Monday, November 23, 2020

"Emotions"

"Emotions"

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5

I was talking with someone on the phone yesterday and when we hung up, I felt like I wanted to cry. The person didn't say anything mean to me, but what they said and the attitude in which they said it triggered something in me that was hurt. I knew that these feelings I was having was something I shouldn't entertain so I immediately went to prayer. What I was feeling was "self pity" so I needed to take authority over it so that it not "take over" me and cause me to act that day in a way that would be un-Christ like. So I went to prayer. I started praying against what I was feeling- binding and loosening everything I could think of, committing it to God, putting on the armor and capturing my thoughts. I then got victory and was able to move on.

The whole reason why I shared this is because before I got up from prayer the Lord spoke a word to me. I want to share it with you. He said, "Don't let your thoughts manipulate your emotions". The dictionary defines manipulate as: to manage or influence skillfully; to negotiate, control, or influence. What I was feeling was the emotion of self pity. What happened was when I heard what the other person was saying, my mind begin to conjure up some thoughts- why did they say that, why did they talk to me like that, what did I do wrong, I was only trying to help, etc. Those thoughts didn't just come to me, but they began to manipulate (influence- hoping to control) the way I felt.

Your thoughts are powerful. They do trigger your emotions. If you don't think so, why is it then when you think happy thoughts you start feeling joy and when you think sad thoughts you get sad, or when you think about how someone did you wrong you get angry. Your thoughts manipulated your emotions- the way you feel.

This is why the Bible has so much to say about our thoughts. They are powerful and they will manipulate the way you feel if you let them. When your thoughts lead to anger, self pity, fear, envy, anxiety, guilt, jealousy, etc. (these are all emotions), you need to capture those thoughts and cast them down. Refuse to entertain them. Don't allow them to stay. Renew your mind with God's word. Submit yourself to God. If you don't you will live on an emotional roller coaster.

Have a great day. "Don't let your thoughts manipulate your emotions."

For further reading:
Romans 12:2
Hebrews 4:12
Ephesians 6:10-17
2 Timothy 1:7

Friday, November 20, 2020

"Faith Walks"

"Faith Walks"

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

I read a quote recently by Dr. Tony Evans that really spoke to my heart. It said, "We are commanded to walk by faith, not talk by faith." What it spoke to me was that it is one thing to profess that we have faith and it is another to actually have it. Anyone can "talk" faith. It is easier to "say" something than it is to actually "do it". But true faith walks. It does something. It is an action, not just a profession.

For a Christian, faith is more than just what you say, but it is what you do. At the Last Supper Peter made a profession of faith, "Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples." (Matthew 26:35) But before the night was over we find Peter denying he even knew Jesus. "And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew." (Matthew 26:73,74)

Look at the life of Peter again. Remember when he and the disciples were in the boat and Jesus came walking on the water? Peter spoke up and said, "And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus." (Matthew 14:28,29) What Peter said- his "profession" of faith- was put to the test. His words were not the real evidence of his faith- his action was (he got out of the boat).

James puts it this way. "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." (James 2:17,18) Again, anyone can "talk" faith, but the proof of real faith is in the "walk".

Have a great day. True faith walks... not just talks.

For further reading:
Matthew 14:25-32; chapter 26
Hebrews 10:22-24

Thursday, November 19, 2020

"No Advantage"

"No Advantage"

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices." 2 Corinthians 2:11

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us." How do we keep satan from getting the advantage over us? A couple of days ago we talked about being obedient in all things. "For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things." (2 Corinthians 2:9) We said that our obedience to God dethrones self and places Him as Lord of our lives, it is the proof of our faith, and the sign of our love for Him. It is also the way that we keep satan from getting an advantage over us.

All disobedience is sin. Sin is the open door to the devil and the avenue by which he gains access into our lives. Remember back in the Garden of Eden? Adam's sin gave satan access into the earth. Sin waits at the door to gain access into our lives. "If thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." (Genesis 4:7) When we disobey, it gains access, therefore, so does satan. When he gains access, he doesn't come alone. He brings with him lies, guilt, condemnation, shame, bitterness, pride, fear, etc. If we listen to his accusations over our failure and fall into sin and begin to believe them, it weakens our faith. This is how he gains the advantage over us.

The best way to keep him from getting the advantage over us is through obedience. Obedience keeps the door shut and him out. It is possible to be obedient. God has given us all the weapons we need to resist the temptations, He has given us His Word, He has given us His Spirit, Jesus already defeated the devil, He won the victory over sin on our behalf and God gives us His grace so we can stand. Another way to keep satan from getting the advantage over us if we do sin, is through faith. That means go to God immediately, confess your sin and believe what God says about your forgiveness. When you believe what God says, you can't believe what satan says... therefore, he does not have any advantage over you.

Have a great day. Disobedience opens the door to sin which gives satan the advantage over us. But obedience keeps the door shut.

For further reading:
1 John 1:9; 3:8
Genesis 4:7
Ephesians 6:10-20
Colossians 2:15

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

"Having Your Way"

"Having Your Way"

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Philippians 4:11

These words were spoken by a man who had been shipwrecked three times, beaten with rods three times and left for dead, always in peril everywhere he went and was cast into prison. They weren't spoken by someone who lived a life of ease, got everything he wanted and enjoyed things always going his way. Yet did you notice his attitude? I am sure if he had had his way he would have rather not had to sit in a dark prison dungeon, or been beaten, or been mocked, or lived in peril, or gone through any of the hardships he went through.

The fact of life is: we don't always get what we want. Things don't always go the way we plan or hope. We don't always get our way about everything. As I just said, that's a fact of life, so that is not the issue. The issue is "attitude". What happens when you don't get your way? How do you handle it? What type of attitude do you exhibit? How do you respond in those times? Do you pout? Do you get angry? Do you curse? Do you throw things? Do you let everyone know it? Do you make life miserable for those around you? Do you look for ways to try to manipulate the situation until you get your way?

We all want our way- that is part of our selfish, self centered, fallen nature. But when we come to Christ and are born again we become a "new creation"- old things are passed away, all things become new. We now have a "new life"- the life of Christ. It is no longer I, but Christ living in me. Paul exhibited what that means. He was one who was used to getting his way, but when he met Christ things changed and it was no longer about him getting his way. Later he penned these words, "I have learned... to be content."

Having a Christ-like attitude doesn't just automatically happen, it comes through a process of yielding, surrendering and submitting to God, through letting His word govern our lives, through denying our flesh, through renewing our minds, through letting the Holy Spirit change us.

Again, let me repeat- you are not always going to get your way about everything. But when you don't what kind of attitude are you going exhibit? One that is selfish, focused only on what you want? Or one that is Christ-like and will glorify Him?

Have a great day. It isn't about whether you get what you want or not, it's about your attitude when you don't.

For further reading:
2 Corinthians 11:23-28; 5:17
Galatians 2:20
Colossians 3:3-10

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

"Obedient In All Things"

"Obedient In All Things"

"For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things." 2 Corinthians 2:9

Did you hear what this verse said? ("Whether ye be obedient in all things.") Do we strive to be obedient in "all" things- in "all" the commandments of the Lord? Or do we tend to "pick and choose" the ones we want to obey. Do we ignore and neglect the ones that we don't like and keep the ones that suit us? Let's face it, we don't always like to do what we are told to do, even if it is the Word of God that is telling us to do it.

For example, who really likes to forgive those who have hurt them? But we are commanded to do so. Do we like to obey the commands that tell us to "turn the other cheek" or "go the second mile"? Do we readily obey the commands to "love our enemies" and "bless those who curse us"? What about the giving of our tithes? Do we give them without question when the bills are more than the income? Do we try to justify our disobedience and make excuses for it when it is something that we don't want to do?

Obedience doesn't always come easy. It often goes against our desires. Obedience to God's commands places God on the throne and dethrones flesh/self putting it under submission- and our flesh doesn't like that, it wants to rule. But even though it may not always be easy to do, our obedience is the proof of our faith and the sign of our love for the Lord. "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone." (James 2:17) "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

Check your obedience level this morning. Do you obey the Lord in all things? Or do you pick and choose what you do and don't want to obey? Are there areas of obedience that you are struggling with? Are there times you hesitate and delay to obey? If so, don't try to justify disobedience, don't try to ignore the command, instead ask God to forgive you and then ask Him to give you the grace and strength that you need to obey.

Have a great day. Where is your obedience level at this morning?

For further reading:
1 Samuel 15:22
John 15:10
James 2:17-22
Matthew 5:39,43,44
Mark 11:25,26
Malachi 3:10