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Tag Archives: Revelation

  • Being Right Doesn't Mean I'm Righteous

    Posted on February 17, 2014 by Amy Carroll

    Amy Carroll

    "You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place." Revelation 2:4b-5 (NIV)

    I still have pounds to lose and overflowing closets, but this year my resolution isn't based on external goals. Instead, there's a heart issue clambering for attention, and God is filling me with a simple prayer: Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous.

    The word righteous means, "acting in accord with divine and moral law, free from guilt or sin" according to Webster. But being righteous and looking righteous are two different things.

    Looking righteous is something I've mastered.

    I know how to follow the rules, play the game and fit into the church crowd. Maybe you're like me and are wired to work hard to get things done "right." I like to please my peers and check items off my to-do list.

    Often it wins me the approval I crave. I get pats on the back, and it all looks good on the outside.

    But on the inside — in the quiet moments — I can find myself exhausted. Defeated. Numb. Those feelings let me know I've crossed from being righteous through Christ into trying to earn righteousness myself.

    Sometimes my self-righteousness leaks out and reveals its ugliness through judgmental thoughts and attitudes towards others. That's when I find myself looking down my nose at those struggling while thinking I have it together or snapping with impatience when someone delays my next task.

    Then I read Revelation 2 in a new light. In this passage, Jesus commends the church at Ephesus for their good deeds. He praises them for hard work, perseverance, intolerance of wickedness, sound doctrine and endurance. It's a list of wonderful works indicating righteousness.

    But Jesus follows with a stunning and scathing indictment, "You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place" (Revelation 2:4b-5).

    Those verses highlight the root of the issue and reveal the Ephesians were in the same predicament as me. They were working hard, but without love they had become self-righteous, and God won't tolerate that.

    Could I have lost my first love? Was that the cause of my self-righteous thoughts? I began to think back to the days when I first fell in love with my husband. I was crazy about him, and couldn't get enough time with him. Love for him filled me with an explosive joy bubbling over on everyone around me. Not only did I want to hug him, everyone else was in danger of being hugged too!

    The same is true when my heart is overflowing with love for God. That joy bubbles over to those around me. It makes my heart sincere and gracious, rather than hard and judgmental.

    To maintain the right heart, God asks us to keep returning to our first love with Him. To rediscover the newness, lightness and joy we felt at first. He urges us to constantly rekindle passion for Him, which will deepen our love for Him and others.

    The beautiful part is God doesn't call us to love without Him setting the ultimate example. His love is "wide and long and high and deep" (Ephesians 3:18, NIV), and it surpasses our thoughts and the works done in our own strength.

    Pursuing righteousness solely through good works is an empty endeavor, always leaving us impossibly short of the goal. Returning to our first love ensures full righteousness as we follow Jesus, for He is our righteousness. "It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30, NIV).

    Renewing our first true love produces righteousness. True righteousness creates more love for God and others. It's a beautiful cycle, and it's a goal that transforms us.

    Lord, please make me completely righteous and not a bit self-righteous. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What can you remember about your first days of falling in love with Jesus? Write down your memories of how you felt and what you did during that time.

    Has that first love faded? Spend some time in the quiet today offering a worship/love song to Him. Ask Him to rekindle your passion.

    Power Verses:
    Proverbs 21:21, "He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor." (NIV)

    Luke 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (NIV)

    © 2014 by Amy Carroll. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Proverbs 31 and was tagged with Revelation

  • Le/Re - The Prefix Says it All

    Posted on February 14, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    Back when I was in high school, the French car company, Renault, made a very unique car. Actually, I take that back, it wasn't very unique. It was just a car. It looked similar to that of my 1978 Honda Civic. What made this car stand out, I guess, was that it was not just any old car, but the French company added a "Le" to the front of it. They made "Car" into "Le Car."

    Perhaps the people who purchased and drove Le Car felt that they were experiencing the fullest extent of French living. In all honesty, I never owned or even drove a Le Car. I thought they looked funny.

    What intrigued me most, was the prefix. I assume that Renault felt that it would stand out more with the "Le" in front of the name. The prefix said it all. It wasn't just another car. It was "Le Car."

    I am not here to really blog about Le Car, but about prefixes. If you would like to know about Le Car, go here.

    So if the prefix "Le" can change the uniqueness of a car, I wonder if there are more significant prefixes...

    Wikipedia offers the following as samples:

    • unhappy : un is a negative or antonymic prefix.
    • prefix, preview : pre is a prefix, with the sense of before
    • redo, review : re is a prefix meaning again.

    I love the "re" prefix. Not so much the prefix itself, but rather how it radically changes words.

    For instance, think of the word "new." At one time we were all new. When we were born, we were new. Now, on the other hand, we are not new. We are all getting older. We are losing our innocence. We are losing our strength. We are not new.

    BUT

    If you add the "re" in front of the word "new" something dramatic happens. What was once old becomes new again. RENEW.

    Revelation 5:21 says, "And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”

    The good news is that God is renewing. Right now. He is renewing you. Sometimes you may not feel it, and some days you may even doubt it. I assure you though, He who began a work in you is faithful to complete it. You are being renewed.

    How about generating. For many of us our lives consisted of generating the wrong things. Sin. Rebellion. Angst. Hate.

    BUT

    When you add the prefix "re" in front of generating, you find a completely different meaning. REGENERATED.

    Titus 3:5 says, "He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit."

    Think of all the possibilities here:

    1. restored/restoring
    2. recreated/recreating
    3. redeemed/redeeming
    4. reconciled/reconciling
    5. reformed/reforming
    6. resurrection
    7. relearning
    8. recreating
    9. replacing
    10. revitalizing
    11. reborn

    Never forget my friends, what our Savior is doing in us. Psalm 65:5 says, "By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas."

    Live in the freedom of the prefix today. It says it all.


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, John van der Veen and was tagged with Psalm, Titus, Revelation

  • Good List

    Posted on January 10, 2014 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:27

    God keeps a record in the Lamb’s book of life of those who have trusted His son Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Salvation from hell to heaven begs the question, “Is my name written in the book of life?” “Am I on the good list?” Yes, if you believe Jesus died for your sins and rose from the grave to give you life in Him, you are known in heaven. There is a required transaction of faith in Jesus before you can enjoy sweet fellowship with Jesus. God’s good list offers eternal security.

    Believers in Jesus do not receive a final judgment of separation from God. The option of exclusion from the Lord’s presence in eternity is removed when His presence is invited on earth. However, there is a judgment after death for Christians regarding how they behaved in this life. Did we store up treasures in heaven or did we waste our time with the trivial and trinkets of earth? Joyous will be followers of Jesus who bow before their Lord and hear from Him, “well done.”

    Their work will be shown for what it is, because the [Judgment] Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:13

    So, by God’s grace we seek to be righteous in this brief life for this is the caliber of our eternal life. Assurance of being on the good list is not a ticket to live for the flesh, rather it is freedom and motivation to live for the spirit. Our corruptible flesh will perish, but our incorruptible spirit will live. An individual who choses heaven over hell desires its quality of life. The Holy Spirit within yearns for holiness without. Love wins when our name is in His Book.

    Therefore, thank Jesus, the Lamb of God that your name is penned by His blood in His book of life. Rejoice, since your Savior never ever employs an eraser. He writes your name in stone on the pages of His book. Just as the government records your physical birthday, so heaven records your spiritual date of birth. It is well with your soul, since your salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit. You are on the good list, so do good with God. Invite others to stand firm in Christ Jesus!

    Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you that through the blood of Your son Jesus, my name is forever written in the Lamb’s book of life.

    Related Readings: Psalm 69:28; Philippians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Hebrews 2:3

    Post/Tweet today: Exclusion from the Lord’s presence in eternity is removed when His presence is invited on earth. #goodlist

    © 2014 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhunters.com /www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Revelation

  • Trust or Suspicion

    Posted on May 28, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God who inspires the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place. Revelation 22:6

     

    When expectations are unmet, a gap of concern  is created. It could be a promise that was made, but lacked follow through. Or a person uncharacteristically acted in an incompetent manner, but took responsibility for their actions afterward. Perhaps a spouse was inconsistent in their behavior, but when all the facts were factored in, all made sense. When facing these life disconnects we can chose to bridge the gap with trust or suspicion. Trust is relational lubricant that assumes the best.

     

    Can our Heavenly Father be trusted when there seems to be a chasm between what He has said, and our reality? Of course, we are finite in our understanding, but He is infinite. We never need to hold our Savior suspect over something that doesn’t make sense. On the contrary, we rest knowing Christ has already connected the dots and He can be trusted with the outcome. The Lord’s track record of trustworthiness is unblemished. Trust Him to inspire your next steps.

     

    Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant. 2 Samuel 7:28

     

    What happens when someone breaks your trust? It takes time for a broken trust to be repaired. Chronic offenders can be forgiven, but they lose their status of trustworthiness. Indeed, to be trustworthy is to be worthy of trust.  Relational equity builds  over time and is not overdrawn due to broken promises. Trustworthiness is a gift you give to those you love. Yes, your consistency to do what you said you would do is a gift of security to those who love you.

     

    Therefore, by God’s grace, make it your emotional default to trust, not suspect. Take the high road of valuing the relationship over an outcome. However, make sure there is clarity regarding expectations. Discuss and then write out expectations, so all parties are aligned. Most of all, fill in the gap of uncertainty with faith in your Heavenly Father. He is true to His word and will not leave you in a state of insecurity. He is true to what He told you He will do. He is worthy of your trust!

     

    The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. Proverbs 12:22

     

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow me in my trustworthiness and mature me to trust You and others.

     

    Related Readings: Exodus 18:21; Psalm 19:7, 111:7; Job 15:31; Acts 12:20; 2 Timohty 4:11

     

    Post/Tweet today: God is true to what He told you He will do. He is worthy of your trust. #trustworthy

    © 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Revelation

  • Live in His Presence

    Posted on January 20, 2013 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.’”   Hosea 6:2

     

    Live in His presence so you can better live in the present. His presence is a reality check. His presence is pure and it’s purifying. You cannot live in the presence of the Lord and not be changed. Christ is combustible. His expectation is Lordship over His followers. This is why we submit to Him each time we enter into His presence. His looming presence means He is Lord of our life. We could say that He is ever-present. Therefore, we are perpetually in His presence. So whether we acknowledge His presence or ignore it, He is still there. It is, of course, to our advantage to acknowledge the Almighty all the time, this can become the habit of our heart.

     

    Always look for ways to continually and quietly crown Christ as the Lord over your life. It is in His presence that this comes to light. This is why you intentionally enter into His presence. You need the reminder more than He needs the recognition. Although it is a form of respect to regularly recognize the One you love most, come into His presence out of sheer love and respect, with no agenda but worship. The goal is to live in His presence so you can live in the present. His presence arrests your worries and locks them away so you can live in today. His presence purifies your heart and mind (1 Thessalonians 3:13). His presence comforts and encourages like none other. It is living in His presence that provides strength for your lifelong journey. His presence is where love lingers and holiness hovers.

     

    In the presence of Jesus, your perspective is aligned with the Almighty’s. God is great at giving a gut check. Take the time to tarry with the Lord. Christ can keep you from insignificant commitments. His presence points to your spot in His will.

     

    The presence of God is experienced positionally and volitionally. You know in your head that He is always present. But your heart must volitionally engage with Him in order for you to experience Him practically. Learn to practice His presence. Think about Him often. If men can think about sex every seven seconds, surely thoughts about their Savior can exceed this. Women tend to worry regularly. So a healthy habit is to send worry out the back door of your mind’s control, and invite the Lord in through the front door of your heart’s faith. He does “stand at the door and knock” (Revelation 3:20).

     

    Moreover, live in His presence so you can live in the present. You stay tethered to eternity, but experience the moment. Live in the present, because this is where people live. You can help people live through another day when you lead them into His presence. Living in His presence is as much human as it is divine. It is as much vertical with heaven as it is horizontal with people. Live in His presence. After all, He is already there. So above all else, stay aware, alert of the Almighty’s precious and purifying presence.

     

    Practicing His presence produces lasting relationships and right results. It revives and restores.

    Post/Tweet: We live in God’s presence so we can better live in the present. #prayer

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Hosea, Revelation

  • Hot For God

    Posted on December 31, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16

     

    Institutions of God can lose their intimacy for God. Like the marble floor of a stoic cathedral, the culture of a once vibrant ministry can become cold and hard. Indeed, Christ calls out His church to make a clear commitment to His commands and not waffle like a reluctant bride or groom at the altar. A community of faith fossilizes for a lack of faithfulness to the tenets of the truth. Lukewarm disciples are repulsive to the Lord. 

    Is your faith on fire or is it simmering under the influence of sin? There is no room for neutrality toward religion rooted in Christ. Are you for Him or against Him? Apathy is a vote against Him. Passivity to prayer and public worship is lukewarm leadership for your home. Thus, use the beginning of the new year to attend church with your family. Join a friend in a year long Bible reading plan and/or sign up for a mission to serve the poor.

    “This is war, and there is no neutral ground. If you’re not on my side [Jesus’], you’re the enemy; if you’re not helping, you’re making things worse.” Luke 11:23, The Message

    The world wants us to make everyone happy, but how can we at the expense of disappointing our heavenly Father. Companions who cool our commitment to Christ are not wise to be around. It is our red hot heart of righteousness that needs to rub off on those unsure of their salvation. Our humility and compassionate care are like kerosene to another’s flickering flame of faith. Our combustible love explodes another’s faith in God.

    Therefore, come out of the closet with your commitment to Christ. Do not be ashamed of the gospel, but instead proclaim it. Because you have been given so much--you can give much! Be bold in your faith without being obnoxious. The cross of Christ carries its own offense without any added judgments. Look to your heavenly Father to fuel your faith and to the Holy Spirit to ignite it. Burn hot and bright for God’s son Jesus Christ!

    “Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” 1 Kings 18:21

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, create in me a hot heart for what is important to You.

    Related Readings: Joshua 24:15; Psalm 119:113; Matthew 6:24; Romans 12:11

    Post/Tweet today: There is no room for neutrality toward religion rooted in Christ. #bold

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Luke, Revelation, 1 Kings

  • Gods Purpose Accomplished

    Posted on December 30, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God’s words are fulfilled.”  Revelation 17:17

     

    God will accomplish His purpose. It may be with or without us, but He will execute His will. God does not back down or hold back when it comes to the fulfillment of His wishes. He knows what is best and is bent toward carrying out His good will. Nothing can stop God from accomplishing His purpose. War cannot stop His purpose because He will draw people to Himself during the atrocities of war. Illness cannot stop His purpose because He will reveal His care, compassion, and sometimes, healing, during the eventual breakdown of the body. Death cannot stop His purpose. God will graduate believers in Christ to heaven and non-believers in Christ to hell.

    Sin cannot stop His purpose because Christ forgave sin by His death on the cross. Sinners cannot stop His purpose because there are consequences for wrong, and ultimately, judgment by God. Satan cannot stop God’s purpose because what the devil means for evil, God can use for good. God’s purpose is a freight train that travels down the tracks of obedience and disobedience, saints and sinners. Its momentum on behalf of mankind cannot be stopped. He will not be denied. Even the delay of His ultimate purpose gives more lost souls the opportunity to get on board by placing their faith in Jesus. He will ultimately reign on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In the meantime, there is still time for others to voluntarily bow to His kingship, instead of ultimately being forced to bend their knee to God. His purpose will happen, so it makes sense to work with God, not against God, to accomplish His purpose.

    So what is God’s purpose? One purpose of God is to adopt everyone into His family who believes Jesus is His son. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and this accomplishes one of God’s greater purposes.

    Another purpose of God is seeing you complete the work He has given you to do. Jesus said it best: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4). Your individual obedience to God accomplishes His purpose for you. This is a significant thing. Your obedience matters. You are contributing to the greater heavenly mosaic of God’s glorification. Your fulfillment of God’s purpose helps others to do the same. So, do not apologize for this. Stay laser-focused on executing God’s purpose. Pray about it and seek the Scripture to better understand God’s purpose for you. Equity in eternity never depreciates, so buy a lot—and buy early. His purpose will be accomplished. Find out where He is working, and join Him to fulfill His mission.
     

    Post/Tweet: Equity in eternity never  depreciates, so buy a lot—and buy early. #eternity

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources / A registered 501 c3 ministry

    info@mail.wisdomhuntersdevotional.com / www.wisdomhunters.com


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with John, Revelation

  • Prince of this World

    Posted on October 31, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    Boyd Bailey

    “I will not speak to you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, but the world must learn that I love the Father and I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”  John 14:30-31

     

    The prince of this world is alive and well. His methods are fear, intimidation, and deception. He flaunts his pretentious power over a decaying world. He maneuvers around in a spiritual disguise. He wants you to have just enough of Jesus to disappoint you but not too much that you depend on Him. His desire is for partial obedience to the commands of Christ, so that your love for Him is sentimental and shallow. Then when pain and suffering grow in intensity, you will lose confidence in the Lord. He wants your love for the Lord to be conditional on everything being okay, not unconditional regardless of the outcome.

    Adversity is the adversary’s most intense weapon of distrust. Satan desires to sift your faith through the sands of suffering. He tries to extract your joy in Jesus with jealously over the good fortune of others and a jaded belief that God is distant and disinterested. He demands you to believe that death is the end and that no good can come out of your grief and loss. But, followers of Jesus do not have to believe his half-truths. You are free to instantly, willingly, and completely obey God’s commands.

    This is the evidence of your love for the Lord. Love is where joy gestates. Hate is where anger incubates. Obedience to God makes you an overcomer. There is nothing the devil can demand of you without first going through God. He tries to make you think you are eternally exposed, but you are safely strapped in by eternal security. Christ is in His Father, you are in Christ, and Christ is in you (John 14:20). The prince of this world is powerless to pry you from the Prince of Peace.

    The Prince of Peace is large and in charge. He has taken the temptations of the tempter and turned them into His purposes. Jesus uses allurement for power, and converts it into servant leadership. Christ stands greed on its head, transforming it into generosity. The Lord arrests lust, and rehabilitates it into unconditional love. The Holy Spirit harbors discernment and direction during the dregs of distractions and distrust. The temptation for resentment and bitterness is trumped by everlasting forgiveness. Jesus is all about calm in the middle of confusion; He is light in the middle of darkness; He is peace in the middle of war; He is joy in the middle of sadness; He is acceptance in the middle of rejection; He is love in the middle of hate.

    The Prince of Peace has formed an army of the faithful. Hear His voice, learn of Him, learn from Him, and obey His commands. The enemy is no match for the Master. The enemy tries in vain to recruit those gone AWOL or who have drifted behind enemy lines. Nevertheless, fight the good fight. Rescue the perishing and care for the dying. The battle is not yours, but the Lord’s. You cannot sustain yourself in your own strength; instead, rely on your Savior's. Do not fall for the tempter’s tactics, for his tricks are no treat. Faithful followers of Jesus trust wholeheartedly, love unconditionally, and obey instantly. Surrender is what we signed up for. The enemy shudders when you surrender to your Savior, and not to him. The unseen war was fought and finished at the cross. The Prince of Peace rules eternally. He is the winner for now and for evermore.

    The Bible says, “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2).

    Prayer: Heavenly Father, I trust the Prince of Peace to give me peace over the prince of this world.

    Related Readings: Genesis 6:1-4; Matthew 4:10; John 8:44; 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 2 Peter 2:4

    Post/Tweet: Do not fall for the tempter’s tactics, for his tricks are no treat. #Satan

    © 2012 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.

    Wisdom Hunters Resources
    A registered 501 c3 ministry

    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with John, Revelation

  • Self-Flattery

    Posted on October 8, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. Psalm 36:1b-2

     

    Self-flattery is foolish. It has no fear of God. Self-flattery follows a false faith that is forged out of convenience, not commitment. Self-flattery sees itself as the center of attention instead of Almighty God. It is enamored with itself. It defines and executes its own agenda. It is soft on sin. However, God-fearers see their sin and flee from its presence. It is not invited into their circle of influence. Furthermore, a person who flatters himself has neither a proper view of God nor any respect for Him. Respect for God flows from fear of God but self-flattery demands respect. They need to know that others hold the same high opinion of themselves as they do.

    Self-flattery heaps praise on itself in substitute for penance. This is dangerously absurd. Even the silliest bird does not set a trap for itself. Smoothing over our conduct or soothing our conscience may set us up for failure. We can justify anything, but we had better be ready to suffer the consequences. There is a limit to our self-congratulation. Eventually, God and others grow impatient with our obnoxious ways. Our inability to own up to our actions—or lack thereof—lowers our standing with God and man. Self-flattery is a losing proposition. It loses respect instead of gaining respect. It grows discontent instead of being content. It feels worse instead of feeling better. Self-flattery fails.

    There are many forms of self-flattery. When we think we are smarter than God, ignoring the principles laid out in His word, we flatter ourselves. When we think we have hope in heaven but we act like hell, we flatter ourselves. When we live for today as if death were a million miles away, we flatter ourselves. When we treat others with contempt, then expect them to follow our ways, we flatter ourselves. When we say we trust in the Lord, but borrow money and presume on the future, we flatter ourselves. Self-flattery longs for approval, but it is denied from those who really matter. There is a better way. The better way rises above self-flattery's deception. It needs awakening from its slumber, as did the church Jesus spoke about (Revelation 3:17).

    The road away from self-flattery is self-denial. Self-denial refrains from flattery. It is determined to know God. It is sensitive to sin and loves the Lord. The fear of God is in the forefront of those who deny themselves for the cause of Christ. Self-denial keeps God in holy awe, keeping self away from unhealthy admiration. It makes much of God and little of self. When we see God we admire Him and cease to flatter ourselves. Knowing God allows us to really know ourselves and discern between the two. The wisdom of God instructs us to place proper weight on what God wants versus what we want. Self-denial sends us into a whole other mindset, away from self-flattery. Its focus is being who God wants us to be and doing what God wants us to do. Self-denial serves others, deferring to them and what they value. It thinks more highly of God and His children. Self-denial replaces self-flattery with faith in God. Faith in God frees us to be secure in Him. Our identity is in Christ. We do not have to impress others or ourselves. He is all that matters. Replace self-flattery with faith in God. Faith in Him energizes an eternal self-esteem.

    Taken from Reading #25 in the 90-day devotional book, “Seeking God in the Psalms”… http://bit.ly/bQHNIE

    Post/Tweet this today: Knowing God allows us to really know ourselves. #intimacy 

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Psalm, Revelation

  • Eternal Rewards

    Posted on September 6, 2012 by Boyd Bailey

    He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11:26

     

    Eternal rewards are based on a disciple’s effort on earth. Believers who ignore their spiritual opportunities and obligations will miss out on their Heavenly Father’s affirmation and remuneration. But those sober saints who take seriously their Savior’s expectations will enter into the joy of their Master. Christ rewards obedience to Him.

    Rewards in heaven are meant to be godly motivation. Yes, our first response is to serve Jesus out of love and our overflowing gratitude for His goodness and grace. And it is wise to fear the Lord and allow our holy awe of the Almighty to be foundational for our life of faith and works. But there is an end in mind: Jesus wants His children to be devoted and compelled by anticipating His generous gifts.

    “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:27).

    It is a process of renewing your mind with an eternal decision-making filter that facilitates biblical thinking and doing. Ask the Lord in prayer how He wants you to invest your life in others. How does God want you to use your experience, your assets, your time, your money, and your influence for His purposes? In other words, how can you make eternal investments on earth that bear fruit for God’s glory?

    What you do does not get you to heaven—this comes only by faith in Christ and God’s amazing grace. But what you do after becoming a follower of Jesus does determine the quality of your eternal experience. The persecuted and martyred in this life have a great reward waiting in the next life. Those who initiate resources and influence on behalf of the poor and needy bring great satisfaction to Jesus which He expresses in bountiful blessings. Indeed, He rewards all those who diligently seek Him by faith.

    “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

    Love God and your reward will be great. Be a faithful witness who plants or waters the gospel of Jesus Christ and you will be rewarded by spending forever with eternally grateful souls. Send your investments ahead to heaven, by aggressively giving it away on earth. Resist; even reject rewards from the culture, so you are positioned to receive Christ’s rewards. Remain faithful to God’s call and look forward to His reward.

    Jesus said, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done” (Revelation 22:12).

    Prayer: How can I live my life in a way that honors the Lord and looks forward to His rewards?

    Related Readings: Amos 6:1-7; Isaiah 54:2; 2Peter 1:3; Revelation 2:7-10

    Post/Tweet this today: Send your money ahead to heaven, by aggressively giving it away on earth. #eternal rewards

    Get free eBook “Infusion” by inviting 5 friends to Wisdom Hunters http://bit.ly/PEbaBJ


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Wisdom Hunters and was tagged with Matthew, Hebrews, Revelation

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