Psalm

True Blue

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Ending Gossip in Our Life-follow up to, “Not Sometimes, But Always”, May 16, 2017.

Spreading rumors about other people exposes little about their true nature but reveals quite a lot about the speaker’s own character.  Such behavior shows a willingness to sin against the Lord by causing harm to someone else.  Until a gossiping believer confronts his sin, he can’t progress toward becoming the person God wants him to be.

Confession is the first step in dealing with sinful speech.  This should be followed by repentance-the pledge to turn away from opportunities to talk about others.  A useful scripture for a redeemed gossip to pray daily is Psalm 141:3:  “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.”

Next, be on guard against temptation.  Believers have a responsibility to set themselves apart from gossip in order to keep their thoughts and words pleasing to God.  Being in the presence of one who spreads stories can tempt us to participate.  In a situation where rumors are being shared, the best course of action is to speak out against the practice and then leave.

Finally, instead of talking about someone, it’s wise to pray for that person.  Getting into this habit will help train the mind to replace sinful patterns with God-pleasing ways.  The Bible teaches us to encourage and comfort each other, and prayer is a good way to obey that instruction 1 Thess. 5:11, 14).

A gossiping Christian dishonors God’s name-and his own.  Instead of using words that disparage and injure, choose to speak well of everyone.  In so doing, you will bring glory to the Lord.

Commentary from the In Touch Devotional by Charles Stanley, May 9, 2017.

Photo credit:  T. Link

Reliance

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Faith is not something tangible to be taken like medicine.  It is an attitude of trusting and believing.  But even our ability to believe is a gift from God.  No matter how much faith we have, we never reach the point of being self-sufficient.  Faith is not stored away like money in the bank.  Growing in faith is a constant process of daily renewing our trust in Jesus.

Jesus was telling the disciples that they would face difficult situations that could be resolved only through prayer.  Prayer is the key that unlocks faith in our lives.  Effective prayer needs both an attitude-complete dependence-and an action-asking.  Prayer demonstrates our reliance on God as we humbly invite God to fill us with faith and power.  There is no substitute for prayer, especially in circumstances that seem unconquerable.  

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional New Testament, (2003), Tyndale House Publishers, April 15.

Dependence is not defeat

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We often depend on our own skills and abilities when life seems easy, but when we feel powerless to help ourselves, we turn to God.  We must recognize that even when life seems easy we are dependent upon God, for He upholds the universe with His power.  Dependence is not defeat, but the realization that our source of truth and power is God.  With this attitude, problems drive us to God rather than away from Him.  Learn how to depend on God daily.

Commentary from The One Year NIV Devotional, April 17.  Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.

For All

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The parable of the Good Samaritan helping the injured Jew is widely accepted as an illustration of how we are to treat others who are in need (Luke 10:25-37).  There is another side to it, however, a side which becomes clear when you learn that Jews and Samaritans were taught to despise each other and that Jesus was telling this parable to a Jewish audience.  Hearing their teacher tell them to “Go and do likewise,” regardless of cultural differences, was overwhelming for them.  In effect, Jesus was trying to open the eyes of their hearts so they could see all human beings as He saw them: in need of a Savior.

Throughout history, the good news of the Gospel has broken down the walls of separation between races and religions because of the one thing we all have in common:  the need for salvation.  The Bible tells us that “there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22b-23).

Everyone, regardless of race, religion, or creed shares the same title of sinner; and because of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, everyone who believes in Him can share the same glorious title of forgiven.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…U.S. Declaration of Independence.

But now in Christ Jesus

you who once were far off

have been brought near

by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:13

Commentary from Pathways Devotional, April 30, by David Jeremiah.