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Archive for the ‘Devotions’ Category

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If you love me, you will keep my commandments

John 14:15 (ESV)

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple

Luke 14:33 (ESV)

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“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.”

Matthew 13:44

This verse shows the correct response of someone who understands God’s crazy relentless love for us. I will admit I wasn’t a huge fan of this chapter. The majority of the chapter is Francis Chan describing a list of lukewarm Christians. The list goes on and on. So was my frustration because the chapters drags on too long or because I saw myself in this list? I definitely know I’m not the perfect Christian. The chapter gives some valid points on how lukewarm Christians can be a distraction to those who want to sincerely follow Jesus. I have the same frustrations with Pastors and churches that are more concerned with numbers and preaching a “seeker friendly” message to attract viewers or with Christians whose faith is just for show. Jesus spoke in parables to weed out those who weren’t interested in the truth of the gospel (not because He didn’t care about them).

I think for me, I don’t want to just be living for God out of conviction or to live up to a standard. I don’t want a desire to just be “good enough”. All I have to do is think back to when God rescued me and how patient He has been with me since then to know He loves me. I want to pursue God with my whole being and have all my actions flow out of a heart for Him. I know the only way to live this life for God (and not of one who is half-hearted) is to truly love Him. I pray everyday I am in awe of how great and how good God is.

“We love because He first loved us”

1 John 4:49

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Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

Mark 12:30

In this chapter we focus on God’s amazing and unconditional love for us. But it also asks us to reflect on our earthly father and how that relationship shaped our view of God. For me, my Dad was a provider. He worked long hard hours to make sure we had what we needed. But what he missed out on was being there for us. I learned many lessons of life on my own through trial and error. So for me to fathom knowing God is always there for me when I need Him is hard for me. I have always relied on myself to get things done and for the most part found myself in some jams because of it.

I know I can never fully understand God’s love for us. But I experience it by spending time focusing on how good He is and how He is always there for me. Even through the trials of life, God has been there and has restored me and gotten me through some difficult times. He blesses me and uses me for His purposes. But what always awes me the most is when He chases me when I drift away from Him. God has never given up on me even when I screw up.

God doesn’t have to love us, but He does. And nothing can separate that love He has for us.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39

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Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes

James 4:13-14

Life is short. Yet we don’t live like it is. We act like it’s all about us – that everything revolves around us. We go to funerals and we say things like – “he/she had a good life”. But do we really mean that? Can we really say that person lived their life fully for the Kingdom? We make life all about our goals and accomplishments. We treat relationships as they are disposable and don’t mend them. We spend our time making a name for ourselves and gathering attention to us. I like how the book describes how we make mini-kingdoms for ourselves. But do we think about how we can vanish from this world at any time? Years after your life is over, no one will probably care.

You know, I used to have a huge struggle with what people think about me. It’s still a struggle here and there, but God has really worked in this area of my life. I would please people, defend myself, brag about my accomplishments – anything to make myself look good to people. It makes me sick that this was how I spent most of ministry life. I’m not saying I didn’t do anything for God, but a lot of it was for my glory as well. God and I were this tag team. I no longer desire a life like this – I want to live a life worthy of God’s glory. I want an epic life that reflects God’s character and how amazing He is.

Last year I took a long look at my retirement savings and decided that I wasn’t putting enough into it to live off of when I retire. I decided to restructure my budget to put more money into it. Now I feel I’m in a better place for retirement if I stay on course and make it to my 60’s. I laugh at this statement – If I make it to my 60’s. That’s just it – there’s no guarantee that I will make it to my 60’s. I could die today. And can I say that I lived my life fully for the Kingdom? These are the questions I want to continue to ask myself as I move forward in life.

It is better to go to a house of mourning
    than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of everyone;
    the living should take this to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:2

This part of the book really convicted me. It made me look at how busy I can make my life.

WORRY implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take of what’s happening in our lives. 

STRESS says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.

Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s okay to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional. Both worry and stress reek of arrogance. They declare our tendency to forget that we’ve been forgiven, that our lives here are brief, that we are headed to a place where we won’t be lonely, afraid, or hurt ever again, and that in the context of God’s strength, our problems are small, indeed.

Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are?

Philippians 4:4 says to Rejoice in the Lord always. We are to obey God and follow His ways. He doesn’t expect us to change the world or try as hard as we can. We need to trust that He is in control and depend on Him.

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Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

Ecclesiastes 5:1-2

Do we all have this approach when we are in prayer with our heavenly Father? Do we have this awe factor of God when we have alone time with Him. I know I don’t. Maybe we need to stop and just reflect on God before we pray. My time with God is good. I feel I talk to Him throughout my day. But my alone time with Him isn’t always spent wisely. I get distracted easily and I make other things more important than Him.

In this study I was asked to answer this question – what would be my first words out of my mouth when I first come into the presence of God? I immediately teared up and I though “why me?”. Why does God continue to pursue a broken-down person like me? When I think of how He sent His son to die for us and that He loves me unconditionally despite my rebellion, it blows me away. And the thing is, God uses me over and over again – even after I fail. Everyday I am used as His witness and for that I am grateful.

Revelations 4 gives this amazing picture of John coming into the presence of God. Some of it sounds amazing and some of it sounds weird. But when it comes down to it, can words really describe what it is like to come into the presence of God? I love the picture of constant eternal worship of our Heavenly Father. It sounds amazing! How I long to even worship my Lord and Savior for an hour a day.

I need to slow my days down. I need to make time for God and gaze at how awesome He is. I need to allow my time with Him to flow through my everyday life schedule. I want my thoughts and approach to life to always reflect Christ and how He first loved me.

God is HOLY  God is ETERNAL  God is ALL-KNOWING  God is ALL-POWERFUL  God is FAIR AND JUST

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us… Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like  

A.W Tozer

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Do I really view God as this BIG God? Why are Christians judgmental and having a hard time loving others? Do we really view Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the ultimate love letter from our Father in heaven to us? Do we long and hunger for the Father each and every day? I have read Crazy Love by Francis Chan several times. He is a hero of mine and I seen him speak countless of times. I was asked by a friend to join a Crazy Love study group using the DVD and workbook. Being at this amazing new journey that I’m on, I decided to join to see where my own heart is and to really start asking myself the same question. Am I truly in love with this amazing BIG God of the universe and do I respond with the same love to others? I will blogging each week of my experiences during the next 10 weeks.

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