June 24 – The Bible On Sex

“But whoso commiteth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” Proverbs 6:32

Sex sells! From soap operas to Saturday morning cartoons and advertising, there are sexual overtones. Casual acquaintances end up in bed, depicting a normal, healthy relationship, all of which has caused a casual attitude of promiscuity in a society plagued with broken homes, unwanted pregnancies, rape, incest, pornography, fornication, and adultery. Moral issues have been replaced by terms like “safe sex,”“new morality,” and “alternate life-style.”

What God originally designed for beauty, Satan has tried to steal through an ugly counterfeit. Real intimacy requires a covenant . . . commitment to the cross of Christ spiritually, and commitment to your marriage vows naturally.

I Timothy 4:1-2 prophesies: “… in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits.., having their conscience seared with a hot iron. ”LISTEN!

If you are married, God wants you to stay married. If you are single, God wants you to guard your chastity. If you are a grandparent, God wants you to teach younger people purity. Intimacy outside God’s law brings emptiness, un-fulfillment, and destruction.

PRAY: “Holy Father, Your law is TRUTH, and it brings life. Help me to understand it and abide in it, rejecting all counterfeits. I desire to walk in the purity of Your Word alone

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June 23 – A Prayer of Repentance

A PRAYER OF REPENTANCE

My failures to be true even to my own accepted standards:

My self-deception in the face of temptation;  My choosing of the worse when I know the better;

O Lord, forgive.

My failure to apply to myself the standards of conduct I demand of others;

My blindness to the suffering of others and my slowness to be taught by my own;

My complacence toward wrongs that do not touch my own case and my over sensitiveness to those that do;

My slowness to see the good in my fellows and to see the evil in myself;

My hardness of heart toward my neighbor’s faults and my readiness to make allowances for my own;

My unwillingness to believe that thou hast called me to a small work and my brother to a great one; 0 Lord, forgive.

—Excerpted from A Diary of Private Prayer
by Scottish theologian John Baillie

June 22 – How to Love Divinely

“And over all these virtues put on love. . . which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:14 (NIV)

Love is a decision followed by a commitment. . . YOU DECIDE! You are asked in Colossians 3:12 (NIV) to “clothe” yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and, above all, “AGAPE” LOVE, which is like a belt which holds them all together. To fully develop these attributes, there are more garments to “put on” as you learn to love divinely.

Ephesians 6:11, 14-17 lists the battle fatigues for spiritual warfare, while Romans 13:12b (NIV) admonishes you to “put on the armor of light,” putting aside all “deeds of darkness.”

The ultimate apparel necessary to obtain the divine ability to love God, your spouse, friend, neighbor, and even your enemies is written in Romans 13:14 (NIV): “…clothe (yourself) with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

Luke 6:35 promises that those who practice “agape” love will have a great reward, but there is a process to live out before you can obtain that prize. Paul understood it all when he said of these three. . . faith, hope, and love… LOVE was the greatest! (See I Corinthians 13:13.)

PRAY: “Loving God, I choose today to clothe myself in the virtues of Your Spirit. I choose today to LOVE unconditionally and to put aside all of the deeds of the flesh. Amen.”

June 21 – Three Hats of a Father

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

A father wears three hats—that is, he has three separate functions in three relationships. It is a tough job description to live up to, and it takes a lifetime to master.

1) As “Daddy,” he has a parental relationship with his children. He is to TEACH his children by example in the way they should go. (See Proverbs 22:6.)

2) As “Husband,” he has a relationship with his wife and is to LOVE her as his helpmate. According to I Peter 3:7, he is to give honor to his wife, as the weaker vessel, “and as being heirs together of the grace of life,” so that his prayers will not be hindered.

3) As “Priest,” he has a relationship with God and gives spiritual leadership to the home. His spiritual responsibility is to OBEY God as his Father. As he operates in this role, he performs a valuable function in the home, and his wife and children respect him.

If you are a child, honor your father by listening to his advice and obeying his house rules. If you are a wife, submit to your husband as you would submit to God, and pray for him. If you are a father and you feel you have not worn all these hats effectively, talk to your FATHER about it!

PRAY:
“Heavenly Father, order my steps today as I seek after Your perfect way. Uphold me with Your strong hand and keep me from all the powers of evil. In Jesus’ Name, amen.”

July 20 – The Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and the knowledge of the holy one is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

Having a “FEAR” of the Lord means to have reverence and respect for God. Many people today do not fear God simply because they do not believe that God even exists. They do not obey God’s law because they do not believe there are consequences for disobedience.

It is sad when people have enough fear of the IRS to pay taxes, but not enough to pay tithes—or enough fear of the highway patrol to obey the speed limit, but not enough to stay on the road of righteousness—or enough fear of their employer to get to work on time, but not enough fear of God to attend church regularly.

“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” (Proverbs 6:13a) Have you been FEARING all the wrong things—things like failure, people, death, the future? “The FEAR of the Lord” adds length to life. (Proverbs 10:27) Humility and “the FEAR of the Lord” bring wealth and honor and life. (Proverbs 22:4) It is God, your Creator, who breathes life into man and keeps the delicate balance of the world in place. People ought to FEAR Him!

Joshua’s final words were: “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth . . .” (Joshua 24: 14a) Walk in awesome reverence toward your God, and teach your children to do the same.

PRAY: “Oh Lord, help me to reject all earthly fear and place my fear and trust in You. I want to grow in Your wisdom and develop a closer daily walk with You. Amen.”

July 19 – How to Miss a Miracle

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”  Hebrews 3:12

Unbelief is sin. The deceitfulness of sin will harden your heart. (See Hebrews 3:13.) Then you will miss a miracle. It is as simple as that.

The disciples witnessed the miracle feeding of the multitude by Jesus, as recorded in Mark 6 but, later, when they were rowing their boat in a storm and He appeared walking upon the sea, they were “sore amazed in themselves beyond measure!” They had missed the point of the previous miracle. Verse 5 says they “wondered” at the sight, “For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.” (Verse 52) They missed the spiritual significance of what Jesus had done and became spectators.

God wants you to be a participator in His miracle blessings. Jesus said, in John 14:12, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”  Do not be faithless. Do not operate in unbelief. Rather, as Oral Roberts would say, ‘EXPECT A MIRACLE!”

PRAY: “Dear God, forgive me for my unbelief. Put within me a joyful expectation that You have everything under control. I choose this day to put my full trust in You.  Amen.”

June 18 – Kinds of Love – Storge

“Therefore (Lazarus’) sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. . . Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!” John 11:3, 35-36

“Storge” love is another type of love involving the body. It occurs within the family structure. It involves strong affection, but nonsexual touching. Lazarus, Mary, Martha, and Jesus shared this same feeling.

Somebody coined the phrase, “Blood is thicker than water,” meaning that the “blood” relationship between “family” members is generally stronger than the best friendship between “non family” members. This tight bond is often dormant and unrecognized until a time of crisis. A death in the family is sometimes the crisis that brings out these strong family ties.

The Apostle Paul has some pretty strong words about the responsibility of taking care of your family FIRST. “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8)

Cultivate your family relationships BEFORE the crisis comes. Make it a point to express your love and appreciation for your immediate family through a well- chosen compliment… it doesn’t go without saying. Send that friendship card. Make that telephone call . . . today.

PRAY:
“Father, Your friendship is never ending. Thank You for making me a part of Your family.  Help me to cultivate strong relationships within my own household.  Amen.”