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
This link can send today's Bible devotion to a friend fast and easy
My humor blog

Making friends or making enemies?

Today we will discuss the principal of making friends by first being a blessing to them. The passage we will discuss is Luke 16: 1-14. I'll summarize the passage first.

In this passage there was an unrighteous manager who was squandering his masters possessions. When his master found out he removed him from his position. The manager then goes to each person that has business dealings with his master and reduces the size of their present bill. With no job he needs help from friends. And the friends he made by reducing their bills are the ones that help him. And even though the managers actions were wrong his master praised the man because of his shrewdness in making friends. And sadly Jesus mentions that the unsaved are more shrewd about making friends with their own than christians are with other christians.

Here is one thing we can take away from this passage. We can shape the way we get treated by the way we treat others. If we make it our habit to bless others we can experience their friendship in return. Our favor with them can increase. Also, it can stir up a normal  reaction to bless us in return. This can set a good cycle in motion. A cycle in which you bless and then receive a blessing and then bless back again etc.

But, this principal can work both ways. If it is our habit to dish out nastiness, then we shouldn't be surprised when we get a dose back. If we are hurting people we shouldn't expect them to show us favor, blessings and friendship. It doesn't work that way. Here is one verse that warns us about setting a vicious cycle in motion. It is Galatians 5:15

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

God's ways of love make good sense. And walking in them brings us favor with God and favor with man too. But walking in an unloving way doesn't make sense at all. We don't find favor with man. Our lack of love leads to quarrels and strife. Additionally, when we choose these paths God may need to express His love for us in the form of discipline in order to restore us to ways that are good for us.

And when we show kindness we should be willing to express it first. We should express love first just as God showed us love first. Romans 5:8

 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Since these thing are true, lets set our mind to walk in kindness. Lets discipline ourselves to walk in paths that result in favor and blessing. And lets avoid the snares that are found in unloving paths. And lets consider the costly price Jesus paid  to purchase our salvation. And let that thankfulness be another motivator to walk in love.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
God bless
This link can send today's Bible devotion to a friend fast and easy

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Self-righteousness leads to despising others

Please open your Bible to  Luke 18:9-14. This passage talks about people who put their trust in their own righteousness. And this self-righteousness leads to doing wrong on several different levels. 

First it is wrong to God. It is wrong to set aside trusting in the work of the Cross and replace it with trusting in our own works instead. This is like telling God that Christ's sufferings and death were unimportant and needless.

Second it is wrong to our fellow man. When we trust in our own works to make ourselves worthy before God it leads us to despise others. Notice in verse 11 how he began the  comparison game.  He contrasted his works to the works of others. And you can see in the comparison there was an attitude of contempt. Self-righteousness does not promote love. It leads us to despise others.

Third it is wrong to the individual who is trusting in his own righteousness. When the prayer time was done he did not go away justified. 
God provided only one way for man to be right before Him. It is through the Cross of Jesus Christ. You will not be justified before God if your trust is in your own righteousness. 

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
God bless
This link can send today's Bible devotion to a friend fast and easy
My humor blog

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don't let the ungratefulness of others discourage you

Today I would like to talk about ungratefulness. It can discourage those who are serving God.  And it can be a discouragement within relationships as well. The passage we are going to discuss is Luke 17:11-19. I'll start by giving a brief summary of the text but please follow along in your Bible too.

Jesus enter a village in which ten leprous men cried out to Him for help. Jesus sent them to the priests to be seen by them. And while heading there they were all healed. All ten received a tremendous blessing. But only one turned back to thank Jesus.

The enemy would like to use the ungratefulness of people to discourage the good impact you are having on others. He might whisper in your ear and say, "You're  not making a difference. You are not a blessing to anybody. If you were, wouldn't they tell you so. But, look no one is thanking you, or giving you positive feedback,  so you must not be making a difference."

Going by this passage the exact opposite may be true. So don't judge your effectiveness based on the response of people. And don't have your joy dependent on that feedback. Practice love and rejoice in the love you show. Rejoice independent of external encouragement. Even if there are no thanks at all still rejoice. In addition encourage yourself with this thought. My effectiveness may be more than I realize. My impact, like this passage, may significantly exceed the feedback I receive.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
My humor blog

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The parable of the prodigal son

Today I want to share several points found in the passage about the Prodigal son. It is always good to have the Bible open when someone is sharing so you can check out the facts yourself. The passage is found in Luke 15:11-32.

In verses 11-13 we see the younger son asking for his share of the estate. He leaves soon afterwards and goes to a distant country far away from his father's house. There he wastes all his wealth in the pursuit of pleasures.

First lets look at some points about being pleasure centered. We find that being pleasure centered will deaden our compassion. He wanted money and he wanted pleasure. His desire deadened his compassion towards his father. He coldly left the father that loved him dearly and went far away from him.

Second, lets look at how loose living leads to ruin. He brought poverty upon himself by being pleasure centered v. 13-18. The thought is summed up nicely in Proverbs 21:17

17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.

This verse contains two thoughts concerning wealth. The first half of the verse talks about how being pleasure centered can take you from a place of wealth to a place of being poor. The second half of the verse talks about someone who already is poor and will not be able to attain wealth.

In verses 14-17 we see that he is flat broke, hungry and no one was giving him any handouts. And we see that his wretched state brings him back to his senses. He began to think about how there is no lack of food with his father's hired men.

It took a physical need to bring him back to his spiritual senses. While he had plenty he continued in sin. When he came to a place of desperate need he then developed a repentant attitude.

I just want to make a little side point here about enabling sinful behavior. What I am about to say is not in the passage. It is only an opinion so pray about it to see if it is accurate or not. But, lets pretend that in that distant country there was a rich widow who had pity on him. She says to him, "You may go out to my barn and lodge there. You may eat as much as you desire. My former husbands clothes are your size you may have them. And here is some money for any other needs you may have." I would like to suggest that the son would not have returned to his father when he did. He would no longer be in a place of need. And since being in need brought him back to his senses. His daily needs being sustained would have hindered him from returning to his father. Meeting all of his physical needs before he came to his spiritual senses would have enabled his sinful condition.

In verses 18-19 he develops a repentant heart. He knows what he did was wrong and plans to confess his sins to his father. He has a humble attitude. He wanted to return to his father's house even if he is only a hired man.

In verse 20-21 we see his repentance was not short lived. He had a long journey home from a distant country. While he was far away he planned on confessing his sins and when he got home he followed through and confessed them. He maintained a repentant attitude.

Also in verses 20-21
Oh what love the father had for his wayward son! First, because he was longing for his return he kept watching for him. This was the reason he was able to see him a long way off. And when he saw his son he didn't stand there with an angry face, and his arms folded over a resentful heart. But he was filled with emotion. He was filled with compassion. It greatly pleased him and he ran to meet him. Overflowing with joy he embraced him and kissed him.

Verses 22-24
The son had planned all the things he would say when he confessed his sins to his father. But the father was so overjoyed to have him back that he interrupted him half way through his confession ( compare the planned confession in verses 18-19 with the interrupted confession in verses 21-22). He interrupted his confession and he excitedly gave commands to prepare a celebration. He also blessed him with a ring and sandals and a robe. And not just any robe but the best robe.

And in this passage the father is our heavenly Father. It shows how great his love is for the one who has gone far from Him. And how He longs for you and watches for your return. And how He is eager to run to you and embrace you and call for heaven to celebrate with Him when you return with a repentant heart. Oh how wonderful is His mercy! And how great is His love! Oh how delightful that our compassionate Father shows us mercy with cheerfulness!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't allow busyness to crowd out alone time with God

There are many things in our lives that envelope our time. Some are needs, some seem to be needs and some fall into the just for enjoyment category. But, with all sorts of things competing for our time,  it is important to keep things in balance. This is especially true when it come to our relationship with God.

In the following passage we will see Jesus keeping a balance between ministering to people and maintaining His relationship with God. The passage is Luke 5:15-16

15 But the news about Him was spreading even farther, and large crowds were gathering to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses.
16 But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.

Notice that there were large crowds gathering. And large crowds meant a lot of needs. They wanted to press in close to Him so they could hear His teaching and be healed of their sickness. And having a compassionate heart towards the needs of people is a good thing. 

Under such circumstances it could be easy to develop a certain mindset. One that thinks,  "I can't pull away from these people and spend alone time with God. There is so much to be done."  But Jesus didn't allow Himself to get out of balance. He did pull away to pray and verse 16 says He did it often.

Your maximum  effectiveness with people flows out of your personal relationship with God. If you don't guard your alone time with Him then your effectiveness will decrease.  And worse yet your walk could suffer too.

Take time right now and ask God to help you guard your alone time with Him. And make a decision today that you won't allow busyness to keep you from the one that truly loves you. 

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
God bless
This link can send today's Bible devotion to a friend fast and easy

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forgiving someone who has wronged you - Some tips on forgiveness

There are times when we are hurt by someone and we need to forgive them. But forgiving someone isn't always easy. It can be an internal battle that requires diligent effort. Here are a few suggestions that can help us forgive the offense.

When we don't forgive we are the ones that suffer
First, we must understand some of the negative ways our anger is effecting us. When we churn with anger and bitterness it steals our happiness. We are focused only on negative things and our mindset is sour. It can cause us to be irritable in general. And that irritability may spill out on others. Also it can interfere with our ability to concentrate and put our thoughts together. And if you are driving, the inability to concentrate can be disastrous.  Also, sustained anger can lead to depression .  Understanding how an unforgiving attitude effects us is important because it strengthens our resolve to forgive. 

Forgiving through dependence and diligence 
Some offenses are harder to let go of than others. Go to God in weakness and ask Him to help you forgive. Then in addition to prayer add diligent effort. Forgiving can be like a wrestling match. Our opponent must have his shoulders pinned down by force.   We must choose to forgive. And we must make diligent effort. 

Praying for the person you need to forgive
In addition to making a choice to forgive you can also start praying for that person. Pray and ask God to bless that person today.  If you know about a specific need then ask God to bless in that area. As we pray good things for that person it will start to soften our hearts. And it will make it easier for us to forgive them. 

Showing kindness aids in the forgiving process 
And here is something else that will help us remove the unforgiving attitude. If it is appropriate, do something good for them. Here is just one example. Let's say the person is a coworker who likes donuts. Why not bring in donuts for everyone and go out of your way to offer that person one.  Also ask God to give you an opportunity to do them good. Then  look for that opportunity to come and be ready to act on it.  Doing good for them is a powerful tool for releasing an offense. 

Also if we are God's children, then we should forgive because of how much we have been forgiven. I'll end by quoting this verse found in  Matthew 6:14-15

14 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
 15 "But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
God bless
This link can send today's Bible devotion to a friend fast and easy
My humor blog

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Simon Peter denies Jesus - A lesson that minimizes our failures

Today we will talk about the occasion where Peter denied Jesus. I will be paraphrasing and quoting a small portion of the passage, but its a good idea to read the entire account. One place the account is found is Mark 14:27-72
Shortly before His crucifixion Jesus spoke to His disciples. He told them they all were going to fall away. But Peter insisted that even if the others fell away he wouldn't. Peter even mentioned that he was ready to die with Jesus. Peter was sincere in his statements. And here within Mark 14:32-38 we see that Jesus acknowledged his genuine desire. Jesus also mentioned something that suggests the source of Peter's failure.

32 They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here until I have prayed."
33 And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled.
34 And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch."
35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.
36 And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will."
37 And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?
38 "Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Jesus said, ".....the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" In saying this He gave Peter a compliment. He acknowledged that he really had a willingness to do the things he said. But, even with a willing heart, Peter still denied Jesus. If Peter was sincere than what caused him to fail?

It appears that a lack of prayer led to failure. Jesus came and found Peter asleep. Peter had missed a time of prayer shortly before he would deny Jesus. His heart was willing to obey. But he needed the extra help that would only come from watching and praying.

Peter ended up doing the thing which he strongly opposed. But afterwards he was truly sorry and wept. So we need to learn from this passage so we can have victory.  We must be committed to our personal time of watching and praying. Without prayer we can have a spirit that is willing to obey but lacks power. But with prayer our willingness can result in strength that leads to victory.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (

God bless
My humor blog

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freed from the power of sin - But are you trapped in your mind?

When anyone receives Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior God immediately does two things concerning sin. First, God forgives all of their sins. Second, God frees them from the power of sin.

Today we will focus on the fact that God has freed us from the power of sin. Romans chapter six talks about this freedom more than once. Here is one verse from Romans 6:14

14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

We as believers, don't always comprehend that we are really free from the power of sin. But, instead our minds are still conditioned from past failure. Our mind still acts like we are slaves of sin when in reality we are free. To illustrate this point, and also a solution, I am going tell a short story.

There was a dog who for 12 years had worn an electric collar in a yard with an electric fence. He learned repeatedly that he could not go past a fixed point in the yard. Each day when the mailman came he would angrily run up to just short of where his collar would shock him. He would tell the mailman what he really thought about him. But he always stayed back a few feet from where his collar activated.

One day the owner put the dog out without his collar. Then the mailman came. But, the mailman didn't get bit. Why? The dog stopped at the boundary he thought was still there. He was actually free but didn't act on his freedom because he thought he was still limited by the same boundaries.

Do we ever think like this dog in our Christian walk? Are we thinking that we are trapped when in reality we are free? We need to reprogram our mind to agree with the truth. We don't have a sin collar anymore. We are not stuck within sins boundaries. We are free. What we couldn't do before we came to Christ we can do now. We can defeat sin because it no longer has power over us.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
God bless
This link can send today's Bible devotion to a friend fast and easy