Who are You Walking With?

Proverbs 13:20Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble (NLT).

Solomon gives two foundational pieces of advice concerning our relationships in the verse above:

1. Walk with the wise.
2. Don’t associate with fools.

Going on a walk with someone implies spending meaningful time together. Heidi and I love to go on walks, and we do so frequently. We’ve walked sandy beaches, mountainous hiking trails, and the road we live on. While the subject of conversation varies almost every time, the purpose remains the same. We encourage, listen to, and learn from each other. She challenges me, and I stretch her. We build one another’s faith and dream together. Sometimes we even have to work through some differences. No matter what, we always rub off on each other in a positive way.

The same can be said of anyone you choose to walk with. I encourage you to evaluate your relationships right now. Who are you walking with? Proverbs 13:20 instructs us not to associate with fools. In other words, don’t even have a casual relationship with someone who’s going to get you in trouble.

To be sure, your life consists of both the wise and the foolish. Choose to walk with those who are going to add to your life, and don’t entertain the advice of those who are going to subtract from it. Now I’m not telling you to cut off every person you deem ignorant. Perhaps he or she needs to walk with you. Pass it on!

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No Fear

2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (NKJV).

If you are experiencing anxiety, worry, or fear of any kind, rest assured those feelings are not from God. And since He doesn’t give you fear, He will certainly take it away. In fact, God gives you three things in place of fear: power, love, and soundness of mind.

Fear creates an inferiority complex in its victims. They feel helpless, as if they will never measure up. The truth is there are some things we will face in life that are scary, and we can’t overcome them on our own. When life happens and fear threatens our peace, rather than give up and step out, we need to allow God to step in.

Receive His power today; He isn’t afraid of anything. Receive His love; it expels all fear. Allow Him to calm your thoughts. You can have His peace no matter what you’re going through.

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Forgiving Ignorance

Luke 23:34Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for His clothes (NLT).

Jesus obviously understood the power of forgiveness. After being accused by the priests and tortured by the soldiers, Jesus forgave them. A lot of what He let go of was done in spite, but in the verse above, He forgave them of what they did in ignorance.

Not everyone who hurts us does so vindictively. There are probably people in your life right now that you hold a grudge against, and they are clueless. Meanwhile, they live their lives freely, and you’ve incarcerated yourself. When you choose to forgive, you’re not only releasing the offenses of others, you’re letting yourself out of captivity.

Another thing I noticed in this verse is that right after Jesus forgave them, the soldiers gambled for His clothes. What a slap in the face and another opportunity for Jesus to get offended! Not everyone is going to receive our forgiveness, but we are still to give it without expecting anything in return. Love simply does what is right, period. Choose to forgive.

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3 Things

Philippians 3:13My friends, I don’t feel I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead (CEV).

There are three things I want to point out to you from this passage:

1. No matter how far we’ve come, we have not arrived yet. There is still ground to be taken and victories to be won. Keep moving forward.

2. There are two different kinds of “stuck” people: Those who hope the past doesn’t repeat itself and others who hope it does. We have to be willing to leave behind both the good and the bad of yesterday, in order to embrace today and look forward to tomorrow.

3. Don’t be intimidated by the struggle that accompanies forging ahead. Some people never grow or go because they’re too comfortable. The effort it takes pales in comparison to the prize that awaits.

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Seek and Live

Matthew 6:33“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need” (NLT).

People in general spend the bulk of their time living for and working toward achieving whatever it is they think they want or need. That pursuit, though, often takes us off the path of God’s perfect will, exhausting our time and energy in the process. In the above verse, Jesus gives two keys to unlocking God’s blessing in our lives.

First, seek the Kingdom of God above everything else. In other words, we waste valuable time and effort if our first priority is not chasing after God. Trust me, it’s much easier to find God than it is to find whatever else you might be looking for.

Next, live righteously. Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice so you and I might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). When you receive Christ as Lord and Savior, He makes you righteous. Live in His righteousness by faith and walk in obedience to His word.

It’s as simple as that. Seek God and live for Him. Then He makes it His priority to give you whatever you need.

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No Worries

Matthew 6:26“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are?” (NLT)

God is faithful; He looks after you, and He has more than enough to meet your needs. Consider birds. They don’t do anything to merit God’s provision, yet He always takes care of them.

You likely have needs that are very real and weigh on you today. I encourage you not to worry or complain. Worrying and complaining don’t change anything. They only alter your emotional state of being and rob you of God’s promises.

God has come through time and time again. He may not always do what we’d like when we’d like, but He always does the right thing. He’s never early or late, but He’s always on time. Start rejoicing right now!

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Got Self-Control?

Proverbs 25:28A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls (NLT).

I believe this verse paints a great picture of what a person with, or without, self-control looks like. Self-control is a form of protection for us. Our lives are like a city. When we practice self-control, we fortify the walls that surround and protect us. We are safe, secure, and at peace.

On the other hand, if we don’t control ourselves, those walls crumble around us and open the door for danger, insecurity, and chaos. Many people indulge in destructive behaviors because they lack self-control. The walls have crumbled around them, and they put themselves in compromising situations. Good people wind up doing bad things because they lack self-control.

Use wisdom. Think before you speak. Don’t give into temptation. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you develop the fruit of self-control in your life. If you’ve lived without it for a while, today is a great time to start over.

*Check out http://www.amazon.com/author/mikejonker for more info and resources.

*Contact us at JMI, P. O. Box 135, Forest Hill, LA 71430.