They Just don’t Know

From the 3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. “And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!” Mark 13:32-33

I like this scripture text because of what Jesus is telling us. “Nobody will know!” How many people have tried to predict when Jesus will come again? How many have repeatedly predicted the return of Christ and have been wrong each time? Even the secular world within their own agenda is predicting (as I am writing this in my journal) the end will come in 12 years. I hope they are right, because that means Jesus has to come within the next 5 years to make room for the 7 years of tribulation.

The Bible says the dead in Christ will rise first and then those who are alive will follow. This is what we call the rapture. After that there will be 7 years of tribulation followed by the battle of Armageddon.

Let’s get back to the verse at hand. What I see that is unique about this verse is, as far as we know, this is the only secret the Father has from the Son. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the three are one and yet this little piece of information is only held by one of them. Then look at the next verse, “since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!”

There are people who are habitually late. They are so used to being late they treat it like they are on time. If they ever do arrive somewhere on time they claim they are early. When it comes to Jesus coming again to take his church home, there is no “on time” or “late”, because nobody knows. The bottom line is – be ready.

Lord, I am alert and ready, come quickly Lord Jesus!

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

Just a Look

From the 3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series

“He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.” Luke 19:3 NLT

You’ve heard the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat”. Well, it’s a good thing that Zacheaus wasn’t a cat. In his case curiosity was very beneficial to him. I wonder if Jesus was walking down that street with the thought of calling Zacheaus or if he just happened to see him? Forethought or not, Jesus not only called to him, but invited himself to dinner.

Jesus always goes the second mile if we let him. Parents brought children to Jesus for a touch, but he went the second mile and blessed them. The woman was going to the well for water. Jesus went the second mile though and gave her living water. Here Zacheaus just wanted a look and because Jesus went the second mile, he found salvation.

You would have thought the people should have been happy about his changed life. This chief tax collector was not going to overcharge or cheat anyone any more. In fact, he pledged to give money back to those from whom he had taken too much. I think this is the first recorded tax refund that ever took place. Yet the people didn’t see any of the benefits of this new Zacheaus. Their focus was that Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners.

It’s surely a good thing his critics didn’t accompany Jesus when he first rose from the dead. I might have to whisper this, but he went straight to hell or a place like it. But . . . it was for their benefit. He went to get the keys of death because he had just conquered it.

Lord, thank you for walking down the street of my life and then going the second mile by changing my life for my benefit and the benefit of those around me.

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

With Him Impossibility Comes Without the “im”

From the 3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series

“Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” Luke 18:26-27

Jesus had just told his disciples, it is easier for a camel to go through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. Seems to me that no matter how hard you try, that camel just isn’t going to make it. The word “rich” though is a relative term and I think the disciples knew that. The poorest people in the United States are richer than most of the people who live in third world countries. These Americans only compare themselves though with people who have more than they do.

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about entitlements which is really a political issue. There are many who think entitlements should also be offered from a biblical standpoint as well. The biggest one you hear is “well if God is such a loving God, he would never send me to hell.” So what these people are actually saying is since I am a human being, then I should go to heaven.

God doesn’t work like that. In fact Jesus said it is impossible for any of us to get to heaven. If there is a sewing kit close to you, reach in and take out a needle. Now, focus in on the eye of that needle. Jesus said, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle”. You might argue that you aren’t rich. You’re richer than a lot of other people in this world.

Friend, the only hope we have is that God is the God of impossibilities. Therefore as I read the word, the only entitlement any of us have, is the right to make a choice as to whether or not we will accept and receive what Jesus has done on the cross for you.

Jesus, because you died on the cross and arose from the grave. You made a way for our sins to be forgiven. You turned the impossibility of getting to heaven into a possibility for each of us.

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

His Terms

From the 3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series .

This is what the Lord says: “The people. . . have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished!” Amos 1:3,6,9,11,13

Isn’t it amazing how people will go out of their way to criticize someone. In many cases they don’t even know the person they are criticizing. We see this on news broadcasts quite often. A person can be marked for life because of something that was said or done that was really out of character for them. I am not defending any one person. I am pointing out how unfair people can be with their unsubstantiated accusations.

People are also quick do the same thing with God. They feel they have God figured out because of something they have heard about him. As they look at what is going on in the world, God gets the blame for many things because ungodly people just don’t understand him. God even gets the blame for natural disasters as they are labeled “acts of God”.

I have heard God being criticized about the way he treated people in the Old Testament. Again their criticism comes because they don’t know him or his character. They only know about him. Their knowledge is filtered through the ignorance of their minds.

How many times did God warn people about sin? How many times did he say, stay away from sin and all will be well? But he says, if you sin, you will suffer the consequences. In today’s verses God gave Amos messages to deliver to 5 people groups just in the first chapter. The bottom line here is, you are either for the Lord or against him.

The first thing a person must learn about having a relationship with the Lord is, we always need to come to him on his terms.

Lord I like your terms, because when I do mess up, you are always willing to receive me again and again. I know what your terms are so there are never any surprises.

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

When They Sin

From the 3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series .

May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.” 2 Chronicles 6:21

In chapter six of Second Chronicles, Solomon offers praise to the Lord and then dedicates the temple which he had just finished building for the Lord. Solomon being as wise as he is knows that the nation is going to mess up. During his dedication, he gives 7 scenarios of how the nation might do it. He is actually saying “when we mess up”, then they as a nation must turn towards this temple and ask the Lord’s forgiveness.

I love the Lord’s response in the next chapter. It’s one many know by heart. We sing songs that include it and it is a go to verse. The Lord says, “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways. . . There is one “if” from the Lord that covers 4 directives. And if those 4 directives are done then he says, “I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

If the people do falter then the Lord will be waiting for them to come back to him, as he says, “My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place.” He ends this conversation with assurance that the Lord has chosen this Temple and has set it apart to be holy—“a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.”

What a great promise. It certainly was smart for Solomon to pray the way he did. Asking the Lord to keep the people from sinning would not have worked. But asking God’s forgiveness for their sin, even before they committed one, was spot on.

Lord thank you for instantly forgiving us when we come to you with a sincere heart, humbled and seeking your face, as we turn from our wicked ways.

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

Things Haven’t Changed

From the 3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series .

But in spite of this, the people kept sinning. Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him.” Psalms 78:32

A statement like our verse is repeated a number of times in this chapter. This Psalm lists things that God’s people were guilty of, things like: “they rebelled against the Lord”, “they did their own thing”, “they refused to trust him”, along with other downfalls. When you stop to think of all the things the Lord did for Israel, including freeing them from slavery to taking them into the Promise land, one would think they would be grateful and would want to hang on every word the Lord says. But it didn’t happen that way. Why? Because man is sooo. . . Selfish.

We as humans have this irritating phrase we have no trouble repeating over and over again. It is, “I Want”. That phrase has been going strong for centuries. It is a phrase that tends to lead us down some paths we shouldn’t be walking.

I have seen God do some wonderful miracles for folks, just to see them turn around and go in a direction away from Him. Ok, all those who are guilty, please raise your hand. Can I put my hand down now? Yea, I’ve blown it too. What gets me is, we make statements or have thoughts like, I shouldn’t do this, or I know this is wrong, but.we go ahead and do it anyhow. So, what are we actually saying? We are saying “I am choosing to sin against the Lord”.

That’s when we become just like Israel. We complain to the Lord because of the way “HE” is treating us, when all along we are the ones who are inviting him to bring wrath our way.

Lord, we can be so fickle. Thank you for your grace that sees right past our fickleness when we come to you asking forgiveness.

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

He still speaks

From the “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series .

“Just as Samuel was sacrificing the burnt offering, the Philistines arrived to attack Israel. But the Lord spoke with a mighty voice of thunder from heaven that day, and the Philistines were thrown into such confusion that the Israelites defeated them.” 1 Samuel 7:10

I’ve heard people say something like, “if I’m not telling the truth may the Lord . . .” And all of a sudden there is a loud noise or crack before they get all the words out. Many times it’s a coincidence, or is it? It certainly wasn’t in this portion of scripture. God thundered from the heavens and it was so convincing it caused confusion among the enemy. What is different about this portion of scripture, from others where it’s recorded that God made a thunderous presence, is many other verses have become well enough known that familiar Sunday school lessons have been built around them.

For some reason, this story isn’t nearly as popular as others. It’s not like the sun standing still or light blinding someone or heavenly beings appearing on a mountain top. There was no voice declaring how good Jesus is, there was no fire falling from heaven. God thundered in a loud voice, it confused the enemy, and Israel won.

God, in my opinion does great things every day, some are publicized and others just happen. I guess we tend to rank what he does with where and how they happen. When God does these great things, we

must make sure we are thankful for his presence. So get ready he may do something great in or through you today!

Lord, thank you for the stories of your workings that are tucked in and around the lives of people all around us — including me.The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

The Definition of Fickle

From the “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series .

“So Paul called to him in a loud voice, “Stand up!” And the man jumped to his feet and started walking. When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!””   Acts 14:10-11

In Acts chapter 12, Herod was worshiped as a god. He accepted the worship and ended up being eaten by worms and died. This same thing was happening to Paul and Barnabas in this chapter. Only Paul would have nothing to do with it. He says a little later, “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.” I’m sure he knew the consequences of taking glory away from the Lord.

That is not what the title of this devotion indicates though. We read about Paul commanding a man to “stand up”. This man had crippled feet and had never walked in his life. The people witnessed this wonderful miracle of healing. So they began to worship Paul and Barnabas and started preparing to offer sacrifices to them.

Then all of a sudden some opposing Jews came to town and the very people who wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas, turned on them and stoned Paul, leaving him for dead. That is the true definition of fickle.

Don’t we see this same attitude today in the culture in which we live. The church is good when it is not ruffling the feathers of people outside of the church, but when Jesus and his standards are enforced to a world that accepts just about everything, look out! We become a hate group. Fortunately it’s illegal for them to take us out of the city and stone us.

Lord, thank you that you are greater than any opposition we might come up against us. You are our rock and our shield.

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley

Shout it From the Mountain Top

This past Sunday morning I was standing on the porch outside of the entrance to the church praying about the service we were getting ready to stream. I couldn’t pray for the service itself because we had already videoed it on Thursday night. So my prayer changed to, “Lord make today’s service be effective for the kingdom of God.” I don’t know how the internet works, but what I do know is once you put something on it, there is no taking it back. I’m not sure if it is out there forever, but then forever is a long time. Many times though the things we put out on web pages and social media just get jumbled up with everything else that is on them, yet they are still out there.

As my thinking progresses about this subject, my mind goes to the proclamation of the Word of God. Isaiah 55:11 says, My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Many of us learned that verse like this; “My Word shall not return unto me void.”

Picture yourself on the side of a mountain. In front of you is a valley with another mountain facing you. Behind you is the mouth of a cave. You could shout over to the other mountain, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son …” and maybe someone would hear you. If you turned around and shouted that same verse into the cave, it would echo for a moment, but probably no one would hear it. But from that same spot, you could get your Smartphone out and type that verse onto a social media page and it would be accessible for years to come.

That to me brings Isaiah 55:11 to a new life. Just think, a person contemplating suicide comes across that verse in which someone typed on a page ten years earlier. That person stops their fatal attempt because for the first time in their life they hear about the love of God. The Lord said, My Word … will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. I want to encourage you to get into God’s Word, it will accomplish God’s desire and purpose for your life. Share the Word because it will never return to Him void. And why not, His words according to Matthew 24:35 will never pass away.

Just Walk the Line

From the “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Series .

“I will walk among you; I will be your God, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so you would no longer be their slaves. I broke the yoke of slavery from your neck so you can walk with your heads held high.” Leviticus 26:12-13

God gave the nation of Israel some options to live by in this chapter. He said follow my rules and you can have a really nice life. Don’t follow my rules and you will really suffer. Hum, that seems to me like a no brainer. The first thirteen verses speak of the good things God would do for them if they just obeyed. They are followed by thirty- two verses of punishment if they didn’t. Their disobedience could result in things like, “you’ll go hungry”, “you’ll die of diseases”, “you’ll lose your freedom”, “you will live in fear even when there is nothing to fear” and the list goes on!

When you read something like this and see how the nation of Israel acted, have you ever wondered, “what in the world is wrong with them?” Well. . . , I have to throw a “BUT” in here. I hate hearing a “but”, especially when it’s going to affect me.

But. . . I think about my own life and all the things I have done which haven’t pleased the Lord. The times I have blatantly sinned against God when someone could have been looking my way making the same comment, “what is wrong with him?”

Living in this ungodly society, it is much easier for us to live in sin than to do what God wants us to do. It is also much easier to please ourselves than it is to please God. We can decide to make up our minds to not disappoint the Lord, but that alone won’t do it. It takes the Power of the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to walk the line because we are no match for the devil all by ourselves.

Lord, sometimes we step back and wonder why we do stupid things so often which require your forgiveness. Then we realize how thankful we are for your limitless grace.

The “3 Minutes Alone with God” devotional Books by Robin McKinley along with all his books are available at /www.amazon.com/author/rmckinley