Day 9: I is for Individuality

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made …” Psalm 139:14

I is for Individuality. Wow! That is a mouthful, is it not? So, what in the world does this word actually mean? It means the quality or character that distinguishes one person from another.

Think about that for a minute … God made each one of us different. There are not two of me anywhere on this earth. I have known sets of twins before and no matter how close they look alike on the outside, they have their own personality on the inside.

Now, I know that you are wondering why I even picked this word for today’s devotion … and to answer that question, ‘I can only say it was God” … because who does not use I for Indian, right? Me, I guess!

There is such a wide variety of angles that we can look at this word from, so let us begin!

First, as an individual … a person uniquely myself … I should not be judging others according to my own makeup, my own ideas, nor my own thoughts. Matthew 7:1 says to, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” I am not to make myself the plumb-line (guideline for all others to be measured by). God’s Word is our only true guideline and He is our only true Guide. Let us let Him do the guiding.

Second, as individuals, we are not to compare ourselves with others. II Corinthians 10:12 says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: [for] they … are not wise.” We all know what the opposite of wise is and we surely do not want to be thought that, do we? So, let us not compare ourselves with others and let us try not to make others fit into our mold … because my mold only fits one person … ME!

Thirdly, there are times where we think that because someone else does not do as we say or act the way that we want them to act, that they must change to meet our expectations. Guilty! So, who died and made me boss? Umm … no one! I know it is hard to accept, but we cannot change anyone … our spouse, our child, the cashier at the grocery store, the dog groomer … NO one! Only God can do that! He is the One who is all-powerful! Jeremiah 32:17 “Ah Lord God! … there is nothing too hard for thee.”

Last, but definitely not least, we are individually going to have to stand before a righteous and holy God one day and give an account of our lives. We see this in Ecclesiastes 12:14. No one else can do that for us. Matthew 12:36 tells us that even every idle word that we speak will be brought into account. Oh my!

Lesson Objective: To understand how my individuality affects those around me. To understand that as an individual, I will have to give an account one day for things that I alone have done.

Did you pass or did you fail?

Day 6: F is for False

A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.” Proverbs 14:5

F is for false. False means opposite of truth; incorrect. Merriam-Webster even takes it a step further and defines it as “intentionally untrue; adjusted or made so as to deceive; intended or intending to mislead.”1

This world is more black and white than we think or admit. Because no matter how we “slice” it, it always comes back to black or to white. It is either false or it is true. We talked extensively about lying in Day 11 and Day 12 of the July 2019 devotionals, so we will not go back over that, but I do want us to see some truths today about falsehood.

It is like when a witness is sworn in into a court of law. They swear to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”2 In layman’s terms … just in case we did not understand what that means … it means that “you will not lie, you won’t leave anything out, and you won’t try to deceive or mislead anyone.”2 Wowzer! I believe that nailed it on the head right there, did it not?

How can we know what is true and what is false though? Well, God did not leave us hanging on this one because He tells us in John 17:17 that His “Word is truth.” If God’s Word is the truth (white), then what is false (black)? Anything that does not match up with God’s Word, correct? What is the easiest way to spot a falsehood? To know the truth!

If I had a flat tire … and my husband was not around … and someone was trying to instruct me over the phone how to change a tire, I would follow their instructions. Why? Because I would believe that they have more experience than me changing tires … because, in my half a century of life, I have never changed a single tire! Now, if someone were to come to me and try to tell me how to bake a cake, that would be a different story because I know how to bake a cake. Do you follow me here?

Being in ministry and constantly working with people, you begin to learn them. There have been times when we have been confronted with someone or something and it just did not “sit” right. Some things just did not add up in the equation. Why do you think that was? Because there was something there that was not supposed to be in the equation!

People can try to deceive us with their words and actions, but the truth of God’s Word will reveal their lies, their deceitfulness, and their true self. It is like in a quiz or test with true/false answers. It can only be either true or it can be false. It cannot be both!

May we live a life of truth before God and all men, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ!

Lesson Objective: To understand what it means to bear a false witness. Have you been studying the truth (God’s Word) so that you may spot falsehood when confronted with it? Have you been trying to live a false (deceitful) life before others?

Did you pass or did you fail?

1https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/false 2https://www.johnfoy.com/glossary/oath/

Day 5: E is for Examine

But let a man examine himself …” I Corinthians 11:28

E is for examine. Examine is to inspect in detail; to investigate thoroughly; to test for purity and accuracy. Some may get examine confused with examination because they look and sound so similar … and they are actually related. Examine is an action verb. An examination is a noun meaning the actual act of examining something.

Our verse today talks about a man examining himself. Why would a man need to examine himself? Well, remember that the context of this verse is the Lord’s Supper. When we come before the Lord’s Supper, we are to examine ourselves … in short, to see if we have any unconfessed sins in our lives.

Why do we need to confess sin in our lives? Why can we not just leave it there? Well, think about your house. If you leave dirty dishes in your sink today and then add more tomorrow and more the next day, what happens? Pretty soon you are over-run by dirty dishes and you have nothing clean left in the cupboards. Am I correct? Not only that, but when you do finally decide to do dishes, it is going to be so much harder and take so much longer.

I do not know about you, but I have come to an age and stage in my life where I like a clean kitchen. Do not come in my kitchen and not wash the glass or dish that you used and definitely do not leave it for later without at least rinsing it out. I LOVE how I feel when my kitchen is clean! Because I love that feeling, I do all in my power to make sure that it stays that way.

It is interesting to watch pre-teens as they move into the teen years. Do you remember those pre-teen years? The years where you did not really care about your appearance nor how clean you were or how clean your clothes were. But,   seemingly, one day you woke up and all that changed, did it not? What happened? You matured to the point where you keenly felt that fabulous clean feeling … and you then did all in your power to make sure that you stayed that way!

In our Christian lives, we can leave the filth and dirt of sin untouched and pretty soon we are so coated that we have not only lost our effectiveness, but we have lost our sensitivity as well. But, one day, when we came before a righteous and holy God, something changed, did it not? You learned what it felt like to be clean. He is the one who can help you to be clean again! Let Him search your heart! Let Him try you! Let Him show you where you need to be clean!

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search ME, O God, and know MY heart: try ME, and know MY thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in ME, and lead ME in the way everlasting.”

Lesson Objective: To understand what it means to examine yourself. Have you met a righteous and holy God? Have you been cleansed by His precious blood, but now you find yourself not caring anymore about the sin in your life? Today is a perfect day to examine and search out those sins. You can be clean again!

Did you pass or did you fail?

Day 4: D is for Duplicity

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:8

D is for duplicity. Duplicity is a deceitfulness with it’s roots in dealing doubly. What does this actually mean in layman’s terms? Well, it is living a double standard. It is living one way in certain circumstances or around certain people and living another way in other circumstances and around other people. In short, it is deceit. I do not know about you, but we have not even gotten out of the first paragraph of this devotion and God has already smote my heart! Forgive me, Lord!

Do you remember in Matthew 26 when Jesus was taken to Caiaphas and “Peter followed him afar off?” (verse 58) Peter had just been spending time with Jesus, but then what happened? He lagged behind when things got hot, so instead of being in the forefront, he was left outside of the palace (verse 69) with the others. But, when questioned about his connection with Christ, he very boldly denied it.

Do we not do the same exact thing as Christians? Do we not put forth an appearance that we are right there with Jesus? I mean we have been saved and in church for decades. We speak His name here and there and even say a prayer now and then. But, when things heat up and circumstances change, we are like a chameleon and our colors very quickly change.

After Peter had been confronted the third time, he just lost it. He then began to curse and swear! Have you found yourself in this place before? A place where living a double life just about drove you crazy. The more that you tried, the more out of control it got and before you knew it, it all went up in flames. What a tragedy!

But, if we keep reading, what do we find? As soon as that cock crew, Peter’s heart was smote. That is when he went out from that place and he wept sorely … you know those deep, gut-wrenching sobs … the ones that you have not experienced in your life since you were a child … where you have been so broken by your sin, that it completely overwhelmed you. I know! I have been there!

How long has it been, my friend, since you found yourself in Peter’s shoes? It is time to change. It is time to find ourselves back in that place where our hearts are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s convicting power. The closer that we are to Him, the greater the conviction will be. Stay close to Him! Stop living a life of duplicity. You are only deceiving yourself!

Lesson Objective: To understand what duplicity is. Do you find yourself lagging behind like Peter? You are there at church, but then you are not there. You read and study your Bible and then you do not read or study your Bible. You speak the language of a Christian and then you speak the language of the world. Have you found yourself on your face recently on your face completely broken by your sin of living a double life?

Did you pass or did you fail?

Day 2: B is for Bear

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

B is for bear. Bear means to help (assist), to support (lighten the load), to show kindness (be gracious) to, to show patience and forbearance, and to strengthen. I realize that this is a very common verse to quote, but when I spoke on this very topic last year at the ladies meeting in New York, God showed me some things that I never had seen before. I want to share those with you today … and I trust that there will be enough space to do so!

First, did you notice that the subject (personal pronoun) “You” was implied?  What does that mean? That means that this is a command verse! As a command, it would read as follows … “[You] bear … one another’s burdens.” Ouch! That definitely brings it up close and personal, does it not? Now let us really get to the nitty-gritty and see how we are to bear:

To help: We all at some time or another find ourselves under a heavy burden or trial. In those times, our desire most often is to just get through it. There may be other times that our greatest desire is for someone to HELP us get through it … we do not have the strength or the knowledge on our own. Notice that I did not say “TAKE” one another’s burdens … there is a BIG difference. [Illus: Christ TOOK all my sin onto His body; I no longer have my sin] I am not going to take my sister’s burden from her, but I will bear her burden with her!

To support: “Many hands make light work.” How true this saying is! When I have a big project to do in the ministry, I often will seek help from others. Why? Because a project/chore that is a drudgery will take me much longer to get motivated to do and inevitably, will take me much longer to do it. But, when there is someone there to help, it makes the job more enjoyable and the extra hands do help make it go quicker as well! We may even learn from them! Then, sometimes we just need the extra nudge.

To be kind or gracious to: How much more sore our trials can be when others do not understand the situation. They are uncaring, or judgmental (they have never had this problem, or “they would never do that”), or they are actually rude or abrasive. Does this help our situation? No. It actually causes more pain and sorrow. Right? Some times that person doesn’t even know they have a need; but, if we are spiritual, we can see that need and we should treat them appropriately.

To be patient or forbear: Our flesh can be our biggest enemy. It wants to jump ahead. It wants to straighten other people out … like right now! It wants to rush forth acting and speaking things that can bring permanent damage. Instead, we should be patiently waiting on the Spirit for direction.

To strengthen: It has been said that a chain is as strong as it’s weakest link. When we join ourselves to another in bearing their burdens (trials), they will only gain strength IF we are strong. We cannot offer anything to someone else that we ourselves do not have.

Lesson Objective: To understand what it means to bear another’s burdens. To acknowledge that this is a command to Christians and that you must obey.

Did you pass or did you fail?

Day 1: A is for Anxiety

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you …” John 14:27

A is for anxiety. It means a nervous, uneasy feeling often accompanied by worry. I personally have experienced and struggled with anxiety for a number of years. I do not believe that I have completely “arrived” yet, but, over time, I have found certain things that help and certain things that exacerbate the condition. I would like to share some with you today.

First of all, I would like to say that anxiety is a real thing. It is not something that you can just sweep under the rug and it magically disappears. That is as far from the truth as you can get. Anxiety is alive and thriving in our society and churches today. It is interesting to note here that depression and fear are very close relatives to anxiety.

I believe that anxiety has two main types of root causes. One is spiritual and the other is physical (which encompasses mental and emotional as well). This is not how anxiety is addressed in our society today though. Typically, it is addressed and treated as a mental issue. What is the problem with this though? It is never resolved! Why? Because the majority of the time, it is more than a mental issue; therefore, it has a much stronger physical root affecting it.

Imagine with me for a moment my friend who has seizures. When her body starts to go into a seizure, is she able to think positive thoughts or even mentally tell her body not to have the seizure and it obeys? No. That is ludicrous, is it not? Why? Because the body has a stronger power than the mind. I am not saying that the mind is not important in some cases (when it is a mind issue). What I am saying is that there are more than one type of roots and you must address the proper kind to get the results that you are looking for.

When it comes to the physical, mental, or emotional roots of anxiety, I believe that they have roots in not only dietary issues, but diseases of the body, allergies to food, mold and innumerable things, sugar imbalances, hormonal imbalances, etc. I know for me, I have a great fear of flying, bad storms, traveling in bad weather, etc. Is it because I mentally cause it? No, I believe, it is the things that are inside of me that are forcing my body into those modes. I have never done the mental “talk-through,” but I have done the “clean up my diet and get my body into a healthier state” and watched my anxiety disappear.

I cannot close this day without saying that anxiety can have spiritual roots as well. When there is sin in our lives, it can affect us mentally, which in turn triggers anxiety. I believe that anyone with anxiety needs to explore the possibility of BOTH the physical roots and the spiritual roots. It is very common for anxiety to be addressed from either one or the other, but rarely both; consequently, leaving it there to continue to fester and wreck havoc in your life. 

Lesson Objective: To understand what anxiety is. If you have anxiety, to determine if it is coming from physical roots,  spiritual roots, or both? Then, lastly, start working on digging up those ugly roots for good.

Did you pass or did you fail?

A-Z Lessons of Life

Good morning, y’all! I just wanted to drop in really quick and give you a brief insight into the devotions for August.

The topic that I have chosen for this month is “Learning Life’s Lessons.” Life is truly about one lesson after another, is it not?

How many lessons have we listened to but did not learn? How many lessons have we studied but still failed? How many lessons have we actually passed?

I believe, that we have easily fallen into the mindset that we are adults now and we are not in school. But, school is in session every single day, my friend, in your life and mine.

May our lives not be filled with failures, but may we LEARN LIFE’S LESSONS

There is LIFE in LEARNING! May we learn our lessons well!