Posts Tagged ‘daily devotion’

The Life I’ve Always Wanted

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I’ve been reading a book for my journey group (part of Oak Leaf) by John Ortberg called, The Life You’ve Always Wanted. I’ve already found several quotes that I’ve put down in my journal, but thought I’d start posting some of them here.  The chapter for this week is basically about living in the “now”, enjoying life while you have it.

Carpe diem has always been a philosophy of mine, I chose to avoid saying “no” as much as possible when I was in college. I may have been studying or writing a paper, but if someone from the hall came in my room and asked me to go to grab a bite to eat or run to Walmart with them, I would stop what I was doing and go. This probably wasn’t the smartest thing as far as my grades were concerned, but I loved every minute of my experience. I still to this day will generally stop what I’m doing if someone calls and wants to go grab some food or catch a movie or a game. I love experiencing life. Anyway, here is the quote; I thought it was a good example of grass-is-always-greener syndrome–someday you’ll miss the opportunities you chose not to take advantage of:

We all live with the illusion that joy will come someday when conditions change. We go to school and think we will be happy when we graduate. We are single and are convinced we will be happy when we get married. We get married and decide we will be happy someday when we have children. We have children and decide we will be happy when they grow up and leave the nest–then they do, and we think we were happier when they were still at home (68).


Are You Discouraged in Devotion

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Verse: “Yet lackest thou one thing; sell all that thou hast…and come, follow Me.
– Luke 18:22

Quote: “Our Lord never pleaded, He never cajoled, He never entrapped; He simply spoke the sternest words mortal ears ever listened to, and then left it alone.”

God wants to give you every opportunity possible to live the life He has designed for you, but He is not going to force you to; that does Him no good. He also isn’t going to promise you that everything will be easy for you, because it more than likely is not going to be. God lays out the truth, and lets you decide what to do with it.

Chambers says that if Christ’s words have never pierced you the way they did the rich man from the above verse, then you have probably never heard Christ speak. That is to say that until you are completely His, there is always something in your life that you don’t want to be reminded of, and when a rebuke comes with the undeniable authority of the voice of Christ, it penetrates deep down and shakes you to the core.

The rich man heard the penetrating voice and left discouraged, but Christ knows that His Word never returns void, so He allowed the man to leave. When you feel discouraged, remember that no one lives the life of Christ on their own strength. Give to God all that He asks, and trust that He will get you to where He wants you to be.

Confess and Forsake

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

Verse: “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”
– Proverbs 28:13

Quote: “Furthermore, we must forsake the evil: having owned our fault, we must disown all present and future intent to abide in it. We cannot remain in rebellion and yet dwell with the King’s Majesty. The habit of evil must be quitted, together with all places, companions, pursuits, and books which might lead us astray.”

Today Spurgeon tells us that the sinner’s “business” is to confess and forsake his sin. I love his line of owning our fault, and then disowning our connection with the sin. You cannot truly be healed from sin until you do both of those completely. You must take full responsibility for the sin, not shirking the blame off on anyone, then take every measure not to engage in that sin again.

It is not easy as humans to disassociate ourselves with certain creature comforts that we might have, but if there is a specific person, or restaurant, or TV show, or personal goal, or whatever that is making you more susceptible to sin, you must distance yourself from it immediately. There is nothing in this life that is more valuable than your relationship with the Father, and as we discussed yesterday, there is no room for sin in that relationship.

It is easy for us to downplay sin because it is everywhere, and we are born with the inclination towards it, but let us not forget that sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross, and it is still what separates us from God. However, God continues to love us, and invite us back into fellowship with Him. Confess and forsake your sin, and walk hand in hand with the Creator once again.

Signs of the New Birth

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Verse: “Ye must be born again.
– John 3:7

Quote: “The effective working of the new birth in us is that we do not commit sin, not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have stopped sinning.”

Not the immediate reaction to the new birth, but the “effective working” will produce in us the functioning life of Christ Jesus. 1 John 3:4-9 paints a detailed portrait of sin’s role in the life of a Christian: “No one who is born of God will continue to sin.”

Does this mean that if you sin you have never received the saving grace of Jesus Christ? No, what it means is that if you truly accepted God’s free gift of salvation and committed your life to Him, then you would pursue the life of Christ until you are living it out in actuality. God has given us the power over sin, and He commands us not to sin, so it is up to us to act out what God freely gives in the form of redemption.

If we have been born of God, sin is not in our nature; we have been given a new nature where sin has no place. When you sin, you are putting on your old, rotting flesh and parading around like a sheep in wolves clothing. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that “God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” This means that when you sin, it is a deliberate act of separating yourself from God and refusing His help.

To live a sinless life after your new birth is commanded, not suggested.

My 5 (almost 6) year old nephew understands this, so it cannot be too difficult to grasp. I wish I could remember the verbatim conversation he had with my brother where he decided he wanted to tell everyone to stop sinning, because it’s what God wants. Great story. Maybe he’ll post it on his blog before long.


Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Verse: “Despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him.
– Hebrews 12:5

Quote: “Sanctification is not my idea of what I want God to do for me; sanctification is God’s idea of what He wants to do for me…”

We have to let go of the idea that God simply wants to give us the desires of our heart, and learn that God wants to shape our heart so our desires match His. God has a specific plan for our lives, and as soon as we learn that His plan is better than ours, the sooner we will live a fulfilled life.

It is not that we are helpless, thoughtless creatures; it is that He is the Almighty Creator, and His ways are far greater than ours. We are not changing our lives to allow room for Him; God sacrificed everything to allow room for us.

This Experience Must Come

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Verse: “And he saw him no more.
– 2 Kings 2:12

Quote: “If you want to know whether God is the God you have faith to believe Him to be, then go through your Jordan alone.”

The reference to “your Jordan” is from the story that today’s verse is taken out of. In verse 12, Elisha, Elijah’s student, has just witnessed his master being taken up into heaven by fiery chariots and horses. Elisha had witnessed countless miracles during his ministry, but up until now they had all been called upon by Elijah.

Back just a few verses in verse 8, Elijah parted the Jordan so the two of them could pass to the other side. Now Elisha is at the bank of the river without his master, needing to cross. Without hesitating, Elisha calls on the God of his master to part the Jordan and crosses it alone.

It is good to study under strong, Godly people in your life, but there will come a time when you have to face obstacles on your own. Only then will you truly put your faith in God’s omnipotence to the test. If God is the God He claims to be, then you can go through any trial with Him alone. Learn to rely completely on God’s goodness, and nothing this world throws can shake you.

The Sacrament of the Saint

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Verse: “Let them that suffer according to the will of God, commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well-doing.
– 1 Peter 4:19

Quote: “To choose to suffer means that there is something wrong; to choose God’s will even if it means suffering is a very different thing.

Suffering by itself is never a good thing—it is the result of the evil that man brought into this world. However, remaining patient during your suffering and continuing to trust God through every situation is a blessed opportunity to glorify the Father.

God doesn’t want to see any of His children suffer, but He does want to see them remain loyal to them in the inevitable darknesses of this life. Don’t look for suffering, but do look for God in your suffering.

Prayer in the Father’s Hearing

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Verse: “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me.
– John 11:41

Quote: “God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God is formed in me the Father will always hear my prayers.”

What an amazing promise! It is easy for us to take the effects Christ’s sacrifice for granted because it’s all we’ve ever known, but through His death on the cross, Jesus opened up a direct line of communication between us and the Father. God hears and answers our prayers because we pray on behalf of the life of Christ hid within us. This is an enormous blessing that we should daily take full advantage of.

Prayer in the Father’s Honour

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Verse: “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
– Luke 1:35

Quote: “Am I continually saying with amazement to my common-sense life—why do you want to turn me off here? Don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?”

That quote doesn’t really go with either the title or the verse for today’s devotion, but it struck a chord with me. I often find myself struggling with what seems like my natural instinct to behave a certain way, and I usually just try to deal with it. But I like the picture of actually rebuking my flesh when it tries to lead me away from where God has me.

That thing that was born in you when you submitted yourself to Jesus Christ was the life of the Son of God. You must act accordingly now to the new life that is in you, letting nothing interfere with you being face to face with your Father.

Neither to the Right nor the Left

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Verse: “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.”
– Joshua 1:7

Quote: “Ours is to be a straightforward course, which bends neither to the right nor to the left. We are not to err by being more rigid than the law, nor turn out of levity to a more free and easy way.”

I try to quote the verse in the same version that is presented in the devotion I am reading. I did that today, but was very tempted to “modernize” it, though I trust you get the point.

Balance is key. It’s often said that Satan’s greatest tool is using half-lies. If you start with something true and then twist it, you are less likely to notice that you have gone astray. God’s Word warns us sternly to pay close attention to our course, and continually look to God for direction lest you “bend” to the right or the left.

As Christians, we have just as much tendency to make the law more tedious as we do to ignore it altogether. Remember that it was the teachers of the law who conflicted more with Jesus during His time here on earth, because of their rigidness. Spend time communicating with the God of the Law, follow as He leads, and you will remain in His light.