Sunday, May 26, 2013

Pleasing God or grieving God

Proverbs 10:1 talks about a son either acting wisely or foolishly. If he acts wisely he can bring joy to his parents. If he acts foolishly he can bring them grief.

10 The proverbs of Solomon.

A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.

It is necessary for the son to have the knowledge of how his conduct affects his parents. They provide both a positive and a negative motivator for obedience. Likewise these same two motivators produce obedience in us towards our heavenly Father. On one hand we are encouraged to walk in love because we know it will please God 

Hebrews 13:16

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

And on the other hand we don't want to walk in sinful conduct since we know it can grieve Him. 

Ephesians 4:30
30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Two keys to a successful marriage

I don't want to oversimplify relationships which can be complex but nevertheless there are two core principals that are needed for a successful marriage. One principal applies to the man and one to the woman.

God who knows us and fashioned us understands how our needs differ and has given us good counsel on how each spouse can meet the need of their partner. As you read this you may think of other things that keep a marriage strong but for sake of this devotion we will only focus on just two core issues.

God identifies these two core needs as love and respect.

Ephesians 5:33
Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Notice in this verse the core need of a woman that is addressed is different from the core need of the man that is revealed. A core need of the woman is her need to be loved by her husband. And a core need that a man has is to be respected by his wife. When a woman feels loved it makes it easier for her to respond with respect to her husband. When a man feels respected it makes it easier for him to respond by expressing love to his wife.

But a vicious circle can develop when we only meet the other persons need when our need is first met. Mindsets like " Respect is earned and I'll only show respect to him when he shows love to me" Or "I'll only express love towards her when she starts showing me respect" In this example each spouse is withholding a core need of the other until their own need is met. Having these type of mindsets leads to further deterioration of the relationship.

In the above example of conditionally meeting the other persons need the couple can be driven further apart.  The woman sensing that love is being withheld from her digs her heals in and withholds respect from her husband. The man feeling that he is not respected by his wife responds by withholding love from her.

One solution for this example is to show unconditional love and unconditional respect.
This can keep a vicious cycle from forming. Instead with an unconditional display of love and respect a positive cycle can be produced. The woman feels loved and she is encouraged to respect her husband. And that respect sits well with him. The husband feeling respected is encouraged to respond by showing his wife love and this meets a great need in her. This can feed upon itself in a positive way and fuel a cycle of increasing love and increasing respect. This cycle is key to a successful marriage.

God bless you.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Wise business investing - The benefits outweigh the disadvantages

Proverbs 14:4

4 Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,
But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.

Make wise business investments is one point that can be drawn from this verse. Here the farmer will incur initial financial loss in the purchase of an ox. He will have added ongoing cost to feed and keep that animal healthy. He will have added inconvenience in keeping the stall clean. 

But one thing this scripture is saying is don't let the cost and inconveniences hinder you from investing wisely in your business. In this example the benefits of a greatly increased  harvest will far outweigh the financial outlay and the inconveniences associated with adding one or more oxen to your barn. 

God cares about every single area of our lives. As a result He even gives counsel concerning running a business. The outlay of money and extra work may not be God's leading for your situation so take it to prayer before making any decisions. 

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

Creating our own problems

There are times when God brings discipline into our lives. There are times when God allows trouble to enter our lives for a purpose. And although there may be other reasons why difficulties come there are times when people have trouble because  they brought it upon themselves. Their own conduct created an unnecessary problem in their own lives. Lets look at one example in Proverbs.

Proverbs 14:3

3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back,
But the lips of the wise will protect them.

Here the sinful use of the tongue ended up being a rod for the foolish person's back. Unnecessary trouble came back to this person as a direct result of sinful speech. Words that hurt others could be one example. When someone is wounded by unloving speech they can respond back to the speaker with anger, quarreling or even violence.

This trouble would come to the speaker by their own doing. God's hands did not engineer this conflict. They created their own conflict by the way they treated their fellow man.

We will never be trouble free in this life. But we can reduce unnecessary trouble by building godly character in thoughts, words and deeds.

Scripture quotations taken from the "NASB" (
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