Devotional for July 29, 2020

Greetings in Christ,

  Getting our own way—what a great way of getting satisfaction.  You do not have to answer to anyone but yourself when you make decisions in life.  After all your decision does not create a problem for you, but does it create a pitfall for others?

  In life, we like to get our way about the things we do.  We consider all the areas affecting our lives and we make decisions according to those areas, but do we consider those who may be affected by those decisions we make?

  The selected scriptures (Romans and John) give us two examples of decisions which were made and how it affected others around them.

  Amnon loved Tamar.  He loved her so much he fantasized about her when she was not around him.  He thought of various ways to get her alone so he could be with her.  The problem was they lived in different houses.  They had the same father (David), but different mothers.

  Amnon conspired with another person to come up with the idea of being sick so he could request Tamar nurse him back to health.  Amnon faked being sick and talked his father into letting Tamar cook and feed him.  The father agreed with the idea and sent Tamar to take care of Amnon.  While Tamar was cooking for Amnon, he was letting his mind wander and fantasize about Tamar.  He was bound to have her for himself in a biblical way crossing the boundaries of good thoughts into bad thoughts.  He could not wait for her to get done cooking.  He told others to leave the room so they could be alone and then he made his move. 

  Amnon’s one decision took the innocence of another and crushed it in moments of lust creating a course of destruction which would last till death was inevitable.  Love turned to hatred in a flash after he thought what was going to be the greatest thing to do become the worst thing he had done.  Amnon created tension amongst the family which would eventually cost him his life and all because he wanted to get his way.

  The opposite of this example is of John the Baptist telling others he must decrease while Jesus increases.  John, being questioned about his status in the spiritual realm, was asked whether Jesus should be baptizing just as John had been baptizing.  John’s responded by saying he was glad to see Jesus.  He was going to see prophecy being unfolded in front of him as he watched Jesus proclaiming truth to the people.

  John could have told his disciples he still was the one to follow and everyone should listen to him, but he didn’t.  His decision was for the betterment for the people, and he knew he could not deliver the goods like Jesus could.  Jesus was the Son of God, and He could tell more about the Father than John could ever do.

  John’s decision to fade away was so others would look to Jesus as the true Messiah.  John knew the focus must be on Jesus rather than on himself.  He knew Jesus was going to proclaim the truth. 

  We may never have the dramatic events take place in our lives like what happened with Amnon and Tamar, but it does not always have to be this extreme.  It could be just the smallest thing we do upsetting the balance of events in our life or the life of another.  Paul writes about this in Romans, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to his edification.”  When was the last time a decision was made thinking about your neighbor?

  Our decisions and how we live our lives do affect others.  In our spiritual walk, we must consider what our decisions look like to those who may around us.  People have different lenses in which they observe us.  We may be John the Baptist to some, but to others we represent Jesus.   We must point them to Jesus even if it means we must adjust our decision making to include those who look up to us.  Let’s be the best example while pointing to Jesus.

  “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”  Psalms 19:7

  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Psalms 46:1

  “Bless our God, O peoples, and sound His praise abroad, Who keeps us in life, and does not allow our feet to slip.”  Psalms 66:8-9

  “Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee.”  Psalms 67:3

  “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Amen


  Mark Johnson

  Psalm 19, 46, 66, 67; 2 Samuel 13:1-22; Romans 15:1-13; John 3:22-36

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