A Balanced Life – Proverbs 30:8-9

Balance“Don’t give me either poverty or wealth; give me just the food I need. Or I’ll be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I’ll be poor and steal and dishonor my God’s name” (Proverbs 30:8-9, NASB).

We live in a world that glorifies success. To be somebody you must be accomplished, you must be prosperous and successful. So, pursue wealth, acquire power, attain fame. Or better yet, have it all!

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Be Strong and Courageous – Joshua 1:1-9

strong_and_courageous“Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!” (Joshua 1:9, NASB).

After Moses died, God commissioned Joshua to take leadership and military command over Israel and lead Israel into the promised land. But there were many evil and unfriendly people inhabiting the land that God promised to Israel. So, God assured Joshua of success in conquering the land for Israel because He would be with Joshua wherever he went.

It’s almost like God was giving Joshua a pep talk before the battle started because three times in this passage God tells Joshua to “be strong and courageous” (vs. 6, 7, 9). And then God’s admonition to Joshua is repeated by the officers of Israel’s army to reinforce God’s command (vs. 18).

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Memo to Myself: No Whining – Proverbs 24:10

no-whining“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10, ESV).

How do you handle problems when you encounter them? Do you get angry, frustrated, or depressed? Do you keep them to yourself or do you complain to your friends or family? Do you blame God for your problems? Why did God let this happen to me?

While God doesn’t cause all our problems, God does use our problems to build our character! So, if the small problems get you down, if you constantly complain about all your problems, then God probably needs to do some more character-building with you.

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Maligning the Truth – 2 Peter 2

true_and_false“Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned.” (2 Peter 2:2, NASB).

In this chapter the Apostle Peter describes the rise and fate of false prophets. He says that heresy grows concurrently with truth. As the truth of the gospel is more widely and broadly proclaimed, there is a corresponding increase in the willful perversion of it.

Deceit is a growth industry that is fiercely competitive with the truth. In fact, the misrepresentation or distortion of the truth of the gospel seems to be as prevalent as the proclamation of the true gospel.

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How Not To Be A Useless Christian – II Peter 1:5-8

Character-Building“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4, NASB).

The Apostle Peter declares that God has made a way for Christians to become like Him. You grow and develop your knowledge of Jesus so that you can become like Him and participate fully in His divine nature.

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Unveiled – 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

unveiled“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18, NLT).

These verses make reference to the practice of Moses to wear a veil to hide God’s glory that was reflected on his facial features after being in God’s presence. Moses wore the veil because he didn’t want his fellow Israelites to see the glory of God fading from his face (see Exodus 34:33-35).

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Examine the Fruit – Matthew 12:33,35

“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad…A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.”  (Matthew 12:33,35, NLT).

Goodness is a quality that is only attributable to God.

And God’s redemptive purpose is not to create good people, but to establish His goodness in the human heart.

So God’s plan for you is not just to clean you up, but to shape and form the character of your being for eternity.

God wants to do an inside job on you!

He knows that it is what is on the inside—your character, your heart, your soul—that determines what you will do with what is on the outside—your words and behavior.

According to Jesus, it is relatively simple to determine what is on the inside of a person.

You examine their fruit!

When you purchase fruit at the store, you pick it up and look it over before you place it in your shopping cart. It’s the same way with people.

You hear what they say and see how they behave: “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions” (vs. 7:20).

What you say and do are indicative of what’s in your heart.

What do people hear and see coming from your heart? Do you  pass the fruit exam? Are you a tree that bears good fruit?

Let the words you speak and the way you live demonstrate that Jesus lives in your heart!

“So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone” (James 2:24,NLT),

Adapted from The Kingdom Order: Living for the Future in the Present, by Steven C. Mills