Devotional for September 23, 2020

Greetings in Christ,

  The funny thing about human nature is we do not learn from our own experiences when things are going good.  We have a tendency to wait till things go bad, and then our brains kick in putting the information we learned in our memory banks for later reference.  It is in the things which went haywire we learn not to do again or refrain from happening twice.   It is the negative side of reinforcement in our minds getting us into the learning mode, and we let it be the dominating learning mode.  What if we could let the positive side be the learning mode we apply in our lives? 

  The verse in Psalms caught my eye this week, “God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.”  As the Psalmist wrote this, he was expanding on the great things God had done for Israel going all the way back to the delivery out of Egypt.  It was to remind the people of Israel of the great God they served, and what He had done for them to get them to the Promised Land.  All other nations feared them for they knew there was a God greater than anything they had ever had seen before.  They relied on this fear which God had instilled in the other nations to keep peace.  The sad thing is the other nations eventually found the Achilles heel of Israel.

  In 2 Kings, we read of Assyria overtaking Judah and sending them to Samaria.  The Israelites were suffering from the consequences of their own actions.  They had been worshiping pagan gods and performing rituals by previous inhabitants of the Promised Land which God had driven out of the land when the Israelites began to occupy it.  The Israelites did not remember to fear God in their spiritual activities.  They took for granted all the things God did for them, and how God had put fear into the people before them.  They forgot how God drove the former people out of the land for the same practices they were now performing.   The negative side of their actions drove them to think again.

  In Acts we see a different side.  Tabitha has died and the people had laid her to rest in an upper room.  They sent for Peter to see if he could do something.  Peter arrived and he prayed for her.  He commanded for her to rise.  Tabitha awoke and reached out to take Peter’s hand.  They both walked out to greet the people.  As a result of this action many believed in Jesus Christ.  They respected the power Peter displayed, but they knew it was not Peter rather God and Peter was giving Him the glory.  They were on the positive side of learning.  

  In Luke, Jesus approaches Simon when he was fishing and told him to cast his nets into deep water.  Simon told Jesus they had been fishing all night and did not catch anything, but he did as he was asked.  As a result, the nets were so full of fish they filled two boats, and the boats began to sink.  Simon Peter realized he was in the presence of God and asked Jesus to depart from him for he was a sinful man.  Simon Peter, James, and John were all amazed at what they had witnessed this day, and received some good advice from Jesus, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.” 

  Fear has its good side and its bad side.  It depends on which side of the thinking curve we are on—the negative or the positive.  If we are always on the negative we will live in fear of God.  If we are on the positive side we will not fear God.  Human nature leans toward the negative because we live in a sin depraved world.  The world in its self is very negative, and rightfully so look who has rule of the world for the time being.  Satan does not want us to be positive for any reason, on the other hand God has every reason for us to be positive.

  We must never take for granted all the blessings we have been given to us.  Remember the positive, think positive, and learn in the positive.  We have nothing to fear as long as God is on our side.

  “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.”  Psalms 19:9

  “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.”  Psalms 46:4

  “Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me.”  Psalms 66:20

  Lord help us to be positive, think positive, and learn positive.  Let us never forget the blessings You give us and write them in stone.  Amen


  Mark Johnson                  

  Psalm 19, 46, 96, 97; 2 Kings 17:1-18; Acts 9:36-43; Luke 5:1-11

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