Devotions for faith trust n love…..


amazing picture of Jesus Christ

Devotions are times when you focus on the person of God in prayer and/or the Bible and set your heart and mind on his divine truth.  Devotions are quiet times of reflection, confession, examination, and worship.  Our devotions must be Christ centered and seek to move us into a more intimate and personal relationship with our Lord.

Some of the devotions are aimed at the heart, others at the mind.  Both are needed and both need to be perfected in our walk with Christ.

Living a devotional life isn’t easy.  It takes work, humility, prayer, and study of God’s word.  When we meditate, we do not empty our minds, we seek God and focus on His words, His truth, His Son, and His love.

Some steps of Devotions :

Humility

Are you humble?  I have a friend who jokingly says, “I’m proud of my humility.”  The funny thing is that he actually is one of the more humble men I know.  He and I both realize that humility is no joke.  It is a hard thing to master.  If I say I am humble, then am I humble?  If I think I’m humble, am I?  Or what if I say, “In my humble opinion, I’m not very humble,” then what do I do?

What is humility?  Biblically there are several facets to humility, but I want to focus on that aspect that deals with our relation to God.  Therefore, humility is the right understanding of who you are before God.  Notice, I did not say it means that you have to hate yourself, or call yourself names, or say you aren’t worth anything, etc.  Humility is that quality of a Christian that demonstrates a right relationship and position before God.  This demonstration is manifested in attitude, words, and deeds.  John the Baptist was humble: “And he was preaching, and saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals,” (Mark 1:7).  He knew who he was in relation to Jesus.  Remember the parable of the tax gather inLuke 18:9-14 where he said, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner”? Jesus called him humble.  He knew that before God, he was a sinner.

How about you?  Are you humble before your Lord — don’t answer.  Instead, think of who Jesus is, His holiness, His greatness, His majesty, His love, His sacrifice, etc.  And remember that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming one of us, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross,” (Phil. 2:8).  Then, ask yourself if you are humble or not.

Romans 12:3 says, “For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith,” (NASB).  God does not want us to think too highly of ourselves.  Instead, he wants us to think soundly.  Whenever I start getting prideful and begin thinking that I know a lot about the Bible, or how big my website is, or whatever else I can boast about, the Lord reminds me of how utterly pompous I really am.  Does God need me to carry out His will on this earth?  Nope.  Does He need me to answer tough questions for people?  Nope.  Does He need me to “get things done”?  Nope, not at all.  He doesn’t need me at all.  That is why it is really amazing that He uses me in spite of what I am inside.  Now, THAT is grace!  Praise God!  What I need to do is listen to Him, look to the cross, love God first, love my neighbor second, and not think more highly of myself than I ought.  Oh Lord, I pray that you would fill my heart with humility as I look to your Son, that you would not let me think more highly of myself than I ought, and that I would love you and honor you.

We need to be humble for many reasons, but 1 Pet. 5:5 has a good one to focus on:  “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” I don’t want God to oppose me.  I suspect you don’t want Him to oppose you either.  It is good to be humble before people and to be thought of as nice and kind and not proud, but our humility before God is where we need to start, not with people. We need to start with our relationship with Him that can only come through a proper relationship with Jesus.  We need to be humble before God and dependent up Him, seeking His will.  Therefore,  prayer, the place of dependence upon God, is the practice of humility before God.  When we let our souls bask in the presence of God, we find out who we really are:  sinners, saved by grace, and kept by His love.  And, as Moses’ face shined because of being in the presence of God, so too will your heart reflect the humility and love of Jesus as we spend time with Him in prayer.  Seek Jesus and you will find perfect Humility.

Feeling Spiritually dry 

Have you ever felt as though you couldn’t hear the Lord’s voice if He were next to you shouting your name?  Have you been, or are you now in, a period of spiritual dryness?  If you have had a spiritually dry time and are now past it, then praise God.  If, however, you are in the midst of one, then maybe this can help you.

First of all, it isn’t necessarily bad to be in a spiritually dry place — unless it is because of sin.  If we commit a sin that we know the Lord wants us to abandon, then He often withholds His fellowship from us.  We sense a distance between the Lord and ourselves, and it hurts.  Of course, this does not mean that the Lord is abandoning us, nor does it mean He does not love us.  If anything, it is a demonstration of His love to let us feel broken fellowship since it moves us to repentance.

On the other hand, spiritual dryness can be a specific time that the Lord wants us to go through as a time of testing and of preparation.  The Lord will allow us to be tested into order to refine our faith.  Think about it.  Do we stay Christians because of the feeling of fellowship we have with the Lord or is it because we trust in Jesus, God in flesh (John 1:1,14), as our Savior and Lord (Jude 4)?  We are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1) and our assurance of salvation is found by faith, not by feeling.  After all, “The just shall live by faith,” (Hab. 2:4).  Therefore, The Lord can use a spiritually dry time to cause us to examine what and who our faith is in so that we might rest assured in the cross, and not our feelings that can deceive us (Jer. 17:9).

Spiritual dryness can also be a time of preparation.  Most every major person in the Bible that was used mightily of God had to go through a desert time.  This includes Moses, Elijah, Jesus, and Paul.  Being in a place where we are dry, waiting, wanting, praying, examining, etc., is often the proving ground of strength and refinement.  Then, after this time is completed, the thing that we have been prepared for comes upon us.  Sometimes this preparation is for hardship, sorrow, and pain.  Other times it is for blessing, reward, and ministry.  Remember, the Lord has not saved us to be trophies on a shelf.  We are instruments in His hands to be used in the world.  This usage requires that we be able to be used, able to be sent, able to trust the Lord in spite of what we see and feel!  Hence, the time of spiritual dryness that is a time of preparation.

What do you do in a time of spiritual dryness?  First of all, you should ask the Lord to reveal any unconfessed sins of which you have not repented.  If He reveals anything to you, then confess it as sin and repent of it — even if it is a sin you have committed so many times before.  Second, you must read your Word regularly.  Third, you must pray regularly.  And fourth, you must trust the Lord through this.  You must look to Him and remember that He loves you greatly and will never forsake you.  In this, your faith will be perfected, your character improved, your walk strengthened, and you will be prepared for the tasks ahead that the Lord has called you to encounter.

And finally, in the midst of your dryness, offer praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.  Do not let your feelings rob you of the opportunity to praise and thank God even when the times are not so great.  Remember, it is easy to praise God when things go well.  But the true men and women of Christian character praise God through the trials as well

 

The Fruit of Spirit 

Gal. 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Now, quick, without looking, how many fruit are there of the Spirit?  Take a guess and then count to see if you got it right.  Did you get it right?  Did you get nine?  If you did, you’re wrong because there is only ONE fruit of the Spirit, that’s right, just one.  In Greek the word for “fruit” is “karpos” and it is in the singular.  So, to translate this a little loosely, it could read like this.  “But the single fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control…” This means that all of these graces listed are one group that go together as a unit.

Now, this little tidbit of information is important.  First of all, notice that the fruit of the Spirit is just that, of the Spirit.  It is not your fruit, but the fruit of the Spirit of God.  This is because God is love (1 John 4:8) and He lives in the believer (John 14:23).  This means that it is the work of God the Holy Spirit in you to bear this fruit.  Of course, you cooperate with God in bearing this fruit and you absolutely need to seek to develop it, but it is God who is “…at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).  Of course, we know that it is God’s good pleasure that you love and bear the fruit of love.

Second, if it is all one fruit, then all the nine things listed there are already yours in the Spirit of God.  In other words, all nine things are really one thing that you have because the Holy Spirit indwells you — if you are a Christian, that is.  You see, if you are loving, then will you not have joy?  If you are loving, will you not also have peace?  If you are loving, will you not also be patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled?   It could easily be said that love is the tree that bears the fruit of joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.  If you have love, the love of God in your heart because of your belief and faith in Jesus and His sacrifice, then all the other graces listed there are yours too.  You just need to develop them.

But, when you examine yourself you might notice that some of the fruit (speaking of individual aspects of love here) are not all that well developed.  You might be kind and good, but need to work on your patience.  You might have great joy and peace but need work on self-control and gentleness.   None of us are perfect, and we all have areas of improvement.  But, all Christians have the Spirit of God and therefore, they have the fruit of the Spirit of God in them.  It is there, if only in developing form, but it is there.

Now, this is important.  Why is it there?  I want you to focus on this following point.  The fruit of the Spirit of God is in you because, if you are a Christian, you have been bought with a price.  You have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, God in flesh (John 1:1,14), who died on the cross for your sins (1 Pet. 2:24).  It is only because of what Jesus did that you can ever hope to be good, or gentle, or kind, or patient, or loving, or anything.  You cannot truly live these things without the Spirit of God in you.

Finally, it is by faith that you walk before God (Hab. 2:4).  It is by faith that you seek the Lord and seek to manifest the love of His Spirit in you.  It is important because the unbelievers need to see those graces working in you.  They are an evidence of your conversion and a testimony of God’s indwelling.

So, ask yourself if you are loving or trying to show love not only to God but also to people.  Then, go back and count those fruit again.  When you get to “one,” stop and ask the Lord to develop that in your heart.

 

There is a God, you are not him..

One of the best things I learned in Seminary was when a professor wrote on the board “There is a God.  You are not Him.”  Boy, has that proven true!  Over the years I’ve discovered how unwise, inexperienced, and ignorant I really am.  Also, I’ve noticed that God doesn’t consult me with making decisions about running the universe.  And, if that isn’t humiliating enough, He doesn’t take any of my suggestions about how things ought to be in my own life.  I don’t understand why God doesn’t take my suggestions.  But, it comes down to one thing:  There is a God.  I am not Him!

The Mormons teach you can become gods.  The New Agers teach that you are, basically, already god(s) in nature.  Certain heretical “Christian” teachers on TV say we are little gods.  And, some religions teach that when you die you join with the god-consciousness so you can “realize your full potential in oneness with the divine essence”…or whatever that means.  They sure have high opinions of themselves.

When I look inside, I don’t find a divine nature.  I find a sinner, a person who is struggling with sin and hoping to please the true God as he stumbles through life.  I also find the indwelling Lord who has cleansed me and continues to cleans me of my sins.  Praise be to Jesus.

“There is a God. You are not Him,” is a delightful piece of truth.  Think about it.  Who created the universe?  Was it the infinite and wise God, or was it me… or you?  I have not heard whether if God consulted any of you about how universe should be run.  If He has, please let me know.  But as it stands now, He doesn’t need our help.

When I look back on my life and I remember some of the prayers and desires of my heart, I find that I’m quite happy He has not answered most of them.  Many times I have reminisced and winced at some of the immature and self-centered requests I have laid before God.  The older I get, the more my prayers include thanks to the Lord for not answering my prayers.  Now, I find myself praying that God do with me as He wills and that He teach me what He wants.

Since I am not God — and the more I realize that — the more I accept the fact that God knows a lot more than I do and is quite capable of seeing the future.  He is perfectly able to weave into my life (and yours) answers and denials to prayer requests.  In fact, He is quite good at providing for us in ways that we have never even conceived of.  He is so wise and so perfect and so incredibly good, that we can trust completely Him to hear our prayers and know what is best for us, even if we don’t lift it up to Him.

Now, sometimes this means that we must confess our ignorance before God since we do not understand why He will not answer some prayers such as healing others or saving others the way we want Him to.  But, it is not for us to decide what is and is not answered.  It is not our world.  It is God’s world.  We are His people and we are to follow Him and seek His will in our lives, no matter what it is.  He is to receive the glory, not us.

Have you tried to be the God of your own life?  Have you tried to inform God how things should be done?  Have you spent your prayer times expressing self-centered desires and wants?  I have.  But, I have also sought the will of God and asked the Lord to work His will in my life — in spite of me.  It is comforting to know that God is in control and that I am not.  It is comforting to know that God loves me more than I can imagine.  It is comforting to know that God can see the future and that He has it all mapped out for me.  It is comforting to know that I’m trusting in an infinitely good and holy God and that He will provide for me, no matter what.

If you truly understand that there is a God and that you are not Him, then you can begin to relinquish your own rights, hopes, desires, and wants and submit them to His will.  Bend your own will to submission to His work in your life.  Trust Him in all things.  He is God and you are not.

 

Trust in the Lord…

 

Who do you know that is trustworthy?  I mean, really trustworthy.  Do you know anyone that you could trust with your life?  With your money?  With your home?  If you do, then you know there is a special bond between you.  One of the reasons you are able to trust another so much is because of the character of that person.  You can’t trust a thief or a liar.  But you can trust someone who has a track record of integrity, honesty, faithfulness, etc.  So, in a very real sense, trust (faith) is only as good as the one you put it in.

God is trustworthy.  The Bible tells us to trust God.  In fact, the middle verse of the Bible is Psalm 118:9 which says “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes,” (KJV).  While we sleep, the Lord is awake.  Though we cannot see the path ahead of us with all its blessings and troubles, the Lord sees it and guides us through it with His love.  These are truths we need to hear.  Has not the Lord been ruling the world before we were born?  Most assuredly yes. Will He not rule it in the future?  Of course.  Since these are both true, then should not all of us Christians be trusting the Lord to rule not only this world but also our lives in the present?

Faith is an awesome reality when placed in the True God.  The false gods of the cults and false world religions cannot save help anyone anymore than the false gods of money, possessions, and power.  Oh sure, we can make ourselves safe by getting a good job, having good insurance, or getting check ups.  But, the reality is that all of the blessings that we receive are ultimately from the Lord (Matt. 5:43-48).  In fact, to put your trust in anything without giving glory to God, the True God, is a waste of time since it is a temporary satisfaction.  Ultimately, we will stand before God on the Day of Judgment.

If there was any time when you need to trust anyone for anything, it is on the coming Day of Judgment when the Lord Himself will judge the works and motives of all people who have ever lived.  We need a fair and righteous Judge who will impartially and perfectly administer righteousness to everyone — and that is just what will happen.  God’s holiness requires perfection and those who have sinned against Him will be judged.  You can trust God to do that and to do it correctly.  And that is the problem for us.  Because I can trust the Lord to do what is right, I must stand before Him and be judged… as will you.  But, for those of us who have trusted in Christ, we are the only ones who will escape the righteous judgment of God upon the sinners.  Only those who have trusted in the Lord Jesus, God in flesh, risen Lord, Savior, will be able rest and not fear on that Day.  Why?  Because we can trust God at His word that when He says we will be saved from condemnation if we trust in Jesus, that it is true.  You see, our trust, our faith, is only as good as who you put it in.

God is not a man from another planet (Mormonism).  Nor is Jesus a created angel (Jehovah’s Witnesses).  Jesus is not a mere prophet (Islam).  He is not a man in tune with the divine consciousness (New Age).  Nope.  Jesus is God in flesh, creator, redeemer, and the lover of our souls.

Therefore, trust in Him and in Him alone in all things.  Trust Him to be faithful to you.  Look to Him in all that you do and in all that you experience, even when it is difficult.  Remember, faith is only as good as the person in whom you put it.  Since we Christians serve the true and awesome God of the universe, our faith, our trust, will not be wasted.

 

 

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