Devotionals
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October 10, 2017, 5:00 AM

Would you say pride is clouding your judgment when it comes to your priorities, respect for authority and current pace of life?


When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble there is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2

What is pride?  We all recognize it when we see it. Prideful people have an inflated opinion of themselves.  They presume their thoughts, opinions and ways are always right.  Pride rejects and resents wise instruction and correction. Let’s be honest: prideful people get on our nerves. But, what is pride, really? Pride is self-delusion!  Pride happens when we demand the status and position only reserved for God.  Pride happens the moment we refuse to acknowledge our dependence upon God. We think that unlike other people we are immune to the crash and can handle everything that comes our way.

 

Yet, consider today’s words from Proverbs. Pride is not just an annoying character trait.  It brings disgrace and, eventually, destruction. If we choose pride, and refuse to humble ourselves before God, He will oppose us. Most of us do not set out to be prideful and self-centered.  Our intention is to be good.  However, it is our direction, not our intention, that determines our destination. Pride is one of the traits that causes us to continue to push. Why do the humble have wisdom?  It is because the humble do not trust their motives and tremble before God’s Word.  They take correction, quickly confess their mistakes and alter their lives accordingly.  In sharp contrast, the proud deceive themselves into ignoring the reality of their conduct and rush headlong onto a path of destruction.

 

What is your direction?  Are you on a prideful path?  You must examine yourself closely.  Identify the seeds of pride in your life and root them out quickly and completely.  Seek after God in such a way that your life is changed because you are being formed more closely in His image. Would you say pride is clouding your judgment when it comes to your priorities, respect for authority and current pace of life? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, give me eyes to see my prideful ways and ears to hear wise advice and counsel.  Lord help me root out the pride in my life and keep me from disgrace.  I acknowledge my complete and total dependence upon You and humble myself before You.  Jesus grant me the resolve to actively take a posture of humility so that I might gain wisdom and be formed more closely in Your image.  In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




October 9, 2017, 5:00 AM

Do you find yourself more dependent on God in your strengths or weaknesses?


My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:5-8

 

These verses have a beautiful motif—that God is powerful and all that we need. This truth should produce joy and peace. The Lord is strong! In our daily lives, or at least in mine, I can forget that simple idea. I forget that God is big and beautiful, but more than that I forget that He is powerful. I limit Him to the scope of my tiny world. I limit Him to the abilities of my mind. I limit Him to my circumstances, but He is a limitless God. He is infinite in all that He can do and in all His ways and I so often forget that He is. But that is part of learning who He is and walking with Him, remembering His ways and remembering Him. As we learn to constantly live with Him, during the sprints of life and during the dark times, we slowly learn to bring Him into each moment. And when we reach a place where we are consistently reminded of His character and we are absolutely in awe of all that He is, that is when our weaknesses, our circumstances, and our pride all fall to the wayside.

 

When He is magnified in our lives, it changes our entire world and perspective. It is not enough to know our weaknesses; we must know who He is. It is in the moments of learning who God is that our weaknesses are paradoxically multiplied and yet overshadowed. When we stare at perfection, our faults blaze. And yet, standing in the presence of Him who knew no wrong, He covers us in His blameless blood. We are at once overcome with our imperfections and His goodness. It is in our darkest places that His light shines brightest. It is in the place of our greatest inabilities that His ability is overwhelming. It is in our weaknesses that God has the biggest space to move. In my own life, it is when I am completely helpless, desperate in my weakness, where I see God move the most. It’s when I am stretched—in my finances, emotions, job, ministry, and relationships—that my cries become dependent on God.

 

It is when I recognize that I cannot do something and gently open up my clutched fingers, that I see my faithful God come in and work with a power that is beyond words. It is when I recognize my limits and inability when God shows up. But I don’t want to only recognize my limits in my weaknesses; I want to recognize my limits in my strengths. For I most often forget to invite God to be with and work within me when I am operating out of my strengths. But even in my strengths, my abilities pale in comparison to what He is and all He has to offer.  Now, this is not to say that we each don’t have talents or abilities or that He doesn’t work through those, but it is to say that we often 1) limit God to our talents, 2) avoid opportunities because we are terrified of our weaknesses, or 3) miss God partnering in and multiplying our strengths because we think we’ve got a grasp on it. The goal should be to invite Him into every area, both our weaknesses and our strengths.

 

Inviting Him into each area becomes easier the more you know His character and His ways. The more you know Him, the more your life is shaped by reliance on Him. Our lives should characterized by our dependence on God. Do you find yourself more dependent on God in your strengths or weaknesses? What does partnering with God in both your strengths and weaknesses look like? In what ways are you in awe of God?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, You are beautiful in all of Your ways. Lord allow me see a different part of who You are today. Jesus I ask that You lift the veil of my stubborn self to see my strengths and weaknesses in the light of all that You are. As I walk through my day show me where I am depending fully on myself. Let my strengths and weaknesses not be hindrances in my relationship with You, but rather tools to further glorify Your name and become ever more like You. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




October 8, 2017, 12:40 AM

What issues are you gathering information about to buttress your own beliefs rather than seeking understanding and encountering truth?


All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalm 119:160

 

Our words and our minds have the power to create realities that shape how we view the world and our part in it. Sadly, we are prone to remain stuck within them. Why? Because they require little effort on our part and we are able to avoid the hard work required of seeking out what is true. These false realities influence the way we interact or label others. They fool us into believing that what we are seeing, feeling and thinking is true. They confirm our biases, viewpoints and limited perspective. These strongholds reside nowhere close to freedom and peace. Not only do they leave us divided as a person, but they enable division to take root in our communities. A world without truth isn’t wrong, it’s insane.

 

Because we can want wrong things and believe wrong things, we can’t depend on them to lead us to life. So, what else do we have? How can we experience the security and purpose we crave? It comes only when we are willing to mine for truth and wisdom. We have to put our agenda to the side and be willing to seek out truth in a way that sets us free. The truth provides us a foundation that is strong enough to support the weight of our desires. Understanding truth establishes the essence of reality. Not only that, but it gives us purpose. We were made for life with God and life for God. We were created in the image of God’s compelling beauty and greatness and were made to display that beauty and greatness in everything we do. The way of Jesus is the redemption of that image and the power by which we actually live in a way that reflects His glory.

 

Scripture speaks of the tongue having the power of death and life. When our words are disconnected from the truth, we create false realities. Knowledge is designed to connect our souls to the truth while language was designed to express our soul’s desire for freedom. Language doesn’t simply communicate, it expresses. It helps us understand and articulate truth.  Unfortunately, we have the tendency to use our words to conceal and avoid the truth. We play word games in order to avoid looking inside of our heart. Yet, God desires truth in our innermost being. Truth is discovered as it is revealed. The knowledge we seek must reach beyond what we want or hope to be true and instead be anchored to the truth. The ways of Jesus is very different then the ways of this world, which are filled with shortened truths and diminished realities.

 

Together, as a community, we can bring a force of sanity into our culture by being a place of grace and truth. What issues are you gathering information about to buttress your own beliefs rather than seeking understanding and encountering truth? What does the Gospel do to this issue?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, help me to seek Your truth and not my way. Lord give me eyes to see where I’ve created false realities that go against the truth of who You are, how You love me, and the purposes You’ve given me. Jesus help me seek wisdom that guides my steps, influences my speech, and grounds my actions in Your love and grace. In Your name, Jesus. Amen. 




October 7, 2017, 5:00 AM

In what places are you ignoring the implications of God’s Truth in order to protect your own?


The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Isaiah 29:13

 

We see what we want to see. We are masters at looking for what fits our agenda and disregarding everything else. We use our mind to either find truth or hide truth. If one believes the glass is half empty, then everywhere they turn they will see a world that always hands them lemons. When one tunes into a political debate, everything they encounter will be viewed through the lens of their party affiliation meaning they can dismiss everything the other political pundit is saying. If you watch a movie knowing the surprise twist at end, you begin to notice clues that went unseen during your first viewing. The lens we use to view the world shapes our response to it.

 

This principle holds true when it comes to our understanding of God and our view of His authority. If we reason God can’t be trusted, we will more than likely pinpoint the places where, from our perception, He let us down. If we feel there isn’t enough evidence to believe in God, our eyes will search for everything to confirm this point. If we can convince ourselves God is not real, we will always have a reason why we can disobey Him. We pretend that we are unsure and claim there isn’t enough evidence to submit. But, the truth is, we don’t want to submit in the first place. We want God’s ways, but on our terms. We desire God’s vision just as long as it lines up with our perspective. We all establish a standard by which we measure truth. More often than not, the standard we use is ourselves.

 

 What implications does this truth have on me? What is God asking me to do and am I willing to do it? Rather than pursuing God’s truth, our tendency is to spend our energy protecting our own truth so we can be the one calling the shots. When we find truth but don’t like its implications, we disregard and dismiss it. On the flip side, we can obey out of obligation. “Grin and bear it” defines this type of obedience. There is no joy to be found, only duty. Obedience doesn’t automatically equal a heart that is in step with God. When we go through the motions, we remain in neutral and there is no pursuit of God’s heart. Instead, just like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, our hearts can be far from God and we can be more concerned with how others perceive us than with how God sees us.  All of this speaks to the importance of testing our motives.

 

The one thing God wants from us is the very thing we can hide from everybody else- our motives. These drivers influence everything about us, including our perspective and response to authority. It could be very easy to say that we are the only ones who know what drives our behavior but that is giving us too much credit. We don’t tend to look beneath and explore our hearts. We fail to ask important questions like: What drives our behavior? What do we really want? What is it that we truly desire? God desires truth in our innermost being. This entails testing our motives and coming face to face with what drives our behavior. In order for our hearts to be captured, they must be available. In what places are you ignoring the implications of God’s Truth in order to protect your own? How are your motives influencing your response to what you see in this situation?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, I often stay at the surface and fail to explore the depths of my heart. Lord expose where my motives are off base and not honoring You.  As difficult as it might be, Jesus help me to encounter Your Truth and let it transform my heart. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




October 6, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where do you need to create a placeholder for your heart to catch up to your obedience?


What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. Romans 6:15-18

 

What we see affects the condition of our heart. Our heart is forged by what we encounter. For better or worse, our lives are always expressing what is inside. Yet, very few of us stop long enough to consider where our eyes are set. If we did, we’d notice that our gaze is constantly moving and doesn’t stay in any spot for very long. In our search for fulfillment, freedom and purpose, we move from one thing to another. Even though we are chronically disappointed, we continue this futile search in hopes that this time will be different. The sad reality is that most of our lives are spent responding to the things that catch our eyes. There is a big difference between what catches our eye and what has the power to capture our heart.

 

Freedom is found when we focus on who we are and let the One who defines us define our days. Freedom comes from discipline and endurance so when the time comes we will be free to respond in obedience naturally. Obedience from the heart takes time. As our hearts are changed, we are free to live out as we were made. Restrictions are liberating because they help us see what we truly want and desire. God’s commands serve as placeholders to help us do what we want to do until we want to do it. Our heart always follows our obedience. We are only free to the point we are willing to submit to God’s authority. This requires trust on our part. Trust stems from the confidence we have in the authority of God. When our picture of God grows clearer, our obedience becomes more consistent.

 

It also involves understanding how God sees us. We are His children. We are worth the life of His son. We are image bearers. We are His ambassadors in this world. When we view ourselves in this way, we begin to see the purpose behind the restrictions and commands God put in place. They are not there to oppress but to liberate. God cared about our freedom so much that He gave us the Holy Spirit to serve as our advocate and guide. When we look intently into the law, the Holy Spirit prompts us to respond in ways we could not do relying on our own strength. He opens our eyes to places where we resist obedience. He cuts to the heart of our motives not to condemn but to convict. He is always pointing us towards the way of freedom.  Where do you need to create a placeholder for your heart to catch up to your obedience?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, instead of looking to lesser things for freedom, let set my eyes on Your heart. Lord I know You desire what is best for me and You want me to walk in freedom and security. Jesus help me to understand that this only comes when I am willing to submit to Your ways. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57   Entries 46-50 of 283