Chasing Healing

healingI just received a very encouraging email from one of my devotional readers that greatly blessed me. What was most encouraging is how this dear sister-in-Christ and her husband, stationed in Japan, have gone and are going through great trials and yet they are standing strong in their faith. God is using their lives to glorify Him and on occasion this devotional speaks to them. I am honored and humbled that the Lord has seen fit to use me as one of His conduits.

There are more than 230 of you receiving this devotional and no doubt each of you could testify to how God has seen you through tough times. Or perhaps you’re facing tough times right now and see no way out. Too often we try to fight a battle that isn’t ours. We need to allow our King to step into the fray for us.

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Escaping Many Worldly Things

Escape-LaneMy son-in-law has had a tough go at life these past few months. His career path has careened in directions my daughter and he never imagined. It has tested their faith, love, and trust in one another and their Lord. I am thankful to God to report they have past that test through the grace of their Lord Jesus Christ. A couple 20 years their senior would have buckled under the weight. By staying focused on the Lord and his family, my son-in-law lived out this verse:

    “Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.” (Psalm 40:4)

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An Unimpaired State of Character

man-looking-in-the-mirrorYesterday our associate pastor, Reverend Pete Belmain, preached on 1 Peter 2:9-10 and spoke of an alternative lifestyle. He biblically made the case that Christianity is the alternative lifestyle and that the other lifestyles so described are actually culturally acceptable. One thing he said is that as Christians we are billboards. I like that, except Brother Pete challenged us by asking, “What does your billboard say?”

I haven’t been able to let go of that question because too often I don’t like my answer. However, I need not despair because I have a gracious Lord who forgives me of my sins if I will just confess them to Him. Nevertheless, I must endeavor to be more like Jesus and to reflect His character. If I reflect my old character, then what others see will not be Jesus. Solomon knew this well:

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Honesty and Wisdom

honesty2It is probably safe to say that if you are lying to yourself, you’re not being wise. Nevertheless, men lie to themselves everyday. Yes, ladies, this devotion is mostly for men, but please eavesdrop and you’ll be able to help the man in your life become wiser. How so? By being honest with him. Both men and women would agree that honesty in a relationship is a must.

It is also a requirement for the man seeking wisdom. Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying (or writing) that “honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” I like that for a number of reasons.

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Taking Pains To Get Wisdom

get wisdomSome people will go through great pains to achieve their goals. Most of these people seek financial riches. Others seek fame and glory through movies, music, sports, or television. All of these, while of themselves are not evil, are temporal at best. When you read Ecclesiastes 2, titled “The Vanity of Pleasure, Solomon lamented at all he sought and acquired because at the end of his life he saw that it was all just wasted time:

    “Therefore I hated life because the work that was done under the sun was distressing to me, for all is vanity and grasping for the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17)

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Being Missed When You’re Gone

goodbyeWill you be missed when you’re gone? I’m not necessarily talking about when you die, although that is something we all face. However, sometimes life brings us new adventures and we have to move to a new location to begin a new career. The military is very familiar with this lifestyle. As a matter of fact, our church is impacted by this every year. We lose some 14% of our membership because of job reassignment, the majority being military. Thankfully our church growth is around 17-18% annually so we have a net growth rate every year.

We are facing this once again in a couple of days. My dear brother-in-Christ Eddie Austria, his lovely bride Nadine, and their four precious children will be moving to Korea. Karen and I have had the great honor and privilege of serving in children’s ministry with this godly couple twice in the last couple of years. I love Brother Eddie and am going to miss him. There’s a special place in my heart for his son Nalu. I always love rubbing his hair, poor little guy.

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A Person of Good Understanding

Learning WisdomWisdom desires a relationship with you. Solomon assigns wisdom the feminine possessive pronouns of “she” and “her.” Wisdom should be considered a close friend to the Christian. She calls out to the educated and the uneducated. Wisdom is an equal opportunity provider:

    “Wisdom calls aloud outside; she raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, at the openings of the gates in the city she speaks her words: ‘How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.’” (Proverbs 1:20-22)

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Sweet To Your Soul

got wisdomFinding the truth is a worthy endeavor; wisdom is an even better pursuit. Wisdom is the ability to take knowledge and apply it to your life in a practical way. Too often we settle for pragmatism instead of wisdom. Pragmatism answers the question: “Will it work?” Wisdom answers the question: “Is it the right thing to do?”

Wisdom long ago stopped being a precious commodity to many Americans, Christians included. Rapid, nay, immediate knowledge is the going rage today. Tablets and smart phones make knowledge instantly available to us. I’m as guilty as anyone saying, “Let me check my iPhone; I got an app for that.”

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Plentiful Rain

China DroughtA drought to a farmer is one of his greatest fears and foes. Rainfall can make or break a harvest season. So it is in the spiritual realm. If we neglect our Bibles, then we will cause a spiritual drought in our Christian walk. I know that many of you have began 2014 resolving to read your Bibles more regularly and I pray that you are successful. There is great promise in taking on such an endeavor:

    “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11)

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Absolutely Trustworthy

trust GodWho or what do trust when it comes to the truth? Is FOXNews your source of information because they claim to be “fair and balanced”? Do you have a certain newspaper that is your go-to source? Is there a personality whom you trust to always get the truth? I’ve used all these sources in the past and I’ve come to realize that there is only one source that is absolutely trustworthy: God’s sure word. It is the Holy Bible that is the truth most people seek and in this precious book are the answers to life.

How can we know this? It is because when we read the Bible we’re not just reading the words of God, we’re reading God’s word. What’s the difference? The former could be words God had written down to be recorded; the latter is His promise. It is the difference between me sharing with you words I’ve written and giving you my word. You can count on the latter. You can also count on God not changing His mind about His word:

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