Saturday, March 22, 2014

Integrity, Values and Opportunities



LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
  Who may live on your holy mountain? — Psalm 15:1

In September 2013, a Dairy Queen customer shared the following in an email that went viral: As a blind man was paying at a Dairy Queen in Minnesota, a $20 bill fell out of his pocket. A woman standing behind him picked it up. The DQ employee, Joey Prusak, thought that the woman was going to return the money, but instead she tucked it into her own wallet.

When she approached Joey to place her order, the nineteen-year-old asked her to return the money to its rightful owner, but the woman refused. Joey asked the woman to return the money or leave the store because he could not serve such a disrespectful person. The exchange went back and forth until the woman finally left with the money still in her pocket. Joey then reached into his own wallet, took out $20 and gave it to the blind man who had been sitting and eating his ice cream. Joey said to the man, “Sir, on behalf of Dairy Queen, I’d like to return the $20 bill that you dropped.”

What’s even more amazing has been the response to this story. Joey became an overnight celebrity, and people have flocked to the Dairy Queen where he works so that they can support and see a place of kindness for themselves. Billionaire Warren Buffet paid Joey a call, and conservative radio host Glenn Beck offered to buy Joey his own Dairy Queen store. Another woman offered to pay for Joey’s college. The outpouring of love and support has been overwhelming. Joey himself said, “I didn’t expect any of this to come from something that was so little in reality.”

Perhaps that’s because Joey’s act wasn’t so little after all.

In Psalm 15, the psalmist gives us a list of characteristics of the people deserving to enter heaven. The psalm begins, “LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” The Sages explain that both the “sacred tent” and the “holy mountain” are references to the afterlife. Twelve traits of the deserving individual are listed, including being blameless, righteous, and truthful; despising evil and honoring goodness. However, all the traits can be summed up in one word: Integrity. And integrity is what Joey Prusak demonstrated.
These seemingly little acts of integrity are hugely significant in our lives. We may not receive the same kind of fanfare that Joey received when we do the right thing, but to God, it’s headline news. In the end, these small acts will be all that matters. Nothing in this world is worth the cost of our integrity.

Certainly not $20.(1)

Let me pause for a moment to say that we need more men and women of integrity like Joey today. Don’t we? Some of you who are employers, some of you who are managers, supervisors, you would love to hire people of integrity like Joey, wouldn’t you? Then let’s be that kind of person ourselves. Let’s live a life of integrity, no matter what the cost, and let’s see the supernatural blessings of God come down. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful testimony if your employer, your boss, came to you and said, “My company is blessed because you work here! The God that you serve is blessing me because of you!”

People with integrity have positive control over their lives and over the events in their lives. They have a clarity and certainty about what they want and will allow. They do not see life as “happening to them” but rather they make life happen. When we are not true to ourselves, we are open to being controlled or manipulated by others. Without integrity, control (the ability to start, change and stop things under one’s own determinism) becomes a huge issue, and its distorted form becomes a need to manipulate people, things, or situations, either overtly or covertly.

True integrity is spontaneously choosing to act on our values and spontaneously taking responsibility for the consequences of those choices. Either we choose to grow and become more of who we are, or we choose to contract, becoming less and less of what we were meant to be.

Today, the news is filled with examples of people who pay any price to win.  They sell out to their fear of losing.  They do this by sacrificing the most critical building block of a successful business and life – their integrity. Sure they win.  They beat the competition, get the business and gain market share.   But the price that’s paid is character and honor.

Reference:

(1) “The Cost of Integrity” Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein,  Holy Land Moments Daily Devotional, March 16, 2004

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your deeds


The fool says in his heart,
  “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
  there is no one who does good. — Psalm 14:1

During an interview with a famous comedian who is notoriously anti-religious, the interviewer asked the person about her relationship with her sister, a devout believer. In answer, the comedian described a conversation that the two had about God. “I mockingly said, ‘Do you really believe that there is some God in the sky? Like there is a man watching us? That’s ridiculous!’ My sister took it in and softly said, ‘Personally, I like to live my life as though there is one.’”

When the comedian remarked that her sister’s response left her speechless, the interviewer said, “But you kind of do that, too — you’re a good person!” The comedian replied, “Well, yeah – you don’t have to believe in God to be good.”

Really? Is that true?

In Psalm 14, King David wrote, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.” Certainly for the psalmist, there was a connection between belief in God and being good.

A person who doesn’t believe in God can do whatever he or she wants. There is no one and nothing obligating that person to be “good.” And how do we define good anyway without an objective standard? What is considered bad in one society might be accepted as good in the next. So, while there may be plenty of nice people who are not believers, a society of non-believers lacks a moral compass. It’s a slippery slope to a state of total corruption devoid of goodness.

However, there is an important message on the flipside as well. If non-belief can lead to evil, then belief should lead to goodness. For the believer, righteousness and morality must be the guiding light for his or her life. Moreover, it follows that the more we deepen our faith, the more righteous we become. The Sages teach, “Reflect on three things and you will never come to sin: Know what is above you — a seeing eye, a hearing ear, and all your deeds recorded in a book.” (1)

You are sinner living in a fallen world. You are going to be hurt, betrayed, frustrated, prideful, annoyed, judgmental, pitiful, and so much more. It’s going to happen. But are you going to be trained as a follower of Jesus Christ to know, almost instinctively, how to respond with the gospel through premeditated prescriptions of specific ways to walk in repentance and faith?

CS Lewis once said, “Prosperity knits a man to the World. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it’, while really it is finding its place in him.” How right that is! When the desire for prosperity gets into your heart, it replaces God in so many ways.

The injustice of life causes many people problems, even believers , if we don’t allow God time to set it straight, and sometimes it is not until the afterlife. It is easy to be discouraged. Oppression rules and reigns in our country and throughout the world. I just heard a report on the news yesterday that young girls are being kidnapped from Phillipines and South America to work as prostitutes in other parts of the world—some as young as 12 years old. Business tycoons corrupt politicians and corrupted politicians seek even larger bribes. Government officials, politicians, and pastors sell out. That is the world we live in. This past week, a young man asked me a profound question: “Why do I get madder the more I read the Bible?” The answer is because he is seeing our world from God’s perspective and things aren’t as they are supposed to be. Yet, in these discouraging realities, we need to remember the One who will have the last word. The end of God’s work is even better than its beginning.

Solomon’s proverbs maintain that wicked deeds will invariably lead to divine retribution and punishment during a person’s earthly life. People who slander others will have their tongues cut off, those who are lazy will have failing crops, and undue pride will lead to an individual’s downfall. One way to enjoy the favorable hand of God’s justice is to practice moderation and prudence. According to the proverbs, the moderate person avoids the excesses of the foolish, including excessive drinking, eating, sleeping, gossiping, and rage. A consistent way to demonstrate wise behavior is by choosing words shrewdly and carefully. The proverbs also praise those who prepare in advance, particularly those who build their homes in preparation for later circumstances. The most important sign of wisdom and prudence, however, is obedience and reverence to one’s parents.

This is why Solomon emphasizes patience. Our Western society has lost its taste for the long haul. We want everything NOW. We crave instant coffee, fast food, immediate gratification, and instant entertainment. Our computers and our modems are faster and we chaff at the idea of waiting for anything.“Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter.” God is interested in character development so He will test our patience to develop perseverance. He frequently does this because life is a marathon, not a sprint. God is building patience in us so that we will go the distance in our marriage, ministry, and Christian life.

Solomon explains that we cannot understand why God uses adversity and prosperity as He does. God “bends” certain things and there is nothing we can do about it. Affliction is the appointment of God. It is generally futile to try to figure such things out; we can’t straighten what God has made crooked. There are “crooked” things we cannot straighten, and we must learn to believe and say, “God, you are God. You are good and powerful. I trust you. I believe in you. And even though I don’t like some of the things that come from your hand, I think I accept them with joy.” God does not waste sorrow or adversity. He knows the purpose for which we go through tragedy and sorrow. It is for our good, and the good of His kingdom.

When times are good, be happy. But when times are bad, be patient. Be patient because the same God who made the good times has allowed the bad. Neither situation is outside of His sovereignty and there is no sure way of knowing what’s coming next. Try as we might, we cannot prepare for all contingencies, and while God expects us to be prudent, He does not want us to play God. There are times when you just have to play the cards which you have been dealt. Remember that it is God who is the dealer. What you have has been given by Him. Adversity is better than prosperity.

This week, let’s try to increase our awareness of God. Remember that He is watching and listening and recording – whether we are at work, at home, in the store, anywhere! If we can heighten our awareness, we will inevitably elevate our actions as well. When we know that there is a God, we will live life accordingly.

Reference:

(1) Know God; Do Good, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein Founder and President, Holy Land Moments, Devotions.


Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju


Saturday, March 8, 2014

Matthew McConnaughey wins Best Actor Oscar award for 2014



On March 2nd, 2014 Matthew McConnaughey won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Motion Picture "Dallas Buyers Club".

What I most liked about the Oscars was actually his speech. It was powerful and resonated with me.

In his acceptance speech, he mentioned:  "There's three things that I need each day. One of them is something to look up to, another is something to look forward and another is someone to chase," he said in the run-up to his acknowledgment of God.

"First off, I want to thank God, 'cause that's who I look up to. He's graced my life with opportunities that I know is not of my hand or any other human hand. He has shown me that it's a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late Charlie Lawton who said 'when you got God, you got a friend and that friend is you,'" he said before continuing the rest of his speech.

McConaughey's surprise acknowledgement of God in his speech drew attention across the Internet from many conservatives, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry who tweeted "Texas boy counting his blessings" Monday morning.

Something to Look Up to

He mentioned God as a person he looks up to. God has shown him that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. So, whatever you believe in – a higher power, the law of attraction or just karma, if you have someone greater to look up to – they become your guiding force toward success. As well as, humble you during your good and bad days. Symbolically, they also provide the hope we need to continue and fight for what we believe in.

Look forward to                                               

He mentioned his family. I’m a big believer that authenticity is hard to find. But, when you do find it, hold on to it. As someone once said, “Fame is vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, but only character endures.” When it comes to family and if you're lucky – you can't get any more authentic than that. They allow us to become the best possible version of ourselves and remind us what’s worth fighting for. They are also our biggest fans during our ups and supporters during our down moments. And, God had his reasons for picking them – so don’t disappoint him.

Someone to Chase

He mentioned he was always chasing the 10-year-older version of himself - even today. I find that quite humbling. Because, it shows us that the biggest role models we can actually have is ourselves. As we get older, we get wiser, we learn from our mistakes and we prosper as human beings. Never read the headlines, be your own headline. Perfection is hard to chase, but if you're chasing the future you – you’ll know the power you have is actually limitless.
“No one wanted to make the film for 20 years,” Matthew related. “It got turned down 137 times. And then it came across my desk. I jumped on with the team that was trying to get it made and we somehow got it made and got it across the line. That was a minor miracle in itself so it felt great. Then I saw the first cut that Jean-Marc (Vallee, director) sent me to look at. I was like, oh, I think we may have gotten it on camera. I think we have a good film here.”

Elated

He was elated that a film that almost didn’t get made due to financing hurdles scooped three Oscars. “Jared (Leto) won, the makeup and hair (Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews) won with a $250 budget. They were stealing charcoal and stuff to do our makeup. That’s extra rewarding for me because I was a part of that team that was trying to push the thing over the hill that nobody wanted to make.”

“I’m standing here now,” said Matthew, dapper in an off-white tux jacket and black pants. “I got a prize for excellence for the work I do in something that’s not my job, not my hobby and it’s not my fad. It’s my career. That feels wonderful. In 1992, when I was one week into my first job, ‘Dazed and Confused,’ my father moved on. Now [I see that] he got to be alive for me doing the one thing that was not my fad, hobby or job. We didn’t know it then but it turned out to be my career. That’s why he (his father) came to my mind tonight. It feels wonderful.”

Maybe you are on the verge of giving up? Maybe you are stuck in your fears? Then remember how God has blessed you and protected you in the past. Reflect on the times when He has called you to a task and worked out the details to help you succeed. The same God who encouraged you in the past, who has walked with you through hardships and blessings, is walking with you today.

These are three great rules and principles to live by each morning. And, if we are determined to live by them – there isn’t a single thing we can’t do, including winning an Oscar.

Not forgetting the Author and Finisher of our race- Jesus Christ 

Him and Him alone

Just remember, our culture has no shortage of worldly voices and pressures that fill minds and influence behavior. Only when we intentionally schedule time for God, His Word, and His people can Christ do His transforming work in our lives.

It is not true that if you follow God's will, you will have a life of ease. Often, the way of God involves circumstances in which we must trust in the Lord and draw on His truth and strength.
Jesus was the God-man. Yet His life on this earth was filled with trials He had to endure. And we should expect to encounter trials during our sojourning in this world, but we can endure if we draw strength from the One who has paved the way for us.

As Bob and Debbie Gass rightly say it in their devotional: God gave you gifts that make you unique, gifts that hold great possibilities. But you have to discover them and develop them. A sign on a DIY shop says it all: 'We've got it, if you can find it.' Nobody was ever born without talent, including you, but you've got to find it. What keeps us from doing that? (1) The company we keep. The old saying goes, 'If you run around with turkeys, you'll never fly with eagles.' The Scripture says, 'He who walks with wise men, will be wise...' (Proverbs 13:20 NKJV). (2) Failing to spend time in prayer and in God's Word. God is not only the giver of your gift, He supplies the strength to function successfully in it.

Aristotle said, 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.' So if you want to succeed, consult God, and operate in your God-given strength.

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Drawn towards broken people



I recently read these statistics: “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than seventy-five percent of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top eight percent of the world’s wealthy.” How many luxuries do we have that we so often take for granted? Let us consider our gifts and say, “Thanks!, I appreciate it, and I am grateful”.

From the time we are young, we are told what to do and how to do it. But part of us wants to try things our own way. Sometimes, this is a smart move, but other times, not listening can get us into big trouble. As we grow older, we are better able to discern whose advice we should listen to and whose we should disregard. But there are directions that we must never pass up: those coming from God. Sometimes when we are feeling hopeless, stressed, or afraid, we lack the vision to see how we can help ourselves. Sometimes, we can be feeling great and still lack the ability to see what is best for us.

Apart from Jesus Christ, everyone is spiritually poor. Regardless of our education, accomplishments, or religious knowledge, we are all spiritually destitute. How often we will look at someone in prison or the down-and-outer or the drug addict and think, Now, there is someone who is spiritually destitute. Then we look at ourselves. Maybe we have lived a relatively refined life. Maybe we have a good education or have accomplished certain things. We say, "I am not as destitute as that person." In one sense, that may be true. But in another sense, it isn't true at all. Before God, all people are spiritually destitute and unable to help themselves.

Some people have a hard time admitting this. It's difficult for us to acknowledge that we need to reach out to God, that we need His forgiveness. But if we want to be forgiven, if we want to be happy, then we must humble ourselves and admit our need.

How foolish it is to devote so much of our lives to the acquisition of things, when all things truly belong to the Lord. We are but caretakers of what the Lord has made, and it has been given us for everyone's pleasure. Wise use of our resources and preservation of all creation is the responsibility of all humankind. We have been given many precious gifts, but they are only ours for awhile. In time, all things return to the Lord.

In the adventure of life there are no "brownie points" earned for suffering, sacrifice, or tears. Nor for anguish, altruism, or selflessness. In fact, you don't even get any for generosity, gratitude, or compassion. You may not feel very blessed when you endure difficulties in your life. You may feel very unblessed! But if you trust God through those times, that He has a good purpose, and you continue to glorify Him in your life, then those hard times are producing a great reward in heaven for you and they are making you more like Jesus Christ right now.

Suffering gives you the opportunity to grow spiritually in amazing ways. Although enduring storms is never easy, we can often look back on them as some of the more intense periods of growth in our lives. If we choose to depend on God in the midst of our storms, we will come through them with greater faith, commitment, and effectiveness for Christ. Sometimes it is in our darkest and most turbulent storms that we see our greatest victories. No life is free from encounters with pain, disappointment, struggles, and temptations. We all go through storms, and through them, we either become better, or we become bitter.

In fact, God is drawn to broken people, choosing the most broken to do His highest work. His light shines best through broken people. Never underestimate the power of one, tiny broken seed. Placed in the right hands, it will surely grow into an expression of His beauty for all to see.
God has promised to restore all the pains of our past, the heartaches from broken relationships, the struggles from defeat, and the frustrations of our lives. All the times we felt broken beyond repair, God has promised to restore.

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

There is always hope



To look at Catherine and to listen to her talk, you would never have thought she was dying of cancer. She always had the same smile on her face and a kind word for everyone who came to see her. The other patients spent a lot of time with her, because her spirit seemed to be contagious. She ministered to her roommates by remaining cheerful and positive. Even the thought of death couldn't take Catherine’s dynamic humor from her.

Cancer does not seem to pick and choose whose body it’s going to invade. It is a growing problem among all walks of life - both adults and children and Christians and non-Christians alike. It is not a friend to Christian people. But we must understand that the Christian can face cancer with a different outlook and attitude than the non-Christian or unsaved person who is not in touch with the living God. They can face this dreadful monster with reassurance that God is on their side and God’s promises are never taken away from them in the time when they are battling with cancer.

Those of us with potentially fatal diseases—and there are millions in America today—find ourselves in the odd position of coping with our mortality while trying to fathom God's will. Although it would be the height of presumption to declare with confidence What It All Means, Scripture provides powerful hints and consolations.

The first is that we shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is—a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

But despite this—because of it—God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face.

Second, we need to get past the anxiety. The mere thought of dying can send adrenaline flooding through your system. A dizzy, unfocused panic seizes you. Your heart thumps; your head swims. You think of nothingness and swoon. You fear partings; you worry about the impact on family and friends. You fidget and get nowhere.

To regain footing, remember that we were born not into death, but into life—and that the journey continues after we have finished our days on this earth. We accept this on faith, but that faith is nourished by a conviction that stirs even within many nonbelieving hearts—an intuition that the gift of life, once given, cannot be taken away. Those who have been stricken enjoy the special privilege of being able to fight with their might, main, and faith to live—fully, richly, exuberantly—no matter how their days may be numbered.

Third, we can open our eyes and hearts. God relishes surprise. We want lives of simple, predictable ease—smooth, even trails as far as the eye can see—but God likes to go off-road. He provokes us with twists and turns. He places us in predicaments that seem to defy our endurance and comprehension—and yet don't. By his love and grace, we persevere. The challenges that make our hearts leap and stomachs churn invariably strengthen our faith and grant measures of wisdom and joy we would not experience otherwise. (1)

What if you had an appointment with the doctor and found out that you had cancer? Maybe you have heard this news or heard it on behalf of a loved one. I want to tell you some things cancer cannot do. Cancer cannot shatter hope. Cancer cannot corrode faith. Cancer cannot eat away peace. Cancer cannot place a limit on eternal life. Cancer cannot quench the Spirit of God and cancer cannot lessen the power of the resurrection. That’s how limited cancer is!

A cancer diagnosis is nearly always a devastating shock. However, today it is far from an automatic death sentence. No one wants to have cancer, but we should all be encouraged by the hundreds of thousands of survivor success stories. There is always hope. Best of all, our God can be trusted, even with cancer. He is present with His children no matter what comes our way. And, as I later discovered, cancer is an exhilarating journey with God, like no other. Today, when nonbelievers tell me Jesus is just a crutch, I answer them, “Crutch? He’s a whole hospital.”

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
Isaiah 43:2

Reference:

(1) “Cancer's Unexpected Blessings” by Tony Snow ,JULY 20, 2007 ,Christianity Today

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Monday, March 3, 2014

" How do you want to be remembered?”



We talk about providence, but what is providence?

Providence means to see ahead of time and to make provision. This is what God does. He sees events before they ever get here and moves everything toward the goal that He has in mind.

Now there is a lot of evil in the world, so don’t get the idea that everything that happens is God’s will. Rape is not God’s will. Murder is not God’s will. Racial hatred is not God’s will. Adultery is not God’s will. Sodomy is not God’s will.

Man has a will and man has an evil heart. And in God’s grand design, He gave man a free will. Even when man does evil, where God does not rule, God overrules.

God’s good plan for your life includes pain and difficult times!

David Wilkerson said, “Jesus didn’t save you so you could cruise to heaven in a luxury liner. He wants you to be useful in His kingdom! The moment you got saved, He enrolled you in His school—the school of suffering and affliction.”

That doesn’t mean God is the source of all hardship in your life. You may experience attacks from the forces of evil in this world, or people may hurt you with evil motives. But God’s supreme authority means that His good purpose overrules all of those evil motives. He’ll even use those terrible things done to you out of evil motives to produce spiritual growth in your life.

Remember, God absolutely cares about all the small details of our lives. Right now, you might be facing a situation that makes no sense. We live in a sinful world, and bad things happen. It may seem that your prayers are going unanswered. But God promises that he has a perfect plan for the lives of those who truly love and follow Him and who have received salvation through Jesus. You may not realize right this moment – or ever – why things happen just the way they do, but if you have accepted God’s call of the gospel, you can trust that He is working everything in your life together for His ultimate purpose.

Dr. Jack Graham recalls several years ago, Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth, did an interview on network television. It was their 50th wedding anniversary, and Good Morning America did a special interview of the couple at their home in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

As I watched the interview, I remember Joan Lunden asking, “Dr. Graham, how do you want to be remembered?” Tears welled up in his eyes as this great giant for God said, “I want to be remembered as a man who was faithful… faithful to my God… faithful to my family… and faithful to my calling.”

Faithfulness. It’s a bit of a lost art these days. With so much wishy-washy-ness in the world, many people have simply forgotten what it means to stick together through thick and thin. Divorce rates are at an all-time high, people check out of relationships and simply find others, and “church-hopping” is now a common pastime for many Christians.

But it a world where expediency and quick satisfaction are valued above all else, we need Christians who are faithful. Be faithful to your God, your family, and your calling. In faithfulness, you’ll find the most joy as you grow with God and others!

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Saturday, March 1, 2014

You, Your Spouse, and Integrity




I liked the article  “4 Ways To Maintain Integrity When Your Wife Isn’t Around”, by Tito Brown. He speaks about being faithful to your wife and  remain obedient to Christ against all odds. 

The day had arrived. My wife was going out of town for two weeks. The world tells me that this is every man’s dream – so why did it feel like a nightmare to me?

While many men would wrongfully relish at the idea of getting time to themselves, I was terrified because I knew Satan is always waiting to destroy. If you were honest with yourself, I am sure you could admit that when you are left on your own – your mind, heart, words, and eyes can wander in directions they do not belong. At least, I know that’s true for me. So how in this world would I survive two weeks alone?

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

  • Take captive your MIND and make it obedient to Christ.


Our minds constantly wander and our thoughts are consumed by many different topics. Baseball, football, work, kids, wife, cars, fishing, beautiful women, beautiful women playing football, beautiful women playing football wearing fishing gear. Okay, Okay, I was just trying to prove that our minds wander. Not only do they wander, but we fantasize as well. Many of us can get lost in our heads, and we have to protect our marriages from our own thoughts. If your thoughts wander… Think of Jesus. Dwell on Jesus. Pray to Jesus.

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5).

  •  Guard your HEART, its love is only for her.


Oh how easy it is to develop seemingly innocent emotions for someone other than your wife. No, I’m not talking about a bromance. I’m talking about a female co-worker, a fellow ministry volunteer, your friend’s wife, an ex-girlfriend, your neighbor, the grocery clerk, an old friend you recently reconnected with on Facebook, or even your wife’s family member. It’s easy to find ourselves wanting respect, appreciation, or affirmation from others, but this is the most dangerous territory to venture into. If you find yourself developing feelings for someone other than your wife, confess it to your wife and take every step to cut that relationship off. (Matthew 5:30 (1)

God wants Christians, young and old to stay pure for marriage. It’s His plan!  When a Christian person disobeys God’s calling for them, there is always consequences. These consequences may be emotional attachments that break our hearts, unwanted pregnancies, or a venereal disease. God does not make these bad things happen to us. We make these bad things happen to us because of the choices we make in our life. Let’s choose what God wants. Let’s pray about it and seek God’s will for our life always and forever.

Looking back to the past can be both a hindrance and a help. When the past controls us, through guilt or shame, it is a hindrance. When the past haunts us or defines us or points a finger at us, it's not a help. Other times, looking to the past can be fun as we recall and laugh at joyful times. Historians tell us that looking to the past can help us learn from the lessons of others so that we don't make the same mistakes.

In addition to his great grace for us at the cross, there are countless daily acts of grace in our lives. God pours out his riches for us in ways we can't fathom. Looking back at the ways he has provided food when we needed, the ways he has comforted us when we've been in sorrow, the ways he has supplied us with wisdom when we had none, these are all acts of grace we can reflect on when we need a reminder. Whenever money has been in short supply, I always remind myself of the days of our early marriage when God miraculously provided for us and I rest in the confidence that God is faithful to provide.

Finally, God has established boundaries in His Word. They are beautiful boundaries surrounding wide-open spaces of His blessing, purposed to bring Him glory, allowing us to thrive in life and to keep us safe from harm. Yet we wander. Oh, how we wander… through so many different gates of temptation.


What is your open gate of temptation? Is it worry, fear, or doubt? Is it food, alcohol, shopping, money, or a good-looking girl who needs to be off your radar? Everybody faces temptations, and while being tempted isn’t a sin, giving into temptation is. Jesus himself faced temptation and He demonstrated that we are to ask God for help. And don’t let us yield to temptation. (Matthew 6:13, NLT)

Promise of Deliverance

What should we do when we face temptation? We should call out to God. He promises to give us a way out of any temptation. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)  

We Christians are not to be conformed to this world in the way we think.  The world by its advertisements, its conversation, and its philosophy is engaged in a gigantic brainwashing.  Not always consciously but sometimes unconsciously, the Christian is beset by secular and worldly propaganda, calling us to live for ourselves and to put things and selfish pleasure ahead of God.  The world's sewage system threatens to contaminate the stream of Christian thought.

     However, above the din we can hear the voice of Scriptures "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2)

     Time yourself the next time you read the Bible and pray.  Compare it to the amount of time you spend watching television or surfing the Internet.  Is God getting His share of your time and attention?  Is the world shaping your mind---or is CHRIST?


Reference:

(1) 4 Ways To Maintain Integrity When Your Wife Isn’t Around”, by Tito Brown.


Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju