Love Looks Like Death

LoveLooksLikeDeath

We don’t normally pair love and death, except to express love for those who have died. But consider God’s love. This is that love that died on the cross for our sins, so that we may have eternal life with God. This is that same love that comes to live within us, and causes us to die to self: die to our fleshly desires, die to our selfish wants, die to putting ourselves first. This is the same love that causes us to put to death the things we loved in our flesh, and instead take up those things that God loves.

John 12.24 – 26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

What needs to die in order for God to get our attention? What needs to die in order for us to commit to Him? What needs to die in order for God’s purposes to be fulfilled for His glory?

Many of us have long been praying for revival. Maybe this is what revival looks like.

Acts 26.18 God appointed Paul a minister To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

I see posts on the Internet about “When life returns to normal,” and “I can hardly wait to get back to normal.” I pray that life does NOT return to normal after this pandemic. Look at the garbage we allow into our homes through Internet and television. Look at the way we speak to and act toward one another. Many of the things we love need to die:

  • What do you watch on television?
  • Whose pockets are you filling with what you feed on? Think food (is it healthy?), Internet (is it edifying?), news sources (is it uplifting, truthful, and unbiased?), other media (does it feed you spiritually?): are you giving your money to Godly causes?
  • How do your words sound and look? If you eat your words, will they be sweet and/or nutritious?

God designed us, and knows best what brings us joy. His love, and sharing that love with others, is what brings true joy. We must kneel before God and accept that His way is best. We must accept that He will allow to die those things that are not glorifying to Him, or that He will use death to bring glory to Himself.

I encourage you to start with prayer and reading of God’s Word.

Isaiah 55.6 – 13 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

I hope you feel God’s call to prayer. If you do, I hope that you heed it. America, the world, must fall on its knees before Almighty God. We must humble ourselves. That means that we give up whatever we think is right and just and true, and that we take to heart His Word, His Truth. (Note: We must find out what are His Word and His Truth by reading the Bible.)

God moves through prayer. He doesn’t need our prayers. We need our prayers. God moves at His will, regardless of our obedience. But He also works through our prayers, in our own lives and the lives of others. One of the great mysteries of God is that He works through people.

Prayer does not “solve” our problems. Prayer lays our concerns before God and gives them to Him. Prayer accepts that God loves us and will do what He deems best in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Prayer places trust in God and God alone. Prayer strengthens us; through us, prayer strengthens others.

Isaiah 40.28, 29 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

I end with a quote by Elijah Lovejoy (1802 – 1837), an American Presbyterian minister, journalist, newspaper editor, and abolitionist: “If by compromise is meant that I should cease from my duty, I cannot make it. I fear God more than I fear man. Crush me if you will, but I shall die at my post.”

I pray I may be found at my post when God comes for me.

Obedience and Blessings

ObedienceAndBlessings

I am blessed to use several devotionals throughout my day and week. One of my sources of inspirational reading is the blogs I read from YOU! I so appreciate your interpretation of and encouragement in God’s Word.

Another that I read and study daily is Quiet Walk’s Walk Through the Bible daily devotional, found here: http://www.walkthru.org/qw-daily-devotional

Today’s readings inspired me to go off on some tangents about obedience (one of my favorite topics). It starts with a Bible passage I love, where Hezekiah spreads Sennacherib’s letter before his Lord, in the temple. The discussion pointed out that, “God is not reluctant to bless us. But we must be sure we are eligible by being faithful to Him.”

God is a God of faithfulness! He loves to shower His blessings upon us. But we must position ourselves to be eligible to receive His blessings.

How?

By being obedient.

How to be obedient?

READ GOD’S WORD!

Without God’s Word, it is easy to assume and visualize in our minds how we can be obedient to God. We can (and do) make up anything we want to push ourselves into believing we are pleasing Him, while in reality we are conniving to please ourselves.

God is our plumb line, our source of Truth, of reality. Everything we do or say or think or feel must be aligned with the Truth He gives us in His Word.

Mind you, blessing does not always mean a lovely life filled with roses and lemonade. Blessings come in all forms. Sometimes a blessing looks like a face of anger or a scary situation or a blocked road or even death, to turn us to the direction God wants for us. If we are in tune with God, if we know Him, His Word, His Spirit of Truth, then He WILL guide us.

None of us is always obedient. We try, and God forgives. The devotional this morning continued with this passage from Joel 2.12, 13: Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

Sometimes we are afraid to be obedient to God, fearing we won’t get what we want. God knows our hearts. If we will but surrender to Him, He gives us joys we cannot imagine – even better than what we thought we wanted!

Pray with me:

Lord, I praise You. I worship Who You are, and I bow before Your throne of glory. I acknowledge my weakness and my sin. I come before You, knowing You love me, You welcome me, and You want Your best for me. Increase my faith in Your goodness. Guide me to read more of Your Word, instruct me in the way I should go. Give me a heart that yearns for You, a heart that desires above all else to know You and please You. Give me eyes and a heart to see the beauty and peace and joy of Your Ways. Amen.

Are You Ready to Soar?

Today’s post is taken entirely from today’s Daily Living for Seniors, found at   https://www.oneplace.com/devotionals/daily-living-for-seniors/are-you-ready-to-soar-senior-living-october-10-11781108.html

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

If you ever get a glimpse inside the nest of an eagle, you’ll see something fascinating. A mother eagle starts building with thorns, broken branches, sharp rocks, and other items that seem entirely unsuitable for the project. Then she lines the nest with a thick padding of wool, feathers, and fur from animals she has killed, making it soft and comfortable for the eggs.

By the time the growing birds reach flying age, they don’t want to leave because of the comfort of the soft nest. So the mother eagle begins pulling up the soft carpet, baring the sharp rocks and branches. As more of the bedding gets plucked up, the nest becomes more uncomfortable for the young eagles. This encourages them to leave their home and move on to more mature behavior.

In order to move forward, the young eagles must be made uncomfortable. And in order for us to move forward into spiritual maturity, sometimes God does the same thing: He gets you out of your comfort zone and puts you in a place where you have to jump out and trust Him to help you soar!

Wherever God is pushing you from being comfortable today, see it as a chance to develop a deeper trust in Him and soar on the wings of faith He’s given you.

Prayer Challenge:

Pray that God would show you where He wants you to jump out and trust Him to bring you to a new level in your spiritual journey.

Questions for Thought:

Think of a time when you were pushed out of your comfort zone. How did it make you feel?

Where do you believe God may be ‘baring the rocks’ in your life to encourage you to get out of your comfort zone?

In Whom We Trust

In Whom We Trust

Disillusionment and distrust of the government has always existed among fringe groups, but in the 1930s, ‘40s, and most of the ‘50s, the majority of Americans trusted their government. Many still do.

But in the 1960s, things changed. It started in the late ‘50s, with new and daring music, pulling at teens who were already pulling away from parents. In the ‘60s, the Vietnam War was the breaking point. Draft-aged young men and their families had a notion that this war was somehow not right – nothing they could put their finger on, snippets from here and there we couldn’t quite put together; but the notion was spreading like wildfire. We now know the government lied to the American people for the sake of saving their own faces and for power.

The government had long been split over the issue of treatment of people of color. God says that He created us as equals. Our very Constitution states that we are equal. But too many in leadership worked to soften the edges, for fear of the people. Few stood up to do the right thing, fearing re-election time.

The disillusionment of authority and government wracked the youth. Who could they turn to, if all their authorities lied to them, could not be trusted?

This instability has grown and tilted. We question everything. No one can tell us what to do. Right and Wrong is in the eye of the beholder: the people do what is right in their own eyes. Daily we hear of yet another politician or celebrity or religious leader (or group) who has been lying to us all along, keeping secret sins.

“My God,” people say, “If we can’t trust the government, who can we trust? They control everything – they control our lives, in one form or another.”

The answer is in that very question: My God.

Sadly, many people think that what they see of God, what they sense in the people around them, is who God really is; the Catholic Church, who has been abusing children, and protecting themselves; the Bible-toting old auntie who scolds harshly for running in with muddy feet; the pastor daddy who beats them; the never-miss-a-Sunday momma who keeps her vodka in the locked cupboard. The list is endless, of course, because all of us, even the most devoted followers, are a sinful people.

No wonder we as a nation, a culture, a world, have turned away from whatever calls itself an authority. We learn we must make our own rules, follow what’s best for us, cut ties to anything perceived as unhealthy or not nurturing. We huddle together with like-minded friends until they, too, betray us.

But God.

In God we trust. In God we can trust. In God we must trust.

No one else can be a final authority. No one else has the power to determine the destiny of a person, a community, a nation, a world. No other entity is perfect, perfectly loving, and perfectly just.

It is God who allows or disallows a government. It is God who puts us in families, Who determines who our father and mother will be. It is God Who is the authority and Who establishes authority.

Proverbs 21.1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Matthew 22.21 Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Titus 3.1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work

Romans 13.1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God

And it is God Who loves us.

Psalm 86.15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

And it is God Who provides a remnant. There is always a remnant. That’s us, you know – you and me, my friends. Let us be the ones to show others Who God is, what He wants for us all.

Joel 2.13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

2 Chronicles 7.14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.