Saturday, March 31, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 31

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:3-12).
Today’s Morsel:  None of the prophets seemed to display what Jesus would go through for our salvation like Isaiah. Isaiah pictures Jesus as a lamb slain and a sheep being sheared before her shearers.  The lamb is being sacrificed by death, and the sheep stands dumb while their wool is being trimmed and cut from their body.  While they stripped Jesus of His raiment, and He laid down His life for our sins, He opened not His mouth.  When the Spirit drew Philip to the Ethiopian Eunuch in the wilderness, he found him reading the same passage which Isaiah had written about Jesus.  And as Philip drew himself near to the eunuch’s chariot and heard him reading, he asked him, “Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Acts 8:30-38).  Why was there a need for the eunuch to be baptized after receiving the revelation of Jesus Christ as spoken by the prophet Isaiah?  Because Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection can only be applied to our lives by baptism, by immersion in water, in the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-5, Galatians 3:26-29, Acts 2:38).  This is what gives us the New Birth experience.

Sing: 1. Your only Son no sin to hide, but You have sent Him, from Your side, to walk upon this guilty sod, and to become the Lamb of God. (Chorus)
Oh’ Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God, I love the Holy Lamb of God, oh wash me in His Precious Blood, My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. 
         2. Your gift of Love, they crucified, they laughed and scorned him as he died the humble King, they named a fraud, and sacrificed the Lamb of God. (Chorus)
Oh’ Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God, I love the Holy Lamb of God, oh wash me in His Precious Blood, My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. 
        3.  I was so lost I should have died, but You have brought me to Your side to be led by Your staff and rod, and to be call a lamb of God. (Chorus)
Oh’ Lamb of God, Sweet lamb of God, I love the Holy Lamb of God, oh wash me in His Precious Blood, My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God. 

Thought For Today:  Baptism still saves us.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 30

“And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him. And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Mark 15:1-26)

Today’s Morsel:  Many around the world today will celebrate what they call “Good Friday”.  There are many theories for the use of this term.  Some believe it was called “Good Friday” as this was the day that Jesus died for their sins, while others believe something totally different.  Was it good because this day would start the spreading of the good news of the gospel to everyone?  Was it good because God is good all the time?  Or was it good because good always triumphs over evil?  For me, no matter what title is ascribed to it, it is good news to my hearing to know that the God of all creation was willing to come to earth and die for me that I might live and be with Him throughout eternity.  To me, there is no better news.  How about you?

Sing:  O' how He loves you and me. O’ how He loves you and me.  He gave His life, what more could He do?  O’ how He loves me, O’ how He loves you, O’ how He loves you and me.

Thought For Today: Calvary speaks of the greatest love.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 29

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again” (Matthew 20:18-19).

Today’s Morsel:  Throughout scripture, Jesus told His followers consistently of His impending death at Jerusalem. But many of them missed His words because they were focused on the miracles and teachings and not what He was saying.  You know that old saying, “I know you think that you understood what I said, but I’m not for sure that you understood what I meant.”   The prophesies which the prophets had spoken of Him had to be fulfilled but they missed it.  The Gospel, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), had to be fulfilled for us to obtain eternal salvation and live.  If He had not shed His blood and died, then we could not live.  Paul told the Hebrews, “…without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22).  Our sins could not be remitted if Jesus, who was the all sacrificial Lamb, had not shed His blood for us.  But not only did He die for us, but He also rose again after three days so that we, too, can walk in newness of life (Romans 6:1-5).

Sing: He was wounded for our transgressions.  He was bruised for our iniquities.  Surely, He bore all our sorrows, and by His stripes we are healed.

Thought For Today:  Freedom is not free.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 28

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26)

Today’s Morsel:  One of the things about scripture is some words may not mean what we think that they mean.  I know many folks who think that when the Bible uses the word “heart” it is referring to that piece of flesh in the center of their chest that pumps blood throughout their body and that if it stops working they die.  But that’s not what the Bible is speaking of when it says heart.  The word “heart”, when used in the scripture, is referring to the mind, the will, the understanding, the center of intellect. Therefore, Solomon said, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).  And Isaiah said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).  If someone tells you to just trust your own heart when you are going through things in your life or must make a major decision, you may want to proceed with great caution.  And you may want to take a closer look to ensure your heart is right, as we sometimes make some bad decisions when our thoughts are not right, or we are not thinking clearly.  It can be a dangerous thing to "follow our heart".   As Jeremiah admonishes, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9)?  If you follow your heart and your thoughts and desires are not right, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble or making some very bad decisions in life.  Solomon further states, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”  Don't buy that "Just Follow Your Heart" T-shirt just yet!!  Always make sure that your thoughts are in line with the Word of God and you’ll never go wrong.

Sing: 1. Holiness, Holiness, is what I long for.  Holiness is what I need.  Holiness, Holiness is what You want for me.       Take my heart, and mold it.      
    Take my mind transform it. Take my will conform it, to Yours, to Yours, Your own.

         2. Righteousness, Righteousness, is what I long for.  Righteousness is what I need. Righteousness, Righteousness is what You want for me. 
    Take my heart, and mold it. Take my mind transform it. Take my will conform it, to Yours, to Yours, Your own.
        3. Brokenness, Brokenness, is what I long for. Brokenness is what I need.  Brokenness, brokenness, that's what You want for me.     Take my heart, and mold it. Take my mind transform it. Take my will conform it, to Yours, to Yours, Your own.

Thought For Today: The heart is deceitful.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 27

 “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17).

Today’s Morsel:  There is nothing worse than trying to cut something with a dull knife.  I can remember my father sitting down with a file at least two or three times a year and sharpening all my mother’s kitchen knives, along with the axes and the saws that we used to cut wood, and sometimes he even sharpened the tynes on the end of the pitchforks that he used to throw hay or brush.  Solomon said “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”  He uses the same principle as my dad did to make my mother's knives sharp by rubbing iron against iron.  When we say that someone is our friend, then we should do everything we can to ensure that they are kept sharp and alert.  That means telling them when their clothes are too short, too tight, and can be seen through. Telling them when they are exposing too much nudity, they forgot to comb their hair, or they smell "odd", telling them when they are presenting an unkempt appearance.  It’s telling them that their home or car need to be clean.  It’s making them aware if they are neglecting their children and family.  It’s informing them of their need and the importance of being at church and being on time.  It’s encouraging them to read and study the Word of God so they know what God requires of them.  And it’s also informing them of their responsibility to be more responsible for their own actions.  A true friend keeps you on track.  Are you a true friend or just an acquaintance?

Sing:  You’re my brother, you’re my sister, so take me by the hand, together we will work until He comes.  There’s no foe that can defeat us, when we’re walking side by side, as long as there is love, we can stand.

Thought For Today:  A friend loveth at all time.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 26

“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:1-10).

Today’s Morsel:  The phrase “Loose lips sink ships” was coined as a slogan during WWII as part of the US Office of War Information's attempt to limit the possibility of people inadvertently giving useful information to enemy spies.  The slogan was actually Loose Lips Might Sink Ships.  This was one of several similar slogans which all came under the campaign's basic message 'Careless Talk Costs Lives'.  The slogan was in use by 1942, as this example from the Maryland paper The News, May 1942 shows: As Countians [attendees at the local county school] registered in the high school lobby before the opening of the meeting, they were surrounded on all sides by placards bearing such admonitions as "Loose Lips Might Sink Ships", "Defense On The Sea Begins On The Shore", "Defense In The Field Begins In The Factory".  The people were encouraged to be careful what they were saying and to whom they were saying it to.  Especially if it could endanger security or servicemembers lives.  James said that our tongue is a little member, but it can set on fire the courses of hell.  The Psalmist prayed, “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Psalms 141:3).  He knew that it was possible to utter words that may not be true or to say things that could cause others hurt.  One of the steps to becoming a perfect man is to learn to bridle our tongue.

Sing: Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight O’ God.  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight O’ God.  May the words that I say, be pleasing to You, be pleasing to You, O’ Lord. May the words that I say, be pleasing to You, be pleasing to You, O’ Lord.

Thought For Today:  Watch the door of your mouth (Parker).

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 24

“When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege: Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued” (Deuteronomy 20:19-20).

Today’s Morsel:  I love fruits and nuts.  I could easily live off them without anything else.  From the beginning of creation, this was man’s food.  As the Lord told Adam and Eve, “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat” (Genesis 1:29).  However, today we see that a lot of the trees that we were told to not cut down are being cut down and use for building furniture and homes.  The Lord told Moses that when they took a city during a war that they were not to cut down the trees for meat.  In other words, those that provided fruit and nuts, for they were man’s life.  And yet we see that they besieged Jerusalem for a long time and cut down the tree of life, Jesus Christ, which was their meat.  And even today, man wants to cut down the tree, the church, which is his life and think that he can live without it.

Sing:  So, I’ll cherish the Old Rugged Cross, till my trophies at last I’ll lay down.  I will cling to the Old Rugged Cross and exchange it some day for a crown.

Thought for today: Don’t cut down the fruit tree.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Morning Manna by Rufus Parker - 2018 March 23

“When the LORD thy God hath cut off the nations, whose land the LORD thy God giveth thee, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their cities, and in their houses; Thou shalt separate three cities for thee in the midst of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it. Thou shalt prepare thee a way, and divide the coasts of thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee to inherit, into three parts, that every slayer may flee thither. And this is the case of the slayer, which shall flee thither, that he may live: Whoso killeth his neighbour ignorantly, whom he hated not in time past; As when a man goeth into the wood with his neighbour to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbour, that he die; he shall flee unto one of those cities, and live” (Deuteronomy 19:1-5).

Today’s Morsel:  God knew that sometimes accidents would happen and that people would need a place of protection until they could have a fair trial.  Somewhat like today. A gunman discharges accidentally and kills someone, or some other kind of accidental death and the people would be angry with the person and may desire to take that person's life before a fair trial.  And so, for protection until a fair trial, God told the children of Israel to establish refuge cities that the person could flee to for protection until a fair trial could be held.  We see this with Abner who killed Joab’s brother accidentally.  Joab desired to get even with Abner.  And so Abner came to the city of Hebron, which was a city of refuge, where David was.  If he was inside the city, he was protected from harm.  But Joab lured him out of the city and killed him ( 2 Samuel 3).  Do you know what city to flee to when you are falsely accused? Solomon said, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). David states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1).  Jesus, who is God as well as man, is the "refuge" for souls to fly unto for safety.  The men who brought the woman taken in adultery to Jesus while he was in the synagogue failed to realize that they were taking her to a city of refuge.  She received a fair trial right before them all and was able to walk away free.  Sin remitted.  Life changed.  A second chance given.  All because the Chief Judge Jesus was on the stand that day in the city of refuge.

Sing: 1. Where do I go when there's no one else to turn to? Who do I talk to when nobody wants to listen? Who do I lean on when there's no foundation stable? I go to the rock, I know he's able, I go to the rock.
    I go to the rock for my salvation, I go to the stone that the builders rejected, I run to the mountain and the mountain stands by me, When the Earth all around me is sinking sand, On Christ, the solid rock I stand, When I need a shelter, when I need a friend I go to the rock.
      2. Where do I go, when the storms of life are threatening? Who do I turn to when those winds of sorrow blow? And is there a refuge, in the time of tribulation? I go to the rock, I know he's able, I go to the rock. 
    I go to the rock for my salvation, I go to the stone that the builders rejected, I run to the mountain and the mountain stands by me, When the Earth all around me is sinking sand, On Christ, the solid rock I stand, When I need a shelter, when I need a friend I go to the rock.

Thought For Today:  Jesus is still our refuge.

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?