Devotions

Author Archives: Larry Gabbara

Imitator

Grow | Devotion #3: Imitator
Larry Gabbara | Financial Bookkeeper

“So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10

To grow means the way a Christian will spiritually mature or grow in our faith, to draw nearer to God.

We as Christian’s should understand that to grow spiritually is a process that will help us to draw nearer to God. It is part of our spiritual faith. This process develops quicker for some than others. Through reading the Bible and listening to teachings, we will increase in our knowledge, and grow in our prayer life, faith, and understanding. Yet we should understand that growing should never end, as we should always continue to learn.

As a baby, we grew as our parents fed us, as we were nurtured we developed and grew, we matured and learned how to survive as people. I hate to think how our lives would be if we did not have this process. This process is true for all living organisms. The same happens to our pets, flowers, plants, and crops.

The beginning of spiritual growth is when we as Christians accept Jesus in our heart. We then develop a craving for the knowledge and understanding of God. We read in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

My story is probably similar to many baby Christians, after being saved, it took time for me to understand spiritual growth. After many Bible study’s, attending church, and listening to messages, the Holy Spirit put the desire on my heart to learn the Word. This was a slow transformation. My old sinful nature wanted to take over, and the nasty old devil still rears his ugly head. With the help of prayer and God’s unending grace, we fight to continue to grow and continue in the ways of the Lord.

We must have a spiritual plan, a road map to help us develop. As we grow, we should pray to ask the Lord what areas we can increase our faith. Our plan should include growing in the knowledge and understanding of the Word.We should be doing our best to stay away from sin, and all that draws us to sin, working on learning Christ-like qualities, and having total trust in the Lord should be our goal.

Paul gives us a great plan to follow in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

 

Who did Adam Blame?

Adam & Eve • Devotion #1: Who did Adam Blame?
Larry Gabbara | Financial Bookkeeper

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.” Genesis 3:6-7a

I was brought up in a religious home. We knew of God but not who He really was. As I got older, I heard about being born again, but that meant nothing to me. I heard about Billy Graham Crusades, but I thought he was just a Jesus freak!

Once I accepted the truth about how to receive Christ, my heart and eyes were opened. When I first thought about the chances I missed to hear and understand the Gospel, I blamed it on the fact that no one told me. But that was not true.

Adam and Eve both knew what God had told them concerning the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil; they knew exactly what they were both risking. Adam was the one who should have been responsible for following God’s commands. Before Eve took a bite and then offered it to Adam, Adam should have led Eve to make a better decision. Adam then blamed both Eve and God for his disobedience.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.  And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’” Genesis 2:15-17

Now both Adam and Eve realized what sin was, and that they were naked. They knew that they needed to cover up and wear clothing. They were ashamed to be seen by God.

This sin was transmitted to all mankind through Adam’s sin of disobedience. The devil tricked them, as he tries to trick us daily. We must continually fight the good fight, as to not be tricked by the devil.

 The man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.’” Genesis 3:12

We must own the blame for our actions.  Like Adam, we cannot blame someone else; we know what is the right path if we follow God’s instruction. Do not give into the world’s temptation.

We need to ask ourselves “Is this the right decision?”

What would we do if Jesus were next to us?

Do Not Miss the Gift of Salvation

Easter • Devotion #6: Do Not Miss the Gift of Salvation
Larry Gabbara | Financial Bookkeeper

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

I was born a sinner. I was a lost sinner for most of my adult life. I believed in God, but I knew I was missing something. I was empty, living a worldly life. If it were not for my wife and her prayer partners, I would have never known the wonders of God. Today, I am a saved sinner, because I responded to the Holy Spirit. One day I will be able to fellowship with Jesus in Heaven for eternity.

Salvation is a gift from God. We cannot earn it. Our works here on earth will not reserve us a place in Heaven, only Jesus’ blood does that. Without salvation, we are spiritually dead. God loves us all no matter who we are, and no matter what our past entails. God wants all of mankind to accept His gift of salvation.

Nothing can compare to this gift from God. It is, in Billy Graham’s words, “Forgiveness, Justification, Adoption, Eternal Life. The Crowning glory of Salvation is promised when we enter into the presence of the King.”

Have you ever thought about giving your life for a spouse, child, or loved one? That is what Jesus did for us on the Cross. He gave His life to save us, and give us the opportunity to spend eternity with our Father in Heaven.

I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Accepting the gift of salvation is as simple as, opening our heart, mind, and life to Jesus Christ and giving Him control of our life.

Romans 10:13 adds, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

All you have to do is open your mind and heart to Jesus. A simple prayer will do. Ask the Heavenly Father to forgive you of your sins, believe that Jesus died for you on the cross for your sins. Acknowledge that Jesus rose from the dead. Ask for Jesus’ help to turn away from your sinful nature. Jesus wants to lead you to be the person He has planned for you to be.

Martha and Mary

Back to Reach | Devotion #2: Martha and Mary
Larry Gabbara | Financial Bookkeeper

“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 11:13

Serving should bring us joy, not feel like a chore.  When we love the Lord, we want to serve Him. The Bible teaches us that if we serve the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart.

“But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’” Luke 10:40

God has given us two purposes in this life. We are to serve others and worship God. God teaches us that serving others strengthens our faith. Serving is a selfless act to show God our love towards Him. Jesus set the example of serving for us.  He said that He came to serve, not to be served. Serving should never be done out of a sense of obligation, but with a giving heart, as part of worship. 

We should all be a balance of Martha and Mary, taking time to learn and rest at Jesus’ feet and taking the time to serve and worship. Serving is an act of worship; we should remember when serving Jesus, we have to have a servant’s heart. 

Serving allows us to discover and develop our relationship with Jesus.  It will help us show the world that being a servant is what was commanded of us. That is part of obedience. The devil will remind us of all the reasons why we cannot serve: “I do not have time, I do not know what to do, I do not have the right skills, no one asked me to help.” These are weak excuses.

We can all serve; it helps us build bonds with others.  It allows us to be a part of spreading the Gospel.  Offering to help is a simple step that builds your relationship with Jesus. On the flip side, it helps those around us. You walk away with a feeling of joy because you were a part of the big picture of helping spread the Gospel to those who may not know Jesus. 

Remember that it was Jesus who first taught us to serve.

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45

Barabbas

Lesson Fourteen | Devotion #1: Barabbas
Larry Gabbara | Financial Bookkeeper

“But they all cried out together, ‘Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas’— a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.” Luke 23:18-19, 25

Barabbas represents mankind. The Bible explains to us that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, yet the crowd wanted His death. Jesus stood in his place; he stands in place for us, too. Barabbas’ life is a story of a murderer, terrorist, and a man who, according to the text, started an insurrection. Some reference’s also state that Barabbas could even have been a freedom fighter.

Jesus shed blood is a true picture of the immense sacrifice He made for us. There is nothing we can do here on our own to gain eternal life. God sacrificed His One and Only Son for us. We never hear anything else about Barabbas. I wonder, did Barabbas follow Jesus and watch the crucifixion? Did he become a believer?

Look at him; he committed every wrong he could. We, too, are as undeserving as Barabbas. Jesus died and stood in our place. We owe it all to Him. We do not have to wonder why Jesus did this for us. It is about love because He loves us no matter how we disappoint Him, and no matter how many times. Sin has been with us since Adam and Eve, yet God wants us to be with Him in eternity. So His love for us is never ending. He made the ultimate sacrifice. He died for our sins: past, present, and future. God is mercy and grace. Jesus stepped in for Barabbas and us; His sacrifice was out of love.

If we have accepted Him as Savior, we have been cleared of all our sin by Jesus’ death. This is what gives us eternal life. We are made to experience God’s love and glory. What are we doing for Him? Do not have people wondering what you did with your life. Be a world changer. Make a difference.

“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2



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