Thursday, March 22, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 22

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:1-7).

Today’s Morsel:  I hear about a lot of folks talking about the faith that their grandparents or parents had when they lived on the earth.  But for many of them that say such things why they don’t have the same faith.  Did their forefathers not explain it or share with them the value and the importance of it.  Did they think that their off-spring would learn it on their own?  Paul told the church, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).  In other words, instructing them in the knowledge of divine things, setting good examples before them, taking care to prevent them from falling into bad company, praying with them and for them, bringing them to the house of God, under the means of grace, to attend public worship; all which, under a divine blessing, may be very useful to them someday.  Paul wanted Timothy to know that the faith which was in him, did not begin with him but was also in his mother and his grandmother; and that all he needed to do when he was discouraged was to stir it up.  In other words, like coals that don’t seem to be burning, if you stir them up and allow the wind to blow on them they will begin to burn again.  Maybe you feel as though your faith is going out.  Why not stir up the gift that is in you with praise and allow the wind of the Holy Ghost to blow on you so that you will glow brighter than before, so the fire will pass on to the next generation.

Sing:  Faith can move mountains, mountains of fear and of doubt, faith can move mountains, so why don’t you try your faith out.

Thought For Today: Your faith must communicate to the next generation.  (Parker)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 21

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalms 116:15).

Today’s Morsel: One of the things about death is that it is promised to all of us.  This is one thing that none of us is going to escape, and none of us knows when it’s going to happen, and none of us has any control in stopping it.  You can’t buy your way out of it, no man on earth can deter it from happening to you, and no one that you know that has political or judicial power can get you out of it (see Ecclesiastes 8:8).  And the part that most do not understand about it is that it is eternal.  Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  Once we are born-again of the water and the spirit, we become a child of God. If we walk according to His Word and live according to His Word, death will have no power over us (Revelations 20:6). The same way that sin should not have any power of you (Romans 6:14); because greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).  The Bible says that heaven rejoices over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:7).  You see, repentance is a form of dying.  So precious in God’s sight is it when you die to the things of this world, commit and dedicate your life to him, live holy and separated unto Him as His sons and daughters.  Have you died to yourself yet? Faith in Christ and repentance of your sins are the first steps to eternal salvation and the key to avoiding eternal damnation.

Sing: For above all else, I must be saved.  For above all else, I must be saved.  Lord whatever you have to do to me, don’t let me be lost for eternity.  For above all else, I must be saved.

Thought For Today:  Faith in Christ and repentance of one’s sins are the first steps to eternal salvation and the key to avoiding eternal damnation (Parker).

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 20

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

Today’s Morsel:  One of the things about freedom is that it is not free.  It has a cost.  To remain free once we have been made free, one must purpose to remain free, or else we will return to their old ways.  When God delivered Israel from slavery and captivity, they at first were excited and happy.  They danced.  They shouted.  They were elated. But not long afterwards, they didn’t like their freedom and they wanted to return to their old way of life.  In the church, we call this backsliding, which is merely a return to the old way of life and living.  Paul told the church at Galatia to remain steadfast and to persevere in the freedom that Jesus Christ had used to make them free, and not return to the things that had them in bondage prior to their freedom (my words).  There are many things today that have people in bondage.  A love of money.  Social media.  Greed. Selfishness.  Pride.  Lust.  Perversion.  These things have many in bondage and they can’t get free.  Sad to say, many of them were at one time made free by Jesus through His word, but they did not remain in that freedom.  They desired to return to their old way of life.  Not acting or participating in the things that others call fun or dressing in an unkempt and immoral way is not bondage but freedom. What about you?  Are you on the verge of walking away from your freedom because of what the world has told you that you are missing?  Have you considered eternity lately?  Have you counted the cost?  

 Sing: Once like a bird in prison I dwelt, no freedom from my sorry I felt, but Jesus came and listened to me, and glory to God, He set me free.
He set me free, yes, He set me free.  He broke the bonds of prison for me.  I’m glory bound my Jesus to see.  Glory to God, He set me free.

Thought For Today: Have you considered eternity lately?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 19

“O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day” (Psalms 119:97).

Today’s Morsel:  Most people do not like laws.  They say that people are trying to control them and that nobody is going to tell them what to do.  And so, they go about violating and wanting to remove the laws which were established for their protection and safety.  People hate the "Do not talk on your cell phone while driving" law until they have a major accident while talking on it, then they wish they had heeded the warning.  They hate the handicap parking law when they are not handicapped or need assistance, but should they become handicapped or in need of assistance they get angry and upset at people who park in the handicap spots that may not be handicapped.  We must remember that sin is a violation of the law.  The Psalmist states, “O how I love thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”  God’s laws are for our safety and protection.  When we meditate on them and keep them at the forefront of our memory, they help us to stay righteous and out of trouble. Plus, they provide us with many blessings.  Like keeping money in your pocket for not speeding.

Sing:  The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. The testimonies of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple.  More to be desired are they than gold, much fine gold, sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb.

Thought For Today: “Sin is a violation of the law.” (Parker).

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 17

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-11).

Today’s Morsel:   Every day, I hear people say, “I don’t have enough time.”  Where did it go?  Why don’t we have enough time?  God gives us 24-hours and we don’t have enough time?  Are you allowing Satan to steal your time?  People are so tired from work because Satan has them at the grid because they allowed him to steal their time.  Not enough time?  How do you manage your time?  Why are you allowing someone else to manage your time?  Paul said, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).  Have you been hoodwinked by the enemy of your soul?  Has he stolen your time?  Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).  Satan wants to steal your time because he knows that when you are tired:
  • You can’t think right
  • You are easily agitated
  • You won’t pray
  • You don’t want to go to church
  • You won’t read your Bible
  • You won’t witness
  • You won’t have joy in your life
  • You will soon become depressed and discontented

And you’ll eat more, and you’ll get fat, and you become discontented and sluggish, so you’ll work more, and are tired more, so you can’t rest anymore!  All because you let the devil steal your time.  And you are tired, and because you are tired, you get angry easily, and because you are angered easily, you yell and scream at your spouse and your kids, and your dog and your cat, and you lose your temper, and you lose your patience, and you start looking for peace, because your peace is gone, because you let Satan steal your time, because you were trying to make enough dollar, because you wanted to be able to buy something else, and you lost your time, so you lost your joy, because you lost your time, and you lost your peace, because you lost your friend, because you didn’t have time to spend with your friend, which is Jesus, the One who gives you the time, who replenishes your money, the One who gives you joy, who gives you peace, all because you didn’t think that you had enough.  And because you didn’t think that you have enough, you left Jesus, which was your friend, which gives you joy, which gives you peace, and you start crying the world doesn’t have enough love and nobody cares about you all because you allowed Satan to steal your time.
You see, time is the only commodity that God has given everyone the same amount of every day.  But if we cannot manage it properly, we will lose it.  Ask yourself, what do I do each day with my time that I don’t have enough time for the things of God?  The most important time is time spent with Jesus.  Do you know that?  Are you using your time wisely?  

Sing: Time is filled with swift transition; naught of earth unmoved can stand.  Build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand!
Hold to God’s unchanging hand! Hold to God’s unchanging hand! Build your hopes on things eternal, hold to God’s unchanging hand!

Thought For Today: Watch your time (Parker)

Friday, March 16, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 16

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).

Today’s Morsel:  I’ve come to realize that the most abandoned gift in scripture is the gift of encouragement and edification.  Paul said, “Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:8).  And the way that we do that is by our words.  When we speak, we should always consider the words we say, because they do have an impact on others.  If we would learn to use our words wisely, we might be able to help someone recover from despondency, distress, and even abuse.  Words mean a lot when spoken correctly.  Jesus said, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).  How many are there who count words for nothing, and yet eternity depends on them.  David prayed, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalms 19:14).  Do you choose your words carefully?  "Lord, put a watch before the door of my lips," ought to be the prayer of us all.

Sing:  Hear my cry, O’ God, attend unto my prayer.  From the ends of the earth will I cry unto thee; and when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the Rock that is higher than I, so much higher than I.

Thought For Today:  Set a watch at my lips.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 15

“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses” (Deuteronomy 34:9)

Today’s Morsel:  I’m still trying to figure out why there are so many born-again believers without wisdom when the Bible tells us that wisdom is the most basic thing, and that we should get it.  To me, the book of Proverbs is a book of wisdom.  Along with the rest of the Bible, it makes one wise unto salvation.  Hidden in its pages is everything that we must be, know, and do to be successful and have eternal life.  Scripture says that Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him.  The Bible tells us to mark the perfect man, for the end of that man is peace.  Let me encourage you when you find a man of God with wisdom, stay close to him because you don’t get old being a fool.

Sing:  He touched me; Oh, Oh, He touched me, and oh the joy that floods my soul.  Something happened, and now I know, Jesus touched me and made me whole.

Thought For Today:  Wisdom is the principle thing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 14

“And Moses came and spake all the words of this song in the ears of the people, he, and Hoshea the son of Nun. And Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel: And he said unto them, Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day, which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.” (Deuteronomy 32:44-47) 

Today’s Morsel:  In some of Moses’ final instructions to the children of Israel, he told them that the instructions that he was giving to them were their life, and he said that through them they would prolong their days in the land. The Apostle Paul tells us that once we are baptized in the name of Jesus (Galatians 3:26-29) that we become heirs to the promises of God.  The same promises that God gave to Israel from His word are now for those of us who have been born-again.  John said, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full” (1 John 1:1-4).  If you want to prolong your days and have life, then you must obey the word.  For the Word (Jesus Christ) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Sing:  What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see, when I look upon His face, the One who saved me by His grace.  When he takes me by the hand and leads me through the Promised Land, what a day glorious day that will be.

Thought For Today:  The word is your life.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 13

“Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife” (Proverbs 17:1).

Today’s Morsel:  I don’t know about you, but I have no use for croutons on my salad.  I have no time for stale bread.  I want my bread fresh.  Give me a fresh hot roll on the side with butter.  Jesus gave the children of Israel fresh bread daily.  That’s why I call this devotion, Morning Manna.  I don’t want you to have anything from God that’s stale.  His word and promises are new every morning.  Solomon said, however, that it’s better to have a dry morsel (croutons, stale bread) with peace and contentment than to have a house filled with stuff and everybody is fighting and discontented.  If you want to have peace in your home, why not start having daily devotions with your family in your home early in the morning, and you will have fresh bread daily that brings peace along with it.  Jesus is the Bread of life.

Sing:  Jesus has a table spread where the saints of God are fed, He invites His chosen people “Come and dine.”  With His manna He doth feed and supplies our every need; O’ tis sweet to sup with Jesus all the time!
“Come and dine”, the Master calleth,  “Come and dine.”  You may feast at Jesus’ table all the time.  He who fed the multitude, turned the water into wine, to the hungry calleth now, “Come and dine.”

Thought For Today:  Better eat your Manna! (Parker)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 12

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (1 Corinthians 6:9-20)

Today’s Morsel:  When I was an Army Drill Instructor, one of the subjects I liked teaching was Basic Rifle Marksmanship.  Part of this training was to teach the soldiers how to apply immediate action procedures should their weapon fail to fire during combat.  After explaining the procedure and allowing the soldiers to practice them and also testing them on them, they were never to forget them.  To me, this is what most of Paul’s letters to the church are.  They are teaching us how to apply immediate action on the battlefield.  We are in a war whether we think we or not.  And we need to learn the immediate action procedures so that when we encounter a situation that could be detrimental to us, we know exactly what to do. Sometimes Paul tells us to flee.  In other words, run.  Other times, he tells us to stand strong.  While other times, he tells us to pray and to trust God.  We never know what we will encounter.  But if we know the correct procedure to apply, we will be victorious every time.

Sing:  O’ victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever.  He sought me and He bought me with His redeeming blood.  He loved me ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him.  He plunged me to victory, beneath the cleansing flood.

Thought For Today:  Immediate action can save your life (Parker).

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 10

“And I besought the LORD at that time, saying, O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter” (Deuteronomy 3:23-26).

Today’s Morsel: I like reading the Pentateuch, or the first five books credited with being written by Moses, in the Bible.  There is just so much wonderful information in them for a pastor and leader that it would make many wonder how one man could find himself responsible for so many. This wasn’t an easy task for Moses.  But he had a promise from God to help him.  All Moses had to do was lead.  God would take care of the scouting for the enemy, defense, protection, communications, and logistics which are the five major needs of an army.  Moses, in the book of Deuteronomy, in his recapitulation to this new generation, as the old had died off in the wilderness because of their murmuring and rebellion, felt a need to share with them how they must not do the things that their forefathers had done and also remind them of the importance of God’s laws, status, commandments, and precepts.  He told them that he was not being allowed to lead them into the promised land because their forefather had caused him to do something contrary to what God told him to do.  And even when he wanted to go over by asking God again, God told him, “Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.”  In other words, God was saying, My decision is made, so don’t ask me again.  Always remember, God doesn’t repent.  If you violate what He tells you to do there is a consequence.  Salvation is not free.  It requires obedience to God’s word.

Sing: Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise, for it was grace that brought my liberty.  I do not know just why He came to love me so, He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.  I shall forever lift my eyes to Calvary, to view the cross where Jesus died for me.  How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul.  He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.

Thought For Today:  Obey and let God sweat the big stuff (Parker)

Friday, March 9, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 9

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” 
(Romans 6:1-14).

Today’s Morsel:  In today’s world, if we are not careful, we can give into sin with our members and not even realize it.  Many are falling into the trap of sin through social media and not even realizing it.  Or maybe they do realize it and don’t care.  For example, we can use our hands to send an evil text message, comment on a Facebook post in an evil way, or send an evil tweet.  We can speak lies, tell a secret, or gossip about someone with our "mouth" not realizing the damage that can be done.  If we do not have self-control and self-discipline, we can allow our feet to carry us to places that we shouldn’t go or deliver messages that we shouldn’t.  Paul said that we should not yield our members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin.  If we are doing some of those things that were mentioned, then we are allowing our members to be used for sin.  And whether we think so or not, Satan delights in those who do such things. We must examine ourselves daily to ensure that we are not allowing the old man to resurface and cause us to fall or put a stumbling block in someone else’s way.  There’s an all-seeing eye watching us.

Sing: All along on the road to the soul’s true abode, there’s an eye watching you; every step that you take this great eye is awake.  There’s an eye watching you.
Watching you, watching you, everyday mind the course you pursue; there’s an all-seeing eye watching you.

Thought For Today:  There’s an eye watching you.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 8

“So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him” 
(1 Kings 19:19-21).

Today’s Morsel:  Do you remember where you were when God called you to follow Him?  Many men and women have shared with me their testimonies as to where they were and how they knew that it was God calling them to follow Him. We see this with many of Jesus' disciples in scripture.  They were just going about their everyday duty or career, and they received their call into the ministry.  Elisha was out in the field plowing with his oxen.  He probably wasn’t expecting this call. But Elijah came by him and cast his mantle on him and told him to follow him.  Elisha realized at that point in his life that there would be no more need for him to plow the fields as God was changing his duty and responsibilities.  And so he took his plow and made firewood, killed the oxen and ate them, and kissed his parents and said goodbye!  When God calls us, we need to realize that we must be willing to give our all and not allow anything to impede our calling.  We must not fear that we will be without as He knows what we have need of before we ask.  God has a plan already in place to care for you when you accept the call.  You just need to walk by faith and not by sight.

Sing:  I can hear my Savior calling. I can hear my Savior calling. I can hear my Savior calling, come follow, follow me.
Where He leads me I will follow.  Where He leads me I will follow. Where He leads me I will follow.  I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

Thought For Today:  Have you accepted your call?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 7

“Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous” 
(Deuteronomy 16:18-19)

Today’s Morsel:  As a leader, one of the things you learn quickly in the military is what gifts you can and can not receive from the people you oversee.  Sometimes, people’s face and countenance would change when they want to give you something and you had to tell them that you could not receive it from them.  This even held true for gifts that you may receive from allied nations.  As a senior military leader, I found myself having to ask my legal officer what I could and could not accept.  This is still in my mind today when people in the church want to give me a gift.  I find myself questioning if I should receive it or not because of my military training. Lady Justice, which stands outside of the US Justice Department, has on a blindfold,  a set of scales in her hand, and a sword.  The scales represent the weighing of evidence and are balanced to portray that the evidence should stand on its own.  The blindfold represents never favoring the strong nor the weak, the rich nor the poor, the righteous nor the wicked, the black nor the white, never favoring one over the other.  And the sword represents authority and conveys the idea that justice can be swift and final.  Moses told the judges that they should not wrest judgment; that they should not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift blinds the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.  He cautioned them that a bribe could cause them to pervert judgment and not be fair in their dealing and rendering justice fairly to all people.  Even Elisha rejected Naaman’s gift after his healing.  But his servant Gehezi went after it and was made a leper for life (see 2 Kings chapter 5). We must never be unfair when rendering judgment.

Sing: I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus. I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.

Thought for today: Never take a gift to pervert judgment (Parker)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 6

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes” 
(Proverbs 13:24)

Today’s Morsel:  I have heard many people say that they do not like confrontation.  Even some parents don’t like having to correct their children.  I have seen two and three-year-olds disrespect their parents and nothing is said to the child.  I have seen kids disrespect adults, law enforcement personnel, teachers, and their parents say nothing to correct them.  I have heard parents say they don’t know what they are going to do with their child because they won’t obey.  Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, state, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”  In other words, if you don’t correct your child, you don’t love them.  If you do love them, you correct them as soon as they are wrong.  The same is true in the church and in every home.  Correction reveals love even if the people you must correct may not like it.  Non-correction for fear of being hated by the child, or people leaving the church shows a lack of love on the authority’s part.  Which category do you fall in?  Remember, the earlier the correction the better, and the more love you are showing.  

Sing:  He touched me.  He touched me, and oh the joy that floods my soul.  Something happened and now I know, Jesus touched me, and He made me whole.

Thought For Today:  The earlier the correction the better (Parker)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 5

“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (Psalms 40:1-5).
Today’s Morsel:  As I read the scriptures, I often wonder how deep some of those pits were that they cast men into that they could not get themselves out.  The story is told of a man that had an old goat.  The goat fell into a deep dried up well.  So the man decided to bury the goat in the well. But as he cast shovels of dirt into the well to bury the goat, the goat would shake it off and stomp the dirt down with his feet. Before long, the goat was able to step out of the well.  The Psalmist said, “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”  Like the psalmist, we must learn to wait and allow God to get us out.  When we think that we are in a pit that we can’t get out of, we must trust God to deliver us and to bring us out.  Sometimes we might be in a pit that we’ve dug by ourselves as everything we go through is not of the devil.  Scripture tells us, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him” (Proverbs 26:27).  Did you dig the pit that you feel you are in today?  It is amazing to know that God can get us out of any situation or circumstance that we may think is too hard for us, if we will just wait on and trust Him.  

Sing:  He brought me out of the miry clay, He set my feet on a rock to stay.  He put a song in my heart today, a song of praise hallelujah!

Thought For Today:  Don’t fall into your own pit (Parker).

Saturday, March 3, 2018

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom” (Psalms 51:1-6).

Today’s Morsel:  I think one of the biggest fallings that we Christians have is that we don’t ask God to reveal to us our hidden sins, hidden motives, hidden wrong desires, hidden sexual undertones, hidden bad attitudes, hidden anger, and hidden unrighteous ways.  We pray and ask Him for healings of others and ourselves, but most of the time we are not hard on ourselves in our prayer to Him.  As I told the men a few weeks ago in our “Guy’s G.R.O.W.” lesson, we need to ask God to open us up and show us things that are hidden in our life that aren’t like Him, those things that can sneak up and destroy us.  In Psalms 19, David prayed, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psalms 19:12-14).  In both cases, Psalms 19 and Psalms 51, David’s prayer is a prayer of true repentance and one seeking for a life change.  David’s sins seem to catch him by surprise.  Somewhere the sweet psalmist and man after God’s own heart got away from asking God to keep him pure.  And now he realizes that God wants truth within, not just truth without.  Jesus told the religious leaders to first clean the inside of the platter and the outside will be clean (my wording).  It’s always those hidden sins and idiosyncrasies that seem to get us into trouble.  

Sing:  Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?  Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?  Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?  Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you washed in the blood, in the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb?  Are your garments spotless?  Are they white as snow?  Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Thought For Today: God desires truth in the inward parts.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 2

“And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” 
(Luke 15:11-24).

Today’s Morsel:  I was talking to a man one day and he said to me, “You know, I need to get back to church.  I keep telling myself that I need to go back.  My life was so much better when I was at church and involved in church.  But now that I haven’t been attending, my life seems to be a mess.”  This is an example much like the Prodigal Son and of a man that comes to the end of himself.  He realizes that where he is isn’t working.  He realizes that the path he’s chosen to walk down is the wrong one.  The story of the Prodigal Son is a story of a young man who left home with much and returned empty.  This is what the world will do to you.  Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Satan is the god of this world, and his goal is to take everything that you have and then kill you.  If you are continuously feeling like a hamster running around on a wheel in a cage, chances are things aren’t working for you. If all you seem to do is go to work, come home and sleep, and then repeat it all again the next day, chances are life isn’t working for you and you need to come to the end of yourself and come home just like the Prodigal Son did. Why delay?  The best place to be is home.  Come back to Jesus and His Home (the Church) this Sunday.  

Sing:  A little boy was lost one day, and they asked him where he lived?  And he said, "I don’t know." They asked him is there anything he could tell them about the house where he lived.  He said, "There is a white church close by with a cross on top"; And he said, "If I can find my way, back to that Old Cross, I can find my way back home."  Some of you may be like that little boy, is lost and can’t find your way home, but if you will come to that Old Rugged Cross, you can find your way back.

Thought For Today:  The Cross will get you home every time (Parker).

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 1

“And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright”
(Genesis 25:31-34).

Today’s Morsel:  I have come to realize that most people in the church do not value their birthright.  Like Esau, they do not understand the value of what they have and how important that it really is.  Esau sold his birthright to his Brother Jacob for a bowl of pottage.  He told Jacob that he was at the point of death and the birthright wasn’t going to do him any good anyhow (My wording).  He didn’t value it, nor what came with it.  The first-born was dedicated to God.  Therefore, the birthright symbolized a gift from God.  So since Isaac was still alive, Esau could not see nor understand how important it was to him.  Isaac had not told them the importance until he was approaching his death. He sent him to get venison, so he could bless him.  In other words, so he could give and explain to him his birthright.  Like a will, it’s only good after the person who signs and gives it is dead.  Scripture says that later in life when Esau wanted it, he couldn’t find it though he sought for it with tears (Hebrews 12:16).  Scriptures even call him a profane person.  Meaning that his action and attitude toward spiritual things were not important to him.  He did not foresee this moment to come.  But when he realized the importance of his birthright and wanted it, it was to late.  It was gone.  He wept for a blessing and found it gone.  And God said, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated.  All because he didn’t value his gift from God.  Again, I feel like he was like so many in the church today, they don’t value what God has given them.  Paul said that God has given, unto us of His Spirit.  But many do not value what came with their salvation.  They are more willing to go after the things of the world for a moment of self-gratification for a season, than to enjoy eternal life and the blessings of God forever.  What about you?  Do you value your birthright?

Sing:  Thanks, thanks, I give you thanks, for all you have done.  I am so blessed, my soul has found rest.  O’ Lord, I give you thanks.

Thought For Today:  Your birthright has many blessings attached to it (Parker).