Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Vision’

Plans

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)

God thinks about you and me. Just as you think about the people in your life, your children, your parents, your friends, your extended family. But God doesn’t wonder what you are up to. He knows. He sees.

God has plans for us, not just humankind in general, but for each and every one of us in particular. He has a vision for our lives – how we will live, what we will do, how it will all turn out.

If we can catch that vision and cooperate with it, our lives will be the best they can possibly be. Seeing God’s vision for our lives can help us to cooperate with his plans and keep us from spending time and energy questing blindly among what seem to be endless options.

It’s easy to say “catch the vision”. But exactly how do we do this?

  • Spend time with Him, quiet time. Listen as much as you talk.
  • Read the Word, letting it sink into your heart and mind.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what He would have you know.
  • Pray for wisdom and discernment.

The more you hear His voice, the easier it will be to distinguish it from all the other voices in your life and in your head.

Father, God,

Help us to catch your vision for our lives. Grant that we may listen carefully for the promptings of your Holy Spirit and move in obedience to those promptings.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

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Purpose

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you;

Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.  ~~ 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15  (KJV)

In Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica, he warned them against idleness. What he referred to was the idleness of not earning your way in the world. Not doing the work of the Lord with the purpose He had in mind for your life.

He points to himself as the example of working while teaching. This was not because his teaching was not worthy of payment, but because he wanted to show them the industriousness that needs to accompany the teacher. It is not enough to sit idly by and just think in an ivory tower. One needs to have the experience of the work at hand to base one’s theories upon.

I don’t believe it is any accident that this warning immediately follows Paul’s dissertation on the second coming of Christ. Early church fathers knew and accepted the principle that our time is short (in light of eternity) and that we must be busy about the Lord’s work.

The book of Proverbs was well known in Paul’s time. I memorized Proverbs 29:18 in the KJV when I was a child.

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Sometimes it is a struggle to see the vision God has for your life. When the world seems to cave in upon you, when everything you thought you had is ripped away, when tragedy and destruction mark your path, you have great difficulty seeing a vision of your purpose in God’s world.Those minutes and hours, once spent, are irredeemable.

Our purpose is to serve the Lord and His church. For that we need all the time eternity can offer.

Father, God,

Teach us to number our days so that we may give a good account of them when Your Son returns. Grant that we may be useful in Your kingdom. Help us to see the vision You have for our lives.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  ~~  John 1:1-3 (KJV)

In most cases, it’s better to begin at the beginning.  So we start at the beginning of the Gospel of John. We start with the Word. In this case, the Word refers to Jesus.

Jesus was in the beginning with God the Father. Equal with the Father in creative power, there was never a time when He didn’t exist.  As we anticipate the celebration of His incarnation, we need to remember that Jesus is more than the baby in the manger. He is eternal. There was never a time when he didn’t exist.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  ~~ Genesis 1:1-3

The Word, the Word of God, the Bible, Scripture. This is our point of contact  with Jesus. We have His words. As we study them, meditate on them, commit them to memory, we come closer to the mind of Christ.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ~~ 2 Corinthians 10:5

As we line up our thoughts and actions with the mind of Christ, we find a peace that defies circumstance. In a world of violence, we can rest in God’s sovereignty. Nothing happens without His knowledge.

Our vision is generally limited to this temporal world. He sees things in the eternal. There is no tragedy in this life that He cannot redeem in the eternal. We may not see that redemption this side of heaven, but it’s there none-the-less.  And it can be a comfort if we let it.

Father, God,

Help us to study Your Word in order to understand Your thoughts. Grant us the vision to see and the hearts to accept what You would teach us of patience and eternity.  Help us to focus on the Word as we anticipate celebrating the incarnation of Jesus.

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.

Keeping The Kept Promises

Focus verses: Joshua 21:43-45

Today’s verses chronicle the mapping of the new territory of the Israelite clans and the division of that territory to the individual families. The meets and bounds descriptions of each parcel delineate each family’s land specifically. Cities within those territories are enumerated.

And the ownership of those territories was decided by casting lots in the presence of the Lord.

Even after God gave them the territory, there was much to do. The land had to be tended by the new owners.

Do we forget that even though God provides something for us, the upkeep is left to us? God has given us salvation, but we are to work it out in fear and trembling. God has given us His son as our redeemer, but we must come to Him. He will not invade us.

God has given us a vision for our lives, but we don’t get it on a silver platter. We must roll up our sleeves and do the next thing. Most of all, we need to spend a portion of each day with the Lord.

Our faith is unable to support us if we fail to feed it regularly with substantive portions of the word. We need to map our territory, and then we need to hold it.

Father, God,

Help us to be faithful stewards of the faith You have given us. Teach us to set our boundaries and defend our territory. And give us the wisdom to do all that You would have us do.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Sealed Til The End

Focus verses: Daniel 12:5-13

Beginning in chapter ten, we see Daniel’s last vision and the setting in which it occurs. The visions of Daniel have been the subject of much discussion. Prophecies and visions seem to fascinate us and call forth the desire to unravel them. Witness the popularity of the mystery genre in popular literature.

In verse eight, Daniel asks the meaning of the vision. But the angel tells him that the “words are sealed until the time of the end.” He tells Daniel to “go your way.”

God reserves some knowledge unto Himself. There are things we are not meant to know. No matter how curious we get, God has a plan that He doesn’t let us in on entirely. Sometimes we get glimpses of what He might have had in mind. Those glimpses are a privilege, not a right.

We are not, cannot be, as wise as God. We cannot wrap our finite minds around the plans and wisdom of an Infinite God. Might as well try to empty the ocean with a teaspoon. We’d have just about as much success.

Just like Daniel, we have a role to fulfill. We are to occupy this earth as His stewards until Christ returns. We are to be as ready as if He were to arrive in the next breath, and we are to occupy as if it will be another thousand years. The timing is not ours to know.

We must be content to go our way, doing the everyday things that a faithful servant of God will do. We must be content to leave the knowledge in God’s hands and simply trust Him. After all, that is what trust is: relying fully upon God because of His own character.

Father, God,

Grant us the wisdom to trust in You alone. Help us to curb our prying arrogance that wants to know it all before the appointed time. Give us the grace to be content in You.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

Arrogance Of Intellect

Focus verses: Ezekiel 28:1-10

While the verses in today’s reading are addressed to the King of Tyre, there is a lesson for us. We live in an information age. Knowledge has increased geometrically in the last century. Look at the innovations that have come about in the last 20 years.

We have telescopes that can “see” farther into the universe than ever. But no telescope can give us the vision of God.

We have microscopes that allow us to see smaller and smaller particles. But no microscope can plumb the depths of God’s creation.

Some of us are old enough to remember the telegraph and wire recorders (which predated the reel-to-reel tape recorders).

We remember when the mouthpiece of a telephone was affixed to a box attached to a wall and the receiver hung on a hook. We remember cranking the ringer to get central – the lady who plugged in the wires so that we could talk with another party.

And we remember party lines where you didn’t pick up unless it rang short-short-long because long-short-long was your neighbor’s ring, and you respected their privacy.

Now we are attached (wirelessly) to the world by cell phones that play different tunes depending on which of your friends or family is calling. We have nearly instantaneous access to breaking news – if not via the television, then by our computers.

All of this gives us information. But information is NOT wisdom. Wisdom comes from spending time in the presence of God – not from listening to the cacophony of the secular world around us.

Let us never forget that the first sin pandered to the arrogance of the intellect – the ambition to be as wise as God without seeking the wisdom of God.

Those who seek their own wisdom will be destroyed therein, just like the King of Tyre.

Father, God,

Grant us Your wisdom and the knowledge that all of our being is dependent upon You alone. Keep us from the sin of arrogance, reminding us that our intellect is finite while Yours is infinite.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.