Thursday, March 21, 2019

Devotions: How to Live up to the Standard

Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
Proverbs 2:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Another word for discretion here is wisdom. If we choose wisdom, she will protect us. Wise choices will help us avoid pitfalls and trouble. Understanding, or intelligence, will watch over us. If we seek and apply wisdom in our daily choice, if we are understanding of people and situations and wisely discern what is going on, that will help protect and guide us on the right path. Basically, if we hold fast that standard of truth we have been given, it will guard our hearts and minds which will in turn guide our ways. We need to seek wisdom and apply it. We need to hold fast to God’s standard of truth and live it. Ask God to help you be wise and understanding, to live in His standard of truth.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Devotions: The Gold Standard

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
Luke 6:31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

One of the standards we have been brought up with is the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This is a basic concept for all interactions involving people, directly or indirectly. At the heart of this principle is love and humility, putting aside our own desires and feelings in order to do what is best for another. It is not so much that we are thinking of ourselves first, but that we stop and think about how we treat others before we act, that we consider if we are about to act lovingly or not. It really is putting their best interests before ours. Of course we all want to be treated well, but we don’t always want to treat others well. Love treats others well no matter how they have treated us. This is another way of saying “put yourself in their shoes” by considering what we are about to do to them and whether we would want to be treated that way. The flip side is the Golden Result: people will usually treat you the way you treat them. Our standards of conduct influence others. If we are to be lights in this dark world, if we are to be ambassadors for the love of God, we need to hold fast to His standard of interacting with others and consider how we treat others before we act or speak. How do you treat others? Do your interactions mirror the love and grace of God? Ask Him to help you live up to His gold standard.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Devotions: Stay the Course

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Paul is charging Timothy, a young pastor and Paul’s son-in-the-faith, to remain faithful to the teaching Paul had given him, to the Gospel of Christ, and this applies to us as well. We need to stay true, or hold fast, to what the Bible teaches, to the truth of God’s word. We should not be led stray by smooth talkers or listen only to those who say what we want to hear. Instead, we need to hold to the truth, God’s truth. In so doing, we need to live by that truth. That is how we “retain the standard” of it. We read, understand and apply what the Bible says. We need to hold to the faith and love of Christ in everything we do. That is our ultimate standard, not only of belief, but of our life choices. What standard do you live out? Are you holding fast to the truth of God’s word in everything? Ask God to help you live up to His standard.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Faithful Like God

Faithfulness has lost popularity in our culture. People move from team to team, band to band, fad to fad, job to job and relationship to relationship without missing a beat. We are told to stay true to ourselves rather than staying true to others or to our word. Some even look down on the idea of remaining with something or someone when things take a turn for the worst. Are we expected to be faithful? Isn’t that an archaic ideal that is no longer applicable? Is God really faithful to us?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Devotions: Sweet and Wise

The wise in heart will be called understanding,
And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
Proverbs 16:21 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

It is often said that a kind word turns away wrath. People who talk flatteringly can get others to buy just about anything. Kindness and gentleness move mountains, but this only comes from a heart that is wise. True kindness and gentleness are from God. People can flatter and sweet-talk but that only really works in short-term, superficial relationships. It will not smooth over a serious conflict, and may even make it worse. The sweetness of speech that can win a heart is the result of a heart invested in God, one that has been transformed by His word living in our hearts. From that will flow the fruit of the Spirit. If we have a heart seeking God, transformed by God, we will be understanding of others, our words will be sweet, and we will more easily and truly smooth over conflict. How is your heart? Are your words sweet? Will you ask God to transform you?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Devotions: Light and Gladness

Light is sown like seed for the righteous
And gladness for the upright in heart.
Psalm 97:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Light comes to those who are righteous. If we believe in Jesus, if we have Him in us, if we live for Him, we will have light in this dark world and be a light for those around us. God gives us His light for life. This is something He prepares for us to have when we need it. He will not leave us to fend for ourselves. Righteous living and delight in God produces light in our lives, but it also gives us joy. Our hearts can be glad even in the worst circumstances because we are upright. This is two-fold. It is partly because our hearts are in right standing with God, so we have joy. We have the assurance that comes with a clear conscience. But also, when we delight in God we will have our hearts desire. God gives us joy when we hunger for Him. That is what our hearts were made to need. That righteousness and delight in God are like seeds that produce light and joy in our hearts. What are you planting?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Devotions: Truth and Lies

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
Proverbs 12:22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God is a God of truth and He delights in those who are truthful. He does not overlook or excuse sin which seems reasonable in theory, but calling lying an abomination might sound a bit harsh. Most people don’t think lying is that bad. Of course, it is wrong, but it’s not a major issue is it? God says it is. Truth is of utmost importance to God, and lying is the opposite of truth. Not only is one lie not truthful, but it creates distrust and loss of integrity for the one who lied. That person could possibly permanently lose their reputation, and indirectly cause others to curse God. We are God’s reflection in this world and if we lie we cause others to distrust Him too. Words cannot be unspoken. One misstep can ruin a person’s life. We need to be very careful about the words that come from our mouths, especially in business. A lie in business is even more harmful than in private. The world is watching, God is watching. What do they see?

Monday, March 11, 2019

Jealous Like God

Jealousy is generally considered a bad thing. Most people understand that we are not supposed to be jealous of others and even non-believers will teach their kids not to be jealous. Yet the Bible talks about God being a jealous God. Can God sin? Can He do something that is wrong? If it is ok for Him to be jealous is it still wrong for us to be jealous?

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Devotions: The Greatest Knowledge

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
Philippians 3:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The greatest knowledge that we can have is a personal relationship with Christ. Nothing can surpass that! All the education, intelligence and common sense in the world cannot give us the joy and peace of Jesus. Everything else we could possibly gain in this world is filthy garbage compared to Him. That is not to say that we should not be educated or have anything good here, but we must be careful not to rate them too highly. Nothing should take precedence over Christ. Nothing should be more valuable to us than Him. The things of God are far better than the things of the world. His wisdom is better, His joy is greater, His love more pure, His peace more complete. He is worth giving up everything for. Do you know Jesus personally? Will you seek to know Him more every day? Gain what you cannot lose which is far greater than anything this world has to offer.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Devotions: Wise Laws

Your testimonies are righteous forever;
Give me understanding that I may live.
Psalm 119:144 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The entire 119th chapter of Psalms is about the law of God. Another way of reading this verse is “Your laws are righteous forever, help me understand them that I may live.” The law of God is always righteous. It is always in accordance with God’s nature which is always good and just. Nothing God commands can be unjust or unrighteous because He can never be unjust or unrighteous. His laws are also timeless. They do not change from year to year or become antiquated. They are always right and true, and they are always applicable to life. We will never get to a point that God’s law does not apply to us. We need His law to live a godly life, the abundant life He desires for us. He does not give us laws to restrict us, but to protect us and give us the best life possible. That is why we need His help to understand His law so that we may live. If we don’t obey Him, we will not have life. But if we don’t know or understand God, we cannot understand His law and won’t obey it. We must have God, fear and know Him, and ask Him to help us understand His law. So many people have misinterpreted or misused God’s law. We need to make sure that we do things God’s way and not man’s. Trust in God’s goodness and justice, believe that His laws are good and right, ask Him to help you understand and obey them.