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Emotions

Friday

February 17, 2017

No Greater Love Than This

Read

Romans 5:8, “God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners”.

Think

We love a lot of things. We love football. We love certain foods. We love our children. We love shopping. We love our spouse. Obviously, some of the things we love are weightier and more meaningful than others. However, in the Greek language there are several different terms which define the various forms of love. For example, phileo—like Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love—is a kindred affection, a shared camaraderie, and a strong bond between close friends. Stergo is a familial love. It’s a parental love and protective in nature. It can even be used to explain the love between a pet and its owner. Eros describes the passionate and erotic sexual intimacy between a man and a woman. Each of these are a vital part of our lives, but they all pale in comparison to the most important, foundational, and purest form of love—agape. It is sacrificial and unconditional. It is God’s love for us.

Without a solid foundation in Christ and an intimate knowledge of God, every other form of love can easily be manipulated, confused by emotions, and abused. Terrorists and gang members share brotherly love. Regardless of faith or lack thereof, people can experience romance. The most hardcore Atheists love their children, and they certainly don’t understand the love God has for them. The Bible says even while we were God’s enemies dying in sin and deserving of wrath, He sent His Son to die for us. This means that without God’s mercy and grace, without the ministry of reconciliation, our lives are devoid of purpose. We’re here because of His love and purposed to love Him and to express His love to others. To know God is to love God. When we are grounded in His love, all the other forms of love align. How great is that?

Pray

Thank God for His unfailing love and devotion. Ask Him to help you love others as you love yourself. And praise Him right now by saying aloud, “God, I know You love me even when I don’t love myself. God, I know you love me when I fail. God, I know I’m important to You. And God, I know that no matter what I’ve done or where I’ve been, that You chose me to share and show Your love everywhere I go!”

Act

Read I Corinthians 13 paying careful attention to the Apostle Paul’s description of love. Reread it aloud and notice the words and phrases that stand out to you the most. Then journal whatever God brings to mind.

 

Tuesday

February 14, 2017

Valentine’s Day Victory

Read

Song of Solomon 1:2,4 “May he kiss me with kisses of his mouth… Draw me after you and let us run together…”
Song of Solomon 5:10, 16 “My beloved is dazzling and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand… and he is wholly desirable.”

Think

If you’re single, take note of what’s to come, as this devotional is speaking specifically to married couples. It’s Valentine’s Day, the one day of the year specifically devoted to love and romance—the two key ingredients to a successful marriage. Obviously, love is the binding factor. To clarify, romance is a feeling and love is an action. So, great marriages, rooted in Christ, seek to fan the flames of romance on a consistent basis. And guys, remember, what it took to get her is what it takes to keep her! Romance is a great fuel, but a horrible foundation. Ladies need a sense of security. And ladies, remember guys need to feel respected. Therefore, if romance is the fuel, love is the engine, the driving force. Commitment is love in action. Regardless of the season, nothing should divide what God provides.

The takeaway from today’s scripture is this: “Draw me after you and let us run together, wholly desirable”. This means the Bible is the greatest encourager of marital sex! How great is that? With this in mind, here are 5 keys to ignite Romance:
1) STUDY your spouse. Know their likes and dislikes. Know what matters to them. Know their style, favorite foods, annoyances, and turn-ons.
2) SERVE your spouse. Inconvenience yourself on their behalf. We serve everyone else and forget to serve within the home. Make this a marital priority!
3) LAUGH—a lot! Keep joy alive and have fun! Not only is laughter great for breaking tension, it’s also a great way to end a fight.
4) PLAN special moments. Put energy and time into something your spouse doesn’t see coming. Put some guesswork into the romance. Don’t skip date night. Guys, remember date night is mate night!
5) SPEAK into their life. We all have enough negativity within our own thought life. Encourage one another. Celebrate one another. Use words that complete one another versus compete or deplete. Realize, no one can say it better than you can.
Work these things into your marriage and set yourselves on fire, it’s worth it!

Pray

Thank God for the capacity to love passionately and for romance within the covenant of marriage. And singles, pray for what’s to come. Continue asking God to prepare you for who He is preparing for you.

Act

Tonight, if you’re married, date your mate. If you’re unmarried and on a date, be responsible with your body. And if you’re single, romance God and go have some fun with your friends!

Tuesday

November 15, 2016

Right and Wrong

Read

Judges 21:25, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes".

Think

At the end of Judges, people denied God's commands and did as they saw fit. It's literally mind boggling! The children of Israel had witnessed God's sovereign power countless times, and still they let feelings dictate their reality. Samuel, God's divinely appointed prophet and spokesman for the Lord Himself, was leading the nation. But the Israelites were crying for a king. Like neighboring nations, they wanted a figurehead, someone to lead them into battle, unite them, and provide a sense of security. Talk about blind? God was their King! This direct request was a rejection of the Lord's sovereignty. How ironic—who provides victory, security, and unity greater than the King of Kings?

Isn't it true that we frequently overlook God's power and truth for something "better"? All we have to do is watch the news to see that we are doing what's right for man versus God's mandates. As a nation we've strayed from biblical values and absolute truth and instituted our self-prescribed societal norms. How do we begin to amend and heal the sickness of our culture? It's up to us as the church—the hands and feet of Christ—to be the most tolerant people on the planet. We must have a willingness to accept everyone despite their actions or beliefs and lead them to Christ. That is the only way we will ever return to one nation under God.

Pray

Father God, help me to discern what's wrong with what I sometimes see as right. I thank You for providing me with the choice to respond to Your love. It makes my commitment to You just that much more impacting to others who knew me prior to receiving Your life-changing grace and forgiveness. In Jesus I pray, Amen.

Act

The prophet Samuel's mom Hannah dedicated him to the Lord and sent him to the temple as a small child to serve God. Samuel lived to fulfill the will of the Almighty Lord for the entirety of his life. What does this say about the importance of partnering with the local church for our children's development? What effect can this have in schools, communities, and even on a national level?

Friday

October 21, 2016

No Pain No Gain

Read

Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.

Romans 5:3-4, “But, we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”.

Think

Toxic relationships. Abuse.  Divorce.  Betrayal. Illness.  Death. Depression.  Addiction.  Loneliness. Failure.  The list is endless. We cannot plan for pain—it capriciously blindsides us.  Suffering is part of life and part of God’s will.  Just the mention of the word PAIN sends a myriad of thoughts to our brain. We can immediately recall numerous hurtful scenarios because life is often “pain-full”.

There is truth to the phrase “no pain no gain”, because we’ve got to go through it to get to it! Without endurance and perseverance, we would fail to achieve some of our greatest successes. So, when it comes to pain we have two options. We can bitterly sink into depression and defeat. Or question the circumstance and pour our hearts out to God. Yet often, we get it backwards. We lean on God during the good times and pull away in the face of pain when we need Him most. When the bottom drops out and when we feel ambushed, assaulted, and crushed we can always count on God’s power and presence. We may never understand the full purpose of our pain but God does! Thus, when we are confident in His character and we refuse to bail before the breakthrough our faith and influence will increase exponentially.

Pray

“Search my heart, Lord, and soften any hardened feelings or callousness. Empty me of all bitterness and resentment. Lead me to reflect all that You are to the world, and help me to remember that there’s always purpose behind my pain. In Christ I pray, Amen.”

Act

When it comes to experiencing pain, we often question God’s motives. Write these four truths in your prayer journal to reference the next time pain strikes.

1. God is bigger than our questions.
2. God is bigger than our pain.
3. God is a Sovereign God.
4. There is purpose in our pain.

 

Thursday

September 1, 2016

Why Are You Here?

Read

I Kings 19:8-10, “So Elijah sat up and ate and drank. The food and water made him strong enough to walk forty more days. At last, he reached Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, and he spent the night there in a cave. While Elijah was on Mount Sinai, the Lord asked, ‘Elijah, why are you here?’ He answered, ‘Lord God All-Powerful, I’ve always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!’”

Think

Linear thinking, although not always the most creative, is the most efficient method of thought processing. Moving from point A to point B in a straight line saves time. Conversely, fragmented thinking is fraught with detours and distraction.

God’s man Elijah was in a slump. Depressed and distracted, his feelings led him on a major detour. Without considering point B, the place God wanted him to be, he embarked on a two hundred mile trek into the desert. Ironically, he fled from doing God’s work to Mount Sinai, the most prominent place on the planet associated with the manifestation of God’s presence. You see, Elijah had always been a “there” man. He went wherever God directed him to go. So God asked him, “Why are you here?” Obviously, a rhetorical question, God was in essence asking, “Really? You’re so distracted and double-minded that you chose to flee from My plans and purpose?” Right now, is God asking you the same question? Are you allowing the push and pull of life to prohibit you from doing what God wants you to do?

Single-mindedness is linear thinking with a vertical perspective. It gives us the trajectory to fulfill God’s purpose and never leaves us wondering why we’re here.  It will, though, prompt us to consider what we can do while we’re here to serve God. Therefore, single-mindedness gives us the clarity to look past momentary distractions and the ability to see the path God has designed for our lives.

Pray

Ask God to open doors of opportunity for you to share the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. And pray for those whom you’ve invited to church to accept the invitation.

Act

Review your schedule for the next three days and think about the most efficient way to accomplish each task while maintaining a single-minded focus on God.

 

Thursday

February 18, 2016

Spiritual Clutter

Read

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Think

Why is it so hard for us to turn down free stuff? You know, all the random plastic gadgets, T-shirts we will never wear, foam fingers, miniature footballs, and all the other extra clutter relegated to the nebulous junk drawer. Not only is it difficult to decline, it’s even more difficult to throw away. So why keep it? Cleanliness is next to godliness because God is a God of order. And He does not want us to get caught up in the clutter and clamor of life. What He gives is far greater than anything tangible.

We have a very real enemy vying to keep us focused on everything but God. Yet through God’s love and grace, His power and spirit of self-discipline is available 24/7. No matter what the enemy puts in our direct path, or whatever temptation he dangles before us, all we have to say is “No”. Temptation is merely a God-given desire gone haywire. Through God’s strength we can refuse to misuse His given desires in a God-forbidden way. Remember, if God didn’t give it, you don’t have to take it!

Pray

Pray that God will help you identify any spiritual clutter in your life. Ask Him for the awareness to align your desires with His.

Act

Take a spiritual inventory and note any clutter or distractions vying for your attention. Pray over this list and ask God to help you with your spiritual spring cleaning! 

 

Friday

March 13, 2015

Stop and think

Read

“Wise people think before they act; fools don't and even brag about it!” Proverbs 13:16

Think

While we may not all have an anger problem, we do all have a problem with anger. Why? Because we don’t often understand it. We think anger is something that just happens. But it doesn’t. When we get angry about something, there’s usually another emotion involved, as we read about earlier this week. But how can we keep from swinging over that first emotion and landing on the platform of anger? Three words: stop and think.

When we take a step back from any situation that is driving us towards anger, we get a chance to realize what we are really going through emotionally. Maybe it’s insecurity. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s confusion. Whatever the root cause of your anger is, when you take time to stop and think, God can help you process it properly. And that is when anger can become your ally.

Pray

Ask God to help you have patience in moments of frustration and anger. Pray for discernment about the real issue at hand.

Act

Write down a list of primary emotions that may cause you to get angry (i.e. fear, anxiety, insecurity, etc.). Then, write a list of tangible ways you can process those the next time they come around.

Wednesday

March 11, 2015

A secondary emotion

Read

“Wise people think before they act; fools don't and even brag about it!” Proverbs 13:16

Think

Anger is something we all feel. It’s an emotion that each of us is familiar with. But have you ever considered what is behind the anger you feel, what the root cause of your anger is at times?

Anger is rarely the primary emotion in a situation. Many times we’ll get scared, or frustrated, or insecure. Then, rather than dealing with that emotion, we jump over to anger because it feels better to lash out at someone, withdraw, or cover up the real feeling. God, though, doesn’t want us to use anger as a defense mechanism against other emotions.

Rather than jumping over some other feeling and swinging over to anger, turn to God to help you process your emotions. You’ll discover the power of using anger, not as a weapon, but as another emotion to draw you closer to Him!

Pray

Thank God for your emotions. Pray for Him to show you how every emotion – even anger – can draw you closer to Him.

Act

For a powerful message and illustration about anger as a secondary emotion, watch this past weekend’s message from Pastor Ed Young.

Tuesday

March 10, 2015

Destructive or Constructive

Read

“… I stayed by myself and was filled with anger …” Jeremiah 15:17

Think

Based on our upbringing, environment, and a host of other factors, the way in which all of us reacts to anger varies. But every reaction to anger can be drilled down to one of two categories: destructive or constructive.

Many people, when they handle anger, do it in ways that cause nothing but damage. Whether they lash out, withdraw (like Jeremiah did), or pretend that “No, dear, nothing is wrong,” handling anger in a destructive way doesn’t help anyone. We may feel good for a few seconds, but eventually, that waves of destruction will crash over us.

When you become angry at a situation, don’t be destructive. Instead, take a moment to think about the situation and how God would handle that situation. Use anger as a tool to help you take your relationships to new levels by working through it constructively.

Pray

Ask God to help you handle anger constructively. Pray for patience and discernment in dealing with situations that cause you to become angry.

Act

Write down a list of some things that make you angry (i.e. traffic, rude people, etc.) Pray over each situation specifically and ask God to work through you the next time you are faced with those situations.

Monday

March 9, 2015

Righteous anger

Read

“’In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry … ” Ephesians 4:26

Think

We live in a seething society. Our culture is formed on a foundation of frustration. We all get angry, for different reasons and at different times. Yet, for as familiar as we are with anger, it is still one of the most misunderstood emotions we have. Anger is not necessarily a bad thing – when we understand it from God’s perspective.

God has a lot to say about anger. God Himself got angry. And when we get angry at what angers God, then we begin to understand the power and purpose of righteous anger. When you think of anger, what’s your initial thought? What makes you angry? Don’t let unrighteous anger run your life. Instead, learn about the purpose of good anger and begin to use anger as a tool to help you get the most out of life.

Pray

Ask God to reveal to you those things that anger Him. Pray that anger is something you can begin to understand and use to help you experience His path for your life.

Act

Did you know Jesus Himself got angry? Read an account of Jesus’ righteous anger in John 2:13-25.

Monday

November 10, 2014

See-Saw

Read

“Perfect love casts our fear.”  1 John 4:18

Think

Fear is something we all struggle with; it’s something everyone deals with. But the great news is that fear doesn’t have to dominate our lives. It doesn’t have to drive us. Instead, love can be the prevailing force in our lives – if we allow it to be.

Fear and love act like a see-saw. When fear goes up, love goes down. When fear goes down, love goes up. Don’t live on the playground of emotions. Instead, set your feet firmly on the perfect love that God has for you. And discover a life that has fear under control!

Pray

Thank God for His perfect love for you. Pray that you base your life on His love, so that you can keep fear in check.

Act

Share today’s verse with someone you know who is struggling with fear in their lives. Post it on your social media accounts, and remind people that fear doesn’t have to dictate their lives!