Devotion: Mark 10:21-22
I have heard many sermons preached from this particular passage. This young man approached Jesus , truly desiring eternal life and all its’ benefits. However, he wanted his life to remain the same, free of any changes. Jesus said to the rich man, “You lack one thing.” My one word for 2014 is (follow). This very day, I asked the Lord to show me the “one thing I lack.” I cannot follow Christ, if there is something that has a hold on me, that is more important than Jesus. For the rich young ruler, it was his wealth. It had to go, in order for him to follow Christ. These verses tell us, “he went away sorrowful.”
It’s hard for Americans to grasp the thought of selling everything to follow Christ. Everything? Every single thing? Why would God ask him to do that? His stuff was taking up the place meant to be inhabited by Christ. If he had only asked, Jesus would have helped him, even with the process of letting go. Christ wants you to let go of the stuff, to make room for Him. It may not be material things. It could even be an unhealthy relationship, a bad habit, or a past hurt that you cannot seem to give over to Jesus. It steals your joy and peace and keeps you from moving forward.
Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see the “one thing you lack.” He might show you immediately or it may take a few days or even weeks. His eyes are searching to and fro, looking for those whose hearts long to be completely His. So; if you dare, ask, and then be willing to let go of the one thing, so you can make room for Him.
Devotion: Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Last year I was perusing a Dollar Tree store, when I spotted this giant eraser. On it was printed the words, For BIG Mistakes. I purchased it thinking I would use it for a visual illustration, in future teaching lessons. Still wrapped in it’s original packaging, I finally opened it yesterday. My Bible study girls, laughed out loud, when they saw it.
Here’s the thing. I hear so many Christian speakers use the word mistake versus the sin word. There is a stronger connotation when we hear the word sin, versus the word mistake. Somehow a mistake seems to be more readily forgiven, than a sin.
I will use the example of the sin of pride. Proverbs 16:18-19 informs us, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of lowly spirit with the poor, than to divide the spoil with the proud.” One can hardly call pride, a mistake. It is sin against God. 1 John 2:16 tells us, “For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world.” From that verse, I surmise that all sin stems from pride. It involves the attitude that we know better than God, how to live out our lives on our own, apart from His will and His plan for us.
God sent His Son Jesus, to die for the sins of the whole world. On a cruel cross, perfect, sinless Jesus, took the punishment that should have been poured out on us. He is the only One who can erase our sin. It is not His will that any man should perish without Him but we must exhibit godly sorrow, that leads to true repentance. “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 Sin is sin and God promises in His Word to remove it from you “as far as the east is from the west, and remember it no more.” It is truly erased from His mind, just as if it never happened.
Devotion: Psalm 106:7-15
When a package proudly proclaims, “Low Fat”; much of the time, the food has been chemically altered and most of the time, it is desperately lacking in taste. The claim: “It will bring leanness to your body.” If we would determine to alter our eating patterns and only partake of healthy, whole foods, our taste buds would begin to actually taste the goodness of the food, minus the additives and altered engineering done to it. My body craves additives, so I know from whence I speak.
English Standard Version of Psalm 106 speaks of “wanton craving” the Israelites experienced in the wilderness. The King James version of verse 15 in this passage, brings a whole new meaning to “low fat.” “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.” Webster’s definition of lean is, “lacking or deficient in flesh, containing little or no fat, lacking richness, sufficiency or productiveness.”
There is nothing wrong with having a “lean” body, but having a lean soul will send you right to the desert, not dessert, desert. God gave the Israelites what they wanted. Is there anything which you have begged repeatedly, Oh God give me this thing, or I shall die? You wanted it so badly, you could “taste” it. God gave you the desires of your heart but then you became more miserable than before. Your soul was left “wanton”.
Dear God, may we long to have “fatness” in our souls, rather than longing to fill our worldly cravings. It may or may not have anything to do with food. I pray dear reader, that today, you and I would seek the face of God and long more for soul satisfaction from Him, versus having our fleshly desires fulfilled.
Devotion: Job 1:6-21
A few years ago I read a book called, “Southern Sayings,” The book is full of southern words, complete with definitions and phrases, as well as sentences using the words. I laughed all the way through the book because I use many of these words on a regular basis. I heard my mom and dad use them frequently. As a child, I never fully understood the meaning behind many of the phrases, one of them being “poor as Job’s turkey”. I did not really think Job actually had a turkey but I knew it meant you were really poor.
I had heard the story of Job but never really “got it”, until I was an older child. Job was a man of great wealth, as well as rich with children. Satan had asked the Lord, “Does Job fear God for no reason? He has everything, land, his work and possessions, a large family.
I have never known anyone to lose the equivalent of Job’s worldly possessions, in such a short span of time. Job’s reply, “The Lord gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” I also, have never known anyone, to give such a godly response, after losing every single thing they ever had. He was truly destitute.
Ask the Lord to help you give a godly response, when disaster takes place. Although the tests will come, I pray dear reader, you nor I, have to suffer the loss of Job, monetarily, emotionally or physically. Although, Job was poor for a while, in the end, all his great wealth was doubly restored! My prayer for each one of you is found in verse 12. May the “LORD bless your latter days, more than in the beginning.”
Devotion: James 4:1-5
Sometimes I crave certain foods. Most of the time, it is something salty, versus something sweet. I am not suppose to have a lot of salt in my diet, due to high blood pressure issues. Why is it, that I crave the very things I am not suppose to have? Lisa Turkhurst wrote a Bible study called, “Made to Crave.” Our bodies were made to need food in moderation. Our minds and spirits were made to crave the Lord Jesus Christ. James tells us in this passage, our passions are at war within us.
I enjoy preparing food for my friends and family but I have to resist the temptation to overeat, while I am doing the preparation. I need to discipline myself to wait till everyone else arrives. Exercise is good for the body and the mind but too much exercise can damage the frame, our soul was made to dwell within. Social media can also be an addiction that steals much of our time, that may be better spent elsewhere.
God says, “We have not because we ask not, or we ask with wrong motives, to spend it on our own passions.” Too much spending, can ruin the boundaries God meant for you to enforce in your own personal life.
I want to crave my Lord Jesus, more than anything else. I have grown up in a culture that rarely denies itself of anything. God wants us to humble ourselves and obey Him over our own cravings.
The next time you find yourself craving more than you should indulge, humble yourself and submit to the Lord’s plan and purpose for your life. He desires to teach you and train you in righteousness. Fill up those empty places with Him.
Devotion: 2 Thessalonians 2:6-13
There are those who hate to work and do everything possible to get out of anything that looks like work. Then there are those who work their fingers to the nub, in everything they do. The Bible says we are to keep away from idle people and work hard to imitate Paul, who toiled and labored night and day, so as not to be a burden to anyone. We are to do our work quietly and to earn our own living.
There are times we grow weary in doing our job to the best of our ability, when it is seemingly not appreciated. As long as we are workmen approved unto God, that is all that matters. We are to be good stewards in the work force. God is our help and strength. Every thing we do, should be done as unto the Lord. To coin a phrase from Nike; just do it!
As you work this week, do your best for the Master. Many of you may have wonderful bosses and others of you may have a difficult task master or co-workers who do not do their part. Look past him or her, to the One who sees your good work and knows you glorify your Father in heaven.
Devotion: John 4:7-15
When my boys were pre-teens, a friend and I decided to take our sons fishing at Julian Price Lake. I had never been fishing in my whole life and honestly did not know, a fishing license was required. It had been very hot for weeks before our trip. We had been there a couple of hours and the boys had not even gotten a nibble. I began to pray silently for God to allow them to catch a fish. Lo and behold, a truck stopped on the bridge and was stocking the lake with large mountain trout. The water was so hot, the fish were swimming over to the side, turning up on their backs and dying. I thought this was an answer to my prayer, so we jumped in the edge of the water and began throwing our catch up on the lake bank. We must have thrown up about fifteen fish, when all of a sudden, a game warden came running up and boy, was he mad, furious may be a better description. He screamed, “What do you think you are doing?” “Fishing,” I exclaimed. He said, “That’s not fishing. Let me see your license.” Of course, we did not have license. He stomped off, yelling, “You stay right here and I’ll be back shortly.” He drove off and we took our dead fish and exited the premises.
This Samaritan woman did not understand Jesus asking her to give him a drink, when He did not have a bucket. This game warden did not understand us fishing without a license. These fish were dying anyway. Jesus offered the woman living water. She did not understand, one does not need a bucket to draw “Living water.” Jesus Himself is our “Living Water.” He quenches our soul thirst from “a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Will you offer this Living Water to those who are thirsty? Look around, as you go in and out this next week and ask God to open your eyes, to those who are desperate for the Living Water. Many are like fish out of water, dying without Jesus. Go out and offer them the Living Water, so they will never thirst again.