Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Devotions: Blessings of Transformation

How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit!

Psalm 32:2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)



How happy indeed is anyone who does not bear the guilt of their sin! I love the hymn Redeemed by Fanny Crosby, “Redeemed! How I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb…His child and forever I am!” What joy, what blessing! When we believe in Jesus, repent of our sin and ask Him into our lives to help us live as He does, we receive His redemption and are reconciled to God. It is the greatest gift and blessing we could ever receive and one we could in no way earn or deserve! There is a second part to this blessing; happy are those in whose spirit there is no deceit. They are the ones who are truly saved. Sadly there are many who believe in Jesus but are not truly saved. To simply "believe" that He is who He says He is is not enough. Even Satan and the demons believe that, probably with greater certainty than we do, but they are not saved. The difference is the affect that belief has on our hearts. True belief requires some amount of obedience/submission and causes a transformation in our hearts and lives. After we are saved we begin to hate sin and become more like Christ. That change in lifestyle does not make us saved; rather it is proof that we are saved. It is not a continual upward progression with no falls, there is some relapse at times, but there is at least a gradual increase. Those who are not truly saved are deceived because they believe that they will go to heaven, but in reality they won’t. We need to seek the kind of faith that is without deceit. We need to seek the faith that transforms!

Monday, July 24, 2017

True Virtue: Purity

Purity is the state of being pure, undefiled, without blemish, untainted. As with humility it also fairly contrary to our society. Those who pursue purity are ridiculed and looked down upon for being pious or self-righteous (which I find ironic). Purity is not understood and is misunderstood by unbelievers, but also by many Christians as well. I was one. I thought that purity merely consisted of waiting to have sex until marriage, but I have discovered that it goes much deeper and longer than that.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Focus

I have a confession to make: lately I have become a little absorbed with numbers. My focus has been to watch my "reach" and try to build my following. I have been seduced by, I'm not sure what; lust of fame, worldly success, popularity. This hasn't affected my writing, but it has affected my heart and peace. It's the main focus of my thoughts. And yet it was never my goal, in the beginning, to make a successful business out of this, or become famous. My goal has always been to help others and serve God with my writing. It is His project and it will grow as He wants regardless of my efforts, as is evident since I have reputedly done everything I can and should have a large following now. But my efforts have resulted in only a slight increase. The words of my post a few weeks ago about biblical success have been ringing in my ears, so to speak. Biblical success is not based on numbers, it is based on following God, doing His will.

I have learned my lesson. I will focus on writing what God wants me to write and not worry about or even watch the numbers. I am confident that regardless of how popular my writing is, God will use it to reach whomever He wills.

If you could pray for me to keep that focus and resist my pride and the temptation to pursue worldly success, I would be grateful. I also would appreciate feedback. I have been writing for over a year, but rarely receive any comments. If you could let me know what you think, even just of my blog/focus/writing in general, or of specific topics/articles, I would appreciate it.

Thank you for being faithful to my blog!


                    For His glory,
             Evelyn

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Devotions: The Blessing of Forgiveness!

How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!

Psalm 32:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)




This is probably one of the greatest and most obvious blessings we receive as Christians! When we believe in Jesus and repent of our sin, we have full assurance that He will forgive and put away that sin. He will never remember or bring it up again. We also have the assurance that every time we sin and repent after our salvation, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from it. He won’t hold it over us, He won’t manipulate us with guilt trips, He won’t punish us unnecessarily. We may receive some discipline for the wrong we have done, just as a parent will discipline a child for disobedience, but it would not be the punishment we would receive if we hid or denied our sin. It is always better to be open with God, and others, about our sin, to openly confess and repent. That is the best detox we could do. But there is further blessing from this! Not only does this mean we won’t “pay” for it now, but we also won’t suffer the consequences of our sin in eternity. Because God forgives our sin when we repent, we can be assured that we are forgiven for eternity and will spend the rest of time with Him in heaven. How beautiful is that! We deserve nothing good in this life, we owe a debt we could never pay, but God says that all we have to do is believe in Him and repent of our sin and all that is gone! Believe, repent and be blessed!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Devotions: Blessings in Refuge

Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

Psalm 2:12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)



Another way of translating “do homage” is “to lay hold of instruction.” Essentially, the psalmist is saying that we should seek Christ, pursue His ways, live like He does. If we do not then we will experience the wrath that is destined to all who do not believe. This references Revelation 6 which talks about people wishing the mountains would fall on them so that they would be spared experiencing the wrath of God. Hell is often joked about, many make light of it, but it is very serious, very real, and very terrible. We need to take refuge in Him the way a child takes refuge in a parent. In a storm they will find security, in danger they will find safety, in sin they will find forgiveness. Many hide from God when they sin, trying to avoid punishment, but that is impossible. It is better to seek God, to seek forgiveness and receive restoration. If we seek God after we sin, then we will not experience His wrath. Seek God. Take refuge in Him and be blessed!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Devotions: The Blessings of Delight in the Law

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)



The entirety of Psalm 1 discusses the blessedness (i.e. happiness, prosperity, enviousness, fortune) of this man. First, he does not take ungodly advice, nor does he seek advice from those who are ungodly, or even those who simply don’t give godly advice. (I know plenty of Christians who have grown up in the church and yet give ungodly advice.) This man also does not stand in the path of sinners. He is not passively “with” them, nor is he inactive in regard to their sin. Not only does he not join in, but he also doesn’t just sit by and watch them. He is no where near it. He also does not “rest” with mockers. It’s not that he is never around them, but those are not the people he socializes with. Bad company corrupts good character. Passively being in the presence of sin or ungodly people will make an influence on us. We must be on our guard. The opposite of all this is that he delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it continually. He desires, pursues and enjoys God’s word and commands. This man is blessed, happy and prosperous because he has found that the good things of life come from God; from diligently listening to His word, faithfully obeying His commands, and persistently thinks of them through out his waking moments. That is why he is blessed. The psalm goes on to say that he will be like a tree with good, deep roots that is planted and tended next to a good stream of constant water that bears good fruit and never withers. The result of seeking God in this way is always having the source of life, continually drawing from the well of life. It cultivates the soul and brings life and prosperity. This is not to say that there will never be storms or hardship, but that when they come he will be able to endure them. On the other hand, the wicked or disobedient are like chaff. They have no roots at all, nor do they grow. They are blown all over by whatever wind catches them and they will not be justified when their lives are examined. They will suffer the penalty of their sin and will perish. Choose to walk in the blessings of God’s word!

Monday, July 17, 2017

True Virtue: Wisdom

Wisdom, in its barest sense, is knowledge applied. Having an abundance of knowledge is simply being smart, but it is of no benefit if that knowledge is not used and applied. Many are considered wise, regardless of religion or culture. There is a fine line between what the Bible calls wisdom and the wisdom of the world. But God clearly says there is a difference.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Devotions: Call on Him with Praise

I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue.

Psalm 66:17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)




This psalm was meant to be a testimony of what God had done in the psalmist's life. He invites us to come and listen. The NLT translates the second line as “Praising as I spoke.” While the psalmist was in trouble, his cry for help was mixed with praise. Even though he hadn’t received an answer yet, he was already praising God. We need to remember the greatness and worthiness of God and praise Him even in the midst of trial, even before our prayers are answered. Because He is good and great even if He doesn’t remove our trials or give us the answer we want. The next verse says that if the psalmist had harbored sin in his heart, God would not have heard him. Sin puts a barrier between us and God. If we have sin that we haven’t repented of for any reason that will put a strain on our relationship with God. Sin is incredibly offensive to God, and should be to us as well. It is so important to make sure that we take care of our sin as soon as possible. The psalmist ends by saying that God did hear his prayer, He did listen to his request, and He answered him. He did not turn him away. God is so faithful! He loves us so much that He delights in answering our prayers! He wants to bless us! Is that not a God worthy of all our praise! Remember, when you call on God, praise Him, too, even before He answers you.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Devotions: Call on God First

In my trouble I cried to the Lord,
And He answered me.

Psalm 120:1 New American Standard Bible (NASB)




When trouble comes, call on the Lord. Don’t wait until all other resources have been exhausted. Don’t wait until there are no other options. Go to Him first. He should be our main source of comfort, relief and counsel. We should go to Him before we do anything else. That should be our first instinct when trouble hits. He is the one in control of everything. He is the one who can see all ends. He is the one with infinite, ultimate wisdom. His will and advice should be our highest priority and have more weight than any person on earth. He will answer. He will deliver. It may not be when or how we want, but it will happen. He is the only one who can promise that without fail. Call upon the Lord! He will answer!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Devotions: Calling on God

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.

Psalm 145:18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)




In times of hardship and suffering, it is easy to think that those things happen because God is absent, because He has abandoned or turned away. But that is not true. God is Lord of the good and bad, the mountains and valleys, springs and desserts. He is sovereign over all. Not only is He always in control, but He promises that He is near to those who are suffering, who call on Him, who cry out to Him. Suffering is not a sign of His absence, in fact it is in suffering that we feel Him most, if we call on Him. We have to recognize His presence and seek it. We also have to call on Him in truth. We have to follow Him. We have to be true to Him rather than following and serving ourselves until we “really” need Him. It is two-sided. He does His part without fail, but we must also do our part. We must be children of the truth. We know who a child’s father is by how the child looks and acts. No one would doubt the father of my son. We are called children of God, but do we look like Him? Do we act like Him? Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.