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Monthly Archives: February 2012

  • Pay Back

    Posted on February 21, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.” Romans 12:19 (NKJV)

     

    People are not capable of properly paying back those who have hurt or offended them. Pay back is not in the glossary of Jesus followers, because He has already paid the debt for another’s offense. Christians are not determined to get even with evil intent; rather they offer grace and forgiveness. Pay back is God’s pay grade—His justice can be trusted.

    Vengeance is the Lord’s because His perspective is perfect. He sees the heart, weighs motives and dishes out discipline, as He sees fit. Because He owns the process of pay back we are wise not to intervene in His plan. If we take matters into our own hands, we may jeopardize the recognition of divine justice needed to draw someone to Christ. In the end—it’s all about all of us—feeling accountable to the Almighty. Justice points to Jesus. 

    “I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.’” Ezekiel 25:7

    Has a business partner lied and stolen from you? Has the rejection and jealousy of a friend led them to gossip about you—even slander your name? A lawsuit may be the conventional wisdom of the world, but the Lord has a higher purpose for your predicament. It is not about you. Your platform of pain is to pronounce the goodness of God and His faithfulness. Leave your mistreatment in your Master’s hands to handle.

    Sadly, revenge seeps into healthy relationships and poisons them. It is when you take on responsibilities that are reserved for the Lord that you grow distant from Him and others. But, by faith, you can resist revenge and rest in the grace of God. Pray for and resist punishing proud people full of pain. Cook a meal for a friend who has betrayed you. Surprise the unkind with your joy in the Lord and you may be surprised at their interest in Jesus. Give back good and let God pay back evil. Your soul rests when there is no room for revenge.

    “Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” Romans 12:20-21, The Message

    Lord, who in my life needs me to love them by doing something good for them, even though they have insulted me?

    Related Readings: Isaiah 35:8; 61:2; Micah 5:15; Nahum 1:2; Hebrews 10:30

    Post/Tweet this today: Give back good and let God pay back evil. #revenge #good

  • Humble Wisdom

    Posted on February 20, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and shun evil”. Proverbs 3:7

     

    Humble wisdom does not hint at a holier-than-thou attitude. On the contrary it is contrite before Christ and modest before men. Humble wisdom is very grateful to God for His blessing of insight and understanding into eternal matters. Wisdom is not a badge of superiority to be worn with pride, but a blanket of security that humbles the heart.

    Wisdom without humility becomes conceited, and is accompanied by a condescending attitude. It is ugly as it disfigures the soul. It is like star athletes, so full of themselves they fail to reach their potential for lack of team support. However, humble wisdom says I am a fellow learner of the Lord’s ways, and I am a work in progress just like you. It is to a heart of humility that God entrusts His wisdom, so stay desperate for divine direction.

    “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13

    The more wisdom increases in your heart and mind, the more pride needs to decrease in your persona. It is the fear of the Lord that keeps you from thinking you can be anything special outside of your Savior Jesus. The fear of God does not forget that wisdom comes from above. Yes, your experience enhances wisdom, and your pain can produce wisdom, but ultimately wisdom resides with God and His Word.

    This is why in humility you hunker down and pray, “Heavenly Father I bow in awe before you, and I ask you for insight and direction; you are the author of all wisdom”. It is submission to Christ and His commands that squeezes out selfish worldly wisdom, and replaces it with the humble wisdom of heaven. Therefore, request wisdom for His glory, and never cease to learn from those who the Lord sends into your life.

    “Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive), but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks. Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits” (Romans 12:16, Amplified Bible).

    Who can I learn from today, to become wiser in humility of mind and heart?

    Related Readings: I Kings 3:4-15; Isaiah 5:21; Romans 11:20-25; Revelation 14:7

    Post/Tweet this today: Submission to Christ squeezes out selfish worldly wisdom and replaces it with humble heavenly wisdom. #humble #wisdom

  • False Security

    Posted on February 19, 2012 by Family Christian

    “When the soldiers returned to the camp, the elders of Israel asked,
    ‘Why did the Lord bring defeat upon us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Shiloh, so that it may go with us and save us from the hand of our enemies.’” 1 Samuel 4:3

     

    Our security is in God alone. Security is not found in a representation of God, but in God. The church is the bride of Christ, but it is not your security. Your spouse is your lifelong companion, but he or she is not your security. Money is useful, but it is not your security. Your children are a blessing, but they are not your security. Your job is necessary, but it is not your security. Armies protect nations, but national security is ultimately God’s call.

    God does not allow the security that comes only from Him to be found in another. This is why He is God. He is the secure one. You are eternally secure in Christ. Do not fret over your fearful situation. Rather, seek your security in Christ. You will become insecure if you attempt to be secure outside of Jesus. There is not enough money, time or insulation from the world to keep you secure, only Christ can do that. Security is His prerogative. Any substitute for His security is an attempt to prostitute His peace. It can’t be done.

    Security is not found in Jesus plus something else. This only dilutes the security of your Savior. Do not spend all your effort and energy arranging a secure life. You will never be satisfied with your self-made security. Authentic security and contentment are in the Lord. He is your security guard. As you follow Him, anything in your life has to come through His care. However, for better or for worse, He does not allow us to live in a risk-free environment. Yes, we have freedom in Christ but not without danger. Tragedy could strike any day. A car accident, a terminal illness, a rebellious child, a lost job, or rejection from a friend can shake your confident security in the Lord.

    So, when your faith is tested, will you still rely on His stellar track record of security? Or, will you panic and make matters worse by relaxing your principles or even abandoning your faith in God? Now is not the time to bail on God. You are still secure in Him, even when things go wrong. Do not choose to battle through life alone. You will lose if you do. You will lose sleep—maybe your health, peace and security. Stay true to heaven’s security forces. His angels are sentries of care who watch over you. A spiritual battle is raging all around you. Satan will crush your self-made security, but he flees in the face of a man or woman secure in Christ.

    There are no weapons in his arsenal that can penetrate the solid armor of God. The armor of the Lord defines His attributes of security. Your freedom is secured by His belt of truth. Your heart is protected by His breastplate of righteousness. You can walk securely with Him, because your feet are covered by His peace. You can be confident that His shield of faith extinguishes the fiery arrows of the enemy. Your mind is secured by His helmet of salvation. Your offensive security lies in the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Now this is security “up close and personal.” Chose each day to be suited up by the Lord, and you will be secure. An exposed life is an insecure life. Therefore, be clothed with Christ. Security is in your Savior alone!   

    Taken from Dose 85 in the 90-day devotional book, “Infusion”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Earthly security is based on your eternal security in Christ. #security

  • Love Forgives

    Posted on February 18, 2012 by Family Christian

    ”It [love] keeps no record of wrongs.   1 Corinthians 13:5

     

    Love forgives continually and it forgives comprehensively. Forgiveness wipes clean the slate of offense, hence it is freeing for everyone. Indeed, forgiveness was the heartbeat of Jesus. Some of His last words requested forgiveness from God for the ignorant acts of His offenders (Luke 23:34). Christ’s greatest act of love was the forgiveness He extended by His voluntary death on the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). Jesus described His own act of love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Jesus was the epitome of love and forgiveness; He owns the trademark.
       
    Forgiveness is the fuel for living a life free from the clutter of cutting words and unjust acts. A life without forgiveness is a lonely life locked up in the solitary confinement of sin. Forgiveness flows when you have been authentically and thoroughly forgiven. Half-hearted forgiveness is the destiny of those who have not tasted the tender touch of forgiveness from their heavenly Father. Unless the forgiveness of God has graced your heart and soul, your capacity for forgiveness will be foreign and futile.

    It is the grace of God and faith in Him that fuels forgiveness in followers of Christ. The job description of Christians is to love with forgiveness because we have been forgiven (Colossians 3:13). Think about the depth and breadth of your forgiveness. Ignorant acts, they are forgiven; drunkenness, it’s forgiven; lust, it’s forgiven; immorality, it’s forgiven; hate, it’s forgiven; ignoring God, it’s forgiven; unbelief, it’s forgiven. Love forgives because it has been forgiven.
       
    Remember where you were BC (before Christ), and reflect on where you would be today without His love and forgiveness. Recall what it was like to be lost and bound up in your sin, and celebrate how far God has brought you. Love is extremely grateful for God’s goodness and redeeming power. Forgiveness is second nature and somewhat automatic for followers of Jesus who are consumed with Christ’s love. They are enamored with God’s love for them and others. When you have been forgiven much, you love much (Luke 7:47). Your capacity to love is directly tied to your willingness to receive Christ’s forgiveness. Accept the Almighty’s forgiveness so that you can extend forgiveness. Let go of unforgiveness and replace it with His unconditional love.

    Love looks for excuses to eliminate hard feelings, as it replaces resentment and bitterness with love and forgiveness. Love by forgiving your family member who may not even know they hurt your heart. Love by forgiving your friend who volitionally violated your confidence. Love by forgiving your father and mother who are preoccupied parents. Love by forgiving your child who is ungrateful and selfish. Love by forgiving yourself for your stupid decisions. Forgiveness forgets the past, engages in the present, and hopes in the future. Extend forgiveness indiscriminately and receive it graciously. Delete any record of wrongs from the hard drive of your heart. Call, write, or initiate a freeing conversation of forgiveness. Reject the temptation for indignation and humbly receive God’s grace instead. Love liberally by regularly relying on forgiveness. Love forgives.

    Taken from the February 16th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: The job description of Christians is to forgive because Christ has forgiven them. #forgive

  • The Lords Favor

    Posted on February 17, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Moses said, "If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us." Exodus 34:9

     

    The Lord’s favor precedes those who follow hard after Him. It is a surrendered life of faith and obedience that is able to enjoy supernatural strength from the Holy Spirit. Favor from above is not bought or manipulated on earth; rather it is an act of grace that God gives to those He can trust. The Lord’s favor is found on those faithful to His word.

    Are you enjoying the favor of your heavenly Father in your family and work? Are you grateful to God for the opportunities and people He has placed in your life? His favor is not to be taken for granted or forgotten. In fact, unacknowledged favor from the Lord looses the Almighty’s acknowledgement. His favor flourishes where faith is the focus.

    “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Luke 1:25

    So, it is a subtle, but profound difference to seek favors from the Lord, instead of seeking the favor of the Lord. We seek to finish school, but are we seeking God in the process? We seek to have a family, but are we seeking to grow their faith, as they get older? We seek to advance our career, but do we seek to advance the kingdom of God in the marketplace? God’s favor rests where He gets His best results. In fact, this may mean He takes you through trials and tribulations for His glory.

    The favor of the Lord is not for the faint-hearted, since He holds responsible those who have encountered His power for good. Handle well His blessing on the little things in your life and you become a candidate for favor in  situations with a larger scope of influence. Thus, with a humble and contrite spirit, obey His word, and be extremely grateful for the Lord’s favor. Yes, stay blessable, so you can be a blessing to others.

    “Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word” Isaiah 66:2

    Lord, how can I stay blessable, so I can be a blessing to others?

    Related Readings: Genesis 28:10-22; Psalm 90:17; Proverbs 8:35; 11:1; 12; 18:22

    Post/Tweet this today: Stay blessable, so you can be a blessing to others. #blessing

  • Walking Wisely

    Posted on February 16, 2012 by Family Christian

    “Thus you will walk in the ways of good men, and keep to the paths of the righteous.” Proverbs 2:20

     

    Walking wisely means you keep company with those who love and obey Christ. They are your influencers, because their values reflect the route you want to take in life. There is an alignment of purpose with people who pray together on behalf of the greater good of God’s Kingdom. So in college walk with the crowd who is all about character building, service to others, studies, love for the Lord and obedience to His commands.

    At work prayerfully partner with those who are principled in their business philosophy. Someone may have less skill and experience, but you can trust their heart to do what they say they will do. Moreover, do not negotiate with mediocre living, as it is distasteful in the mouth of your Master Jesus. Instead walk with those who raise you to righteous living.

    “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

    Of course you are to reach out and care for sinners, but with the purpose of loving them to the Lord. God has placed you in the life of unbelievers to influence them toward heaven. Perhaps one day they will thank you for your patience and prayers. Walking wisely means you learn to do well by being with those who aspire to intimacy with the Almighty. You walk with the ones who obey the One.

    Furthermore, your family may need you to slow down, because you have run so far ahead they are unable to keep up and benefit from your presence. Walk with your sons and daughters while you can. Your leadership at work will advance in significance when  your entire team walks with you in focus. Above all else, walk with the Lord and He will give you wisdom and insight into who to walk with and where.

    “This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it’ Jeremiah 6:16

    Who do I need to cease walking with, who do I need to continue walking with, and who do I need to begin walking with?

    Related Readings: Psalm 119:63-115; I Corinthians 5:11; Hebrews 6:12

    Post/Tweet this today: Walk with the ones who obey the One. #wise #relationships

  • Creation Gives Life

    Posted on February 15, 2012 by Family Christian

    “You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” Nehemiah 9:6

     

    God’s creation gives life to life. The birth of a baby gives life to the infant and its family. The canopy of Christ’s heaven gives light and life to all living things and to those who look to the Lord in reverent worship. The sky captures the eastern sun on an arc like invisible track and moves it each day to its resting place in the west. The hope of another sunrise and sunset stream into a cold fearful heart and warm it with peace and faith.

    The sea is an incubator for life: mammals and sea urchins all drink from their watery world the life giving nutrients needed to survive in their predator infested world. It’s when ocean creatures languish on the seashore that they lose life, some slowly, some immediately. In the same way, the Holy Spirit is our sea of strength in the Lord. It’s when we wash up on the shore of disobedience that our soul smothers under a sandy grave.

    “The seas have lifted up, LORD, the seas have lifted up their voice; the seas have lifted up their pounding waves. Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea—the LORD on high is mighty.” Psalm 93:3-4

    You sit or walk along the seashore and look out to the horizon, the place where the sky kisses the water and you feel the affection of your heavenly Father. The Lord gives you life when you take the time to take in His creation. You see the sand pipers peck the sand for sustenance and you are reminded of a Savor who cares for you much more than a little feathered fowl. Walk with footprints of faith along the seashore and feel Christ’s comfort.

    His vast watery sanctuary is security for the soul. Are you able to occasionally worship here in wonder and awe? The saline of the sea gives life to weary bones, tired muscles and a fatigued faith. The inventive hands of Jesus, like a global size mixing bowl, prepare its minerals and nutrients—He simply asks that we trust and soak in His creation. The Lord’s stature and trustworthiness grow larger than life when we experience His life-giving creation.

    “Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding.” Psalm 148:7-8

    Lord, how can I receive all you have for me today through your all-surpassing creation?

    Related Readings: Psalm 133:3; Isaiah 42:10; Romans 8:19-22; Hebrews 4:13

    Post/Tweet this today: Growing relationships require regular investments of emotional energy. #relationships

  • Marriage Covenant

    Posted on February 14, 2012 by Family Christian

    “It [wisdom] will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.” Proverbs 2:16-17

     

    Marriage is a covenant before God, not to be messed with by man. It is not a secular ceremony, but a Christ-centered commitment ‘until death do us part’. However, there are tempters, both men and women, who try to take away the trust between a husband and a wife. Their life is unhappy, so they scheme for artificial satisfaction at the expense of someone else’s marriage.

    Sin is not passive but active, so be on prayerful alert not to listen to its allure. Pay attention and do not place yourself in compromising circumstances. Marriage is a sacred obligation; God is not only a witness, but the one who instituted the ordinance, so stay true to Him and your true love.

    “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” Hebrews 13:4

    Marriage is accountability between husband and wife, under the authority of Almighty God. This is why wayward men and women do not get away with disrespecting marriage vows. Disobedience to an oath before God leads to the damaging and even death of relationships, reputation, financial security, emotional stability and physical health. Husbands and wives who take seriously their commitment to Christ and to each other do not get seduced into sex outside their marriage.
     
    How do you maintain this high standard of honor? By God’s grace you romance each other like the days when you were dating. You only share your heart and affections with your true love, the bride of your youth. You determine not to be alone with anyone of the opposite sex, as this can feed temptations. Lastly, celebrate and uphold marriage as a solemn covenant before the Lord, your family, your friends and each other.
     
    “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, “As I live, surely My oath which he despised and My covenant which he broke, I will inflict on his head.” Ezekiel 17:19, NASB

    How can I honor my spouse by respecting our marriage as a covenant before God?

    Related Readings: Numbers 5:12-22; Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 5:27-32

    Post/Tweet this today: Marriage is a covenant before God, a Christ-centered commitment. #marriage

     

  • Emotional Investments

    Posted on February 13, 2012 by Family Christian

    “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

     

    Growing relationships require regular investments of emotional energy. Because humans have the capacity for emotional engagement there is a level of feeling and understanding that machines or animals can never attain. God’s creation—created in His image—is able to engage in intimate encounters. Emotions are meant to move people toward the eternal.

    Marriage especially demands growing emotional intelligence to thrive and not merely survive. The Lord has created an emotional vacuum within a husband and within a wife that only their spouse can fill. It is folly to seek to meet this very real need with work or the children, for false substitutes only stunt emotional maturity in marriage. One flesh means to forge an alliance and an allegiance between our mind, our will and our emotions.

    “It [love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

    Are you becoming one with the one with whom Jesus joined together in holy matrimony? The wedding of passion is only a step into life’s foyer. You have a lifetime to explore the multiple rooms of feelings within your marriage bond. You make emotional investments into your marriage, as you begin to understand his or her needs. Are attention, security and communication her top three needs? Does he deeply desire respect, encouragement and affection? God gives you wisdom so that you can really come to know your spouse. As when you take the time to invest money and save for the future, so you wisely prepare when you take  time to invest emotionally into your marriage. Emotional deposits today will bear the fruit of becoming one tomorrow. Otherwise, you will grow old apart, rather than together. First, by faith, become one with Christ and second with love, patience and understanding, become one with each other. Emotional investments today pay the dividends of oneness tomorrow. Your oneness in marriage illustrates your faith in Christ. 

    “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love you have for one another is increasing.” 2 Thessalonians 1:3

    Lord, what do I need to know about my spouse, so that they feel loved and accepted by me?

    Related Readings: Galatians 5:13; Hebrews 12:3, 15; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18

    Post/Tweet this today: Growing relationships require regular investments of emotional energy. #relationships

  • Pure Living

    Posted on February 12, 2012 by Family Christian

    “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according
    to your word.”  Psalm 119:9

     

    God’s Word is a filter for pure living. His Word extracts the sediment of selfish living. It is a purifier. Without the purifying effect of the Word, we become polluted in our thinking and distasteful with our words. Everything about us becomes soiled by sin. Sin is dirty—it stains our lives. But, the Word of God can remove sin’s stains and clean us up Clean living is the way to go. It frees you from guilt and unshackles you from the complexities sin creates.

    Adultery is complicated: It ravages relationships and pollutes some families for a lifetime. Lying is complicated: You have to remember and cover up more than you are capable of covering. It is a messy web of deceit. The same happens when other areas of our lives are not kept clean. Without proper physical hygiene we begin to smell, and there is a good chance that we will contract an illness. Impure physical living is not healthy.

    Any mechanical equipment, if left on its own, overtime, will operate less efficiently at best. If maintenance is chronically ignored, it will eventually shut down. The same is true for our home or car. If either is cluttered with stuff, disorganized, and dirty, it becomes a distraction. Both car and home left unclean are not pleasant places to occupy. Left unattended and uncared for, they both deteriorate into junk filled, trashy environments instead of the inviting environments they once were.

    Our lives can follow this same downward spiral if we are not constantly cleansed by God’s Word. We need a daily “bath” in God’s Word to prevent us from becoming smelly to Him and others. We need to emit the pleasant aroma of righteousness rather than the rank smell of sin. We need inviting lives. The application of God’s Word is the critical piece of pure living. You can listen to it being taught and never change. You can talk about it and still remain captive to bad habits and attitudes. You can even study it, memorize it and meditate on it, but allow it to feed your pride instead of your humility.

    Knowing and understanding God’s Word does not guarantee pure living. However these are necessary steps. If humility and forgiveness are infiltrating your life more and more, you know that you are on the right track. If the character of Christ is engulfing your behavior more and more, you are on the road of purity. A pure life means you are able to see God for who He is. He is high and lifted up, holy and majestic. He is your heavenly Father, full of grace and compassion, waiting for you ever so patiently. God can be clearly distinguished through the lens of pure eyes.

    Purity does not mean perfection or some pseudo-spirituality. It means honesty in acknowledging your need to come clean with God and people. It is not hiding secret sins of lust and emotional attraction for someone other than your spouse. Purity is not slithering around the dark corner of sin. Rather, purity results as you “sunbathe” in the bright rays of accountability. People know your defects and your strengths. There are no surprises. You are real and receptive to the correction, teaching, and even the rebuke of God and others. Purity implies the removal of impurities. This may or may not be an easy process.

    However, if purity is exercised consistently, impurity buildup is minimal. If the buildup is minimal, then the shame and embarrassment of unclean living can be kept at bay. Both young and old can enjoy pure living. Like taking a hot shower after a hard day’s work in the yard, you become refreshed and revitalized. You smell sweet, and people are attracted to your life. Pure living is fueled by the Word of God, so learn it and live it!

    Taken from Dose 84 in the 90-day devotional book, “Infusion”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: God’s Word is a filter for pure living. #Bible

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