Friday, December 16, 2011

Sleep robbed from practicing evil

Those that make it their habit/practice to do wickedness can have their sleep robbed. They enter a viscous cycle that parallels that of a drug addict undergoing withdrawal symptoms. The drug addict in withdrawal seeks relief by returning to very drug that created the miserable state in the first place. In a similar way the evil that the wicked practice creates an internal turmoil that hinders sleep. They seek relief from their inability to rest by doing wrong to their fellow man. Sadly they use doing evil, which actually created their internal turmoil, as a temporary means of relief. Read about this in Proverbs 4:14-17

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked
And do not proceed in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not pass by it;
Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil;
And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
And drink the wine of violence.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Avoiding the adulterous woman - Part 3

In this devotion concerning the adulterous woman we will focus on several things. We will look at some of the tactics that she uses to lead her victims into sin. And we will talk about the severe consequences that follow. Please open to Proverbs chapter 7 so you can follow along.

In verses 1-5, as in previous chapters, we see that cherishing the teachings from the Bible is necessary if the son is going to avoid sinning with the adulterous woman. He must treasure the sound teachings and think upon them both day and night.

In verses 6-9 the father observes unwise decisions made by a naive young man. He sets himself up for failure by taking a path that goes near her house. And to further compound the problem he goes near her house at the worst time of the day. So he increased his chance of failure by going to the wrong place at the wrong time. And verse 23 tells us that these bad decisions can result in the loss of his life.

In verses 10-21 we see her use a variety of tactics in order to lead him into sin. Her tactics aim at many of the physical senses and even include some phycological appeals too.

In verse 10 her tactic is to appeal to his sense of sight. She dresses inappropriately and entices him visually.

In verse 11 we see that she is rebellious and does not stay at home. If the young man had any sense he would not want to enter into any type of relationship with her. Even if her husband died and things somehow led to marriage it would be nothing but bad. Since her nature is stated  to be rebellious then living with her will be difficult. Also, if her feet don't stay at home then what kind of mother will she be to their future children. On every front this woman should be avoided.

Verse 12 seems to have some similarities with Proverbs 6:26. Both verses show her as a predator seeking her prey.

In verse 13 her tactic is to appeal to his sense of touch. She is aggressive and forward and grabs and kisses him.

Verse 14 may refer to the peace offering found in Leviticus 11. If so it would suggest that she would have food left over from the peace offering to serve him. So she may also be luring him by offering a good meal.

In verse 15 she uses flattery. She tells him how earnestly she has looked for him. She is making him feel like he is the most wonderful man in town and no one else could compare to him. A man is hard wired for respect. So words like these are absorbed just like a sponge and draw him yet closer to the trap set for him.

Verse 16 appeals to his sense of sight. Colored linens from Egypt were supposedly of very high quality and were costly. This paints an aesthetically pleasing picture for him. Additionally she may be enticing him to come experience a wealthy setting that is very comfortable. If he does not live this way day to day he may be lured by this rich lifestyle.

Verse 17 appeals to his sense of smell. She allures him with these appealing aromas.

Verse 18 appeals to his sense of touch and his sex drive. She describes only the benefits and not the painful and possible deadly consequences.

Verses 19-20  are very important. She tries to take away his fear of consequences. She makes it clear that they won't be caught. Her husband won't be back for a long time. And taking away the fear of consequences was one tactic the serpent used in the Garden of Eden in order to lead Eve into sin. We find that account in Genesis 3:4-5   4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 For God knows that in the day you eat from it  your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Verse 21 shows that she did not limit herself to just one approach. Her persuasions were many. And flattering lips is mentioned yet again as a powerful tool she used to seduce him. 

Verse 22-23 uses words that refer to being trapped and losing one's freedom. It also shows that falling into sin with her will lead to discipline or even death.

Verse 24 once again shows one of the antidotes. Pay attention to God's wisdom. Keep thinking on the godly teachings day and night.

Verse 25 - The words "Do not" direct him to make a determined choice. He must exercise self control so that he won't let his "... heart turn aside to her ways..." Or allow himself to " ... stray into her paths."

Verse 26- 27 shows how numerous are the men that have been led into sin by this kind of woman. It  also shows the deadly consequences they experienced.

So to sum things up we see that many of her tactics relied on her speech and also her being close enough to grab and kiss him. So the son needs to avoid going near her. He can't go near her dwelling. He must stay out of her reach. He must also stay away from  her visual enticements and he must stay away from her seductive words. Instead he must guard himself from her by meditating on the wisdom in God's Word both day and night. He must think past the pleasure of right now and maintain a healthy fear of painful consequences and possible death. He must realize that resisting her will require a determined choice. So he must exercise self-control.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Avoiding the adulterous woman - Part 2

In part 1 of avoiding the adulterous woman we finished chapter 5. The text we will be studying in part 2 is Proverbs 6:20-35.

In verse 20-21 we see a prerequisite for avoiding the adulterous woman. There has been a theme running throughout the previous chapters that continues here. It is imperative that the son pay attention to the fathers godly teachings. He needs to continually keep them in the front of his mind.

Verse 22 shows some of the benefits of having these teachings continually before you. Throughout the day you will have guidance. Even in your sleep they will watch over you. And when you awake and you haven't shaken off the tiredness yet they will speak to you.

Verse 24 shows that keeping these godly teaching continually before you will keep you from the adulterous woman and her smooth speech.

Verses 25-26 shows the need to resist the pleasant enticement that flows from her outward beauty. For she will bring you financial harm. She will reduce you to a loaf of bread. Verse 26 also demonstrates that she is a predatory female. She hunts her prey. And her prey is the precious life. In Proverbs 5:8 the son was warned  to stay away from her house. Here he has the additional warning of being on the alert. She will not just stay at her home. She will leave her dwelling and actively hunt her prey.

Verses 27-29 speak of the certainty of painful consequences. All those that touch another man's wife will be punished.

The man who is hungry and steals in order to satisfy his hunger found in verses 30-31 is compared to the one who commits adultery with a woman in verses 32-35. The man who steals is punished. He suffers severe financial consequences for his sin.  But even though he is punished  the community does not despise him. They are able to downplay the crime since he did it out of his desperate circumstances.  Similarly the man who acts on his lusts also suffers financial harm as we already mentioned in verse 26.  And in sharp contrast to the community's view of the thief,  the one who commits adultery is viewed negatively. He is despised. And in addition to his disgrace  he will also experience wounds. One obvious way for him to be wounded is from encountering the jealous man. He may injure him when he finds out that he had been with her. And the response of the jealous man could escalate beyond inflicting wounds. He may even kill him.

Here is a quick recap of some of the points in this chapter that will safeguard the man against this type of woman.

1. Continually keeping the teachings of scripture in his mind.
2. Knowing that she will cause him financial loss
3. Knowing that all who touch her will be punished.
4. Knowing that he will lose his good name. He will be disgraced within the community
5. Knowing that he will experience wounds
6. Knowing that he could be killed by the jealous man

Continue this study by reading Avoiding the adulterous woman - Part 3
Or go back and read Avoiding the adulterous woman - Part 1

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Avoiding the adulterous woman - Part 1

In this multi-part devotion we are going to talk about avoiding the adulteress. In part 1 we will be drawing our text from Proverbs chapter 5. Please open your Bibles and make sure my comments agree with the scriptures.

In Proverbs chapter 5:1-3 we see a spiritual battle being played out in the realm of words. Through speech the father gives wisdom to the son that can prevent him from falling prey to the adulteress. But also through speech the adulteress tempts the son by her sweet, smooth, and enticing words.

In verses 3-4 we see the importance of not being a short term manager. If all he thinks about is the moment than he can fall prey to her wiles. He must think like a long term manager. He must look past the pleasure of the moment and keep in the front of his mind the future consequences. Embracing her will have a bitter end and one that leads to death.

Verse 8 provides a way to protect the son from her. Don't go near her. One of the ways this will protect the son is it will keep him away from her speech that can entice him and trap him.

Verse 10 provides an additional deterrent. Don't go after her or you will suffer financial loss.

Verse 11 again talks about being a long term manager. Don't go after her for the end result is that you will groan when your body and flesh are consumed.

Verses 15-19 provide a God given way to satisfy the sons desires and thereby reduce the tempting lure of the  adulteress. Through marriage the son is actually encouraged to take pleasure in his wife. And it is evident in this text that the purpose is not merely to produce offspring but it is also for mutual enjoyment.

Verse 21 gives the son an additional deterrent by making him aware that God is watching everything he does. And God who watches also orchestrates consequences for every man's deeds.

Verse 22 warns the son that sin itself can capture and hold him. Here is just one example of how his sin could capture him. He could lose his freedom through an increased work load. If a divorce occurs he could be forced to work a second job in order to keep up with the child support payments.

Verse 23 shows that the consequence of this sin is great. If he does not pay attention to instruction then he will die.

Continue this study by reading Avoiding the adulterous woman - Part 2 and Part 3

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Some spiritual dangers in seeking riches

Some of us would love to be rich and not be in any need for the rest of our lives. But can riches, or even the longing for riches, hurt your relationship with God. The answer is clearly yes. The first passage we will look at is in Proverbs 30:7-9

 7Two things I asked of You,
         Do not refuse me before I die: 
    8Keep deception and lies far from me,
         Give me neither poverty nor riches;
         Feed me with the food that is my portion, 
    9That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?"
         Or that I not be in want and steal,
         And profane the name of my God.

In verse 8 Agur actually prays that God would not give him riches. Why? Agur was concerned about how he would react if he was no longer dependent on God to have his needs met.  In verse 9 he foresees the possibility of  becoming full and denying God.

Even if we don't have riches, just longing after wealth can stunt our Christian growth. One passage that warns us about our growth being stunted is "The Parable of the Sower"  This parable is found in more than one Gospel but today we will look at a portion found in Mark chapter 4. There is no getting around it. Notice that  ".... the deceitfulness of riches..." is listed among things that will keep the Word of God from bearing fruit in your life.

 19but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Also when our priority is to get wealthy we are setting up an idol in our heart. It can consume us and steal away our love for God. In fact our love for God can be replaced with despising Him or even hating Him.

Matthew 6:24

24"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other You cannot serve God and wealth.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Don't make provisions for any lust of the flesh

Today we are going to talk about not setting ourselves up for sin. Lets get right to our Bible verse which is Romans 13:14.

 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Our sinful nature is like a dying campfire. Add a little wood and fan the embers and our fleshly desires can easily be ignited. With this in mind we should ask ourselves this question. Are we allowing anything in our lives that can set us up for sin? If we find something with that potential then we need to deal radically with it. We need to do whatever we can to remove it.

Not allowing provision for the flesh can apply to various sins. But for this devotion lets talk about sexual sin. Lets say a man is having trouble with viewing pornography online. As long as he has access to his internet service he is making a provision for the flesh. He needs to deal radically with his sin and do one of two things. Either cancel his internet service or have a household member password protect the internet so he is unable to access it.

Lets consider an example of a couple that is engaged to get married next summer. Here are some ways they could avoid making a provision for sexual sin. They could avoid alone time by planning group activities. They could avoid drinking alcohol which could lower their resistance to sin. They could make a plan to never stay overnight at each others house even if their intention is to stay in separate rooms. These are a couple of examples of how they could avoid making a provision for the flesh.

Remember this verse applies to various lusts of the flesh and not just sexual sin. So take a moment and ask God to reveal to you if you are making a provision for the flesh. If He reveals something to you then deal radically with it and eliminate it.

God bless

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

God disciplines us for our own good

All of God's children experience discipline from His hand. It is sorrowful and while we are going through it we don't enjoy it. But, nevertheless it is good for us. The Bible verses we'll start with are in Hebrews 12:4-11.

 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we hadearthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject tothe Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Verse 4 speaks about not resisting wholeheartedly in our battle against sin. And until we reach that diligent level of resisting sin we will experience times of God's loving discipline.

Verses 5 mentions two things we should not do while experiencing His discipline. We should not take it lightly. And we should not faint when it comes our way.

God is serious about sin. If God is dealing with an area of our life then we need to take it seriously too. We must deal radically with it and remove it. Also we are not to faint under His discipline. What is shared in verse 6 can keep us from fainting. Why? One reason is because we know that we are being disciplined because He loves us. He is at work in us for our own good.  It may also be helpful to remember that every son, without exception, experiences it. Additionally, it can reassure us that we are His children, since He disciplines those whom He receives. In contrast verse 8 states that if we don't experience God's discipline we are not His children.

Verse 7 tells us that discipline produces endurance and it can get us back on the right path. David spoke about how he was afflicted by God when he drifted from God's ways. Here is what David said in Psalm 119:67,71,75

67Before I was afflicted I went astray,
         But now I keep Your word. 

71It is good for me that I was afflicted,
         That I may learn Your statutes. 

75I know, O LORD, that Your judgments are righteous,
         And that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.

Notice in verse 67 that David was going astray. But the affliction brought him to a place of obedience. In verse 71 he recognized that his affliction was good for him. He realized that the affliction he experienced enabled him to learn God's statues. And in verse 75 David sees God's love in the affliction. He recognized that the affliction was an expression of God's faithfulness to him.

Now getting back to our original passage lets conclude with verse 11. If we allow God's loving discipline to train us to obey we will enjoy the "... peaceful fruit of righteousness."

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Unanswered prayer from rejecting God

Today we will talk about God's unwillingness to answer the prayers of those who stubbornly reject Him. Please follow along in the Bible. We will be in Proverbs chapter 1:20-33

In verses 22-23 God calls out to three different groups of unsaved people. He calls out to the the naive, the scoffer and the fool. God expresses willingness to accept them and teach them His ways if they would listen and obey. But verses 24-25 shows that these people didn't have any willingness to obey.

And verses 26-27 show one consequence of their actions. Trouble will certainly overtake them. Some of the words used to describe their coming trouble are: calamity, dread, distress and anguish. And there will be an additional consequence. God will be unwilling to answer their prayers and help them in their distress. Their prayers will go unanswered and their waywardness will ruin them. ( Please note that there are times when the ruin of the wicked is delayed. Sometimes the wicked flourish and even prosper before their ruin comes. See Psalm 73)

I think it is important to understand a little bit more about God refusing to answer their prayers. The prayers of these people were coming from hearts that wanted nothing to do with God. The use of the word "all" in verses 25 and 30 shows their wholehearted rejection of God. Those verses mention that they, "... neglected all my counsel;" and they "... spurned all my reproof." So when these people that reject God seek Him in prayer their prayers are rejected too. Why? Because the sole purpose of their seeking God was to escape their trouble. They didn't want a relationship with Him. They wanted a change in their circumstances but not a change in their sinful conduct. And as a result of being stubbornly disobedient, God would not answer their prayers when distress came upon them.

Is there any hope for the one who rejects God and has calamity on its way? Is there any hope for the ones whose prayers won't get answered?  The answer is yes to both questions!

First lets talk about the calamity aspect. If a person seeks God with a repentant heart then God may change His mind concerning the coming distress. Remember what happened in the book of Jonah. God sent Jonah to warn Nineveh that He was about to overthrow it. And the people of Nineveh believed there was calamity coming and repented of their sins. And when God saw that they turned from their evil ways He changed His mind. God did not send the calamity upon them that He had planned.

The same applies to unanswered prayer too. If  a individual stops rejecting God and chooses to listen and obey then the Lord will open His ears to that persons prayers. Jesus talked about prayers being answered when a person was abiding in Him and God's Word was made so much a part of him that he would live by it. Jesus said it this way in John 15:7

 7"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

But the first step in order to achieve the above solutions is to receive Jesus into your heart as Savior and Lord.  If you want to do that and get things right with God today then go to this link. "What must I do to go to Heaven? "

God bless

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Want to listen to the entire Bible in 1 year?

Update!  The NASB® Audio Bible in a Year is now live. 
Find the links on the right side of this page.

Hello everyone. I am trying to put together a plan which allows you to listen. through the entire Bible in one years time. It would be on a separate blog just like this one. Each day a link to an audio file would be posted on the blog. Each audio clip would speak out loud a few chapters. If you listen each day then in one years time you will have heard the entire Bible.

There would also be some additional ways to access the daily Audio Bible links. You could subscribe to receive them either by email or through an RSS feed.

I am currently in discussions with 3 different Bible organizations trying to accomplish this project. I am awaiting their permission to use their copyrighted material. Every e-mail correspondence has been positive. And I truly believe they have a heart to spread God's Word.

However this is not a done deal. I don't have permission yet. If you want this Audio Bible plan to succeed then please pray. Ask God to work out every detail. He can do it. Your prayers can make things happen that were not going to happen. Afterwards you can be glad because you were part of the victory. You can rejoice because you were part of God's good Word going forth. And you were part of blessing many people.

Thank you for your prayers,
God bless

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wisdom is a treasure - Seek it like silver

It is necessary for us to learn God's wisdom in order to live skillfully in every area of our lives. Today's devotion talks about our need to diligently seek and prayerfully ask for that wisdom. Although we will only be discussing Proverbs 2:1-6,  I recommend that you read the whole chapter.

 1My son, if you will receive my words
         And treasure my commandments within you, 
    2Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
         Incline your heart to understanding; 
    3For if you cry for discernment,
         Lift your voice for understanding; 
    4If you seek her as silver
         And search for her as for hidden treasures; 
    5Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
         And discover the knowledge of God. 
    6For the LORD gives wisdom;
         From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

In verse 1 the father addresses a couple of things. First, are you willing to receive God's Words?  Are you willing to both listen and act on what you are taught? In contrast Proverbs tells us the fool despises God's wisdom. The fool is neither willing to listen to God's wisdom nor to act on it.

Second, do you value God's teachings just like a treasure? Are you willing to frequently get into the Bible and store up His teachings within you? Will you meditate on those valuable teachings? Will those teachings be so valuable to you that they will guide your decisions? 

In verse 2 we see that obtaining both wisdom and understanding requires a decision on your part. You need to "Make your ear attentive to wisdom," and you need to  "Incline you heart to understanding."   Acquiring wisdom requires you to set your desire for it.

In verse 3 we see that obtaining wisdom requires dependence on God. We need to recognize that God is our teacher. We must pray and ask Him to give us wisdom. David recognized his dependence on God to teach him. Look at how he asked God to teach him in Psalm 119:18

18 Open my eyes, that I may behold
         Wonderful things from Your law.

In verse 4 we see that in addition to prayer we need to make diligent effort. Seeking wisdom requires the same determined effort that is made by a person seeking silver or a hidden treasure. Those seeking these material treasures might get tired along the way but they don't stop seeking until they find their desire. In the same way we need to persevere in seeking for God's wisdom.

In verses  5-6 we find that our dependence and diligent effort will not be in vain. We will be taught by His hand and find valuable spiritual treasures.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Avoiding the Gang's enticement for easy money

Today's devotion encompasses several things. It speaks about avoiding bad company and it's deadly consequences. To be more specific it speaks about the dangers of joining a gang in order to obtain easy money. For being lured into these things leads to spiritual death and can result in physical death too. Please turn to Proverbs 1:8-19 so you can follow along.

In verse 8 we see one safeguard against being lured into this trap is listening to the Biblical teachings of godly parents. Note here the importance of the mother's teaching within the home. The child needs the teachings to be reinforced from both father and mother.

Starting at verse 10 notice the use of words that are plural such as: "sinners", "us", "we", "them", and "they". This may refer to a group of people. Since verse 11 states the group's desire to do harm to the innocent it is possible to label them as a gang.

And how are they enticing him. In a couple of ways. In verses 13-14 they are enticing the youth with fast and easy money. In verse 13 notice the use of the phrases, "all kinds", "precious wealth" and "fill our houses". The gang is painting a picture of obtaining various kinds of wealth that is of high quality and that is plentiful.

There is another enticing draw in verses 13-14. The youth is being offered the opportunity to be part of a brotherhood. They promise that everything that they obtain will be shared amongst themselves. We will all be one big family. But this promise of being a brotherhood is deceptive. They attack the innocent because they lack compassion. Since they lack compassion, how can the youth expect them  to fulfill their promise of being a tightly knit family?

The advice from the youth's godly parents is don't consent to go with them. Avoid their company altogether. Their deeds will boomerang back on them. It will take away their life. And you will suffer the same fate too if you align yourself with them. 

Here are a couple of additional safeguards against this type of temptation. Since the desire to be part of a brotherhood was part of the enticement, one counteragent would be developing a network of godly friends. Choose to meet that God given desire for fellowship with godly people. Another safeguard is to recognize that happiness can't be found in material things. I'll close with what Jesus said in Luke 12:15 

 15 Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.".  

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God bless
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bad company will corrupt your morals

In today's devotion will address the need to avoid bad company. The verse we will look at is 1 Corinthians 15:33

33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals."

What a powerful impact bad company can have on our walk with God. It can take a person who has good morals and cause those good morals to be weakened. Don't let yourself be tricked into thinking you are steadfast and can't fall. Don't be tricked into thinking you can keep the wrong kind of company and be unaffected. Obviously the potential is there to be tricked in this area otherwise the Bible wouldn't say, "Don't be deceived..." If we have that mindset that our walk will be fine while we keep bad company then we are deceived and our walk will suffer.

And don't think that all of your Bible learning will prevent you from drifting. The bad company will outweigh your wisdom and knowledge and understanding. Remember that God granted Solomon great wisdom but that wisdom did not keep him from turning to other gods. And why did Solomon turn to other gods? It was because of the wives he married. His wives were a source of bad company. Their company corrupted his morals and turned his heart away. The passage that tells us about Solomon's wives corrupting him is found in 1 Kings 11:4

4 For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods; and his heart was not wholly devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been.

This teaching must be kept in balance. On one hand we need to avoid bad company. And on the other hand we need to be around those that are not healthy spiritually in order to show them love and share the gospel with them. Ask God to show you the proper way to keep this balance in your situation.

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God bless
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Do you love your neighbor?

Before we start this short devotion lets look at the two most important commandments that God gave us. In fact every command that God expects of us can be summed up in these two central commands.  They are found in Matthew 22:35-40

 35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him,
36"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
38"This is the great and foremost commandment.
40"On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

I like to evaluate myself from time to time and see how my walk is doing. I ask myself several questions.  Am I growing in loving God? Am I growing in loving my family? Am I showing kindness to my co-workers? Am I showing love to my neighbors?

As I think on these things, I have to be careful that I don't set aside growing in love for my neighbors. It  is a big teaching. In fact half of what Jesus teaches in this verse is loving our neighbor. If I'm not growing in this area I'm missing the broad side of the barn. 

How often do you do good to your neighbor ? Do you know them by name?
I am not saying these things to make anyone feel bad. If you are falling short then make a plan right now to show some kindness this week. Have your mind ready to act.  Ask God for wisdom on how to be kind this week. Then act on it.

Before you move on from this devotion to do something else please stop. Stop and don't think about anything else until you make a plan of how you will show kindness towards your neighbors this week.

I hope this stirs someone up to show love.

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God bless
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Teachers and friends that encourage our growth

Growing in obedience to the Lord is essential for all of us. And one necessary thing for growth is a balanced spiritual diet. We need to hear all of God's counsel in order to reach full maturity. But, without even being aware of it, we can find ourselves in a place where we are not hearing all of God's Word.

All of us need encouragement. And it is natural to gravitate towards those who encourage us. This is good. But while we obtain one thing necessary for growth we must be careful not to neglect other areas. One of those areas is our need to be told to turn from our various sins. We need  Pastors and Christian friends in our lives that won't shy away from telling us to repent.

We may have a steady diet of dynamic teachers with wonderful gifts of encouragement. But some of these teachers rarely or never speak about our need to repent. Teaching that does not incorporate turning from sin lacks spiritual nutrition. So we must examine the sources of spiritual teaching and determine if we are being fed a well balanced diet.

Here is a way to determine if you are lacking spiritual nutrition in this specific area. Take  a pen and paper with you when you listen to your favorite teachers. Week after week write down how often did the teacher talk about turning away from sin. If you find that your teacher rarely or never speaks about sin then your spiritual diet is lacking. And you'll need to do one of two things in order to correct your diet. You may need to either get your teaching elsewhere or you may need to supplement your current teaching with other well balanced teaching. Ask God to guide you in your unique situation.

The same applies to friends. Make sure that you have at least one friend who is willing to confront you when you are sinning. Being confronted may not always be comfortable. This type of friend can prevent us from straying. And if we have already sinned they can help restore us.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Make God smile today

The purpose of this devotion is twofold. The first is to realize that God's children can please Him. And the second is developing a mindset where we consciously choose to make Him glad.

Before we start I want to make sure the words "please God" are not misunderstood. When I say "please God" I am not suggesting that you can earn Heaven. Because the only way to Heaven is by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So for sake of confusion lets look at this devotion from the standpoint of someone who has already received Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The Bible tells us many wonderful things. One wonderful thing is the knowledge that we can please Him. Lets first read Hebrews 13:16.

16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

This verse talks about doing good and sharing. And there is no mistaking the last three words in this verse "God is pleased." But at what point in time do our actions please Him. If we look carefully at this verse we'll find we can please Him right now. The word "is" talks about the present time not some point in the future. "God is pleased" as He watches us show love. It is so encouraging to know that we can make God smile today. ( note: in Matthew 25:14-30  there is mention of our master being pleased with us at a future date as a result of faithful service )

And we should make pleasing God one of the motives of our actions. We can set one of our motives to be a blessing to people. And we can set another to please God. Whenever possible, I like to set my motives before I actually show kindness. Lets use an example of giving some cookies to my neighbors. I first set my motives as to why I am giving them. I make a conscious decision that I will express love. I do self-talk and determine in my mind, "I will do this to make God smile and I will do this to bring good to my neighbors."

Additionally, it is a good thing to set our motives to please God while doing routine tasks. Why? One reason is to build our love for Him. The more we act on love the more it becomes part of our character. Another reason is to maintain a joyful attitude. When we do a task as an expression of love to God we can rejoice in  that task . And when we rejoice in our work it can keep routine tasks from becoming monotonous or burdensome.

Finally, lets sum things up. Start with a conscious decision to make the motivations of your heart to bless others and to bless God. Then realize that your expression of love is bringing good to others and is pleasing God too. Then, rejoice over the good you are bringing to people and the gladness you are giving to God. As soon as you are done reading this devotion I encourage you to show love towards God. Bless Him, do something that is pleasing in His sight and make the Lord smile!

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seeking praise from man - A source of emotional instability

In this devotion we will contrast two things. One is an emotional instability and an inconsistent happiness that comes by trying to find fulfillment through an external source. In this case seeking praise from man. And the second is increasing ones emotional stability and joy through an internal method. In this case acting in love and then making a conscious decision to rejoice over the good we brought. This is helped by self talk. 

Seeking after praise from man can cause some mental instability. When we seek fulfillment based on the praise of man we are allowing external forces to control our mental state. If we obtain that praise then we may have a momentary elevated emotional state. But sadly our mental state is dependent on something external. It is dependent on man's praise. 

But if our mental state can be uplifted from seeking man's praise then the opposite can be true too. A lack of praise or man's disapproval can bring us low and make us feel lousy. This can put us on an emotional roller coaster ride. We are up and then down based on what man thinks about us. 

Here is a way to bring both stability and joy. First, whatever our hand finds to do, do it out of love. Then we need to make a conscious decision to rejoice over those loving actions. This is an internal source of rejoicing as we will see here in Ecclesiastes. 

Ecclesiastes 2:24
24 There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.

Notice in this verse there is self-talk. The verse says "... and tell himself that his labor is good....." Self-talk is internal. He does what is good in God's eyes and then tells himself that his labor is good. He rejoices without being dependent on an external source. By doing what is good and then rejoicing in that good he increases emotional stability. He is no longer on an emotional roller-coaster ride that is controlled by others. Walking in God's ways and then rejoicing in those ways is one thing that brings us stability and joy.

One last thing just to add some balance. Man may praise us for our upright conduct. So praise for walking in God's ways is a good thing. It is when we selfishly pursue praise from man that it becomes a problem. Additionally it can be a positive thing to receive disapproval from man as a result of our sinful conduct. This can stimulate us to repentance. 

Important note: This is not a comprehensive teaching. And it is not intended to be a substitute for Professional Counseling or Doctor directed medicines

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
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