Thursday, May 24, 2018

UNANSWERED PRAYERS

Prov. 28:9  The prayers of a person who ignores the law are despised.  NLT

      People everywhere pray.  Most people believe in some kind of a god to whom they pray.  In every culture there are a multitude of people who pray.  God instilled in the human soul the need to believe in God and pray.  I can’t speak with authority on whether or not the prayers of people who have no understanding at all of Christ or God as He reveals himself to be in the Word are heard or answered by God.  I will let those far more knowledgeable than I am decide that.  I do know that God holds us accountable for what we do know and understand. 

      God knows the heart and those who are sincerely seeking to please Him.  He knows those who desire to do what is right before Him but lack the knowledge and understanding to live by the law.  He is just and merciful and will respond to their prayers according to their righteousness and faith.

       Our verse today addresses those who do have a knowledge and understanding of God’s laws and ignores them.  These are people who do not consider it important to take what God says seriously.  They have a head knowledge of the truth, but not a heart knowledge of it.  They show by their living that they don’t respect who God is.  They take for granted what God says and do not seek to live it. 

      God rejects the prayers of those who do not live by the Word of God.  He does not hear those who ignore Him.  It is serious business to know what God says and do nothing about it.  All the prayers in the world will not be heard by God where sin, and not Christ, rules.  God gives us His Word to make us holy and productive servants of Him.  He demands that we submit to His authority over us.  There is no mercy for those who ignore God’s Word.

       If you are having problems with God answering your prayers, you need to look carefully into His Word to see if you are missing something there very important for you to apply to your life.  You need to let the Spirit examine your heart and show you where you need to repent and change. 

      God hears and answers the prayers of those who are striving to live by His Word. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

WHERE THERE IS MORAL ROT

Prov. 28:2  Where there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily.  But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.  NLT

       Rotten to the core is how we can describe most countries today.  Everywhere you turn you see evil glorified.  You see people seemingly with no shame doing things in public that are immoral.  You see blatant disregard for godly living.  People are abused and used for personal pleasure and gain.  Where there are restrictions on public behavior, there is often a disregard for human life or accepted mistreatment of women and children.  No matter how it manifests itself, sin is everywhere. 

       Some try to legislate morality in an effort to keep peace and order in society.  It doesn’t work.  Moral laws cannot change the soul.  You cannot mask evil hearts with laws.  When those who are evil run government, bad things happen and eventually governments fall and chaos reigns.  Unstable people cannot produce a stable country.

       On the other hand, where there are wise and knowledgeable leaders there are stable governments.  Such people are grounded by the truth.  Wisdom comes from God.  He is the source of all lasting truth.  Only in God do we find that which works in life.  Only in God do we find a way to live that ensures us of eternal life.  Wisdom is the right application of knowledge.  It is taking the Word of God and applying it well to life.

       Knowledge doesn’t just happen.  It comes from honest and open-hearted searching for truth.  It is understanding that is gleaned from studying the Scriptures and from living by faith.  It is an ever-expanding discovery of how to live a life pleasing to God. 

      Wise and knowledgeable leaders govern well and keep a country stable.  They are people who respect life.  They treat people well.  They do what is good for the common good of the people.  They live respectable lives and they do not lord it over others. 

       Wise and knowledgeable people understand the dangers of power and do not let it go to their heads.

       Pray that the Lord would raise up wise and knowledgeable people to lead you.  Ask Him to intervene and move those over you to do what is right in His sight.  Ask Him to keep those who rule over you humble.  Pray for peace and stability. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

DEATH, DESTRUCTION, DESIRES

Prov. 27:20 Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.  NLT

       There are some things in life you can count on; death is one of them.  No one will escape death unless it’s those who are taken to heaven when the Lord returns.  Death is no respecter of people.  No matter what kind of life is lived, all will die.  You will die.  Knowing that death is going to happen, it ought to cause us to think about it and what God says about it.  No one is guaranteed another day, another moment.  You may not finish reading this devotional today.  Are you at peace with what is going to happen to you when you die?  Are you ready to face God and give an account for how and why you have lived like you do?

       Destruction is another certain reality.  Destruction is the natural by-product of sin.  Sin destroys.  It comes in various ways and times.  It is unavoidable, but we don’t have to be victims of it.  We can rise above the forces of destruction when we stay focused in Christ.  Things may not go well for us and we may suffer greatly, but in Christ we have victory over all things.  We can handle whatever we face when Jesus is Lord of life.

      Human desire is something else that never ends.  God created us with natural desires that must be dealt with constantly.  God gave us desires for the things that sustain us and keeps us going.  Our desires are never satisfied because our needs never go away.  It is true in every area of our lives.  We are a needy people.  The only time we will cease to have need is when we die.  Our greatest need is our need for the Lord.  If we know the Lord we know just how much we constantly need Him.  We need His constant presence and influence in our lives.  If we lose grip on Him we quickly fall into the cesspool of sin.  A life of soul destruction is just a sin away.  When we cave in and let sin into our souls, it soon grows and takes over.  We must be diligent guardians of our souls.  We need the Lord.

      Have you gotten lax about your soul?  Has sin crept in?  Today is the day of repentance for you.  You may not live long enough to have another chance to repent.  The Lord guarantees forgiveness for all who come to Him humbly, confess their sins, and seek His forgiveness.  Is your heart right with God today? 

Monday, May 21, 2018

REFLECTIONS OF THE HEART

Prov. 27:19 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.  NLT

       No one can see what is in the heart, but we can get a fairly good idea by watching how a person lives. Our actions and words are determined by our relationship with God. The farther away from God we are, the more like the world we become. The closer we are to God, the more like Christ we become. The way we live reflects the condition of our souls.

      Actions and words when repeated regularly begin to become habits to us. The more we repeat them, the more ingrained they become in our souls. Our hearts determine the habits we form.

      What kind of habits have you formed in your life? Do your words and the things you say reflect the life of Christ in you? If they are questionable, then it is time to do a heart check-up. If your heart is right with the Lord, you will want to please him. You will want to avoid those things that you know displease him. You will not let unholy habits rule your life.

      If your heart is right with God, it will show in what you do and say.  Others will not be confused about who you are.  You will reflect the righteousness and holiness of Christ.

       If your heart is right with God, you will have a hunger and thirst for Him in your life.  You will be a consistent reader and studier of God’s Word.  You will consistently commune with Him in prayer.  You will serve Him consistently in your life. 

      The character of your heart is reflected in how you live your life.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

WHAT'S IN YOUR HEART?

Prov. 27:19 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.  NLT

       Here is a truth that we must always remember.  What is in the heart matters.  We may be able to put on a front and fool people, but who we really are is determined by the heart.  Now there are a few things that we must consider about the heart.

      The heart is the soul of man.  It is the spirit of man.  It is influenced and controlled by either Christ or Satan.  There are no other choices.  If the Lord is not leading the heart, Satan is.  No one can escape this truth and everyone chooses who will lead them.

       The heart is directly connected to the mind.  Whatever we allow to linger in our minds find their way into our hearts.  The more we think about unholy things, the more we are influenced by them and the more likely we are to act them out.  We become what we think about.  If we ignore feeding our minds with godly things, sinful things begin to take over. 

       We are naturally born sinners and the only way we can control our sinful nature is for us to keep our minds focused on godly things.  We must pursue God through His Word, the fellowship of His church and prayer.  The more time we spend on godly things, the less time Satan has to get a foothold in our hearts.  When we slack off in our pursuit of God, we give Satan the opening he is looking for.  He will take full advantage of his opportunity and begin the process of leading us astray.

       If you want to please the Lord and live a victorious life in Him, you must diligently guard your soul by protecting your mind.  You must say no to sinful influences and thinking.  It’s not easy to do and we all fail, but it is what we must strive to do.  Fight the good fight for your soul and you will win the war through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

BE SHARP; BE SHARPENED

Prov. 27:17  As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.  NLT

       Friends are good to have.  Friends are people that come into our lives that we can lean on.  They support us.  They encourage us.  They help us when we need correction.  They defend us against those who would attack us.  They love us and try to help us be better people.  They do not drag us down or lead us into temptation.  Everybody needs friends in their lives.

       Friends are necessary for fellowship.  We need to be able to spend time with friends and feed off their lives.  We need to be able to relax with people who will accept us for who we are and not for who they think we should be.  We need people in our lives who make us feel good about being with them.

     We should be careful on our selection of friends.  We need to befriend those who have good character that we can trust and it takes time to discern those whom we can really trust.  Some people will appear to be our friends, but will disappoint us when things go wrong.  Some people will betray our trust in them.  Some will forsake us when it best serves themselves. 

      Just as you need genuine, dependable friends in your life, others you know need you to be a friend to them.  They need to know that you can be depended on to be a help and not a hindrance to their lives. 

      Are you good friend material?  Only a heart that stays connected to Christ can be counted on to be a true-blue friend.  Only Christ can help us to do what is right before God and right by others.  A person who is taking care of his soul will take care of others.  The Lord needs us to be the real deal.  There are people you know who need a godly person in their lives.  You will either sharpen or dull the life of others.  Stay spiritually sharp and you will sharpen others so that they in turn can sharpen others. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

BE PREPARED

Prov. 27:12 A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.  NLT

       It is foolish to barrel full-steam ahead without any idea what may lie before you.  We don’t know the dangers that lie before us.  Satan is a crafty and formidable foe and he likes to lay traps for us.  He doesn’t want us to get very far in our spiritual walk and will do all he can to hinder us or stop us altogether.  What lies ahead for us could damage our souls severely.

       Wise is he who tries to anticipate what may lie ahead.  We obviously have no real idea what the future may hold for us, but we can take some precautionary steps today to better prepare us for whatever we may face.

      It is imperative for the safety of our souls that we keep our eyes focused on Christ today.  We must stay in close fellowship with Him.  We must learn all we can about how to live in Him.  We must consistently work to develop a healthy relationship with Him.  In order to be ready for the future, we must be in the Word of God on a consistent basis.  We must read it, think about it, and strive to apply it to life.  We must spend time in prayer consistently.  We must take the time in prayer to worship and develop the discipline of lingering there.  We must be actively serving the Lord, doing all we can to bring Him honor among men.  We must be witnesses for Him whenever we can. 

      When we live in Christ today, growing in grace and our knowledge of Him, we will be ready for whatever may lie before us in the future.  If we don’t take care of our souls, the consequences may be severe.  An unprepared soul may face the Lord unexpectantly and then it will be too late.  Don’t go into your future blind.  Be sure your heart is right with God.  Today may very well be your last day on earth.