Daily Devotional – You're Afraid Aren't You?

Matthew 10:26-28

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Yesterday at work I was asked for some documentation that was needed for an audit. Immediately, I knew that I had become lax in the execution of the process I had been using for keeping this documentation and that I would have trouble providing this information to the auditors. Instantly, I become anxious and afraid. It was right before lunch and all I could think about the whole time was what would I do to answer the auditors. I was replaying the whole year back wondering what I could have done differently. When I got back to the office I had an opportunity to let the auditors know I didn’t have the documentation readily available. The temptation was to stall and maybe push dealing with it off until another day, but I was given the chance to be honest about the situation, and I let the auditors know that I didn’t have the documentation and why. No stall, no deception, no blame-shifting, just the truth. After the conversation I was at peace. It’s pretty wild that in a moment, just from an email, fear and anxiety entered into my life and likewise, in a moment through truth, everything was restored.

I share all this to hopefully demonstrate the Biblical principles at work in today’s verses. Jesus is teaching us some very key concepts. The first concept is that there really are no secrets that can be kept. All things will be known eventually. Think of the deceptions or secrets you have tried to keep. Have you been successful? Jesus is also reminding us that God sees and knows all, so even if we think we are hiding something from the rest of humanity, it is not hidden from God.

God’s awareness of all our actions is the second concept. Jesus is teaching us in verse 28 to question who we fear. Do we fear God or do we fear man and why does it matter? Jesus is exhorting us to fear God and not man because it is God who holds power over us. God is the one is charge of our eternal destiny. God is the one who sustains our very existence. We should fear God, and out of that fear we should be mindful of His commands. We should not break His command to be honest by lying to kept us out of conflict with others. Additionally, we are God witnesses and representatives. Nothing can tarnish the way others feel about God quicker than discovering the overt dishonesty or deception of one of His followers.

So what is the application? For me its simply to always strive to be honest with people regardless of what I think the consequence will be. I think this approach honors God first and foremost and it allows us to depend on Him to take care of us in times of trouble. It also defuses fear of man. I might have still be fretting about how to deal with my documentation issue this morning if I had not dealt with it honestly yesterday. I know there are days where I haven’t felt like reading the Word or writing because I was trapped in the fear of some unresolved situation. Jesus is teaching us that all things will be revealed and to fear God first and submit all to Him and to remember that it is into His hand we are committed and that no person can affect our lives the way He can!

Heavenly Father, creator of all things and the sustainer of life. Let us humbly petition you today. Father, forgive us when we are deceptive and dishonest. Forgive us when we fear people more than we fear You. Teach us your ways O Lord. Let us walk upright before you. Deliver us from our own flesh that desires deceit and empower to walk boldly in the new life of Spirit. We proclaim you goodness and we lift praise you! We honor you in all things, and we submit this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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Daily Devotional – You’re Afraid Aren’t You?

Matthew 10:26-28

26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Yesterday at work I was asked for some documentation that was needed for an audit. Immediately, I knew that I had become lax in the execution of the process I had been using for keeping this documentation and that I would have trouble providing this information to the auditors. Instantly, I become anxious and afraid. It was right before lunch and all I could think about the whole time was what would I do to answer the auditors. I was replaying the whole year back wondering what I could have done differently. When I got back to the office I had an opportunity to let the auditors know I didn’t have the documentation readily available. The temptation was to stall and maybe push dealing with it off until another day, but I was given the chance to be honest about the situation, and I let the auditors know that I didn’t have the documentation and why. No stall, no deception, no blame-shifting, just the truth. After the conversation I was at peace. It’s pretty wild that in a moment, just from an email, fear and anxiety entered into my life and likewise, in a moment through truth, everything was restored.

I share all this to hopefully demonstrate the Biblical principles at work in today’s verses. Jesus is teaching us some very key concepts. The first concept is that there really are no secrets that can be kept. All things will be known eventually. Think of the deceptions or secrets you have tried to keep. Have you been successful? Jesus is also reminding us that God sees and knows all, so even if we think we are hiding something from the rest of humanity, it is not hidden from God.

God’s awareness of all our actions is the second concept. Jesus is teaching us in verse 28 to question who we fear. Do we fear God or do we fear man and why does it matter? Jesus is exhorting us to fear God and not man because it is God who holds power over us. God is the one is charge of our eternal destiny. God is the one who sustains our very existence. We should fear God, and out of that fear we should be mindful of His commands. We should not break His command to be honest by lying to kept us out of conflict with others. Additionally, we are God witnesses and representatives. Nothing can tarnish the way others feel about God quicker than discovering the overt dishonesty or deception of one of His followers.

So what is the application? For me its simply to always strive to be honest with people regardless of what I think the consequence will be. I think this approach honors God first and foremost and it allows us to depend on Him to take care of us in times of trouble. It also defuses fear of man. I might have still be fretting about how to deal with my documentation issue this morning if I had not dealt with it honestly yesterday. I know there are days where I haven’t felt like reading the Word or writing because I was trapped in the fear of some unresolved situation. Jesus is teaching us that all things will be revealed and to fear God first and submit all to Him and to remember that it is into His hand we are committed and that no person can affect our lives the way He can!

Heavenly Father, creator of all things and the sustainer of life. Let us humbly petition you today. Father, forgive us when we are deceptive and dishonest. Forgive us when we fear people more than we fear You. Teach us your ways O Lord. Let us walk upright before you. Deliver us from our own flesh that desires deceit and empower to walk boldly in the new life of Spirit. We proclaim you goodness and we lift praise you! We honor you in all things, and we submit this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.

SOAP Journal Entry – Genesis 12:11-13

S – [11] When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, “I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, [12] and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. [13] Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake.” (Genesis 12:11-13 ESV)

O – This chapter begins with God telling Abram to leave everything that he has knows and go “to the land that I will show you.”  That’s faith.  Just up and moving, not really knowing where.  Then we come to verse 10, Abram and Sarai are going into Egypt because of a famine in Canaan.  All the sudden his faith in God is gone!  He asks Sarai to tell a half-truth and say she is his sister.  Why?  Because she was beautiful and he feared for his life?  Yes, but more importantly, he didn’t trust that God would protect him.  His plan doesn’t work, Pharaoh does spare his life, but he takes Sarai as his wife anyway, and then God has to rescue Abram.

A – How many times have I thought my way was better than God’s?  How often have I not demonstrated my faith and let God work things out for me?  How many times have my plans backfired and God has had to “bail me out”?  As a Christian, I need to be dependent upon God.  As a human, I find this difficult.  I need to exercise my faith more and trust that God will care for my every need.

P – Heavenly Father thank you for your faithfulness to me even when I may not always be faithful to you.  Help me to realize that You are always there for me, from the beginning.  Help me to turn to you in faith FIRST!  Help me to depend more on You and less on me.  Thank you again for Your Word and what it reveals.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Romans 8:1-2, Condemnation and Despair

Romans 8:1-2

1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.  (ESV)

Do you ever feel alone? Do you ever feel so stressed that all you want to do is find somewhere and hide? Do you ever feel like you are just waiting for the next bad thing to happen in your life? Do ever feel like no matter how hard your try there is always going to be something that brings you down? It almost seems like the world is against you.

I know there have been times in my life when I would have answered yes to all of the questions above. I know there are times when I have felt that the world was against me. I also know that if I embrace the negative assertions about life I can easily slip into a depression that paralyzes me. Depression that paralyzes my ability to relate to others, my ability to be productive in society, and my desire to pursue God. So my question is how do I reconcile this struggle with my life of faith in Jesus? Today’s verses give us some guidance.

Paul is teaching us that there is a reality for Christians that we have to be mindful to remember. The reality for those God has saved is that they have died to the old life of despair and now live in the new life of the Spirit. The challenging idea is that the old life of despair is still alive inside of us and tries at every turn to influence the way we interact with the new life. One example is worry. Scripture assures us that we have nothing to worry about, yet in moments of financial, relational, or almost any situation it is easy to yield to the voice in our heads that says “hey you should be worried”. The voice of despair is teaching us that we are still condemned.

So what is the application? The reality is that there is a war raging inside of us and we are constantly challenged to put to death the old life. We are dead to the old life in that we are no longer bound to submit to its desires but it still tries to sway and influence us. The application is that we have to continually strive to live in this new reality of our life in Christ. We must let the Spirit who dwells in us has His way with us. We must trust in His power to conform us to the image of Christ, but we must realize this conforming comes only in our submission to Him and in the rejection of the old life.

Which life are you living in?

Heavenly Father, thank you for another day. Thank you God that we are no longer condemned. Thank you God that have sustained us and now you send us out again to be your light in a dark world. Help us Father hold down the very darkness that lives in our flesh. Empower us Spirit to yield to your leading and conform us to image of Jesus whom we serve. We Jesus name. Amen.

SOAP Journal Entry – Romans 12:6a

S – Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: (Romans 12:6a ESV)

O – Throughout this entire passage the meaning seems to be that one’s gift, however great or small, is from God!  It then goes on to mention several of the gifts that God may bestow upon you, but I don’t want to focus on that.  Just know that you have a gift!  A gift given by the Heavenly Father.  Every believer has at least one spiritual gift and it must be used!  Some have multiple gifts, they must be used.  If you aren’t sure what your gift may be ask yourself these questions:  1) What do I enjoy doing?  The Lord wants us to be happy while serving.  2) What have I been doing that God is blessing?  Take a little inventory of what you have done that was a blessing to someone else.  3) What area have others encouraged me?  If someone else sees that you have a gift and has encouraged you to use it, take a look.  4) Has the Holy Spirit revealed anything to me?  The Spirit wants each of us to know and use our gifts.  You will find out your gift when you answer these questions honestly.

A – What is the application for me?  I was asked yesterday what my gifts were.  I gave an answer which was true, but not complete.  I have gifts that I have not been utilizing to their full capacity.  I have talents that I could use as a vehicle for my gifts.  I have been in a cycle lately of…. “I’m tired, let someone else do it awhile.”  This Scripture opened my eyes to realize that I can’t rest.  It takes every member of the body of Christ doing the work that they have been assigned to further the Kingdom.  There is a work that needs to be done and I have to do my part by using the gifts that God has given me.

P – Heavenly Father, thank you for opening my eyes.  Please forgive me for holding back on the gifts that you have given me.  Give me the strength to use my gifts to their fullest so that You will be glorified.  Thank you for being faithful.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Joshua 9:14-15, Didn't Even Check!

Joshua 9:14-15

14 So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD. 15 And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live, and the leaders of the congregation swore to them.

Have you have ever made a major decision without asking God’s opinion of it? Today’s verses are a great example of the calamity that can ensue when we fail to consult the Great Counselor. In them we find Joshua leading the army of Israel from town to town clearing out the inhabitants of the Promise Land. We  also find that word of Joshua’s campaign has spread throughout the land and made it to the town of Gibeon. The Gibeonites were confident that an encounter with Joshua would result in their destruction so they devised a plan to deceive Joshua. A contingency of the Gibeonites traveled to Joshua and presented themselves as God-seekers from a distant land looking to make an alliance with God’s people. Israel took the bait and without even the first prayer they swore an oath of alliance with the Gibeonites. A few days later when they rolled into Gibeon they were shocked to find that they were unable to follow through with God’s command of clearing the Promise Land because of the oath they had swore before God.

Is there application for us in this history of God working with Joshua and Israel? I think so. I know that many times when I am facing a big decision I don’t press into God nearly as deeply as I could. Often times I charge right in and I am sure that I have made a decision or two that if would have sough the Lord would have been different. It is challenging to think of something so deep yet so simple. Deep in that the very Creator of the Universe has made Himself available for me to bounce my ideals and concerns off of and simple in that all I have to do is seek and ask and He will reveal and answer.

Big decision on the horizon? Don’t forget to check with the One who’s counsel is perfect.

Father, thank you God that your are the author and the finisher of our faith. That in your providence you have a plan for our existence. Thank you God that you come near to us and you encourage us to seek your counsel. Help us seek you today Father. Protect us from the evil one and help our minds and actions be aligned to your perfect will. We ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.