Tuesday, April 24, 2018

LOYALTY

Prov. 19:22  Loyalty makes a person attractive.  And it is better to be poor than dishonest.  NLT

     Loyalty is that character trait that causes us to stay true to another regardless of the circumstances.  It flows from a sense of trust and familiarity.  You discover that another is dependable and will not seek to harm you in any way, therefore you embrace and stick by him.

      Loyalty is an essential part of any lasting relationship.  Marriages will not last without it.  Friendships come and go depending on how loyal people are to each other.  When trust is broken, it is very hard to reclaim.  No one wants to be around people they cannot trust.  Loyalty flows from the heart.  The closer one lives to Christ, the more dependable he is.

       It is a thing of beauty to observe true loyalty, whether it’s on the human or spiritual plane.  It’s the glue that holds together any lasting friendship.  God reveals himself as one who is loyal to us.  He never leaves us alone and will never go away.  He seeks always our good and will always be our strongest supporter.  The Lord will never let us down, drag us down, or hold us down.  He always wants to help us reach our potential in Him.  Our Lord’s loyalty is one of those qualities that make Him so attractive to us.  He is the only one whom we can absolutely depend on in life to be on our side because there is no sin in Him.  He cannot fail to be our loyal friend.

      There is probably no greater disappointment than to have someone whom you thought you knew well enough to count them as a loyal friend betray your trust.  There are those who will pretend to be your friend but when the chips are down, they go away.  It is far better to be poor and have no friends than to have friends like that.  Be discerning in whom you place your trust.  And, seek always to be one whom others can trust.  Examine your heart.  Do you have what it takes to be a true-blue friend?  Do you possess enough God-like character to not betray another’s trust?  The closer you live to the Lord, the better friend you will be. 

      Someone you know needs you to be a loyal friend.  Be that someone; one who can be counted on to be there for them no matter what.  It is who God wants you to be.

Monday, April 23, 2018

GOD'S PREVAILING PURPOSE

Prov. 19:21 You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail. NLT


       We must understand and accept this wonderful truth. The Lord is on the throne of heaven and His purpose will prevail. We like to be in control of our own destiny. We like to have a say in how things are going to work out for us in life. We like to determine our own paths. We work hard to make our lives become what we want them to be.

      However, our plans may not be in line with God’s purposes.  In fact, His purpose for life may be drastically different than our plans. We can prevent His purpose from becoming a reality in us by our stubborn refusal to let Him have His way with us. But when that happens, His greater plan of judgment will prevail. We can either live the life He plans for us or we can become victims of our plans. It’s a choice we all make in life.

      The Lord’s purpose for life is redemption. It is why we exist and why He came. He will save all those who come to Him. He will redeem and purify His people and make them fit for His eternal kingdom.  He will give them hope, peace, joy and a reason to live.  He will forgive all those who come to Him.  He will instill in the heart a desire for Him and a willingness to live for Him.

       Let this marvelous truth encourage you today. The Lord’s purpose for your life will prevail if you walk humbly before Him. He will make you into the person He created you to be. He will use you in ways you can’t even begin to imagine now. All the forces of hell can’t thwart the plans God has for you.

      Go ahead and make as many plans for your future as you want, but always remember this wonderful truth, “The Lord’s purpose will prevail.”  Man cannot prevent the Lord from accomplishing His will to redeem as many as will let Him and usher them home to heaven.  Righteousness will prevail; all sin will be judged and cast into the lake of fire reserved for those who reject the Lord.  Align yourself up with God’s purposes and all will be well with your soul, both today and throughout all of eternity.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

LISTEN, LEARN, LIVE

Prov. 19:20 Get all the advice and instruction you can, and be wise the rest of your life.  NLT


      There is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know it all. There is always more to learn and understand about life and ourselves. Get all the advice and instruction you can. Seek out sources that can help you. The beginning point is on your knees before God. The Word tells us that it is the Holy Spirit who instructs us in the things of God and gives us understanding. We must ask Him to open up our minds and hearts so that we can learn more about Him and His ways.

      Listen to others who have walked the path upon which you are walking. We are surrounded by a great crowd of witnesses who can offer sound advice because they have already experienced what you are experiencing. They can forewarn you of the dangers that lie ahead so you can be prepared for them and avoid them. They can encourage you by giving you hope and confidence that it can be done.

      Learn from your life experiences.  Some lessons are best learned by our failures.  We learn what not to do and more importantly, why not to do them.  We learn that when we stumble and fall we didn’t know what we thought we knew.  We learn that our strength to do what is right does not come from us, but it comes from Christ.  We learn that there is so much more for us to learn as we endeavor to live lives that are pleasing to God.

       Listen to God’s Word proclaimed. God gives His messengers insight into His Word and the authority to proclaim it. Tune in to the advice and instruction that God gives through them.  Evaluate carefully what you hear in light of what the Spirit shows you in the Word of God.  Then, when you hear what God is saying, seek to put it into practice in your life.

       Listen and let the Lord instruct you on how to grow in your faith and knowledge of Him. If you do these things, you will be wise the rest of your life. And, in your wisdom, you will in turn be able to help those who follow in your footsteps.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILDREN

Prov. 19:18 Discipline your children while there is hope. If you don’t you will ruin their lives.  NLT

       Discipline is good for the soul. We have a natural tendency to do what is wrong. We are not able to identify wrong behavior without help. We need a guiding and firm hand to show us what is right and hold us accountable for it. We naturally do what is sin and need to be taught that sinful behavior has consequences and is not acceptable or good for our well-being. Sin left unchecked ruins the soul. Its end is an eternity in hell.

      Understanding right from wrong is essential for discipline to work.  There can be no gray area on behavioral issues.  Clear guidelines must be communicated so that one’s children will not be confused when discipline is meted out.  Understanding the importance of guiding children on what is right and wrong is essential for the well-being of our children.  Anyone without moral guidance will end up a real mess and be a burden to society unless the Lord miraculously intervenes. 

      In order for discipline to be effective, children must see consistency in the lives of their parents.  They must see their parents practicing what they preach.  Children tend to imitate their parents and if they see their parents living a different life than they are expecting their children to live, there will be very little co-operation and conflict will be the norm.

      Discipline flows from a loving heart. It shows that someone loves us enough to help us do what is right. It is essential to healthy and happy living. It is true on a human level and it is true in our relationship with God.

      “Thank you Lord that you love us so much that you won’t spoil us and let us get away with sin. Thank You that you will do whatever you can to keep us from self-destruction. Thank You for keeping us on track. Lord, don’t let up. We need Your corrective hand. We need You to hold us accountable for our sin. We need Your loving discipline.  We need to know that You indeed love us and that you take an active interest in our lives.  Lord, forgive us when we resist you; we are prone to wander from You and we must have your help to keep us on track. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

ZEAL WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE

Prov. 19:2 Zeal without knowledge is not good; a person who moves too quickly may go the wrong way.  NLT

     There are many people who are easily excitable and motivated. They are quick to jump on board and quick to fall off. They jump in with great gusto and are driven along by their emotions. Zeal is a good and needed thing in the cause of Christ, but zeal without knowledge is a bad thing.

     We need to know with our heads and hearts what we are standing for and promoting. We need to be grounded deeply in Truth before we promote it. Knowledge helps us to keep from error. There are many things that have been said and are being said in the name of the Lord that simply are not backed up by Scripture. Many people have been led astray by false teachings and are leading others away simply because they have not taken the time to get grounded in the Word.

     We must be students of God’s Word before we become proclaimers of it. We must not let our emotions drive us, but instead let the Spirit drive us through the Word. It is easy to get off track. We must strive to be certain that when we profess to be speaking for the Lord that we really are. More harm than good has been done by wrongly motivated zeal than about anything else in the church.

       I am not saying we shouldn’t be zealous about Christ and His Word. We absolutely should be. But, we must be sure that we know what we are talking about when we speak. False teaching causes many people to never know Christ as Savior and Lord. It easily causes people to put their trust and hope for salvation elsewhere.

       Study the Word, pray that the Spirit gives you proper understanding of it, and then get all excited and go and tell everybody that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A REAL FRIEND

Prov. 18:24 There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.  NLT

      Everybody has “friends”, people who they have fellowship with to some degree. Some friends are better than others. Some so-called friends are self-serving. They are friendly and kind as long as it benefits them in some way or another. When it ceases to be good for them, they are gone. Some “friends” will turn on you when they feel they have been wronged in some way. Some get downright mean.  Some are there for you as long as it benefits them in some way.

      We need to be wise in whom we befriend. The better we get to know those whom we allow to get close to us, the more we can count on them to be with us as we travel through the rough times of life. A real friend knows us well enough to believe in us and trust us when others forsake us. A real friend cares about what we are facing and comes alongside of us to support and help us. A real friend stands strong on our behalf. A real friend doesn’t go away, even when we may deserve it. A real friend is one who will lovingly help us when we need correction and discipline. A real friend cares about us and will not let us self-destruct without guidance and warning.  A real friend can be trusted when the heart is opened up and confidences are shared to not blab them to others. 

     I have known “friends” and I have real friends. Think about those whom you call friends. Thank the Lord today for those who are real friends. Cherish dearly and nurture those friendships, for they will keep you steady in the storms of life.

      Are you a “friend” or a real friend? Can you be trusted to be loyal and supportive of others? Do you embrace or judge others? Do you have compassion for others who are hurting and can you hold in confidence what they may share with you?  I challenge you today to let the Lord make you into a real friend. Let Him change whatever needs to be changed in you so that it can be said of you that you are a true-blue friend.  There are people you know who need to know that you can be counted on to be a dependable friend. 

      God expects nothing less out of you than that you be a person of integrity who is a real friend.  He has placed you in the lives of others to be His voice to their hearts.  Don’t let the Lord or your friend down.  Be the kind of a person that others will be proud to call you a friend.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

MAKING AMENDS IS HARD

Prov. 18:19  It is harder to make amends with an offended friend than to capture a fortified city.  Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with iron bars.  NLT

       Maybe you can identify with this truth.  I know I can.  It’s hard to get over the hurdle of hurt feelings.  It’s hard to restore a friendship when you feel a trust has been broken or your integrity has been questioned.  It is hard to move forward in a relationship that has been harmed by a divisive spirit.

      It is important that we do all that we can do to avoid those things that would divide us.  It is imperative that we seek to find a peaceful and acceptable resolution for our differences.  We can’t let nature take its course and hope for the best.  We must first pray and ask the Lord for His help.

     We need to search out our own hearts and ask the Lord to help us understand and accept our role in the disagreement.  We need to ask the Lord to mellow our hearts and look upon others through the lens of Christ’s love.  We need to seek reconciliation to the best of our ability.  And then if reconciliation doesn’t happen, we need to ask the Lord to help us move forward with grace and love.  We need the Lord’s help to guard our tongue so we don’t speak in a degrading way about another.  We need to ask the Lord to help us to not let emotional poison creep into our hearts.  And, we need to ask the Lord to hold us accountable for our role in that which has created a rift between us.  Where we have sinned we must humble ourselves and ask the Lord to forgive us and then seek forgiveness from our friend whom we have offended.

      Life is too short to let sin ruin a good friendship.  Is there a friendship that needs restored in your life?  Do you need to talk to the Lord about it?  Is there anything you have to ask Him for forgiveness for?  Is there anything you need to reach out to your lost friend and apologize for?  You may not be able to restore the friendship, but as far as it is possible for you to do, you must do your part and try if you want to live in peace with God and yourself.