Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Devotions: Watch Your Future

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

I like how the New Living translates the second line of this verse: “for it determines the course of your life.” It carries so much depth. Jesus said that out of the heart come a man’s actions, likely referencing this verse. We need to diligently guard our hearts. We need to carefully watch over what we allow into ourselves because that will determine what comes out. Junk in junk out. If we are continually exposing ourselves to secular thinking through movies, music, books and TV then we can expect the world to come out of us. We need to pour God’s Word and Spirit into our hearts so that He will come out. We need to make sure that the greatest influence on our lives is godly, and that includes our friends. Godly influence needs to be greater (in quantity and quality) than worldly influence. That does not mean that we should never be around non-believers, or never consume secular media, but we need to guard ourselves when we do. We need to be intentional about all we do, and correct any wrong thinking that comes our way. When we hear or see something that is wrong, we need to correct it in our minds, acknowledging that it is wrong and replacing it with what is right. Otherwise we will be conformed to the world. Watch over your heart carefully. It will determine your future.

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Devotions: Goodness to Those Who Wait

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
Lamentations 3:25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God’s love is the attribute people focus on the most right now, to the extent that they forget or even reject the idea that He is also just and holy (and therefore must punish sin). He is also expected, because of His overarching love, to bless everyone and let everyone go to heaven. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. Everyone receives blessings and goodness from God in some way (otherwise we wouldn’t be alive), but His full goodness and blessing only come to those who seek and wait for Him, i.e. for those who believe and trust in Him. We have to be “in” Him, and have Him in us, to have access to His gifts and goodness. If we reject Him we are also rejecting His greatest blessings and much of His goodness. They come together. I have heard the analogy of a wealthy man who died without heirs so his extensive wealth and property was to be auctioned off. The first item up for auction was a simple portrait of the man’s son which went for a low bid, but once it was sold the auctioneer packed up because in the will the man determined that whoever bough the picture of his son received his full inheritance. It is so with God; we must receive His Son in order to receive His full inheritance which includes His goodness. Have you received His Son? Do you seek and wait for Him? Do you experience His goodness and blessing?

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Devotions: All We Need

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God is everything we need. He is the answer to all of life’s questions. He is our Guide if we will follow Him. Through Him is the path to a full and fulfilling life. He is the only source of true joy, and He wants us to have it fully. We can only have it if we are in His presence, with nothing hindering His Spirit. From Him come the greatest pleasures, some we could never even imagine. True enjoyment in life only comes if we are on His path of life, living in His presence, valuing what He has to give above all else. He is the answer to everything we need. Only He can give true joy and satisfaction, and lead us where we should go. Do you seek Him for the path of life daily? Are you in His presence continually? Do you value what He has to give?

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Freedom in Boundaries

In general we think that freedom means no boundaries, no restraints, even no rules. We think that we can’t be free if someone else is telling us what to do. We crave the ability to be on our own and think we are “shackled” if we are not. Is that what true freedom really is? Is that the only way to be free?

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Devotions: The Right Motive

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

So many people waste a lot of time arguing about whether it is right or wrong to do something, judging others who do not follow their line of thinking. Unfortunately, they miss the point. What we do is not as important as why we do it. Our ultimate created purpose is to glorify God. That is why we were created. That is the purpose of all of creation. If we are living and acting with that as our chief motive it won’t matter what we do, because we will be in line with God’s will and doing what is right. We should not be focused on doing whatever we can get away with, or only doing enough right to stay in the clear. We should be focused on glorifying God to the extent that we are willing to give up anything, even everything, for the sake of pleasing and honoring Him. “He must increase and I must decrease.” Any time our motives are selfish we dishonor God, even if what we are doing is good. It’s not so much about what we do as about our hearts, motives and priorities. We can avoid so much pain by putting God first. That is how we stay on the right path. That is how we can know we are doing what is right. That is how God will keep us on the straight and narrow, by heading straight for Him without looking at ourselves. Do you desire to glorify God? Do you actively seek to honor Him? Do you question every part of your life and every choice you make to see if you are?

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Devotions: Live in the Light

But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.
1 Thessalonians 5:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

There is a big difference between followers of God and followers of the world, more than the title they wear. Those who follow the world don’t like the light of Christ because it exposes what they do, convicting them, making it obvious that what they do is wrong. Unfortunately, not all who claim to follow Christ actually do. There are many in our culture who claim the title of Christian who actually follow the world. They live for what the world offers, valuing what the world values, behaving as the world does. And it is obvious in their lifestyles and priorities if one looks deep enough. That is why they hate the Light; it exposes their hypocrisy and double-mindedness. We need to make sure that we are of the Light. And because we are of the Light we need to be sober and clear headed. We need to have self control and behave rationally, not controlled by our emotions or our appetites or desires. We need to wear faith and love as a protective covering over our hearts, and let the hope of salvation protect our minds. Seek after the Light so that it can root out any darkness left in your heart so that when you meet Christ you do not have to be ashamed.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Devotions: Call to Return

Even to your old age I will be the same,
And even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you;
And I will bear you and I will deliver you.
Isaiah 46:4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

In this chapter, God is calling to Israel, beckoning them to return to Him. They had turned away to worship idols, and He reminded them of the weakness of those idols and of His enduring faithfulness. He had always carried them, taking care of them for their entire lives. He pleaded with them to return to Him, promising to deliver them from their impending doom if they would only repent. We have the same promise, to be delivered and provided for if only we will repent and turn to God. We may not be chasing after images of gold or wood, but we all have idols we look to; children, relationships, money, work, food, love, drugs, alcohol, etc. We all have the temptation to worship something other than the One True God. He is always the same, He never fails or changes. He is longing for us to remain whole-heartedly His, to seek Him with everything we have. He is faithful to forgive, if only we will repent. What are you chasing after? What is distracting you from Him? What is holding you back from turning to Him?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Do You Need a Power Flush?

I’ve been having trouble with my computer lately. It’s old and just not operating like it should. Both times I called tech support recently, they had me do a “power flush” which ended up solving the problem. It’s old and just needed to power down for a bit and reboot. What does this have to do with faith and Christianity?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Devotions: Faithful to Strengthen

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God is faithful. We can trust Him to do as He has promised, to act according to His will and character. He will give us the strength we need for life if we seek Him. He will not withhold His power if we are right with Him. If we do not have His power or strength, the problem is on our end, because we have not sought it or have sin blocking His Spirit from helping us. All we have to do is confess and turn to Him away from our sin and He will forgive us. In the same way that He is faithful to forgive us, He is faithful to strengthen us. We can trust Him. We need to trust Him. Seek Him for help and strength. Seek His protection, and allow Him to do it.

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Devotions: Strengthened with Power

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
Ephesians 3:16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

God contains all power. He has many mighty gifts in His hand and He gives generously and graciously. He has the gift of strength to give us through the Holy Spirit which He wants to give. The trick is that first we have to have the Spirit in us. We cannot receive His power through the Spirit if the Spirit does not live in us, if we have not given our lives to Christ in salvation. The other trick is that we have to not only seek power from the Spirit (instead of pridefully living in our own strength), but we also have to keep from hindering the Spirit. Unconfessed sin and wrong habits/attitudes can and will hinder the Spirit’s work in our lives, consequently limiting the flow of power. We need to seek the Spirit and keep that channel open. We need to examine our lives to remove any sin that blocks that channel. We need to continually seek the presence of God. Do you have His Spirit in you? Is the channel open or is there something in your life that is blocking His flow of power?

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