THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD ONESELF

It is important for mankind to have a right understanding of self and to have a proper attitude toward self. For that to happen we need first to understand how special each of us are when we grow according to God’s plan. He has a plan for each of us even before we are conceived not unlike someone designing a blueprint before putting up a building. Every element of our personal construction is being overseen by God from the moment of conception (Psalm 139:13-16). Indeed we are God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10).

With time just as buildings need oversight so do we in terms of our relationship to our Creator. God desires that from our earliest moments we be in union with Him. That requires that we die to sin and no longer live in it (Romans 6:2).

The problem is that God gave us free will and many if they have sorrow for their sin are insincere and after forgiveness continue sinning. God’s plan is that we put on the “new man (and woman)” or new self.

For some time many if not most in our world have had a problem of self pre-occupation. Someone once wrote a book titled: Looking out for #1 and it compounded the problem of mankind’s focus on self rather than God. The result when we abandon God and get caught up in our own sinful life is we are less successful on many fronts. Simon Peter learned this lesson when leaving Christ to go fishing and came back with nothing (John 21:3).

There are those who have left our Lord and Savior and seem successful yet in reality they are not for they will be and are caught up in their own sins. For we who call ourself Christian remember the importance of having THE PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD ONESELF.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY:  Proper self image is seeing oneself as subject to our Savior.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Psalm 139:13-16 “self plan of God for each of us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always be subject to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How do you view yourself?
  2. What do you believe is God’s blueprint for your life?
  3. Have you died to all your sins?
  4. How has mankind shown its focus on self?

 

TODAY IS THE DAY TO REPENT!

The most important experience you can have in this life is repentance. Repentance means to”turn from sin (and) turn to God”. This act requiring God’s grace (Acts 11:18) is two fold as has been stated. You cannot just turn from sin thereby becoming a good person which many people believe is enough.You must also turn to God. That requires we change from self-seeking ambitious people following numerous types of ‘isms’ to someone who seeks God found through Christ alone (John 14:6).

Today our news is distracting and disturbing on so many levels. The reason being that it allows people to get caught up in the blame game where we see the sins of others rather than looking within our own hearts. Unless we change ourselves and the world one heart at a time nothing will ever be different no matter how many laws you might pass. For example repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand. If you have truly repented there is no room for anger, hate or even blame.

That being said, it is unfortunate but there are some that will never repent. Saying no to God to often God will one day harden and seal their heart as He did the pharaoh’s in Exodus 14:4. It is for that reason we must continue to denounce sin (which is to truly love the sinner) so that they might one day open their eyes to their wrongdoing.

We must hold before all who sin that unless we repent God will give us over to physical sin (Romans 1:24), emotional sin (Romans 1:26) and ultimately mental sin (Romans 1:28). TODAY IS THE DAY TO REPENT.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A world can change one heart at a time.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Exodus 14:4 “a hardened heart if repentance is ignored”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord I repent of all my sins and turn to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What ism’s do people get caught up in (ex. humanism)?
  2. Why is it important to understand repentance is a 2-fold act?
  3. Why do people in desiring to solve problems not look first at healing the heart?
  4. How should people with a hardened heart be dealt with?

CHILDBIRTH

I begin today’s thoughts with a disclaimer. As a man speaking about childbirth it seems somehow out of place yet the Scripture has much to say on the subject which I now share with you.

Motherhood is certainly in harmony with God’s plan. Trusting and loving God and living a Holy life Scripture tells us will remove some of the pain (1 Timothy 2:15) that came with Genesis 3:16 and original sin. For many these verses are difficult to accept or understand as we want to be in charge rather than live under God’s authority. Yet when we accept the truth of Scripture we see the beauty of childbirth which is symbolic of the restoration of life. Symbolic of our return to the Garden of Eden. Symbolic of Christ’s and our own resurrection some day. Childbirth truly is the best symbol of the new birth we experience as Christians.

Most all understand the fear, pain and hazards that can accompany childbirth but remaining focused on the joy afterwords get us through. Two thoughts go along with this. The first is a traditional Jewish view that as God added pain to childbirth in Genesis 3:16 so also the cries of pain at child birth will reach the Lord Who will open the womb. I do not know how many mothers who at that exact moment of delivery consider it a love gift from God but that is exactly what that newborn is.

A second thought is how mankind in its ignorance chooses to interfere with childbirth (God’s promise). We have not only abused this promise with acts of abortion but also by means of surrogacy, test tubes and more. Galatians 4:22-23  shares the story of Abraham who had one child come by promise and one by other means. Not placing trust in the miracle working power of God has resulted in many of the difficulties we are facing today.

The Jewish Talmud writes that God gave His Son Jesus Christ 3 keys that He alone could open the doors to. They were rain, resurrection of the dead and childbirth. Mankind today seems obsessed with controlling in some fashion each of these though that will never happen to the extent they believe they can. Today we give thanks to our Lord and Savior for His part in CHILDBIRTH.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Childbirth in the name of Christ has eternal consequences.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Galatians 4:22-23 “Abraham’s poor decision”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for the gift of childbirth.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Options to consider when unable or choosing not to have children of one’s own?
  2. Explain all the symbolism in childbirth?
  3. In what ways is abortion the antithesis of childbirth?
  4. How has Abraham’s decisions impacted today’s world?

 

PRODUCTIVE UNTIL THE LAST BREATH!

The one thing I can’t imagine being is totally useless or of little worth. In order to not become so requires that I be productive. In that regard, Psalm 92:14 is especially spiritually uplifting as David shares how even people of old age shall bear fruit and be fresh and flourishing. Coming upon my 7th decade of life, in some ways that seems more difficult while in other ways each new moment is richer than the last.

The key to productiveness is found in the words of Christ recorded in Matthew 13:23. It comes in hearing our Lord’s Words and understanding them. Understanding that comes only through the Holy Spirit within us. The two go together like Oreos and milk.

When this happens we will truly understand and know what it means to receive the Grace of God in truth and we will walk a walk that pleases our Lord doing good works and increasing in the Knowledge of God (Colossians 1:6,10).

It is at this point our lives will abide in Christ and we will be one with Him (John 15:2-8). There is no description that can explain the euphoria we will experience at that time. A euphoria that will be and is 24/7 every day of the year. A euphoria that will allow us to be PRODUCTIVE UNTIL THE LAST BREATH.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Fruit bearing leads to a fulfilling life feasting on every moment with our Heavenly Father.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR THE DAY: Psalm 92:14 “with age comes productivity”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may I always bear fruit for You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Of what value are you to the Lord?
  2. What can you do to make yourself of greater value to our Lord?
  3. In what ways are people of value as they grow into their later years?
  4. Is your relationship with the Lord one of euphoria?

RESPECT FOR THE UNBORN

It will be no surprise for any who have followed my devotional thoughts how strong I feel about the rights of the unborn child. This irregardless of how many weeks from conception it is. My reasoning comes not from those who oppose or support abortion irregardless of the terminology they use. My reasoning comes from God’s Word and His Word alone.

From the time of Moses the unborn child has been legally protected (Exodus 21:22-23) and yet somehow in today’s world many have convinced themselves and our highest courts that the unborn developing child is simply a mass of cells to be dealt with as mankind desires and not as God desires.

I believe the unborn child has a nature given it by God conceived in sin (Psalm 51:5) yet saved by grace. Equally if not more importantly is that from the very moment of conception the unborn child was formed by God (Psalm 139:13-16). It should be as we say at weddings in that what God has joined together no man (or woman) should separate.

In fact the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 49:1) tells us God already has a plan for each of us while yet unborn. Each and every one of us are special and have a purpose if only we would listen to God’s voice. I believe our calling if we hear God’s voice is like Jeremiah expressed in Jeremiah 1:5. Each of us, as was the life of Christ, are here to share the message of God’s Kingdom. In fact we know that from John the Baptist whose life was spent preparing for Christ’s coming. That preparation began in his mother Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:41). It is time we put aside our self interests and begin to have RESPECT FOR THE UNBORN.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: All unborn fetuses are children fashioned by God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSES FOR TODAY: Psalm 139:13-16 “from conception God formed us”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord open the eyes of the world to the value of life given by You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What has led so many to the point of believing life is so disposable?
  2. How did courts evolve into supporting abortion?
  3. Why do people choose words like ‘choice’ rather than calling ending the life of the unborn an ‘abortion’?
  4. What are your personal feelings?

RELATED BLOG: A God given right

WHAT TO DO WITH ‘OLD’ PEOPLE!

As society becomes increasingly a throw away society in so many ways it is natural that it would eventually come to human lives. From the unborn to the elderly ‘choice’ is now the word of the day. Not God’s choice who created us but our choice on whether an unborn child should live or die or even an elderly person as assisted suicide (fancifully called euthanasia) gains acceptance.

God’s Word treated life considerably different. The elderly contributed a great deal. King Rehoboam after seeking consul from the elderly foolishly rejected it (1 Kings 12) and paid a price. Job 12:12 tells us correctly “wisdom is with aged men (and women) and with length of days understanding”.

The story of Anna recorded in Luke 2:36-38 tells of the spiritual service elderly can give. With time and retirement elderly can provide the back bone of any faith related needs whether it be intercessory prayer or any number of Christian activities. People of old age can still be fruitful (Psalm 92:14). In fact in many ways they can provide leadership serving as examples in their bold declaration of the words of Joshua 24:15: “But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”.

So the question remains ‘what to do with the elderly’? First, like Abishag in 1 Kings 1:15, we must minister to their needs and that does not mean providing them with the means for an untimely death. Senior living centers, families and home care providers when set up properly can certainly do this. The care should always be provided in a respectful manner. No less so than God would do as we are told in Isaiah 46:4 with the words: “even to (your) gray hairs I (God) will carry you”.

The Bible is clear. The elderly often referred to as ‘silver or gray’ haired are to be honored (Leviticus 19:32 and Proverbs 16:31). That is the answer to WHAT TO DO  WITH ‘OLD’ PEOPLE.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Elderly are not an encumbrance but rather a source of spiritual enlightenment.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Job 12:12 “understanding comes with age”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord may we always honor our elderly.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. How has society become a throw away society especially in areas of faith, family, friends, finances, etc.?
  2. In what ways are we as a nation committing the same crimes we fought against in World War 2?
  3. What type of spiritual service can elderly provide?
  4. What can we do for the elderly that honors them especially those living lonely lives?

RELATED BLOGS: What comes with age? and Blessings of being old.

 

DEPRESSION!

It seems to me there is much around us that can bring on a depression of spirit. We start off the day with depressing news casts and often don’t go to sleep without watching the news. Somehow that doesn’t seem like the answer for what ails us to overcome this ‘down in the dumps’ mood we believe we need. For many we look outside of ourselves to find the ‘good feeling’ and so we cling to sports teams, become groupies for some unique personality or perhaps we turn to alcohol, drugs or narcotics. The end result eventually is often a let down as we return to reality.

The Bible tells us the cause for despondency often lies in, for example, mourning such as Jacob felt when he thought his son Joseph had died (Genesis 37:34-35). The only solution to this separation brought on by death or some other means of course is our hope in God (Psalm 42:5). In fact without our hope in God our life would indeed be pitiful.

Many feel despondent in reaction to sickness such as Hezekiah did (Isaiah 38:9-12). It is a major factor in the popularity of euthanasia. Legally ending our lives prematurely with the assistance of others. When that is done we remove ourselves from a healing God who values each of us created in His image and so we buy into satan’s argument feeling we have no longer a purpose and despondency often leading to death sets in.

Sorrow drives many into despondency even to the point of suicide. Here is where forgiveness is so important. Others forgiving us for sins we committed whatever they may be (while still allowing for accountability for actions committed). Not only do we need outside forgiveness but we have to forgive ourselves as well. If not, the problem will eat away at our soul to the point of destroying it.

This life by its nature will be full of adversity. No one understood that better than Job who shared his feelings in Job 9:16-35. There will be times when we will wonder where God is but we can rest assured no matter what the cause God is at our side and ready to help us with our DEPRESSION.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Despondency is difficult unless we turn our depression into devotion toward God.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Psalm 42:5 “answer for depression”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord keep me strong.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What around us brings on depression?
  2. Where does society go for comfort and with what results?
  3. Is there something you need forgiveness for?
  4. What is the Biblical answer for depression?

RELATIONSHIPS THAT DRAMATICALLY FALL APART!

Some relationships seem to truly be ‘made in Heaven’ while others go so far as one or both parties holding contempt for each other. The Bible clearly forbids this yet it continues.

It begins in the family home as do so many issues. Here we see parents neither demanding or receiving respect from their children (Proverbs 23:22). With each dysfunctional family you add to society we can see why society is falling apart in so many ways. This needs to be corrected and it begins with parents showing love for children (born and unborn) as guided by Scripture and as Christ asks of us in Matthew 18:10.

This then needs to carry over to the work place (1 Timothy 6:2). When a person either employs or works for a believer in Christ the relationship should provide the perfect work environment. A business built on faith and that conducts itself accordingly is a blessing to all and especially to our Lord and Savior.

Finally God desires we have our priorities right which is to say we need to care for the less fortunate before paying homage to any who have achieved financial success (James 2:1-3). Doing less than that shows a contempt in some measure to the poor which is contrary to God’s plan for us.

Acting as our Lord desires we need to be prepared that many if not most others will hold us in contempt. Christ underscored this in the parable of the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-6). Evil in this world as we see all around us is loud and in your face but we must never cease to speak the truth of Scripture. In this we can take great comfort for no one was reviled more than Christ. Staying true to God’s Word our relationship will be one RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL NOT FALL APART.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Contempt for Christians will come from those who choose to live contrary to Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Matthew 18:10 “Christ commands who we must not despise”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord strengthen me when others speak against my devotion to You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. What examples of dysfunctional homes leading to a dysfunctional society are there?
  2. How do we wrongfully despise little ones as Christ forbids in Matthew 18:10?
  3. What businesses based on faith deserve our support (ex. Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby)?
  4. How can we show we care for the poor?

WHERE IS YOUR NAME WRITTEN?

I suspect most people in some fashion or another like to see their names in print. Some more than others. Those records are then recorded for life as one knows it on earth. Sadly what few think about is how our name will be recorded by God for all eternity.

This record is called the Book of Life and is a place I believe we are all listed from infancy (Hebrews 12:23) until what some call the age of accountability when we can fall from grace by making a conscious decision not to accept the Holy Spirit into our lives. Christ’s words address this in Revelation 3:1-6.

The question to ask then is what is contained in the record books God keeps? The answer is the two elements of judgment (Revelation 20:12-13). Those who are saved (vs. 5) and those who sadly fall into damnation (Revelation 20:15). A reality many sadly choose to ignore. Perhaps that is why so many fear or choose not to study or open the Bible for the truth it contains.

The degree of reward is also recorded. Paul mentions this in 1 Corinthians 3:8 for those after being saved continuing in good works (Malachi 3:16-18). I also believe all our deeds and innermost thoughts will be revealed at that time (Daniel 7:9-10).

The good news is that if we come in faith to Jesus we will be forgiven. Jewish history has acknowledged this as well using Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) on the first day to offer prayers seeking forgiveness and Yom Kipper nine days later when the forgiveness is sealed. I believe the cross seals that forgiveness immediately. The key is the emphasis on our penitence seeking to be forgiven. When doing that we can boldly proclaim Heaven when asked WHERE IS YOUR NAME WRITTEN?

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: The Book of Life is our blessing if we are among the body of Christ seeking forgiveness.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Luke 10:20 “our names written in Heaven”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord forgive my sins as I grow in my continued love for You.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is your name written in the Book of Life?
  2. How is the age of accountability determined?
  3. As Christians why are each thought, word and deed critical?
  4. Do you confess your sins regularly?

RELATED BLOG: I saw your name written in…

 

WHAT ABOUT ADOPTION?

I enjoy genealogy. The tracing of the many branches of my family around the world as far back as I can. As a believer in inerrancy of Scripture that would take me to Noah and his sons or back to Creation. It makes Scripture truly come alive reading about my family.

Genealogists often get caught up in blood lines and DNA transfer but God does not. God is all about restoration. Restoring us to our original intended state to be one with Him. Part of that is understanding there should be ‘no child left behind’ and accepting the fact that there are no unwanted children only unfound families as someone once said.

In fact if you are adopted you are in good company. The relationship between Joseph and Jesus was one of adoption as Jesus was born of the Spirit. This brought Jesus into the line of King David as it does any child adopted into a familie’s ‘tree’ bringing them into that family line. In fact I believe Scripture points to the fact that God considers adoption equal to birth.

We can by this knowledge all become children of God (Romans 8:12-17). The key is that this is only for those led by God’s Spirit who put their trust in Jesus. If you have no Jesus in your life, you have no Father and therefore no adoption (1 John 2:23). It is as simple as that.

Adoption also means ‘taking on’. For those who study Scripture in a deeper fashion than I have it is my understanding Jesus took on the name Yeshua. That topic is for another time but key is when we are adopted be it into a family or into the Christian Nation we take on a new name. As a believer that new name will be stamped on us (Rev. 3:12). We will have a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17) that gives us access to God (Ephesians 2:18) and His Fatherly love (1 John 3:1). That is the answer to WHAT ABOUT ADOPTION.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Adoption acknowledges a person is accountable to someone new.

DEVOTIONAL VERSE FOR TODAY: Romans 8:15 “the Spirit of adoption”.

PRAYER FOR TODAY: Lord thank you for making me Your child.

QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Is adoption the solution to abortion while still allowing freedom of choice?
  2. Is it possible to adopt without physical presence?
  3. In what way might baptism be considered ‘adoption day’?
  4. What is the history of adoption in Scripture?

RELATED BLOG: What does it mean to be adopted?