Devotion Book 1 (Mature Man) Lesson 1
Devotion Book 1
The MATURE MAN
Devotional Note Book
A one year Devotional Guide building MATURE MEN.
A greater book has not been penned
Throughout the course of time.
There’s power in its pages,
And its author is divine.
Its words bring hope and comfort
When we have lost our way.
It leads us to salvation,
Then guides our steps each day.
Faith will flourish, demons flee
Before its firm command.
Earth may crumble. Stars may fall.
God’s Words forever stand.
Priceless blessings are possessed
For us eternally,
When we read and heed the Bible,
Then live it faithfully.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The Mature Man
How is your life being “built”? Is it being done according to God’s plans, on His foundation, with His materials? If not, you have a serious problem, not unlike the one faced by the man who built his house on the sand. As you know, the rains dashed against his house and destroyed it. Certainly, you don’t want your life to end in ruin. But you take that risk if you fail to follow God’s plans and build on His foundation, with His materials. The purpose of this book is to help you work with God in the “building” of your life. The job is not an easy one, for sure. But if it is done right, the result will be real success and fulfillment.
Of the three institutions established by God – the family, the government, the church – first came the family. The family is important to God. Your family is important to God. And He wants your family to be built according to His plans, on His foundation, with His materials. This is why Master-Builder was written: To show you how to build your family God’s Way. We can’t promise you it will be an easy job. Probably, it won’t. But we can assure you that if you do build your family God’s way, the result will be real success and fulfillment. His way is not only the best way, it is the only way.
The first essential in the building process is the blueprint. What engineer would begin construction of any building without a blueprint? Such a thing is unthinkable. Yet countless Christians attempt to construct their lives without the “blueprint” God has provided in His Word. The Bible is His “Master-Plan” for building a godly life. A blueprint is essential during the entire building process. It must be checked and re-checked constantly to make sure the construction is right. A builder does not one day glance through the blueprint, store all the information in his brain, and then toss the plans into the wastebasket. He checks and re-checks, carefully determining if the structure being built is identical to the one in the plans. And never is the blueprint discarded, for whenever there is some structural problem or system malfunction in the building, the blueprint is reviewed. So it is with the building of a Christian life. In the building process, God’s Word must be checked constantly to make sure the construction is right. This is a daily necessity. Nearing the end of his life, the Apostle Paul met with the leaders of one of the churches he had established, the church of Ephesus. His message to them was a deeply emotional one, for he knew he would not see them again. One thing he said was this: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up.” (Acts 20:32). God’s Word is still essential to the building process. It is His blueprint for your life.
The first part of any structure is the foundation. Before the walls or door or roof or any other part comes the foundation. For the Christian’s life, what is the foundation? I Corinthians 3:11 puts it this way: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
The written Word of God, the Bible, is the blueprint for the Christian’s life. The living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the foundation for the Christian’s life. All that is built must be built on Him.
The Building Blocks
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (I Corinthians 3:12-15)
As a Christian, God has given you the responsibility of choosing the building materials for your life. You may build with gold, silver and costly stones, or you may choose wood, hay and straw. The true quality of whatever you choose will be revealed in the time of God’s judgment. That which was built with gold, silver and precious stones in your life will be preserved. That which was built with wood, hay and straw will be destroyed in the fire with which God will test your “building”. You may build with wood, hay and straw and yet still be saved because the foundation is right – the Lord Jesus Christ. But, though you will be saved, you will receive no rewards from Him.
What do “gold, silver and precious stones” represent? These are symbolic of the principles and truths of God’s Word. These are the building blocks for the Christian life. Only by accepting and obeying these principles and truths can one become godly. “Wood, hay and stubble” are symbolic of all that is contrary to the principles and truths of God’s Word, and all that is impure and unrighteous. That which is built with “wood, hay and stubble” will be consumed in the fire of God’s judgment. That which is built in accordance with His principles and truths will last forever.
Mature Man, then, is based on these four facts:
1. God is the Builder of the Christian life. We are builders with Him.
2. God’s Word is the blueprint for the building of the Christian’s life.
3. God’s Son is the foundation of the Christian’s life.
4. God’s principles and truths are the building blocks for the Christian’s life.
Now, where do you begin? First, you must make a definite commitment to work in co-operation with God in the building of your life for His glory. This is a serious matter. Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, this man began to build, and was not able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30).
Have you counted the cost in building your life? How much time will it take? What sacrifices are necessary? How must you change? Are you willing to say, “Whatever it takes to build my life God’s way, I’m willing to pay the price?”
HOW TO USE MATURE MAN
To gain maximum benefit from this material, you need to follow just a few simple steps:
Step #1: Read and meditate on the daily Bible reading.
At the beginning of each section is a column or two divided into six daily parts. Next to each day’s listing is a Bible reference. For example, in God’s Word/Week 1 you read:
Day 1/II Timothy 3:14 – 17
This line tells you, simply enough, that the Scripture reading for Day 1 is II Timothy 3:14 – 17. You should then turn to this passage in your Bible and read it thoroughly. In fact, read it three times: first for a general meaning, then for a specific meaning, and finally for a personal meaning. Meditate on the passage – think on it seriously for a few minutes.
Step #2: Read the explanatory paragraph
Under the main heading which indicates the day and Bible reference is a paragraph or two. The paragraph explains and amplifies the meaning of the Scripture you have just read. One purpose of this section is to help you focus on the day’s key question.
Step #3: Read and meditate on the key question.
Every key question is designed with the primary purpose of helping you determine how the Scripture applies to your life. Answer the key question – in your mind. Don’t write anything down yet.
Step #4: Answer the Learn & Live question.
In the second and third sections of each weekly devotional plan are six daily sections. These six daily sections correlate with the six daily listings on page one. Each of these daily sections is divided into two parts. The first part is titled “Learn & Live.” Under this heading are two questions: What do I learn from this passage? and How will I live this passage? On the appropriate lines, write a brief answer to these two questions. Try to keep in mind the key question for the day (Step #3) when you write your answer.
Step #5: Answer the Pray & Praise questions.
Like Learn & Live, this section has two basic questions: What do I ask God for today? and What do I praise God for today? These questions are intended to help you single out specific prayer requests, as well as things for which you praise God. Record your items for prayer and praise on the appropriate lines.
These steps are to be repeated each day during your personal devotional time. The more you follow them, the more natural they will become. Just keep in mind that their purpose is to help you form positive daily devotional habits.
Like a baby so tiny, is the way we begin,
When redeemed by Christ from the darkness of sin.
At first we crawl, then learn to walk;
And bowing in prayer, to the Saviour we talk.
God’s Word, so precious, we desire to know,
And by its milk we begin to grow.
Then, no longer a little one, on milk so weak;
For we grow to maturity, when it’s strong meat we seek.
Now as I look back over many long years,
My growing has come through faith, obedience and tears.
There is one thing I know for sure,
It is a wonderful feeling to be Godly mature.
By: Dr. Gene Hooker
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:7-10
How to Discover God’s Principles
Imagine that you are a prospector searching for gold in the Nevada Mountains. You’re kneeling in the pure water of a shallow stream. With your wide, saucer-shaped pan you scoop up sand and pebbles from the stream bottom. Slowly, carefully, you shake the pan in a side-to-side rhythm. The wet contents gently slip back into the clear water. The pan is nearly empty when you see it. Trying to contain your emotions you move the pan ever more carefully until you know it is the real thing: a huge gold nugget! You pick it up and examine it closely. It is real! You’ve discovered gold!
Well, back to reality. You’re not a prospector and you probably never will discover gold in Nevada or anywhere else. But before you feel disappointed, here’s some good news: You can discover something more valuable than gold. What is it? Principles. That’s right, Principles.
A principle is a central truth of God’s Word. It is fundamental to the way God wants us to live. It is an underlying, essential truth upon which we can make proper decisions, build our lives and enjoy the blessings of God through obedience to its teaching. Out of each principle, other truths are derived. It is like a rich vein containing countless nuggets. To discover a principle is to discover an unlimited source of spiritual wealth. Mining from it will make you rich in the things of God.
Here’s how you can discover God’s principles:
LEARN TO IDENTIFY PRINCIPLES
The Bible is full of truths. But not every truth is a principle. The best way to understand this is to take a look at a Scripture passage which reveals one of God’s principles. An excellent example is Galatians 6:7,8. These verses say: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” In these two sentences, God tells us a lot. But there is a central theme to what He has to say. That central theme is the principle of sowing and reaping. The principle says simply: What you sow (spiritually), you will reap (spiritually). Everything in these verses underscores this one basic truth. You can probably see this principle very clearly. And perhaps you have even thought of how this principle works in the law of nature. You know that if you plant corn in a garden, you will not get cucumbers. You will get corn. You will reap exactly what you have sown. It is impossible for the opposite to occur, for God has so ordered the physical world. He has established definite physical laws governing the physical realm and definite spiritual laws governing the spiritual realm. These spiritual laws are His principles.
“Things” change. Principles are eternal and unchanging. One Scriptural example of this fact is in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy, chapter 22. In this portion of God’s Word is a law addressed to the nation of Israel instructing them to build railings around the roofs of their houses. There was a good reason for this law: In those days, in that culture, people ate and did many of their routine activities on their rooftops. A railing was necessary to prevent someone from falling off the roof. The principle underlying this Jewish law is the principle of individual responsibility with ownership. Today, in our culture, we do not eat or do anything else on our rooftops. So, we don’t need to build railings around them. Things have changed. But God’s principles have not. We are still individually responsible before God to manage all that He has entrusted to us.
The best thing you can do to identify God’s principles is to consistently ask: What is the main thing God is saying? (What is the underlying basic truth He is communicating?) Every time you read God’s Word, search for an answer to this basic question. One of God’s principles will often be revealed in an answer, or, at least, an answer will direct you to a principle. In other words, sometimes you will discover a whole “vein” of truth; other times you will find only a “nugget”, which indicates more spiritual riches to be found.
As you search the Scriptures in your daily family and personal devotion times, have a spirit of expectancy. Many Christians fail to find God’s principles simply because they don’t expect to. Their negative attitude defeats them and they miss the joy and satisfaction of spiritual discovery.
God wants to show you His principles. He really wants you to become spiritually wealthy.
STAKE A CLAIM
When you discover one of God’s principles, you have found something really valuable. Don’t lose it. Perhaps you have heard of the old prospector who found a fabulously rich vein of gold in the western United States, back in the days of the great old gold rush. He became so excited that he ran off hurriedly to stake his claim. In his excitement he forgot to mark the spot of his discovery. When he returned from the assay office, he couldn’t relocate the place of his big find. Every crevice in the mountain looked the same to him. Often, this same thing happens to Christians who discover God’s principles. They fail to mark the spot, and when they return to a portion of God’s Word to dig out more spiritual truth, they can’t find the “vein” God revealed to them.
There are several essential steps to take after discovering a Biblical principle. First, mark your Bible in the exact place of your discovery. Your “discovery marker” can be a star, as asterisk, or any other simple mark you prefer. Below the “discovery marker”, write a key word or phrase which identifies the principle. Second, in the Principles Journal, write a brief description of the principle, carefully select the wording and record what the principle means to you and how it applies specifically to your life. (Study the example on the first page of the Principles Journal.) Third, prayerfully agree with God to live according to the principle He has revealed to you. Then, check up periodically to make sure you are living the principles you have discovered and have committed yourselves to live by. Knowing God’s principles without living them is like living in poverty when you have unlimited reserves of cash in the bank.
Keep in mind these main points:
1. Learn to identify principles. Know what you’re looking for.
2. Expect discovery. Be positive when you search the Scriptures.
3. Stake a claim. Make God’s principles your own. Record them, claim them through obedience, invest them in your life. You’ll become spiritually wealthy.
|Jan 1||Galatians 6:7||The Principle of sowing and reaping||This principle says that anything one sows he will reap. This includes any action, reaction, or attitude, etc.||I should be less critical of others. My criticism always causes ill feelings – in me and others. I reap just what I sow.|
Prayer & Praise
“And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Luke 18:1
How to Pray and Praise
How do you rate your prayer life?
Most Christians who answer honestly check the middle box. Their prayer life is inconsistent. In other words, it is not an essential part of their daily life. They don’t have a special time set apart each day for prayer. The majority of Christians are in this category. A recent survey shows that most Christians spend less than five minutes each day in prayer. Why is this so? Surely one cause is the failure of so many Christians to recognize the reasons for prayer. Reason number one is: God commands to us to pray.
“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while His is near.” Isaiah 55:6
“…men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Luke 18:1
“I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” I Timothy 2:8
Of course, there are many other reasons for prayer:
Because there is a devil, we pray.
Because Jesus prayed, we pray.
Because we have physical and emotional needs, we pray
Because we have material needs, we pray.
Because we must communicate with our Father and fellowship with Him, we pray.
Nothing is more important than prayer. S. D. Gordon, a well-known Christian leader, wrote:
“The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing; but it is the chief thing. The great people of the earth today are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray.”
Now, many Christians face this problem: they are convinced of the great need for prayer, but they do not know how to pray. They are unable to get started right and carry through into a fruitful prayer life. For such Christians, the first necessity is understanding exactly what prayer is.
Prayer, in the minds of many believers, is asking God for things. But prayer is much more than this. In fact, the Bible teaches us that there are five distinct activities which are the essential parts of what we know as prayer. These five activities are: praise, confession, intercession, thanksgiving, and petition. Let’s consider each of these individually:
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:1-3
One of the best ways to begin prayer is by praising God. This means to express your gratitude and love for Who He is. It is adoring Him with all your heart.
What can you praise God for? Praise Him for His love, His goodness, His patience, His faithfulness, His wisdom, His greatness, His power, His knowledge, His holiness, His grace. To those things you can probably add many others.
“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1, 2
“If we confess our sins, His is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9
Sin in a Christian’s life is a roadblock to effective prayer. To remove this roadblock, a believer must simply confess his sins to God. Confession literally means agreeing with God about your sins. To do this, first ask God to reveal all your sins. Second, confess your sins specifically. Third, pray for spiritual cleansing and restoration. And, finally, thank God for His forgiveness.
“For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.” Romans 1:9
Intercession is simply praying for others. To be an effective intercessor, you must have a genuine love and concern for others. It is especially helpful to keep a list of the persons for whom you want to intercede before God. Be sure to write down their specific needs and problems as these come to your attention. The heart of the intercessor is an unselfish spirit.
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
Thanksgiving and praise go hand-in-hand. The difference is this: We praise God for Who His is. We thank God for what He has done. There are so many things for which to thank Him! Following are some possibilities:
Thank God for His provision. This includes your house, health, food, automobile, clothing, etc.
Thank God for His protection. We don’t even know all the ways in which He protects us from spiritual and physical harm. But we must thank Him — even for what we don’t know!
Thank God for His presence. Everywhere we go, He goes. He is our constant companion. Thank God for the “negative” things also.
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16
Petition is asking God for personal needs. Of course, this is not a bad thing. Our loving Father wants us to ask Him to meet our needs, for it shows our dependence on Him. Make a list of all your family and personal needs, and keep track of God’s answers to each one.
Understanding now what prayer is, here are a few practical guidelines which will make your prayer life more profitable.
- Make prayer your first choice, not your last. When you face a need, don’t try to meet it until you have shared it with your heavenly Father.
- Pray specifically. For example, it is better to pray for the specific needs of one missionary family than to pray “God bless the missionaries around the world.” General prayers get general answers. Specific prayers get specific answers.
- Make prayer a priority. Prayer was such a priority for Jesus that He often prayed all night. Communication with the Father was more important to Him than eating or sleeping. Following his example, prayer in the believer’s life is a must, not a maybe.
- Choose a specific time and place for daily prayer. During the course of each day, you will often pray “on-the-run.” You may be driving or shopping or studying and, for some reason or another, you pray. One Christian author calls these “arrow prayers.” We are (or should be) constantly shooting these heavenward. It is impossible to set a time or times for such “arrow prayers.” But it is possible to set a specific time to meet with God to praise Him, confess your sins, intercede for others, ask for personal needs, and thank Him for His abundant blessings. Choose a time that you can faithfully keep as your “appointment with God.” Plan to invest at least 15 minutes –preferably longer. Then, choose a place that will be conducive to effective prayer. Many Christian families are now making a certain room their “prayer room” — devoting it especially to this purpose.
- Begin your day with prayer. As soon as you awake, communicate for a few moments with your Lord before beginning your daily activities.
- End your day with prayer. Review the day with the Lord; thank Him for the day’s blessings; give to Him the day’s burdens.
- Pray with an open Bible. It is always good to read and meditate in God’s Word during your prayer time. The Psalms are ideal for this purpose.
- Make a daily prayer list. As needs and problems come to mind throughout the day, jot them down on a prayer list. Use this list during your prayer time. Also, be sure to transfer the things on your daily lists to a master list.
- Pray out loud whenever possible. This is very helpful in keeping your focus. It is quite easy to be distracted by other thoughts when you pray silently. Jesus must have prayed out loud, since some of His prayers are recorded in the Bible.
- Don’t substitute family prayers for personal prayers. Both are absolutely necessary. Nothing pleases our Heavenly Father more than the prayers of His children. He loves to hear us, and He loves to respond. He eagerly awaits to provide for us, comfort us, forgive us, protect us and grant to us everything that is according to His will.
How will you respond to the immeasurable privilege of prayer? Will you be content to communicate only occasionally with your Heavenly Father, or will you make prayer a priority in your life — something to which you will wholeheartedly devote yourself? Will you accept the challenge to invest a portion of every day to prayer? Will you diligently endeavor to become a pray-er? If you will, countless blessings will be yours.
Pray and Praise Journal
|I Ask…||God Answers.|
|Jan 1||Uncle Jim’s Salvation||Intercessor||Mar 15||Uncle Jim accepted the Lord today as his savior!||Praise the lord for His grace and saving power!|
Pray and Praise Journal
|I Ask…||God Answers.|
Simply click the “Take the Quiz” Button to the right. Have your KJV Bible with you, and look up the answers to the questions on the quiz. You can then answer the questions from the Bible, (Open Book Test)