Seeing as God Sees

August 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Peter Lundell –

Do you ever compare yourself to others who have a similar level of education and who don’t work any harder than you do, but who make lots more money or achieve a higher degree of recognition?

When I feel that way, I remember a different kind of people—and everything looks different. In countries all over the world live people who are smart, work hard, would have gotten academic degrees if they had the chance, and who give their lives to serving God or some cause. Yet they live in the poverty of an African village or a Southeast Asian jungle. Or they live under the religious oppression of a Middle Eastern society. Or they work in secret under the brutal North Korean regime. Many have no salary at all. For all their work they may receive only beatings. They may receive a prison cell. And some are tortured and killed.

We so easily forget these people, especially our brothers and sisters in faith. But God does not forget them. They are closer to His heart than we can know.

When I think of them, I ask myself what on earth am I thinking when I say I’m not making enough money or not being “successful” enough?

From God’s point of view, everything—everything—looks different from how we typically perceive things from our human point of view. Especially in a wealthy and free nation.

God does not watch TV, and he does not care who’s rich or famous. Second Chronicles 16:9 says, “The eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

Regardless of how your outward life appears, as your heart grows and you see as God sees, you’ll have spiritual wealth and recognition money can never buy.

PRAYER: Father, I commit to seeing as You see. May my eyes become like Yours. May Your thoughts become mine.

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9 NIV).

Phony Following

July 23, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Cheri Cowell –

One of the more recent discoveries I made is this: obedience brings blessings, but delayed obedience is disobedience.

Gulp. Now, I have always thought of myself as an obedient person. I was, however, using the worldly definition, which says that if I obey eventually, even begrudgingly, I have obeyed.

This is not God’s definition. Our forefathers had it right when they demanded a “Yes, Sir” or “No, Sir” with a strong and agreeable tone in their children’s voices. It was a way to condition them to a God-type of obedience. An obedience that would serve them well as adult children of God. An obedience that requires not just the requested behavior, but also a bending of the will. Why does God demand this sort of swallowing of our pride? Because our actions must match our words, and our words must match our heart. God knows what’s in our hearts.

In the Parable of the Two Sons, one son said he wanted to obey but did not do as he said. That son was indeed disobedient. The one who wrestles with God and then finally follows through with action is the one who obeys. It is just as dangerous, however, to do something with a heart that is not inclined. We must be careful to have all three—our hearts, words, and actions—in alignment. We won’t be able to fool God because He can spot a phony follower in a heartbeat.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for being obedient, even to death, so I might have the privilege of following. Help me follow You in a way that honors. Help me to punctuate my “Yes, Sirs” with a heart and action that echo my words.

BIBLE VERSE: “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go” (Matthew 21:28-32 NIV).

Growing Up in 2012

July 13, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Art Fulks –

New Years resolutions are a waste! Maybe that is a bit harsh, but it probably got your attention. Most of us set aside any reality of keeping our resolutions by January 2nd. Setting goals is good, but our failures often make us forsake the goal as either impossible or improbable.

As I study the Bible, I am increasingly convinced that our definite, one-time decision to repent and trust Christ as Lord and Savior may be the only significant, instantaneous event on the Christian journey. After that, the process of becoming the follower of Christ that He desires requires daily acts of the will, (empowered by the Holy Spirit), that develop into patterns of noticable change in our life.

Following Christ is a journey of mountains and valleys, victories and set-backs. It is a path filled with joy and suffering, glory and grace. Understanding this helps maturity begin to grow in our lives. As we decide to surrender our life daily to God, our victories will not make us complacent and our defeats will not cause us to quit.

Bible passages like Ephesians 4 help us see a picture of what growing up in Christ looks like. Our progress is not measured by whether or not we keep one ‘resolution’, but rather faith that produces noticable change in our life over time.

All four of our children are now in their teens. I am noticing more how they are maturing, especially in the younger kids. Why? Because I am observing the patterns of our older kids being repeated in the younger. As a parent, I am not over-reacting as often as I used to because I have faith in the temporary nature of the process. Hopefully, I am also growing in patience.

I cannot help but wonder if that is how our Heavenly Father sees us. He sees our victories with joy and views our failures with disappointment. Yet He has the advantage of Sovereign knowledge that the process of maturity will be perfected in His children.

May we look back at 2011 and notice the ways we are maturing, while evaluating the areas where we still need to mature in the coming months. But whether it is becoming more healthy physically or spiritually, my prayer is that we will all look back at the end of 2012 and be able to see the noticable change as we grow up in Christ together.

BIBLE VERSE: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NASB)

A Personalized 2012

July 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Carin LeRoy –

Now that we’ve entered another New Year, what resolutions will you make for 2012? Usually they are something practical like lose weight, de-clutter the house, take a vacation or eat healthier. But have you considered what type of spiritual resolutions you might make to grow stronger in your walk with God? Let’s consider a few thoughts.

Prayer. That’s never been my personal strong point, and who doesn’t need to think about that one? Keep a notebook of one-line requests and pray through them briefly. Save a space to write out the date when the prayer was answered. Or write out your prayers to keep your mind from wandering and read them as you pray.

Faith. Which of us can’t use more of that? Ask God to give you the ability this year to trust Him more. Even the apostles asked God to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). Be active in helping your faith to grow this year. Stand on promises in Scripture that will build up your faith.

Thankfulness. Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s learn what it means to have a grateful heart. Not only should we thank God for His blessing to us, but show appreciation to those around us. A person who is gracious and appreciative can change someone’s day. Be that person.

Think through spiritual resolutions that you want to consider this year, and personalize it. This list provides only a few ideas to get you started. Ask Him what He wants to change in your life. There is always room for more growth, and God has a plan to take you to the next step in your relationship with Him. So grab a steaming cup of coffee and find a quiet place. Sit down with a Bible and notebook and get started. Let’s see what God has in store for 2012!

BIBLE VERSE: “In Him and through faith in Him, we approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Ephesians 3:12 NIV).

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for another new year. Help make this a year of growth in my life and strengthen my relationship with You. Show me the areas that need change, strengthen my faith and give me a heart to listen to Your voice.

Seeing through Trees

June 20, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Peter Lundell –

Paralleling my mother’s apartment is a thick stand of trees. Summer grows an impenetrable green. Autumn drops the leaves to uncover winter skeletons of branches through which I see all houses on the other side. Spring buds restart the cycle.

The cycle helps me overcome temptation. Through the sameness of daily life and annual events, I’m tempted to feel a sense of permanence, as if the people I know will always be there and the things I do, I will continue to do. But behind the appearance of sameness lurks an ending. Always.

Children feel as if their parents will always be there to watch over them. Adults feel as if they’ll go to work at the same place for eternity. Meeting relatives or old friends feels as if they’ll always be there next season, and that I will too. For thousands of years people have probably felt the same way. But there always lurks an ending.

Most of us prefer permanence and sameness to change. We like familiar, predictable, and comfortable. But permanence and sameness are temporary, even illusory. So I’ve started to resist that sense of permanence, the feeling of sameness. To do so, I must willfully embrace change and accept that no one and nothing will be around forever.

And when I do that, I live better.

A sense of permanence and sameness lulls a person into a daze that can cloud life for decades. Change and the cycles of life are often challenging or agonizing. But embracing change—as Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything”—prepares us for the difficulties.

And that wakes us up to live more fully here and now. Our hearts embrace and our minds understand God’s hand in life.

And our eyes just might discover our path into eternity.

PRAYER: “Father, open my eyes to see through the things in my life that seem so permanent, so the same. Enable me to see beyond them, where You will take me. I trust You to enable me to face whatever I must.”

BIBLE VERSE: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, NIV).

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