Category Archives: Bible

What Am I Devoted To?

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S – “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 7:35

But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16

O – Ruth is an example of devotion. She was devoted to Naomi and was determined to be faithful to her to death. Paul was writing to the Corinthians about matters concerning relationships and living in this world but I think his point is we are to live with undivided devotion to the Lord. Whatever else we do or whatever relationships we have, it should not take us from our undivided devotion to the Lord. He is first. We should say like Ruth, “wherever you lead, I will follow.”

A – Do I have undivided devotion to the Lord? I can’t say I do. I’m distracted by so many things. People, possessions, life. How do I get to where nothing can take me from my devotion to my Lord. How do I deal with the world as if I had no dealings with it? (v.31) The NLT says to “not become attached” to the things of the world. The original word means to not use it much or excessively. To not use fully or overuse. I guess it means to not be obsessed with this world. To not look to the things of the world as what we need to be happy and fulfilled. God wants us to see Him, to know Him as the primary source of all our needs. He is all we need to survive and be happy.

P – Father, please show me how to live in this world and deal with the world yet stay detached from the world. Will you show me or give me an example? Please be my strength. I am so grateful for your love and grace. But I want to be like Ruth and say that I will follow you no matter what to the death. You are the source of all I need Jesus! I love you!

SOAP Bible reading method.

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In the Face of my Enemies

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“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

Who are my enemies?

I don’t have the kind of enemies King David faced every day. I don’t go into physical battle to fight other nations. I doubt my son will ever wage war against me (as David’s son did). But I do have enemies. My biggest enemy is the enemy we all have, Satan. Our accuser, the father of lies, the evil one. He’s the one who wants to steal from us, kill us and destroy us. I also face the enemies in my own heart. My pride, selfishness, apathy, jealousy, self-protective bent, and desire for comfort to name a few.

Sometimes when I am struggling with these “enemies”, I have a hard time writing or sharing spiritual truth. I find it difficult to write out scriptural insights because my enemies accuse me and tell me I’m not worthy. As I was reading Psalm 23:5 one morning, it struck me that God wants to prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. When I come to Him in the morning to read the Bible, pray and write my thoughts, He has promised to spread a table before me, to give me truth and insight into His word even in the presence of my enemies of pride, selfishness and sin. Even in the presence of the accuser, the devil. When I come to Him with an open heart and mind confessing my sin and seeking Him, He will give me truth. He will feed my soul with a banquet spread out on the table. I can ignore the enemies who mock me and jeer at me. They are defeated. Jesus has made a spectacle of them.

He has won the victory!

When I tremble and lay down my sword in the presence of my enemies, I believe a lie.

I am letting my enemies deceive me by convincing me I’m defeated. They rejoice when I let their accusations keep me from seeking my Lord and from acting on His truth. His truth stands no matter how I “feel”. Yes, I’m an imperfect vessel but God still chooses to use me as He has used sinners through the ages. He sees me through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. My faith is in Him and not in my own abilities. I can do nothing apart from Him.

So, I’ll seek Him and I’ll search the Scriptures and I’ll write about His truth even when my enemies mock me. He is my strength and shield. My ever present help in time of trouble.

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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Wow!

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S – “But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe  by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” Hebrews 1:2-4 (ESV)

O – What a glorious Lord! The LORD Jehovah created the world through Him. ALL things were created by Him. He is heir of all things. ALL things belong to Him. He is the radiance, the reflection of God – Yahweh’s glory shines through Him! He is the exact likeness of God. He is God imprinted on flesh. He holds the entire universe together by His word!  AND He made purification for all sins!

A – He is worthy of all my praise, all my worship, all my love. I not only have the privilege of knowing our glorious Lord. He lives in me!! That is a mystery, a grace, a miracle mankind could never imagine on their own. I truly have EVERYTHING I need. I am complete. I can be content.

P – Praise you Jesus! Praise your holy name. You are worthy! You are glorious! I am yours. Thank you. Praise you. Please let your will be done in every part of my life, in every part of this world. In everything concerning me, thank you that you reign supreme.

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Who Am I?

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Often I forget life is not about me.

I’m not the source of strength or truth in my life. I can’t produce one good thing in my own strength. My breath is a gift of grace from God. I can’t hold on to it or guarantee I will take another one.

As I take a deep breath…that act is grace.

Do I have hope? That is a gift.

Do I have a moment of peace? Also a gift.

Every second I spend with a loved one and look into their precious face is a gift. ALL good things come from our Creator Father. The ability to enjoy His gifts comes from Him. Life and death are gifts from Him. Life because it allows us to know Him. Death because it allows us to be with Him forever. I need reminders of who I am.

I’m a receiver of His good gifts.

I am…

A branch not the vine.

A creation not the Creator.

A pencil not the source of truth

A reflection not the light.

A servant not the master.

A voice not the message.

One part not the body.

Gifted not the gift.

A messenger not the message.

A channel not the source.

Forgiven not sinless.

In process not perfect.

En route not at my destination.

A singer not the song.

A child.

A follower.

A believer.

A vessel.

Forgiven, loved, trusting.

He is…

The Creator.

The Light.

The Hope.

The Master.

The Message.

The Author.

The Giver of every good gift.

He alone is worthy of praise, honor and glory.

All that I am, I owe to Him.

That this Great God would choose to love me and use me is overwhelming GRACE!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (ESV)

“But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Isaiah 64:8 (ESV)

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? 1 Corinthians 4:7 (ESV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 (ESV)

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Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 

 

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What’s Required of Me?

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“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”

Luke 12:48b (ESV)

I’ve often heard that whisper from God.

While worshipping and praising God at a concert recently, my heart was focused on Him. Once again that whisper came, “To whom much is given, much is required.”

“What’s required Lord?” I asked. “What does this mean?”

He spoke to my heart, “What have you been given?”

Lord, You’ve given me grace beyond measure, forgiveness for my sins, knowledge of your truth, and your everlasting love. You’ve given me physical well-being, health and always meet my daily needs. You’ve given me opportunities to learn and grow, people who love me, and freedom to worship you. I’ve received love, joy, peace, forgiveness, grace, and truth and I’ve learned to trust you.

If you’ve been given grace, give equal grace to others.

If you’ve received forgiveness, forgive others more.

If you’ve been encouraged, be quick to encourage.

If your physical needs are met, meet the needs of those around you.

If you know the truth, share the truth.

If you are loved, then love freely.

If you are strong, help those who are weak.

I believe what’s required of me is to let all these blessings flow through me to others. To those around me who need grace, forgiveness, encouragement, a meal or daily needs.

This isn’t something I can do on Sunday morning or Tuesday evening and then I’ve met my requirement. This is a way of living.

This is an attitude, an outlook, a way of being.

It’s a change of focus.

A change from focusing on me to focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is abiding in His love.

I wish I could say I’m living this way everyday. I hesitate to even write this because I’m so far from living this every day. I want to live focusing on Jesus and serving Him but I can’t do it in my strength. Awareness is the beginning. Change comes one day at a time. One step at a time. It requires abiding in Jesus. Living continually in His presence. I feel like I fail at this kind of loving. I know God loves me unconditionally and always will. I want to finish this life strong. I don’t want to have regrets. Please pray for me that I, who have been given so much, will respond in kind.

Help me take the next step Lord.

“We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35b (ESV)

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Psalm 105:4 (ESV)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 (ESV)

 Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 

 

 

 

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Looking for the Garden of Eden

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“And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed…Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’…And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

Genesis 2:8, 18, 25 (ESV)

Aren’t we all searching for the Garden?

Deep in our souls we know that’s where we belong.

Walking with our Father.

Sharing our heart.

Worshiping Him.

Praising Him.

Knowing His love.

Love, perfect, complete

 

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”      Genesis 3:6 (ESV)

Yet, she was tempted.

She wondered if there was more.

She had everything.

No need unmet.

Unconditional love.

Complete acceptance.

Walking perfection.

Pure heart.

Untainted mind.

And she wanted more.

Perfection reached out for more.

“Therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.” Genesis 3:23

She lost the Garden.

She lost perfection.

She lost everything.

Except what was most important.

Unconditional love.

His love cannot be thwarted.

 

His Son took on flesh to mend what was broken.

His Son suffered and died to restore that walk.

Jesus restored what was lost.

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)

By His grace we can walk with the Father.

Share our heart.

Worship Him.

Praise Him.

Know His love.

Not perfect but forgiven.

 

The tempter still comes.

He still whispers there’s more.

And we choose sin.

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James 1:14 (ESV)

But those redeemed by Christ can never be snatched away.

Belief in Jesus seals us in Him forever.

We can walk with him in heavenly glory.

By faith if not by yet by sight.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)

     I’m like Eve. Even though I have all I need, I still hear that whisper…Don’t you want more? More comfort? More stuff? First place? More time to yourself? More entertainment? More, more, more… just do what you want. Indulge yourself. Yet, what I truly need is always available. My Father is listening; He’s right beside me. When I walk with Him by faith and look to Him to fill the emptiness in my life…He’s enough.

We all want more. But what we need is Jesus. He’s right there waiting to fill our need if we’ll reach out in faith. Let’s reach out to Him and rest in our Father’s love.

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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At the Potter’s House |by Tara Wiley

At Discover One Thing, my friend Tara shared some beautiful words describing Jeremiah’s visit to the potter:

At the Potter’s House | Tara Wiley

S~ Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.” Jeremiah 18:5-6 (NIV)

O~ “Jeremiah, my old friend!” Adam’s bellowed greeting was warm, and the sound steadied Jeremiah’s inner shaking – until he saw Adam’s eyes slide away from his as they stepped away from a friendly embrace. I am an object of dread to my closest friends.(Psalm 31:11). “What can I do for you today?” The short, sturdy frame of his childhood playmate turned towards his work as he asked the question over his shoulder.

Jeremiah paused, looking around the workshop, taking a deep breath. His nostrils filled with earthy musk of wet clay. The pale rust and gray of Adam’s work covered every surface. Fired and unfired earthenware lined the shelves, piled onto the ground, covered the low tables at the front of the shop. Adam lived, breathed, and moved with earth – his name perfectly suited him.

Jeremiah carefully made his way back towards the far wall where Adam was reaching for a hunk of earth that, from the look of it, had just recently been torn from its home in the ground. He threw the clay onto his worktable and began to slice it into long vertical lines, picking out rocks and roots as he went, tossing them to the ground.  Jeremiah watched thoughtfully as Adam focused his attention on his task. The sleeves of his linen tunic stretched and pulled over thickly muscular arms as Adam slapped the layers of cleaned clay together. He hammered the air pockets out, then folded and slapped the layers again onto the worktable, one on top of the other. Is the lesson, here, Lord?

“There’s nearly not enough sleeve in your tunic for your muscle, brother. You’re going to need some new clothes if you keep working at this pace!” Jeremiah spread his arms to the cluttered evidence of Adam’s efforts. Adam offered a polite laugh and glance before gathering up his newly cleaned and layered earthen lump. He slid it into a vat of water, barely disrupting the shimmering clay slick across its surface. The clay would stay there for nearly six months, soaking up moisture, before it was ready to be formed. Is the lesson here, Lord?

“Either that, or I must stop eating Rachel’s plentiful food!” Adam admitted, patting an equally bulging belly. “Now, you aren’t here to discuss my form, are you? What do you need?” The potter wiped his hands on a rough muslin rag and stepped back, ready for business.

“I- I- Well, show me that pot over there, the squat one in the corner,” Jeremiah stammered. What do I say? Like everyone else, he does not want to hear that I am about the Lord’s work. Yet, I have not heard His word. I must stay.

“Looking for a chamber pot, are you?” Jeremiah flushed. The snide tone in Adam’s remark made it clear what he was thinking of where Jeremiah might belong. They ridicule me…Those I love have turned against me. (Job 19:18-19) Lord, help me.

“I’m not sure yet what I need. May I just look around a bit while you work?” Jeremiah purposefully ignored the implication, remaining congenial, acting ignorant when he was indeed all too aware. Why could I not have been called to this simple existence, working with my hands, raising a family? Ah, no, I would be dissatisfied here too, wouldn’t I? Your word is a fire within me, burning hot as the kiln behind this shop.

Adam shrugged and sat at the wheel. People often came by to watch him work – usually children, but who was this man but a foolish child? The only concern, of course, was others seeing him here. How would that make Adam look? Still, he could not turn him away. He was a customer, after all.

Jeremiah watched his old friend closely as Adam reached for a slick knob of clay and carefully placed it in the center of his wheel(in the center of Your will, Lord…). From this point on, Adam’s hands never left the clay. The wheel began to spin as Adam worked the pedal, and his hands pressed against the knob, smoothing it as it began to yield to his touch. A tall cylinder rose, then rolled back as Adam’s thumbs pressed an indentation into the center, opening it out into a vessel. Over and over, he pressed and prodded, shaped and pulled the clay that seemed to breathe and live under his touch. Just when Jeremiah thought he knew what form Adam was after, he would take the shape another direction. Then, suddenly the wheel stopped and the clay collapsed into a lump. Adam muttered a choice word as he slapped the clay back together, adding a bit of water as he reformed it into a shapeless knob once again.

“What happened?” Jeremiah inquired. Adam shrugged.

“The shape was marred. I must begin again.”

“But the clay is still useful?”

“Yes. You have seen what it takes to prepare the clay for this moment. I will not waste it.” Adam’s feet worked the pedal, and the table resumed its spin with the knob carefully placed at its center. Adam cupped water in a hand and poured it over the knob, once again pressing into it with the skillful touch of an artisan.

“A mistake does not render it useless. I’ll begin again, and make a shape most suitable for this clay.” As Jeremiah watched, the clay narrowed, then fluted under Adam’s hands, taking the form not of a common-use bowl or plate, but of a graceful vase. This is my word, Jeremiah, my work, to rebuild, to restore, if only Israel will yield to my touch. Jeremiah rose abruptly and left to attend to his own work, to record the word of the Lord. As he left the workshop, the hem of his robe caught the little clay idol Adam had placed at the entrance, sending it tottering and crashing to the ground.

A/P~ Lord, how grateful I am that You are in the business of rebuilding and restoring. You pulled me from the dirt, picking out the rocks and roots of sin in my life, and placed me in water-deep seasons of preparation. You hold me in your hands and shape me, and just when I think I know what You’re up to, You surprise me again. And, oh Lord, when I resist, and mar Your work, what grace You offer, to begin again. You do not throw me aside! You know how I am formed, that I am dust (Psalm 103:14). When I yield to You, You make something beautiful even out of my brokenness. You put Your Spirit in my weak body, a treasure in an earthen vessel (2 Cor 4:7) so that the surpassing greatness of Your power may be exalted in my life. Thank You for restoring me, for renewing me every morning. Let me be found a useful vessel for You (Romans 9:19-21). I choose to submit to Your will for my life.

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