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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Waiting On God (and other devotionals)

Waiting on God

Psalms 37:1-9

Waiting on God is an important spiritual discipline in our walk of faith. King David’s life teaches us about the value of following the Lord’s plan and the danger in moving ahead of Him.

When David was a young shepherd boy, the prophet Samuel anointed him as Israel’s next king. Yet he did not become the ruler for many years. Waiting for the Lord to place him on the throne was made more difficult because the current king, Saul, turned against David and repeatedly tried to take his life. Despite the opportunity to take matters into his own hands and kill his enemy, David held back. He wouldn’t allow anyone else to attack Saul either (1 Sam. 24:1-7). He waited on God and was greatly blessed for his obedience.

King David also knew what it was like to move ahead without the Lord. One year he chose not to join his troops in battle, even though that was one of his duties (2 Sam. 11:1). During the time he stayed home, he noticed Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and he coveted her. Acting upon his desires, he conceived a child with her and then tried to cover up his sin. What a mess he made of his life. Instead of following the Lord’s plan and being blessed, he experienced divine chastisement and much heartache.

As believers, we want to obey the Lord, but there may be situations when intense desire propels us forward without waiting for His direction. Like David, we will experience the blessing of obedience or the heartache of disobedience. Be sure to seek out God’s plan before you act.

~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~


Back, Then Forward

"Nevertheless I will remember My Covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an Everlasting Covenant"   (Ezekiel 16:60).

Notwithstanding our sins, the LORD is still faithful in His love to us. He looks back. See how He remembers those early days of ours when He took us into covenant with Himself, and we gave ourselves over to Him. Happy days those! The LORD does not twit us with them and charge us with being insincere. No, He looks rather to His covenant with us than to our covenant with Him. There was no hypocrisy in that sacred compact, on His part, at any rate. How gracious is the LORD thus to look back in love!

He looks forward also. He is resolved that the covenant shall not fail. If me do not stand to it, He does. He solemnly declares, "I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant." He has no mind to draw back from His promises. Blessed be His name, He sees the sacred seal, "the blood of the everlasting covenant," and He remembers our Surety, in whom He ratified that covenant, even His own dear Son; and therefore He rests in His covenant engagements. "He abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself."

O LORD, lay this precious word upon my heart and help me to feed upon it all this day!

~Charles Spurgeon~


Love in Action 

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19-21

What does it mean to love God? In Christian circles, this phrase is used so frequently that we often take its meaning for granted and give little thought to its application in our daily lives.

Do we love God by giving mental assent to Christian faith and belief? Is it through our emotions or desires? Or is our love for God shown in our physical choices and actions? To each of these, the answer is “yes.”

On the one hand, we as Christ followers must be faithful to deepen our knowledge of God as revealed in Scripture. In the business of work, school, sports, and other life pursuits, it is essential that we prioritize prayer, Bible study, and worship. These are God given gifts to each of us that help deepen our knowledge of the story of salvation and of God’s great love for us. As we grow in our understanding of the great Christian beliefs – namely, the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ - we also grow in our love for God.

However, when we encounter the great love of God shown in Jesus, the Spirit awakens in us a deep and profound yearning for God’s presence. When you pursue God, do you do so out of a feeling of duty, obligation or guilt, or does it flow from a genuine desire for the nearness of God’s loving presence? We must not content ourselves with a passive faith that mentally agrees with Christianity. Instead, let us continually nurture a living, vibrant faith with the living God who loves us fiercely.

When we hear and believe the story of God’s love for us, and when our hearts are awakened with desire for him, we are learning what it means to love God. Yet, if we stop there, our love will be incomplete.

If we look at Jesus, we see true love in action. We see that he came, not simply to change people’s minds or to stir up religious affection, but to give himself fully for the life of the world (John 6:51). As those who follow Christ, we likewise must be willing to share God’s love with the world around us in thought, word, and deed.

Renewed minds and transformed hearts must always lead to obedient actions.

God desires a faithful and consistent unity between our head, our heart, and our hands. If we say we love God and desire him in our hearts, then let us prove this love to be true through lives of radical selflessness, compassion, and grace.

Prayer: Father, as you renew our minds and transform our desires, we ask that you would also give us the strength and courage to share your love through faithful and obedient action.

~Wisdom Hunters Devotional~

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