Police Devotion 1-19-2017

“And when he [Jesus] was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)

Jesus entered into a ship at the Sea of Galilee with His disciples. In this group were four fishermen:  Peter, Andrew, James and John. When the storm started, they probably knew what needed to be done because of their experience with storms on the Sea of Galilee. However, they soon realized that all their efforts weren’t doing any good so they called on Jesus, “Lord, save us: we perish.”

Imagine this scene: The disciples are scared to death while the sky is dark, the ship lurches, and water pours in over the sides of the ship. Yet the Lord calmly chides them for their lack of faith. In a way, the scene is almost funny—unless you’re one of the disciples. Then Jesus does what only God can do—He orders the wind and the sea to stop raging. Mark 4:39 records His words to the sea: “Peace, be still.”  The wind and sea obeyed their Master “and there was a great calm.”  The disciples looked at one another, and exclaimed, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” They got a fresh lesson on just how powerful their Saviour was to help in time of trouble.

If you’re saved, you’ll go through storms at times. They may be financial, family-related, emotional, or even job-related. As a cop, you’ll likely go through storms that most people don’t understand because they don’t do what you do. You may have an idea of how to handle them, just as the disciples probably had an idea how to respond to the storm on the sea. It’s not wrong to try to solve problems in a practical way. Faith in God doesn’t preclude common sense. Yet whatever else you do, you need to pray and ask, “Lord, I need help with this problem” and tell Him what the problem is. He was only a prayer away from helping the disciples during the storm, and He’s also just a prayer away from helping you. There is no problem, not even in police work, that your Saviour can’t understand or handle.   

If you know Jesus as Savior, there was a time in your life when you realized that you were a hell-deserving sinner and that Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and rose again to pay your sin-debt. You called on Him to forgive your sins, you received Him as your personal Savior, and He saved you. You know He did because God’s Word says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Your Saviour also wants to help you in your time of trouble: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He wants you to pray when trouble comes so you can see Him work on the storms in your life: “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me” (Psalm 50:15). Just like the disciples, you’ll see Him work in a powerful way you may never have seen before, and your faith in Him will be strengthened.

If you’ve not seen in the Bible how to know for sure that you have a home in heaven, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown.

Brian Miller 1/19/2017

Cleveland Baptist Church  |  4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144  |  216.671.2822

Police Devotion 1-13-2017

“For there is no respect of persons with God.” (Romans 2:11)

Imagine getting a call like this: “Any car able to respond, we have a report of a burglary in progress. The victims are a black couple in their 60’s.”  Or maybe, “Radio to any car, a white store clerk is being robbed at gunpoint at the mom-and-pop store.” Wouldn’t those be crazy calls? Who cares what race the victims are? All that matters is that they need your help NOW. So you speed off to help them.

Race doesn’t matter to good cops. Good cops do their best for victims, no matter the race. Cops are often accused of mistreating minorities, yet on any violent-crime-in-progress call with non-white victims, it’d be interesting to see how many cops responded, each officer’s race, how fast each one arrived, and what each officer did on the call that involved personal risk: searching a building, a foot chase through yards, a fight with a suspect. Stats like these will provide a more honest and thorough look at how cops perform. They’ll also demonstrate clearly what cops and decent people already know: cops put their lives on the line time and again to help people of different races, and they’ll continue to do so.

Race also doesn’t matter to victims. When they’re being robbed, their houses are being kicked in, they hear gunfire, or the drug dealer is walking up and down the street, they don’t care if the cop who responds looks like them. They’re scared. They want cops who respond fast. Race doesn’t even matter to suspects. They don’t care if the cop is the same color as they are; criminals only see a uniform. White cops have been shot and murdered by white criminals. Black cops have been shot and murdered by black criminals.

The sacredness of life is a great racial equalizer. When you’re on a high-risk call with other cops, you know that the atmosphere is electric. You’re doing something dangerous but important. You don’t care about the race or gender of the officers or the victim. You’re working as a team, focused on one goal that’s bigger than any of you: helping a victim of violent crime and stopping a predatory suspect.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, is the greatest racial equalizer in the world. It puts all people on the same plane before God. Each person of each race is guilty of sin and separated from a holy God as a result: “For ALL have sinned, and COME SHORT of the glory of God” [capitals added] (Romans 3:23). Each person of each race is condemned to death and hell for his sin: “For the wages of sin is death.” “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire” (Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:14).

Yet God the Son, Jesus Christ, took the sins of each person of every race to His cross on Calvary: “And that he died for ALL” [capitals added] (2 Corinthians 5:15). Jesus was buried and rose again! “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen” (Revelation 1:18). Jesus’ offer of forgiveness for sin and salvation is for all: “But AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” [capitals added] (John 1:12). “For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” [capitals added] (Romans 10:13).

When any person, of any race, comes to Jesus as a repentant sinner and receives Him as Saviour, the same wonderful thing happens: the Lord gives the sinner eternal forgiveness of all sins, Jesus’ indwelling presence, an eternal home in heaven, and the most important task in the world: to share this good news with people of all races.

If you haven’t seen in the Bible how to receive Jesus as your personal Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?”

Brian Miller 1/13/2017

Cleveland Baptist Church |  4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 4414 |  216.671.2822

 

Police Devotion 1-9-2017

“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24)

Proverbs 21:19 says, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” As a cop, you’ve probably dealt with domestic fights where no crime was committed, so you told the husband, or the “baby’s father,” to leave for a while and cool off. That’s the idea of Proverbs 21:19. If the woman is in a bad mood, the man needs to vacate, at least temporarily.        

Proverbs 21:19 not only gives instructions to the man, but also calls for the woman to do a personality check. Let’s say that whenever a man sees his wife getting into a “mood,” he politely vacates: maybe to the gym, garage, or basement, anywhere away from her. Maybe after a while, she’ll hopefully get the hint and strive to be less of a “contentious and an angry woman” and become more pleasant to be around.  

Of course, men can be just as bad. In fact, 1 Samuel 25:3 says that Abigail “was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man [Nabal, her husband] was churlish [cruel] and evil in his doings.” One of their servants even told Abigail that Nabal “is such a son of Belial [a wicked person], that a man cannot speak to him” (1 Samuel 25:17). When a man tells his boss’ wife what a jerk he is and she agrees, the boss must be bad news. 

One main point from Proverbs 21:19 for men and women is that God wants His people to speak pleasant words that are “sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” Did you ever work with a partner who consistently griped and whined and badmouthed others? Chronic whining is a bad testimony for Christ. If you need help to be more pleasant (and who among us doesn’t sometimes?), spend more time in God’s Word. Pleasant words are sweet to the soul and health to the bones, and God’s words are the most pleasant words on earth: “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8).

God’s Word is pleasant to read and to think about. Psalm 119:48 says to “meditate” (ponder on) God’s Word: “I will meditate in thy statutes” (Psalm 119:48). The more you read God’s Word and commit it to memory, the more it will influence your thinking and speech. Keep a small Bible handy, or even just a New Testament, especially one with Psalms and Proverbs. When you have down time, even only a few minutes, you can take time for God’s Word instead of the newspaper or a game on your phone.   

Psalm 23 is a great Scripture for cops. Verse 4 says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.” If you’re saved, the Lord is always with you. He even said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). If you’ve ever been in a situation on the job where you could’ve been killed, you can honestly say that the Lord was with you in “the valley of the shadow of death.” And He was and still is. Isn’t that great?

The more you read your Bible, the better you’ll know your Saviour, and the more you’ll love Him and want to fellowship with Him by reading His words which are sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. If you have never seen in the Bible how to have eternal life by receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu.

Brian Miller 1/9/2017

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822

Police Devotion 12-21-2016

“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2)

Christmas is a wonderful time. It’s not just the commemoration of an event. It’s also a celebration of a hope—a sure hope. Usually when you use the word “hope,” you talk about something you want to happen, but you aren’t sure that it will. For example, if you don’t like handling domestic fights (and who does?), you may tell your partner at the start of the shift, “I hope we don’t get calls for domestic fights tonight.” You have no way to be sure that you won’t get any domestic fights; you just hope you won’t get any.

Well, the hope of eternal life that the Bible talks about is not like that at all. It’s not a “maybe” hope—“I hope I get to heaven.” God’s promise of eternal life is based on promises that God made, and what God Himself did to give us eternal life. Everyone knows what a promise is. It’s a guarantee that someone makes that he’ll do a certain thing. God made a promise of eternal life. As our verse says, God cannot lie.

Say you promise to take your kids out for ice cream when you get home from work. They’re not sitting at home wondering if you’ll keep your word. No, they’re excited about the promise you made to them! But what if you got home and didn’t take them? They’d be angry, and rightly so. You’d made them a promise, and you didn’t keep it. You lied! For you to break a promise like that would be mean and wrong. Well, how much meaner and more wrong—and dishonest—would it be for God to make a promise of eternal life and not keep it! God made a promise of eternal life, and He always keeps His promises.

God’s first promise of the Saviour was after Adam and Eve sinned. God expelled them from the Garden of Eden, but He also gave them a promise. God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Jesus would be the seed, or offspring, of the woman who would defeat the devil.

God also repeated this promise many times in various ways in the Old Testament. When God clothed Adam and Eve with the skins of animals, it was a preview of Jesus’ death for man’s sin. God also told Abram (later known as Abraham), “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). That was also a promise of the coming Saviour. God’s later command to Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, was not only an obedience test for both of them, but also a preview and a promise of Jesus’ sacrifice for sins. So was Plague #10—the death of the firstborn—in the book of Exodus, when the Hebrews were held in slavery in Egypt. The blood on the doorpost was a preview of Jesus shedding His blood for our sins to keep us from God’s judgment.

Finally, the day of Jesus’ birth came: “But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4). God the Son took on human flesh. We know that it happened because time is divided into BC (before Christ) and AD (anno domini, Latin, “the year of our Lord”). Some people use BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era), but removing the references to Jesus won’t change the facts about Him.

Jesus promised that He’d die for sins, be buried, and rise again, and He kept all these. He also promised that anyone who’d receive Him as Saviour would be eternally forgiven of sins and have a home in heaven: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). This promise is for anyone who will accept it by receiving Jesus as personal Saviour. That’s what Christmas is really all about: knowing Jesus as Saviour and rejoicing in His promises.

If you want to know how to accept God’s promise by receiving Jesus as Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown. 

Brian Miller 12/21/2016

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822

 

 

Police Devotion 12-5-2016

“They angered him [God] also at the waters of strife, so that it went ill with Moses for their sakes: Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake unadvisedly with his lips.” (Psalm 106:32-33)

As a cop, you may have to deal with people who try to provoke you with words. They’ll do it because they know they can. They know that you’re held to a higher standard, and if you do or say something in the heat of emotion, it’s likely to be caught on your body camera. It’s also likely to be recorded on the smartphones that are probably recording. In fact, some people may purposely provoke you and record the event hoping to catch a bad reaction for evidence in a lawsuit. “Cyberbaiting” is purposely provoking someone to anger and secretly recording the incident as it is happening in order to publicize it. Some people obviously have nothing better to do with their time. Did you ever hear the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop and idle hands his tools?”  People may do things like this because either a) they’re criminals or sympathize with criminals and don’t like cops or b) lawsuit settlements are an easier way to get money than working an honest job.  

Underneath the badge, you’re human. Bible characters were human, too. Some of them had bad moments that cost them. Moses had such a moment. God used Moses to do mighty things:  the plagues in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, and many miracles in the wilderness. Unfortunately, the Israelites had a bad habit of complaining. Time and again they’d complain and even wish that they were back in Egypt. Their complaining caused Moses a lot of stress. He even told God, “And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight” (Numbers 11:15).

At one point, there wasn’t any water for the people to drink, and they started complaining again because they weren’t in Egypt. Obviously, they had forgotten how cruel the Egyptians were to them. The devil used their complaining to provoke Moses to anger. God told Moses to speak to a rock, and it would give water. Instead, Moses took a rod and said, “Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?” (Numbers 20:10). Then he hit the rock twice with the rod. They provoked him so that he “spake unadvisedly with his lips.” First of all, “we”—God and Moses—didn’t provide water. God alone provided the water and only He deserved the credit, not Moses. Second, he was supposed to speak to the rock, not strike it. No doubt Moses was stressed out because of all their complaining, but God still held Moses accountable. Because of this incident, Moses was not allowed to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. 

God also pointed out the Israelites’ sin in provoking Moses. Provocation is a form of temptation. Paul told the Christians at Thessalonica, “lest by some means the tempter [the devil] have tempted you” (1 Thessalonians 3:5). The devil uses different means to tempt people to sin. Sometimes the means he uses is people. So when someone “provokes your spirit, so you’re tempted to speak unadvisedly with your lips,” and you want to hit him like Moses hit the rock (but please don’t), remember that he’s being used of Satan to provoke you to sin, like the devil used the Israelites to provoke Moses. Think of the devil standing behind the guy taunting you, egging him on, and he’s following the devil’s lead. That’s exactly what’s going on.

If you see another officer in a situation like that, step in to help. The devil may try to use a loud-mouth suspect to provoke the officer, but you can be used of God to help him. You may end up saving another officer from a bad moment that will cost him.

If you want to see how to have your sins forgiven and have eternal life by receiving Jesus as your personal Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu.

Brian Miller 12/2/2016

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822

 

 

 

 

Police Devotion 11-23-2016

“And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11)

Jesus said the story of Jonah and the whale is a true story: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). We can also learn great spiritual lessons from this story.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn the people of His coming judgment, but Jonah didn’t want to go. The Assyrians (Nineveh was a city in Assyria) were cruel and sadistic, similar to ISIS operatives. So Jonah boarded a ship to flee from God, but God sent a storm. Jonah knew the storm was because of him so he told the sailors, who worshipped false gods, to throw him overboard. They did so reluctantly, asking God to forgive them. Right away the sea was calm. The sailors became worshippers of the true God. Lesson 1: don’t run from God. Lesson 2: God wants to save people. He may even use crazy circumstances to do it.

Then came the whale. “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17). God spared Jonah, then told him again to go to Nineveh. Jonah went but not because he started to care about the Ninevites. More likely it was because he didn’t want another trip into the whale’s belly. So he did right—for the wrong reason—but he did right. Lesson 3: It’s better to do right for a wrong reason than to do wrong. For instance, don’t skip church if you’re able to go. That’s wrong. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” Even if you go just so you can say you went, which isn’t a good reason, you may hear something important during the service and God could speak to your heart about an issue in your life which will make you glad you went.

So Jonah went to Nineveh and preached, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). God touched the hearts of the king and all the people. They sought mercy from God for the evil and violence that they’d done. God was merciful to them, and held back His hand of destruction from them.

Jonah was angry that God spared Nineveh. In fact, he told God, “I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil” (Jonah 4:2). Jonah even asked God to kill him. God didn’t. Instead, God asked him, “Doest thou well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4). Later Jonah said, “I do well to be angry, even unto death” (Jonah 4:9). Jonah was in a really lousy mood. Have you ever felt like that? God could have chewed out Jonah for not caring about people. Instead, God dealt with Jonah’s heart in just the right way. Lesson 4: You may be in a really lousy mood at times, and you don’t want to speak to anyone. At those times, open your Bible and trust God to speak to your heart through “the voice of his word” (Psalm 103:20). Tell Him exactly how you feel, as Jonah did.

God gently pointed out that even the Ninevites had souls. The phrase “cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand” may not have referred to their intellect, but that they probably knew little or nothing of the true God. Lesson 5: There is no one whom the Lord doesn’t want to save. As a cop, you meet people whose lives are dysfunctional, swamped in sin, and they know almost nothing of God. Yet they’re still precious people that the Lord Jesus will forgive and save if they’ll come to Him.

If you want to see how to have your sins forgiven and have eternal life by receiving Jesus as your personal Saviour, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the drop down menu.

Brian Miller 11/23/2016

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822

 

 

Police Devotion 11-21-2016

“Trust in the LORD, and do good;” (Psalm 37:3)

After King Solomon died, his son, Rehoboam, became king of Israel. Afterward the kingdom was split in two, Israel and Judah. Israel had one rotten king after another. One thing worse than a wicked person is a wicked person in a place of power. Israel’s first king after the division was Jeroboam. He turned Israel to idol worship. Nadab, his evil son reigned after him two years until Baasha assassinated him and took over. When Baasha died, his son, Elah, took over. Zimri, a military captain, conspired against Elah as he was “drinking himself drunk” (1 Kings 16:9), then killed him and became king. When news spread that he’d killed Elah, the Israelites made Omri, another military captain, king. Zimri committed suicide. Omri took over. 1 Kings 16:25 says, “But Omri wrought evil in the eyes of the LORD, and did worse than all that were before him.” Omri’s son, Ahab, was even worse than his father: “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him” (1 Kings 16:30).

Ahab married a woman named Jezebel who was as wicked as he: “But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up” (1 Kings 21:25). One day Ahab wanted to buy a vineyard from a man named Naboth. However, Naboth wouldn’t sell. He also didn’t seem to have much respect for Ahab. Naboth told Ahab, “The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee” (1 Kings 21:3). Ahab went home and pouted.

When Jezebel heard what happened, she used Ahab’s name to have false charges of blasphemy brought up against Naboth. As a result, Naboth was stoned to death, and Ahab got the vineyard for free. God saw what Ahab and Jezebel had done. God sent the prophet Elijah to tell Ahab, “Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine” (1 Kings 21:19).

Some years later, Ahab wanted to go to war with Syria and regain Israeli territory that Syria possessed. Ahab asked the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, to go with him. Jehoshaphat was a good king and wanted to hear from a prophet of God before going to battle. So Ahab paraded his phony prophets—his religious “yes men”—and they told Ahab what he wanted to hear: that God would give Ahab victory.

Jehoshaphat was suspicious of these men, though. He asked if a prophet of the LORD were there. Ahab said that there was one, Micaiah, but he hated him, “for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8). Micaiah was called in and warned Ahab that he would fall in battle. Jehoshaphat probably should have gotten the warning, but he still went with Ahab. Ahab had Jehoshaphat dress in his robes, but Ahab was disguised. So Jehoshaphat was a more visible target. Wasn’t that nice of Ahab!

The Syrian commander, however, wanted Ahab. When the Syrians saw Jehoshaphat, they thought he was Ahab and turned against him, but then realized he wasn’t. Then, as 1 Kings 22:34a says, “And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel [Ahab] between the joints of the harness:” It was a random shot to the soldier, but God had His target picked out. Ahab died. The dogs licked up the blood from his chariot. Ahab got his for what he’d done. Jezebel would get hers later.

As a cop, you may see people in power who do wickedly. God sees them, too. Psalm 37:1-3 says, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good.” Just do what’s right and trust God to deal with them in His own way and time.

If you want to see from the Bible how to be sure of heaven when you die, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu. If you want a church that preaches God’s Word in love, please visit.

Brian Miller 11/21/2016

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822

 

Police Devotion 11-11-2016

“And Joseph said unto his brethren, and unto his father’s house, I will go up, and shew Pharaoh, and say unto him, My brethren, and my father’s house, which were in the land of Canaan, are come unto me; And the men are shepherds, for their trade hath ben to feed cattle; and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have. And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians. And he [Joseph] took some of his brethren, even five men, and presented them unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell;” (Genesis 46:31-34, 47:2-3, 5-6)

Joseph was one of twelve sons. His father Jacob loved him, but his brothers hated him. One day his brothers threw him into a pit and then sold him as a slave. Yet God was with Joseph. He was sold to an Egyptian named Potiphar. He did such a great job that Potiphar entrusted Joseph with all his goods. Things went well until Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. When he fled, she made up a story that he’d tried to molest her. Joseph was thrown into prison, but God was still with him. The keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of the other prisoners. Again, Joseph did a great job.

Two of Pharaoh’s servants were also in the prison. Both of them had dreams that Joseph interpreted. Later, when Pharaoh had a troubling dream, Joseph was sent to interpret it. Joseph told Pharaoh that the dream was about a coming famine. Pharaoh saw that God was with Joseph and appointed him as governor to handle the food supply.  Eventually, Joseph’s brothers showed up in need of food. They’d had a change of heart, Joseph revealed to them who he was, and there was a happy, tearful reunion with the whole family.

Joseph certainly was a godly man, but on this occasion, he may have goofed up. Picture him in this passage preparing his brothers to meet Pharaoh. He told them in so many words, “Look, guys, when Pharaoh asks what you do for a living, don’t tell him that you’re shepherds. They don’t like shepherds here. [“…every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”] Say that you’re in the cattle industry.”

So they went before Pharaoh. He asked what they did for a living. What did they tell him? The truth: “Thy servants are shepherds.” Can you imagine Joseph cringing inside and thinking, “I told them not to say that!” Yet Pharaoh didn’t react the way Joseph may have expected. To Joseph’s probable surprise, Pharaoh was still favorable to them. In this instance, Joseph’s brothers were in a way more honorable than he.

In police work, you can be tempted to lie, especially if no one else but you and the suspect knows the truth (and who’d believe him?) Yet God knows the truth. So strive to be honest, even in small matters: “Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.” (Proverbs 12:22).

Do you want to see in the Bible how to be sure that you’ll go to heaven when you die? If you do, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu.

Brian Miller 11/11/2016

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822

 

 

Police Devotion 11-8-2016

“And he [Jesus] went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Luke 19:45-46)

One great thing about the Bible is that you can read the same Scripture at different times and get different ideas, and they won’t contradict each other. They may address different subjects or the same subject from a different angle, or you may catch something on a second or third reading that you didn’t catch on the first reading. That’s why Psalm 119:96 says, “thy commandment is exceeding broad.”

Our opening passage obviously talks about false religion. Jesus threw out the buyers and sellers from the temple who were turning religion into a racket. Some of Jesus’ harshest words were aimed at the religious phonies who let this go on and didn’t preach God’s Word as they should have. He told them, “Ye are of your father the devil,” and “ye are not of God.” (John 8:44, 47). In Matthew 23, He called them hypocrites and children of hell.

Matthew 21:12-13 is about the cleansing of the temple, too, but it also gives a different take. It says in part, “And Jesus went into the temple of God.” The phrase “the temple of God” is interesting. If you look at the story a little differently, you’ll see a very different kind of cleansing that Jesus does.

You may think you have to “clean up your life” in order for Jesus to save you. Not true. If that were the case, then people would be saved by their works: “I cleaned up my life, so now I’m saved.” No. Salvation is you “throwing yourself on the mercy of the court.” You come to Jesus as a guilty sinner with nothing to bargain with. You receive Him as Saviour by inviting Him into your heart and life, trusting wholly in Him to forgive and save you completely by His grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The hymn “Rock of Ages” by Augustus M. Toplady and Thomas Hastings includes these words:

“In my hand no price I bring, Simply to thy Cross I cling.”

You don’t make deals with the Lord; you simply trust in Him to save you. Once you receive Jesus as Saviour, your body becomes the temple of God: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16, italics mine). We also find in Galatians 2:20a that Jesus Himself dwells in you: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:” When you receive Jesus as Saviour, then He works in your life from the inside to “clean house.”

In order to enter someone’s house as a cop, you need consent, a warrant, or an exigent circumstance (emergency). If someone consents to let you in, he knows that if you find anything troublesome, you’re going to deal with it. In the same way, once you receive Jesus as Saviour “by consent” and “let Him in” to your heart and life, you know that if He “finds something” sinful, He’ll deal with it by convicting your heart. That’s why faithful church attendance, Bible reading, and prayer are important. You may accept Christ at an older age, after a lot of sinful behavior. Yet as you hear good preaching, read your Bible and pray, you grow as a Christian and the Lord deals with your heart about things you should start or stop. As you obey His leading and sin is cleansed from “the temple of God,” you become stronger and your relationship with the Lord is more joyful. First, you let Him in, then He cleanses the temple.

If you’ve not seen in the Bible how to have eternal life by receiving the Lord Jesus as Saviour, click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu.

Brian Miller 11/7/2016

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822

Police Devotion 11-2-2016

“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14)

When King Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes, he obviously wasn’t happy. He’d put his faith in the Messiah; he was rich; and he was wise. He said about his riches: “I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees:” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-6). Yet in Ecclesiastes 2:11 Solomon said, “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had labored to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” In eternal terms, all of his work was a big waste of time.

Solomon’s problem was that he was living “under the sun.” He used that phrase several times in the book of Ecclesiastes. Basically, to live “under the sun” is to go through the functions of earthly life. No doubt many people today live “under the sun.” They eat, drink, work, play, raise kids, and go on life’s way; all of which isn’t sinful, but it has no eternal value.

Early in his reign, “Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father:” (1 Kings 3:3). However, Solomon’s fatal mistake was that he started to hang out with heathen people: “But King Solomon loved many strange women,…Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in unto them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.” (1 Kings 11:1-4, boldfaces added)

Solomon hung out with heathen people and fell in love with and married heathen women which was in direct disobedience to God’s warning. As a result, his heart was turned away from God—exactly what God said would happen. People would be so much better off if they would just take God at His Word.

If you know Jesus as Saviour, you have eternal forgiveness for all your sins. You know Jesus personally and have a home in heaven when you die. Many people would love to have that kind of assurance and don’t, but you HAVE it. You also have the most important purpose in the world: to share the wonderful good news of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and salvation with lost people.

How is your heart toward God? Do you care about pleasing Jesus and telling others about Him? Or are you just living “under the sun,” going through life’s rat race? If you’re “under the sun” and honest enough to admit it, look at the people you hang out with. How do they influence you? They DO have an influence on you, whether you realize it or not. Do they encourage you to live for the Lord or do they tend to turn your heart from Him as Solomon’s heathen “friends” did to him? Your friends could be good cops but a terrible spiritual influence. If you need to get away from people who are a bad influence, you know it.

Don’t be content to live “under the sun.” One day you’ll see Jesus face to face. You don’t want to look back on your life and see how little you did for Christ or how many chances to witness were wasted because you were too occupied with your heathen “friends.” You don’t want your life to be nothing more than “vanity and vexation of spirit.”

If you’ve never seen in the Bible how to have a home in heaven, please click “Helpful Links” on the top menu and then “How Do I Go to Heaven?” on the dropdown menu.

Brian Miller 11/2/2016

Cleveland Baptist Church | 4431 Tiedeman Road, Brooklyn, Ohio 44144 | 216.671.2822