“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”
NIV Study Bible. 2 Corinthians 10:5. Zondervan 1985.)
I work on the internet a lot, and nothing bugs me more than those pop-up ads, or even the pop-under ads. Something new is a pop-up ad that covers a page that I’m trying to read, and then move down the page as you scroll. My skill in closing ads has improved tremendously. I can shut the stupid thing down before all the graphics display!
I find the same “pop-ups” coming in my mind though, don’t you? I will be minding my own business when suddenly “pop” — up comes something unexpected and unannounced! What I do then makes a lot of difference to the outcome. I can allow the thoughts to linger, or I can subdue my unruly thoughts and bring them into submission to the knowledge of Christ.
This knowledge of Christ and who He is can check our thoughts in a number of ways. It answers doubts with promises. It answers temptations with a relationship; it reminds the believer that no pleasure on earth is worth a rift in fellowship with the author and perfector of his or her faith.
As we mature in our faith, the promises of God become reflexes to shut down the thoughts that hinder our walk. We don’t need to rehash the same doubts we dealt with months ago; if God's promises are hidden in our heart we can cut off doubts before they begin to fester.
Prayer: Lord, thank you that as I consecrate my mind to you, using the weapons you have provided for me, that I can take every thought captive, and not be influenced by just anything.
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 10:4-9
WORD COUNT: 314
“…you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.”
(New American Standard. 1 Timothy 4:6. The Lockman Foundation 1995.)
We are the most “plugged in” technologically advanced people ever! Remember when PDA meant “public display of affection”? Remember when “web” meant there was a spider lurking?
Now, we have cell phones, pagers, PC’s small enough to carry in your pocket, TV’s that fit on your wrist, and practically every room in the house has cable access, and a phone jack.
You’d think with all the communication and entertainment devices our lives would be happier. Of course, study after study has proven that theory wrong. Oh, we’re plugged in all right, but to the wrong thing!
As industry and individuals have become more technically savvy, they have lost sight of the most important thing of all — a relationship with the Living God. We are designed to be “plugged into” Him. If you plug your cable modem into the phone jack, you will have a device that won’t work.
We are meant to plug ourselves into God! We get “plugged in” when we spend time with Him. In no other way can it happen. Just like my computer won’t work unless it is plugged into the outlet, or has enough battery power to last, I won’t work properly unless I am charged by my source.
Your computer, more than likely is constantly plugged into its power source. In the same way, we are to be plugged into Him. We find ourselves much better able to cope with all the issues that face us every day.
Prayer: Lord, I know I get distracted with all the other activities I am plugged into. Please help me to always be in tune with you.
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4:4-10
WORD COUNT: 314
If Sheep Are Such Great Followers, How Come I Keep Getting Lost?
“…and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (NIV Study Bible. John 10:4-5. Zondervan 1985.)
Sheep are known for following each other blindly, not seeing the inherent dangers that could maim and kill them. That’s why they need a shepherd so badly. And one thing sheep do well is follow their shepherd. But, then I have to go back to the title of this devotional, “If sheep are such great followers, how come I keep getting lost?” How many “sheep” have you known in your life who have gone astray?
How did this happen? This verse holds the key. Sheep follow the voice they know. Have you ever been on a playground with a hundred other screaming, yelling kids; so loud you can’t carry on a conversation, even in your own head? But, let your child cry from pain, and it slices right through you. You know it’s your kid! Do I know the voice of God like that? He says we can, and that we follow it.
However, it says the voice of a stranger they will run away from. That means, for those “sheep” that have been led astray, they have become familiar with the voice of the enemy.
In order to not wander away, we need to stay close to the Shepherd who protects us from danger, and not be lured away by the caressing voice of another.
Prayer: Father, I pray that in all things I will always hear your voice. Teach me run from the voice that promises greener grass on the other side.
Scripture Reading: John 10:1-5
WORD COUNT: 300
Changing The Grouch Inside!
“You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.” (NIV Study Bible. Psalm 4:7. Grand Rapid, Zondervan 1985)
Ever read the Dr. Seuss book, “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?” The Grinch’s heart is two sizes too small, making him miserable. Not only that, he wants to take others’ joy away too.
Do you know of a Grinch in your life? They want you to join them in their misery. But, being around a miserable person can be draining, it appears sometimes they want to suck the very life out of you with their negative attitudes, often masked under the guise of, “I’m just being a realist.”
If we lived in a perfect world we would never have to worry about this, but I can guarantee you will encounter a “Grinch”. What do you do?
• Demonstrate the love of God; whether it’s through a kind word, a card or a small gift.
• Limit your time with them if necessary.
• Don’t allow guilt to creep in. Sometimes people will try to stop you from enjoying yourself. Jesus wants us all to have fun, don’t let it be stolen from you.
• Don’t join in their negative conversations, gently lead the conversation back to other topics.
• Try to remain upbeat with them.
• Pray for that person. Only God can change their heart.
God wants us to walk in the fullness of His joy. For some it is easier said than done, and some people are naturally positive and upbeat. But, God also expects us all to carry His joy around.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 4
Prayer: Father I thank you that I can spread your joy to all, and especially the Grinches I may find, that their hearts may grow and be just the right size!
WORD COUNT: 308
A Romance For Us!
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.”
(NIV Study Bible. Jeremiah 31:3. Zondervan, 1985)
One genre of reading I cannot understand is romance novels. I was once challenged to read one. I can’t resist a dare! I took the thinnest one my friend had, and read it. When I was done, I asked whether all the books were like this. She replied, “Oh yes, aren’t they great?”
I boiled the romance novel down to this formula — and to all you romance novelists out there, I apologise in advance! — Boy meets Girl, Boy loathes Girl or vice-versa, Boy and Girl are thrust together for whatever reason generally against their will, Boy and Girl realize the error of their ways, come together, marry and ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after! Oh come on, like that ever happens!
But you know, the Bible has a simple story to it — God made man. Man rejected God. God won’t give up until He wins him back. The greatest romance book ever written is the Bible, and the best part? It’s not a novel! Every single word is true.
God woos us. He blesses us and showers us with His love. He loves us always. He is passionate about each one of us. He looks on each of us with tender compassion and mercy.
The greatest romance is the one God longs to have with you. His love letter is His Word and His Son. He longs for you to open the letter and learn how much, how deeply and how earnestly He loves you.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus that the best part of this greatest romance is the ending. When you come to fetch us, there will be a “happily ever after!”
Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 31:3-6
WORD COUNT: 309
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