Guard Your Heart

combination-safe

“For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David.” 1 Kings 3:9 – 10 NKJV

When Solomon became king God appeared to him and said “Ask! What shall I give you?”. Solomon asked God for wisdom to be able to judge the people. (1 Kings 3:9) He could have asked for anything…for riches, honor or a long life. Because he asked for wisdom, which is what God really wanted for Solomon, God gave him all of those things in addition to wisdom.

Blessings from God do not come with a promise that our lives will be easy and worry free. There will always be something competing for our attention. Something attempting to take our focus off of God. This happened to Solomon as he married seven-hundred wives. He became distracted with their gods, leaving behind the God who blessed him so greatly.

All of his wealth and wisdom did not help Solomon achieve contentment. If the wisest man on earth could be led astray by the distractions of this world, how much more for us who have many more distractions vying for our attention. The solution is not to be anxious, but to pray and allow the peace of God to guard our hearts and minds. (Phil 4:6-7)

What’s On Your Mind?

thoughts
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Ephesians 4:29 NKJV

Paul knew that it’s impossible to stop corrupt thoughts from entering our minds, but we don’t have to entertain them, or voice them!  Today’s world of text messaging and social media presents people’s thoughts without a filter.  People say things in a text that they would never say to someone face-to-face.  Self-confidence is crushed through careless and hurtful posting on social media outlets.

Our speech should change as we mature in our walk with Christ.  It doesn’t mean we don’t slip and use language we shouldn’t, or use a tone that isn’t loving.  It means it should be happening less often, to the point where it is very rare rather than the norm.

Instead of corrupt words, we should be using edifying words, speaking grace to those who hear us.  That doesn’t come naturally.  It’s something we have to practice.  We begin by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit who lives within us.  As we listen to Him speak to us, He begins to speak through us.

Our speech also reflects what we listen to, or read in books, or hear in TV shows and movies. The more we fill ourselves with Godly teaching and reading, the more it will be reflected in the words we use.

Private Prayer

prayer

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Matthew 6:5 – 6 NKJV

Jesus is teaching us about prayer. The hypocrites wanted everyone to see them praying. They probably practiced their prayers at home, and then went out and prayed in the open so people could see and hear them.

Jesus said we should pray in private. That doesn’t mean EVERY prayer should be in private, but we should have some private time with God to share what’s on our heart. We should pray out loud when we can, not so God can hear us, but so we can hear ourselves. We might be surprised at what comes out of our mouths!

Did you begin this devotion with prayer? The purpose of devotions are to draw us closer to the will and heart of God. Beginning with prayer opens our hearts to hear the voice of God. Once we hear His voice. we should also offer a prayer giving Him thanks.

No Fear

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Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
Job 1:8 NKJV

God asked Satan if he considered His servant Job.  The word “considered” was a Hebrew military term meaning “to study the objective to find its strengths and weaknesses”.  In this case, Job was the objective.

Satan is not Omnipresent. He can’t be in two places at once.  He is not omniscient.  He doesn’t know everything there is to know.  He is not Omnipotent.  His power is limited to the power that God allows him to have.

Satan makes it his business to know as much about the children of God as he can.  As children of God, we shouldn’t fear Satan or try to hide from him.  James 4:7 tells us that we should submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us.  We resist…he flees.

Later in the book, Satan tells God that Job only serves Him because He has blessed Job greatly, and He keeps a hedge of protection around him.  God gives Satan permission to strike all that Job has, but not to touch Job.  This is important.  Satan needed permission to touch a child of God.  Have no fear.  He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world!

Standing in Liberty

liberty

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
Galatians 5:1 NKJV

The yoke of bondage mentioned in this verse is the law.  The law doesn’t bring us closer to God; it reveals how far we are separated from Him. When we attempt to live by the law we believe we will become more spiritual by obeying the law.  This leads to a false confidence that we can become spiritually stronger by following rules.

When we believe we have become spiritually mature, we begin to look down on others who haven’t reached our level of maturity.  Instead of comparing our spiritual lives to the life of Christ, we compare our walk with other Christians.

If we set the standard of what a spiritually mature person looks like, we will drastically miss the mark.  Jesus is our standard, and until we attain His level of perfection, we will never be good enough.

Standing in liberty isn’t easy.  Our desire is to “do things” to earn our own way.  Liberty removes the yolk of bondage.  Ephesians 2:8 reminds us: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”.  Grace is the method God uses to bestow liberty upon us.  It is a gift that we receive, and then apply to our lives.

Theological Malware

malware

While preparing for an upcoming teaching I decided to review “Progressive Christianity” websites to have a better understanding of their theology and beliefs.   As I read some of the information provided, and watched a few of the videos they had posted, I realized I was getting upset with what I was reading and hearing.  It was at that point I realized, I was being hacked.

These sites were an assault on my beliefs, and my values.  After some consideration I determined why I was negatively affected by this doctrine.  It was Theological Malware.  This is a term I just made up, but it fits.  Malware is any software intended to deceive the user for malicious purposes.  As a software developer and IT administrator I am very aware of various methods hackers and spammers use to mislead computer users.  The material posted by progressives is a spiritual deception with the intent to direct the reader to falsehoods that appear to have the reader’s best interests in mind.  This is very similar to internet malware designed to make a user believe they have been infected with a virus and need to download the software they offer to remove the virus.  Instead, the user is infected even further.

There is nothing actually Christian about Progressive Christianity.  They deny the virgin birth, and the resurrection of Jesus, in essence denying the deity of Christ. They replace salvation through Jesus with the idea that being good people is all you need.  To them, Jesus was an enlightened, wisdom teacher…nothing more.   And they don’t stop there, they deny the creation of the earth and the creation of Adam and Eve, and support the theory of evolution.

As malware corrupts the ability to use a computer as desired, progressive Christianity corrupts the foundation of biblical integrity and the assurance that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  Progressives argue that men wrote the Bible, and it hasn’t been changed to keep up with the times.  One thing is for sure, the Bible is as relevant today as it was in the first century.

The problems we experience today are the same issues that were addressed all the way back to Genesis.  Progressive Christians are not new.  Two thousand years ago they were called Gnostic’s.  They purported to have information not available to the average human.  They infect our modern world with stories that sounds good to the casual listener, but directs them away from the truth of the Bible to trust in a lie devised by man.  Jesus told us to expect this when He said, “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11).  Paul also warned Timothy, “Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. (1 Timothy 6:20 – 21)

My mother had a computer so laden with malware that she could hardly use it.  The primary way to prevent malware is to have anti-malware software installed.  Christians can protect themselves from the assault of the enemy through faith in the Bible.  Romans 10:17 tells us “…faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Paul wrote this warning to Christians: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:6 – 8).

Since the enemy does not have the ability to keep Christians out of heaven, the next best thing is to render them useless on earth, keeping them from sharing the truth with others.  Progressive Christianity is one of the tools the enemy uses to achieve that goal.

Who Created Marriage?

marriageI love homosexuals.  I disagree with their lifestyle, much the same as I disagree with people living together in a sexual relationship before marriage.  The Bible calls this sin (Romans 1).  Just because millions of people are having sex outside of marriage does not negate the fact that it is fornication, which is a sin.  Married people having sex with someone other than their spouse are committing adultery.  If the Supreme Court ruled that it supported adultery, would it change the way a husband or wife would act in their marriage?

Do you believe a ruling by the Supreme Court has affected God’s design for marriage?  People say Jesus didn’t speak on homosexuality.  He didn’t have to; He said it all when He said marriage was between a man and a woman. (Matthew 19:4-5)  Court decisions may impact the conduct of people in our country, but they have no influence over the God of heaven and earth.  In Genesis, God establishes the institution of marriage, Jesus confirms it, and I trust them!

I believe my biggest concern with this decision is not with the very small percentage of people that call themselves LGBT, but by the support they have by a large portion of the population.  My wife, Cheryl, reminded me that most of this support comes from family members who have LGBT relatives, or close friends.  I believe it is much more loving to reveal the truth of the Word of God with our LGBT family and friends, rather than supporting a lifestyle that is condemned by God.

I love homosexuals, as well as every other sinner in our world today. That’s not because I’m such a loving person, but because Jesus loves them enough to die for them, and for me…just another sinner.  It would be a sin not to love them.  The way I demonstrate my love is by sharing the love of God with them so that they may also spend eternity with Him!