Archives

SELF OR GOD?

Memorise: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (2 Timothy 3:2)

ReadJudges 16:26-30
And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.
And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

Message

One of the articles of Samson’s last prayer from today’s reading is, I want to avenge myself of my eyes. This statement tells us one major reason Samson became an ex-champion: he was self-centered. His thoughts were ever centred on himself. For instance, he earlier asked for a woman whose background contravened the rule of God for his lifestyle because she pleased him well. He also promised to deal with his in-laws because they gave his wife somebody else. Even while asking for restoration, it was to enable him avenge himself for the eyes that the enemies plucked out. As a believer, we must be very careful about what we do and especially about our motives.
If you take a look at the characteristic traits of the last days, you will notice that selfishness and self-centredness play a major role. This is know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  2 Timothy 3:1-4

A life that is given to pleasure is a self-centred life. Are you a self-lover or God-lover? The truth is, in this generation, self has been glorified to the level of God. Self gratification is the overriding motive behind most activities people are engaged in. the love of God has taken a back burner if at all it is present. If you love God, He will be uppermost in your thoughts, deeds and plans. Everything else will be secondary. Pleasing God will be your focus and you will not mind the cost. If you are God centred, you will want to know His will for your life in every area. In situations where you express your personal will, it will not supersede that of God. Where there is conflict between your will and God’s will, you will yield to God’s will for your life like it happened with Jesus in the garden at Gethsamen (Luke 22:39-46) one thing you must know about self is that self can drive you in a direction opposite where God is taken you. Self is driven by lust but God-consciousness is driven by love. If you are God-centred, you will easily achieve divine tasks. But if you are self-centred, you will expect people to pay you for working for God. If you want to know what you will benefit personally from a Kingdom assignment before you engage in it, this simply shows that you are governed by self. Retrace your steps today!

PRAYER POINT
Father, I yield completely to your Spirit from today. Lord, have your way in my life.

 

 Devotional By Pastor E.A Adeboye

Advertisements

A Stumper of A Question

This post is courtesy of I Spy God

One Sunday afternoon, my kids told me they asked their Sunday school teacher a question that she didn’t know the answer to.

“What did you ask them?!!”  I blurted out, slightly fearful of what topic they dared to breach…
“Does God love the devil?”
Wow.
Now there’s a question.
I can only assume that the Sunday school “teacher” they asked was one of the teen helpers and not the actual teacher, because I am sure the teacher has an answer to their question…but it made me think and wonder if what I thought was correct.
“Well, what do you think?” I asked back
“NO!” they almost simultaneously screamed… “he’s bad and so naughty!”
Great point.
Great question.
Does God love the devil?

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good…”   Genesis 1:31

God made the devil.  And if he made the devil, then the devil is part of the “everything” Genesis 1:31 is talking about.

“… You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them …”   Nehemiah 9:6

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”   Colossians 1:16

The devil was the most beautiful of God’s angels.

 “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and arbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were an anointed guardian cherub.”   Ezekiel 28:12-15

And as with all of God’s creation, He allows free will, and like the Coke Zero commercials, the devil wanted more.

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.”   Isaiah 14:12-15

And again as with all creation, choices come with consequences… the devil and his angels were punished.

“… God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;”   2 Peter 2:4

But praise the One who is forgiving and longs for us to accept it.

“The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”   Psalm 145:9
“… not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”  2 Peter 3:9

“Yes” I said.

“…  God is love.”   1 John 4:8

Scripture Meditation ~ Breaking The Chains


Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. (Psa. 107:10,11,13-16 NIV)

Questions:
What grips you?
What has seized you?

What has you in its grasp?

Is there anything that makes you do what you do not want to do? 

Prayer:LORD, not all chains are made of iron. The pit of depression, the grip of addiction, or the pain of heartbreak and loss can be as strong as any chain of iron. I am grateful that You are able to deliver out of any kind of prison or break away any chains, no matter what they are made of. You can set me free anytime, anywhere, from anything that holds me in bondage. Give me courage to cry out to You and faith to believe that You hear me and will help me. Thank You that no matter how I feel, I am not alone, because You care about everything that concerns my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Scripture Meditation

7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. (1 Pet 4:7 NKJV)
There are many scriptures that will back up a praying life style such as this one: 13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. (1 John 5:13-15 – NLT)
Ever tried to have a relationship with someone you never talk with?  That’s never worked for me. How about for you?

Prayer: 
LORD, with so many things demanding my time every day, I fail to make time to pray as I should. Help me quiet the shouts for attention in my mind and do what I must do to maintain our relationship. I want a strong, dynamic relationship with You, and it begins with prayer. You are available, so it is up to me. Help me make it happen. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Emotional Emptiness

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

 

Emotional emptiness is a set up for frustrated and insecure living. If I ignore my emotional bank account with bad behavior, I can easily become overdrawn and withdraw into my silent shell. There are ‘late fees’ that result in broken promises, missed appointments, and angry outbursts. Emotional emptiness easily leads to chronic exhaustion.

Unhealthy emotions, like unresolved anger, overcome those running on emotional empty. In addition, good things like serving others can suck the joy and gratitude from your life if you are not emotionally whole. Resentment runs rampant when your emotions are on the edge of emptiness, so guard your heart with the Holy Spirit’s help and wisdom.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Proverbs 17:22

So how do you know if you are approaching emotional emptiness? If you are emotionally spent, how do you replenish your emotional bank account? One sign of emotional fatigue is when your feelings are easily hurt. You take too much personally without appropriating forgiveness and trust in the Lord’s ability to handle the situation. So invite God to grow your character during challenging times.

One way to involve Jesus in your emotional barrenness is to write out your fears, and talk it through with the one whom you totally trust. He will give you courage to encounter those you fear with humility and courage. Lastly, make regular appointments with encouragers who lift you to the Lord with their affirmation and prayers.

Look for those who remind you to place your hope in heaven. Emotional fullness is created in a prayerful pace of living. Protect your emotions as they give understanding and insight into yourself, people, and the Lord. Above all else, trust in the peace of God to make whole your emotions, and to guard your heart.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7)

When can I block out weekly time on my calendar to guard my heart and replenish my emotional emptiness?

Related Readings: Proverbs 15:30; 22:11; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22

Scripture Meditation

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy templeJonah 2:7
Prayer can take us from hell to heaven in the blink of an eye.
Here Jonah had run away from God, disobeying His command to preach to Israel’s enemies in the city of Nineveh. Jonah’s ship was therefore caught in the midst of a great storm that God brought his way. Jonah was famously thrown from the ship and swallowed by a great fish.
As he languishes in the unimaginable discomfort and horror of the fish’s belly, Jonah describes himself as being in “the belly of hell” (2:2). Jonah was in this predicament because of his own disobedience and rebellion. He felt as though he had been cast away from the presence and watch care of God (2:4). Yet, he says, “I will look again toward thy holy temple.”
When we find ourselves suffering for our own sins, we are sometimes tempted to avoid God. Out of a sense of guilt, or pride, or embarrassment we turn away from God rather than turning to Him in prayer.
But, as Jonah observed, afflictions are sometimes sent to draw us to God, to deliver us from our sinful path: “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD.” The very affliction is what brought Jonah to cry out to God.
God has never yet turned away any sinner who prayed to Him in repentance. Jonah found that, even as he suffered “in the belly of hell” he was able, through prayer, to come to God in His holy temple.
If you find yourself far away from God today, rush into His presence through prayer and bask in the glow of His abundant forgiveness and love.
Courtesy of A Good Thing

Dirty Little Secret…SHHHH!

That’s what she called him.  Her “dirty little secret”.  Here was Malynda*, an attractive, vibrant single Christian woman.  She thrived in her job as a paralegal, owned her own home, and was a leader in her church.  By all outward appearances, she had it together.  But she had a “dirty little secret”.  Actually, it was a huge secret.  Despite what she appeared to be on the outside (together, compliant…even spiritual to some), Malynda carried on a secret sexual relationship with a man to whom she was not married.  While she felt extremely guilty, ashamed, and convicted by God for her behavior, Malynda could not seem to stop.  And, despite these feelings, she also felt a hidden thrill about her secret.  She felt a distorted satisfaction at a base level–despite her faith and what she knew intellectually about the importance of obedience and submission to the will of God.

What is it about things that are secretive that seem to feed the flesh and ignite a fierce drive to get more, more, more?  That cake of which you know you should not have another piece.  That money you promised you would not spend because it was set aside to pay an outstanding debt.  That online relationship that, if exposed, would damage your reputation and entire life.  These things and others like them can be and usually are secrets, but they feel good.  Why is that?

The short and obvious answer to the aforementioned question is because we have the flesh and anything that appeals to it is attractive.  The forbidden feels good.  The forbidden that is also a secret can feel even better…almost powerful.  Yet I propose that there is something deeper than the obvious…something that is both general to all and specific to each individual.  It is the longing to be “like God“–an offering originally promised by the devil himself.  It is the desire to be in control of our world, to satisfy our every desire and longing on this side of heaven, to create (and have) our own personal Eden.  This is the thing that drives every outward move towards the “dirty little secret”.  It is sin.
Well, if it all goes back to sin, what hope is there?  If I go to a counselor to address my secret shopping addiction and they (eventually) tell me or lead me to see that I “just need to repent”, what is the point in paying them if I already knew that in the first place?  Valid questions.  The answer is both simple and complex.

The answer is Christ.  It is His death on the cross.  It is His resurrection from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is the fact that He made us alive again spiritually and gave us the power to live with unmet desires and longings on this side of heaven–regardless of the fact that it often feels like we can not.  It is that power that brings our “dirty little secrets” to light and gives us the power to overcome their relentless pull.  The real, life-giving secret is in Christ. We’ve FOUND the (real!) secret!  This is our hope.

*The name and story mentioned in this article is fictional and used solely for illustrative purposes.  Any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental.  Individuals seen in a professional counseling setting are protected by confidentiality as agreed between them and their respective counselors.

Written by Nicole Efunnuga, M.S. – Christian Therapist