GOD’S GIFTS FOR OUR ENJOYMENT


Monday, 24th August 2020

Ecclesiastes 5:19 – If God gives us wealth and property and lets us enjoy them, we should be grateful and enjoy what we have worked for. It is a gift from God.

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:17 that God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment”. That’s the kind of God we serve. He gave us the world for our enjoyment! But here’s the problem: We’re so busy getting more that we don’t enjoy what we’ve got.

You need to ask yourself, “What am I not enjoying right now?” Most of us get into what I call “when and then” thinking — “When this happens, then I’ll be happy.”

“When I get a boyfriend, then I’ll be happy.” “When I get married, then I’ll be happy.” “When I have kids, then I’ll be happy.” “When my kids go off to school, then I’ll be happy.” “When I buy a car, then I’ll be happy.” Etc, etc.

You are as happy as you choose to be. Happiness is a choice! If you’re not happy now, you’re not going to be happy later. I could take you to some of the worst places in the world and show you two people living right next door to each other. One is miserable, and one is happy. Why?

Happiness has nothing to do with your circumstances. It has everything to do with your attitude. If you’re not happy living on what you’re living on right now, I can guarantee you that you’re not going to be happy with any more. Because you’re always going to want a little bit more.

Happiness is a choice. Choose to enjoy what God has given you right now for your enjoyment!

REFLECTION
– What has God blessed you with that you have not been enjoying to the fullest?
– What have you been waiting on to be happy?
– If happiness is a choice, why do people choose to be unhappy?

A FRESH START


Sunday, 23rd August 2020

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

God’s standards never change. Premarital sex is unacceptable. It always has been. It always will be. Living together without getting married is unacceptable to God. It always has been. It always will be. Adultery, being unfaithful in your marriage, is unacceptable to God. It always has been. It always will be. Pornography, masturbation is unacceptable to God. It always has been. It always will be.

But if you’ve been guilty of one of those sins or any other sin, that’s not the end of your story. God gives you a chance to come clean and start over. God is ready to give and make you enjoy a fresh start.

How do you do that?

1. Repent:- Repent means “to change your mind.” You say, “You were right, God. I was wrong. What I did was sin.” You don’t rationalize your sin or excuse it. The most important part is, you do this now. It may require that if you’re currently in the middle of an affair, you end it today.
2. Receive forgiveness:- God is waiting to forgive, cleanse, and restore you. He’ll release you from the shame, regrets, hidden hurts, and pain that come from your sin so you don’t carry them into your next relationship. God wants to wipe the slate clean. The good news is, once he’s forgiven you, you can forgive yourself.
3. Refocus and replace:- You make a commitment to live morally pure life by God’s standard from this day forward. That means having sex only with the person to whom you’re married.
4. Request help daily:- Commit your life to Christ (if you haven’t already). Ask Him to help you manage your sex drive. Your sexual drive can destroy you if you let it. Don’t let it. You have a choice.

God is always willing to forgive, cleanse and restore us when we go astray, let’s not hesitate to run back to Him.

REFLECTION
– If there is a sexual sin from your past that you haven’t repented of, walk through the steps above so that your fresh start can begin today.
– How does our culture or the media try to convince you that truth changes?
– Why is it important not to carry shame or regret into your next relationship?

THE BATTLE FOR PURITY STARTS IN THE MIND


Saturday, 22nd August 2020

Proverbs 4:23 – Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.

Every temptation starts in the mind. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life”. The battle for sexual purity is won or lost in your mind.

Our actions begin with our thoughts. When we linger on dumb thoughts, we make dumb decisions. The Bible says this very clearly — and science backs it up: The way you think determines how you feel. Feelings motivate actions. To change your life, you don’t just work on a bad habit, the action. Instead, you work on what caused it — the thoughts that caused the feelings that caused the action. God says your thoughts control your life.

First, you begin by accepting sinful thoughts into your mind. “What would it be like to have sex with that person? Is it so wrong?” You start having doubts, and you start fantasizing in your mind. Your thoughts produce feelings.

You then move into emotional, non-physical involvement. That’s when you start flirting. You start making gestures and comments. Next comes the physical involvement. And finally, you rationalize your actions: “Everybody is doing it. It’s no big deal. We’re both adults.”

Your sinful actions started when you accepted sinful thoughts into your mind.

2 Timothy 2:22 tells us how to manage our thoughts before they ever head down this path: Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Turn away from lustful thoughts toward something positive. That two-step process is how you break a temptation before it ever gets started. You think wrong long before you act wrong. You stop the cycle by turning your back on those sinful thoughts and turning toward righteousness, integrity, love, and peace.

Let our minds be filled with the goodness, greatness, mercy and wonders of God.

REFLECTION
– How have you seen sinful thoughts — whether they’re sexual or non-sexual in nature — lead to sinful actions in your life?
– Do you have anyone in your life you can talk to when you struggle with lustful thoughts? If so, confess those thoughts to God and that person.

PURSUING INTEGRITY


Thursday, 20th August 2020

2 Corinthians 4:2 – We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open.

Integrity demands that every area of your life is treated with the same intensity. You have the same commitment to excellence in your marriage as you do in your career. You have the same commitment to excellence in ministry as you do in your parenting.

Let me give you 6 ways you can pursue integrity. You become a person of integrity by . . .

1. Keeping your promises:- People of integrity keep their word. If they say they’ll do it, they do it. If they say they’ll be there, they show up. The Bible says in Proverbs 25:14, “People who promise things that they never give are like clouds and wind that bring no rain”.

2. Paying your bills:- You may not think this is a big deal, but it’s a big deal to God. Do you spend more money than you make? That is a lack of integrity. Do you get yourself in debt for things that you can’t pay off? That is a lack of integrity. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow and never pay back”.

3. Refusing to gossip:- God is looking for men and women of integrity who know how to keep a secret and not pass it around on social media. Don’t talk about people behind their back. Don’t even listen to gossip! “A . . . gossip can’t be trusted with a secret, but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence” (Proverbs 11:13).

4. Tithing (giving) faithfully:- Wherever you put your money first is what’s most important to you. Malachi 3:8-10 says, “Is it right for a person to cheat God? Of course not, yet you are cheating me. ‘How?’ you ask. In the matter of tithes and offerings. . . . Bring the full amount of your tithes to the Temple . . . Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things”.

5. Doing your best at work:- The Bible says in Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people”. If you’re a believer, your real boss is God, and whether or not anybody else sees your work, God does.

6. Being real with others:- A person of integrity doesn’t act one way in church and another way at work and another way on the golf course. “We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves…” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

REFLECTION
– How do you keep from listening to gossip?
– What promises have you not kept that you need to follow through on for the sake of your integrity?

THE CHOICE OF INTEGRITY


Wednesday, 19th August 2020

Job 8:5-7 – If you pray to God and seek the favor of the Almighty, and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end with much.

It may be tough for you to read a devotional about integrity, because you’re replaying in your mind all the times you’ve fallen short, all the opportunities you had to show integrity and didn’t, all the moral failures in your life. We could all make a similar list of failures.

St. Augustine said that the confession of bad works is the beginning of good works.

If you are serious about becoming a person of integrity, the first step is to admit that you haven’t had integrity. You just admit that you don’t always keep your promises. You pretend to be someone you’re not. Just admit it all to God!

A lot of people segment their lives and think they can live with integrity when they are harboring sin in one area of life as long as it doesn’t affect the other areas. This is a myth.

When it comes to your life, a hole in the boat is a hole in the boat, and eventually it’s going to sink you. That little area you thought you had under control will eventually take you down. And it will affect the people around you, because while sin is personal, it is never private.

No one is perfect, but God doesn’t expect you to be perfect! He does, however, expect you to have integrity, and the starting point is to own up to your sins — no matter how long your list is.

God is more interested in your heart than your sins. And He says if you pray to Him and seek His favor, and if you are pure and live with integrity, He will surely rise up and restore your happy home. And though you started with little, you will end with much.

That is the choice of integrity.

REFLECTION
– What area of your life have you chosen to keep separate or hide from your family and closest friends? How has it affected you spiritually, emotionally, and physically?
– How can your sin affect other people, even when they don’t know about it?

NEW DAY, NEW OPPORTUNITIES


Saturday, 15th August 2020

2 Peter 3:9 – The Lord is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.

God only uses imperfect, broken people. If God only used perfect people, nothing would get done because perfect people don’t exist! If you’re willing to be used by God, He will use you no matter what you’ve done in the past. Your mission hasn’t changed.

Jonah was an ordinary guy who didn’t even want to do what God told him to do. Yet God gave him another chance, and he did what he had been called to do.

Even though he obeyed God, Jonah carried out his assignment with a bad attitude. Yet God still used him.

God gave Jonah a seven-word sermon: “In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed!” (Jonah 3:4). That simple message led to one of the largest spiritual revivals in history. A huge city humbly turned to God. It’s really a bigger miracle than getting Jonah out of the belly of a big fish.

God used this imperfect, reluctant prophet to lead an incredible revival. God was patient with Jonah and never gave up on him. God won’t give up on you either.

The Bible says, “[The Lord] is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9).

If you wake up tomorrow morning, it means God is giving you one more day—another opportunity—to fulfill your mission.

Expect God to use you. And He will.

REFLECTION
– Think about specific times in your life when you’ve doubted whether God could use you. Why did you doubt?
– Why is it so hard to believe God can use us after we’ve messed up?
– Because God has been patient with you, what are some ways you can be more patient with others in your life?