Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Your intentions may not be as pure as you think!

PROVERBS 16:2
All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit.

Our dogs have a terrible habit. At least three or four times a day, they will begin barking at the neighbor's dog (actually, the neighbor's dog may be starting it). Their barking becomes so intense that they are all at the fence, clawing at it (sometimes even biting it), trying to get through to the other side.

We have a command for them to stop. We say, "Leave it!" If they stop barking and follow us inside, they get a treat. If they don't, we scoop them up (they're quite small), carry them inside, and sentence them to 15 minutes in their cages.

Every time this happens, I feel like Mylie (the smarter of the two dogs) looks up at me and her eyes say, "But master, I was protecting you!"

She believes that her motivation was pure. I know she was simply acting on her beastly instinct.


We do the same thing. We tend to assign ourselves the best motives. Even when we do something we know to be wrong, we justify it by telling ourself that our intentions are good. In conflict, we tend to judge others by their words or actions but want others to evaluate us according to our good motives.

God actually sees our heart. He weighs our spirit. He knows we are often motivated by selfishness, greed, vengeance, anger, etc. The Bible tells us that the mouth speaks (and the person acts) out of the abundance of the heart. If the output of your life is bad, that means the input was bad.

This is a good opportunity to examine your heart. Take a moment to second guess your motives. Don't immediately default to the excuse of "good intentions." Be ruthlessly honest with yourself.

Then...

Ask yourself what it would look like to always be motivated by love. Fill your mind with reasons why you love God. In every interaction, use your energy to discover reasons to love other people. Choose to modify your motivations. Choose love.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

10 Leftovers From The First of Ten Commandments

EXODUS 20:1-3
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.

1) God is a PERSONAL God. "He is the Lord YOUR God". He is not absent, passive or unconcerned. He is present, active and full of compassion.

2) God sets captives free. God's path does not enslave us, it liberates us.

3) Because God is the ONLY God who delivers, He is the ONLY God we should worship.

4) Everyone is devoted to something. The outcomes of your life are determined by the devotion of your life.

5) To be devoted to God is to offer Him the first and best of every part of your life.

6) We offer God our first and best because He gave us His first and best.

7) Too often we are to our self. Self-devotion manifests itself in the pursuit of  POSSESSIONS, PLEASURE, POPULARITY, or POWER.

8) I cannot be devoted to myself and to God.

9) My devotion can be measured by evaluating how I schedule my CALENDAR, how I utilize my CAPABILITIES, or how I spend my CASH.

10) We can change our devotion my moving our treasure. Wherever we invest our treasure is where our heart will move.

A Fool Proof Plan For Personal Protection

PROVERBS 2:11
discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,

Discretion is the practice of making decisions according to a predetermined plan. I show discretion when I choose not to purchase Swiss Cake Rolls because I am following a plan to save money and lose weight.

Understanding is the practice of thinking deeply and investigating carefully before reaching conclusions. When I react without thinking, or when I believe the first thing I hear, or when I assume the worst about a person; I am demonstrating a lack of understanding.

Discretion and understanding will protect you in life. Discretion is best when your predetermined plan is the path God has laid out in His Word. Understanding is most effective when your primary consideration is whether or not something aligns with the truth of Scripture.

Don’t make snap judgments today. Don’t act quickly or without thought. Because you are living in a sinful world, your instincts are sometimes tainted by sin. Instead, choose discretion and wisdom.