Monthly Archives: January 2019

Changing Your Desires

We’ve all heard stories, and maybe some of you have experienced it, where a pregnant woman gets an intense craving for a food. No matter what time it is, she or her husband have to go out and get it to satisfy that craving. There are other times when you’re sitting there and think, “It’d be nice if I had ice cream,” but you don’t go out and get it because you simply would like to have some. That’s the difference between desire and want. Desire is this deep inner craving that won’t go away until you do something to satisfy it.

It’s important to understand the two because the Bible has a lot to say about desire. Our flesh certainly desires things that are often contrary to what God wants. Then there’s God’s spirit living in us that desires things opposite of our flesh. There is a constant war within us over which desires we should satisfy. Fasting is a great way to learn to tell the desires of your flesh, “No!” Through discipline, reading God’s Word and prayer, you can make God’s desires your desires and learn to fight back against those desires that still exist, but are contrary to what He wants for you.

Here are some Bible Verses on desire.

1. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.

Romans 7:5-6 NLT

2. The desires of good people lead straight to the best, but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.

Proverbs 11:23 MSG

3. Create a new, clean heart within me. Fill me with pure thoughts and holy desires, ready to please you.

Psalms 51:10 TPT

4. I always do what God commands; I follow his will, not my own desires.

Job 23:12 GNT

5. Make God the utmost delight and pleasure of your life, and he will provide for you what you desire the most.

Psalms 37:4 TPT

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Hidden Paths

Whenever I think about the plans God has for me and where I am, I don’t see how I can get there from here. I can see how the things I’m doing now are preparing me for that calling, but I can’t find the way to get there. I’m constantly looking for the path that takes me from this road to that one. I know I’m not alone in this. I talk to many people who tell me the plans that God has shown them scares them. Those plans are too big for them or me to accomplish on our own. So how do we get there from here?

As I was reading in Psalms recently, I came across a verse that helped me. David was faced with a similar situation and he couldn’t find the way out. He remembered how the Israelites were trapped at the Red Sea and had no way to get to where God was calling them to. They had Pharaoh bearing down on them, they were at a dead end, and had no where else to go. In that moment, God parted the sea and showed them the path.

Psalm 77:19 says, “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there!” (NLT) The path God has for you to get to your calling maybe hidden in a sea. You may not know where it is, but God does. You can rest assured that when the time comes, God will part the waters and show you the path. Until that time, stay faithful where He has you. What you’re doing now is preparation for what’s to come.

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Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Changing Your Perspective

I have a friend who gives a cool presentation. He starts with a picture of a house and tells you to imagine that’s your house in your neighborhood. He then zooms out and you see a statewide view. Then he zooms out more and you see half the world. Further out shows earth, then it shows how big earth is next to the other planets. Then he brings in the sun and you can barely see the earth. He then shows the sun compared to other stars until you can’t see the sun because the other stars are so big. Finally he shows a picture from the Hubble telescope of thousands of galaxies and says, “Don’t sweat the small stuff because you are the small stuff.”

Looking at how small we are in comparison to other parts of creation can make us feel insignificant. When you look at the vastness of the universe God created, it’s easy to wonder how God could care anything about us. Even David, who had no clue how small we really are wondered the same thing. Psalm 8:4 says, “Compared to all this cosmic glory, why would you bother with puny, mortal man or be infatuated with Adam’s sons?” (TPT) Like David, we can feel insignificant even in God’s eyes, but that’s not the truth.

Your life matters to God so much that He sent His son to die for you so you could spend eternity with Him. He created you with a purpose only you can fulfill. You are uniquely gifted in such a way that if you don’t do what God created you to do, it won’t get done. He takes great pleasure in you and knows the number of hairs on your head. If you’re feeling insignificant today or that God doesn’t care, take some time to think of the things God has trusted you with. When you begin to thank God today for the small things and large things He’s given you, your perspective changes.

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Remaining Faithful

Do circumstances determine your faithfulness to God? My mom died on a Friday morning over twenty years ago. On Sunday, we all went to church. I remember a man coming over to me and said, “Didn’t your mom just pass? Why are y’all at church? I would take this opportunity to stay home.” Honestly i was shocked by the question. We had been praying for her healing for a year, but when God didn’t answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to, it didn’t mean we weren’t going to continue going to worship anymore. I looked at him and said, “This is the only place we want to be.”

After Job passed his first test by worshipping God after losing everything, Satan went back to God for permission to take away his health. Job then got painful boils all over his body. As he sat in some ashes scraping his skin with broken pottery, his wife came up to him. In Job 2:9, she said, “You are still as faithful as ever, aren’t you? Why don’t you curse God and die?” (GNT) She couldn’t understand how he didn’t blame God or continue to worship Him when all was lost. Her faithfulness to God was dependent on circumstances rather than faith.

You and I have to learn to look beyond our circumstances to the character of God. Who has He been forever? Our circumstances don’t change who He is. I love Romans 12:12. It says, “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.” Every one of us will face hardship in life, and that season will pass. Be patient as you go through that time. Let it draw you closer to God and to deepen your faith in Him. If our faith is only skin deep, so is our relationship with God. He’s calling us to trust Him more and to remain faithful no matter what.

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Angry At God?

I read an article on abcnews.com that asked, “Are you angry at God?” They cited a survey of Americans by Case Western Reserve University that showed between 1/3 and 2/3 of the people surveyed said they were angry with God in response to something they’re currently suffering with. It went on to say that anger at God can become a spiritual fork in the road where a person can choose to disengage from their relationship with God and stop believing in Him. I believe it’s something each of face and have to make a decision about ahead of time. Are we going to blame God when bad things happen and get mad at Him because things aren’t going our way?

The easiest solution on earth is to blame someone else. Adam and Eve both did it the moment they were caught sinning. When things don’t go right, we look for a scapegoat. Many times that is God. I’ve been mad at God a few times because of unanswered prayers and circumstances that have happened. Once I told Him, “I’ll never ask you for anything again!” It lasted for a while, but it turns out I can’t live this life without His help. God is big enough for me to be angry at, but as the Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and sin not.”

Job was a person who had a right to be angry. In one day he lost everything he owned including his children. He could have blamed God for the sudden disasters that hit him, but Job 1:22 says, “Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God” (MSG). You and I can’t see into the spiritual realm. We don’t know everything that’s going on nor can we always see the effects of our decisions. Instead of being angry at God or blaming Him, try doing what Job did and worship a God instead recognizing that everything you have is His.

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For the article I referenced, click here.

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When Opportunity Knocks

When I was in my early twenties, one of my customers told me, “Chris, you need to get some money together and buy these waterfront lots. They’re only $10,000 each. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.” Today, there are houses on those lots that cost over a half million dollars. I wish I could say I bought some of those lots, but the idea of $10,000 was insurmountable. I missed that opportunity because I thought the initial cost was out of reach. Opportunity knocks on all of our doors throughout our lives, but too often we don’t answer because of the upfront cost.

I believe different types of opportunities come from God. There are opportunities He gives to bless us, to grow our faith, to share our faith and to do the right thing when no ones watching. Faith is about stepping out when God brings opportunity to our door. It’s about recognizing when opportunities are from Him and seizing them. Yes, there is often an upfront cost associated with opportunities, but the reward on the back end is amazing. It’s time to take a leap of faith and to quit passing up opportunities that God gives us.

Here are some Bible Verses on opportunity.

1. So if you know of an opportunity to do the right thing today, yet you refrain from doing it, you’re guilty of sin.

James 4:17 TPT

2. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

Colossians 4:5-6 MSG

3. Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days.

Ephesians 5:16 GNT

4. The lazy man does not catch and roast his prey, But the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them].

PROVERBS 12:27 AMP

5. Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!

Proverbs 10:5 TPT

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Standing In The Struggle

On a trip to California, I went to Napa Valley because I had been told that it was beautiful. As I drove through it, I was mesmerized by the straight rows of vines going for miles. I decided to pull into a winery and take a tour to learn of their process. One of the things they shared was how good seasons don’t produce good wine. The good wine comes from the years when the vines struggle. There’s something about the fight for water, the digging into the soil and the struggle to stay alive that produces a complex flavor in the grapes, which in turn, makes for a “good year”.

As they spoke, I couldn’t help but correlate that to life. There are good seasons we go through and there are bad seasons. When we look back on our life, it’s the “bad seasons” that produce the most growth in us. That’s when we learn what we’re made of and how strong our faith is. It reminds me of Romans 8:28 that says how God works together all things for our good. The good that He works is often in our life for the long term even though that season is very painful.

In Genesis 37- 41, we read of a 17 year stretch where Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, falsely accused of rape, thrown into prison and was forgotten. After he was restored, he married and had kids. Genesis 42:52 says, “Joseph named his second son Ephraim, for he said, ‘God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief’”. God is able to make you fruitful in the most painful times and places of your life. You must hold onto to His promises, stand strong in your faith and keep believing that He’s working things out for your good.

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