Tag Results For :: "devotion"




Real Wealth, Rich Simplicity

August 21st, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be good to your servant, God;
    be as good as your Word.
Train me in good common sense;
    I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
    but now I’m in step with your Word.
You are good, and the source of good;
    train me in your goodness.
The godless spread lies about me,
    but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
They’re bland as a bucket of lard,
    while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
My troubles turned out all for the best—
    they forced me to learn from your textbook.
Truth from your mouth means more to me
    than striking it rich in a gold mine.
— Psalm 119:65-72, The Message
Image

A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. — 1 Timothy 6:7a, The Message

What current activity or opportunity might be distracting you from enjoying this kind of simplicity in your life? When you see unmet needs for leadership and/or service around you—in your job or community, at home, school, or church, among your friends, family, and co-workers—do you want to respond and try to meet the need according to a list of “shoulds” instead of focusing on what God has specifically called you to do?

What goes? What stays? What needs adding?

Our natural inclination when we’re under pressure is to turn away from God’s peace. Notice the symptoms: Anxiety, upset, worry, irritability, comparisons, anger, and resentment. “Lord, don’t you care?” Choosing to wait upon the Lord and trust Him with our concerns isn’t easy or automatic. We can choose to turn toward Life as we seek Christ’s help and direction, wherever we find ourselves.

What comes to mind as you ask God for discernment about distractions in your life today?



The Source

April 27th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Love never gives up.

Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.

Love doesn’t strut,

Doesn’t have a swelled head,

Doesn’t force itself on others,

Isn’t always “me first,”

Doesn’t fly off the handle,

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn’t revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,

Puts up with anything,

Trusts God always,

Always looks for the best,

Never looks back,

But keeps going to the end.

– 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 MSG

 Image

In those moments when we are especially aware of the Lord’s compassion, patience, mercy, and grace, we again learn the lesson: Love doesn’t originate with us, but in God. We can love one another because God is the source, the substance, and the completion of our love.

Living in the reality of this great truth is possible for all of us. Yet how easily we become discouraged and frustrated in our quest to give and receive love!

 

Dare to love and to be a real friend. The love you give and receive is a reality that will lead you closer and closer to God as well as those whom God has given you to love. 
– Henri J. M. Nouwen



What Do We Lack?

April 20th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

— Psalm 36:7-9

Image

In the seventeenth century Francis Quarles wrote, “In having all things but Thee, what have I? Not having Thee, what have my labors got? Let me enjoy but Thee, what further crave I? And having Thee alone, what have I not?”

Indeed, if we belong to Jesus and His Spirit has found a home in our hearts, what do we lack? As we take time out to taste Christ’s eternal bounty, what further do we crave except more of Him? Still, it’s amazingly easy to dismiss this vital truth if our schedules begin to overflow with stressful activity, drain our inner reserves, and cause us to grow weary with life’s complex demands.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good,” David’s psalm invites us. “Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!” (Ps. 34:8, NLT). We don’t have to wait until tomorrow to seek and find the source of our soul’s satisfaction.

 

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,

Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,

From the best bliss that earth imparts,

We turn unfilled to Thee again.

 

Thy truth unchanged has ever stood,

Thou savest those that on Thee call;

To them that seek Thee, Thou are good,

To them that find Thee, all in all.

 

We taste Thee, O Thou Living Bread,

And long to feast upon Thee still;

We drink of Thee, the Fountainhead,

And thirst our souls from Thee to fill.

 

Our restless spirits long for Thee,

Where’er our changeful lot is cast;

Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,

Blest when our faith can hold Thee fast.

 

O Jesus, ever with us stay,

Make all our moments calm and bright;

Chase the dark night of sin away,

Shed o’er the world Thy holy light.

— Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153)



Off and On

April 7th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image

God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. 
   You have bedded me down in lush meadows, 
      you find me quiet pools to drink from. 
   True to your word, 
      you let me catch my breath 
      and send me in the right direction.

— Psalm 23:1-3, MSG

 

“When God finds a [person] that rests in Him and is not easily moved,” noted Catherine of Genoa, “He gives the joy of His presence, which entirely absorbs the soul.”

By diving into the depths of God’s Word and waiting upon Him within it, we learn that Christ’s call to the life above is not just for noteworthy spiritual giants like Catherine of Genoa. It is also for everyday saints like you and me. Through the private posture of our soul, we seek God and His kingdom with the eyes of faith, resolutely taking our thoughts off our circumstances and setting them on things above.

Without question, meditating on the Word of God—sitting down to enjoy the Lord’s spiritual feast—nourishes our soul’s growth. Yet how can we possibly taste, chew, swallow, and digest the meal He has provided if we persist in keeping ourselves on the go, in apparent denial of our soul’s need for rest and stillness, rarely slowing down long enough to listen to our Shepherd’s voice? Why are we still surprised when we experience such troubling hunger pangs, distracting our soul from “the one necessary thing” that truly matters? Then again, our life in Christ does not have to be this way.

As we turn our eyes and ears toward Jesus—waiting in silence, savoring God’s Word—we more and more taste and see God’s goodness. By determinedly directing our heart’s desires toward Christ and depending on Him to satisfy our soul’s deep longings, we find our love for God, and others, grows. 

 



Take

April 7th, 2012 | Tags: • , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every day, let us renew the consecration to God’s service; every day let us, in His strength, pledge ourselves afresh to do His will, even in the veriest trifle, and to turn aside from anything that may displease Him. He does not bid us bear the burdens of tomorrow, next week, or next year. Every day we are to come to Him in simple obedience and faith, asking Him help to keep us . . . leaving the future always in God’s hands, sure that He can care for it better than we. — Anonymous

Image

We frequently feel pulled in opposing directions by those who encourage us to look at a job, an investment portfolio, or our looks as the central core of our identity—when our greatest joy and highest privilege as Christians is designed to come from knowing, serving, and loving our Lord, one day at a time.

“I trust in your unfailing love,” David said (Psalm 13:5 ESV). The walk of faith requires that we choose moment by moment where we look for help, surrendering ourselves to the Lord and relinquishing our personal autonomy in this present world. As Christ’s followers, we never have to wait for precisely the perfect moment to surrender ourselves to God; the time to do it is right now, right where we are, with whatever He has already given us.

One day we will stand before Jesus, our earthly lives far behind us. All that we have done, all that we have thought and said, will be shown for what it was—gold, silver, and costly stones, or wood, hay and stubble—as it is revealed in God’s purifying fire. What will remain? For what and whom have we lived? Will we be left with crumbs or a crown?

 

Take my life, and let it be,

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.

Take my moments and my days;

Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

 

Take my hands and let them move

At the impulse of Thy love.

Take my feet, and let them be

Swift and beautiful for Thee.

 

Take my voice, and let me sing

Always, only, for my King.

Take my lips, and let them be

Filled with messages for thee.

 

Take my silver and my gold;

Not a mite would I withhold.

Take my intellect, and use

Every power as Thou choose.

 

Take my will and make it thine;

It shall be no longer mine.

Take my heart, it is Thine own;

It shall be Thy royal throne.

 

Take my love, I pour

At Thy feet its treasure-store.

Take myself, and I will be

Ever, only, all for Thee.

— Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879)