Saturday, November 23, 2019

November 23

God gave me the opportunity to speak to a young woman who has lived a rough life, and is still in the throws of a less than ideal lifestyle. She was a mother to two children, but had lost custody of them, and they were placed for adoption. My heart goes out to people who’ve had trauma, and live with guilt. To my surprise, she had put her past behind her, and was able to tell her story without tears. She knew of Jesus, so when I shared the gospel with her, it was of no surprise, she knew the drill. All was not lost, I didn’t give up, but offered her my book as a way for her to step into the scriptures gently. I don’t know what will become of her in the future, but I know this, God loves her, and if he loves her, so do I. Our job as Christ-followers, is to love people, help them to understand the truth of who Jesus is, even those who’ve hardened their hearts towards him. If my words only crack the door of her heart a little, and let a tiny ray of light shine in, it could be all the Holy Spirit needs to begin a good work in her. Don’t be afraid to share the love of Jesus. It may not be often, but he will set you up to speak life into someone. You don’t need fancy words, just a heart and a passion for people. A quick prayer, and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Try it, and see what happens.

"What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice," Philippians 1:18

Friday, November 22, 2019

November 22

I have a friend who attends church every week. She displays her “Christianity” to everyone. She does not live an exemplary life, and is a poor example for Jesus. Should she be rebuked? I’m not sure, because her “Christianity” may be a heritage rather than a submission to Jesus. She reminds me of the Sons of Sceva, who tried to heal people in the name of Jesus, but were wounded and sent running away naked, by a demon. She uses the name of Jesus, but doesn’t truly know him. As nasty as she is, I feel sorry for her because her possessions mean more to her than human kindness. I’m telling you this so you will examine your own life. I write these daily devotionals for this very reason, for people like my friend who feel they are safe from hell, but don’t really know Jesus. As you grow in your love for him, your life changes, and you become more like him; if you are not seeing yourself change for the better, please examine your heart and make sure you are fully committed to him. I will be heartbroken when we meet Jesus in the clouds, and you are not there.

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:1-2

Thursday, November 21, 2019

November 21

These days, everyone seems to like a checklist. We continually evaluate ourselves to see if we measure-up. Well, I have a surprise for you, a checklist!  Today is evaluation day! The topic: “Marks of a true Christian.” This checklist comes directly from Romans 12:9-21. This is a TRUE/FALSE quiz. 

  1. My love is genuine. I abhor what is evil; I hold fast to what is good. (9)
  2. I love others with brotherly affection and outdo others in showing honor. (10)
  3. I am not slothful in zeal, and I’m fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. (11)
  4. I rejoice in hope, I’m patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer. (12)
  5. I contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (13)
  6. I bless those who persecute me; I bless and do not curse them. (14)
  7. I rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (15)
  8. I live in harmony with others. I am not haughty, but associate with the lowly. I’m never wise in my own sight. (16)
  9. I repay no evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (17)
  10. As it depends on me, I live peaceably with all. (18)
  11. I never avenge myself, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (19)
  12. If my enemy is hungry, I feed him; if he is thirsty, I give him something to drink. (20)
  13. I am not overcome by evil, but I overcome evil with good (21)

Any false answers to this quiz will require you to repent, reevaluate your walk with the Lord, and prayer for the Holy Spirit to do a work in you. Do you measure up to God’s definition of a true Christian?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

November 20

Do you ever long for more of Jesus? During a church service, I prayed that God would give me an overwhelming emotional connection to Jesus; specifically, when I think about him for tears to flow. That’s an extraordinary prayer that he has not fulfilled. The answer came as soon as the pastor opened his mouth, he said something to the effect of, “it’s not about emotion.” Thanks a lot preacher-man! God needs us to be in this with our head, but as an emotional human, we connect love with emotion. I’m guilty! I want to feel something extra, but God wants us to know him for more than the emotion. I’ve got the head knowledge, but now I want my head and heart to connect on a deeper level, a more spiritual, and overwhelming level. There is probably something that needs to change within me before he grants this request, a step that I need to take, or growth that needs to happen. Whatever the case, I’ll wait and watch, because the next point in the preachers sermon was, “MY GOD CAN... Even when the first attempt fails.” I’ll take that! Whatever you are praying for today, just know that God can do anything; he is not limited. I’m not sure if this is a smart prayer to pray, but he does, and he won’t give me anything that is not beneficial to me or to the kingdom. I’m okay with that too.

"And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”" Mark 9:23

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

November 19

Accidents happen. I was in a fender bender where I ran into the back of another car. I was sitting at the light daydreaming, waiting for it to change, when I notice cars moving in my peripheral. To my shock, and surprise, the car in front of me didn’t move. The girl jumped out of her car and cussed me out! In my view it was a bit of an overreaction, but we are all geared differently, so our reactions are different. I remained calm, made sure everyone was okay, and apologized. I finally coaxed her to move to a parking lot, because we were backing up traffic. The officer showed up, and instructed us to exchange information, which we had already done. My calm demeanor diffused her anger, and by the end she was smiling. I don’t blame her for being angry, nobody wants their car crumpled, but if I had gotten angry because of her foul mouth, it could have been a serious mess. 

God’s word teaches us how to respond, and the Holy Spirit helps us to carry it out, but if we are not immersed in his word, we won’t pick up on his mannerisms. When you spend time in the Bible, God molds you into the likeness of Jesus; though you will never be perfect, you will make strides towards the better.

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. Proverbs 15:1-2

Monday, November 18, 2019

November 18

Are we to ignore the law of God because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings? Do you rescue someone whose about to jump off a cliff? How can you love someone and let them continue in sin? Are we to ignore a whole segment of the population that feel entitled to be who they want to be even if we know it’s wrong? It is not love to watch someone go against God’s word. Maybe the Holy Spirit sent you to be a light, or an example to the fallen to make them aware of their mistake. Jesus said it many times, “Go and sin no more.” He knew what it was to love. He did not care if he hurt someone’s feelings. The enemy has deceived so many by telling them to leave people alone, and it’s their right to continue in a particular lifestyle. If you think this is okay, then you don’t know the Bible, and you don’t know God! Your idea of love is skewed if you don’t tell them they are wrong. When you sin, you are rejecting God, and you do not truly believe in him. Go ahead and keep believing we should leave others alone and let them be who they want to be, but know this, you will not see them in eternity, or maybe you will. 🤷‍♀️ 

"Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”"  John 5:14

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Ezekiel 3:17-18

Sunday, November 17, 2019

November 17

We are each given a cross to bear. No one has a perfect life, not even the most perfect person to walk the earth, Jesus. He had to deal with the same obstacles we deal with, the same type of people we deal with daily, even calling his disciples dense, because they lacked understanding. Imagine living and knowing you had to face death on a cross! Though you may feel that you are the only one going through a hard time, you are not! Each of us have difficulties that may not be seen, but are hidden away, out of plain sight. For me, I try not to dwell on such things because I don’t want to live a miserable life. I will think about such things while the wound is fresh, but when a new day comes, it’s time to move on. This is what I ask myself when harsh, unexpected things happen, “Will this affect my eternity?” The answer is always and emphatic “NO!” So why am I dwelling on it? Jesus came and gave us a reason to keep living, but also a reason not to fear people, or fear dying. Set your mind on positive things. If it keeps going down a negative path, you must change it immediately to think of something more positive. Make that a practice, and you will begin to change the path your mind takes and become a more positive person.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:7-8

In God, whose word I praise, in the LORD, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalms 56:10-11