Thursday, April 26, 2012

Can We Have Joy or Not?


II Corinthians 2:1-3 "But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all."

I refuse to believe that we as Christians "in this day and age" cannot have joy because of all the religious oppression and negativity!

It seems God is reminding us through Paul's writing in this passage of Scripture that we are often the ones who "squelch" our own joy.

How?

...By speaking of so many negative things with other Christians. We discuss every problem known to man and then we wonder why our joy is affected. We are depressing the very people who can help make us happy! Just because something is true does not mean we always need to discuss it.

God offers so many promises that should add eternal joy to our lives! However, it seems God is reminding us here that the level of our joy can be affected by the things we choose to dwell on and talk about with those around us.

God, I need the building spiritual fellowship of other happy Christians. Therefore, remind me today to find the positive in every situation and spend more time talking about it! What a great reminder You have given me this morning.



Monday, April 23, 2012

The Right Kind of Spiritual Leadership...


II Corinthians 1:24 "Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand."

Being a spiritual leader is such a huge responsibility. Men, women and young people are trusting us to help them with their future decisions. However, according to this verse that Paul wrote to the Corinthian people, it does not seem that God has called us to be spiritual dictators.

According to the words Paul penned here, it is not the job of the spiritual leader to attempt to have dominion over the faith of the follower. Our job is to be "helpers of their joy" so they can "stand by faith!"

God's words in Hebrews 11:6 come to mind, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him:"

If we teach our followers to obey God "because we said so," we have failed! That is not faith. According to God's Word, we are to teach them the truths of God through evident joy in our own lives. This in turn will help them have the faith to choose to stand for God on their own.

I am reminded of the old saying, "Give a man a fish; feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish; feed him for a lifetime."

It is so important that I teach my followers how to make the right choices in life rather than trying to make all of their choices for them.

WOW! Thank You, God, for reminding me of this great and needed truth in my life!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hate?


Proverbs 8:13 "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."

Hate is a strong word that the world wants to do away with. It is, however, a biblical concept, IF it is used God's way. God NEVER asks us to hate people--He only asks us to hate the sin and evil that hurt people's lives.

If we loathe sin for its consequences we will be much less likely to give in to Satan's temptations than if we live life with an indifferent attitude.

Is it wrong to hate?

Well...God asks us to "hate" several times in the Scriptures. He NEVER asks us to aim our hate towards people. Leviticus 19:17a "Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart:" God loves every man.

He does ask us to hate sin and evil so we will not fall prey to Satan's temptations. God does not recommend living life with an indifferent attitude!

Thanks, God for this truth.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

DESIRE!!


Proverbs 18:1
"Through DESIRE a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom."

Ahhh...the words of my junior high Bible teacher, Mr. Bass, ring through my mind."

"What's the key word, class?" he would say.

"DESIRE!" we would answer loudly, knowing if we did not repeat the word with gusto he would make us say it again.

This was usually the dialogue to start our class every single day for an entire school year, actually 2 school years--7th and 8th grade. We usually repeated these words several times each class period.

We may have thought him to be a bit odd, but I bet any junior higher that went through his Bible class could tell you the "Key Word."

Back then I thought him to be quite the eccentric; however, according to this verse he was RIGHT!

The first ingredient to growth in any area of our Christian lives is DESIRE. We have to "want to." Do I want to be a better mom? Then I have to have enough desire to get out of bed in the morning to read my Bible and spend time with God to glean wisdom.

What an amazing truth found in 2 little words, "through desire." Please, Holy Spirit, convict me when I even begin to lose my desire to please my Lord!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting vs. Finding


Proverbs 10:13a "In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found:"

While reading Proverbs 10:13 during devotions this morning, this verse in Proverbs 3 came to mind.

Proverbs 3:13 "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding."

God tells us that our lives will be happy if they contain wisdom and understanding. Something that I never really noticed before is the difference in words that he always uses for obtaining wisdom and understanding.

His word says several times that we must FIND wisdom, but we must GET understanding. That would lead me to believe that we cannot obtain wisdom on our own. We must find it through God's mind. (Philippians 2:5 "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:")

Understanding, however, is our responsibility to obtain. We ought to be constantly working on expanding our spiritual understanding in all areas so we can be a better help to those we influence with our lives.

If we are searching for and working to GET spiritual understanding to our lives, according to Proverbs 10:13 we will FIND wisdom!

 It takes teamwork. We must do the "getting," then Godwill help us with the "finding!" Understanding begets wisdom.

Thanks, God, for adding this truth to my day!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why Am I Always Fighting?


Why do we struggle so much with our fleshly desires? Doesn't it seem like that just when we get ahead spiritually, we fall 2 steps back? I think God explains it well in this verse...

I Corinthians 15:46 "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual."

The natural man came first and, "afterward that which is spiritual." While we are here on earth we will always have to battle the emotions and desires of the natural man. There is nothing wrong about the feelings and desires themselves; but rather, what we choose to do with them can determine whether or not we make right or wrong decisions.

BUT...God didn't leave us hanging in this chapter! It seems these verses give us the answer to victory over the temptations and desires felt by the natural man...

I Corinthians 15:57-58 "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."

It would seem that our victory comes through our labor for the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are "always abounding in the work of the Lord," we will have the strength to stand against those inner feelings, desires and temptations.

This is a daily battle. The victory, God says, comes "through our Lord Jesus Christ." If we want daily victory in our daily battles, I guess we better get to know the Lord Jesus Christ!

Thanks, God! What a great truth for me to start my day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guard Your Heart...


Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

This has been my life verse since my mom challenged me to find one during a difficult time at the end of my 9th grade year of high school. Thanks, Mom! The reminder God gives in this verse has been such a help to me over the years.

Every decision we make is influenced by the condition of our heart. How desperately important that we constantly guard our heart against the wrong influences.

I believe every person will experience times in their lives when they feel they have let their hearts drift a little from God. If we want to be a good "guard" over our heart we must be careful not to let time pass without confessing this to God and fixing the problem. If we do not immediately address complacency in our walk with God, time will quickly pass and our hearts will begin to become increasingly more cold and hardened to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

We must daily ask God to help us "keep" or guard our hearts!

Thank You, God for this reminder today. I LOVE reading Proverbs!