It Is so easy to substitute the things of God for God Himself. At the crazy speed of hundreds of interaction a day, I frequently rush to the good things God has given me: the Bible, the law, my sense of justice – of right and wrong, my wisdom (or at least intellect), my capacity and understanding of how to live successfully (not to mention the track record I call upon with likely too much pride) and the ability I believe I use very well to communicate effectively with others. How is it that I so easily access all of these wonderful gifts from God, and yet forget to look to Jesus himself, the giver of all good things?
But my Lord could’ve called legions of angels to defend Himself at Gethsemane and yet, did not. He could have poured out the wrath of God on the Sanhedrin or Pilot yet he spoke not a word to defend Himself. While justice was completely lacking, He chose to look at the Father and His greater justice, and return grace instead.
Jesus, forgive me for misusing your wonderful gifts, making them idols and very poor substitutes for You. How silly am I to reference my memory and understanding which are so limited when You are right there with me, full of Love. Please help me to keep my focal point on You, Jesus, so I have something real to give to others – instead of mostly promoting and defending my sense of self.
Heb 12:2-3; Ps 102:27
Not everything that pricks your hearts, brothers and sisters, is a task for you to take on. Sometimes, a burden is just a burden – the next step is to ask the Lord what He will have you do? He will give you direction and equip you for the task at hand.
Perhaps, the entire task was to merely pray and give this burden back to Him. There are many burned-out Christians who think more is always better, who deem it unspiritual to say no. They forget that the work is the Lord’s and that there’s no action more powerful than prayer. Jesus shows us the path of life; in His presence is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Ps 16:11; 141:8
If my mind is always preoccupied with planning, how can I be listening to the step-by-step guidance of my Lord? Is this not an idol called control? And how can I call myself free while thus enslaved? Jesus, help me to let this go, to hear your voice, and to follow you letting your purpose prevail in life.
Jn 8:36, 10:27 Pr 19:21
When I complain, I am saying I believe God is mismanaging things in the world and I could do a better job. It’s a form of idolatry. This is why it is God’s will for me to give thanksgiving constantly. Of course, I really know I can hardly manage all the things in my own life much less all the millions of things of God lovingly shields me from even having to know. The truth is that He has designed me to live by faith and not by sight – faith that the whole world is full of His glory and that He is sovereign and in control of all things – and that He cares for me. Because of this, I can be thankful in all circumstances.
Is 6:3; 1 Th 5:18; 2 Co 5:7; 1 Pt 5:7
Jesus is leading us from glory to glory, transforming us as we look at him face to face, making us fit for His kingdom. Will I sacrifice the idol of comfort and accept His challenge to journey with Him in something new today?
Ps 61:2-4; Is 12:2; 2 Co 3:18; 1 Co 13:12
Heaven is both present and future. The essence of heaven is nearness to Christ and He already lives in the hearts of those who’ve invited Him in. Because God has seated Him in heavenly places, we too are seated with Him. (Eph 2:4-6) We tap into and practice heaven now when we allow His Presence to permeate our world. This is part of the grace of God toward us – knowing Joy and Peace as and absolute certainty of our heavenly home now and forever. Now is actually the dress rehearsal for eternity.
Eph 1:3,20; 2:4-6; 1Co15:20-23; Heb 6:19
Nothing is wasted when you walk close to Jesus. Even my mistakes and sins are recycled into something good, through His transforming grace. Jesus turns water to wine, stones to sons, and wood, hay, and stubble to finest gold and rarest gems. Because He sacrificed His very Life for me, I can trust Him in every facet of my life.
Jer 17:7;Ro 8:28 amp:Ps 40:2 amp; 1 Pt 2:9; Jn 2:7-10; Mt 3:9; 1 Co 3:12-14
Each moment, I have a choice: to be in the presence of my problems or the Presence of the Prince of Peace. Though nothing can separate me from Jesus, I choose my focus. I can be absurdly self-sufficient or sacredly surrendered in the assurance that Christ cares for me and is in control of all things.
Ro 8:38-39; Ex 33:14; Mt 6:24 KJV
The question is not whether Jesus is with me and for me. The question is whether I am with Him and for Him. How often do I ignore him by thinking and acting as if He is not with me? His love for me is constant for He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Lord, I return to You now, whispering Your name; falling into Your open arms.
Your love for me is manifest most surely in the number of times You’ve embraced me fully upon the return from my empty foreign excursions. Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. – yet You pay no attention and embrace me and celebrate that I am with you again. Your grace still amazes me.
Lk 15:21-22; Gen 28:15; Ro 8:31; He 13:8
A lowly barn near Bethlehem once contained the creator of all the heavens and earth. Just so, though we are dust, by God’s mysterious Glory He formed us as earthen jars of clay to be filled with the heavenly content of the Spirit of Christ, and so, with His Love, Joy, and Peace.
Return to Him; rest, be still, and know your Salvation and Strength. Open your eyes and see that all other glories man runs after are like mud puddles in the slums compared to this holiday by the sea. The hole in your heart is intentionally designed to be filled by Jesus. This is not religion but the Love of God for you.
2 Co 4:7; Is 30:15; Hab 2:14; Lk 2:7