Christian Devotionals

Vitamins for Spiritual Health (1)
'...Are you in health, my brother?...' 2 Samuel 20:9

The principles of God's Word work like spiritual vitamins. For the next few days let's look at some: Never excuse in yourself what you accuse in others. King David did that. In confronting him over his sin with Bathsheba, Nathan the prophet told David a story about two men. One had many cattle; the other had only one lamb. When a guest came to the rich man's house for dinner, he took the poor man's lamb. 'David's anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said..."the man who has done this shall surely die! And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb...because he had no pity." Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man!...' (2 Samuel 12:5-7 NKJV). Nathan continued: "Thus says the Lord God of Israel...I gave you your master's house and your master's wives...And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!...You have killed Uriah [Bathsheba's husband]...with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife...Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house...' (vv. 7-10 NKJV). David didn't know it, but he pronounced his punishment with his own lips: 'He shall restore fourfold.' And David did. First, the child he fathered with Bathsheba died. Second, his son raped his daughter, and he didn't have the moral authority to deal with it. Third, Absalom, the beloved son destined to inherit his throne, fomented war and died at the hands of his own people. Fourth, civil war broke out in Israel and thousands of people died as a result. The lesson is clear: never accuse in another what you excuse in yourself.

Vitamins for Spiritual Health (2)
'...Are you in health, my brother?...' 2 Samuel 20:9

Never take God for granted. Don't become overly familiar with spiritual things. Samson did that and he paid dearly. After discovering the secret of his strength: '[Delilah] lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head...and his strength left him. And she said, "The Philistines are upon you, Samson!" So he awoke from his sleep, and said, "I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!" But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. Then the Philistines took him...' (Judges 16:19-21 NKJV). It's a story of tragedy. Samson was born to lead Israel to victory. But instead he gave in to his lowest impulses, consorted with the enemy and thought he could get away with it. Listen to him: 'I will go out as before, at other times.' But this was one time too many. His disobedience hadn't robbed him of his supernatural strength before, but it did this time. He crossed a line and ended up losing his sight, his strength, his liberty, his credibility, and his usefulness. Eventually he died a prisoner of the Philistines. You say, 'Today's devotion sounds a bit harsh.' No, it's protective! The Bible says, 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom...' (Proverbs 9:10). When you persist in disobeying what you know God has told you to do and think you can escape the consequences, you're headed for trouble. Repent, get right with God and get back on track while you still can.

Vitamins for Spiritual Health (3)
'...Are you in health, my brother?...' 2 Samuel 20:9

Never allow life's disappointments to make you cynical. If you live long enough people will disappoint you, including your family. Even spiritual leaders will let you down! Paul wrote: 'We wanted to come to you-even I, Paul, time and again-but satan hindered us' (1Thessalonians 2:18 NKJV). Did you think satan was going to send you a congratulatory telegram because you decided to serve the Lord? Not a chance! The walk of faith is one of delight-and difficulty. When you signed on for the first, you signed on for the second. Paul was on a sixteen-month missionary journey-one of miracles and church building. But he ended up in prison on trumped-up charges and was left to rot there. How did he respond? 'Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!' (Philippians 4:4 NKJV). You say, 'How can somebody rejoice in prison?' When you see your disappointment as God's appointment, you start to understand its purpose. Paul had books to write that would change the world, so God needed to get him 'off the road.' Listen to what he wrote from prison: 'I want you to know...that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God's message without fear' (Philippians 1:12-14 NLT). Hidden in some of your biggest disappointments, you will find treasures of truth that literally transform your life and your future.

Vitamins for Spiritual Health (4)
'...Are you in health, my brother?...' 2 Samuel 20:9

Never forget the law of sowing and reaping. God set in motion certain laws and they never change. One is the law of gravity. Another is the law of sowing and reaping. 'While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest...shall not cease' (Genesis 8:22 NKJV). This law works both negatively and positively. If you sow good things you will reap good things; if you sow bad things you will reap bad things. Consider parenting. Eli the high priest was not only called to be a role model to the nation, but also to his two sons. Now, he may have been a great success in ministry but he failed badly on the home front. His sons, who were also priests, enriched themselves by taking bribes. They even slept with women in the temple courts. Pretty shocking, eh? So what did God say? '...I will judge his house...for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them' (1Samuel 3:13 NKJV). As a result Eli's sons were killed at the hands of their enemies, and when the news of it reached Eli he dropped dead. That's the harvest law working negatively. But thank God it also works positively. Paul writes about it: 'Knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord...' (Ephesians 6:8 NKJV). You say, 'What does that mean?' It means that whatever good you make happen for others, God will make happen for you. So whether it's a smile, a prayer, a gift or a helping hand, start sowing good seeds and you will reap harvests of blessing.

Vitamins for Spiritual Health (5)
'...Are you in health, my brother?...' 2 Samuel 20:9

Never withhold because times are hard. The Bible teaches that those who set their mind on 'getting' always lose, whereas those who set their mind on 'giving' always win. The story's told of a dog walking across a bridge with a bone in his mouth. When he looked down into the river and saw his reflection, he thought it was another dog with a bigger bone. So he jumped in to get it-and drowned. Paul dedicates two entire chapters in the Bible to the subject of money. Perhaps that's a good answer to those who say, 'All the church ever talks about is money.' Since money is congealed sweat, coined time, coined talent, negotiable you, it's one way in which you can give yourself to God. It's not the only way but it's a very important way. So Paul writes: 'Remember this-a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others...Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous...' (2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NLT). Unless you practice generosity there's no point asking God for more money. He doesn't pour His blessing into pots, but into pipes; not into reservoirs, but into rivers that let it flow out. Getting the idea?

Vitamins for Spiritual Health (6)
'...Are you in health, my brother?...' 2 Samuel 20:9

Never forget, you're not home yet. The story's told of an old steamship that pulled into Southampton harbor and the passengers got off. Helium-filled balloons rose into the air and the crowd went wild as a young Hollywood starlet walked down the gangplank to be greeted by her family and friends. The last person off the ship was an elderly man who had spent more than fifty years of his life as a missionary in India. All his earthly possessions were in a tattered suitcase he carried by his side. After getting to his room in a cheap boarding house, he knelt by his bed and prayed: 'Lord, I've served you all my life. I've sacrificed everything to tell others the good news of the gospel and brought many to you. Yet there was no one to celebrate my arrival or welcome me home.' As he knelt there the voice of God spoke to him softly and said, 'Son, you're not home yet!' And redeemed child of God, neither are you! If God has blessed you with a nice house, thank Him and enjoy it. But don't get too settled. At best, it's only temporary accommodation. Paul thought often of heaven: 'For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you' (Philippians 1:23-24 NKJV). God has something 'far better' in mind for you. A great preacher once said: 'It is our main business in this world, to secure an interest in the next one.'

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