Devotional Thoughts: True Love

If we do not know who God is we cannot be imitators of God. I’d even go as far to say that if we do not know God we do not know love. We only know something that falls very short of true love like some grand emotion our culture calls love that isn’t love at all. Some are even addicted to this rush of emotions when they meet someone new. They are mistaken. This is not love. Love is commitment. Love is sacrifice. These are not fun rushes of emotions.

Others mistake sex for love. Sex is not love. Those seeking sex before marriage seek to satisfy themselves. This is not love. This is selfishness, the opposite of love.

Jesus Christ shows us what true love is. This love cannot be understood by someone who hasn’t surrendered their life to God. All other things we call love in our culture fall short of this true love, sacrificial love, the kind that cannot even be explained. To the one who doesn’t know God this probably sounds like you’re setting yourself up to be taken advantage of: “giving yourself up as a sacrifice.” As a follower of God, as one who seeks to walk in God’s ways sacrifice actually brings joy.

To know God is to know love. Without this relationship we cannot walk in love or be an imitator of God. All other attempts at love will fail and fall short of this great love God has intended for us.

Devotional Thoughts: Freedom

Freedom, it’s the celebration of independence here today in the United States. Freedom brings free will here on earth in ways that are beautiful but in other ways that are dangerous. The follower of Jesus does not abuse freedom like the one who chases after evil things does. We do not have to look very far to find abuses of freedom.

This verse in Galatians isn’t talking about the kind of freedom we celebrate today, but the freedom I have in Christ from sin. There’s no freedom greater than this kind! This verse precedes two powerful verses:

“14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

Freedom in Jesus Christ changes us and gives us a desire to love others, even the unlovable. This freedom propels us to serve God and one another, to value every human being regardless of any differences we can fathom or name. If we do not do this we are in danger of devouring and consuming one another. We are so divided and this grieves God. Thinking I’m more important than another goes against God’s principles. We can only live today as God wills us to and that is the most radical lifestyle one can choose!

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was fueled by his Christian Faith, not political activism. Most politicians aren’t willing to lay down and die for a political agenda, but those who serve God stand for more than a political agenda. We are to be God’s representatives on this earth. This is not something we take lightly. We should not take this for granted! What am I doing with my freedom? Am I loving my neighbor as myself?

Devotional Thoughts: Beauty & Worry

Do not worry my friend! God takes good care of His people. In a time of such uncertainty there’s a lot to worry about. This verse is nestled inside of the Sermon on the Mount. Before this verse we are told to give to the needy, taught how to pray in The Lord’s Prayer, spoken to about fasting and we are then instructed to not store up treasures on earth but in Heaven.

So much hooplah these days about how we look and what we wear. We are not our bodies! The part of me that will last forever is the soul. My body is temporary, so why would I spend time and money getting Botox, face lifts and lyposuction? This temple will DIE. My body is just a temporary home. Time is best spent on heavenly things. What are these heavenly things? Living out our faith to the best of our ability and choosing obedience. When we do this we do heavenly things. We make a mark on eternity looking different than if we hadn’t stepped out in faith and obeyed.

In Heaven I won’t need Botox! My body will be perfect. It won’t have any faults. We don’t know anything without fault here in this life. There’s not even anything to compare this to. We do from time to time talk about someone’s inner beauty. I’d certainly rather be known for inner beauty than outward beauty. There are many people our culture so considers beautiful they are even worshiped. Some of these, if we met them, would probably be ugly inside. True beauty only comes from God. If we want to be beautiful we need to repent of our sin and turn and follow God. God changes the heart and soul; we do not.

Young ladies, do not let media images shame you. If you belong to God you have an eternal beauty that is second to none! Don’t listen to the evil voices of this world tell you. Listen to that soft, still, powerful voice of God and you’ll have a beauty people won’t even understand.

So, don’t worry about what’s for dinner! We aren’t and greater or lesser if we just have a PB&J sandwich at home or if we dine in a lavish restaurant. There’s a large banqueting Table we are invited to, it’s just not time yet.

My beauty is the same whether I’m wearing something I bought in a thrift store or whether I’m wearing the finest linens. As a teen I was quickly cured of my name brand loyalty when I accepted Christ. My identity wasn’t tied up in a brand name everyone else was wearing. I didn’t feel that need to fit in so much anymore. I fit in the most important heavenly space and that’s what mattered most to me. This felt like freedom, like coming out of a place of bondage that enslaved me as a teen who was trying to fit in everywhere. I remember being one way with a certain group and another way in another place. I wasn’t happy with myself. Just giving my life over to God freed me from so much! Everyone who’s waited to do this tells me they really regret they didn’t do it sooner once they’ve arrived on the other side. Come on over! There’s sweetness here! There’s freedom in your soul like you’ve never imagined!

Devotional Thoughts: God and Nature

God’s glory and handiwork is all around us. Problem is I find I miss it many times because of my busyness. I’m running to and fro concerned with the tasks at hand. Moments of just stopping can be so Holy. Without these I cannot hear God or appreciate the very beauty God has bestowed over all creation.

God’s glory is declared all around us. Some mistake this as nature itself but nature is just another reflection of God. God uses what He created to draw us to himself. We are drawn to nature because of the One who created it. God is much more beautiful than anything God created.

The sky especially sparks moments of wonder in our minds and souls. When gazing at the stars we have a sixth sense that there’s something more, something greater. We feel small but connected viewing the stars and sky. None of this is by accident. God planned it this way.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a sunset. I know I’m missing out and need to place space for more holy pauses in my life. These moments with God fuel me, encourage me and bring me peace.

In this day and age we spend such great volumes of our time in front of screens. Might we be missing God’s glory that’s just a few steps away, right outside our door. Step outside and experience God’s handiwork. There’s nothing more amazing!

Devotional Thoughts: Fighting, Revenge and Silence

Israelite slaves have just followed Moses out of Egypt. Liberation, hope, excitement and disbelief! Fear set in… Moses, have you brought us here to die? It’s better for us to live as slaves than to die here in the desert! Nobody could have ever predicted what happened next! Moses had been with God. He had his instructions. He was an incredible leader. The people complain and Moses raises his staff and walls of water swell up! God’s people cross over the Red Sea and the enemy is swallowed into the sea.

This verse I featured in the pic on this post comes from the ESV. Instead of be silent other versions say, be still, and hold your peace. I don’t know about you but I think being silent is pretty much something that has left the building in our society. We all have an opinion on everything and feel like it’s our God-given right to express it all over the place. Yes, these Israelite slaves were doing just that, expressing fear and discontentment with Moses and where he led them. Their experience of breaking free from slavery wasn’t enough of a miracle for them to trust Moses and believe he is God’s chosen leader for them? I don’t care who we are or what circumstance we find ourselves in there’s always the opportunity to complain and bring others down or to just hush, be silent, be still and trust God. When momma said, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all,” she may or may not have known this concept comes straight out of the Bible!

This verse doesn’t just address this but also says the Lord will fight for you. How many of us really believe God fights for us? Most of us are probably pretty oblivious to how God advocates and fights for us. Our job isn’t to fight! It’s God’s job! Our job is to be quiet, trust and obey even when we are sitting in the middle of the desert and we feel like complaining, crying and questioning. We cannot even see what’s on the other side. God knows tomorrow, and the next day and the next. If I’m a follower, a disciple, a child of God who who walks in God’s ways I need not fight. I need to be quiet, be still, be silent and let God handle His job. God doesn’t even need my protection. God wants me to do His work here in the world, not share my personal opinion and critique everything. The one who is caught up in this lives in their own bondage. Let’s do our best to be quiet, trust, be calm and keep walking. God’s got this. Let revenge be of the Lord. Nobody can level the playing field like God can!

Devotional Thoughts: Seeking God

I’ve learned in my life that the greatest blessings come when I seek God first, when I seek to eliminate sinful things one by one. I’m so much better at this than I was as a young person seeking out my place in the world. Choosing these Kingdom things brings with it a wealth of gifts we cannot even foresee before we made the choice. We cannot see what’s behind that door or down that road until we make the selection. Choosing to seek God and to walk in God’s ways has brought a peace into my life. I have an assurance. These are holy things that are God given.

I just returned from a vacation on a ship with my husband. Amazing how they were trying to convince us what we needed as we sailed along: 600 dollar photos, spa treatments, free money now for making a deposit on a future vacation, and the list goes on and on… all these things are fleeting and will be gone pretty quickly. It’s when I seek God first that the greatest of riches come. No, I’m not speaking of a prosperity gospel here, I’m talking about those priceless things that even the richest man cannot buy.

This verse is a promise given to those who dare to seek. Seeking can come with an element of fear for sure, but the greatest disappointment will be for the one who never searched for God, The one who lived their own selfish way without regard for God. So as we cruised along I knew I’m not lacking. I don’t need all those temporary things they’re trying to sell me.

Our best time was time with friends before we even stepped foot on the ship. Friends made in seminary bring sweet fellowship, one of those heavenly gifts to the one who seeks God. The other sweet gift was taking one of our young men who is in the Marines to dinner and connecting him so he can grow more in his faith. These things make a heart sing in ways no material possession can!!

Seek first the Kingdom of God. Doing this adds inexplicable joy into one’s life! Let’s examine our priorities today and press on brothers and sisters!

Devotional Thoughts: Asking & Abiding

Asking, prayer, abiding… only those who abide in Christ know how to ask. Of course, anyone can ask but those who abide share God’s desires. They are called to live the life God has laid out for them. This kind of praying is deep. It’s connected to the Kingdom. It’s not even from this world. Those who abide know this place. They have experienced the deep pain that only God knows and sees. Those who abide also know God is alive and well and listens. God guides and directs those who abide. Those who choose not to abide do not understand. Here’s the verse that precedes this verse:

6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. ESV

Those who abide are like a flourishing greenery. Those who do not abide are withering away, dry. They seek what those who abide have without even knowing it. God loves each one. Life is a supernatural gift given by God. We cannot waste this gift. It’s short, our time here.

Abide, draw near to God. Listen to the soft, holy voice waiting to speak into your soul. This feeds the soul like nothing else can. This gives peace. This gives purpose and this gives a life that flourishes by God’s standards.

So, when I ask I first need to abide. Then my asking is aligned with God and is granted. When I’m able to see this in this life it’s amazing and confirms I belong elsewhere. Our asking truly reflects our faith. God is faithful.

Devotional Thoughts: Ask for The Gift: The Spirit

God desires to give us the gift of His Holy Spirit. This verse instructs us to ask for the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is our Guide our Comfort, our Strength. Yes God will grant this indescribable Gift to us! We need only to ask and follow. Those who do not follow don’t even have it in their heart to ask. they need to know and it’s up to us to tell them.

Verses 9-12 that precede this verse say,”9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for[d] a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”

We do not have because we do not ask. Those shallow in faith ask for success, personal advancement, material things and selfish wants. What could happen if we all just prayed for the gift of the Spirit this week? Ask! Knock! Our Heavenly Father has a great Gift! It’s the gift of Himself! There’s no greater Gift. Without the Spirit I am nothing.

Even the most horrible people can be good to their child. God is lightyears greater than any gift I can give my child. So then we can conclude the greatest thing we can pass on to our children is God Himself who will walk with them long after we’re gone.

The Spirit is just as much God as God is God. Three in One. I don’t know about you, but I will ask, seek and knock so I can be all God wants me to be. God loves us in an unfathomable fashion. No, none of us deserves this. We are unworthy but God is so good to us anyway.

Devotional Thoughts: Fathers & God

Happy Father’s Day! I know there are many compassionate fathers in the world. For them we are all grateful. They reflect for us the love God has for us. They help us know love so we can in turn love others.

For many others Father’s Day is a painful reminder their father abandoned them, abused them or simply has passed away and the void of their presence is deeply felt. It can be bittersweet.

No matter what our circumstance is, please know God is tender towards his children. God desires to bless us. If we lack blessing it’s because we choose to live our lives apart from God’s ways. Yes we all reside in this sinful world but we have the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide us, sustain us, empower us and walk with us if we choose. A compassionate father does not force himself upon us and neither does God.

We subconsciously see God as like our earthly fathers. This needs great evaluation as no human can measure up to God. It’s so easy to be misguided. Read the Bible and let God speak for Himself today.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: