Prayer Without Obedience

He told me he was "praying for revelation" but he was missing the enormous revelation at his fingertips. This 1-minute devotion explains.

I knew he'd had a strained relationship with his parents for many years.

When I asked what he'd done to reconcile, he said he hadn't done anything but he was “praying for revelation from God.”

I reminded him of James 2:15-16 which says faith is useless when not accompanied by appropriate actions.

While he was “praying for revelation from God,” he was ignoring these “revelations” in Scripture:

1. God commands us to actively seek reconciliation!

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24(1)

Thoughtful, gracious discussion and sincere listening can solve many problems (Proverbs 15:1; James 1:19).

2. God commands us to make deliberate efforts in relationships!

Live in harmony with one another... Do not repay anyone evil for evil... If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Romans 12:16-18(2)

Acts of kindness can soften the hardest heart (1 Peter 3:9).

3. In addition, when we're dealing with parents, God has high expectations.

He expects “honor” and attaches a promise (Ephesians 6:2-3).(3)

Faith without works and prayer without obedience are useless (James 2:26).(4)

He told me he was "praying for revelation" but he was missing the enormous revelation at his fingertips. This 1-minute devotion explains.

Footnotes:

(1)  See You Can't Serve God if You Refuse

(2)  See Reconciliation: Actions Speak Louder than Words

(3) See The Serious Consequences of Dishonoring Parents.

(4) Pertinent Scriptures:

James 2:15-16: “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?”    

Proverbs 3:27: "Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act." 

Romans 13:7: "Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." 

Galatians 6:10: "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

See The Prayer Excuse.


Bible Love Notes

God or Culture? Which Will You Choose?

Christians are being faced with this choice and they will continue to be faced with this choice. How will you respond?

What happens when a person or group calls you hateful, stupid, or ignorant for trusting God's commands?

What if friends or loved ones disagree with you or reject you for your Christian beliefs?

What will you do? 

In an excellent article, Brett McCracken describes five types of Christians who compromise their faith:(1)

1. Those who base their faith on personal benefits and compromise biblical principles when they face persecution or hardship. 

See We Need It: Self-Denial.

2. Those who focus on results and compromise biblical principles to achieve their goals. 

See Long Shortcuts - Matthew 7:13.

3. Those who prioritize political interests above biblical principles.

See Would You Have Justified Slavery?

4. Those who base their faith on feelings and reject biblical principles that make people feel unhappy or uncomfortable. 

See Teachings that Bear Good Fruit.

5. Those who know the truth but don’t live it. 

See Grace and Works, Faith and Obedience.

I would add one more type:

6. Those who find their identity in the victim culture of the ex-vangelical movement.

See Don't Wander in the Wilderness.

Please take some time today to read Romans 1:16-32

Can you join Paul in saying: "I am not ashamed of the gospel"? 

Do you believe that God is a loving Creator who knows what's best for people? 

Are you willing to suffer persecution, inconvenience, and loss to contend for your faith?

If so, let these words encourage you:

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

❤❤❤❤❤❤

Footnote:  

(1) 5 Foundations That Lead to Compromise on Sexual Ethics, The Gospel Coalition, August 3, 2021 | Brett McCracken 

Christians are being faced with this choice and they will continue to be faced with this choice. How will you respond?




Bible Love Notes

Lies About Jesus: Shame and Guilt

People often talk about the popularity of Christ without understanding His actual "reputation" with the majority of people who met Him.

It’s become increasingly popular to claim that Jesus always affirmed people, never making them feel ashamed or guilty. 

Not true. 

Jesus said “the world” hated Him because He testified “that its works are evil.” (John 7:7).

He exposed the darkness in people’s souls:

“Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:19

Most people rejected Jesus during his life on earth, and most people reject His followers today.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” ~ Jesus, John 15:18 

People often talk about the popularity of Christ without understanding His actual "reputation" with the majority of people who met Him.
Christ strongly emphasized sin and repentance. He wants us to be ashamed for our sins and realize our guilt:

 
That's because “godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

When we know Christ, we have godly sorrow when we sin. We're ashamed because our sins sadden our Savior. We want to repent and restore sweet fellowship with Him (1 John 1:8-10). 

When we have worldly sorrow we regret the consequences, not the sin. We refuse to feel guilty or ashamed. We ignore Scriptures like James 4:8-10 

“Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.”

Do you have worldly or godly sorrow for your sins?

To see the contrast between these two types of sorrow, see Short List Repentance and King David's Key to a Healthy Faith.


Bible Love Notes

Bitterness That Comes from Pride

Bitterness always justifies itself. This 1-minute devotion shares the ways bitterness destroys and offer the Bible's antivenom to combat it.

Bitterness is like venom

Sometimes we're "bitten" with bitterness because we've been genuinely mistreated, but sometimes we're bitter because we refuse to admit we're wrong.

A bitter woman blames her parents for their difficult relationship instead of acknowledging her ungratefulness and disrespect.

A bitter employee blames his boss for being unreasonable instead of acknowledging his irresponsibility and rebellious attitude.

A bitter woman blames her friend for their broken relationship instead of acknowledging her critical spirit and pride. 

Bitter people damage relationships and blame other people for the damage. 

Bitterness doesn’t discuss. It accuses.

It doesn’t repent. It excuses

It pouts instead of listening. 

It cuts off contact instead of forgiving

That's why Scripture exhorts us:

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Hebrews 12:14-15  

We don’t have to approve or agree with everyone, but we are commanded to forgive others and treat them kindly. In fact, our handling of differences reveals the quality of our faith (Proverbs 24:10).

Romans 12 is a great "antivenom" for all types of bitterness, whether it comes from mistreatment or pride. 

Extra resource: See the Romans 12 Devotional Series to better understand the helpful advice found in that chapter. In addition, each of the highlighted words in this devotion connects to a 1-minute devotion related to the subject. 

Bitterness always justifies itself. This 1-minute devotion shares the ways bitterness destroys and offer the Bible's antivenom to combat it.


Bible Love Notes

Dealing with Selfish People

It's not easy to deal with selfish people, but it's something we all have to do. This devotion offers some biblical insights.

There have always been selfish people in the world, but our modern culture promotes and even celebrates selfishness at times. No wonder n
arcissism is on the rise. (See 8 Narcissist Problems.)

Christians are faced with an increasing number of difficult relationships at work, in neighborhoods, in organizations, and even in Christian circles. (See Weeds.)

Because selfish people lack empathy, many of them mistreat others and then feel sorry for themselves. Cain is an Old Testament example. (See Cain: The Ultimate Pouter.)

We should steer clear of close friendships with such people because “bad companions ruin good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33 GNT). 

But we can't avoid selfish people altogether. 

When they're in our churches, we may need to humbly address their inappropriate behavior, speaking the truth in love (2 Timothy 2:23-26; Ephesians 4:15). When they are in our workplace or neighborhood, we need to walk in the "opposite spirit."

The world tells us to return evil for evil and "punish" people for hurting us. God tells us to be different from the world, returning good for evil and treating unkind people with kindness (Romans 12:17-21).

It's tempting to treat selfish people the same way they've treated us, and that's exactly what Satan would like us to do: respond in ways that deny our faith.

But our faith shines brightest when things are difficult, and we have this wonderful promise to sustain us:

"[We] can do everything through Christ who gives [us] strength." Philippians 4:13


It's not easy to deal with selfish people, but it's something we all have to do. This devotion offers some biblical insights.


Bible Love Notes