WRITING A DEVOTIONAL
WRITING A DEVOTIONAL
Back in 2003 after having spent the year before reading Sarah Ban Breathnach's book "Simple Abundance" I took her suggestion to heart and wrote my own daily devotional. Each day I took a line or two from one of the various spiritual authors from the last three centuries I was reading and wrote my own thoughts on the subject. I then looked for a scripture that illustrated the truth that had been revealed to me. What follows is the result.
"Our greatest bondage is to have our own way; our greatest freedom is to let God have His way." Warren Wiersbe
Monday, October 31, 2011
“The literal translation of ‘an horrible pit’ (“He brought me up also out of an horrible pit...” Psalm 40:2) is an horrible pit of noise.” Eugenia Price, S.P.S. 10/12
Eugenia goes on to talk about the noise around us, but what I thought about immediately was the noise within me. All the noise of my old thoughts running through my head. In fact, one night this past week I woke up suddenly and “heard” my thoughts. I wasn’t dreaming, I was thinking in my sleep. It rather startled me because in a sense I was “talking” to myself like I often do during the day, only now I wasn’t aware of what I was saying. What if it was all negative? Who knows what I was telling myself in my sleep! It made me realize just how important it is to relinquish all control in my life to God--to no longer resist Him. I may be able to delude myself into thinking I have control over my thoughts, but as soon as I go unconscious there is a whole other realm of my mind that has it’s own free will! I can only imagine the effect it has on my life after spending 7 hours or so indoctrinating my mind with whatever it wishes! None of us can ever have perfect control over our lives and at this point in my life I realize I don’t want that kind of control anyway. I’ve not always made the best decisions for myself it turns out. Instead, as I quit resisting God, my thoughts will be God’s thoughts. This is true freedom.
“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15
Sunday, October 30, 2011
“You are children of light, now walk as such. That is, be what you are. In our relations with God this is especially necessary, because these all exist in the unseen spiritual region, and can, of course, only be real to us as our faith makes them so.” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 10/11
Hannah also writes in another devotional for today: “Someone has said that the only thing necessary for the children of God to do in order to enter into full possession of their inheritance in Christ is simply to be what they are...” God reveals Himself in what I call real-time. Our world is increasingly eliminating our face-to-face encounters with people. Everything is being automated--no longer does a real person answer a business phone and our banking is done at a machine. Even our groceries can be paid for at a machine. Add to that e-mail and texting and we have very little actual contact with people. In the past, at least handwritten letters allowed the recipient to “see” and “touch” something that was actually of that person--not a facsimile. I can only image what effect this will have on the next generation. What I’m getting at is this.....It is the nuances of our interaction with people that helps to shape us into who we are. If we are treated kindly we will more than likely grow up to be kind people. If we are treated badly, we will either grow up to behave badly ourselves or develop some sort of mask to cover up the low opinion we were given of ourselves. In the same vein, by interacting with God in faith, we can’t help but become who He says we are. So we must have face-to-face contact with God and then believe we are who He says we are.
“Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fullness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.” Psalm 16:11
Saturday, October 29, 2011
“God wants from us the service of heirs, not of servants. A servant works for wages, an heir from love. A servant works to gain something; an heir works because all has been given to him.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 10/10
I don’t think we see ourselves as heirs because we don’t live this way. We don’t live as though the kingdom of heaven is already ours. If we did, I think we’d act totally different. We’d see all that we did as for this end. We’d evaluate our activities in light of this. We wouldn’t compartmentalize our lives into “religious” and “secular”. Servants have time off from their duties, but heirs do not. If they are to inherit the family business they will make sure it doesn’t go down the tube before they receive it! If they have to put in extra hours on certain tasks they will. They also take responsibility for their duties while servants merely do what they’re told. In a way you could say that every Christian is a co-op member. We need to see every professing Christian as part owner of this future kingdom. This means we need to be working together rather than dividing ourselves up into different categories (commonly known as denominations!). Rather than emphasize our differences in theology or mode of worship, we need to be emphasizing our love of God and commitment to bringing about His kingdom.
“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir.” Galatians 4: 6, 7
Friday, October 28, 2011
“If you feel strong in an area of your life, beware! Often your strength, rather than your weakness, hinders you from trusting God. God will bring you to a point of weakness if that is what it takes to bring you to trust in Him.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 10/9
What are my strengths and the resulting weakness? I was born with physical beauty and I have a progressing curvature of the spine. I am intelligent and I my mind creates anxiety for me. I am a survivor of an abusive childhood and I suffer from bouts of depression. Each of the above resulting weaknesses has been instrumental in bringing me to where I am in my ability to trust God. If I had not had these afflictions to deal with I am sure my beauty, intelligence, and survivor mentality would have led me down a path of self-sufficiency that I may never have been able to exit. Why would I have needed to? This world rewards each of those qualities, and I would have more than likely created a world for myself that suited me just fine. Instead I’ve used my survivor skills to dig deeper into God’s word and His plan for me. I’ve been tenacious about not settling for less than God’s best for me, which is freedom in Christ. I thank God for loving me so much that He refuses to abandon me when I’m struggling the most. This includes those times I am rebelling against His loving instruction.
“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7, 8
Thursday, October 27, 2011
“Let us be God’s friends, then, in the best way we know how. Let us trust Him as we like our friends to trust us. Let us lean on Him as we urge our friends to lean on us. Let us try to please Him for love’s sake as love leads us to try to please our earthly friends.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 10/8
I’ve always expected a lot from my friends. This is probably why I have so few. Either I’ve backed off from the friendship or they gave up on it. I’ve also discovered I seem to be a better friend when I know there is an “end date”. People who I’ve considered only acquaintances I suddenly befriend just before they’re scheduled to move away. This may have something to do with moving every year like I did after fourth grade--I never had to sustain the friendship for more than a year. This phenomenon is especially noteworthy when you consider I’ve been married to the same man for over 34 years*. This subject of friendship intrigues me to the point that I’ve requested that the song "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" be sung at my funeral. But Hannah has caused me to pause and examine whether I am a friend of God’s. He is my friend, but have I acted like a friend to Him? Do I set the same standards for myself that I’ve set for my friends, including God? The old adage, “To have a friend you must be a friend,” isn’t necessarily true when it comes to God because He will be our friend no matter what. But, if I want to truly experience a friendship with God, I have to carry my end of the relationship.
*42 years now (as of 2011)
“You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, and the scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness”; and he was called the friend of God.” James 2:22, 23
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
“Sin is, after all, resistance to God. And as we continue to resist, we continue to hinder the creative power of this new and glorious life within us. The Creator God Himself has come to indwell our mortal bodies.” Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 10/7
“Stop resisting” is an even better way to look at our new life in Christ than the use of the term “surrendering”. Too often people have given me a hard time for insisting on the usage of the right word. They’ll say, “It’s just semantics.” But I believe the right word can make a difference when you’re trying to communicate a truth. “To surrender” and “to not resist” could sound like the same thing to some people, but to others--like me--they are a world apart. To me surrendering means to give up the fight for something I obviously believed in--or why would I have bothered to fight for it. It’s very difficult to change people’s minds outright. They have to be shown why before they will believe something different. To stop resisting, on the other hand, emphasizes that I already am under the power of what it is I’ve been fighting. Since I’ve already taken the step to give myself back to God, to surrender would be redundant. Instead, as a new creature in Christ, I must stop resisting that new life in me. This makes so much more sense to me. I don’t have to “reinvent” myself because God has already done that. I just need to follow the path already laid out for me, making sure I don’t take any detours where I might get lost.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
“Our faith does not induce God to forgive us. It is not in any sense the cause of our forgiveness. Faith is only the hand by which we lay hold experimentally of the forgiveness that is already ours in Christ.” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 10/7
I may have written about this already, but it’s worth repeating. Too many people don’t believe they’re forgiven until they feel forgiven. Because of this, they do not change their behavior because they do not feel worthy of having all the rewards of being a forgiven child of God. Satan must really love this. He knows he can’t snatch us out of God’s Hand, but he sure can make our existence miserable. In fact, I think we are more miserable than when we were lost. At least then we didn’t feel guilty all the time! This is why this issue is so important. It destroys our witness to unbelievers when we act as though our forgiveness is dependent on our feelings. And the only reason our feelings are so bad is because we don’t believe we’re forgiven! How do we get off this merry-go-round?! First, if we find ourselves in this predicament we must constantly remind ourselves of the facts: If we’ve acknowledged our need to be forgiven and then believe that we are because of Jesus Christ, then we can ignore any feelings we may have to the contrary. These are just old feelings of unworthiness that come with being human. Then we must “grow in Christ” which means we must allow the Holy Spirit to make us into the new creature that we are---old habits have to be dispensed with and new ones established. This is what it means to live by faith.
“Submit ourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Monday, October 24, 2011
“If our minds are full of hatred and condemnation, this ultimately will be expressed in acts of violence and destruction and murder. We will eventually find that we seem to have no other choice.” Daniel A. Seeger, 1986, Daily Readings from Quaker Writings, 10/7
Daniel Seeger is talking about the pacifist stance. He warns us about condemning those who seek to settle their differences with violence such as in times of war. He says we will harm our witness. I have seen this with other issues as well. Too many Christians who take a stand against immorality and the like come across as hateful toward the people who take the opposite stance. We are cautioned to hate the sin, but not the sinner. When I see this violated, my heart cringes because these people are hurting Christ’s message of love and forgiveness for all. Even more than that, though, today’s reading makes it clear that these people are hurting themselves. They are boxing themselves into a corner where when attacked they will feel they have no choice but to lash out. This is what a condemned heart does. On the other side, there have been people teaching tolerance of sin in the name of love. Both sides are wrong. We are to tolerate the sinner, but not his sin. Churches too often go to the extreme of embracing the sinner and his sin for fear of being judgmental, while other churches kick the sinner out before they even attempt to bring him under conviction.
“Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4b
Sunday, October 23, 2011
“God will use your prayer times to soften your heart and change your focus. As you pray for others, the Holy Spirit will work in your heart so that you have the same compassion for them that God does.....You cannot be intimately exposed to God’s heart and remain complacent.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 10/6
Over the years I’ve read many books on prayer and have been exposed to all the different explanations. I have been in prayer groups and have led prayer groups. I’ve finally reached the point in my spiritual life to be astonished that a whole book can be written on the subject of prayer when it can be explained in just three sentences. Prayer is honest, two-way communication with God. It is speaking your inner most thoughts and then listening with humility. It is accepting all that God gives you. The last is important because if you do not obey what God has revealed to you in your prayer time, you will harden your heart so that it will be difficult to hear Him. In fact, true prayer is a continuous, open line to God. You may set aside a special time to bring requests to God or to even offer Him praise and thanksgiving, but if your heart isn’t in an attitude of prayer during the other times I venture to say most of this set-aside time will be in getting your self right so that you can be honest in what you say and open to hearing Him. It also sends God and us the message that this is God’s time and the rest is our time. Prayer, therefore, is an attitude and not an activity.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:1, 2
Saturday, October 22, 2011
“But He will withdraw the sense of His presence in order to cause us to ‘search for [Him] with all our hearts.’” Eugenia Price, S.P.S., 10/5
Eugenia is expounding on the Song of Solomon (5:5, 6) and how the beloved represents God. When his lover finally gets up out of bed to let him in, he’s not there. The beloved, God, has not forsaken his lover, but is helping her to come to the point of searching for him with all of her heart. I can understand this. Too often I seek out God only when it’s convenient. Even worse, I only get up and let Him in when I feel like it. If it requires too much effort for me to do something for Him, I can become quite lazy. I will have to keep this image of no longer finding Him at the door in the front of my mind the next time I’m feeling lazy. I think this is what being grateful is all about. If we truly have a grateful heart we won’t take God for granted, even for a moment. We will respond as soon as we hear His Voice or see His Hand. But what we must not be confused about is how He presents Himself to us. It is rarely in some mystical, miracle-like fashion. Instead, it is in the needy person--the lonely, the poor, the hungry and the worn out. Let us rise from our beds and answer the knock at our heart’s door.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20
Friday, October 21, 2011
“David was certainly an optimist! Regardless of his circumstances, David could always see God’s activity! A pessimist focuses on the problems, concentrating on the reasons why something cannot be done. The optimist sees those same problems, but he sees them from the perspective of God’s presence.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 10/4
I’ve always considered myself neither an optimist nor a pessimist, but a realist. I see now that has been my problem. (Maybe I am a pessimist!) A realist looks at the facts of the situation and declares it either good or bad. And because so much is bad in the world, I’d usually come down on the pessimist side without having to declare myself a pessimist. I see now, however, that I’ve been leaving God out of the equation. If I truly believe that God is in all things--that He is the ruler of the universe--then I must also be an optimist--one who “optimizes” all that God provides. God has a plan that He is fulfilling, which in my book means there’s always more to be done. Yes, I must accept setbacks, delays, consequences, etc., but I mustn’t ever give up hope that good will eventually come of each and every thing. My faith in God’s goodness will carry me onward through whatever I may be asked to walk across or ride through. I mustn’t become discouraged for that is the sign that I’ve stopped trusting God and instead am trusting people.
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help. When his breath departs he returns to his earth; on that very day his plans perish.” Psalm 145:3, 4
Thursday, October 20, 2011
“You can take each thing that is wrong in your life as a chariot of God for you....Misunderstanding, unkindness, disappointment, loss, defeat--all these are chariots waiting to carry you to places of victory you have so longed to reach.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 10/3
Why is this true? Because God works all things for our good, if we love Him. And what does it mean to love God? It means to obey Him. Even before that, it means to be available to Him, and we can only be available when we are humble. There seems to be an awful lot of conditions to be met before God can do anything. But not really....because all we need to do is accept God’s gift of Jesus Christ and He does the rest. How quickly and completely that happens depends on our cooperation--but all that requires is the same humility in us that started the process. Perhaps we lose that initial humility because it is a “heady” thing to be so close to God. Our flesh can get quite pumped up and in our way pretty quickly. I would venture to say that most of our “troubles” are meant to keep that in check. We need constant reminders that we’re mere humans and without God are nothing. It is His image we are created in, and it’s His life in us that makes us so valuable. Otherwise, we are no more than any other object on this earth. We really must keep that in mind when we humans do amazingly wonderful feats--whether in our physical capacities or in mental accomplishments. To God goes all the honor and glory!
“Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy array.” Psalm 29:1, 2
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
“God will not equip us with His power while we are racing off to our next appointment! His Spirit will not empower us if we are oblivious to what He is saying. He requires our complete attention before he will fill us with the powerful presence of His Spirit.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 10/2
This is a good day for me to read this and write about it. I’m feeling particularly inundated with things to do. Because of that I found my attention drifting as I read my morning devotionals and realizing I wasn’t “getting anything” out of them. But this one struck a chord with me, and I then understood why the others weren’t “speaking” to me. In fact, now that God has my attention I realized He woke me up with this message. On the radio the fellow was talking about how we really don’t listen to people when they talk. Instead, we’re usually busy thinking about what we want to say next. I noticed this on the TV news yesterday. The interviewer had asked a question that the interviewee did not answer, but the Interviewer went on to another question. I guess she wasn’t listening to the other person either. I am guilty of this myself. I took an acting class once that stressed that once you memorize your lines, you need to forget about them and focus on what the other person is saying instead. This will prompt your memory while allowing you to have a real interaction with the other person in the scene. This is good advice for all of us!
“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools;” Ecclesiastes 5:1a
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
“It is significant that there are two occurrences of stoning mentioned in the New Testament--Stephen’s and Paul’s. Was it coincidence that God allowed Paul to be stoned in the same manner as Stephen had been?...If pride could blind Paul to God once, pride could do it again.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 10/1
My excuse for not readily obeying God is that I’m afraid it might be my own desires that I’m obeying and not God’s will. My concern is how would I know the difference. After all, Paul truly believed he was doing God’s will when he had Stephen stoned. As Blackaby went on to talk about Paul’s thorn in his side as a possible reminder of his earlier blunder--that it may have been caused by the stoning that he subsequently received--I realized I no longer have an excuse. Rather than looking for a solution to my dilemma I’d been hiding behind my excuse. I can wait for God to show me my sin of disobedience through some “stoning” in my life, or I can go ahead and correct the situation. It was Paul’s pride in being a religious zealot that allowed him to be blinded to God in the first place. It is plain, therefore, to see that my disobedience is directly in proportion to my pride. Rather than “work on” my ability to correctly discern God’s will, it’s clear to me it’s my sin of pride that I must correct. I must continually be empty of that pride so that God’s love can fill my heart with Him. Then the desire of my heart will be to do His will.
“The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, whose dwelling is high, who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, thence I will bring you down, says the LORD.” Obadiah 1:3, 4
Monday, October 17, 2011
“We must give up all care of our own by an absolute surrender to His keeping and by an implicit trust of our needs day by day. If this is done and steadfastly persisted in, the peace of God will keep as in a garrison our hearts and minds.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 10/1
Hannah likens it to a child holding his mother’s hand. It’s not his holding her hand, but her holding his hand that keeps him safe. She used this illustration to help us see what kind of religion we have. We are very good at “devising” our own gods for our purposes. This keeps us in charge and therefore feels as though it’s up to us to hold God’s Hand. Initially, we do need to put our hand in God’s Hand, but we’re not doing the “holding”. God is. In fact, once we put our hand in God’s, He is the One who keeps it there. Even in those times that we feel as though we’ve taken our hand out of God’s Hand, He is still holding on to us. This is how we fool ourselves into thinking we are back in control. We may not feel as though our hand is in God’s, but that’s because it’s become numb. If we would just look, we would see it’s still there. I had a spinal block for the cesarean birth of my third child. It was very strange not to be able to feel my body below my arms. It was there--I could see it--but it did not feel as though it belonged to me--even when I was able to see my abdomen cut open in the reflection in the overhead light. I even saw my child lifted out, but it did not feel as though he’d come from my body. Our feelings cannot be trusted to always tell us the truth.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing.” Jude 24
Sunday, October 16, 2011
“If you find yourself falling into sinful habits or not grieving over your sin as you once did, this indicates that you are not abiding in Christ. Return to Him in repentance; restore your fellowship with Him; and you will once again experience victory over your sin.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 9/26
This is hard because we don’t want to admit we’re wrong. If we can blame someone else for our sins, then perhaps we will come to God. Unfortunately, He can’t help us under those conditions. The only way we can experience victory over our sins is to own them--to take full responsibility for them. This in itself is a humbling experience and therefore opens the door to us to God’s throne. Pride is our greatest enemy because it keeps us engaged in the blame game. To be wrong is perceived to be weak and when we are weak we are afraid. Making mistakes in our society is frowned upon. It seems the Press lies in wait for celebrities to make even the slightest mistake so they can announce it to the world as some huge failure. This couldn’t be if we, the public, hadn’t already put these people up on a pedestal where they are expected to be perfect. This is what pride does to us--it puts our egos up on a pedestal where we dare not appear imperfect in any way. We go to great lengths to give the appearance of being right about everything, but because we know we aren’t we are very insecure. This causes all sorts of self-defeating behaviors that only serve to draw us deeper into dependence on Self and further away from God.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2
Saturday, October 15, 2011
“I....poured out my troubles. I expected her to take a deep interest in me and to take great pains to do all she could to help me. She listened patiently enough and did not interrupt me. But when I had finished my story and paused, expecting sympathy and consideration, she simply said, ‘Yes, all you say may be very true, but then, in spite of it all, there is God.’” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 9/24
Hannah made several more visits to this deeply spiritual Christian and attempted to convince her that her problems were much more serious than the woman realized. Each time the woman merely restated her original advice, “There is God.” While I’ve not had such a person to go to, I have gone to God with my problems with this same attitude. I’ll reiterate my difficulty to God and when He doesn’t give me an immediate solution or at least a pat on the head, I claim He just doesn’t understand. I don’t come right out and say it that way of course, but every time I leave my time with God feeling dejected, this is what I’m saying with my actions. Hannah eventually believed this woman and came under conviction herself. We must believe, too. Otherwise, we will take credit when things go well and blame others or even God when things don’t go well and thereby never experience God’s presence in our difficulties. If we truly are ever to trust God we must believe that “there is God” for all our troubles.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult.” Psalm 46:1-3
Friday, October 14, 2011
“Three instances are recorded in which our Lord rebuked his disciples for lacking faith. Yet in each case the circumstances seemed to call for anxiety as the only natural and proper response.” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 9/30
One of the things I love about Hannah Whitall Smith is her ability to see things from a common sense perspective. Here she has highlighted how common sense can lead us into a lack of faith. This points out the need to distinguish between human “common sense” and spiritual “common sense”. Humanly-speaking the disciples reacted with common sense when the storm arose. Their experience of being in a storm-tossed boat quite naturally caused them to fear for their safety. When Peter began to realize that he was walking across the water it was very normal for him to sink below waves because common sense tells you it’s not possible to walk on water. But it’s different once we have Jesus. We must set aside our human common sense and instead see things through spiritual common sense. Jesus was subject to the laws of nature only as He chose to be. He ate when He was hungry and slept when He was tired, yet the winds were at His command. We must keep this in mind whenever we are tempted to doubt just because it doesn’t make “sense” to our human senses. Otherwise, when Christ comes again, “common sense” will tell us it’s not really Him.
“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:16a
Thursday, October 13, 2011
“Think of the blessed confidence with which children cast their cares upon their parents, and recall how the parents love to have it so...The only thing that a mother asks of her child is that it will yield to her care and obey her voice, and then she will take charge of all the rest. It is the same with us and our God.” Hannah Whitall Smith, Daily Secrets, 9/29
I can really identify with this. I remember becoming quite frustrated with my first born because he would not cooperate with my good intentions toward him. I found myself constantly battling with him whether it was going down for a nap so that he’d be better able to cope or to not drink so much juice so he’d be hungry for supper. I remember wishing he’d just let me “do my job” of being a good mother. My second son didn’t appreciate my concern over how much sleep he got as a teenager. He’d end up sleeping in his first-period class I discovered later. My youngest son doesn’t seem to understand why I care so much about his schoolwork. But I must confess I’ve not been the easiest “child” to raise, either. I can only imagine what God has to say about me! When I think about the times I’ve not trusted Him by being anxious, the times I’ve felt weary because I wouldn’t let Him carry my burdens, or the times I’ve been sad because I didn’t look to Him for my comfort, I realize that it’s time for me to let Him parent me in the way I wanted to mother my children. An obedient child is a blessing, indeed.
“Yet, O LORD, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou art our potter; we are all the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
“What can He do but take possession of the soul that surrenders itself to Him? And of course He sanctifies that which is His own. Everything given to God becomes, by that very act, holy and set apart for His use alone.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 9/28
How many times do we “take” our problems to God, and then leave with them? We think just letting God look at them will some how make all the difference. It’s sort of like our children running up to us with a cut on their finger, then running off before we have a chance to clean and bandage it. Matthew 23:19 says the altar makes the gift sacred. If we would but see our troubles as gifts from God meant to be put on His Holy Altar so that they can be sanctified, we would receive help in our time of need. Yesterday while singing the song ♫Just Forget About Yourself♫ I realized that looking after myself originated in my childhood because my parents, while there physically, were not there emotionally. I also realized I continued that behavior into my adulthood. Now, I felt God was calling me to stop looking after myself and instead to let Him look after me. The only way I will ever be able to change my old self-reliant habit is to make sure I never take back something I’ve laid on God’s altar. Each time I find myself running back to retrieve it I will remind myself that it belongs to God now. It’s His, not mine. And I will praise Him.
“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Hebrews 13:15