Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Image’

Love Is the Key

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. 

~~ I Corinthians 13:1-13 (KJV)

Love is the key to the Christian life. But I think, sometimes, we miss the mark on our definition of love. While this chapter is frequently read at weddings, I believe it has less to do with weddings than the everyday relationships between friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.

Jesus said the first commandment was to love the Lord. But what kind of love is this? It certainly isn’t the same kind of physical desire and emotion that men and women sometimes feel for one another. It is, in fact, not a “feeling” so much as a decision and commitment. You seek the Lord and His will for your life, so that what you do pleases Him. It is His approval that you are wanting. His “well done, good and faithful servant” is your goal.

We love the Lord by loving what He created. This kind of love is committed to the well-being of the other. We are to work for the benefit of the Lord’s creation. Since man was created in the image of God, when we look at another person, we should strive to see the mark of God on him or her. It is that essence of the divine in each person that we respect and admire.

The qualities of love in Paul’s list spring from the recognition of God’s image in man. We have no clear picture of God except what of God is reflected in man. In eternity, we shall see Him face to face – no veil, no shadow, no dim mirror.

Father, God,

Prepare us to see You face to face. Create in us Your love for all mankind. Help us to hear as You hear, see as You see, and feel as You feel.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen

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Identity

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  ~~ Genesis 1:26-27  (KJV)

Do you really know who you are? The verse above says we were created in the image of God.  We are to have dominion, to be in charge of the earth. But we are not God.

We have limitations, limitations set by God. But we have an enemy who will continually try to get us to violate those limitations. He is always questioning us “Did God really say…?”  (Genesis 3:1)

That question is designed to make us dissatisfied with who we are. And the enemy is cunning. He will pose that question in whatever form he thinks will prod us to question God.

The enemy was successful in getting Adam and Eve to question God and to violate the stipulation God had set for them. That violation created a separation between man and God.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

Have you ever been homesick? Lonely for someone absent? Then you know what that hunger is. There is something missing – a part of you that is missing.

We are created with a God-shaped hole in our hearts. We run after things to fill that hole, but nothing satisfies exactly. Oh, we can rationalize “if I just had a little more money” – “if my family loved me more” –  “if I had just a little more success” – “if I could have one more drink” – “if I could win (fill in the blank)” – “if…  if…  if…”

None of those things will really satisfy. Only a restored relationship with God can ease that hunger. In His generosity, God has made a way for us to bridge that separation.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. ~~ John 3:16-17 (KJV)

We don’t need to let the enemy steal our identity. God has given us a path to friendship with Him again.

Father, God,

Help us to see the wiles of the enemy for what they are – the desperate ploys of a vanquished foe. Remind us of who we are and Whose we are. Grant that we may seek to fill our lives only with You, not with empty things.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

 

 

And You Are?

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.   And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.   And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.   And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

Genesis 1:26-30 (KJV)

I’ve spent Wednesday afternoon and all day yesterday at a writers conference in Dallas, Texas. At these functions there is a lot meeting new people, introducing yourself, and telling a little about yourself by describing what you write.

That’s fine, but it is just one facet of who you are.

Can you identify yourself? Who, exactly, are you? Not your name. Nor your job. Nor your relationship to any another person or persons. What is the essence of who you are?

These verses tell you. You are a being created in the image of God. You are not God. You will never be a god. But you are created to be like Him. And He commissioned you!

He delegated His life-creating powers to the union of male and female. And He commanded that you be fruitful and fill the earth.

And subdue it. Take authority over the earth, an authority that was delegated by God, the Creator of the universe. If you know anything about military or corporate structure, you know that your authority is limited by the person to whom you report. Your authority never exceeds that of the superior officer.

So, too, we need to be aware that while we have been given authority and dominion by God, we are still subordinate to Him. While we rule over the earth and all it’s fauna, we are not, ultimately, the One in charge.

You will note, also, that God gave us a vegetarian diet. And this vegetarian diet was not limited to man, but to the animals as well. Animals were not originally intended to eat meat – or become meat. That came later.

Hmmm… So who am I? I am a child of God, created in the image of my heavenly Father. I was designed to be creative and fruitful. I was given authority over the earth and the living creatures. And I was designed to eat seeds and fruit — not meat.

Father, God,

As I have questions about myself, my goals, and my endeavors, help me to seek the answers by seeking to know You better.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.
This is a republication of a devotion first published on this blog
1 January 2009.
Thank you for your indulgence.

Love Is The Key

Focus verses: I Corinthians 13:1-13

Love is the key to the Christian life. But I think, sometimes, we miss the mark on our definition of love. While this chapter is frequently read at weddings, I believe it has less to do with weddings than the everyday relationships between friends, family, neighbors and co-workers.

Jesus said the first commandment was to love the Lord. But what kind of love is this? It certainly isn’t the same kind of physical desire and emotion that men and women sometimes feel for one another. It is, in fact, not a “feeling” so much as a decision and commitment. You seek the Lord and His will for your life, so that what you do pleases Him. It is His approval that you are wanting. His “well done, good and faithful servant” is your goal.

We love the Lord by loving what He created. This kind of love is committed to the well-being of the other. We are to work for the benefit of the Lord’s creation. Since man was created in the image of God, when we look at another person, we should strive to see the mark of God on him or her. It is that essence of the divine in each person that we respect and admire.

The qualities of love in Paul’s list spring from the recognition of God’s image in man. We have no clear picture of God except what of God is reflected in man. In eternity, we shall see Him face to face – no veil, no shadow, no dim mirror.

Father, God,

Prepare us to see You face to face. Create in us Your love for all mankind. Help us to hear as You hear, see as You see, and feel as You feel.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Micah’s Mother

Focus verses: Judges 17:1-6

We don’t know her name, but this lady causes a lot of trouble. She had lost some money, which her son, Micah, retrieved for her. She invokes the blessing of the Lord upon Micah, and she give him the silver to make a carved image and a cast idol. All in the name of the Lord.

Whoa, here! A carved image and a cast idol. Doesn’t she remember the laws that Moses brought down from the mountain? In Deuteronomy chapter 4 idolatry is called the greatest evil. “Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves and idol, an image of any shape…”

So often, we invoke the name of the Lord and then do as we please, not as He has said we ought. We get off course, and we lead our children off course as well. When Micah hires the Levite,he does so in the name of the Lord. But this not the Lord’s doing.

We must be very careful to keep to the straight and narrow track when following the Lord. A tiny deviation doesn’t look bad the first step or two, but carried far enough it will get you far off the path of the Lord.

Father, God,

Help us to keep to Your straight and narrow path. Let us not be lured into calling things by other than the name You gave them. Keep us from deviating from Your path in the slightest area.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Seeking Ourselves

Focus verses: Genesis 1:26-30.

Can you identify yourself? Who, exactly, are you? Not your name. Nor your job. Nor your relationship to any another person or persons. What is the essence of who you are?

These verses tell you. You are a being created in the image of God. You are not God. You will never be a god. But you are created to be like Him. And He commissioned you!

He delegated His life-creating powers to the union of male and female. And He commanded that you be fruitful and fill the earth.

And subdue it. Take authority over the earth, an authority that was delegated by God, the Creator of the universe. If you know anything about military or corporate structure, you know that your authority is limited by the person to whom you report. Your authority never exceeds that of the superior officer.

So, too, we need to be aware that while we have been given authority and dominion by God, we are still subordinate to Him. While we rule over the earth and all it’s fauna, we are not, ultimately, the One in charge.

You will note, also, that God gave us a vegetarian diet. And this vegetarian diet was not limited to man, but to the animals as well. Animals were not originally intended for food. That came later.

Hmmm… So who am I? I am a child of God, created in the image of my heavenly Father. I was designed to be creative and fruitful. I was given authority over the earth and the living creatures. And I was designed to eat seeds and fruit — not meat.

Father, God,

As I have questions about myself, my goals, and my endeavors, help me to seek the answers by seeking to know You better.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.