Dishonesty

The old, unregenerate self, originating in Adam (see notes on Rom. 5:12-14; 6:6; Eph. 4:22).

“Seeing” means “since.” The “old man”, is all that a person was prior to salvation: his worldly thinking and sinful acts. Since all this was renounced at conversion, one should “lie not.” Falsehood ill becomes the person claiming to be a disciple of Him who said, “I am the … truth.”

We can see from the following Scripture, where lies come from.

John 8:44 “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”

Look with me at the seriousness of lying in the next verse.

Revelation 22:15 “For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”

Hope for the Hopeless

He has caused to be born again to a living hope. (1 Peter 1:3)

We live in a world where many foundations are crumbling. Many institutions are fading. People that we admired and respected are being exposed as predators and frauds. Natural disasters have become more devastating. And in our lives, trouble abounds. Hope is based on the expectation that things can get better. But in our world, it seems like things just keep getting worse. Even for Christians, it is easy to fall into despair.

Despair is nothing new, and neither is the remedy. In today’s passage, Peter argues that because of Christ’s resurrection we are able to be born anew and therefore are not bound to a false hope. Instead, we are bound to a living hope! Despite our trials now, we can rejoice in the inheritance we have been promised. But how can we trust this hope? The apostle Paul challenged some among the church at Corinth who denied the resurrection. If, Paul argues, Christ has not risen from the dead, then Christians are to be pitied above everyone and we have no true basis for our hope (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). But, he affirms, the resurrection is true!

In the darkness of despair, the Bible has a message for the world: there is hope, and that hope is the person of Jesus Christ. No matter what challenges come our way, we can rest assured that there is a reason for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15). As you pray, hold onto the hope of Jesus and ask God to make you a vessel of his hope for others.

Learning To Live In Contentment

To live in inner contentment, the entire focus of your life must be the Lord Jesus Christ. 

I’ve had short periods in my life when a particular problem or situation would cause me nights of tossing and turning, hour after hour, unable to sleep. I’ve discovered the best thing I can do when I can’t seem to let go of thinking about a particular problem, conversation, or betrayal, is to get out of bed, get down on my knees, and cry out to God: “Please help me through this. Help me focus on You alone.”

Sleep comes when my focus is on the Lord and on how He’d have me think or respond in my emotions to a particular situation. Sleep is elusive when I allow my focus to shift to what others have said, all the things that might happen, or the difficulty of a challenge that lies ahead. The choice is quite simple—think about the Lord and His abundant provision, protection, and love, or think about all the people and circumstances trying to rob you of provision, destroy your life, or heap hatred upon you.

Thinking about the Lord brings a person peace. Thinking about anything else is usually a shortcut to anxiety, fear, or worry. 

When you focus on the Lord, it’s important that you see Him as being in your situation with you, right at that moment. Too many people think of God being far away. They don’t see God as being accessible or available to them in the immediacy of their lives. The truth is, He’s present with us in every moment of every day.

I can remember the most peaceful place I’ve ever been, when I was a teenager and Christ knocked on my heart and we became one.

But I felt great peace there. Why? Because I felt the Lord there. I sensed His presence.

It’s easy for me to close my eyes and see the Lord walking right beside me making me lie down in green pastures and leading me by the still water I also find it easy and beneficial to envision the Lord walking right beside me in any number of beautiful natural settings I’ve experienced.

It’s not these environments that give peace. It’s the awareness of God that I feel in my heart when I’m in these environments that produces peace. It’s that sense of “God with me” that’s important for me to recapture, envision, to see with spiritual eyes, when times of trouble hit my life.

No matter where you are at any given time, Jesus is the source of your contentment. See the Lord walking with you in peace. Sense His presence. Become aware of His awesome power and authority over your life. When by faith you enter into a personal relationship with Christ, living with the assurance of His presence and provision in your life, I promise you will experience true peace.

Living in Peace With Others 

It’s a challenge we each face regularly: How can we live in peace with other people and restore peace when conflict erupts? 

The fact is, God desires for us to live in peace with others. He also knows that we’ll not always be at peace with others. Conflicts occur. At times, conflicts aren’t easily resolved. In fact, there are occasions when conflicts cannot be resolved. However, God wants us to do all we can to be at peace with everyone.

We who are followers of Christ know full well that when God isn’t in full control of our lives, we can act just as despicably as an unbeliever. Our salvation doesn’t automatically keep us from being mean, jealous, hateful, or angry. It’s only as we ask the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, only as we yield our nature to His nature, only as we seek to be His representatives on this earth in every relationship we have that we’re going to move beyond pride into the behaviors that establish peace.

So how do we deal with conflict when it arises and establish a peaceful outcome?

First, determine the value of the relationship. If you’re going to live in peace with another person, you have to decide, “Is this relationship valuable enough to me to preserve it? Am I willing to compromise on some things to make the relationship work?” I firmly believe that those who are saved by grace and indwelled by the Holy Spirit can find genuine peace in their relationship when both value the maintenance of the relationship.

Second, start talking … and keep talking. When two people are talking—and willing to keep talking and listening to each other—they’re much more likely to quickly find resolution to their conflicts and live in peace with each other.

Third, be transparent. You can’t have a hidden agenda or a manipulative scheme at work in the back of your mind and hope for a peaceful relationship. Being open and honest with others when conflicts arise helps you to reach peaceful solutions in your relationships.

Finally, get to the core of the problem. As you communicate openly with others, taking an honest look at what is at the root of the conflict, you’ll be better able to work through any difficulty and establish peace.

As you strive to live at peace with others, standing on the truth of God’s Word, know that God stands with you. He will turn any conflict or persecution you experience to your eternal benefit. He’ll bring about spiritual growth, greater faith, and stronger enduring power within you. 

Knowing God’s Peace

The Peace God Gives If you’re a student of the Bible, I’m sure you’ve noticed that God’s perspective is often given in the form of comparison and contrast. For example, He often contrasted the rich and the poor, the wise and foolish, darkness and light, and with respect to our topic, the peace that comes from God as opposed to the peace found in this world. Jesus said, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives …” (John 14:27). Clearly, the Master was stating that the peace He gave His followers was different from the peace they could find in the world. When Jesus referred to “the world,” He was speaking of the society and culture in which we humans live. Have you ever been on a troubled sea? I’ve experienced storms at sea on several occasions and frankly, I’ve no desire to repeat the experience! On the surface, the winds can sweep across the sea at 40, 60, 100 miles an hour, with blowing rain, lightning, thunder, and an overpowering darkness. Waves can rise to 20, 30, even 50 feet high. A ship in such a storm can be tossed about like a toy boat. It’s easy for an oceangoing craft to be lost in such storms. But underneath the surface, just 100 feet down, there’s no storm. All is perfectly quiet. No sound. No tumult. Not even a ripple of turmoil. This remarkable fact makes me think of God’s peace. It gives me an inkling of what our Lord must’ve been talking about when He promised His disciples His peace. He told them because they were His followers, they’d have trouble in this world. In fact, He claimed that some of them would be persecuted because they were His disciples. But in spite of this, He promised He’d never leave those who followed Him, and His constant presence would be the means whereby they could experience His peace. When fears, anxieties, and troubles arise in your life, look for the following signs of God’s peace as it

Lay Down Your Expectations

When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us.” – Exodus 32:1

400 years. That’s how long the Israelites waited for God to deliver them from slavery. But after they left Egypt, God didn’t take them directly to Canaan. Instead, they camped at the base of a mountain while God instructed Moses. 

But after 40 days, the Israelites grew frustrated. Their delayed expectations led to poor decisions: they rejected God and pursued whatever pleased them. 

If you’ve ever felt frustrated by an uncertain season that lasts longer than you anticipated, you’re not alone. We can become so focused on our disappointments that we forget God is still in control. That’s why it’s important to remember that your waiting is never wasted.

Even though the Israelites couldn’t see it at the time, God wasn’t withholding His promises from them—He was preparing them for it.

So, if you find yourself weary from waiting, do what the Israelites forgot to do: look for evidence of God’s presence, and look back on what He’s already done. God’s timeline may be different than yours, but His faithfulness doesn’t waver. Your waiting might be preparing you for the plans and purposes God has for you. 

The more we trust God, the more freedom we will experience in our lives.

Saul becomes increasingly desperate to get rid of David. He is watching this young man succeed in everything he does and it terrifies him. However, an opportunity arises.

Saul’s daughter Michal loves David. And it’s clear that David has feelings for her as well. Saul plans to use David’s feelings against him and kill him in the process.

In this ancient context there was a bride-price associated with marriage. This was a sort of fee the man would pay to the woman’s family in order to marry her, like a reverse dowry. Furthermore, the price was usually set by the status of the woman’s family. This is why David feels Michal is out of reach for him since he is “only a poor man and little known.”

This is where Saul originates his plan. Instead of a monetary gift, he asks David to kill one hundred Philistines for him. To a normal man, this would have certainly meant death. But the Lord was with David, and he didn’t only fulfill Saul’s tall order – he doubled it, killing two hundred Philistines!

Saul saw David’s victory and gave Michal to him as promised. The opportunity he thought would solve his problem only worked to add to his fears.

As servants of God we are undoubtedly going to face trials. People are going to want to watch us fall and cause us to get angry at God on the way down. However, we serve the same God as David.

I can’t tell you that you will be protected from everything because life doesn’t work like that (and growth does not come that way). What I can do is encourage you to live like David.

David set out against the Philistines without an ounce of doubt that he would be successful. It never crossed his mind that if God told him to do something, it might not be possible. How incredible could our journeys be if we believe in the same way?

What if we took God at His word and acted before we had all the details or covered all the bases? What would our lives look like if they were completely directed by the grace and power of God?

Trust God’s Promises

I can honestly say that one of the hardest things to learn in life is to trust. I would even dare to say that the more we know people, the more we tend not to trust. However, if we were to analyze the core of the problem, it does not have to do with the act of trusting in itself. The real issue has to do with the one in whom confidence is placed. When we trust, we rely on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. 

Trusting requires only one action: to stand still and do nothing but wait for the one in whom we placed our confidence to operate. It is so simple and yet so difficult! The only thing we have to do is wait and allow the person we have trusted to do what they have said they will do, but our instinct is to try to take the matter into our own hands. Nevertheless, when we are facing battles we know that we do not have the power to do what is needed. The only thing we can do is to trust and wait for the One who does have the strength required, to step in and perform.

The amazing story we have been focusing on in these few days shows us a crucial lesson we must learn. God told Joshua not to be afraid because not one of them (the enemies) were going to be able to withstand him (Joshua). God made a promise, and Joshua believed and trusted in God’s Word. The result: the Lord fought for Israel! Joshua did not have the ability nor the strength to win this battle. The first and only thing Joshua could do was to trust God. God does not forsake those who seek Him.

In the Bible, we have thousands of promises that we can grasp. When the enemy surrounds your life, threatens to destroy you, and you cannot act, the first thing that you should do is set your mind on God’s promises! Trust in God’s power to deliver you from evil. It is your choice whether to focus on your ability or on God’s. All of life is a chance to learn to trust Him more, to get to know Him, to really know Him.

All of life is a chance to trust Him more. Trust in His promises, in His ability, strength, power, and character. God does not forsake those who seek Him.

Cathey Lynn

Expectations

What do you expect to happen when you pray? Do you expect God to answer? Do you expect to get exactly what you asked for? Or if you’re brutally honest, do you expect nothing much to happen? Do you approach prayer more like a wishing well—it’d be cool if you got your wish, but you know you probably just wasted a penny? 

I think this is an unfortunate trap we can fall into when it comes to prayer. If you go through a rough season, or a prayer that didn’t go your way, or maybe you’ve been trying to hear from God for a while, and He just doesn’t seem to be answering, it can sometimes shake our expectations of what God might do. But, God is always working in our lives, always answering prayer—even if it’s not in the way or the timing we would like. He is alive and active in our lives. We just need to re-frame what we expect God to do.

If I can be really transparent with you, I fall into seasons where I stop seeing God at work in my life. It feels like He’s not hearing me. It seems like all my prayers come back with a big “no”—or at least a “not right now”. It gets discouraging, but eventually I snap out of it and start praying, “God, show me what You’re doing in my life right now.” I’ll then commit to writing down everything I see God doing—every time I notice Him at work in my life. Instantly, these lists fill up. I find myself filling pages of a journal with lots of little things—and sometimes big things—that I see God doing. 

Did God suddenly kick His activity into high gear because I prayed? No. He’s been working like this the whole time. The problem was me and my expectations. I either expected Him to do exactly what I asked for in the exact timing I wanted it, or I let my faith get shaky, and I honestly didn’t expect Him to do anything. Both responses are a mistake. If you expect God to work in your life you will absolutely see Him working in your life. You just have to keep in mind that He is God and you are not. His actions may not be what you would have wished for, but they will always be with your best interests in mind. 

Write down everything you see God doing or hear Him speaking to you. I’m confident you’ll have more written in just a few days than you ever thought possible.

Compassionate Jesus

Devotional

All of us have been through trials that left us feeling like we’ve been stripped bare. At times our prayers are nothing more than weak whispers of, “I love you.” Jesus doesn’t reject us when the storms of life leave us exhausted. He doesn’t shake his head in disappointment when our eyes of faith won’t focus. Instead, with matchless compassion, he climbs into the boat to be with us.

When you’re in the midst of the storm and can scarcely turn your heart to the Lord, but do so anyway, he sees. With tenderness he rushes to your side, wraps himself around you, and becomes your strength. He creates hope out of hopelessness and stills the storm. With patience he breathes faith into your heart until you can see clearly once again. His love lifts you above the storm in a hurricane of grace. Victory becomes your song.

Jesus, all I can do is sit and wait for you in total dependence. I feel you here, breathing hope and igniting faith. I will not yield to despair. Instead, as you hold me in your arms, this storm will become a foundation for us to dance upon. With every breath, I will praise you.