Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rejoicing Essential - Part 3

This Bible devotion is going to show another facet of what we already talked about in "Rejoicing Essential Part 2." In that post from Genesis chapter 1 we talked about - doing good, looking upon that good and rejoicing in that good. But today we are going to talk about how that same process has a by-product of a healthy self-esteem.

The focus of our Christian walk is not our self-esteem but rather building godly character. However, a by-product of godly character is an improved self-esteem. When we see how our actions brought good to another then we can rejoice about the good we brought them. When we rejoice about our actions, as a by-product we feel good about ourselves. Our self-esteem is elevated by loving others.

I'll use an extreme example to get the point across. A firefighter saves a baby from a burning building and returns the child unharmed to a very happy mother. He meditates on his actions and is glad about the good he brought them. As a result of his deeds he feels good about himself. But we don't have to do a big thing to rejoice. It blesses someone, and God is also pleased, when we give a cup of cold water to someone in need.

In contrast when we do wrong we feel bad about our actions. And at that moment we have a lower esteem of ourselves. We all sin and fall short. And a troubled conscience can be a weight on how we feel about ourselves. So, after a fall, lets reverse that negative process as quickly as we can . Repent, confess, trust that God has forgiven you and then also forgive yourself. Forget the past and move forward doing what is good today, and then rejoice in that good. Doing good for others changes our whole perception of ourselves for the better. As always, walking in God's ways is good for us!

( Note: this post is not a substitute for Professional  counseling or Doctor directed medicines)

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
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Motivators that encourage us to obey God - Part 1

The purpose of this series is to find Biblical truths that will stimulate us to love and good works. The first truth we'll cover is obtaining favor with God and also with man. The Bible verses are found in Proverbs 3:3-4

3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man.

First, believers can find favor with God through walking in obedience. Being careful to do all that God commands will result in our way being prosperous and having success. It is one of the things Joshua was instructed to do in Joshua 1:8

8"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

But in addition to finding favor in the sight of God we can also find favor in the sight of man.
We can shape our own environment by the way we treat others. If we make it our habit to bring good to others then good ends up coming back to us. People can warm up to us when they receive love from us and it increases how we are esteemed in their eyes . And although it is not our intention to show kindness and receive something in return, often times they want to reciprocate and do something nice for us. Our kindness caused us to find favor with them and it shaped our own environment in a positive way.

But the opposite it true too. If we are nasty with people then we shouldn't be surprised when that nastiness is returned back to us. One Bible verse that shows how being nasty with others causes us to have difficulty with people instead of favor is Galatians 5:15

15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Nastiness breeds nastiness and also causes us to have a poor reputation with others. But kindness encourages kindness to be returned to us. And our kindness also increases how others esteem us . So lets walk in kindness and truth so we can find favor with God and also with our fellow man.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
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Monday, January 24, 2011

Balancing dependence on God with diligent effort

In our struggle against sin we must have a balance between our utter dependance on God's power and our responsibility to diligently resist sin.

It is easy to get these two out of balance by going to one extreme or the other. One extreme would be a self reliant attitude where we resist sin but don't ask for God's help. The other extreme would be where we asked God to change us but we don't engage our will and provide resistance. We just expect God to do it all. Both extremes can stunt spiritual growth.

The proper balance is to be utterly dependent on God's power while at the same time making diligent effort to resist sin. This concept is easy to grasp when we think about driving a car. We realize that without gas in our car we can't go where we want. If we try our best to drive, but don't have gas, we won't move forward. On the other hand if we fill the car with gas and then lay down in our seat we won't move forward either. We must recognize our dependence on having gas in our tank and at the same time we must do our part with that gas.

We need to recognize that we can't change without spiritual gas. We need to ask Him for help so we can move forward. Then we need to use that spiritual gas and do our part. We need to diligently resist sin according to the power He gives us.

Doing our part requires self control and discipline. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 talks about disciplining yourself.

7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Fortunately we are not the only one involved in making our heart willing. God is faithfully at work to make you willing too. Philippians 2:12-13

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
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Some reasons prayer goes unanswered - Part 2

In today’s Bible devotional we will look at an additional reason why prayer goes unanswered. That reason is praying with wrong motives.

The book of James talks about prayer going unanswered because our motives are pleasure centered.The passage is James 4:3

3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

If our prayers are centered on fulfilling our own selfish pleasures then be prepared for those prayers to go unanswered. On the other hand, increased answers to prayer result from pure motives and an obedient heart. - 1 John 3:22

22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.

But I don’t want to show an unbalanced picture of scripture. When God talks about not answering our prayers that are based on selfish pleasures this does not mean He is anti-enjoyment. God Himself provides us a multitude of ways to have wholesome enjoyment - 1 Timothy 6:17.

17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.

In addition when our hearts are centered on Him, He also wants to give us our desires
Psalm 34:4.
4Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

So let us purify our hearts and our motives so that we can look forward to an increase in prayers being answered.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Two things that will make your insight and understanding excel

There are some basic things we must do to learn the things of God. We must regularly attend a church that gives sound Biblical teaching. We must engage in fellowship with other believers that Love the Lord. We must personally read the Bible on a regular basis. Studying a reliable Bible commentary is a good idea too.

But in addition to these things, two other things will cause us to excel in insight and expand our understanding. Those two things are meditating on God’s Word and obedience. Lets look at Psalm 119:99-100

99 I have more insight than all my teachers,
For Your testimonies are my meditation.
100 I understand more than the aged,
Because I have observed Your precepts.

David did not just have average insight. Verse 99 says that David had insight that was greater than all of his teachers. And what was one of his powerful secrets? He meditated on God’s Word. One way we can accomplish this is by setting aside a time where we ponder a verse or passage over and over again. Paying attention to each word as we try to extract insight from that passage.

But, David also made mention of meditating on God’s Word throughout the whole day. In Psalm 1:2 he said,

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

And as we meditate on His Word we must also ask God to teach us. David was dependent on God for his insight. In Psalm 119:18 he prayed this,

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

Next, in verse 100, David had a greater understanding than the aged. And how was he able to have a greater understanding than those with more life experiences? It was because he observed what God told him. Obedience enlarges your understanding.

And there is a direct connection between meditating and obeying. Everyone knows that we first think about what we are going to do before we actually do it. So too David meditated on God’s Word and those thoughts led to acting on God’s Word.

Do you want an insight and understanding that is greater than those around you? Then meditate on God’s Word and obey it.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
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Monday, January 17, 2011

When you can't find encouragement then strengthen yourself in the Lord

Have you ever been discouraged and there was no one to lift you up? At those times we must be able to strengthen ourselves in the Lord. David had a situation where he had to do just that. We find this account in 1 Samuel 30:1-6 . ( If you are thinking about doing yourself harm then please seek medical attention immediately.) 

While David and his men were away from their families the Amalekites made a raid on the Negev and on Ziklag. During this raid they took captive the families of David and his men.

In addition to the grief of having his own wives taken captive, he also was distressed because the people were angry and talked about stoning him. David is very troubled and has no source of encouragement. He couldn’t look for encouragement from those around him because they wanted to stone him. But David had learned the needed quality of strengthening himself in God.

1 Samuel 30:6
6 Moreover David was greatly distressed because the people spoke of stoning him, for all the people were embittered, each one because of his sons and his daughters But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

When we are troubled we need the encouragement of our brothers and sisters in Christ. But there may be times when we have no one to lift us up. During these times we must strengthen ourselves. We must not neglect prayer. We must seek God and His Word. And we must hold on to any promise that God gives us. We must hold on to the promised like a pit bull and refuse to let go.

Let me leave you with one other passage where David did self-encouragement. This verse is found in Psalm 119:52

52 I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O LORD,
        And comfort myself.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Some reasons prayer goes unanswered - Part 1

This devotion is not intended to be an exhaustive study on why prayer goes unanswered. But,I hope a few of these principals will increase your answers to prayer.

The first thing we’ll discuss is wickedness. Psalm 66:18 warns that regarding wickedness in our heart can make God unwilling to answer prayer.

18 If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;

Are any of our personal prayers being withheld due to wickedness? Are any of our prayers for loved ones being withheld? Let's not take a chance. Let’s remove this barrier. Let’s turn from our sin.

The next thing we will talk about is our relationship with our spouse. 1 Peter 3:7 encourages us to keep in a right relationship with our spouse so our prayers won’t be hindered.

1 Peter 3:7

7 You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.

So an additional step we can take to increase our prayers being heard is to walk in love towards our spouse. No marriage is perfect all the time. Make things right quickly and walk in love again.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

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Monday, January 10, 2011

You can rejoice several different ways over one act of kindness

Several ways to rejoice over one act of kindness

Here is a quick thought on increasing your rejoicing. There are times you can rejoice several different ways over the same act of kindness. Lets say you go over to your grandmother's house today to cut her grass. That is one act of kindness. However there are several way to rejoice about that one act of kindness.

First you can be glad that you have done something nice for your grandmother. Second you can be glad because it impacts her children in a good way when they see someone showing love to their mother. Third you can be glad because it shows a good example to your children that they should show love to their family. You also can be glad that it impacted her neighbors in a good way by not allowing her property to become overgrown and be and eyesore to them. And the best for last, you can rejoice that God is pleased when you walk in love.

God bless
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Good deeds must have good motives

Good deeds must have good motives

In my last post ( Rejoicing Essentials Part 2 ) we talked about doing good and then rejoicing in the good we have done. In this post we are going to fine tune that a little further. We need to make sure that each good action also has a good motive.

Philippians 1:15
15  Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will

In the scripture above a good thing is being done. Christ being preached is a good thing. But notice how the verse shows that a good thing can be done with pure motives or it can be done out of selfish motives. So this tells us that we must always attach a good motive to a good action.

We are warring against our sinful nature. As a result it can be very easy to start doing a good thing with pure motives and then drift over to selfish motives. I need to do something to help keep those selfish motives under control. My friend gave me a picture of Jesus smiling and I put it by the front door where I see it all the time. If I am going to show someone a kindness I try to wait before I go outside. I pause and look at that smile and say I will do this to please God and I will do this to show kindness to this person. It doesn't take long. Just take a moment to do some self talk and it will help you keep on the right track.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" ( )

God bless
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Feeling rejected, abandoned or lonely? Find help in God

Feelings of rejection, abandonment, being unloved and loneliness are awful. We want to be loved but sometimes others stop loving us. At times we have been hit hard when friends, family members or even a spouse doesn't care anymore or even rejects us. In those times God's  love is all the more precious. We see that there is only one who never stops loving us. Only one who never abandons us. Only one who takes us in when others cast us away. God is the only one. Put your hope in Him. God will never fail you.

When rejected by the closest relationships God desires to take you in. Psalm 27:10
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up.

God loves you and wants to be a true father to you. And He has a plan for your loneliness Psalm 68: 5-6

5  A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,   Is God in His holy habitation.6  God makes a home for the lonely;   He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,  Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

To those who receive Him as Lord and Savior He will never abandon them Hebrews 13:5

5  Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"

God's love sticks with us closer than even the best relationships Proverbs 18:24
24  A  man of too many friends comes to ruin,    But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

 Would you like to have this Father that takes you up when others forsake you? Would you like a love in your life that will never desert or forsake you? Then you need  to become His child today. God will become your Father as you accept His son Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Accepting Him as Lord means that with His help you will turn away from sinful ways and start obeying His ways. Accepting Jesus as Savior means acknowledging that you are a sinner and you need to receive the  forgiveness of your sins that comes only from Jesus dying on the cross.

If you would like to invite Jesus into your heart right now then pray this with me. "Jesus I know that I am a sinner and that I can't earn Heaven. I ask you to come into my heart right now as Lord and Savior. Give me power to change and obey you. Forgive me of my sins according to your death on the Cross."

If you just invited Jesus into your heart as Lord and Savior please share the good news with us.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" ( )

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thought # 2 on Depression and Biblical solutions

Thought # 2 on Depression and Biblical solutions

One source, but not the only source, of depression is anxiety. Proverbs 12:25
25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad.

Anxiety weighs down / depresses you. Since anxiety is one source of depression then preventing anxiety is one way to prevent depression. Peace can prevent you from being weighed down and getting depressed. Lets look at just two ways to sustain peace.

1. Obeying God brings peace. Psalm 119:165
165 Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble.

2. Prayer brings peace. Philippians 4:6-7
6  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Please don't interpret anything I share as a substitute for Christian counseling and God given wisdom for medicines.

Are you weary and heavy laden? God wants to give you rest

Matthew 11:28-30
28"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
30 "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

Are you weary and heavy-laden? Do you want to find rest for your soul? The one who promises you this rest is Jesus. The starting point of that rest is accepting him into your heart as Lord and Savior. You need to accept Jesus into your heart as Lord meaning that with His help you will turn away from sin and learn to walk in obedience to the Bible. You need to accept Jesus into your heart as Savior so your sins can be forgiven.

If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and would like to do so now then please pray with me, " God I know that I am a sinner. And I know I can't enter Heaven unless my sins are forgiven by your son Jesus. Jesus I ask you into my heart as Savior and Lord. Forgive me all my sins and help me to turn away from sin and obey what your Bible teaches."

If you just prayed that prayer please contact me I would love to hear the good news.

Rejoicing Essential Part 2

Rejoicing Essential Part 2  -   Do what is good - Look upon that good thing - Rejoice in that good thing

Genesis 1:10
......10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good

We see this rejoicing  principle in the very first chapter of the Bible.  Six times God saw what He did was good and one time He saw what He did was very good. First God did something good. Next He looks upon the good and rejoices in the good.

But how important is this? The Bible says this is very important.
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.

Look at how much importance Ecclesiastes places on doing good and seeing the good in what you have done. Notice there is self-talk in this verse. It is important to tell yourself that what you have done is good. It is good to rejoice over the good you have done.

Next it does not have to be prideful or sinful to do this. God does not sin. So if He practiced this then it is good for us to practice it too. Also it should be noted that God did not wait till the work was all done to start rejoicing. He was rejoicing before creation was complete. We can be robbed of joy if we just won't be happy until we complete something. Enjoy the journey. Rejoice each day even when you haven't brought your work to completion yet. Then rejoice extra when you do bring the project to completion.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" )

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Rejoicing Essential Part 1

In order to lay a good foundation for several different points about joy I must first undo a teaching that is just slightly off. Have you ever heard someone say "There is nothing you can do to please God" ?  What they really mean is there is no way you can ever earn Heaven. You can never be good enough to be worthy of Heaven. This part is true. You are not good enough and hands down salvation and entrance into Heaven is only through the Cross.  But the error is when a Christian, who is not relying on works but on the finished work of Jesus, is told there is nothing he can do to please God. This part not only is wrong but it robs  believers of a joyful motivator that is needed for long term endurance.

You can't earn Heaven but the believer can please God. Hebrews 13:16
16  And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

This verse clearly states that we can please our Heavenly Father by showing kindness to one another. Our actions of doing good and sharing pleases God. It does not save us but it makes God glad.

Did you ever give a present to someone and you just knew that when they opened it they would be glad? How did you feel when they responded with excitement? Weren't you glad when they were pleased? Or did you ever hold a baby and do all sorts of things to make the baby smile? And when you got that smile didn't it make you smile too?

In the above examples it was essential for you to know that the individual was pleased in order for your joy to flow. Likewise one essential of your joy flowing in your relationship with God is knowing that He is pleased with your good actions. When we know that we have made God glad then it gives us a reason to rejoice too.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" ( )
God bless

Thought # 1 on Depression and Biblical solutions

Holding on to anger can lead to depression.

Genesis 4:55 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.

One source, but not the only source, of depression is an anger that is of the flesh and not of God. Notice the relationship between Cain being very angry and sadness / depression. Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.

Are you holding on to the wrong kind of anger today? It can be a difficult thing to lay aside. Go to God in weakness and ask for His help. Then after prayer be dilligent to put the anger to death. One example may be a person that you need to forgive. The bitterness you store towards them sours you and can depress you. Forgive them. Do it to please the Lord and also for your own mental health. It also models good behavior before your children.

Redirecting anxitey into something that builds spiritual growth

When anxiety hits turn it into an opportunity to grow in two different areas of your Christian walk. With the proper mindset, anxiety can stimulate you to grow in obedience and in  prayer.

Obedience brings peace

One solution to restoring peace is to increase your obedience. Lets look at that in Psalm 119:165
  165 Those who love Your law have great peace,
         And nothing causes them to stumble. 

In this Psalm we see a direct connection between obedience and great peace.  Feeling anxious? Want to have peace restored?  Then seek peace through increased obedience.

Prayer also brings peace.

Another solution to restoring peace is making a choice to pray. Lets take a look at that in Philippians 4:6-7
 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Feeling anxious? Want to have peace restored?  Then seek peace through prayer.

So use prayer and obedience as two powerful solutions to quiet your soul.( note: This is not a comprehensive teaching and  it is not intended to be a substitute for Christian counseling or Doctor directed medicines )

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" ( )

Growing from the presence of an enemy

Growing from the presence of an enemy

Today I want write briefly about growing in obedience as a direct result of having an enemy in our lives. There may be practical things we may need to do in order to protect ourselves from an enemy. Also we may need to make things right with that person if we have wronged them. But in addition to those things we also need to concentrate on our obedience to the Lord so His hand will be against our foes. Lets look at Psalm 81:13-15

13"Oh that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways!
14"I would quickly subdue their enemies  And turn My hand against their adversaries.
15"Those who hate the LORD would pretend obedience to Him, And their time of punishment would be forever.

What an awful feeling to have an enemy. It can just make you miserable and tie your stomach in knots. We want the problem to go away and go away right now. Well here in this Psalm God was willing to fight against their enemies and subdue them if they would walk in His ways. But notice He said "...quickly subdue their enemies..." It seems to me that one possible way to speed up the resolution timetable is to focus on obedience. Set your heart to obedience in order to have God work on your behalf. By adding this approach, in addition to any other practical actions, you will end up growing spiritually and you'll have an increased confidence that God will help you.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" ( )