Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Brother Lawrence’

Giving Thanks

2 Samuel 22:50 (NKJV)
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

Psalm 18:49 (NKJV)
Therefore I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

Living in central Kansas, I am accustomed to seeing the hand of the Lord in things of nature. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets begin and end our days. The single petal of a rose exhibits wondrous veining and subtlety as well as exuding exotic fragrance. Myriad shades of green, gold, amber and russet clothe the trees of autumn.

Within 24 hours this week we have had blizzards, tornadoes and earthquakes.  Things are never dull.

Our headlines scream of terror and tragedy perpetrated by an enemy who wishes to subjugate the entire world to a religious extremism.

And yet, we are enjoined:

Rejoice always,  pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – First Thessalonians 5:16 -18 (NKJV)

Rejoice? When we have an enemy who can strike, serpent-like, from any place at any time. Yes! We rejoice that nothing surprises our God. He is before us, behind us, and around us. This world is not all there is.

Pray? Pray constantly. Brother Lawrence practiced the presence of God, communing with Him constantly no matter what chore occupied his hands. If we are aware of the presence of God with us at all times, there is no terror. God is in control, and we can trust Him with our lives and the lives of those we love.

Give thanks? Yes! We are thankful that nothing surprises our God. He knew our last breath before we took the first one. He is with us, around us, within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is our security, our source, our present and our future. We have much for which to be thankful.

Father, God,

Help us to take our eyes off the temporal and put them on the eternal. Grant us the grace to see through seeming tragedy to eternal joy. Fill our hearts and mouths with praise and thanksgiving for You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

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Identity

Focus Verse: Isaiah 43:1

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou are mine.

I can think of no better way to start the new year than by remembering exactly what and whose we are. We belong to God. We are his adopted children. He created us. He has plans for us. He has only our best interests at heart.

If we are his, we should seek to make our lives consonant with his thoughts and plans. Therefore we begin the year seeking him – and him alone. As we seek him, everything we need will be added to us.

We need not make resolutions that are abandoned by February. We won’t have to try to force ourselves into molds that he didn’t design for us. We need simply to seek to be closer to him, not for what he can do for us, but simply to be near him, in his presence. Or more accurately, to be aware of his presence in our lives.

So this year, my goal is to be more of a Mary and less of a Martha. With Brother Lawrence, I will try to practice the presence of God.

Father, God,

Help me to sit at your feet and listen. Keep me still until I know what you would have me do. Help me to instantaneous obedience when I know what that will is.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Delegation of Authority

Focus verses: John 5:30-47 and Mark 3:13-19

There is a foundational principle in today’s reading. All authority comes from God. Jesus spoke of God’s authority as being superior to His own while he was incarnate on earth.

He did nothing on earth that He did not see the Father doing in the heavenlies. All He did was to please the Father.

Jesus knew that His time on earth was limited and that peoples’ vision was limited to the earthly. Therefore, He appointed the apostles – the twelve – to go and do as He told them. He gave them authority to preach and power over demons. He could not have done that had the Father not delegated that authority to Him.

The lesson for us in these verses is that we have only the authority that God delegates to us. If we are to know what He allows us to do, we need to be reading His word all the time. We need to spend time in His presence. We need to become a temple of the Holy Spirit, so that He can whisper in our ears all day long.

That immediate communion with the God-head that the Holy Spirit provides is key to our living a Christ-like life.

Father, God,

Keep us aware of our position in Your kingdom. Imbue us with Your Holy Spirit, that we may be in constant communion with You, whether kneeling in sanctuary or scrubbing toilets. We would, like Brother Lawrence, practice the presence of God. Help us stay close to You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Holy, Holy, Holy

Focus verses: Isaiah 6:1-13

Today we see Isaiah’s vision of God upon His throne. His glory fills the space. The seraphs herald the presence of the Lord with the words “holy, holy, holy.” The earth trembles at this magnificence.

Isaiah is humbled. In the presence of this holiness, he sees only his unworthiness. But he is cleansed by a live coal from the altar and given his commission to speak to the nation. He is also informed that his words will fall upon deaf ears, but he is told to go and preach anyway.

When we enter into the presence of the Lord, are we sensitive to His holiness and magnificence? Do we see his glory reflected in all creation, His handiwork? Do we listen for our commission to do His work? Do we faithfully work at our God given task despite what the world says about it or us?

For that matter, are we sensitive at all times that we are in the presence of the Lord? There is a small book, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, which teaches about being sensible of God’s presence whether in the kitchen or in the sanctuary. It is an old book – ever new. We need to master this practice.

Father, God,

Help us to keep Your presence ever uppermost in our hearts. Show us Your glory in the world around us. Give us ears to hear Your commission on our lives and faithful hearts and hands to complete the work You have given us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.