Devotions
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October 13, 2017, 5:00 AM

In what situations do you need to drop your agenda and pick up your cross and follow Christ?



Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”  Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. John 12:20-26

 

Self-denial isn’t resigning one’s self to a life of misery and drudgery. The opposite is true. Dying to ourselves and living for Christ is where true joy, security and purpose are found. But, this requires work and intentionality on our part. It entails counting the cost of following Christ. We do this by exposing the areas of our heart where we are chasing comfort and convenience above all else. It necessitates being honest about the line items on our personal agenda we don’t want to scratch out. It means slowing down long enough to reflect and ponder. It begins with possessing the courage to push through comfort’s charm and head towards the specific purpose God has for our life, which leads towards a place of refinement, inconvenience and stretching.

 

The apostle Paul urges us to “work out YOUR salvation with fear and trembling” in Philippians 2:12. Once again, not a very comforting or convenient statement. Now, don’t confuse these words for a charge to earn spiritual merit badges through good works. Remember, God’s grace is a free gift. You can’t earn something that is given to you with no strings attached. So, what Paul is telling the believers in the church of Philippi, as well as us, is to put into action God’s saving work in YOUR own life. The way you go about your day should serve as a response to being loved.  Working out your salvation entails ruthless personal reflection, listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and clarifying your calling. It means possessing a willingness to say to God, “Yes, Lord I will obey….now what’s the question? I’m going to follow you wherever you lead. I’m going to trust you with who I am becoming. I am going to submit my ways to You.”

 

Christ calls each one of us to die to ourselves and pick up our cross. This is a universal command, but one that gets displayed in obedience in a variety of different ways.  Jesus calls us to follow Him, and following Him means, first and foremost, to die.  To lay down our desires, our hopes, and our dreams, and put aside anything other than full devotion to Him and His plan for our lives.  To be willing to part with the things that we so easily cling onto for life and to say to God, “I’m willing to lay them down if it means I can be used by You to bring You glory and bear fruit so that others may know You as God.” We shouldn’t overvalue comfort when we count the cost of being a disciple.  Instead, we have to choose our calling over our comfort. Clarifying your sacrifice will make room for your purpose and your calling to become clear. The time has come to put the work in so you can articulate what YOUR cross is. In what situations do you need to drop your agenda and pick up your cross and follow Christ?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, I want to stop overvaluing comfort when I count the cost of being a disciple and following You. Lord I want to do the work necessary to articulate my cross. Jesus instead of comfort, may I confidently deny myself knowing that You will use this sacrifice to make an impact. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




October 12, 2017, 5:00 AM

Where do you need to dig deeper into the truth to expose the state of your heart?



The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

 

In our minds, we create “truths” that determine our direction and influence our perspective. They are often rooted in our desire to experience freedom, peace and hope. Chasing after those things, and proving to others they are true, becomes our agenda and purpose. They are so powerful they don’t even need to be verbalized to control our mindset and lay claim to our heart. Often, they begin with the word IF. As in, if I get married, then I will finally be happy. If I had more money, then I would feel more secure. If humanity could all agree on my side of the issue, then there would be unity. Each IF/THEN statement is based upon what we think will handle the affections of our souls.

 

Yet, no matter how hard we might push for them to be true, they always leave us disappointed. They collapse under the pressure because they weren’t designed to be the source of our hope.  Truth doesn’t set us free so that we can do whatever we want. In fact, that is no freedom at all. If we’re not careful, we can use that freedom and still be enslaved through our self-absorption. This doesn’t lead to freedom, but rather frustration and futility. Why is this case? Because everything finds its meaning and purpose within the context of its relationship to God. Apart from Him nothing makes sense. The only foundation strong enough to support the weight of our desires is God’s truth. Our lives were created in the image of God to demonstrate His compelling beauty and the greatness of His love.

 

Freeing truth compels us to love. We demonstrate our understanding of God’s truth when we give our lives away. The way in which we do this flows from our relationship with our Creator and our willingness to stay connected to Him. Rather than a principle or an issue, truth is always found in the context of a relationship. Human beings are designed to relate to one another in the context of love. Whoever loves is known by God and it is this knowing that serves as the source for which we love others. The heart is the source of love while the soul and mind are instruments of love. Our hearts must be awakened to live and to love. Our minds are useful to that end. Lust, envy, anger, comparison, pride, jealousy, indifference, complacency, etc. Where do you need to dig deeper into the truth to expose the state of your heart?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, I desire to be drawn to Your truth in such a way that it is forged into my character and heart. Lord help me to trust that everything I desire and hope for finds its meaning and purpose in You. Jesus transform my mind in order to awaken my heart to Your will. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.




October 11, 2017, 9:55 AM

Where is your praise today?



Today I want to do a little different.  I think the good old enemy has been getting a lot of recognition lately and today I just want to focusing on praising the one who has delivered me from the enemy!  SO, I hope you will join me in that today! 

Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! (Ephesians 1:5)

If I told you my story
You would hear Hope that wouldn't let go
And if I told you my story
You would hear Love that never gave up
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life, but it wasn't mine

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

If I told you my story
You would hear victory over the enemy
And if I told you my story
You would hear freedom that was won for me
And if I told you my story
You would hear Life overcome the grave

If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long
This is my story, this is my song
Praising my savior all the day long

For the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him
Oh to tell you my story is to tell of Him

This is my story, this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TKAN-nAsu8

 




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.


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 58   Entries 46-50 of 286