Tag Archives: Christians

Watch Who You Keep Close

The Bible again and again mentions not making treaties with others. It might seem strange to us because we don’t usually go around making treaties. When we thinking of treaties, we think of government alliances. So what can we glean from all of these verses that tell us to “make no treaties”?

These alliances were seen as being bad because of the consequences the people would face for aligning with these people who did not worship God. The people would eventually lead God’s people to worship other gods. God’s people were to be set apart, to be holy. The people were to be a chosen people. If the people had a close relationship with those who did not follow God, they too, would not follow God. Time and time again, we have seen how the people you surround yourself with makes a big impact on your life.

Applying this to your own life doesn’t mean never being around non-believers. We are called to be out in the world, shining a light. We cannot isolate ourselves. However, we need to be careful who we keep close. Our inner circle should be strong God fearing people. Our close relationships should be with those who love God and will encourage us to love God and love His people. Keep people close who will empower you to live for Jesus, who seek your very best.

“Make no treaties with them or their gods.” – Exodus 23:32 [NLT]

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Pure Heart Companions

What a great command from Paul to Timothy in his second letter. He says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” We are to run from our youthful passions. Instead we are to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. But we aren’t supposed to do it alone. We are to pursue it “along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

This verse tells us that our journey includes other believers. It also tells us that we need to have companions who have a pure heart. We need to surround ourselves with other believers who have a pure heart. In doing so, it helps us to be supported and built up in Christ. It allows for us to walk faithfully with Jesus, and when we fall, our companions will help pick us up.

If you don’t have many Christian friends, you have a problem. You need a good, rock solid community. This is typically a community you find at your local church. Get engaged at church. Join a small group. Build strong relationships. Find some pure heart companions, people who always point you to Jesus Christ.

“So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” – 2 Timothy 2:22 [NLT]

Wise Walking

People often tell me that it does not matter who they spend time with because they will be who they will be whether or not they are hanging around with people doing bad things. They have control. They are their own person. I have heard it again and again. And yes, some people have more self-control than others and some people do not follow the crowd as much as others; however, the people you spend time with ALWAYS matters.

If you spend time with someone who talks a lot about politics, you will likely hear and learn a lot about politics. You might even become more political. If you spend time with a group of people who are all Christians, you should be able to see a difference between them and the rest of the world. You may partake in more theological discussions, do more studying of God’s Word and pray more. When you interact a lot with those who listen to a particular type of music or talk a certain way or do certain things, you will be soaking in those things. Your dialect could change a bit while you are with them. You might be listening to different music than usual and start humming songs you never thought would come out of your mouth.

Some of the truths of life that I learned came from hanging out with wise people. Spending time with pastors, with ministry laypeople, with strong Christians, has taught me a great deal and has challenged me, helped me to grow, encouraged me, and guided me to who I am today. I remember a time when I was hanging out with those who many would deem “fools” and I can attest that part of my life was falling to pieces. So remember this Proverb. Remember this choice. Remember the importance of who you walk with in life. Wise walking will help you to grow and get where God wants you to be in life. Foolish walking is walking backwards. God has so much more for you. Believe me. Or better yet, believe Him.

“Become wise by walking with the wise;
hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.”

-Proverbs 13:20 [MSG]

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Good Company

It is very difficult to deeply immerse yourself in the world and expect to live a godly life. It is important to spend time in good company because these people will help you to “keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.” Hang around those with integrity, those who are honest, those who will help build you up and equip you, those who know and love God and who are devoted to studying God’s Word and who regularly worship the Lord.

When you spend a lot of time in bad company, it wears off on you to the point no one can tell the difference between you and the worldly. Imagine a cup of water. The cup of water represents the godly life. The water is clear. However, if you take a tea bag (bad company) and dip it in the water, slowly the water changes color and taste. Little by little, you can add more tea bags or simply allow the tea to soak through the bag in time. The water changes. It’s no longer water. It’s tea. It is the same way with bad company.

We are to interact with sinners, to spend time with sinners. Each of us is in fact a sinner. Plus, if we were to isolate ourselves after being saved, then how would the Gospel be shared? Still, we all need a great community of godly friends to walk with us through life. I thank God for my mentors, my friends, my good company. They have helped to strengthen me, to pray for me, to point me in the right direction, to share Scripture, to comfort, to encourage. Join the company of good men and women.

“So—join the company of good men and women,
keep your feet on the tried-and-true paths.
It’s the men who walk straight who will settle this land,
the women with integrity who will last here.
The corrupt will lose their lives;
the dishonest will be gone for good.”

-Proverbs 2:20-22 [MSG]

 

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My Complaint

There’s a phrase that I often hear from people when I ask them how they are doing. I guess I will say I am okay. It does no good complaining. No one cares anyway. Now for my complaint…

It really upsets me to hear people say things like this because I know that no matter what, someone cares. Always. And yes, complaining too much is a bad thing. The Israelites spent a lot of time grumbling in the Wilderness. But there are moments when we are upset and it is okay to verbalize our feelings.

I am currently reading the Book of Psalms. As I page through, again and again I read of the Psalmist crying out to God, pouring out his emotions. There is no holding back. There is nothing but pure, honest truth. And yes, there is some complaining. Today I want to remind you that God cares about you and EVERYTHING you are going through. And there are people in this world who care as well. Don’t go through your days not opening up and connecting. If you keep everything to yourself, then you are not really having a relationship at all.

“The cuts in my flesh stink and grow maggots
because I’ve lived so badly.
And now I’m flat on my face
feeling sorry for myself morning to night.
All my insides are on fire,
my body is a wreck.
I’m on my last legs; I’ve had it—
my life is a vomit of groans.”

-Psalm 38:5-8 [MSG]

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Bad Alliances

Jehoshaphat followed God and his obedience brought him wealth and honor. Even so, there are times when we can make some poor decisions that can end up pulling us away from God. Jehoshaphat’s poor decision was making bad alliances.

In 2 Chronicles 18, we read about the first bad alliance. This was a marriage alliance involving Jehoshaphat’s son Joram to King Ahab’s daughter Athaliah. King Ahab was very far from God. As Ahab and Jehoshaphat aligned together, Jehoshaphat was nearly killed if not for the protection of God. The second alliance was a trading alliance Jehoshaphat formed with King Ahaziah. God responds with smashed ships unable to trade.

We are never to isolate ourselves from others. How would the Gospel spread if we hide ourselves away? Nonetheless, we need to be cautious of our alliances. Not only can a bad alliance crush our moral authority, but it can lead us away from God. It is so important to surround yourself with strong Christians for encouragement, support, guidance, and comfort.

“Late in life Jehoshaphat formed a trading syndicate with Ahaziah king of Israel—which was very wrong of him to do. He went in as partner with him to build ocean-going ships at Ezion Geber to trade with Tarshish. Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah preached against Jehoshaphat’s venture: ‘Because you joined forces with Ahaziah, God has shipwrecked your work.’ The ships were smashed and nothing ever came of the trade partnership.”

-2 Chronicles 20:35-37 [MSG]

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Troublemakers

One of my favorite books of the Bible is 1 Kings. Not so long ago I was led to make a Bible study for the book and it was a great journey through God’s Word. We are introduced to Elijah in 1 Kings and we see a lot unfold. From the moment he is on the scene, we are not provided much of an introduction into his life, but we slowly see this picture of Elijah revealed through the drought, the time with the widow, and the magnificent display by God at Mount Carmel.

Now Ahab describes Elijah differently than most of us would. He called him a “troublemaker.” A troublemaker. Most of us would not call Elijah a troublemaker. He was following God’s commands. He was anything but a troublemaker. But to Ahab he was a troublemaker because Ahab was not following God’s commands. What Elijah was doing was causing trouble for Ahab and his evil ways.

In the same way, people might see Christians as troublemakers. We stand firm and uphold the Word of God but that goes against what society desires. The world wants what the world wants. So you might be called a “troublemaker.” Just remember that there are two types of troublemakers. There are troublemakers who are simply standing firm on God’s Word so they appear as the disorder amidst the world. Then there are the troublemakers who are against God’s Word and are living a life filled with evil. Ahab saw Elijah as a troublemaker. We see Ahab as a troublemaker. The difference is—one is following God’s Word and the other is not. Where do you fall?

“When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, ‘So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?’” – 1 Kings 18:17 [NLT]

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Time With God

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.”
– Psalm 62:5 [NIV]

The beginning of a year always brings resolutions and as we near the end of the month, most of the resolutions no longer are fresh in our minds because they ended weeks ago. One resolution many Christians make is to devote more time to reading the Bible and more time for prayer. Some people may have decided to follow through with a daily devotional. It is very important to have some quiet time with God each day, time where you are able to wait on Him, read His Word, speak with Him, and hear what He has to say to you.

If you have made a resolution similar to this, but have fallen short of the goal already, do not be hard on yourself. Start where you left off and keep pressing forward. God is waiting. If you haven’t made a resolution, but you are considering spending more time with God now, consider finding a Daily Devotional that will help you with your daily reading. There are so many different options available, some which are delivered via email, are presented in a RSS feed, or can even be found on a smart phone app.

I can honestly say that Daily Devotional time has always been a struggle for me. I have to do it first thing in the morning or it doesn’t happen. Something I have just started recently however is to have afternoon and evening devotional time as well, because I find it is beneficial for my walk with Christ.

Here’s a list of twelve of the Daily Devotionals available online that I use daily and/or occasionally. Why twelve? I love that number. I recommend them all; however, if it is something you are considering, please look at each of them to see which one helps you the most. The purpose of a Daily Devotional is to have some time with God. It’s all about God and you – on the relationship that matters most!

Devotionals I Use /I’ve Used / I Recommend:

  1. My Utmost For His Highest (Oswald Chambers) – simply LOVE this devotional 
  2. In Touch Ministries (Dr. Charles Stanley) – constantly gleaning from this devotional
  3. Joni & Friends (Joni Eareckson Tada) – always insightful & must read daily
  4. PD Daily Hope (Rick Warren) – simple, insightful, great devotional
  5. BGEA: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – nicely formatted, insightful
  6. Joyce Meyer – good daily devotional
  7. Our Daily Bread – nice devotional, possibly found in your church
  8. Daily Grace Inspirations (Joseph Prince) – nice devotional focused on God’s grace
  9. The Upper Room – nice devotional
  10. Spurgeon’s Daily Meditations (Charles Spurgeon) – insightful, available AM & PM
  11. Harvest (Greg Laurie) – good devotional
  12. Heartlight SpiritFire (Phil Ware) – good devotional

“As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.”
– Psalm 42:1 [GW]