Excerpt – God Focus, from Our Daily Bread

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This morning I flipping through my copy of the June edition of Our Daily Bread and stopped on the June 4, 2022 Devotional, God Focus by Adam Holz. The scripture reference is 1 Timothy 6:6-11.

Our Daily Bread

I am sharing this because the title immediately captured my attention. Some 26 days later it was speaking to me and as you read this, most likely many of you. You see, I fall in the category of being a maximizer. My husband is a satisfacer. It worked well when I was younger or so I thought. Actually it kept me up nights. I was never really content. The truth is, I was always envious of my husband who was as a satisfacer and was content with life as it was, not to overlook the fact that he slept well. There is a saying that I guess satisfacers understand and live, ‘let go, and let God’. Others of us hear it, but are not ensconced in it.

In delving into my past, I now realize you can be a satisfacer, content with what you have and where you are in life and still pursue the path of your God given destiny. Wanting more is not wrong if you do not allow it to govern your life, as the money pleasers in the Bible learned being driven by greed and the need for attention is nothing more than an albatross around your neck.

It is time for me to transition from being a maximizer, always seeking more, perfecting more, and needing more and begin to open my life to being a satisfacer. How many of us are loosing time being maximizers? In looking back being a maximizer caused me to loose time, and the enjoyment of life. When you are a maximizer you are in the maximizer prison, striving for more and missing out on life. As you read this, think about my last post, do you need to view life through a new lens, a new perspective? Is it time to look through our makers eyes as Paul was instructing Timothy to consider. Is contentment all you really need?

EXCERPT, Adam Holz

When I was shopping for engagement rings, I spent many hours looking for exactly the right diamond. I was plagued by the thought, What if I miss the best one?


According to economic psychologist Barry Schwartz, my chronic indecision indicates that I am what he calls a “maximizer,” in contrast to a “satisficer.” A satisficer makes choices based on whether something is adequate for their needs. Maximizers? We have a need to always make the best choice (guilty!). The potential outcome of our indecision in the face of many choices? Anxiety, depression, and discontent. In fact, sociologists have coined another phrase for this phenomenon: fear of missing out.


We won’t find the words maximizer or satisficer in Scripture, of course. But we do find a similar idea. In 1 Timothy, Paul challenged Timothy to find value in God rather than the things of this world. The world’s promises of fulfillment can never fully deliver. Paul wanted Timothy to instead root his identity in God: “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (6:6). Paul sounds like a satisficer when he adds, “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (v. 8).


When I fixate on the myriad ways the world promises fulfillment, I usually end up restless and unsatisfied. But when I focus on God and relinquish my compulsive urge to maximize, my soul moves toward genuine contentment and rest.

Reflect – Would you say you tend to be a content person? Why or why not? How do you think your relationship with God affects your overall contentment in life?

Pray – Father, help me to remember that only You can fill my soul.

Insight – One of the most misquoted statements in Scripture is 1 Timothy 6:10: “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” Notice that money itself isn’t the root of evil, but when it becomes the object of our love, that’s when the problems begin. Because money is so seductive, Jesus addressed this issue at the launch of His public ministry. In the Sermon on the Mount, He spoke of the value of pursuing treasure in heaven rather than money. Why? Matthew 6:21 explains that “where [our] treasure is, there [our] heart will be also.” Jesus also addressed a primary reason we seek security in money—worry. He reminded us that the God who cares for “the birds of the air” values us and can be trusted to provide for our needs (vv. 25–27).

I highly recommend downloading the Our Daily Bread App from your App Store or visiting their Website – https://odb.org/. It is a great tool to begin your day.

WE ARE COMMANDED TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER—PLAIN, NOT NECESSARILY SIMPLE

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Each day should be a demonstration of what Gods’ love does for us and through us. Let others see His light shine through you. After all, we have been charged with the responsibility to do so.

~ Lisa Blair
@YouVersion

What is agape love, and why are Christians responsible for sharing it with others?

AGAPE LOVE

Agape love is the highest expression of love, it is selfless, pure, and unconditional. We are the recipients of God’s love, and as recipients of His love, we are freed through it. His agape love indwells in us in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is our light that shines through us into the outside world. This love is demonstrated daily through our words, thoughts and actions. We can either interact using our carnal character, our attitude, as our guide, or display the virtues of Christ, that inform our behavior.

Jesus speaks about our attitude towards one another and how love is unconditional and expresses the nature of God, 1 John 4:8m NIV.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

VEIL LIFTED

The main reason unbelievers don’t see Jesus is because a veil is covering their hearts and their “spiritual eyes.” They cannot see Jesus through the veil. Their hearts are covered and their minds are blinded. Says who? Says God. He tells us in His Word, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor. 4:4)  [Christian Post, Dan Delzell, Contributor. Turning To The Lord Lifts The Veil. July 2013]

We are charged with and commanded to love. We can longer view the world, our family, friends, and associates through carnal (human) eyes. The veil has been lifted from our eyes. We are commanded to love unconditionally. We can no longer focus on situations, or circumstances;we can no longer hate others, lie (little lies are often more deadly than pronounced lies because they are more difficult to discern), cheat, or steal. Stealing can include stealing someone’s happiness with foul words discrediting them, or frowning at them to unsettle their continence.

LIFE BY THE SPIRIT

Galatians 5 explains why we can no longer rely on our old behavior to govern our lives. My last Post was about being freed, we are free of our sins, because Christ died on the Cross for us and is now sitting at the right hand of God. Freedom comes at a cost, we must shed our old selves for our new selves. We are children of Christ, and we belong to a new family. This means we have to exchange our old behaviors for our new virtues. Paul wrote in Galatians,

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

ACTS OF THE FLESH, OUR CARNAL SELF

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Our carnal nature ensnares us to follow the world, we are bound to it. We are either God’s’ children, continually fighting against the carnal pull, or we are the evil one’s children embracing our own demise.

FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

As Christians, we can strive to overcome our carnal nature, crucify our flesh and live by the spirit. This is accomplished by changing our attitude, our behavior, to align with the Fruit of the Spirit. As we do so, we mature and become more Christ-like through our walk.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

THE CLOSING POINT

God so loved us He gave us His only Son, who suffered for us in human form to experience trials, temptations and failures to free us of sin. Our suffering will never equal or come close to His, nor will our love for others, nonetheless, when we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior we are bound to spread the Good News that is based on agape love. Our veil has been removed and we shed the shackles of sin. It is time that we love our neighbors and those of this earth as God does. My mother once told me, ” never hate, love everyone as God does, it is not the person but the behavior that keeps them bound to the flesh.”

Every person has the birth right of redemption if they received Christ as their Lord and Savior. As Christians, we continually receive God’s love, despite our sins. As Christians, we have been commanded to love one another unconditionally. No excuses. The world has been in turmoil throughout history. We are but a vapor that appears for awhile and then vanishes away, 1 John 4:14, paraphrased. Our Lord is the High Priest. He is eternal, and so is His Word. Again, we are commanded to love one another as He loves us.

References – Biblegateway.com; GotQuestions.org; The Christian Post; BibleHub.com

Scriptures: Biblegateway.com

Image – YouVersion, Bible.com; LAB PHOTOS

Freedom From Sin Requires Work

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‭‭John‬ ‭8:36‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Once we have been freed, we are not to return to the servitude of our sin nature, our carnal man framed in lust, ego, material gains, and all that aligns with the evil one’s motives to destroy us and separate us from a Godly life.

Maintaining freedom from sin is a daily struggle; it is easy to slip back into our old ways like Peter who later became Christ’s (primary)Apostle. The beauty is that Jesus has freed us and; we have been given the gift of sanctification and redemption.

Not to sound preachy, but we must remain alert and operate in clarity to overcome the old shackles of sin and continue to live by God’s Will and His Way.

When we find ourselves falling prey to temptation, we must immediately self-correct. It is easier to do if the act or thought requires significant input, but much more difficult if it is subtle.

The new decade allows us to walk down the path of obedience, especially during this time of global uncertainty. We must always stay alert. We are Gods’ children. We have been freed by the Son. We are free from our shackles of sin.

COMPASSION

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Compassion is part of our Christian lifestyle. Why aren’t we living the precepts we are governed by?

Lisa Blair

A few Wednesdays ago, my BSF small group discussed compassion as part of lesson 10. Living as Christ’s Followers, 1 Peter 3-5.

During the discussion, compassion was trending as predominately a Christian behavior, more so than any other religion. I believe most religions encourage their members to become more compassionate, this also includes secular groups, such as schools. Compassion is sought after by most people. It is a common theme among humanity.

Compassion is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is hurting, in pain, or has misfortune and is accompanied by a strong desire to help those who are suffering. (Bible Verses for Compassion. Biblestudytools.com)

      The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all he has made. Psalm 145:9 NIV

When he saw the crowds (in the towns he visited), he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like the sheep without a Shepherd. Matthew 9:36 NIV

The difference between Christians and others and every other religion is that it is more profound, in that it is part of the makeup of our living God. The key is ‘living’ God who exudes compassion as part of who he is and the inspiration that we, too, internalize as part of His righteousness in the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. PS 116:5 NIV

Natalie Dorin, Psalm 116:5-8 Twitter

Only Christians have a God who lived on earth without sin, was persecuted, suffered for us, died on the cross, and rose to heaven promising He will return someday to retrieve all believers and carry us to heaven with Him. He washed away our sins to give us new life and promises to return to earth and collect us (the believers) upon His return to usher us into heaven.

And as if that wasn’t enough, He returns a second time to receive those who had a change in heart and received Him as their Lord and Savior after the first were ushered into heaven. Our Lord is compassionate to the point of saving the least of us. We cannot earn His compassion; it is ours despite our flaws. He left the 99 sheep to go after the single lost sheep and carry him home.  No other religion can share our testimony about compassion.

Reference – BSF, Bible Study Fellowship, mybsf.org; Scriptures – Bible.org; Images – Google Images

Save Yourself From The Crooked Generation

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The world is in major upheaval and we are caught in it if we are part of the crooked generation. The only escape is through Christ; break away and free yourself from this crooked generation.

~ Lisa Blair

Many times in history we have found the world in upheaval, this generation is no different. During these times our Christianity is being called into question, collectively and individually. In Acts 2, Peter urges over 3000 people to save themselves and join others who believe in Christ. The Call is relevant today.

The NLT says, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. The NIV refers to the times as the corrupt generation. And, the NKJV refers to the times as the perverse generation. Crooked, corrupt, ad perverse all refer to the acts of the Evil One, Satan.

Satan’s goal is to separate and destroy us through perversion, corruption, and dishonesty. His intent is to keep us separated and in disbelief. He wears us down polluting our ears through the media and social media that becomes the topic of conversation of the day, none of these outlets focus on the good accomplished throughout the world everyday. It does not focus on nature’s beauty, the strength and resiliency of people, or the attributes Jesus wants us to live by defined in Galatians 5—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When we choose to live a carnal life, we are rushing along on our own, down the crooked path.

There’s a Christian song, Not In A Hurry by Will Regan & United Pursuit—Tell All My Friends, the opening lyrics are: Lord, I don’t wanna rush on ahead in my own strength when you’re right here. It is focused in Acts 2:40. Luke wrote   about Peter urging us to relinquish pride that is fed by the things of this earth, created by Satan to debilitate and imprison us.

Part of saving ourselves from the crooked generation is to join the faith, or renew our faith, if you are a back slider, and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Peter preached,“Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬‬‬‬‬

When we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, we no longer want to rush ahead in our own strength, instead we seek community, brothers and sisters in the faith. We seek to conform to His image (Romans 8:29), to be like Christ. Conformity requires that we learn to be obedient, and dependent upon Christ.

John 15:9-10, NIV, Jesus says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

It is only through The Father’s love that can we be freed from this crooked, corrupt, perverse generation. To return to the lyrics of the song, As the lyrics of the song, we find that once we receive Him, we want to enter in prayer and hear His voice, we relinquish our own pride and choose dependence and hence become obedient.

When it comes to Your spirit
When it comes to Your presence
When it comes to Your voice

I’m learning to listen
Just to rest in Your nearness
I’m starting to notice
You are speaking

Lord I want to love like You
I want to feel what You feel
I want to see what You see
Open my eyes, I want to see You more clearly
Open my ears, I want to hear You speak

It is through God’s grace that we are saved. We cannot save ourselves from being a part of the crooked generation, our sin nature confines us to the cycle of sin, however, because Christ died on the cross, we believers receive salvation. Only our relationship with Christ can save us. The Lord is always with us. We cannot be shaken, he is right beside us. He shows us the way, and fills us with the joy of His presence (Acts 2:25 paraphrased); through Him we escape the crooked generation‭‭, our inner being is secure, quiet and protected.

Psalms 91 puts it this way,

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1-16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The world is crazy, social media is inundating our minds with vile things. There is little to keep us from questioning our sin nature. Life for many is only a finger tip away, everything is online and one click away. This is a wake up call, the only person that can separate us from this crooked generation is Christ. Everyone who calls upon His Name is saved and covered in His blood. Christ will keep you from veering to the left or right and create in you a clean heart, no longer a member of this crooked, corrupt, perverse generation.

Music Video – https://youtu.be/VeWuavHf4oY