Friday, January 16, 2015

Beating the Polygraph

Read: Proverbs 12:17-22

Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
                                                                                                              Proverbs 12:22 

     There is a good reason that polygraph tests are inadmissible in court – they are unreliable. A person who is subjected to a polygraph test is hooked up to a blood pressure monitor and other detectors that register changes in blood pressure, body moisture, breathing rate, and other small changes often undetectable to the human eye. The polygrapher (administrator of the test) begins the test by asking control questions to get a baseline to measure all the other responses against. Control questions are things like, “What is your name?” or “What year is it?” The way to “beat” a polygraph is to cause your baselines to register at unrealistic levels. For instance, biting your tongue causes pain that causes your blood pressure to rise. If your blood pressure is abnormally spiked during the “easy” questions, then it would not be viewed as spiking during the difficult ones. There are many other “tricks” that can be employed to cause a polygraph to be unreliable. The reason law enforcement uses polygraph testing, even though it is inadmissible in court, is most people are unable to fool the polygrapher, and the test results let detectives know if they are on the right track in apprehending the criminal or not.
     However, there is one polygraph test that can never be beaten – God’s. Lying may be able to fool some people in law enforcement, but God knows whether everything you say is the truth or not. The Bible clearly says that God not only hears every word we say, but that He also knows our thoughts. That certainly steps far outside the realm of a polygraph test. Many young men fall into a habit of “stretching the truth.” It is easy to do because they don’t want to look bad by admitting their mistake or wrongdoing. They are often surprised by the fact that a little lie got them “off the hook,” and, before long, telling a lie to escape punishment has become second nature to them. That is a dangerous way to live.
     Since God knows the truth or lie in everything you say, He can reveal those things to the world. One day, those lies will come back to hurt you as everything comes crashing down. Your reputation will be stained, your credibility will be questioned, and you honesty will be doubted by all. Lying is an abomination to God, and therefore, He cannot let it go unpunished. There may be ways to beat a polygraph, but God will never be fooled. Determine that you will be one who will always tell the truth.

Quote of the day: “Respect is earned. Honesty is appreciated. Trust is gained. Loyalty is returned.”

Thursday, January 15, 2015


   Last year I posted a schedule for reading through the New Testament on the three days per week that I did not post a devotional. I began this year by posting the Old Testament passages to read to make it through in a year, as well. However, due to time restraints and the availability of Bible Reading schedules online, I have decided to forego that for now. If you would like to supplement the days that a devotional is not posted with Bible reading, then I suggest you download a free schedule to read the Bible through in a year. Follow that schedule, and you should be able to accomplish your goal. Here is a link to a Bible Reading schedule.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

With All Purity

Read: 2 Timothy 2:14-26

Intreat…the younger [women] as sisters, with all purity.                 1 Timothy 5:1-2 

     When Joseph worked in Potiphar’s house, he had free reign of everything in the house because he had been made second-in-command. It is likely that Joseph was an attractive man, for the only thing in all the house held back from Joseph pursued him with all her might. It was Potiphar’s wife. Though daily she tried to lure Joseph to herself, he made his position quite clear in Genesis 39:9 when he said, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Unlike many compromising men who claim the girl forced herself onto them or who are too enamored by their own attractiveness to resist temptation, Joseph had learned the value of purity, and God blessed him tremendously for his stand. He realized that to compromise his purity would not only be a disservice to Potiphar and his wife, but also a sin against God. God’s desire for each young man is clearly laid out in 1 Thessalonians 4:4 – “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.”
     The world’s idea of masculinity has shifted dramatically in recent years. Where once it stood to defend a woman’s honor, now it often involves the ability to take a woman’s purity. The more women they have been able to “conquer,” the more manly they believe they are. They play on the innocence of girls who are only looking for love and security. They use those girls to satisfy their own fleshly cravings, and they discard them broken, hurt, and used. Most men would never consider robbing a store because it is seen by society as completely wrong, but somehow it is okay to steal a woman’s purity from her. True manhood does not compromise a woman’s purity; true manhood stands up to heroically protect it. True manhood sees the value in a woman’s’ purity and in his own. Your purity is your most valuable possession, and a woman’s purity is the most precious gift she has. A man who has learned to possess himself in honor has learned that wooing a woman’s heart through kindness and respect is the way that a real man wins her hand in marriage. First Timothy 5:1-2 says that a young man should treat a young lady just as he would treat his sister – with all purity.
     Too many young men are willing to sacrifice the future on the altar of the present. They care only about what is satisfying right now. They don’t look far enough down the road to realize what they are losing when they lose their purity or what they are stealing when they take a young lady’s. Determine to return manhood to its original glory by treating young ladies with the respect they deserve.

Quote of the day: “God gives the greatest battles to His strongest soldiers.”

Monday, January 12, 2015

Idols in the Heart

Read: Ezekiel 14:1-11

Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face…Therefore say unto the house of Israel…Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols.                         Ezekiel 14:3, 6

     To the current era of Christianity, the second and third commandments in the list of ten in Exodus 20 have long been regarded as almost unnecessary. Who has other gods or molds idols out of wood and then worships them? To many, it seems like a problem only the Israelites had because of the prevalence of such things in their day. Ezekiel 14 debunks those myths, however. God came to Ezekiel and told him that the men of Israel had set up idols in their hearts. He further made it clear that those idols were a stumblingblock to them, and that they were causing the people to be separated from God. To God, the solution was simple: turn away from those idols and turn back to Him, or face the wrath and punishment of God. God wasn’t looking forward to punishing them; His purpose was far more noble than that. He wanted them to be His people and He to be their God.
     God is still seeking the same relationship with His people today. He wants to reign supreme in our lives, but so many things are vying for the position that should only belong to God. I don’t suspect that you have wooden idols set up in your bedroom that you pray to every night. I would actually be concerned if you carried a “pocket god” with you that you prayed to three times a day. However, many young men have idols in their hearts that are just as ungodly, yet they seem to think it is okay to keep them there. There are many idols, but some that are more prominent than others. Media would be one example of them. This includes music, movies, video games, television, and the internet. Besides the obvious problems with some of those things being filled with ungodly images and words, they often rob the time that one should spend seeking God. Those things are not wrong, but they often take the place of a relationship with God. Money is another idol of the heart. Many young men get so enamored with making money that they are willing to compromise their convictions or miss church and youth activities to get it. They hold making money in higher esteem than they do the things of God.
     To me, it seems like the Israelites would have had an easy job getting rid of idols – take them off the mantle, destroy them, and start worshipping God alone. It is much harder today. Since the idols in the heart are invisible, they must be sought out, evaluated, then destroyed. It is best to seek and destroy them before they do the same to you.

Quote of the day: “If you want to have a heart for God you must let God have your heart.”

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Sandpaper Principle

Read: Ecclesiastes 3:10-14

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time… so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.                                                  Ecclesiastes 3:11 

     I like to work with wood. Over the years, I have made many things from toys for my kids, to coat racks, tables, wall art, and bookcases. Every single thing that I have made required some sort of sanding to produce the finished product. Without sandpaper, wood remains rough and jagged. Sandpaper is not only used for wood, either. It is used to grind down metal, polish out rust, and smooth out drywall mud on a wall. Sandpaper has hundreds of uses, but no matter what it is used for, the principle of sandpaper remains constant.  The sandpaper acts as if it were tearing down the substance it is rubbing on, but the opposite is actually true. The more work the sandpaper does of “tearing down” a material, the more it is destroyed itself, and the more polished the substance becomes that it is acting upon. Worn-out sandpaper is worth nothing, and it can never again be useful.
     The sandpaper principle works in life, as well. There are many people in the world who will try to make you feel inferior to them. They will tear down your dreams and ambitions. They will laugh at your attempts to change the world. They will mock your ideas of greatness. Often, their comments are hurtful and degrading, even to the point of making you want to quit. When people hurt you over and over, however, think of them as sandpaper. They scratch and hurt you, but, in the end, you are polished, and they are useless. Though I caution you not to take on the victim mentality (many people view constructive criticism as if they are being bullied or torn down), never let anyone convince you that you are worthless. God has placed you on this planet for a reason, and, just because your goals are loftier and your thinking is less conventional than the rest of the world, doesn’t mean that there is no place for you. You must fight against the world’s philosophy and attitudes; but remember, it is God who gave you your mind and your personality. Use it to the fullest potential of what He has planned for you regardless of what others think of you or say to you.
     So, let others say what they will. Take what criticism will help you, and let the rest go. Remember, it is you who will be made better and brighter and they who will remain useless.

Quote of the day: “Keep away from the people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great people make you feel that you, too, can become great.”     – Mark Twain

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Invisible Destroyer

Read: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

…For the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.                        1 Samuel 16:7

     Termites are known as the “invisible destroyer.” This past summer, when I was putting new siding on my house, I also had to redo the plywood that was covering the studs under the siding. What I found in a couple spots amazed me. Though they were no longer there, termites had built tunnels and burrows through some large areas in the studs of my walls. What they left behind was weak, crumbly wood that had to be replaced. I would have known I had a problem with them if they were loud, like chainsaws, and I could have taken care of them before they did any damage; but, one of the reasons termites are so effective is that they silently destroy. Termites cause major property damage each year. While they are wreaking havoc on the inside, no one can tell from the outside until it is too late. The outside of the house looks perfectly stable, but it will eventually fall. It will ultimately be revealed that termites had been there all along – slowly, silently destroying.
     Sin is also an invisible destroyer. Young men allow things like bitterness, rebellion, dishonesty, pornography, or pride to enter their lives, and it immediately starts to silently destroy them. It may be noticeable to a few people who are close to them or who consistently deal with those issues in young men, but to most people, those things are easily hidden. As invisible as they are, however, they are still destroying that young man from the inside out. It may take months or years for the destruction to be complete, but, left untreated, those things will eventually cause that young man’s life to fall apart. Though he thinks it is hidden, it will one day be revealed to all.
     The sad thing about a home destroyed by termites is that it could have easily been prevented. There are many extermination companies that can come to the house, spray a few chemicals, and eliminate the termite invasion. End of story on the destruction. That is also the sad thing about a young man who allows a festering sin to destroy his life. It doesn’t have to happen. The problem is that many young men are too proud to admit that they have a problem, or they are too in-love with their sin to let it go, though they know it is causing their downfall. The solution is to spend time with God Who can convict them of that sin, and get help from a counselor who can who can reveal ways to get victory over the sin. Do not allow sin, the invisible destroyer, to pervade another day.

Quote of the day: “The most destructive sin in your life right now is the one you are most defensive about.” – Tim Keller

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Am a Product of My Wife

Read: Acts 5:1-11

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
                                                                                                                   Proverbs 18:22 

     Next to the day I got saved, December 8, 2006, was the best day of my life. That was the day I watched my wife walk down aisle, and we said our vows in the front of the church. I had made some big decisions in my life before that point, but none were as big as deciding to marry my wife. I didn’t even realize, at the time, how important it was. Over the years, I have tried to do everything that a good husband does – providing for my wife, loving my wife like I should, taking care of her wants, protecting her. However, in all honesty, I must admit that I am a product of my wife. Let me explain. I decided early into my teen years that I was going to serve God with my life. Everything I did after that, I did with my future service to God in mind. On the other hand, the pull of the flesh never goes away, and I fight things just as everyone does. When we first began our relationship, there was a “feeling out” period where I tried to “feel out” what she believed and stood for, and she did the same to me. Of course I wanted a girl who was strong in her standards and convictions, but in the back of my mind, I hoped she was lenient and didn’t have a problem watching worldly movies or doing things like that. In other words, what she would have allowed, I probably would have allowed, and I wouldn’t be where I am today. As I look back, I realize just how important it was that she stood strong like she did. Though my flesh wanted to be satisfied, I got exactly what my spirit had hoped and prayed for.
     My point is this: whomever you marry will have a tremendous impact on who you become. That is why marriage is such an important decision. You literally will be a product of your wife. If you marry a girl with the same fleshly tendencies you have, then you encourage (or, at least, allow) each other to pursue the things of the flesh. Imagine a triangle with God at the top and you and your wife on each corner. As you each move closer to God, you will also move closer to each other. I have discovered that to be the truth in our relationship. It is so important that you seek a purpose in your life, not a person. If your purpose is to serve God wholly, then He will bring the right girl along that will strengthen your resolve to do right. A good wife will make you a better person than you already are. Beg God each day to guide you in your marriage decision; it is a fact that you will be a product of your wife.

Quote of the day: “A husband can love his wife best when he loves God most.”