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
Sunday, January 1, 2012
Saturday, December 31, 2011
“The soul that ‘mounts up with wings’ (Isaiah 40:31) looks at everything from the divine standpoint not from the human. In forming a judgment about any matter everything depends on our point of view. Things appear very different when looked down on from above than when viewed on their own level. What seems like an impassable wall on its own level, becomes an insignificant line to the eyes that sees it from the top of a mountain. The faults in others which assume such immense proportions while we look at them on the earthly plane, become insignifant little motes in the sunshine when the soul has mounted on wings to the heavenly place above them.” Hannah Whitall Smith, God is Enough, 12/10
So, I come to the end of this fantastic journey this year and can say I now know what it means to have freedom in Christ. This journey has brought me through some trying times and I did not always feel so good in the midst of them. But I can honestly say I never felt as though God had left me bereft. In the moment I finally cried out to Him I received His comfort. Now He has brought me up to His mountaintop and shown me His world from His viewpoint and I understand. Like the eagle who trusts his life to the wind, I spread my wings and trust that God will sustain me as I am lifted from the ledge and soar with God. Lord, make me a blessing today.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
Friday, December 30, 2011
“You may not realize it, but your life has the potential to bless everyone you encounter. Are others strengthened and encouraged in their faith because of their relationship with you?” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 12/17
There is just one prayer we could pray each day that would encompass all prayers: Lord, make me a blessing today. In that one prayer we are acknowledging that God is our Lord and we want to serve Him. We are giving Him permission to do what He needs to do in order that we will be a blessing. We are asking for the necessary resources whether it be talent, time, or money. We are acknowledging our need to come before God each new day. We are also declaring God’s glory in that He is able to make us a blessing by all that He knows and does. In addition, we are making ourselves aware of those around us. When we have an encounter with another person or when a thought drops into our minds of someone’s needs, whether within our circle or out in the world, we will be ready. Most of the time I suspect we have our minds on ourselves and don’t notice what is happening around us. By praying, “Make me a blessing,” we are relinquishing our self-serving attitude and taking up God’s agenda. And you know, I am confident that God will bring someone across my path when He wants to use me to bless them and in the process I shall be blessed, too!
“Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing.” Matthew 24:44-46
Thursday, December 29, 2011
“Jesus said that a man who takes the words of God and builds them into his life is like a wise man who builds his house on a rock.....There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. Maturity comes only through hard work and obedience to what God says. The next time you hear Jesus speaking, begin immediately to firmly build His truth into your life, so that no storm can unsettle you.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 12/16
My parents weren’t available to me when I was a child because they were so caught up in their own problems. I felt as though I raised myself. Consequently, when the storms came into my life I discovered my house was built on sand and not rock. It’s only been since I began reading my Bible and listening to others preach on the scriptures that I’ve begun to laboriously build my house on the Rock--Jesus Christ. As my foundation He is providing me the stability that I never had as a child. He also teaches me things I need to know and holds my hand while I’m learning them. Wisdom can only come from actually living what we’ve learned because until you experience it you really don’t know if you’ve learned it or not. It’s in either living out the truth or learning from the mistakes that we gain the wisdom that enables us to weather the most fiercest of storms.
“I love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1-3
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
“Jesus walked so intimately with His Father that He was always aware of what the Father was doing around him (John 5:19, 20). Jesus said that if our eyes are pure, they will see God and recognize His activity (Matthew 6:22). If we are not seeing God’s activity, the problem is not a lack of revelation. The problem is that our sin prevents us from noticing it.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 12/13
We never have to ask God to reveal His will to us. He is constantly revealing it to us, but as Blackaby points out we are just not seeing it. I know in my own life I have been amazed time and again how God provides in advance of when I need something. But you know, it just might be that I’d been needing it all along but hadn’t yet noticed it. Those times in particular that seem like miracles are from God’s point of view quite ordinary. The miracle is that we showed up and were aware of His activity. This should make us stop and contemplate a little bit more about our place in this universe. I think we either overrate it or underrate it. We either think it’s all about us, or we figure we’re so insignificant that God hardly notices us. To see things from God’s point of view would open our eyes and shine His light right into them, down into our very soul. It is there that He is revealed to us. It is there we will find His will.
“But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’ God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
“It would be of no use to inherit a fortune if you did not know it was yours. Likewise, it is of no benefit to inherit everything necessary to become like Christ if you do not claim it...The key to all that God has made available to us is our faith.” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 12/10
I think a lot of people exercise faith, but because they don’t know about their inheritance their faith is in the wrong thing. Usually, it’s in themselves. Sometimes it’s in the “system”. Fortunately, they will be let down eventually; otherwise, if these other ways succeeded, they’d never search elsewhere to place their faith. Then there are those who place their faith in God, but aren’t aware of their inheritance. They never read their Bible and therefore are ignorant of all God wants to give them. They walk around all the good things God has for them on their way to what they, with their limited imaginations, think is good for them. But there is a third type of person. They are the ones who exercise their faith in God and know what He desires to give them but refuse to take it, thinking they are being humble. These people have been so absorbed into what the world thinks is humility that they can’t see past themselves. They may say outwardly that they do not deserve all of God’s gifts, but what they are really doing is rejecting God. Let us not be guilty of this effrontery to God. We must walk in the way He has prepared for us, believing all His promises so that we won’t grow weary.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.” 2 Peter 1:3, 4
Monday, December 26, 2011
“We can be deceived into assuming God is more interested in our activity for Him than He is in the condition of our hearts. God has consistently made it clear that He will not be pacified by even the most generous offerings and zealous service if our hearts are not right with Him (Micah 6:6-8).” H. Blackaby, Experiencing God Day-by-Day, 12/6
This is when living by example is not such a good thing. We come into a church a “baby” Christian, see the good works of others, and are either solicited to join in the good works or choose to on our own so that we’ll fit in. If that is the order in which we do things we’ll have missed the whole point of being a Christian! Our good works must be an outgrowth of our relationship with God. It reminds me of the story I once heard about a woman who would cut off the end of her roast before placing it in the pan to bake it. One day her daughter asked her why she did that. Her reply was “My mother always did it,” but she didn’t know why either. So together they went to the grandmother and asked her why. She replied, “Because it wouldn’t fit in the pan otherwise.” Too often we do things just because others are doing them and in the process do them for the wrong reason. Our duty as mature Christians is to teach the new Christians. They must be taught about the Holy Spirit’s role in their lives and what God expects from them. If we don’t do that, they are in danger of making assumptions that are wrong and will lead them away from God rather than closer.
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16