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Friday

Self or God Esteem?

1 Peter 2:11, Self-esteem not Biblical, God-esteem not self-esteem
image source below
I've written about ways self-esteem philosophies contradict Scripture, but they appeal to our ego so we have trouble giving them up. 

We've accepted the false belief that people with good self-esteem are good people.

When evidence proves that criminals typically have high self-esteem, we convince ourselves that their high self-esteem is simply low self-esteem that exhibits itself as high self-esteem!

Studies, however, show that promoting self-esteem also promotes narcissism.

More people than ever before are selfish, entitled, ungrateful, and discontent. Many of them demand constant praise and have difficulty seeing things from any perspective except their own.

So how do we turn from the self-esteem voices so present in every area of our culture (even in the Church)?
image: iconmac, Freedigitalphotos

Thursday

What Comes First?

Old Testament Kings, Disobedience and Distance from God, 1 John 2:15-17
What comes first: disobedience to God or distance from God?

While studying the Old Testament kings, I found this quote:
"lawbreaking was the result, not the cause, of estrangement from God. The kings abandoned God in their hearts first and then failed to keep his laws. When we close our heart to God, his power and presence soon leave us."*

When we fail God, we feel the Spirit's conviction and repent. That's because our hearts are still seeking God.

But we can lose our ability to discern God's will by:

Once we lose interest in seeking and serving God, we gradually lose our ability to recognize sin in ourselves (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

Take time today to ask God if you've distanced yourself from Him in any area of your life. If so, repent and seek Him with all your ♥.
*The Best of the Bible, Tyndale House, 1996, p.160

Wednesday

I'm Swimming Upstream

standing up for Christ, Walking with Christ, No compromise in Christ
"If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream." 
— Francis Chan

It's always easier to "go with the flow."

Our culture denies the truth of God's teachings about homosexuality, premarital sex, pornography, materialism, crude language, dishonesty, and selfishness.

It's true that "the wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored in among men" (Psalm 12:8)*  

And no one wants to hear God's teachings about Hell, justice and punishment.

But Francis Chan offers wisdom in that area too: "I really believe it's time for some of us to stop apologizing for God and start apologizing to Him for being embarrassed by the ways He has chosen to reveal Himself.”

When we deny, ignore, and downplay any element of God's Truth, we will be carried downstream.

Let's use God's strength to swim upstream into the pure mountain brook of Living Water and never return to the filthy ocean of cultural conformity.
* NIV 1987

Tuesday

Lovism or Legalism?

Obedience, rules, laws, legalism, genuine Christianity
What motivates your Christianity? Legalism or Love?

Legalism is an easy trap. I know—I’m sometimes legalistic.

Legalists dwell on minutia, scrutinize the teaching of others to uncover ‘errors,’ and think they're the only ones who perfectly understand God. They do things because it makes them feel better than others or because they’re afraid God is looking for tiny mistakes so He can punish them. 

"Loveists," on the other hand, do things because they believe God knows what’s best for them. They obey Him because He’s wonderful and deserving. They dwell on the principles of God’s Word not on non-essential doctrines that divide Christians. They look for the good in people and give them the benefit of the doubt. 

Our tendency is to be legalistic…God’s love is our only cure. 

“May [our] roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love” (Ephesians 3:17, NLT).
copyright Gail Burton Purath, 2011 

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All Scripture references NIV unless otherwise noted.