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Through all of this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
How thankful are you for the Lord’s provision? Do you take the life He has given you for granted or do you thank Him daily for your many blessings?
The manner by which you live your life and the light in which you see it will have a great affect on how you work through difficult situations you encounter. You and I could learn much from the story of Job. This man lost all that he had yet continued to express his faith and never stop praising the Lord.
Because He did not allow Himself to believe that He deserved the blessings He possessed, his response to God was not in anger or hatred, but rather in submission. Job 1:21 records his response. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Great sorrow and morning were not feelings to be placed aside after losing his possessions and family, nonetheless Job recognized that to allow his emotions to drift into bitterness and hatred would be sinful. It was on account of this that he was able to avoid the selfish mindset of, “Why me?”
Are you prepared to lose your most cherished provisions from the Lord, yet continue to praise God for who He is? Could you say within your heart that you would not curse God if He took from you your closest friends or family members? The key to ensuring that this will never happen can be found in Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other God’s before me.” Job was able remain faithful to the Lord because he never allowed even his family to become more important than his God.
The person or thing you seek to please the most will always be the first god that you serve. Whether that is family, friends, or a career, I challenge you to lay them aside and keep the Lord as number one on your list. It is only by doing this that you will be prepared to continue serving Him if should He take from you what you love the most.
Never forget that life and its blessings are gifts from God and not privileges that you possess.
Would you let someone inject an unknown substance under your skin as long as it looked pretty when they were finished? According to a recent NPR report, that’s what millions of Americans are doing every year.
The tattoo industry has recently come under scrutiny by the FDA concerning their unregulated use of ink. In the report mentioned above it is clear that no one really knows what is inside these inks.
While some parlors like the well known Zulu Tattoo in Los Angles take great care in selecting safe inks for there tattoos, many other parlors actually add unsafe substances to their ink. As a result, the FDA reports: “We’ve seen such things as infections, swelling, cracking, peeling and blistering at (the) tattoo site”.
I don’t have a tattoo but I know several friends that have gone through the process. To my knowledge, none of them have researched the type of ink that was being injected into their skin prior to undergoing the process. After reading this report, it seems like this is something you need to research. The type of ink is much more important than the color of the ink or the design of the tattoo.
Do you have a tattoo? Did you research the type of ink that was being used prior to getting your tattoo? Have you or anyone you know had any bad reactions because of the ink used in your tattoo?
If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right had of God.
The extent to which I take my new life with Christ for granted is disgusting. Not to me, mind you, but to my Lord. At some distant level I am aware that Christ died to give me life. And yet, my day-to-day activities and thoughts show no proof that I guard this knowledge close to my heart. It is this severe lack of gratification that leads to such rebukes from Christ: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth…” (Revelation 3:14-22).
I would be foolish to assume that I am alone in my sinful tendencies. Although we who are called by His name rest in the eternal security of our Heavenly Father, the flesh (sinful nature) continually tugs on us, urging us not to let go of our earthly lusts. If this were not so, Paul would have no need to remind the Colossians to “keep seeking” the things above (3:1). But he did have to remind them. And he has to remind me. And he has to remind you.
He says, “Listen! Stop dwelling on the things around you! (Galatians 5:19-21) Set your minds on the things above (Galatians 5:22, 23; Philippians 4:8). Never forget that your old self is dead! You have died with Christ – and because of this – your life is now hidden with Christ, in God. Make it your goal to dwell on what Christ has done for you today. Put a rubber band around your wrist and thank Jesus for his death every time you see it.
The more you thank Jesus for His death, the more you will appreciate it. The more you appreciate it, the less your life will need rebuking by the Lord.
But the fruit of the Spirit…
Does your life bear fruit? I am not talking about apples and pears, but rather the evidence of God. Scripture teaches us that the fruit of the Spirit must be present in your life if you confess to be a child of God. John 15:5 quotes Jesus saying, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.” I wonder how much of this “fruit” can be tasted by those who spend time with you?
Have you ever thought about what this fruit might look like? What is Paul talking about when He says the “fruit of the Spirit?” Is the fruit of the Spirit attending church or feeding the poor? What about going on a mission trip or helping an elderly person around the house? While I would agree that these are all products of the fruit we are to bear, I would not say that this is the actual fruit Paul is speaking of. When we examine our lives to uncover the fruit of the Spirit we must not mistake it for works or deeds. Hebrews 9:14 says that our old self (our non-Christ like habits) are “dead works.” We used to labor in vain. Now, however, we have been made new creations in Christ. While I must work to go to church or spend time with those that need help, the fruit of the Spirit occurs naturally in my life as an apple might grow on a tree. It is by the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) that others know of your commitment to Christ. John 15:8 says, “By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” When those around you look at your life, they are not going to count you a Christian by the number of times you go to church each week, but by the fruit your spirit yields.
Too many Christians are unknowingly discouraging non-believers from coming to a personal relationship with Christ. Your witness as a follower of the Lord will not be evaluated by the way you work your life out. No amount of church attendances, mission trips, Christian t-shirts, or non-secular CD’s will convince your friend that he or she needs to give their life to Christ. Only the fruit of the Spirit will prove you to be a follower of Christ to those around you. I challenge you to evaluate your life in light of God’s word. Are you a positive reflection of the Spirit of God to those around you, or are you daily allowing your best friends to take one step closer to eternity in hell?
“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who profess Christ with their lips, yet walk out the door and deny it by their lifestyle. This is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” - DC Talk
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
If godly women and excellent wives are to be valued far greater than the most precious jewel, it is extremely important that we understand the difference between a gem and a piece of broken glass.
When I was a kid my parents once took our family to an old fashion mining facility. It was a tourist attraction somewhere in the Smokey Mountains. The claim was that if we sifted for long enough we would be able to find rubies, sapphires and possibly even a diamond. I remember my first attempt at sifting through the dirt. I thought I had struck the jackpot when several colorful objects remained at the bottom of my sifter. You can imagine my disappointment when my parents explained that they were only broken pieces of glass. I took one home anyway; it looked like a jewel to me.
Chapter 31 of Proverbs is a description of what a godly woman should look like. After so eloquently defining her worth and character for 20 verses, the author warns us that, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” I am concerned that society as a whole, and especially the Christian community, has placed so much emphasis on the outward appearance of a woman that we are producing nothing more than broken pieces of glass. The difference between a ruby and an old broken bottle may not always be clear in its outward appearance but is more than obvious in the chemical makeup of its existence. In the same manner, it is important for both young men and young women to remember that a godly woman is not defined by her outward appearance but by her inward existence. She must be more concerned with fearing the Lord than with walking the walk or looking the look.
Are you a young man in search of true love? I caution you as the author of Proverbs does to look further than her outward appearance. I know it is extremely difficult for young men to see anything else once a beautiful face is in front of them but I can’t express enough the importance of taking the time to be sure she fears the Lord. If a girl has no place in her heart for the fear of the Lord, there should be no place in your heart for her love. Be careful that you don’t ever trade in your heart for an expensive piece of beautiful glass, continue to sift until you find your jewel.
If you are a young woman, I challenge you to grasp firmly the truth of this verse. It’s going to be hard to follow the Lord in this area of your life. Glass is created much easer and more quickly than a genuine jewel. There are broken pieces of glass walking down every hallway of every high school. Their sparkle and beauty catch the eye of every guy who passes them by. I encourage you to not sell out. Remember that broken pieces of glass are just that… broken. Allow yourself not to be broken, but beautifully cut by the perfect hand of our Lord. This process will take much more time and effort, but is worth it in the long run. There is no better quality than the fear of the Lord. Make this your utmost goal and allow God to do the rest.
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels (Proverbs 31:10).
Four things are small on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise:
The ants, the badgers, the locusts and the lizards: all are small comparatively, yet great in their “wisdom” (verses 25-28). If these small creatures were to make up the members of a sports team I can guarantee you that my mom would be rooting for them. She’s always possessed an overwhelming weakness for the underdog. Whether it had anything to do with me being such a runt while growing up, I’ll never know. One thing’s for sure though, she isn’t the only one I know who roots for the underdog. Our God has consistently chosen out for His work those who the rest of society labels as “weak.”
Do you ever experience serious doubts as to the extent that God could use you to change the world? Whether you are hesitant to count yourself as valuable to the Lord because of your age, popularity or knowledge of the Bible, be encouraged to know that God is not interested in any of those stipulations. He is only interested in your faithfulness to Him. Someone once told me, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” As cliche as this statement may be, it has always remained close to my heart. Once we realize that God is interested in our faithfulness more than our abilities, even the world is not too large to overcome.
I challenge you to ask the Lord where He could use you the most; don’t wait any longer to begin His work. The misconception that we will begin our service to the Lord tomorrow is one of Satan’s best tactics in slowing down this vast army of God (James 4:13-14). The youth of this generation are as numerous as the locusts mentioned in Proverbs. If we would only unite in prayer and service, the world would be shaken off its foundation. We are God’s hands and feet to a dying world, yet we point a searching generation in no direction and fail to lead them anywhere, much less in the right direction. You are never too young to become an active member of the Lord’s army. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” Your age is of no consequence to the Lord, He only requires that you would live the life you have been called to pursue.
Finally, I challenge you to remember the example of Paul. He was the “chief of sinners” yet God developed Him into the greatest evangelist and missionary the world has ever known. Through his unwavering faithfulness and obedience to Christ, Paul was used by God to spread the Gospel from Asia Minor to Rome. The book of Acts paints what should be an inspiring picture to us all. Paul was abused physically, emotionally and spiritually yet pressed on in His faithfulness to God. Nothing could separate Him from the Lord’s call on his life, not acceptance, hatred, physical injury, shipwreck or age hindered Him from delivering the Gospel to the “ends of the earth.” You may be the only Gospel of Christ that your friends and family will ever have the opportunity to see. May I ask you what’s stopping you from being used by the Lord today? I imagine you will find neither physical nor social barricades, but only the condition of your heart in the way.
For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7b).
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Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for fool than for him.
I’m a blabbering idiot. Seriously. I’m one of those people who can’t control their own words when they get excited about something. My wife thinks it’s funny when I start to tell her a story about my day. The point could be as simple as, “I ran into an old friend,” but before I’m done, the story’s ten minutes long at about 400 words per second with spit flying everywhere. It’s the worst when I’m tired. Sentences like, “Let’s rent a movie” come out, “Let’s ment a rovie,” or, “Let’s root a mentvie.” I can’t really explain it.
As funny as this problem may appear on surface issues such as old friends or movies, I have to really be careful when it comes to life in general. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m alone in this issue either. While you may not find it difficult to tell a story your excited about or to give a simple suggestion, no one has avoided the mistake of speaking before you think at least once in their lives. Proverbs 29:20 warns us against allowing “hasty words” to become a habit. It says that even a fool has more hope than this type of person.
I wonder how often this habit manifests itself as a part of your life? Have you ever said something to a friend or family member that cuts like a knife? Was it on purpose or did it slip out on accident? Did you know it was wrong before you even finished your sentence or did it take some time to sink in? While we may desperately try to justify our words or apologize with promises such as, “I didn’t mean it,” or, “It was a mistake,” the Bible makes it very clear that our “mistake” was a sin. A sin? That’s a hard cup of tea to swallow, isn’t it?
The Bible says that we will one day be judged for every unrighteous thing we do, even things we “didn’t mean to do.” Having a quick tongue will not be an excuse on the Day of Judgment either; in fact, it will most likely be a charge against us. The Bible has offered us many ways to defeat this sin. I find though, that not many of us have given it much thought. That’s a shame too; I believe God takes great concern in the way we speak to those around us.
James 1:21 instructs us that if we truly desire to be “slow to anger,” than we must first, be “quick to hear and slow to speak.” I find it no coincidence that the following verses speak of the importance in laying aside all filthiness and all remains of wickedness. When we allow ourselves to be surrounded and embraced by seemingly harmless sins, it will become much more difficult to control our tongue. Many times the sins that plague us the most in life are the ones that we don’t give enough attention to. I pray that you would be aware of the conversation you surround yourself with today. Know that it will be much more difficult to control your tongue if you allow yourself to be around others who can’t. Also, don’t forget that you will one day be judged for every ill-spoken word that comes out of your mouth. In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus tells us that He takes personally the actions we take against others. We say that we can’t control our tongue, but I imagine we could if we were speaking directly to the Lord. I ask you, are we not?
“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me” (Matthew 25:40).
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This is a set of 5 devotions centered on the importance of missions and evangelism. How Will They Know is a great resource for short-term mission trips. Download the free PDF
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