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Archive for September, 2009

verse 6: “But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.”

Some of the best experts I know of in certain areas, may not look like an expert, to the uninformed observer. We, as human beings, tend to judge things on how they look, which is not always correct. Some companies, for instance, won’t consider hiring you unless you have a college degree. Yet, one of the smartest programmers I ever met, got all her knowledge from on-the-job training and work. In my opinion, she is more qualified than the “skilled” applicants who have a degree.

Look at Moses; he gave God the excuse for not leading as “I can’t speak”. God said Aaron would speak for him, but you are the one I called. Paul was saying I may not be eloquent in speech, but I know what I’m talking about! To sum it up best, I remember an old saying: “God doesn’t called the qualified…He qualifies the called.”

What excuse are you giving God today?

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2 Corinthians 11:1-5

verse 3: “But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

Things are so complicated today. When I was growing up, a phone was used for calling people, a TV picked up one channel at a time (and could pick up a total of 3-4 channels, if the weather was right!), and a computer was one of those monolithic wall-long machines used in universities and laboratories. Cars were used to transport people, and the fanciest non-driving thing it had was a radio with an 8-track tape deck. When my grandmother won a Cadillac in a school raffle, it had…cruise control! Wow….

Boy, how times have changed! And, don’t get me wrong, I’m not lamenting progress…a lot of inventions and innovations make life easier nowadays. But sometimes, amidst all the hustle and bustle and crowded confusion…you yearn for simpler times.

The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple, yet awesome. The Christian life, when devoted and focused on Him, is a whole lot easier than all the confusing plans and programs that can get in the way (and I haven’t even mentioned all that the devil tries to throw in our path to make us overly-busy!) When you find your life spiraling out of control (like I did yesterday morning), stop and refocus on Jesus!

Have a blessed, simpler day in Him!

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Had a friend of mine contribute a Scripture reference that went very well with this last devotional thought. I asked them if they would mind if I shared it, and they said go for it! So here it is:

1 Sam 16:
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees;[a] for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
8 So Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.”
11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down[b] till he comes here.”
12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!”
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

Amen.

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verse 18: “For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”

We spend a lot of time searching for approval and acceptance. Growing up, we want to please our parents, those guides God set before us to teach us about life. We spend much of our working life wanting approval from our bosses, that we’re doing our jobs well and correctly. In athletics, it’s the coach’s praise we want to let us know we’re doing things right. In learning a new hobby or pastime, we want that teacher or mentor’s praise that means “I made it. I achieved my goal.” If you saw the Disney-Pixar movie Cars, you realize this when, after all his pursuit of selfish ambition and fan acceptance, when Lightning McQueen does the right thing and it costs him the championship he wanted, the approval of old Doc Hudson makes it all worth it.

Now realize that man’s approval is worthless dirt when compared to the gold standard of the Lord. It is He whose approval we should really care about day in and day out. That can be hard, especially if you have a hard day where it seems like you can do no right in man’s eyes…but keep your eye on God, for in the long run of eternity, it’s His approval that matters….His and His alone.

You will not be alone either. As Christians, Jesus is our coach. Fellow Christians will be (or at least should be!) our “fans” and fellow athletes rooting us on in that pursuit. I know I want to hear, when I cross the heavenly finish line of life, “well-done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Have a blessed day!

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verse 17: “But He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”

A familiar statement by Paul in his writings, he urges the Corinthian church to put their boasts in the Lord. Sounds kind of funny; we put many things in the Lord’s hands…our hopes, our needs, our faith, our prayers….but our boasts?

Paul had quoted similar Scripture in 1 Corinthians. Plus, one of my favorite verses comes from Psalms 34, verse 2, “my soul shall make its boast in the Lord”. Even in Jeremiah 9:24, the Lord Himself tells Jeremiah, “but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me,…”

Just something to marvel at, that something we often hear negative connotations about…boasting…is actually okay when we put our boasts in the Lord!

Have a blessed day!

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verse 5: “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”

Quick, try to think of the William Tell Overture and to NOT think of the Lone Ranger…..time’s up.

If you’re like the majority of people (including me!) who first heard that classical concert piece as the theme song of “that masked man”, it was nearly impossible to not run the tune through your mind and see that TV Western hero “on a fiery horse with the speed of light”. Sound and image were inseparable thoughts….and really hard to think of one without the other!

Paul here is speaking of “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”. As I’ve heard it said before, the devil is not a scary looking fellow with horns, a pitchfork, and a cape, dressed all in red. He will tempt us subtlely. That is why Jesus told us not to even let our thoughts stray. As goes your thinking, so go your actions. I’ll wager if you ask most addicts today what led to their out-of-control addictions, most of them will say it started with only “a little bit here and a little bit there”. Trying something illicit you know you should not…or taking a quick look at something thinking your resistance is strong. Like I said in the previous email, the devil cheats…he’ll hit you where you are weak, no matter how strong you think you are.

Keep your mind on Jesus today, and there won’t be any room for the devil’s trash.

Have a blessed day!

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First off, my apologies; I’ve been home sick with the flu this week, and that threw me off my schedule even more! So, while I got some energy, let’s get back to 2 Corinthians! 🙂

verses 3-4: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

Here’s a news flash for you: the devil cheats. Yep, that’s right; he cheats. He’s the Prince of Liars, and he’ll do anything to keep you from having a relationship with God, or having a deeper relationship with Jesus. Many times, I have heard my sons say, “That’s not fair!” (all parents, raise your hands if you’ve heard that one!) It can be bad enough that life is not fair, but add to that, the fact that the devil pulls every dirty trick in the book, and you think, “man, there’s no way I can win!”

Well, you’re right…sort of. There is no way for “man” to win against the devil. Not alone. We’re so use to winning with physical talents or mental abilities or socio-economic-political power, that we’re left at a loss when none of that works against the devil’s machinations. But guess what? God wants you on His team! In order to do that, you need to join the team (accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior) and study the playbook and practice! (get into Bible study, Sunday School, Christian fellowship and discipleship).

When you start fighting with “weapons” that are “not of the flesh, but divinely powerful”, you’ll find that through God, you, too, can take down a fortress. Just read in the Bible about a man named Joshua, some marching Israelites, some musical horns…and the power of God.

Have a blessed (and flu-free!) day!

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