How To Change

ROMANS 12:2a NLT
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let
God transform you into a new person by changing the way you
think.

Many people would like to see change in their life. But how?

To change the way you act, you must first change the way you
think. Because you act like the person you think you are.

But to change your thinking, you will need to focus on
different information.

Our beliefs are the cause of our actions. So to permanently
change behavior, beliefs must be changed.

A belief is a thought you have decided to accept as
truth. You choose your beliefs. Then your beliefs determine
your actions. You always act on what you believe.

As long as you think something is advantageous for you, you
will keep doing it. When you realize something is not
advantageous for you, you will stop it.

You may argue with this, thinking that you sometimes do things
you know are not good for you. But you only do them if you
think you are gaining some benefit from doing them. Usually it
is choosing to receive a near-term benefit in exchange for
longer-term harm.

Why do people do what they do? Because of what they believe.
All people always do what they believe is their best choice at
the time in order to get what they think they want. Always!

People normally do not act contrary to their beliefs, except
under great pressure. But even when forced to do something
against your will, you will only do it if it seems to be the
best thing you can do under those circumstances.

When your beliefs change, your talking and your actions will
also change. Trying to change your actions without first
changing your beliefs will fail because your beliefs govern
your actions.

For example, believing that God loves you instead of being mad
at you will change the way you act. If you believe God loves
you, you will turn to God when you need help. But if you
believe God is mad at you, you will be hesitant to seek God’s
help.

Our beliefs may be based on incomplete and inaccurate
information — in fact they usually are. But our beliefs always
determine our actions.

Humans are like a guided missile, programmed to change course
when new information is presented and accepted.

So the first step for positive change in your life is to get
information that will change the way you think. Read the
letters to the Church in the New Testament and find out what
Jesus Christ has done for you. Find out who you are in Christ.
Find out how God sees you.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on How To Change

The Deceitfulness of Riches

MATTHEW 13:22 NIV
22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is
the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and
the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

How are riches deceitful? (The word really means a delusion.)

Riches promise more than they can deliver. They promise
security, happiness, and satisfaction in life, but fail to
deliver.

Does this mean God is against wealth? No! He just doesn’t want
you to be deceived by it. Or, to trust in it. For it will
surely disappoint you.

1 TIMOTHY 6:17 NKJ
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be
haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living
God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

According to Jesus, life does not consist of the abundance of
one’s possessions. You should believe Him. He knows.

LUKE 12:15 NASB
15 And He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against
every form of greed; for not {even} when one has an abundance
does his life consist of his possessions.”

Watch out! Don’t let money deceive you.

Having wealth — a bunch of stuff — will not give you a
satisfying, fulfilling life. It promises to. But it can’t
deliver.

Things will not make you happy — not for long. It’s your
inward attitude, and doing God’s will, that determines whether
you will enjoy happiness in life.

If having more money was the answer, why do rich people commit
suicide?

Money promises security, but can never quite attain it. In
contrast, God delivers security — for eternity.

HEBREWS 13:5 NIV
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content
with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave
you; never will I forsake you.”

Money can leave you and forsake you, even when you need it
most. But God will never abandon you.

Riches will let you down. God never will.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on The Deceitfulness of Riches

Rahab

HEBREWS 11:31 NKJ
31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish . . .

Rahab was not a descendant of Israel. She was a harlot from the
city of Jericho, which God commanded Israel to utterly destroy.
But because of her faith, all that was hers was spared. She
also became an ancestor of Jesus of Nazareth, being the great-
great-grandmother of King David (Matthew 1:5-6).

No matter who you are, or what you have done, there is hope for
you. Through faith in God, and His provision, your life can be
changed.

Rahab asked that all her family and all their possessions be
protected. This action evidently pleased God because Hebrews 11
commends her faith, and tells us that without faith it is
impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6,31).

JOSHUA 2:12-13 NKJ
12 “Now therefore, I beg you, swear to me by the Lord, since I
have shown you kindness, that you also will show kindness to my
father’s house, and give me a true token,
13 “and spare my father, my mother, my brothers, my sisters,
and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.”

Note that Rahab asked for a token, a sign. They told her to
place a blood-colored cord in her window — representing her
faith in God’s provision of blood under the Old Covenant.

JOSHUA 2:18,21 NKJ
18 “. . . bind this line of scarlet cord in the window through
which you let us down . . . .
21 Then she said, “According to your words, so be it.” And she
sent them away, and they departed. And she bound the scarlet
cord in the window.

JOSHUA 6:23,25 NKJ
23 And the young men who had been spies went in and brought out
Rahab, her father, her mother, her brothers, and all that she
had. So they brought out all her relatives and left them
outside the camp of Israel.
25 And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father’s household,
and all that she had . . . .

We should stand in faith just as Rahab did and ask for the
lives of all our family members, and for all our possessions.

Then we must “display the scarlet cord” in our windows — the
Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. When the devil comes to
steal, kill, or destroy us, or anything that belongs to us, we
must make sure he sees the Blood of Jesus.

If a harlot, who had no covenant with God, by her faith
received God’s protection for all her family and possessions,
surely as believers in the New Covenant established by Jesus’
Blood, our faith can do at least as much.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on Rahab

How Many Times Should I Ask God For Something?

The answer to this question is that you should ask until you
get the answer.

When you believe you have the answer, it would be silly to ask
again.

But how should you determine when you get the answer? What
evidence will you require to believe you have the answer?

What will God have to do before you will believe He has granted
your request? Will God need to send an angel to tell you your
request is granted? Will you have to wait until all the
circumstances change and everyone sees the answer show up in
your life?

Or, will you simply accept God’s Word as sufficient evidence to
believe God has granted your request?

Jesus said in Mark 11:24 that we are to believe we receive the
answer when we pray. The key to receiving from God is not long
praying, but faith. What we believe is what makes the
difference.

God gave us the Bible to change what we believe, so we could
know His will, pray in agreement with His will, and therefore
have confidence that our requests are granted.

MATTHEW 6:7 NKJ
7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the
heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their
many words.

In Matthew 6:7 Jesus warned against using “vain repetition” in
prayer, but this probably means more than just making the same
request more than once. It cannot always be wrong to repeat a
prayer, because Jesus prayed the same words three times in
Matthew 26:44. It depends on what kind of prayer it is.

It is appropriate to repeat some prayers, like those found in
Ephesians asking for believers to be filled with the knowledge
of God’s will with all understanding. That is not a prayer you
can just pray once and believe you receive the full answer
immediately.

But when we ask God for some material thing, we should not need
to ask more than once. We should believe God granted our
request when we prayed. So it is not appropriate to ask God
again, but only to thank Him.

What is vain repetition? Something that is useless and makes no
difference.

MATTHEW 6:7 ERV
7 “And when you pray, don’t be like the people who don’t know
God. They say the same things again and again. They think that
if they say it enough, their god will hear them.

Successfully praying to receive things is not a matter of
wearing God down with repeated requests until He finally gives
in and grants your request.

Jesus taught that what we receive through prayer is a matter of
what we believe. Mark 11:24 tells us that when we pray we are
to believe we receive our answer when we pray.

If we believe we receive the answer to our prayer, there is no
need to continue asking for that request. There is no need to
keep asking for something we already have.

We don’t have to believe we are in possession of what we
requested, but simply that God has granted our request and the
answer is on its way to us.

How many times would you ask a friend to do something for you?
Unless you are forgetful or crazy, you would only ask them
until they said yes. Once they said they will do something for
you, if you trust them, you know they will do it. Continuing to
ask them to do something after they already agreed to do it
would be rude and disrespectful.

MATTHEW 21:22 NKJ
22 “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will
receive.”

The key factor is what you believe. If you don’t believe God
heard and answered your prayer, then you need to pray again.
But you need to recognize that the fault is not with God, but
with you.

Jesus taught that to receive from God we must ask in faith. If
we are not prepared to believe we receive the answer when we
pray, then we are not ready to pray for that request.

We have no business praying for something we do not believe is
God’s will. But if we pray in agreement with God’s will, then
we should know we have the answer.

1 JOHN 5:14-15 NKJ
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we
ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know
that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

“What then am I to pray about? What do I say tomorrow during my
prayer time?”

If you believe you received the answer “yes” from God today in
regard to your request, then tomorrow when you talk to God
about it, you should say “Thank You!” “Thank You that You are
working and the answer is coming. Thank You for answering my
prayer. Thank You that things are working out good.”

“But,” you say, “nothing has changed yet!”

If you think that, it shows you are basing your beliefs
entirely on the information coming from your circumstances. You
are not accepting God’s Word as worthy evidence. You have not
believed that God granted your request and the answer is on its
way. With this approach, you cannot expect very good results in
prayer.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on How Many Times Should I Ask God For Something?

The Holy Spirit Is Your Helper

JOHN 15:26 NKJ
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from
the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
He will testify of Me.

Never forget that the Holy Spirit’s desire and purpose is to
help you — not to hinder you.

Also, remember that the Holy Spirit is a person, and should be
treated with the utmost respect.

Here are some ways the Holy Spirit desires to help you, and
will help you when you allow Him to.

Teaches Us All Things

JOHN 14:26 NKJ
26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send
in My name, He will teach you all things . . . .

Tells Us Things To Come

JOHN 16:13 NKJ
13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, . . . He
will tell you things to come.

Abides With Us

We are not facing life all alone — as an orphan would. The
Holy Spirit is with us continually — living with us. When we
need help He is never far away, but always right with us,
waiting for us to call on Him for His help.

Empowers Us To Be Witnesses

ACTS 1:8 NKJ
8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come
upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in
all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Brings Life And Healing To Us

ROMANS 8:11 NKJ
11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead
dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also
give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells
in you.

Encourages Us

ROMANS 8:16 NKJ
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are
children of God,

2 CORINTHIANS 13:14 NKJ
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and
the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on The Holy Spirit Is Your Helper

Read Your Letters

1 THESSALONIANS 5:27 HCSB
27 I charge you by the Lord that this letter be read to all the
brothers.

The Bible contains both the Old Testament and the New
Testament. The New Testament contains the four Gospels (Matthew
through John), the book of Acts, the Letters to the Church
(Romans through Jude) and the book of Revelation.

All the Bible is the inspired Word of God, and as such is an
important message to us today. However, not until the
resurrection of Jesus Christ did the New Covenant start, which
changed everything.

God never changes, but His covenants (and thus His way of
dealing with people) did change. There was an Old Covenant God
had with the people of Israel. Now there is a New Covenant. And
the New is not just a continuation or amplification of the Old,
but is radically different.

The New Covenant did not begin until after the death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ. So everything said and done
before the resurrection of Jesus was before the New Covenant
started. (Even the four Gospels, although placed in the New
Testament section of the Bible, are primarily a record of
Jesus’ ministry before His death, which means they mostly
happened before the New Covenant started.)

God is now dealing with people based on the New Covenant. If we
go back and read God’s message to people who lived under the
Old Covenant we cannot expect all that was said to them to
apply exactly to us today.

You can learn something reading a letter written to someone
else, but it is not nearly as instructive as reading a letter
written directly to you.

So my top recommendation for Bible reading, especially for new
believers, is to read the Letters to the Church. (Epistles is
another word for Letters.) There are 21 Letters with 121
chapters. So by reading just one chapter each day, you can read
all the New Testament Letters three times in a year.

If you are considering reading the Bible, this is an excellent
way to start. If you are a new Christian, I strongly recommend
that you start reading the Bible using this plan.

Although everyone should read the entire Bible, it is not best
for you to do that until you are solidly grounded in the truths
of the New Covenant, which are revealed in the Letters to the
Church.

When a new Christian starts reading the whole Bible from the
beginning by starting with the Old Testament, without having a
clear understanding of what Jesus has provided for us with the
New Covenant, confusion is likely to result.

2 CORINTHIANS 3:14-15 HCSB
14 But their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading
of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted,
because it is set aside only in Christ.
15 However, to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies
over their hearts,

Reading the Old Covenant, also called the books of Moses —
without the knowledge of the New Covenant — is like trying to
see something with a veil over your eyes. You see glimpses of
truth, but you can’t clearly see the whole picture.

JOHN 1:17 HCSB
17 for although the law was given through Moses; grace and
truth came through Jesus Christ.

Once a believer has a clear understanding of God’s message to
the Body of Christ, the Church, then we can read the rest of
the Bible without as much chance of getting confused.

Some people recommend that a new Christian start their Bible
reading with the Gospel of John. That is a good way to get
acquainted with Jesus. But it still can cause confusion for
someone who does not clearly understand what Jesus accomplished
for them through His death and resurrection.

1 CORINTHIANS 15:14,17 HCSB
14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is
without foundation, and so is your faith.
17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless;
you are still in your sins.

Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no New
Covenant, and we are all still lost in sin.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ, and thus the start of the New
Covenant is a great dividing line in history. What Jesus
accomplished for us changed everything.

So read your letters and find out what Jesus accomplished and
what God has said directly to you!

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on Read Your Letters

Hang On!

HEBREWS 10:23 NKJ
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without
wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Sometimes it seems like there’s no hope and no help. Like you
have no more strength or ability to go on. You’re at the end of
yourself and just can’t do any more.

Don’t worry. Just hang on to your faith in God.

God is faithful. He will not forsake you. He has not forgotten
you. (It just seems that way when you face a trial of faith —
but it’s a lie.)

It may seem dark and hopeless, but God is holding on to you.
God is working behind the scenes. Things will work out.

When you don’t know what to do, just continue to trust in God,
and know that He is helping you. Persevere even when you feel
like you can’t. Just don’t give up.

JAMES 1:2-4 BARCLAY
2 My brothers, you must regard it as nothing but joy when you
are involved in all kinds of trials,
3 for you must realize that when faith has passed through the
ordeal of testing the result is the ability to pass the
breaking-point and not to break.
4 This ability must go right on to the end, and then you will
be perfect and complete, without a weak spot.

Trials are no fun. But we should not be surprised when we find
our faith being tested.

The devil is doing his best to steal your faith in God, but his
best is not good enough. God is greater than the devil. Hang on
to your faith!

Remember that God is for you. God is on your side. God will
help you and see you through.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep praising
and thanking God — especially when you don’t feel like it.
Don’t give up. Hang on!

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on Hang On!

Your Hairs Are Numbered

LUKE 12:7 NIV
7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t
be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Have you ever wondered how God has time to keep count of how
many hairs you have today?

God probably built a program into your brain that tracks your
total hair count, which He can quickly scan without having to
spend much time on your hair. (Your life might also be better
if you spent less time on your hair. 😉

(Or, maybe He assigns each of us a hair angel to do the job.)

The point is not that God spends all His time counting hairs,
but that there is nothing about you God is not fully aware of
at all times.

If your hair count is important enough for God to monitor —
however He does it — surely He monitors everything else that
concerns you, also.

Think of that! God is aware of the smallest detail of
everything in life that affects you. It matters to Him.

You are His child. Every detail of your life concerns God.

Knowing that, Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid.”

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on Your Hairs Are Numbered

Don’t Worry

1 PETER 5:7 NLT
7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about
what happens to you.

Probably the biggest temptation most believers face is the
temptation to worry.

What is worry? Worry is thinking that leaves God out. Worry is
the opposite of faith. Instead of expecting God’s help — you
expect the worst.

1 PETER 5:7 CEV
7 God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.

The Bible has much to say about not worrying. Worry is not
appropriate for a child of God.

MATTHEW 6:32 CEV
32 Only people who don’t know God are always worrying about
such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all of
these.

PHILIPPIANS 4:6 ICB
6 Do not worry about anything. But pray and ask God for
everything you need. And when you pray, always give thanks

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on Don’t Worry

All Things Are Possible

MARK 9:23 NKJ
23 Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are
possible to him who believes.”

From our early years we are educated in what is impossible.

But progress continues to be made by people who attempt the
impossible and achieve it.

Some have said that mankind’s only real obstacle is between our
two ears.

We ARE limited by what we believe, according to Jesus.

So, how can we change what we believe? Only by getting new
evidence, which is available from the Word of God.

MATTHEW 17:20 NKJ
20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for
assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed,
you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and
it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

A conventional approach will not achieve the “impossible.” It
will require being different from the crowd, who probably won’t
understand you or support you. Speaking to things and telling
them to move, as Jesus taught, is certainly not conventional.

Acting differently than everyone else can be scary. It’s like
getting out of the boat to walk on water. But do you want
conventional results?

As you read the Bible and see the instructions God gave us, you
will usually find them unconventional. But the person who acts
on God’s Word will be blessed.

Posted in Devotional | Comments Off on All Things Are Possible