certain thing would happen, then we would be satisfied. But the truth is, if we know Jesus, we already have the greatest blessing we could ever receive: Our sins have been punished on the cross, and God will never hold us responsible for them. Even though our sins were innumerable — “more than the hairs of my head,” as Psalm 40 describes them — when we stand before Christ, our sins will number absolute zero. Even though our hearts were deceitful and above all things wicked, we shall stand before Him clothed in the spotless garments of the redeemed.
“My sin (oh the bliss of this glorious thought) my sin, not in part but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, Oh, my soul!” We’ve not been partially forgiven, but completely forgiven. Our sin debt hasn’t been decreased, but cancelled.
Truly that is the greatest blessing. That’s why throughout the ages more songs than can be counted have been written of the wonders of God’s grace and mercy and the miracle of His salvation. Millionaires don’t write ballads in praise of the joy their money brings. But even men in utter poverty can cry out in irrepressible joy at the knowledge that God has forgiven them of their every transgression.
“Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free; for God the Just is satisfied, to look on Him and pardon me.”
If just one sin remained unwashed by Christ’s blood, we would be eternally doomed. But every wrong thing we’ve ever done, said, or thought has been erased by the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. Rejoice brothers and sisters! That which you already have is the most wonderful thing anyone could ever receive. Do not withhold your rejoicing until the temporal things of this life improve for you; rejoice now, and rejoice forever. If you have the Son of God and the life He brings, then nothing more do you need to have reason to praise Him.