Lying Lips – Devotional for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth. Proverbs 12:22 NLT

There is a commercial on television these days that I enjoy. It shows “honest Abe” and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. She is wearing a “hooped” skirt dress and she asks her husband if it makes her look fat. After a period of embarrassing silence, Honest Abe says, “Maybe a little.” His wife is not pleased.
This is the kind of verse that gets a hearty “Amen” from most of us. Who doesn’t despise a liar? The problem is when we think of this kind of verse we are quick to apply it to others and not ourselves. Most of us are guilty of lying almost on a daily basis. Sure, most of those are not “big” lies. And some of them come out of our mouths because we don’t want to hurt others. Many times we don’t want to “confront” a bad situation so a little “white lie” seems the best alternative.
I think we just don’t consider how much harm we do when we fail to tell the truth, even when we “shade” the truth to make it more palatable. Jesus never minced words. He called things as they are. It didn’t always win Him favor of men; but, according to this verse, it delighted His father.
Maybe if we got in the habit of habitual truthfulness, folks would be less likely to ask us questions for which they really don’t want a truthful answer. Maybe that would make our lives a lot more stressful. And maybe if we developed a reputation for unwavering truth, we would be the kind of person someone can come to when they really need some truth in their lives.
Let’s abhor lying lips in ourselves and maybe 
Be blessed.
Nick

Indescribable God – Devotional for Monday, February 28, 2011

Indescribable God

Yesterday at Amana we began a multiple week study on the Names of God. It was a good beginning. We learned how the children of Israel have come up with many names in an attempt to describe the God who took them as a special people and call them His children. We reviewed some of the names and it quickly became clear that our God is so multifaceted that one name is insufficient to describe Him. But what also is true is that each name is insufficient to describe even one element of His character.
Consider “Father” our favorite name for Him and the one our Lord chose when asked to teach us how to pray. When we use “Father” what comes to mind is our own imperfect fathers: men who ranged from the best intentioned to the absent. From men who tried to provide all the training, education and security a child needs to those who were not even present. Not a good start to describe the perfection of God. As I get older, the word becomes more personal as I consider my own feeble efforts to be “father.” I cringe to thing someone would have to use me as a starting point for understanding the God of the universe.
I came away from our first week looking at the Names of God with this: God can not be described He can only be experienced. We can only, by experience, come to know Him as Savior, Provider, Healer, and Father. Words can give us a start but experience is the only way we can truly know our Father God.
If you have no knowledge of Him, let the experience begin. If you know Him in any way, let the experience continue.
Be blessed.
Nick

Seek First – Devotional for Sunday, February 27, 2011

Matthew 6:31-34 (New King James Version)

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Read this passage at least a couple of times. If we could really rest on this scripture imagine how it would change our lives. Worry would lose its grip on us.

Yet we keep seeking our security in the things the world values—bank accounts, stable jobs, and a strong national and global economy—we are filled with anxiety at every fluctuation.

I can attest that the times I have put His Kingdom first, everything else just fell into place; but I keep slipping back into reliance on worldly things and the anxiety that comes with that.  I need to keep in mind that these verses call us to seek two things: His kingdom and His righteousness. His Kingdom is His rule over us and His righteousness is His transformation of us.

The spiritual benefits of living in God’s will are amazing, but our loving Father doesn’t stop there—He commits to provide for our physical needs as well. So even though each day has its own trouble, I can rest in the faithfulness of the Father and trust Him to keep His Word. 

Seek First and Be Blessed.

Nick

Why God Gave You Gifts – Devotional for Saturday, February 26, 2011

1 Corinthians 12

Spiritual Gifts: Unity in Diversity
 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
Most Christians have, at some time, have been taught about the Gifts of the Spirit. We know that these gifts are not personal gives but gifts to serve Christ and his church. Yet we treat them like Christmas gifts showing preference for certain gifts and exhibiting more pride in the gifts we are given than in implementing them into our church. We treat the gifts as confirmations of our spirituality even knowing that these gracious gifts are meant to shape our churches into the image of Christ. That way, Christians will be encouraged and unbelievers will be drawn to the Savior. Perhaps most sadly of all we don’t deal with the issue of what happens if Christians do  not know or use their gifts?
What are your spiritual gifts? What are your family members gifts? When did you last use your gift? Do you recognize the gifts in others and encourage them to use their gifts?
On Sunday night, as we continue to explore Being the Church, we will consider “Why God Gave You Gifts.” Join us and be blessed.
Nick

Bandwagons – Devotional for Friday, February 25, 2011

Last night the Cajun Basketball team won their tenth game in a row. There were over 8000 fans at the game. A month ago they had one of their worst seasons in memory and we were all ready to “wait until next year.” Now we are looking forward to Saturday night’s game in Monroe when they will be playing for a championship. The team has alot more fans now than a month ago. Many have jumped on the bandwagon.
The bandwagon is a familiar concept. Remember last year when the Saints had their Superbowl year? 
Everyone was claiming to have been a Saints fan for years.
Jesus was familiar with the concept on Palm Sunday the crowds wanted to crown Him king, by Friday they were screaming for his crucifixion. 
Aren’t we often bandwagon Christians? We are great fans of Jesus in the right crowd or when it’s popular to be a Christian. When times get tough we get quiet or even turn in another direction.
Christ doesn’t need fair weather fans. He needs those who are willing to follow and trust no matter what the circumstances may be. The real fan is the one who is one our side in good times and bad. We are told that we are surrounded by a crowd of witnesses. They are cheering us on when our cause seems hopeless and when we are closing in on the finish line.
It’s okay to jump on the Jesus Bandwagon. Just plan to hang on for an exciting, and sometimes rough, ride.
Be blessed.
Nick

In Christ – Devotional for Thursday, February 24, 2011

To Be “in Christ Jesus”  
 
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 
Being “In Christ” is a multifaceted concept. It involves much but one aspect of being “In Christ” can be explained by considering the Ark.
The ark was waterproof. God told Noah, “put pitch on the inside and on the outside” (Genesis 6:14). The word “pitch” in the Hebrew is kapar, and it is exactly the same word translated as “atonement.” You see, we are in Jesus as Noah was in that ark. Just as the storms of God’s wrath beat upon that ark, the storms of God’s wrath beat upon the Lord Jesus. But we are on the inside, and not one drop of judgment can come through.
Consider all the things Paul lists that we are protected from, that will not separate us from the love of Christ:


Romans 8:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

      “ For Your sake we are killed all day long;
       We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”234