Showing posts from December, 2016

God Thinks of Even Us | Psalm 8:3–4

3            When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,             the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4            what is man that you are mindful of him,             and the son of man that you care for him? The psalmist lived without light pollution from modern cities obscuring the majestic view of the heavens.  Even with telescopes floating in space, we’ve gained but a modicum of understanding as to its enormity.  All we can say is Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”  The stars above prod praise, fear, and awe within our hearts (33:6–9).  Other descriptions of creation include God speaking the universe into existence with the breath of His mouth (Gn 1; Ps 33:6) and calling it the work of His hands (cf. Ps 102:25).  David emphasizes the power of God by stating the universe was created with the same ease as one who draws in the sand.  These are all anthropomorphisms, a poetic devi

The Transformation that Comes in Christ | Mark 2:13–14

13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. The Jews had to pay taxes to the Romans, so Herod Antipas appointed tax collectors.  Many hated them, seeing them as traitorous collaborators with oppressive Roman regime and thieves—and they were.  Tax collectors, though, saw lucrative employment—they overtaxed their own people and pocketed the surplus (cf. Lk 3:12–13).  One of their booths would be beside the Sea of Galilee, with Levi (a. k. a. Matthew) perhaps collecting taxes on fishing.  However, after healing the paralytic, Jesus draws an audience to the area and preaches a sea-side sermon.  Afterward, Jesus walked by this booth and told him to follow. Christ transforms sinners.   Sadly, many of those amazed by the healing of the paralytic will find another distraction eventua

God With Us, Part 2 | Mark 2:8–12

8  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9  Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11  “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12  And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” The scribes rightly questioned, for only God could do what Jesus claimed to do.  He claims to forgive sins, and then he tells the lame to walk.  Both statements are easy to say for the liar or for the fool.  Yet, Jesus reveals exactly Who He is, backing up the claim with evidence.    Jesus says He has divine authority.  When He speaks, He refers to Himself in the third pe

Are you placing your faith in YOU in 2017?

"The heart is deceitful above all things..." (Jer 17:9) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Pv 1:7) "Be not wise in your own eyes;  fear the LORD, and turn away from evil." (Pv 3:7) "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.' " (Mt 16:24) "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil 1:6) Your faith is only as strong as it's object.  Don't place your faith in yourself in 2017 by following this kind of narcissistic tripe found on Facebook.  In case 2016 was no indication, you and I fail all the time.  Place your faith in Christ this year, the only true light from God.

God with Us | Mark 2:6–8

6  Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7  “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8  And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Mark shifts to the lawyers, the experts in the Law of Moses.  Jesus had caught their attention, and they’re evaluating His teaching.  This isn’t wrong, and we should likewise listen carefully to everything our Lord says.  When we come to important conclusions based on what He says, Jesus will force us to choose what to believe about Him.  Jesus is God with us.  The scribes reason correctly—saying “your sins are forgiven” is blasphemous if spoken by anyone else.  Since sin is a violation of God’s Law (1 Jn 3:4), only God the Lawgiver can forgive sins, and He emphatically says, “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not

Bill Johnson - "God is not in control"

Let's start 2017 by renouncing false teaching from folks like Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton, and Bethel Church. From

Friends Coming to Jesus | Mark 2:3–5

“ 3  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5  And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,  ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ ” News of a cured leper spreads exponentially.  So, it’s unclear what this crowd expects when gathering around Jesus.  Since a paralytic is brought to our Lord, it is safe to say many expected their own healings.  What they received was Jesus’s own preaching, and more walked away with His knowledge than walked into the house. They learned that faith saves.   Jesus sees the collective faith of the five friends as they executed their plan.  Consider the trust of the paralytic, bound to his bed, as his friends lower him into a crowded room through a fresh hole in the roof; he brought nothing to Jesus, like a helpless child with only this one h

Four Hundred Years of Preparation | Daniel 11

Daniel 11  | Cornerstone Church of Savannah | Shaun Marksbury | 20 December, 2016 Good morning, church! We're doing something different today, so we'll be in Daniel 11. Why did God give this prophecy? The Jews alive during that time would be comforted and have complete confidence that the prophesied Messiah was coming; we indeed find Messianic expectations high in the first century during the time of Jesus. Verse 35 reveals the main point, though—“so that they may be refined, purified, and made white, until the time of the end, for it still awaits the appointed time.” Much like He would do through John the Baptist, God is making the way straight centuries in advance. So, we’re calling this message “Four Hundred Years of Preparation,” and we have Christmas on the horizon. Video: Audio:

Charles Spurgeon - God With Us

Merry Christmas Eve! As a different devotional this morning, here's a video with a snippet of Spurgeon's 1854 Christmas sermon.  The wonders of technology. ;-)  Tomorrow at church, we're going to explore this thought a bit more.  God bless you as you contemplate the Savior's birth. God With Us | Charles Spurgeon Sermon 1854 from JonathanHinshaw on Vimeo .

Preaching the Word Well | Mark 1:45–2:2

45  But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. 2  And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. 2  And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. Who could fault the leper’s excitement as he spreads the word about Jesus?  Indeed, when the time is right, Jesus sends out His disciples saying, “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops” (Mt 10:27).  Even so, the time wasn’t right yet, and this man unwittingly makes Christ's work more difficult.  How could that be, and what do we learn from it? First, those preaching the Word must do it properly .  Jesus gave this man two commands: “say nothing to anyone… show yourself to the priest” (

The True Ministry of Compassion | Mark 1:40–44

40  And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” 41  Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” 42  And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43  And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, 44  and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” Leprosy was feared for good reason.  The Romans and the Jews knew it to be incurable, deadly, and highly infectious.  So, in Leviticus 13:11, the leper was “unclean,” a social outcast not to be touched.  Throughout Scripture, this debilitating and life-consuming illness becomes a picture of our sin.  What learn about the Lord in His interaction with this leper? The Lord is willing to heal.  The leper approaches in faith that Christ can heal.  Even so, he seems to understand that this

A Christ Kind of Ministry | Mark 1:36–38

36  And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, 37  and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” 38  And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.” 39  And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons. We get a lot of funny ideas about the point of ministry.  Sometimes we think more people is better than fewer, and we think the point is to draw crowds with spectacle.  Because of that, we also tend to deemphasize classical elements of church services, such as preaching.  Jesus challenges our misconceptions with His singular purpose for ministry. Christ did not come to gather a crowd.  Remember that this is still the morning after His long day of working miracles.  His disciples words should be no surprise to us—“Everyone is looking for you” (v. 37).  He was the buzz, and Peter and the others are understandably excited, and, perhaps, a bit s

Praying With Intention | Mark 1:35

35  And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Remember that this takes place the morning after Christ’s long Sabbath day.  One might wrongly expect Him to sleep in, but He arises “very early in the morning.”  Reaching seclusion, (the NASB captures the tense of the verb) He “was praying there.”  He sought uninterrupted quiet and focused on His time with the Father.  Prayer is vital, both morning and anytime.  If the Son of God dare not begin His day of ministry without time with His Father, then how much more should we value it?  Indeed, He did not only start the day with prayer, but we read in Matthew 14:23 that He “dismissed the crowds” and “went up on the mountain by himself to pray.”  Luke 5:16 is less specific on the timeframes—“But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.”  We cannot be definitive on the exact length of His prayer-times, but He was intentional and protective of H

Grace Community Church Christmas Concert

We just watched the latest live-streamed Christmas concert as a family from Grace Community Church.  That video isn't available yet, but in lieu of a devotional this morning, here is the video from the 2015 concert.  Hopefully, it will be something you and yours can enjoy, perhaps even something to listen to as you go about your day. Grace Community Church Christmas Concert 2015 from Grace Community Church on Vimeo . Tomorrow we'll be returning to devotionals from the Book of Mark.  God bless!

God Can Use Even You | Psalm 8:2

2            Out of the mouth of babies and infants,             you have established strength because of your foes,             to still the enemy and the avenger. Just as stunning as knowing the name of God (v. 1) is being used by Him!  Often, we feel inferior, being intimidated by believers who seem more mature or educated in the faith.  We may feel that our knowledge or holiness is too lacking for God to use.  Of course, we should use such insights as opportunities to seek the Lord for continued growing graces.  Even so, understand that the Lord often uses us despite what we bring to the table. God speaks through the young.   This verse obviously refer to the very young (cf. 1 Kgs 3:21)—how we as Christians start our spiritual lives.  Jesus said in Matthew 18:3 that we must repent, becoming like children—that we must be born again (Jn 3:3).  We’ll learn to walk all over again as we grow on the milk of God’s Word (1 Pt 2:2).  The crowds crying “Hosanna!” may not yet es

The Spirit's indwelling and church life

We don't just experience God's presence individually, but also in corporate worship. This is why being in fellowship with other believers on Sundays is vital to the health of the Christian life.  That life is then lived individually, but always in the presence of God. Consider this from "God's Indwelling Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments (New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology)" by James M. Jr. Hamilton, E. Ray Clendenen --- "In the old covenant God faithfully remained with His people, accompanying them in a pillar of fire and cloud, then dwelling among them in the tabernacle and the temple. Under the new covenant, the only temple is the believing community itself, and God dwells not only among the community corporately (Matt 18:20; 1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16), but also in each member individually (John 14:17; Rom 8:9–11; 1 Cor 6:19)." Start reading this book for free:

His Majestic Name | Psalm 8:1

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David. 1            O LORD, our Lord,             how majestic is your name in all the earth!             You have set your glory above the heavens. This psalm captures the wonders of creation in our mind’s eye.  David looks to astronomical wonders as well as the elevated station of lowly mankind.  He also looks prophetically to the Messiah, the Second Adam in Whom is humanity God intended it.  Ultimately, though, the true wonder of this psalm is in the repeating refrain of verses one and nine—the Majestic Name of God—and the stunning concept that we can know it. The Name is personal and covenantal .  This capitalization difference in our Bibles signify two different Hebrew terms.  The first is Yahweh , the covenant Name that God revealed to Moses (Ex 3:14–15), and the second is Adonai , which means, “my Lord.”  While Christians aren’t under the Mosaic Covenant, we’re under the New Covenant in Christ (1 Cor 11:25)

Enemies and Gospel Thanksgiving | Psalm 7:14–17

14           Behold, the wicked man conceives evil             and is pregnant with mischief             and gives birth to lies. 15           He makes a pit, digging it out,             and falls into the hole that he has made. 16           His mischief returns upon his own head,             and on his own skull his violence descends. 17           I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness,             and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. Today, we conclude David’s prayer of innocence in Psalm 7.  We’ve all been falsely slandered and maligned, and these words help us gain confidence in the Lord’s control.  Here, we consider the true description of sinners, their fate, and the Lord’s righteous intervention. The wicked produce sin.   David compares the wicked to a birthing mother, and we see only more wickedness spawned.  We read similar thoughts in Job 15:35—“They conceive trouble and give birth to evil, and their womb

Ready for Battle? | Psalm 7:10–13

10           My shield is with God,             who saves the upright in heart. 11            God is a righteous judge,             and a God who feels indignation every day. 12           If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;             he has bent and readied his bow; 13           he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,             making his arrows fiery shafts. What fearsome language!  The Lord of all creation readies Himself for battle.  All those who hate the God Most High face a grave fate.  God doesn’t sin (miss the mark)—His arrows fire true.  His sword doesn’t dull.  And as the KJV translates v. 11, “God is angry with the wicked every day.”  How blissful the ignorant sinner, unaware of the coming nightmare! The Lord battles His enemies with a variety of weapons .  For instance, God providentially allows violence to befall these men of violence (v. 16).  When Christ sets up His kingdom, we read of a more literal application: “From his

The Righteousness to Practice Before Men | Psalm 7:6–9

6            Arise, O LORD, in your anger;             lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;             awake for me; you have appointed a judgment. 7            Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;             over it return on high. 8            The LORD judges the peoples;             judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness             and according to the integrity that is in me. 9            Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,             and may you establish the righteous—             you who test the minds and hearts,             O righteous God! David feels what we’ve all felt occasionally—as though God is ignoring his plight.  He seeks the Lord to awake, as though the Eternal God slumbers.  He knows that the Lord is angry with sinners (see 5:5), so he seeks the Lord to arise in judgment against his enemies and bring unrighteousness in this world to an end.  What do we learn here? It’s okay to seek

Suffer Unjustly | Psalm 7:1–5

A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning the words of Cush, a Benjaminite. 1            O LORD my God, in you do I take refuge;             save me from all my pursuers and deliver me, 2            lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,             rending it in pieces, with none to deliver. 3            O LORD my God, if I have done this,             if there is wrong in my hands, 4            if I have repaid my friend with evil             or plundered my enemy without cause, 5            let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,             and let him trample my life to the ground             and lay my glory in the dust. Selah We’re reading another lament psalm, but David isn’t confessing sin here.  He stands falsely accused, and it may mean his body will return to the dust.  Cush, being a Benjamite, may have been feeding King Saul misinformation about David’s intentions (cf. 1 Sm 24:8ff), though he’s never named elsewhere in S

Rest in Repentance | Psalm 4

Psalm 4  | Cornerstone Church of Savannah | Shaun Marksbury | 4 December, 2016 Good morning, church! The sermon for this morning is "Rest in Repentance" from Psalm 4. Our only hope to find rest is in repentance and faith in the gospel. As we move through this psalm, we’ll see just how it calls our soul to true rest in Jesus Christ. Outline: I. The Call to Prayer (v. 1) II. The Call to Penitence (vv. 2–5) A. Recognize Your Silliness (vv. 2–3) B. Repent of Your Sin (vv. 4–5) III. The Call to Peace (vv. 6–8) A. God is the Source of Good (v. 6) B. God is the Source of Joy (v. 7) C. God is the Source of Rest and Security (v. 8) After the sermon, we're partaking in the Lord's Supper. If you're new or planning on visiting, we open an invitation to all baptized believers to join with us as we celebrate our unity in the body of Christ. We hope to see you there at 10:30, and may the Lord bless His service! Video:  Audio:

He Hears our Pleas! | Psalm 6:8–10

8            Depart from me, all you workers of evil,             for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping. 9            The LORD has heard my plea;             the LORD accepts my prayer. 10           All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;             they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. We don’t need to be told directly how the Lord answered David’s prayer, because David’s confident response to his enemies speaks volumes.  We only need to see here that the covenant-keeping LORD does hear and accept the prayers of those who truly worship Him.  David knows that God keeps His promises, and his heart is stirred to true faith. The turn in David’s attitude marks the speed at which God can answer prayer.  Such is how it will be in the Millennial Kingdom, for the Lord promises in Isaiah 65:24, “Before they call I will answer; while they are yet speaking I will hear.”  As believers, we get to experience an extension of that today.  What

Saving While There’s Still Time | Psalm 6:4–7

4            Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;             save me for the sake of your steadfast love. 5            For in death there is no remembrance of you;             in Sheol who will give you praise? 6            I am weary with my moaning;             every night I flood my bed with tears;             I drench my couch with my weeping. 7            My eye wastes away because of grief;             it grows weak because of all my foes. David’s current state makes it appear God left Him.  In truth, God’s omnipresent, but His favor and presence aren’t always felt for those not living coram deo (in the presence of God).  David repents, desiring to be right with the Lord again, and he humbly presents his case for deliverance.  We can empathize with the depth of David’s pain, weeping throughout the night over his situation.  Death may be near for him, but he still wants to serve the Lord.  In Psalm 30:9, we read, “What profit is there in my death, if I go down

Seeking the Undeserved | Psalm 6:1–3

To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. 1            O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,             nor discipline me in your wrath. 2            Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;             heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. 3            My soul also is greatly troubled.             But you, O LORD—how long? We’re not certain when David penned this, but he’s clearly sorrowful.  He faces enemies at a point of personal weakness, and he’s riddled with guilt.  He writes that it should be played according to “The Sheminith,” possibly meaning that it would be sung in a lower octave with bass voices.  Whatever the case, his words droop low like his languishing spirit.  With his bones aching and his soul vexed, he cries out to the Lord.  His appeal comes with humility and confession before the covenant-keeping LORD.  He doesn’t pray, “Why are You angry?”  David knows what he’s done—regardless

Conspiracies and Coverings | Psalm 5:9–12

9            For there is no truth in their mouth;             their inmost self is destruction;             their throat is an open grave;             they flatter with their tongue. 10           Make them bear their guilt, O God;             let them fall by their own counsels;             because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out,             for they have rebelled against you. 11            But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;             let them ever sing for joy,             and spread your protection over them,             that those who love your name may exult in you. 12           For you bless the righteous, O Lord;             you cover him with favor as with a shield. Now we see why David prayed in the previous verse for God’s guidance.  His enemies slander him and conspire against him.  Some may try to smooth-talk David, using religious language, making it harder to navigate life.  David pleads with the Lord t


Sorry, everyone.  The devotionals got clogged up a bit, and it is my fault.  They should be flowing again!

God’s Gracious Will for Us | Psalm 5:7–8

7            But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,             will enter your house.             I will bow down toward your holy temple             in the fear of you. 8            Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness             because of my enemies;             make your way straight before me. David suddenly turns right, away from his enemies to himself.  The KJV and NASB translate his words, “But as for me.”  David sees a strong contrast between himself and other sinners, even though he had lied and killed many men.  This is because he places his confidence in the Lord, knowing “that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him” (4:3). The chesed, steadfast love of the Lord puts David where he is.  That’s why David enters the house of the Lord with fear or reverence, for he knew he had no right outside of the grace of God to be there.  If any of us are to come to the Lord, it is not just with God’s goodness

Help on the Road of Trouble | Psalm 3

Psalm 3  | Cornerstone Church of Savannah | Shaun Marksbury | 27 November, 2016 This morning, we're continuing this leg of our trek through the Book of Psalms, and this morning we're studying "Help on the Road of Trouble" from Psalm 3. We may never be a king on the run from a rebellious son, but we may be attacked or maligned or face great heartache. God gave us this psalm because we all face spiritual warfare, and we need to our source of help as our world comes under attack. Notice: I. The Requirement for the Lord’s Help II. The Reality of the Lord’s Help III. The Recognition of the Lord’s Help IV. The Request for the Lord’s Help Video: Audio:

God Hates a Great Deal | Psalm 5:4–6

4            For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;             evil may not dwell with you. 5            The boastful shall not stand before your eyes;             you hate all evildoers. 6            You destroy those who speak lies;             the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. We know that God is love (1 John 4:8), so we sometimes struggle with the idea that He could “hate all evildoers.”  The problem is that we have a limited understanding of love, for it must have hatred.  If I love my wife, I must, by necessity, hate whatever does her harm.  As God loves His children, He must also hate those who hurt them.  Even so, His hatred is pure and based on His holy nature. God won’t countenance deviations from His holiness —wickedness, evil, boastfulness, iniquity, falsehood, murder, deceit.  He won’t enjoy it for a moment nor give it temporary lodging.  A New Testament reflection of this is 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, “Or do you not know that th

Praying During Sorrow | Psalm 5:1–3

1            Give ear to my words, O LORD;             consider my groaning. 2            Give attention to the sound of my cry,             my King and my God,             for to you do I pray. 3            O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;             in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. The emotion of this psalm makes it a clear lament.  Throughout, we read David’s heartache, mainly brought on by the enemies of God.  All with heavy hearts would resonate with the pain here, and these three verses illustrate the godly man’s prayer times amid cries and groaning.  First, seek the Lord.  David prays to the covenant-keeping LORD, knowing that “my King and my God” will keep the promises of the covenant.  As such, David sees no problem asking he asks the Lord to “give ear,” to “consider,” and to “give attention.”  As we reflect upon this in Christ, we can likewise confidently come before the Lord in our times of need (Hb 4:16; 10:19, 35) as th

Another Email Correction

I noticed that the email service was 1) still called "Pisteuo" and 2) delivering late at night rather than the morning.  Part of that is that it was still set to Pacific Time (a. k. a., the left coast).  It should be fixed, but let me know if you have any issues.

God, the Source of Our Goodness | Psalm 4:6–8

6            There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?             Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!” 7            You have put more joy in my heart             than they have when their grain and wine abound. 8            In peace I will both lie down and sleep;             for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. The heart of the true worshipper moving through this psalm softens.  Troubles causes us to cry out (v. 1), but we are called to submission to the Lord’s authority (vv. 2–3).  We consider and repent of our sins in the night (v. 4) and believe in the gospel (v. 5).  Now, we see the subjective joy the believer experiences. The source of true blessing is the Lord shining His glorious light upon us.   People let us down, and idols can’t deliver.  So, David asks the Lord for divine illumination (cf. Nm 6:24–26).  He seems to understand on some level that, if one is to truly experience the goodness of the Lord, God must shine the l