Tag Archives: Christianity

Motives

Have you ever done the wrong thing for the right reasons? How about the right thing with the wrong motive? It’s funny. You and I tend to judge ourselves based on our motives and intentions while we judge others on their actions. We want others to give us grace when we do something wrong because we intended to do the right thing, yet we escalate when someone almost hits us in traffic. We scream, yell, call them names, honk and then use our vehicle to show them how mad we are. Interesting. We want people to give us the benefit of the doubt, but are we extending it to them?

The hard part for us is that we can’t see people’s motives or intentions. We can only see what they do. God sees both our actions and our motives and He judges us based on our motives. I’ve always heard that sin is less of an action and more of a attitude or motive behind the action. It’s hard to think that way when you think of Christianity as a list of do’s and don’t with God in the sky waiting to smite you for breaking His rules. That’s not who He is. The Bible says His mercy’s are new every morning and His kindness leads us to repentance. He’s not watching your actions waiting for you to mess up. He’s looking at your heart ready to forgive.

Here are some Bible verses on God looking at our motives.

1. Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.

Psalms 26:2 NLT

2. And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for GOD examines every heart and sees through every motive.

1 Chronicles 28:9 MSG

3. Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives].

PROVERBS 21:2 AMP

4. We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct. But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive.

Proverbs 16:2 TPT

5. Don’t hesitate to rescue someone who is about to be executed unjustly. You may say that it is none of your business, but God knows and judges your motives. He keeps watch on you; he knows. And he will reward you according to what you do.

Proverbs 24:11-12 GNT

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Being Rejected

Years ago, most cities had a local Rejection Hotline phone number you could give out to someone who asked for your number. When the other person would try to call you, they would hear, “Welcome to the Rejection Hotline. You’ve been rejected! The person who gave this to you didn’t want you to have their real number.” It goes on to give some excuses why they might have given that number to you. After that, it says, “Please take the hint, accept that you were rejected and get over it.” It’s comical unless you’re the person on the receiving end. None of us like to be or feel rejected. Being rejected usually stirs up anger, fear and insecurity in us, but it doesn’t have to.

In the book of Samuel, the people of Israel didn’t like Samuel’s sons, nor did they want them as judges over Israel. They went to Samuel and said, “Look, you are getting old and your sons don’t follow your example. So then, appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have” (1 Samuel 8:5 GNT). The Lord encouraged Samuel by reminding him that they were rejecting God rather than him, but I’m sure he felt like it wasn’t that way. God then told him to warn them what having a king would be like and then give them what they wanted.

After he anointed Saul as king, Samuel didn’t go into hiding. Instead he continued to serve them. 1 Samuel 12:23 says, “As for me, the Lord forbid that I should sin against him by no longer praying for you. Instead, I will teach you what is good and right for you to do.” He didn’t go away and let them wander away from God. He continued to pray for them and to help them do what was right. In like 6:28, Jesus said, “When someone curses you, bless that person in return. When you are mistreated and harassed by others, accept it as your mission to pray for them” (TPT). If nothing else, the next time you feel rejected, pray for that person. Chances are they’re not rejecting you, but rather the Spirit of God in you.

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The Right Decision

As a person who spends a lot of time driving, I’m forced to make a lot of fast decisions. When people suddenly brake, I have to decide to slam on mine or change lanes. I also have another fast decision to make. Do I bless them or curse them? I would love to say that I hand out more blessing than cursing in traffic. The truth is, in those moments, we default to calling the other person a name, yelling at them, gesturing at them, and or using our vehicle to inform them we don’t like their driving.

In the book of Ruth, Boaz had to make a quick decision. He knew who Ruth was and what she had done for Naomi, so he was very kind to her. On one certain night, Naomi told Ruth, “Now do as I tell you—take a bath and put on perfume and dress in your nicest clothes. Then go to the threshing floor, but don’t let Boaz see you until he has finished eating and drinking. Be sure to notice where he lies down; then go and uncover his feet and lie down there. He will tell you what to do” (Ruth 3:3-4 NLT).

Imagine Boaz sleeping after a hard day’s work and then being woken up by someone pulling the covers off his feet. More than that, he notices it’s a woman. His thoughts may have been, “What if someone sees me laying with a woman?” They could have been, “How dare a servant take my covers!” Whatever they were, when he made a quick decision, it was to bless and not to curse. He told Ruth, “The LORD bless you, my daughter!” Boaz exclaimed. “You are showing even more family loyalty now than you did before, for you have not gone after a younger man, whether rich or poor.”

Boaz not only blessed her, he admitted that there was another family member who was a closer relative to her than he was. Boaz was willing to give up Ruth because it was the right thing to do. He acted with integrity and with a heart that blessed before it cursed. Each of us should adopt that kind of heart. As followers of Christ, we should be about blessing instead of cursing, giving instead of receiving, loving instead of judging, and building instead of tearing down. Our light shines brightest when it blesses. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped” ‭(MSG‬‬).

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Throwback Thursday is a 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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Your Journey

I remember as a senior in high school, my English teacher had us write a research paper on our chosen field of profession. We had to interview at least two people in that profession, discuss the educational requirements and career path. Even though I wrote it all out, I still found myself lost after high school. I felt like it was just going to happen without my putting in the work. I wanted to accomplish God’s plan for my life and to walk in His path for me, but I wasn’t moving in any direction. I found that it’s hard to follow a path and get direction if you’re standing still.

After David was anointed king, he didn’t get to go to the palace. He went back to the hills to watch the sheep. He took his brothers food while they were at war. He played the harp for the current king. Even though God didn’t take him to the palace right away, he continued moving and doing things that prepared him to be king. He understood that God had a plan, and for that plan to be executed, he couldn’t just sit around and wait for it to just happen. As he did things, God put him in situations that grew him and showed his strengths as a leader.

If you feel like you’re wandering or if you’re just waiting for God to move and place you in position, pray what David prayed in Psalm 25:4. He wrote, “Lord, direct me throughout my journey so I can experience your plans for my life. Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you” (TPT). God will direct you, but you have to be moving. I believe God has created you with a specific plan in mind, but it won’t just happen. You need to invest time, energy and money into the areas He’s directed you to, and you need to be ready to face any giant in your way. God’s not finished with your journey yet, nor has He given up on you. Start today down His path and He will direct you.

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Escaping Consequences

We learn about consequences from the time we are very young. As we grow up and face more of them, we begin to try to hide our actions so we don’t have to face them. Then there are times when we blame others for what we’ve done and they have to suffer the consequences for our actions. No matter how old we get, there will always be consequences for our actions. It’s part of God’s design of reaping what we sow. I’ve found that some seeds take a lot longer to harvest than others. The results of our actions can sometimes be felt years later rather than immediately.

When it comes to sin, there’s an eternal consequence that comes with it beyond just the one we get here. I remember over 20 years when Texas was about to execute its first woman on death row. She had become a Christian while in prison, and there were many people trying to keep her from being executed because of her faith. She ended up paying the price for her actions on earth, but didn’t have to suffer the eternal effects because Christ paid the price and took those consequences for her. When we accept Jesus as our savior, it doesn’t relieve us of our I’m consequences, but thank God we don’t have to pay the eternal ones.

Here are some Bible verses on Jesus taking our consequences.

1. Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.

Hebrews 9:27-28 MSG

2. Whoever seeks to save his life will [eventually] lose it [through death], and whoever loses his life [in this world] will keep it [from the consequences of sin and separation from God].

LUKE 17:33 AMP

3. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [but seek to please Him], by whom you were sealed and marked [branded as God’s own] for the day of redemption [the final deliverance from the consequences of sin].

EPHESIANS 4:30 AMP

4. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more certain, having been reconciled, that we will be saved [from the consequences of sin] by His life [that is, we will be saved because Christ lives today].

ROMANS 5:10 AMP

5. God made Jesus, who never personally sinned, experience the consequences of sin so that we could have a character that is right as God is right.

2 Corinthians 5:21 FBVNTPSALMS

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Fight For Your Faith

I have a friend whose ministry is called Rational Defense Of Faith. His ministry is holding multimedia presentations in churches that give believers the facts they need to defend their faith. He discusses what arguments atheists, evolutionists and others bring up and how to ask questions that doesn’t destroy them, but rather causes them to think differently. Many people have come to the Lord through him and others who have equipped themselves with the truth of God’s Word and scientific facts.

I’m not advocating that we go out and pick fights with people, but each of us should be ready to defend the faith within us. The world is becoming increasingly more bold in its attacks on faith. It’s up to each one of us to understand God’s Word, His world and to get power from prayer. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us that we should always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope in us. We do that by putting on the Belt of Truth each day. Our faith is worth fighting for, but we need to do it in such a way that it leads others to the cross rather than further away.

Here are some Bible Verses on Fighting for your Faith.

1. Fight the good fight of the faith [in the conflict with evil]; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and [for which] you made the good confession [of faith] in the presence of many witnesses.

1 TIMOTHY 6:12 AMP

2. We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT

3. Dear friends, I’ve dropped everything to write you about this life of salvation that we have in common. I have to write insisting—begging!—that you fight with everything you have in you for this faith entrusted to us as a gift to guard and cherish.

Jude 1:3 MSG

4. Put on God’s complete set of armor provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser!

Ephesians 6:11 TPT

5. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT

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The Perspective Problem

I love those photos where a person holds their hand out flat and the photographer adjusts to make it look like they’re holding the Eiffel Tower in their hand. I’ve seen it done with just about every landmark. The photos take advantage of perspective. The person is close to the camera while the giant object they’re “holding” is further away. Of course, if the two were right next to each other, you’d see just how large the Eiffel Tower is in comparison. While comparison like this in a photo is fun, when we get things in our life out of perspective, it can be dangerous.

Every one of us will go through difficult times. No one is exempt from trouble or the storms of life. What makes the difference is your perspective. When we go through difficult times, it can feel like God is far away and that He doesn’t care, while our troubles are in our face. In those moments, troubles can seem larger than God. We tend to view God Through the lens of our problems instead of viewing our problems through the lens of God. If we’re going to withstand the storms, we have to learn to change the perspective from which we view them.

Proverbs 10:25 says, “When the storms of life come, the wicked are whirled away, but the godly have a lasting foundation” (NLT). You and I must have a strong foundation of faith to withstand the storms of life. That foundation will help us keep our problems in their proper perspective. God’s desire for each of us is to trust Him no matter what comes. Problems, even when they’re relentless, should build our faith rather than tear it down. Stand firm on the foundation of God’s Word and His character. When you put your problems next to God, you’ll see how big He is in comparison. It’s time to tell your storms how big your God is.

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