What Makes You Discontent?

Is it the latest fashion trend, the new house they are building next door, or the new car your best friend bought? Is it the success someone else had at their career, or is it just that you feel left out? What makes you feel discontent? Comment below.

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The Dish of Disrespect

Standing there while an individual blathered forth with a montage of unwarranted criticism, I was dumbfounded…for a moment. The next thoughts that slashed through my mind were not of the Spirit, and let’s just say it was a good thing they did not reach my mouth. My flesh wanted so badly to defend myself, to prove the other person wrong, to get even. But, was that what I was supposed to do in that moment? Would my angry words change her opinion of me?

What are we supposed to do when we are disrespected? Whether it’s the position we hold or a personal attack–what does God expect of us in those moments?

1. He expects us to listen (James 1:19). He does not expect us to believe everything that is said, but He expects us to hear the person out. When John tells us to “try every spirit” (1 John 4:1), he is speaking in terms of false prophets, and in a narrower sense, we have to discern if the criticism being leveled at us is warranted and we need to change, or if it is a false accusation and can be deflected. God uses those moments to keep our pride in check and to help us to have a realistic view of ourselves (Philippians 2:1-4). There are times when the criticism is over-the-top, or the person may not have all the facts, but many times there is some truth to what the person is saying and we need to be willing to humble ourselves (1 Peter 5:5-7). And in those rare moments when they are completely wrong about you, let grace overflow, hear what they are saying and allow God to wash those insults off your soul and keep the chip off your shoulder (James 4:1-6).

2. He expects us to process (James 1:19-20). He does not expect us to say the first thing that pops into our head. He tells us “the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” He wants us to withhold our response until we have processed the information, as well as our emotions, and we are able to give a Spirit-filled answer. For me, this sometimes takes days, because my brain processes facts and emotions separately. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling the person who has disrespected you,”I have heard what you have said, and I will take some time to process and pray about it and I will get back to you.” If you are in a situation where you must give an immediate answer, then prayer at that very moment is your best defense and you must be willing to follow the Spirit’s strong leading and only say what needs to be said at that moment (Luke 12:11-12).

3. He expects us to love (Luke 6:27-35). In the moment of being disrespected, the natural reaction is to retaliate. If we are being attacked, we lash out. If we are being hurt, wronged, or angered, we want the other party to have the same experience. But that is not God’s way. We change others’ minds about Christ by acting like Him, instead of ourselves. We exchange revenge for restoration–we extend hope for hate. Never an easy task, but when we act like Christ, instead of our culture, we may not change the circumstances, but we do change the outcome 1 Peter 4:13-14).

4. He expects us to remember. The entire first chapter of 1 Peter gives us insight into how we are to handle disrespect. Christ took an immeasurable amount of suffering to redeem us. Peter tells us, compared to that, our mindset needs to be to cease from sin and to spend the rest of our lives doing the will of God. God tells us, as much as is possible, live at peace with all men, do not return evil for evil, insult for insult, but live Godly (Romans 12:16-18).

The next time we find ourselves being disrespected, we need to act like Christ. Listen, love, and remember. Remember the cross, the One who stayed on that cross for you–and for your enemy as well– and endure as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3). It’s time we abide by the cross, and not by our culture, when it comes to handling disrespect. With His mindset, we can change the world one conversation at a time.

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The Dish of Dis–Summer Adventure Series, Day 8

Disrespected. Others are given a plate of humble pie, I was given the dish of dis. What do you do when you are disrespected? What does God expect of us in those moments? Let me know what you think.

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Do Not Be Afraid

365. Three hundred and sixty-five times Scripture says, “Do not be afraid.” God knew we would be inclined to be afraid. He gave us 365 reminders–one for every day of the year–to trust Him. What is the opposite of fear? The Bible says, “Perfect love casts out fear,” I John 4:18.

How does that work?

 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls,” 1 Peter 1:6-9 (bold italics mine).

Peter tells us the basis of our un-fearfulness is a genuine faith in Jesus, the One we love. Because our relationship with God is based in love, we know He holds us–even in the grief of various trials. We do not fear our God, we love and reverence Him and the confidence that He first loved us (1 John 4:19) gives us the courage to not be afraid. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31). You probably just thought–“Plenty of people. My neighbor down the street who doesn’t like my dog; the guy who is gunning for my job; the boss who makes my life unbearable at work; the family members who make get togethers difficult–the list goes on and on. But, those people can not have the victory over us. We must walk in the “praise, honor and glory” of Jesus Christ, and by doing so, we are assured that fear cannot keep a grip on us.

So, what do we do with our fear? God tells us to cast it His way, 1 Peter 5:7; to pray and give it to Him–thanking Him for already taking care of it, Philippians 4:6; and to believe His promise in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Cast, pray, believe. To quote an old song, “Just give it away,” just make sure you give it in the right direction.

Live in the confidence that God loves you, that you love Him, He is for you and you are all in with Him. This is the call to the fearless life.

Father, Abba, thank You for the promise of power, love and a sound mind to defeat fear. Every victory comes from You and every praise belongs to You. Help us to love You today and trust You as Your will is done, and in following You, we can be fearless. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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Four after the Fourth

Looking for something to jump start your devotional time? Tammy has four books available!

Devotions from Everyday Things–a 60-day journey into deeper spiritual truths using everyday objects. From a goldfish to a steak knife, be ready to find God in the everyday things around you.

More Devotions from Everyday Things–continues the format and topics from her first book. It’s another 60-day journey of spiritual truths found in surprisingly common things we see everyday.

Devotions from Everyday Things: Horse & Farm Edition–a 60-day journey into deeper spiritual truths from the Farm! Horses, a goat, chickens and other everyday things teach us about worship, courage and God’s wonderful design from the farm.

Devotions from Everyday Jobs–her recently released, newest addition to the DFET series! What if your job was more than a paycheck? What if there was a spiritual meaning to the work that you do? Just an everyday job–not in God’s eyes! Come join a 60-day journey of exploring the spiritual principles in the everyday jobs around us–even yours.

You can order any of these books on http://www.amazon.com.  Or, you can order autographed, personalized copies from Tammy–with a bonus! Buy all four books for $44 (+shipping). That’s a 30% discount! Send an email to simplydevotions@gmail.com with “Four after the Fourth” in the subject line with your order and Tammy will send you this special offer. This offer only lasts until Friday, July 7th (11:59 p.m.), so get your copies ordered today!

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Facing Fear

What are you afraid of? When have you shown unusual courage? When have you panicked? Would love to have your input as we tackle Fear in the Summer Adventure Series–please leave a comment below!

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Yesterday, we celebrated freedom as a nation. We celebrated the great nation in which God has given us the privilege to live and we honored those who stand in the gap and serve in the military to keep us free.

But what is freedom? True freedom–not some lip-service to a holiday, or a talking head rambling on the television. Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” It is interesting that the word freedom has its roots in the word love. In German, frei–“to love” is the root of the words freedom, as well as friend. The idea is that we have the choice as to what we will love.

True freedom in Christ is really then a choice we make to love Him. He did not set us free to sin (Romans 6:1-4), He set us free to serve (Galatians 2:20).  God designed us with a free will–the ability to choose–what we love. He gave us a choice, and He made the choice to love us regardless of what we decide to do (John 3:16, Romans 5:8). He made us free. He made us free from sin so we can obey Him (John 15:11-14). He made us free from fear, so we can trust Him (2 Timothy 1:6-7). He made us free from the flesh, so we can praise Him (Phil. 4:6-8).

As we understand the meaning of freedom–the choice to love–our actions should reveal where our love is. So, how do you celebrate your freedom in Christ? I would love to hear your responses in the comments below.

Lord, thank You for giving us the choice to show what we love. Thank You for our frei. Thank you for our freedom. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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