Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Plans’

The Balance

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  ~~  Romans 12:1-3 (KJV)

Most people vacillate between thinking too little of themselves and thinking too much of themselves. We need to realize that our only value is the value God placed upon us. He purchased us at the price of Jesus’ blood. He bought us – he owns us. But only if we believe on him and acknowledge his lordship over us.

There is no dichotomy between flesh and spirit in us. Where one goes, the other follows. So we must choose which will lead, flesh or spirit. We can not worship God with our spirits and not with our bodies. We are a unit, body and spirit. Integrity comes from being the same at all times and in all circumstances. Either we belong to Christ or we don’t. We worship him with our bodies as well as our spirits — or we don’t really worship him at all. There is no middle ground.

So how do we, then, think of ourselves. We can gauge our worth only by our fidelity to God’s purposes – not by standards of wealth or power or anything else on earth.

Our faith in God determines our perceptions of ourselves. The greater we grow our faith, the more clearly we can see how we fit into God’s plans for our lives.

Father, God,

Grant us your perspective of our lives. Let us see your plans for us and what we need to do to fit into them properly, effectively. Help us to grow in faith.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

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Time Out

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. ~~ Genesis 2:2-3 (KJV)

We seem to live in a hurried and harried kind of world. If we are not doing something constructive, we are absorbing inanities from the media world. But we never seem to give ourselves, or anyone else, time simply to sit and think.

God worked for six days on creation and sat down to rest on the seventh. I don’t believe it was because he needed to rest, for God is untiring. I think he did it more as an example to us. We need time to think, to ruminate, simply to be, and to be in his presence.

Without time for contemplation and meditation, we lose sight of God and our position with him and our purpose in his plans.

It is a management principle that you can expect 85% efficiency from your staff about 85% of the time. The other 15% is just “wasted?” No, the other 15% is that sabbatical that God ordained at the time of creation.

If you expect 100% effectiveness 100% of the time, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. You need that sabbatical that God set aside for you.

Take your sabbath rest. Revel in God’s presence. Let him speak to you. Listen for him. Simply be. You will be amazed at how much more productive your 85% will become.

Father, God,

Help us to prioritize our lives to include a healthy dose of quiet time with You. Stir a longing in our hearts for regular Sabbath moments in our lives. Remind us that we have been set apart for Your purposes, and grant us the wisdom and fidelity and strength to carry them through.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen

Does God Need Our Help?

Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.  ~~  Genesis 16:1-5 (KJV)

Does God really need our help?

When God promises something, we are foolish and impatient to try to hasten its fulfillment.

Look what happens to Abram and Sarai. Sarai knew about God’s promise of a son. But she convinced herself and her husband that God was too slow and needed their help.

How many time do we do this? We hear a call of God upon our lives, and we start off well. But when things seem to be moving too slowly we decide we know how to help God make things work faster.

God knows hearts. We just know appearances. God has reasons for His time line we know nothing of. Sarai’s proposition seems to make sense from a human standpoint. But she doesn’t figure on the human emotions Hagar’s pregnancy can stir up in both women. And even in Abram.

You see, God has His own plans and doesn’t need our help to bring them to fruition.

What he does require is our patience and faith.

We need to draw closer to Him to bring our will into line with His, to reinforce our faith in His steadfast love, and to strengthen our patience to wait upon His timing

Father, God,

Help us to understand that Your will for us is perfect, that Your timing is perfect, and that all we need to is wait upon  You.

In Jesus’  most precious name.

Amen

First published January 6, 2009
Finite Reason or Infinite Wisdom

Worth

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)

There is a lot of talk about self-esteem and self-worth these days. Our schools give our children awards for participation as much as for accomplishment. We vie for notice and seem to do anything and everything for our fifteen minutes of fame and the acclaim of the world. None of these activities has any relationship to what we are worth. Our value is not determined by these worldly things.

My friend, Shadia, posted this question on Facebook the other day.

Our worth is based on the value that God places on us. Just how important are you in God’s scheme of things? Lets reread the scripture above. But instead of “the world” and “whosoever” insert your name. Now think. If you had been the only person on earth, Jesus would have come just for you.

When God places that much value on you, how can you not realize what you are worth?

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. ~~ Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV)

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  ~~  Jeremiah 29:11 (MSG)

God has a specific plan for your life and mine. He may not have told you all the ins and outs of this plan, but He will lead you step by step if you will trust Him.

Father, God,

Help us to see ourselves from Your perspective. Lead us in the plans You have for our lives. Grant that we may learn more of You by reading Your word that we may draw closer and closer to Your plans for us.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

 

New Birth

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 1:12-14  (KJV)

There was a child born to our family this week, a precious boy, a great-grandson. Looking at his new face, all pink and clean, totally unblemished, I was reminded of the new birth Jesus has provided for us.

We come to him, excited, fresh, ready to become … something new.

This child will grow – is growing as we speak. He will become a toddler, a pre-schooler, a first grader, a freshman, a graduate, a man.

As Christians, are we growing? How far have we come since that first encounter with our Savior?  Perhaps it is time to take stock.

Father, God,

Help us to assess our progress in the life you would have us lead. Give us a clear vision of your plans for us, that we might be in perfect harmony with them. Teach us to grow well.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

Three Little Words

Titus 2:15    These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Paul is an uncompromising mentor. Here he tells Titus exactly what to do and gives him the power to do it in those three little words – with all authority.

But exactly where does that authority come from?  With Paul, it came from the authority of the apostles who lived and worked with Jesus. And it came from his encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus.

We don’t have Paul here, except in print. We don’t have the first century apostles except in their writings. So if we want to speak and exhort and rebuke, our authority must come from the written word of God, the Bible.

All the credentials in the world, all the college degrees, all the certificates of completion from symposia and seminars and conferences are of no avail, if we do not speak with the authority of the written Word of God.

So let”s check up.  How much time do we spend in the Word?

Father, God,     

Strengthen our resolve to spend more time with you in quiet contemplation of your love letters to us. Grant that we may be a blessing to those in our sphere of influence. Set a guard on our hearts and tongues that nothing may be said or done that is not of you.

In Jesus’ most precious name. Amen.

 

The Balance

Romans 12:1-3        I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.       And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.      For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Most people vacillate between thinking too little of themselves and thinking too much of themselves. We need to realize that our only value is the value God placed upon us.  He purchased us at the price of Jesus’ blood.  He bought us – he owns us.  But only if we believe on him and acknowledge his lordship over us.

There is no dichotomy between flesh and spirit in us. Where one goes, the other follows. So we must choose which will lead, flesh or spirit.  We can not worship God with our spirits and not with our bodies. We are a unit, body and spirit. Integrity comes from being the same at all times and in all circumstances. Either we belong to Christ or we don’t. We worship him with our bodies as well as our spirits — or we don’t really worship him at all.  There is no middle ground.

So how do we, then, think of ourselves. We can gauge our worth only by our fidelity to God’s purposes – not by standards of wealth or power or anything else on earth.

Our faith in God determines our perceptions of ourselves.  The greater we grow our faith, the more clearly we can see how we fit into God’s plans for our lives.

Father, God,

Grant us your perspective of our lives. Let us see your plans for us and what we need to do to fit into them properly, effectively. Help us to grow in faith.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.