Month: August 2019

Family = Love

Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Written by: Tiffany Williford

Family is a blessing. Families come in different shapes and sizes. Some families we are born into and some we choose. Family can be an intimate group that makes us feel happy, loved, and supported. As great as families are, they can also cause us stress for different reasons. I sure experience some unneeded stress when I have to tell my daughters to clean their room every day. Anyone else have this issue? It is the same request every day. It is the same unclean rooms. Close relationships with people we care about bring disagreements and at times we don’t see eye to eye. Close relationships require the traits mentioned in Ephesians 4:2.

Paul urges us to live in a way that honors God’s gift of grace.

First as Christians, we are to live in humility. This morning I blamed one of my family members for misplacing something only to find out I was the one who misplaced it. Needless to say, an apology was issued for my misjudgment. In our families, there are times when we have to swallow our pride for the greater good. Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice (Proverbs 13:10).

Second, we are to live with gentleness. This trait not only helps to avoid unnecessary conflict, but it is also an expression of love toward our family and others. When we deliver messages of guidance for our children or loved ones with gentleness, it demonstrates love.

Third, we are to exhibit patience. Our families are comprised of all different types of personalities. We all have an understanding of things at a different level and speed. Some of us are decisive and some are indecisive. Some of us are adventurous and some… not so much. Some are introverts and some are extroverts. Patience with our loved ones who are not exactly like us is a constant act of love.

Finally, we are to live with love toward one another. Love is not just a feeling or an emotion. Love means taking action to benefit others. Family is the home of choosing and taking actions that benefit others. A great way to honor God is to show love to our family. After all, humility, gentleness, patience, and love toward one another go a long way.

Devo Relationships 8.23Thought of the day: What are some ways you can improve on showing your family humility, gentleness, patience, and love?

Prayer: God, thank You for the family You have provided me. I know they are a blessing from You. I pray for You to show me how to be more humble, gentle, patient and loving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

God Opposes the Proud

Proverbs 16:5
Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

Written by: Marshall King

At its core, pride is the act of focusing on ourselves rather than focusing and putting God and others first. Our sin-nature, which is our flesh, is naturally inclined towards focusing on self.

Puritan Thomas Watson once said this of pride: “It is a spiritual drunkenness; it flies up like wine into the brain and intoxicates it. It is idolatry; a proud man is a self-worshiper.”

Pride destroys our relationship with God and others. Pride is often blinding. We see it in others, but we fail to recognize it in ourselves. It manifests itself in many ways. A few examples include getting angry, seeking control, having a critical spirit, being irritable towards others, and not admitting when we’re wrong.

God hates pride and calls it an abomination. When we are confronted by God or other Christ-followers about our pride, we must confess and repent. Until we truly repent and turn from our sinful prideful behavior, we cannot love God and others in a spirit of humility.

The Bible is filled with accounts of the sin of pride and the consequences that resulted. In the Garden of Eden, Satan questioned and denied God’s authority and sovereignty. He deceived Eve. Eve gave into sin, which ultimately led to the fall of all mankind.

King Saul, Israel’s first king, disobeyed God and his pride led to him being removed as king. Then it eventually led to his death due to his unwillingness to repent of his sin.

Job reached a point in his trials where he began to question and judge God. Job ultimately humbled himself and repented of his lack of exalting God and he began glorifying God. God richly blessed Job in the latter years of his life.

Devo Relationships 8.22Thought of the day: Do you struggle with pride? Do you want to be freed from the sin of pride and live a life that glorifies God? Dying to self and completely surrendering to God on a daily basis is the key to living with humility. Jesus modeled it for us. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

Prayer: Father, search my heart and reveal any prideful actions or attitudes that I am blind to or have chosen not to confess and repent of. I desire to live a life that honors and glorifies You. Thank You for loving me as I am and not as I should be. Amen.

Love and Pride Cannot Co-Exist

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud…

Written by: Patty Esposito

It’s so easy for me to want more, to show off more, or to desire to be more. If I can get just this one last thing, it will make me happy. And if I’m truly honest with myself, I want that one last thing to make me look more impressive in front of my friends and my community.

Proverbs 16:18-19 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.”

Ouch! That hurt! Do you see the connection to what Paul is teaching us through the verse above?

The definition of pride/proud reads: to puff up, have a big head, excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance. Do you see it? Love and pride cannot co-exist if you’re truly walking hand in hand with Jesus; It just can’t happen. If we’re living with a prideful heart, we are objects of our own selfish love. It’s when we live in humility that we learn to love and serve others in a way that honors God. A person who wants to be holy and filled with Godly love will not be concerned at all with the boosting of his own needs.

Devo Relationships 8.21Thought of the day: Ask the Lord each day to help you see beyond your own needs and remove any form of pride from your day. Remember He says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33

Prayer: Heavenly Father, strip me and purify me of my pride. I humbly bring to You repentance and sorrow over this stronghold. Humble me to be used only for Your glory and honor. Amen.

What’s in a Name?

Romans 8:15
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Written by: John Esposito

What we call each other in our relationships often indicates the level of intimacy we have with one another. For me, those that are business associates or casual friends generally call me by my proper name—John. But those who know me intimately, like family members or very close friends, call me Johnny. The more informal version shows a certain level of comfort and intimacy.

In Romans 8:15, the scriptures call us adopted kids of our “Abba, Father.” The level of love and intimacy portrayed here is that of a child and their daddy. To think the mighty God of the universe can be called upon by a term of endearment—Daddy—is indeed very comforting. My Daddy loves me and is interested in all areas of my life. He loves intimate conversations through prayers, worship, and praise. He loves to hear us call Him Daddy and desires intimate time with us on a daily basis.

Devo Relationships 8.20Thought of the day: Think about the special names you share with your spouse, family members, and close friends. Meditate on the thoughts of joy and intimacy that come when you say or are called by those names.

Prayer: Father, hallowed be Your name. I praise You and thank You for calling me Your child, having adopted me into Your family. Thank You for being my Daddy, who I can share my most intimate thoughts and needs with. Amen.

Search Me and Know Me

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Written by: James Rogers

On some level, I think most of us believe we have life figured out. Unless there is a glaring failure or mistake, we tend to move through our day with the idea that we are the hero in our stories and the people we don’t like or trust are somehow the villains. Sometimes we are the hero in our own story. And if we’re not careful, sometimes we can also be the villain. How do we know the difference?

Today’s verse challenges us to open our hearts to God. We can’t always see the offensive ways in our own character. We all have blind spots. This passage came from King David as he invited God to test him and to know his heart. He was willing to hear the truth. He was willing to be corrected. He wanted to go in God’s way everlasting, which meant he wanted to be right with God in all things. He did not want a stone to go unturned.

Devo Relationships 8.19Thought of the day: None of us are perfect. We all have faults and God wants to lead our lives as we become more like Jesus. This verse is an expression of humility. It’s an act of laying down our obsession with being right, while simultaneously opening our hearts to correction. Why would we want to do this? So that we have a right relationship with God and a right relationship with others. That is the work the Holy Spirit wants to do in us.

God performs this function in our lives as we read His word, pray, and spend time with Godly others. We need to be open to God and His work in our lives. We need to pray for wisdom and discernment. When God brings wise people into our lives, we need to welcome and explore their feedback. God might use someone else’s correction to get at something we are struggling to address.

Proverbs 27:6 says: “wounds from a friend can be trusted…”

It takes humility to accept this type of feedback, but loving accountability from honest and trustworthy people is a blessing.

Prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Give me wisdom and courage to be the person You want me to be. Bring people into my life who offer Your truth. May I be more like Jesus every day and may You receive all of the glory. Amen!