Righteousness vs Wickedness
Proverbs 13:6 “Righteousness guards people of integrity, but wickedness undermines the sinner.” ~CSB
Let’s visualize this text using ‘Man 1’ and ‘Man 2’ as ‘Righteousness vs Wickedness’. Man 1 is offended by something Man 2 said. Man 1 begins to get feelings of anger in his head. In his mind a voice is making many statements about what his reaction should be and why.
“You must take a stand as a man and defend what has just been said relating to you. You can’t just stand there, everyone around you heard what was said and they are now waiting for your response. If you do not respond, you will look weak. As a man, you will look weak. As a father you will look like you cannot defend your children. As a husband you will NOT look like the man you wife wants as a protector, so you need to do something!” This is what is going on in Man 1’s head. And as a result, he walks over and slaps Man 2 for what he just said.
We cannot fault Man 1 for doing this because many of us give in to the voice of 'unreason'. This comes from wickedness. As the scripture says, wickedness ‘undermines the sinner’. Think about it, everything that went through Man 1’s thoughts gave him the misunderstanding that if he responded the way he did, he would be able to look strong in front of those who stood as witnesses. He would look like he could defend his children and be the man his wife would be pleased and proud of.
But the results of his actions were just the opposite. Man 1 would look back on what happened and be ashamed. He was ‘undermined’ by wickedness because now, as a result of his actions, his wife would be ashamed of him. His children would be embarrassed. As men we need to be accountable for our actions 'before' we even act on them. If we live righteous and keep righteous thoughts, we will be guarded by the promises of those actions. Let’s now look at Man 2.
Man 2 could have responded by hitting Man 1 back, but he did not. Instead, he did not think about how he may look in front of others who witnessed what happened to him. He didn’t see the situation as his, ‘manhood being tested’; he saw it as a ‘test of him being a Christian’. And he passed. He passed because he allowed righteous thoughts to remain in control and in return, that righteousness guarded him and kept his integrity intact.
For Man 2, his family would be proud as they saw that the situation would move into a calm and resolute result. Man 2 may have been embarrassed. He may have had some angry thoughts go through his mind for a moment. And he may have wanted to react in a negative way. But he did not. He allowed his Spirit to control him instead of his flesh and allowed God to shine through him. When he did this, he showed others that it is alright to let some things in this world go. Because it is for the greater good of God’s plan for us.
We should never fear being righteous. Regardless of what wickedness tries to make look good in front of us. It is not about what looks good, or better in front of others, it the righteousness in what looks pleasing to God. When we make Him our audience, we learn that He will fight our battles for us. And that will leave us the time, strength and wisdom to always do the right thing.
May God keep you under his umbrella of peace as you endure the trials of this world. In Jesus’ name,
1 Corinthians 9:27 “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” ~NLT
Have you ever met or talked with a woman or a man that was well into their 90’s or over 100 years old? I’m talking about an individual that is 100+ years old, talking, walking, running, and playing cards with you at 2 o’clock in the morning! It is an amazing sight to see! I reference the ‘card playing’ because it was an aunt of mine that was 102 years old playing cards with us, that late, at a family reunion.
She told us, to be full of energy and life at that age took, (for her), discipline in taking care of herself over the years. What a thought! I use too, and still fight every day, the urges to eat foods that are not good for me. Shortening the chances of me enjoying my children, grandchildren and maybe even my great grandchildren grow. My aunt got to live to see her great grandchildren prosper. In her right mind! What a blessing!
The text above is not only talking about disciplining yourself to stay in obedience to God’s Word, but also to discipline yourself in taking care of the temple God gave you to walk around in while doing His work in this world. And when you really look at it, when you do this, you realize that God is giving you a way to practice being obedient, by practicing 'discipline' in your body.
For instance, if you wake up every morning holding ‘discipline’ over your body: in what you put into your body, (when you want to eat something you love); participating in regular exercise to tone and shape your body, (even when you do not feel like it). You practice taking control of a ‘flesh’ that has had control over you most of your life. When you find that you can tame your flesh physically, you will find that it becomes easier to tame the flesh spiritually. And this is what God created you to do.
In the Corinthian text, chapter 9, Paul speaks of a runner running a race. He states that in such a race there is only one winner. Paul is saying he practices this discipline so that he will not be disqualified from the race he is running. The race in the name of the Son of God. We must also be disciplined so that we do not disqualify ourselves.
The disqualification doesn't affect His promises, healing, or His will for our lives. Because our God is a forgiving God. The disqualification comes after God teaches others through how we live our lives, and then we fall short by giving up and quitting. We don’t want to disqualify ourselves in the work that he has done through us. A great work the enemy tries very hard to discredit. Pray for God’s strength to endure and win this race.
I will end today’s devotional with words from Pastor Tony Evans, quoting from his Commentary Bible:
“Only the passion in your life is worth your total commitment and pursuit: Loving Christ and serving Him. Don’t disqualify yourself for the prize by quitting the race, running in the wrong direction, or breaking the rules. Run to win.”
May God always grant you peace in whatever you are going through in the name of his Son Jesus,
Recognize The Pattern
John 10:10 “A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” ~CSB
This past Sunday, the Lord allowed a great Word through me. He seeded this message in my heart about a month prior to me preaching it. I thanked God before the sermon because He had given me the ‘go ahead’ to sing again as part of the sermon. It is my prayer that the message was seeded and nurtured in those who received it. It turned out to be a blessing in so many ways.
But now, let me show you a dark pattern that I have noticed in my Christian walk. I got home and my wife and I were discussing service as we always do. She told me she was proud of me and the work that God is doing in me. I left home to run an errand and when I returned, I noticed our puppy, ‘Cooper’, locked in his caged area. I asked, “What did he do? Is he in trouble?” “My wife responded, yeah, you know how he is.” She gave me a hug and told me to go to social media and read what she posted about me and how service was. Well, I did, and it was a beautiful post. I hugged her and thanked her for such a beautiful message. Then I noticed her face change. It went to concern and somewhat apologetic.
When I asked what was wrong, she gave me the case to my ‘AirPods’. It was all chewed up. I looked up at her and she said, “Cooper got to it.” I opened the case and noticed that the Airpods were missing. She continued, “I thought the case was the only thing he got, but…” Then she handed me, two chewed up ear ‘Airpods’. First of all, she knew how much I ‘loved’ my ear pods. And for a brief second, I was ‘HOT’!
But then, I realized the pattern. Lately, whenever my wife and I are victorious in ministry, service or blessing families in Real Estate, a darkness attempts to come into our home to take away, steal, kill and destroy what we have just experienced as servants of the Lord. And if we are not careful with the victory we have in Jesus’ name, that darkness could make us give that success to the enemy, just like Adam and Eve did in the garden.
Well, Yolanda and I are not Adam and Eve. You, are also not going to give away any blessing to the darkness that may come immediately after God’s blessing to you. Recognize the pattern of the enemy as he comes to steal, kill, and destroy what God is doing for us in our lives. Last weekend, I changed my perspective. I understood that I didn’t love those ‘AirPods’, I love the Lord! And with that perspective, I did not give up our success in the victory God blessed us with!
Jesus said he came so that we may have life and have it in abundance. The devil knows this. This is why every time we receive a gift from above, the devil is right there, asking us, “You don’t really want that do you? Let me have it.” And under the stress, anger, conflict, and confusion that accompanies the enemy, we give it to him. Not anymore! The purpose of this devotion is to make you aware of this 'pattern' so that we can prepare ourselves to stay in God’s perspective and hold on to the gifts birthed from His promises to us.
Let us stay focused on God’s victories in our lives as steppingstones to bigger and better things. Don’t let the enemy steal our steps; kill our focus or destroy Christ’s cause in our hearts. I pray that God’s will in our lives always conquer the devil’s attempts. And may His Son’s mission for our abundance remain the victory we receive. May the Lord bless and keep you under his healing power and direction in Jesus’ name,
The Benefit of Being Grateful
John 6:63 “The Spirit is the one who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” ~CSB
When I graduated from high school, I was given my first car as a present from my grandfather. I was very happy to get it. But I thought I was entitled to it. In fact, I did nothing to take care of it. I never changed the oil, nor did I care how I drove it. I was just glad to have a car and drive around. Eventually, I lost that car because I didn’t take care of it. Because I had no car, I was dependent on others and public transportation to take me places. Often that would prove inconvenient, but it was necessary.
Now that I’m older, I see this type of blessing different. I take care of the cars my wife and I have. I recognize the value of the blessing in being able to have transportation to and from our destinations. I’m using this example because this is how we place Christ, and His love for us, in our lives. We must be careful not to take for granted the blessing of God choosing us for His Son to embrace us. Wait…you didn’t know you were chosen?
In John Chapter 6 we see a lot of questions being asked by the disciples following Jesus. Jesus is explaining to them who He is and how to receive salvation and eternal life from Him, but some of His followers just didn’t get it. Then He says in John 6 verse 44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent me draws him…”
You see, this right here should be forever held and never let go! If you love Jesus and are thankful for what He has done for you: know that it is not because of anything you have done. It is because God choose you to be a part of His will in His Son’s eternal work! You are included in that! We must never fail in our faith on that.
Jesus says also in this same chapter, verse 37, “Everyone the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never cast out.” Jesus is explaining to all around Him that eternal life begins with Him. At that time, many around Him were so caught up in receiving and witnessing miracles that they did not want to take the time to ‘learn the lesson’.
They did not want to take the time to build that relationship with Jesus. It is not always about receiving the miracles of His promises, we must also spend the time to get to know the Father. When this happens, we find out what God’s intention is for us, and we are able to navigate better in this confused, deceptive and destructive world.
The trials and test become easier to endure because we know that the Father has prepared a glorious victory in His Son for us. We have something to look forward to in our obedience in His word. Our flesh may not like the path in obedience, but the flesh has nothing to do with salvation. Our spirit does. And like Jesus said, “The Spirit is the one who gives life.” Feed the spirit with the Word. Starve the flesh and watch your faith grow strong. You have been chosen.
May God continue to bless and keep you healed, guided, and protected in Jesus’ name,
A Void Filled
John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them ‘eternal’ life.” ~NLT
I had a conversation with a friend of mine the other day. We were talking about marriage. He spoke of how he was very happy in his marriage and could not understand why some men and women ‘cheat’ on their spouse.
I told him that according to the Word, the Lord placed a void, an emptiness in us that we try to fill under our own strength and intelligence. We seek, wealth and success. Some seek the physical desire of lust, drugs and alcohol. But this emptiness cannot be filled by us. In other words, A man can accomplish much success in being wealthy, but his soul can still leak and become empty.
God tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted ‘eternity’ in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” ~NLT God has planted ‘eternity’ in our hearts, but because we do not know His plan from beginning to end, we must trust in Him. We must have His Son in our hearts.
Tony Evans explains in his Commentary Bible concerning this scripture: “Solomon is saying, that God has created time in such a way that it cannot bring fulfillment. Rather, it reveals a vacuum in the human heart that can only be filled by the transcendent—by Him. Humanity is in tension: we live in the routine of time, but our hearts are designed to long for something eternal.”
Therefore Jesus says in John 4:14 “But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them ‘eternal’ life.” (There goes that word ‘eternal’ again.) That void, that emptiness is the longing for something ‘eternal’ that was created in us. It is a power that drives the flesh to seek the wrong things. And it can be controlled spiritually but we must allow the Word of God to fill it.
In the beginning was the Word…the Word was with God…the Word was God. The Word! It is the quench our thirst needs. It will fill the unknown in our hearts with the wisdom of trust in God who has never left us in need. Holding on to what He has done for us in the past.
Just as the Word will maintain and keep us filled, it will also produce fruit in the will God has for our lives. He says in Isaiah 55:11, “It is the same with my Word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” ~NLT
For the simple price of obedience and time with the Lord, not only will we never ‘thirst’ again, but we will oversee maintaining the blessing of a ‘fruit’ produced by God’s will in our lives. Allowing us to never experience the feeling of emptiness again! And share that fullness of God with others!
May God keep you healed, protected and directed in Jesus’ name,
Authors Billy & Yolanda
This is the place where we share our heart through God's Word in faith that will inspire and empower you to live in peace.