Posts Tagged ‘devotion’

  

“O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalms‬ ‭63:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

Each year, through a unique combination of sun, wind, water, temperatures, and elevations, a miraculous transformation occurs: American deserts begin to bloom! From around March to June, beautiful plants and flowers begin to pop up and open, drawing crowds from around the nation. It’s a beautiful sight to see!

In one of his devotional insights, Greg Rowden has this thought:

“Do you find yourself easily angered, your patience is running thin, and perhaps your optimism has worn down? This happens when we don’t connect with the Lord on a regular basis. Especially during the summer and our schedules get hectic, taking time out to spend with God can be often overlooked.”

Summer fun can lead to a dried up spirit. If you neglect God for vacation, you’ll find your rest not quite as restful! Get with God and into His words today. Come to church if one is nearby! Life can create its own spiritual deserts, but you can choose to make it bloom! Be refreshed in God! You are loved today! 

  

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke‬ ‭9‬:‭23‬ NIV)

In 1821, a young Louis Braille heard an address at his school, the Royal Institute for Blind Youth in Paris, given by Captain Charles Barbier, a retired army captain. Barbier had been inspired to create a system of page bumps for soldiers to read and write messages in the dark of night. Unfortunately for Barbier, his dot system was clunky, the French language had too many symbols for him to effectively translate, and the army didn’t seem to be interested in it. 

Frustrated with the embossed lettering system at his school, 13-year-old Braille certainly was interested in the dot system, and he soon began working to make it better. Reports suggest that Louis devoted all his spare and vacation time towards this goal, over a period of two to three years! His sacrifice was worth it, creating a better way for blind individuals to learn and live, and all while still a teen!

The cornerstone of Christian living is the sacrifice of personal ambition to accomplish the greater works of God. While this may seem harsh or unjust to some, remember that God thinks and sees much better than we do, with better ends in mind! Walk daily with your cross of sacrifice! It will lead you to touching lives wherever you go! You are loved! 

  

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭13‬ NLT)

If you play tennis, the name Andre Agassi needs no introduction. Although he’s been retired for a while, he was the superstar extraordinaire of the courts. But did you know he actually hated the game?! In his own autobiography, he revealed, “I play tennis for a living even though I hate tennis, hate it with a dark and secret passion and always have.”

Everyone hates their job at some point or level. But what about the active Christian? Burnout is actually a common problem among those that carry the Cross. But burnout stems from a deeper problem: by relying on one’s own strength instead of a strength born exclusively from the intimate relationship with the God of our Calling and Equipping. Unplug from the source and you will never make it!

Our Bible verse tells us that it is God who gives you the “know how” and the “want to” in order to serve Him. By allowing Him to minister through you, He brings the success He wants while providing the joy you desire. Let God prevent burnout by doing the work instead! You are loved! 

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Then the LORD called out again, ‘Samuel!’ Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?'” (1 Samuel‬ ‭3‬:‭6‬ NLT)

Around 1998-99, my father called me, said he had been praying and the Lord had impressed on him to sell his stocks quickly and believed I should to. When I called my accountant, himself a minister, he called me crazy because the market was really high. Torn between the two, I sided with my Dad and was glad I did! A few weeks later, the market crashed but out investments were safe.

When it comes to hearing God, Oswald Chambers once remarked, “God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Then we say, ‘I wonder if that is God’s voice?'” It’s not that God longs to be mysterious or misunderstood, but that we would take the extra time and effort to be still and listen to Him for further information instead of assuming and moving in self-reasoning.

Hearing and understanding God takes time and practice. Although it requires effort, it is important for us to learn this facet of spiritual discipline. Don’t let God be a mystery! He wants you to know how much you are loved!

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Yet no one calls on your name or pleads with you for mercy.” (Isaiah‬ ‭64‬:‭7‬ NLT)

Joe Young, one of my previous members from years past, had shared a story of intercession with me. His son was a fighter pilot during the Korean War. Joe awoke one night with his son’s safety burdening him. He knelt in the living room, praying fervently for a couple of hours until he felt a release that all was well. Later, his son told him that at that very moment, he was involved in a dogfight with several enemy planes and barely survived the ordeal, thanks to his Father’s urgent prayers.

The work of intercessory prayer is what causes God’s hand to move among us. But what happens if it’s not being done, we being too busy and hoping someone else will? Who suffers because we don’t?

Hear Andrew Murray’s perspective from years ago: “The need of God’s people, and the call for God’s intervention, is as urgent in our days as it was in the time of Isaiah. There is now, as there was then, as there has been at all times, a few who seek after God with their whole hearts. But, if we look at Christendom as a whole, at the state of the church of Christ, there is infinite cause for beseeching God to rend the heavens and come down.” This world needs God, and God needs you and His few praying so that He can move. Listen for the urgent call of intercession! Your prayers matter & you are loved!

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And these were his officials…Azariah the son of Nathan, over the officers; Zabud the son of Nathan, a priest and the king’s friend; (‭I Kings‬ ‭4‬:‭2, 5‬ NKJV)

What are the odds of raising two children who grow up to become number one NFL draft picks, as well as Super Bowl Champions and MVPs in back-to-back seasons? Pretty slim! Yet, Archie Manning, himself a star quarterback at Ole Miss and former NFL quarterback with the New Orleans Saints, raised Peyton and Eli, QBs for Denver and New York, to play hard and disciplined, to work and to achieve. Apparently Mr. & Mrs. Manning did something right!

There’s something to be said about family legacy. With the Mannings, it’s football. But with the prophet Nathan, it’s in serving God by serving Israel’s king. Nathan was the one that confronted King David about his sin with Bathsheba, and was there to ordain Solomon as David’s successor. And then in this little inconspicuous laundry list of employees, we find his two boys serving as King’s Leaders, one even being honored with the title of “the king’s friend”!

Parents, raise your kids right! Don’t adopt the fail-strategy of “Do as I say, not as I do”. Instead, like Nathan the prophet and Archie the quarterback, lead your kids to become quality citizens and first-rate Christians by setting the example for them to follow. The apples rarely fall far from the tree! You are loved today!

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One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap.” (Luke‬ ‭8‬:‭22-23‬ NLT)

Hope International President Peter Greer is sounding an alarm about a different danger in doing good: spiritual burnout. In a cbn.com interview, he shared his belief as to the high drop out rate of Christian workers worldwide. “We have thrown ourselves into causes of social justice,” he said. “We have thrown ourselves into missions and we have been burned out as a result.”

Where there is high stress and output without regenerating input, things get dangerous. While this scripture stands out for Jesus calming the storm, learn the first lesson first: Jesus calmed Himself with an opportunity for rest. He knew to replenish His own needs before taking on more loads.

As you prepare to come to Church tomorrow, take time to rest. For some of us that don’t get Sunday off due to Church work, take time today for rest and refueling. There will ALWAYS be work that needs to be done to save the world. But if you don’t take care of yourself, you risk becoming a sidelined piece of damaged goods instead of God’s powerful hand to mankind! You are loved today! Get some rest!