“Frustrated with Your Prayer Life?” January 7

 

Frustrated with Your Prayer Life? - Do you ever feel inadequate or frustrated with your prayer life? If so, you're not alone. It appears even the disciples wanted more when they said, "Lord, teach us to pray."Do you ever feel inadequate or frustrated with your prayer life? If so, you’re not alone. It appears even the disciples wanted more when they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

In our New Testament reading, we’ll talk about Jesus’ outline for prayer and how we can use it during our devotional time, along with another help that can lead to a consistent, satisfying prayer life. We’ll also talk about our motives for praying and other spiritual endeavors.

From our Old Testament reading check out “How Do You Evaluate Opportunities?” See how not to make decisions and some ways to evaluate opportunities.

Also, today, “The Joy of Spiritual Prosperity,” “The Fear of God,” and “The Importance of Forgiveness.”  Continue reading

“Think You Know Jonah’s Story?” December 18

 

Think You Know Jonah's Story? - You may think you know the story of Jonah, but there is so much more for us to learn from his book. There is the fact that disobedience and running from God can land us in some pretty nasty circumstances. But there is, also, a great lesson in God's mercy and willingness to forgive in the rest of the story.You may think you know the story of Jonah, but there is so much more for us to learn from the book by his name. There is the fact that disobedience and running from God can land us in some pretty nasty circumstances. But there are, also, great lessons on God’s mercy, willingness to forgive, and what He expects from us when we’ve been sinned against.

Our New Testament reading is from Revelation 8 with the beginning of the seven trumpet judgments. The first four are horrible enough, but before the fifth one sounds an angel cries, “Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet …”  Continue reading

“Tinkering with a Broken System” November 20

 

Tinkering with a Broken System - Most people would agree things in our nation are broken, but there's little agreement about what change is needed. Can we tinker with a broken system and expect to fix it?Most people would agree things in our nation are broken, but there’s little agreement about how to change it. Can we tinker with a broken system and expect to fix it?

We not only face great challenges within our nation but attacks and attempted attacks from without seem to be non-stop. How should a Christian respond to those who are sworn to destroy us as a society and individually?  Continue reading

“Are You Playing Spiritual Games?” November 14

 

Are you playing spiritual games? - God will not play spiritual pat-a-cake with us by allowing us to seek His help while we continue turning to our idols and self-efforts. If God doesn't seem to be answering our prayers, maybe we need to ask ourselves, "Am I playing spiritual games with God?"God will not play spiritual pat-a-cake with us by allowing us to seek His help while we continue turning to our idols and self-efforts. If God doesn’t seem to be answering our prayers, maybe we need to ask ourselves, “Am I playing spiritual games with God?”  Continue reading

“Making Amends for Your Past” November 4

 

Making Amends for Your Past - Is there someone from your past to whom you need to make restitution? Restitution is restoring or paying back something that has been lost, stolen or damaged. Is there someone you need to go to and seek forgiveness? Is there a letter you need to write or a call you need to make? Is there someone from your past to whom you need to make restitution? Restitution is restoring or paying back something that has been lost, stolen or damaged. Is there someone you need to go to and seek forgiveness? Is there a letter you need to write or a call you need to make?  Continue reading

“Abortion, Unborn Babies & the Tribulation” October 20

 

Abortion, Unborn Babies & the Tribulation - Is there forgiveness for an abortion or are there some sins for which we never find redemption? And what if you're contemplating an abortion? Have you justified something that you know is wrong? Have you bought into the world's philosophy in this area? Or are you scared and don't know what else to do? Also read about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and how believers can be a part of what God is doing in the world.Is there forgiveness for an abortion or are there some sins for which we never find redemption?

And what if you’re contemplating an abortion? Have you justified something that you know is wrong? Have you bought into the world’s philosophy in this area? Or are you scared and don’t know what else to do?

Also read about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and how believers can be a part of what God is doing in the world.  Continue reading

“I’m Going to Hell Anyway!” October 16

 

Have you ever heard someone say, “I might as well live it up, I’m going to hell anyway?” Or maybe that’s you. No matter what you’ve done, God is willing and able to forgive you, but you must come to Him. Don't let another day pass. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.Have you ever heard someone say, “I might as well live it up, I’m going to hell anyway?” Or maybe that’s you. No matter what you’ve done, God is willing and able to forgive you, but you must come to Him. Don’t let another day pass. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.  Continue reading

“Honoring Imperfect Parents” August 22

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents - God clearly commands us, even as adults, to honor and respect our parents. Yet, many of us grew up in homes that were less than perfect. How do we honor parents when we believe they failed us in some way?God clearly commands us, even as adults, to honor and respect our parents. Yet, many of us grew up in homes that were less than perfect. How do we honor parents when we believe they failed us in some way?

 

Today’s Readings:
Job 35 & 36
Psalm 99.1-9
Proverbs 23.22-25
1 Corinthians 4.1-21

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents

 

Proverbs 23.22-25:

Buy the Truth & Do Not Sell It

 

pearlsVerse 23, “Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding.”

Matthew 13.45-46 says:

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

We should be willing to get God’s truth no matter what the cost and once we have gotten it, we should not be willing to give it up, not for wealth or fame or popularity or anything else.

 

Adult Children & Their Parents

 

As a counselor, some of the most frequent problems I see in marriages involve a failure to properly “leave and cleave.” Spouses fail to make their husbands and wives the primary human relationship. They run first to their parents when there is a problem instead of communicating biblically with their spouses. They may continue to support their parents financially against their spouse’s wishes or neglect their own family unit in other ways.

This is unbiblical and hinders the one-flesh relationship God intended in marriage. Yet, the Bible clearly calls us to honor our parents, no matter what our age.

“Listen to your father who begot you,
And do not despise your mother when she is old” (v. 22).

“Let your father and your mother be glad,
And let her who bore you rejoice” (v. 25).

But how do you honor parents who failed in some way?

 

Honoring Imperfect Parents

 

We live in a fallen world. I don’t know anyone who grew up in a perfect home. I know I made mistakes, many of them, when raising my children. So did my parents and your parents.

I also know many adult children who refuse to see their childhood through God’s eyes. Instead, often because of unforgiveness and bitterness, they continue to view their childhood through a childish lens. As children, we all have a narrow understanding of the world. We only know how decisions and circumstances affected us. We don’t usually see the big picture.

Children may blame a single mom for leaving a marriage and destroying their home. They may never know that their father was an adulterer or an abuser because their mother didn’t want to destroy their relationship with him.

Children in blended families sometimes resent a step-parent without ever appreciating the difficulties, financial strains, and sacrifice parents and step-parents make. All they can see is that this person was NOT their biological parent. That thinking breeds resentment and rebellion in childhood and a lack of grace and thankfulness in adulthood. They may only see what they perceived as unfairness without considering their own difficult, rebellious attitudes and how that complicated the relationship.

One of the biggest issues is favoritism or perceived favoritism. Certainly, parents need to avoid sinfully favoring or comparing one child to another. Parents are not blameless in this.  Continue reading

“Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us?” August 2

 

Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us? - Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us?What does it mean that God “remembers our sins no more”? Does it means He forgets? Does He expect us to forget what others have done to us?

Also, have you ever wondered “Where is God?” Why doesn’t He seem to be answering my prayers? Why is he allowing this?

 

Today’s Readings:
Esther 5 & 6
Psalm 90.1-6
Proverbs 22.9
Romans 4.1-25

 

Are We to Forget When Others Sin Against Us?

 

Psalm 90.1-6:

Remembering Our Sins No More

 

Did you notice the title of this Psalm? “A Prayer of Moses the Man of God.” I love the way God remembers the good and not the bad. A few days ago in Nehemiah, David was called “the man of God.” Did God forget about David’s adultery? Did He forget that Moses struck the rock when he was told to speak to it?

He didn’t “forget,” He chose to “not remember”!

Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson, in their book Leading and Loving It, have this to say about “not remembering”:

We love this anecdote that author Linda Dillow shares [in her book Calm My Anxious Heart], about Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross. Clara was reminded of a vicious deed someone had done to her years before.

“Don’t you remember it?” her friend asked. “No,” came Clara’s reply, “I distinctly remember forgetting it.” She had made a conscious choice to forgive a vicious deed, a conscious choice to continue forgiving when reminded of the deed. By replying, “I distinctly remember forgetting it,” Clara Barton was saying, “I remember choosing to forgive, and I still choose to forgive.”

Forgiveness is both a decision and a process. The decision is choosing to “not remember” and the process includes reminding ourselves of that and leaving the situation in God’s hands.

paidAs believers, all our sins are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. God chooses to “not remember” them against us(Is. 43.25) and He asks us to imitate Him (Eph. 5.1) and to choose to forgive just as He has forgiven us (Eph. 4.32).

In reality, “not remembering” is different from “forgetting.” God doesn’t have amnesia and neither do we. When we sin, that sin is a debt we owe to God and others (Matt. 18.21-35). God chooses to not charge that debt to our account, but to charge it to Jesus’ account and that account was paid in full on the cross.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

Esther 5 & 6:

Where is God?

 

Where is God? - Have you ever wondered "Where is God?" Why doesn't He seem to be answering my prayers? Why is he allowing this?

God is always at work, on behalf of His people, even when we can’t see what He is doing. In the book of Esther, there is no prophet, no direct words from God. God’s activities are not, at first, apparent.

But He causes a pagan king to suffer a sleepless night and to ask his servant to read to him—from a government record. What an unlikely “bedtime story.” Then God has the reader go to something that happened five years previously, concerning one of His servants, Mordecai, and his loyalty to the King! As you will remember from yesterday’s reading, Mordecai is in wicked Haman’s crosshairs.  Continue reading

“Could You Be a Contentious Woman?” July 17

 

Could You Be a Contentious Woman?

 

Could you be a contentious woman? Do you ever find yourself arguing for argument’s sake? Do you feel like it’s your job to point out the other side of the issue? Do you enjoy a good debate? Do you have to have the last word?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Chronicles 30 & 31
Psalm 85.1-7
Proverbs 21.9-11
Acts 20.1-16

 

Could You Be a Contentious Woman?

 

Proverbs 21.9-11:

If the Shoe Fits?

 

Verse 9, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”

My thesaurus uses some of the following synonyms: controversial, debatable, arguable, touchy. The Encarta Dictionary defines her as, “frequently engaging in and seeming to enjoy arguments and disputes.”

Do you ever find yourself arguing for arguments sake? Do you feel like it’s your job to point out the other side of the issue? Do you enjoy a good debate? Do you have to have the last word?

Ladies, we need to ask ourselves those questions without trying to justify or minimize our actions. If we can answer “yes” to any of them, let’s ask God to help us search our hearts (Ps. 139.23-24) and help us grow and change.

 

Today’s Other Readings:

 

2 Chronicles 30 & 31:

What happens when God’s people come together?

 

Here in these two chapters Hezekiah calls the people to repentance and worship. He sends runners throughout the land even to the Northern Kingdom to extend the invitation. Although most of the people in the Northern Kingdom “laughed at them and mocked them,” the people of Judah came together with “singleness of heart.” What followed was a great revival with the people giving in abundance to support the priests and Levites and the operation of the temple. And when they did, God blessed them abundantly.

 

Psalm 85.1-7:

Forgiving Like God Forgives

 

Verses 2-3, “You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people; You have covered all their sin. Selah. You have taken away all Your wrath. You have turned from the fierceness of Your anger.”

When God forgives and covers sin, He ceases to be angry about it. We are told in Ephesians 4.32 to “forgive just as God in Christ also has forgiven us.” If we truly forgive we choose to cease being angry, too. It may take time for our feelings to completely come into line, but we can choose to treat that person with God’s love if we will rely on His grace.  Continue reading