Sunday, February 26, 2012

February 20-26, 2012 Devotional Highlights

“The Word for You Today”

1. “Handling Criticism Constructively”

  • A wise person stays calm when insulted. (Prov. 12:16)
  • An angry response triggers emotional reactions, so try to listen for something you might need to learn
  • Humiliating words should be rejected, but humbling words have a godly purpose, so look for the nugget of truth, and grow wiser
  • If your conscience is clear, leave the criticism with God
  • If your faith is the reason you are criticized, then be glad, for God is pleased with you
  • If you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. (Prov 15:32)
  • Before you criticize, check your motive…is it to honestly help the other, or to look good and have all the answers, satisfying your own ego
  • Do not criticize if you are being judgmental or blaming someone
  • Provide a remedy, offer a solution, and then let God nurture it
  • Only speak the truth in a loving manner

2. “Keep Running”

  • Let us run…the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
  • Jesus endured temptation (40 days of it), accusation, rejection, and shame (on the cross) all for our benefit, so that we too could live in heaven some day
  • He finished the race because of the joy set before Him, and we can too…just keep running, and never give up

3. “Be Careful What You Advise!”

  • He who heeds counsel is wise. (Prov 12:15)

4. “Your Bible – Read It Every Day”

  • The Word of the Lord stands forever. (I Peter 1:25)
  • The Bible is the key to your heart and happiness
  • Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Mt 24:35)
  • The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. (Is 40:8)

Sparkling Gems

John 16:8

  • And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
  • Sin hardens the heart, deadens the spirit, and kills the feeling
  • The Holy Spirit exposes sin, showing evident of what is wrong, and brings about conviction of the sinner’s guilt and need for God
  • We in ourselves cannot convince anyone of their sin, their need for God…only the Holy Spirit can do that
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit goes before you to expose the truth to the sinner before you try to witness
  • I want to please God and I want His Holy Spirit’s presence to live inside me, for I want always to be sensitive to His leading

2 Corinthians 10:4

  • We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
  • “weapons” – strategically planned, divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit to defeat the devil
  • “worldly weapons” – carnal, natural, of the flesh/human effort…not of God
  • The divinely inspired strategy only comes as you spend time seeking God through prayer and His Word
  • Sometimes God’s strategies seem strange, but they win every time
  • God’s ways are higher than ours, and He knows what we do not know, so we must trust Him and obey/follow His leading through the Holy Spirit

Hebrews 4:12

  • For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
  • The Word of God penetrates deeply
  • When we speak forth what God has said to us, it becomes a “two-edged sword”…out of two mouths: God’s and ours
  • Meditate on the Word and when you most need that weapon, the Holy Spirit will remind you of the powerful, penetrating Word of God

2 Corinthians 13:14

  • May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
  • “fellowship” – partnership
  • Daily communicate with the Holy One and He will be your partner, your Source of power and wisdom

Hebrews 12:1

  • Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
  • “strip off” – push far from us…wrong attitudes and actions must be removed from our lives by the decision to change
  • “weight” – something that hinders us from running the race as we should
  • We must choose to remove those things from our lives that hold us back from totally pleasing God
  • If you don’t get rid of habits and attitudes that hinder your daily walk, eventually you will be out of the race of faith…you will lose
  • Allow nothing in your life that hinders your ability to please God by knowing and doing His will

I Corinthians 6:19-20

  • Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
  • “temple” – a highly decorated shrine
  • When we become a Christian, our heart becomes a dwelling place, a temple, for God to dwell in through His Holy Spirit…we become a magnificent dwelling place where God is honored
  • We become adorned with the fruit of the Spirit as God graciously remakes us from the inside out
  • Inwardly we are a beautiful magnificent temple where God chooses to live, so outwardly we must portray that beauty to others
  • My heart is God’s home where His presence dwells daily…not a hotel where He visits now and then
  • I must honor God’s presence in me by doing the things that bring Him pleasure and joy

Ephesians 6:18

  • Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
  • You cannot be effective in your Christina walk without prayer
  • Victory will always be yours if you will make prayer a priority
  • Prayer, time spent with God, will refresh your spirit and give you wisdom to know God’s desires

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