Tag Archives: what does the bible say about

Breaking Free

If you’ve interacted with people in your life, you’ve been hurt by someone at some point. The people closest to us seem to hurt us the most. When we get hurt, the easiest thing to do is let that pain turn into hate and bitterness. We want to hurt them back worse than they hurt us. If we’re not careful, the pain inside of us can consume us. I read a story this week of a 73 year old who found a high school classmate and killed him because of how he hurt him over 50 years ago. He lived his whole life wanting revenge for the pain this person caused him.

In Genesis, Abraham’s son Isaac had twins, Jacob and Esau. Esau was very hungry one day and Jacob had prepared a meal. He asked for some of it, but Jacob made him pay for it with the birthright which meant he would inherit his father’s wealth. Later, when Isaac was about to die, he summoned his firstborn Esau to bless him. He sent him out to kill something wild and cook it first. Jacob found out, and beat him to it. Esau hated Jacob for it and wanted to kill him. He let the anger consume him and the only way to console himself was to plot revenge.

In Genesis 27:40, Isaac told Esau, “You shall live by your sword, And serve your brother; However it shall come to pass when you break loose [from your anger and hatred], That you will tear his yoke off your neck [and you will be free of him]” (AMP). If you’re still carrying the pain from someone hurting you, it’s time to break loose from it. Get their yoke off your neck. Forgiving them is the way to do that. Ask the Lord to help you. I know personally this is easier said than done. It’s a process that starts with you forgiving in your heart first. The pain will go away and a scar will remain, but you will be free.

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Just Do It…Again

Have you ever had to start over at square one? It’s one of the most frustrating things there are. After you’ve done the work and made progress, something happens and you have to start over. I’ve had to do that in life, with dreams God has given me, with work and in relationships. I don’t have many pet peeves, but doing work I’ve already done is one of mine. It’s redundant, but I’ve learned to not look at what I’m having to do over. Instead I focus on the outcome. The work is worth the payoff in the end.

After Isaac inherited all of Abraham’s wealth and land, people became jealous and didn’t like him. They poured dirt into the wells that Abraham had dug and forced him to leave that area. Genesis 26:17-18 says, “So Isaac left. He camped in the valley of Gerar and settled down there. Isaac dug again the wells which were dug in the days of his father Abraham but had been clogged up by the Philistines after Abraham’s death. And he renamed them, using the original names his father had given them” (MSG).

I’m sure Isaac was frustrated, but he did the work anyway. I believe that’s what you and I need to think about today. You may be frustrated at how clogged up life is at the moment. You may feel like you’re at square one with the dreams God planted in you. Don’t quit or give up. Do the work with gladness and push forward. There is a reward and times of refreshing coming, but you’re going to have to do the work. It may require sacrificing other things, spending more time in prayer, reading the Bible or fasting, but God’s rewards for you are on the other side of your obedience. Pick up a shovel and start digging.

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God’s Rewards For You

Years ago I owned a childcare center. There were times when the classes would get chaotic (keeping 20 two year olds behaving all day is hard work). The most effective way to quiet them and get them todo what you wanted was through positive reinforcement. The teacher would find someone doing what they wanted and say, “Oh I love how Tarissa is sitting!” Suddenly another kid would do what she was doing in order to be recognized. If you really wanted results, you’d praise her with words and give her a reward for obeying. In no time flat, all the kids would start mimicking her behavior so they could be recognized and receive a reward.

So many times, we think of God as someone who is up there waiting to punish us for doing wrong. I believe He’s more like a patient teacher who uses positive reinforcement to help us down the paths He has for us. There are rewards and blessings that He has for those who obey His Word. Yes, there are consequences for disobedience, but God motivates us through rewards. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate being rewarded for doing what’s expected.

Here are some Bible verses on the rewards God has for us.

1. And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faith knowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who passionately seek him.

Hebrews 11:6 TPT

2. For God will reward each of us according to what we have done.

Romans 2:6 GNT

3. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:9 NLT

4. Watch yourselves, so that you do not lose what we have accomplished together, but that you may receive a full and perfect reward [when He grants rewards to faithful believers].

2 JOHN 1:8 AMP

5. Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

James 1:12 MSG

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An Open Hand

To me, one of the most challenging things God has spoken to anyone in Scripture is in Genesis 12:1. “The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you’” (NLT). He was 75 years old at the time. He was well established, and yet God asked him to pack everything up and go to a destination that would be shown to him at a later time. His faith in action is inspiring to me. The Bible later says that his faith was counted at righteousness. That’s a faith we should all aspire to have.

Fast forward to the New Testament and Jesus spoke something very similar to all of us. In Luke 14:31 Jesus said, “So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.” Every one of us who follows Christ is given the same call that went out to Abram. I believe it’s God’s reminder to us that this place is not our home. Everything we have here is temporary and we can’t take it with us. We must be willing to let go of earthly things so we can receive from God the spiritual things that matter for eternity.

My wife and i try to keep an open hand for the things we have. When your hands are open to God, He can place things in them and take things out of them whenever He wants. Faith is trusting God with all you have and with the direction of your life. You may not get to know the destination. You may he asked to walk away from everything that’s familiar to you. God’s greatest blessings are stored up for those who are willing to give God whatever He asks for and for those who follow Him wherever He leads. What are you willing to let go of should God ask for it? Pray that God would help you keep an open hand and heart.

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Spiritual Resolutions

As we close the door on one year and open the door to another, I think it’s good to have a spiritual resolution for the new year as well. I believe Philippians 4:4-8 provides us with some great things we should resolve to do not just in the coming year, but throughout our life. Verse 4 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (NLT) In 2019, don’t let anything steal your joy. Joy shouldn’t be based on your circumstances, and it’s where you get your strength from. Trust in what God is doing and stay joyful.

Verse 6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Refuse to let worry have a foothold in your life. It uses today’s strength for tomorrow’s problems. Turn your worry into prayer. Let the The things you can’t control push you closer to the One who can control them. Prayer changes our perspective and helps us to let go of the burdens that are too heavy for us to bear. Put them in God’s hands and take His burden which is light.

Verse 7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Having peace in your heart, your mind and in your life is a wonderful thing. We were not created to live in turmoil. When we learn to trust a God with our decisions and with the things in our life that we can’t control, we can have God’s peace. Let His peace guide you in the coming year so that you operate in His will for your life.

Finally verse 8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Choose what to think about. Your thoughts are powerful and determine the direction of your life. Don’t dwell on what could be, but focus on what is true. One true thing I focus on is that God is in control, and nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to Him. 2019 is already history to God. Resolve to make it the year that you trust Him completely and you will experience joy, peace and faith.

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Being Transformed

When i was a kid, one of my favorite toys were Transformers. I loved being able to turn them from robots to cars. I always thought they were clever in how they designed them so that when it was a car, you couldn’t tell it was also a robot. It reminds me of how God is in the business of transforming our lives. Where we see one thing, He sees the potential for another. He is not content to leave us like we are. Our lives were created to be transformed through His Son. In order for that to happen, we have to submit to the changes He wants to make.

Too many times we are wrapped up in our past and who we’ve been that it’s difficult for us to allow Him to transform our lives. Our past prepares us for the future He’s created for us, but we have to be willing to change for that to happen. We can’t allow the pain of the past to prevent us from becoming who we were made to be. We are His workmanship which means He’s not finished with your life. He is continually working on us because He still sees in us the potential to use our lives. In your prayer time today, submit to the transformation He wants to make in your life.

Here are some Bible verses on transformation.

1. And said to them, “Come follow me and I will transform you into men who catch people instead of fish!”

Mark 1:17 TPT

2. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 NLT

3. “On that great day,” GOD says, “I will round up all the hurt and homeless, everyone I have bruised or banished. I will transform the battered into a company of the elite. I will make a strong nation out of the long lost, A showcase exhibit of GOD ’s rule in action, as I rule from Mount Zion, from here to eternity.”

Micah 4:6-7 MSG

4. All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory.

2 Corinthians 3:18 GNT

5. This means that God is transforming each one of you into the Holy of Holies, his dwelling place, through the power of the Holy Spirit living in you!

Ephesians 2:22 TPT

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Broken Vessel

I was listening to Tullian Tchividjian speak about the disciples that Jesus chose. He mentioned that Jesus didn’t choose religious or wealthy men. He chose men who had nothing to bring to the table. He also said that God doesn’t need perfect vessels to carry out His will, He needs broken ones. There’s a lot in just those few statements that speaks to me. I think that the 12 men whom He chose to give His life changing message to says a lot about who God is and what He sees in people.

When Jesus chose the disciples, He pretty much walked up to them and said, “Come follow me.” They didn’t ask Him who He was. They didn’t say, “Let me finish doing this task.” They didn’t ask to go say goodbye to family and friends. They dropped what they were doing, left family and friends to follow Jesus. They were chosen because their attitudes were the type that was willing to do whatever God asked without worrying about everything else that typically stops us from doing His will.

These men were not perfect either. Peter had a big mouth. Thomas was a skeptic. Judas was self righteous. Matthew was a tax collector who had cheated people. The list goes on. God does not choose people to carry out His will based on what they offer. He chooses people based on their inabilities. If we could do everything He asked on our own, where would faith come in? If we were confident enough to say what He tells us to say, we would think we were doing it in our own strength. If we had the credentials and expertise, pride would swell up in us. Instead, He finds broken and chipped vessels to put together to do His will so He can get the glory.

Have you limited yourself in what you feel God has called you to do because you don’t have the skills or ability? Have you thought God wanted you to do something that was over your head but turned Him down because you couldn’t do that on your own? You don’t have to have a degree in Public Speaking to share what God has done for you. You don’t have to have a Masters in Anthropology to help the needy. You don’t have to have a Doctorate in Theology to discuss with others what you found in God’s Word. You simply have to be a vessel that’s been broken and ready to use by Him for His purpose and His glory. He will give you all you need to be successful in your calling.

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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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