Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 Devotional Word #5: WORSHIP


Worship can be understood as the action or placement of value and worth you direct toward someone or something. If we apply this to our lives... worship boils down to the object(s) to which we give our most attention and affection.

When it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ, our understanding of this idea of worship should drive us to the Scriptures for clarity and wisdom. Two passages come to my mind:

"You shall have no other gods before Me." ~ Exodus 20:3

"Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God." ~ Romans 12:1-2

Understand that there is a war raging for your worship. From the beginning, God has commanded us to guard our hearts and minds - to not worship any other things (or gods)... only Him! Some may say that it was unfair or extremely cruel of God to be jealous of our worship. I say God, first and foremost, is the only One worthy of our worship. Secondly, God gives us this command as a guardrail for our lives for our protection and provision. 

In today's culture, there is a practical, emotional and spiritual battle raging for our worship. God is the only One worthy and deserving of the affections of our hearts and minds. He has called us to not align our lives with the ways of our culture, but rather to be daily renewed and transformed by the Holy Spirit in conjunction with His Word. Open your eyes to the battle for your worship. Guard your hearts and minds. Fight on!

Monday, January 23, 2017

2017 Devotional Word #4: PURPOSE


However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”‭‭ ~ Acts‬ ‭20:24‬

I believe all of us in Christ have a common purpose: we are called to testify to the world about the grace of God. It doesn't matter who you are, how you are gifted, what your personality is, or your geographic location. If you have been saved by God's grace - forgiven of your sin by faith through the precious blood of Jesus - then you have a responsibility and call from God to direct your life to the purpose of sharing the good news. 

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” ~ ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:12-16‬a

You don't have to pray about it and see if it's God's will. You don't have to give it a second thought and wonder what God wants you to do. In all areas of your life, make it your goal and ambition to consider nothing as important as sharing your story of how God graciously brought you from death to LIFE!

Monday, January 16, 2017

2017 Devotional Word #3: GLORY

Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty”‭‭ ~ Psalms‬ ‭104:1
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”‭‭ 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:31‬
Glory is defined as (1) high renown or honor, (2) magnificence or great beauty or (3) to take great pride or pleasure in. 
At the root of all our struggles is the battle for "who gets the glory." When you think about it... the main difference between self-centered and Godly is the recipient of the GLORY. Many times we live our lives burdened for the achievements and possessions that ultimately only point others back to us. Is this what we should want? Are we ultimately deserving of that honor and glory?
Years ago I heard this description about our call to reflect and deflect the Light and glory of God. The image is of the moon shining in the night's sky. Here's the deal... the moon has no source of light, it simply reflects the light coming from the sun. The only light we see from the moon is not its own. We should never give the moon the credit and praise for shining brightly in the sky. The credit and "glory" needs to go to the source of light. 
We should live our lives like this - simply reflecting the Light of God to the world. All the glory from everything good in our lives should go to the Son who has shown His love and grace freely upon us. So all of us who are Christ followers should strive for excellence in all we do. When the world or anyone gives us credit or praise, take the time to point them to Jesus with high praise and renown offered only to Him!
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” ~ Ephesians‬ ‭3:20-21‬

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Devotional Word #2: HOPE

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~ ‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13
One reason why I love the beginning of a new year is the "fresh start" aspect of this time of year. All of us, no matter the joys or pains from this past year, get to look ahead to the wonderful (and unknown) potential of the year ahead. Don't look ahead with worry and doubts - look ahead with trust and hope! And don't just look with hope to earthly and material things... live with an eternal Hope perspective as well. 
In Christ, all of us are able to look ahead to this year with a God-given hope. I am certain that for many, if not all, of us will definitely face trials and suffering of some kind this year. Whatever may come, hold your head high and your heart bowed before the Lord trusting in God's perfect peace and provisions for the now and the future. Keep your eyes on Him for He holds it all in His grasp!

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 Devotional Word #1: SURRENDER

So I decided to make a brief devotional post every week this year. 52 weeks. 52 words of challenge and encouragement for the Christian life. So let's get started…

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~ Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬

The concept of surrender is a once for all thing as well as a daily thing. Giving my life up to follow Christ begins with surrender and should continue to be a daily dying to self. God has a much better life for me than I could ever pursue or achieve on my own. This is a call to bow my heart and will to His each and every moment. I am loved. I am His. Now to walk by faith in Him.