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Archive for the ‘truth’ Category

It’s important that we think twice before ignoring the Holy Spirit’s warnings to us.

We all hear them from time to time when we’re being tempted by Satan.

We’re at the fork in the road, with the narrow, twisting path of holiness heading one direction and the seemingly smooth and straight superhighway of sinfulness heading the other.

Unfortunately, we all know what it’s like to have taken the wrong turn.

What seemed best to the flesh turned out to be the opposite.

This is what we must remember no many how many days we have in life.

For how we listen to the divine Navigator is a reflection of our relationship with the divine Ruler of the universe.

Jesus put is this way in John 8:47…

“Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”

When God’s voice via the Holy Spirit seeks to guide us away from temptation, let’s make sure to listen.

For if we don’t, what are we saying about our relationship with God?

And that’s a very dangerous place to be in view of how our lives could end at any time.

Jesus asked in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord’ and not do what I say?

Let’s make sure that our words and our walk line up when we’re at home or work or school or church… or even on the highway.

Listening to God’s voice is what godly people do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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So Lori and her co-workers received a list of 20 actions that her workplace supervisor said can give anybody “unlimited happiness.”

After reading through the list several times, it’s clear to me that despite the good intentions, a number of listed actions ignore the clear teachings of scripture.

And that means that, ultimately, they’ll lead people away from trusting the Bible.

That’s never a good idea.

Take a look through the list, appreciate the biblically acceptable actions and then note which items that you think are at odds with biblical teaching. I’d like to compare your list to mine so please send me a reply.

1. Let go of all thoughts that don’t make you feel empowered and strong.

2. Let go of feeling guilty for doing what you truly want to do.

3. Let go of the fear of the unknown; take one small step and watch the path reveal itself.

4. Let go of regrets; at one point in your life, that “whatever” was exactly what you wanted.

5. Let go of worrying; worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.

6. Let go of blaming anyone for anything; be accountable for your own life. If you don’t like something, you have two choices, accept it or change it.

7. Let go of thinking you are damaged; you matter, and the world needs you just as you are.

8. Let go of thinking your dreams are not important; always follow your heart.

9. Let go of being the “go-to person” for everyone, all the time; stop blowing yourself off and take care of yourself first … because you matter.

10. Let go of thinking everyone else is happier, more successful or better off than you. You are right where you need to be. Your journey is unfolding perfectly for you.

11. Let go of thinking there’s a right and wrong way to do things or to see the world. Enjoy the contrast and celebrate the diversity and richness of life.

12. Let go of cheating on your future with your past. It’s time to move on and tell a new story.

13. Let go of thinking you are not where you should be. You are right where you need to be to get to where you want to go, so start asking yourself where you want to go.

14. Let go of anger toward ex lovers and family. We all deserve happiness and love; just because it is over doesn’t mean the love was wrong.

15. Let go of the need to do more and be more; for today, you’ve done the best you can, and that’s enough.

16. Let go of thinking you have to know how to make it happen; we learn the way on the way.

17. Let go of your money woes — make a plan to pay off debt and focus on your abundance.

18. Let go of trying to save or change people. Everyone has her own path, and the best thing you can do is work on yourself and stop focusing on others.

19. Let go of trying to fit in and be accepted by everyone. Your uniqueness is what makes you outstanding.

20. Let go of self-hate. You are not the shape of your body or the number on the scale. Who you are matters, and the world needs you as you are. Celebrate you!

This list serves as a reminder of how smooth and sweet that a poison pill can become.

As we learned from Adam and Eve, something can be 95 percent true but still destroy us. We must remember that the appointment of self for determining truth and consequences is a disastrous choice.

Thinking we don’t need to change and that we should never try to save people from their own path to eternity or that we deserve happiness or that our heart never leads us astray are all poison pills.

Be smart. Be biblical. Then you can be assured of unlimited happiness in the next life.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Sometimes we might wonder why the Bible states the obvious such as with the following: “….reject whatever is harmful.” (I Thessalonians 5:22)

In fact, it would be patronizing of scripture to tell us what we already know IF we were 100 percent compliant in this regard.

But we’re not.

We periodically behave as if we have forgotten the teaching to reject whatever is harmful, and so we make choices harmful to ourselves or harmful to others, or both.

The reality is that we need reminding to reject whatever is harmful.

Our God-ordained mission in life is to be God’s hands and voice to people in a lost and dying world. We are to be agents of Truth and blessing.

That’s why our words and actions should only build others up rather than tear them down.

The specific context of the Apostle Paul’s teaching was with the religious teachings given the Thessalonian Christians by various speakers. Paul told them to respectfully listen to whoever claimed to be preaching or teaching God’s Word, but to embrace only that preaching and teaching that was “good” because it was true to scripture.

Any other teaching that didn’t correctly communicate the purposes of God and the pure, passionate person of Christ was harmful to Christianity in general and spiritually deadly to whoever received them.

As important as it is to not put unhealthy food, drinks and other substances into our bodies, it is even more important that we reject harmful teachings that undermine the authority of God, the deity of Christ and our responsibility to maintain a sanctified, saving relationship with Christ.

Examine the lives of those leading your congregation. Check as the Berean Christians did in Acts 17 to make sure that what is being taught is 100 percent accurate to the Bible.

If it’s not, ask God to lead your to a congregation where the preaching and teaching are truthful, not harmful.

There’s just too much at stake to get this wrong.

As always, I love you
Martin

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We’re happy when we score a great deal on a purchase, getting something for much less money than it’s worth.

It’s always fun “winning” in this way and we each have success stories that we delight in sharing.

Unfortunately, we also have stories that we wish we could forget about when we’ve paid good money for bad deals.

Perhaps for a lemon car.

Perhaps for a house with undisclosed, costly problems.

Perhaps for professional advice that turned out to be useless.

Perhaps for a vacation trip that turned out to be a nightmare because of falsely advertised claims.

Such things really stink.

But lessons from such things also really stick.

Much of life enjoyment and success hinges on the choices of what we buy in life.

This is particularly true in the spiritual realm.

Consider this wisdom from King Solomon:

“Buy the truth and do not sell it” (Proverbs 23:23)

Buying truth means investing time and sometimes resources in order to learn the Word and will of God. As we learn scripture and the application of its principles in everyday relationships and business, our investment of time in reading and listening and discussing ALWAYS pays off in better life experiences, here and in eternity.

But if we choose to exchange the truth of God for a lie — such as the unrepentant sinners described in Romans 1 — we are headed toward a terrible cliff that precedes eternal torment.

The Enemy will always promise that doing things his way rather than God’s way yields more pleasure and profit in this life. He’ll always want us to sell out when it comes to trusting God.

But selling out to Satan is never right. It always leads to bad things. If there is no repentance, there will be no deliverance.

And that’s the Truth.

Please, my friend, when Satan tempts you with one of his poisoned, pleasure-promising lies, don’t buy it.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s so nice when we find something or someone we can really trust.

Whether it’s a case of turning the ignition and ALWAYS having the car start or a case of turning to a friend who ALWAYS listens, loves and looks for how best to help us, there is nothing better than the feeling of complete confidence in something or someone.

I was reminded of this principle this morning while reading from Proverbs 10:31.

From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom”

This brief passage is talking about more than just relevant information.

The reference to wisdom, of course, is describing tested information, PROVEN information that helps people make progress toward better lives.

We are called to seek wisdom from scripture, from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration and from other believers so that we can become more like Christ and accomplish more for His Kingdom.

As we pursue wisdom, God’s Spirit coordinates a supernatural process within our hearts and minds whereby His Truth and His purposes permeates our thoughts, our words and our actions.

That’s what overflows from our lips into the lives of others.

We trust the Word that Bible people tested and trusted.

And then we speak more like Bible people spoke.

We speak more righteously.

People will trust us more.

And some of them just might be more likely to turn to the One whom they can REALLY trust — Jesus Christ.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click  Finding gold in the garbage

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You’ve heard the phrase, “Even a broken watch is right twice a day.”

That phrase came to mind this morning while I was reading Job 11 in the One-Year Bible. You’ll recall that Job had three friends who, for seven days, comforted him in silence just after he had lost everything except his life and his cynical wife.

Then the three friends, using the term loosely, began an extended, tag-team criticism of Job, dumping streams of judgmentalism upon the shoulders of one called by God as the most faithful of men.

No, it was not fair. Yet, on that conveyor belt of criticism garbage were random nuggets of gold.

It’s surprising, actually, that people bent on breaking down Job could still come up with words that so accurately describe God’s desires for man.

What Zophar the Naamathite said in Job 11:13-19 is so good, I don’t want to edit any of the words. So the complete text is below:

“Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to Him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.

“You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.” (NIV)

These are the sort of words that one would expect from the pen of David or from the lips of Jesus. But they are instead from a person seemingly given to a judgmental spirit.

Wow.

Beyond the fact that these words should become part of our evangelistic toolbox, these words should also stir us toward a greater appreciation for the loving grace of God offered to us.

These truths are good but that’s not the objective of my devotion today.

Rather, learning how to listen closely for truth regardless of the setting and regardless of the speaker is what I want to promote.

It would have been quite easy for Job to tune out Zophar’s words since Zophar and his friends had served up criticism after criticism in previous statements.

But Job listened. Well enough, in fact, that he could record those words later when he wrote the book bearing his name.

Job did live out these words, I’m sure, by keeping his heart devoted to God and by stretching out his hands to heaven for the rest of his life.

What Zophar said would happen to the faithful person is what happened to Job when God later exonerated him and blessed him even more greatly than he was blessed before.

My charge to you is this: always listen for truth, for those words that accurately describe God and the attitudes/actions that He desires from us.

Even if the words come from one who isn’t like God and who might not even like us, we can appreciate whatever amount of “God” is in the words.

After all, we’re not to exalt the messenger but instead receive whatever truth is in the message.

As always, I love you
Martin

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To hear this Morning Devotion, please click A legacy lost
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I can just see the family members hurriedly sifting through every bag, chest and drawer in their house as they search for proof of who they are.

There is a look of desperation that grips their faces, a look that is rooted in the fear that their mission will fail.

The men in these families know what is at stake. And so do their wives.

Failure means exclusion from the priesthood, even though they know that they are descended from the priestly line.

It is a terribly sad micro-story recorded in Ezra 2:59-63, an account that shows the failure of an unknown number of families in terms of documenting their priestly geneology.

In Ezra 2, thousands of Jews are preparing to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city after decades of desolation. The new king in Babylon, Cyrus of Persia, is even helping with the project’s cost. The core objective of the Jews is to rebuild the temple and resume the worship practices of the Jews.

Priests would be the overseers of this long-desired resumption of Jehovah worship. Not only would the priests derive the great satisfaction of serving God and their people, but they would also derive their financial support from offerings at the temple.

The descendants of the priests Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai had to have been thrilled when they first heard the king’s plan. But then when they realized that they would have to provide their ancestors’ documentation of temple service, things got tough.

All they had to do was to find an ancient counterpart to an ordination certificate or a diploma from a priestly seminary or some temple document with Grandpa’s signature in a place required for the priest on duty.

They found nothing, despite the likely repeated sifting of their homes and repeated trips to the homes of close relatives.

This failure had to have been emotionally devestating, made even worse by the realization that a few moments of careful filing decades earlier would have prevented this calamity.

I’m sure that you can imagine how the descendants of Hobaiah, Hakkoz and Barzillai felt when they had to accept the fact that their places as temple servants were forvever lost due to filing errors.

So how does this sad story relate to us?

What are you doing to secure your legacy? To pave the way for your biological or spiritual descendants to follow in your footsteps of serving God?

Serving as a priest in the Jerusalem temple is not an option for you and for me. However, if you’re a Christian, you are part of God’s new “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:9) called to declare the praises of God. And you are pass on that role to those who follow in your footsteps, whether it be your biological children, your relatives’ or friends’ children, a younger adult convert or any other believer of the generation after yours.

It is so good when I encounter a Christian teen whose solid faith can be traced to the careful imparting of God’s love and truth from faithful parents who received the same from their parents who received the same from their parents.

It’s like being one of the soon-to-be-priests in Babylon who are packed and ready to go to Jerusalem, with Grandpa’s priestly ordination certificate tucked into his inner robe right next to his heart.

Dear friend, be careful in the living of your faith so that God is served and pleased. But NEVER forget to be equally committed to imparting that faith to your child, to somebody else’s child or to a young adult who can carry your torch of faith after you’re gone.

Your legacy will be served and your spiritual descendant will experience a sense of joy, not confused loss, when he or she senses God’s call to return to Him.

As always, I love you
Martin

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