WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Humility”

It’s Friday…. BUT EASTER SUNDAY IS COMING!

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Co. 15:3-4 (NIV)

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Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByT6wfdhJs

 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” 1 Co. 15:20-27 (NIV)

 

Our Love For Father God

*1

You might doubt the Father’s love for you, but John 3:16 should clear away all your worries. And IF the love of God is hard for you to accept, meditate on what He has already done. Then you will see how great the Father’s love for us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.John 3:16 (NKJV)

Ask yourself this question. Why did the Creator of all things step out of His spiritual realm and live with mankind if He had no care for us? Would He have willingly faced crucifixion (in order to be that living blood sacrifice) to cancel out our transgressions once and for all, had He not love? Victorious over sin through His death and resurrection, He restored our fellowship and position with God. He lives as our constant friend and mediator before God. Why would He intercede both day and night on our behalf if He did not truly love and care for us? We are the now adopted children of a King, His treasure!

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son and make a wretch His treasure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aAjLBh_1Og&sns=fb

His wounds paid for our ransom and by them we have been healed and restored to righteousness. Our righteousness comes only through Jesus who now lives within us. We are a new creation if we are born again. The old man is a thing of the past.

But what of YOUR love for God? How do YOU express it? Is it a daily expression or an after thought at the end of a weary day? Do you make time for Him, He who is jealous for you? He longs for your fellowship and waits for your attention. Are you seeking Him out or do you just expect Him to find you?

Believe it or not, He IS speaking to you all day long. Unfortunately, if you have not learned to ABIDE in Christ you are missing much of His love conversation. We must be seekers and draw near to God if we expect to grow in our spiritual intimacy with Him.

Synonyms for ABIDE (Google) include: obey, observe, follow, keep to, hold to, conform to, adhere to, stick to, stand by, act in accordance with, heed, accept, respect

Thus, we show our love for God by seeking Him out and abiding in Him.                 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”  John 15:10 (NKJV)                           We show our love for Him by keeping His commandments.

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.1 John 5:3 (NKJV)

Additionally, 1 John 2:6 explains we are to walk as Jesus walked. He is our role model and we should follow His lead. But how can we walk as Jesus walked if we do not know what is in the Word? Me must seek it out and learn how our Savior loved sinful man? He tells us to love as He has loved.

“He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”                       1 John 2:6 (NKJV)

And because His dying breath brought me new life…

I will not boast in anything, No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward, I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom”

Rather than boasting in the gifts you were given by the Father, use your gifts to glorify HIM. Surrender all your plans and your self-will. Permit God to make you a “holy experiment” for His purposes. Oh, the joy of becoming a living vessel that honors God! Live today and every day, with the purpose of blessing His holy name with your love and gratitude!

MEDITATE ON THE FOLLOWING WORDS/SCRIPTURES BELOW AND CONSIDER WAYS YOU CAN BETTER DEMONSTRATE YOUR LOVE FOR GOD.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”                     John 15:12 (NKJV)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15 (NKJV)

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”             Romans 12:1 (NKJV)

“The only thing I can give to God is ‘My right to myself.’ If I will give God that, He will make a holy experiment out of me, and God’s experiments always succeed.”                       ~ Oswald Chambers.

“Give yourself to God. Give Him everything you are, everything you hope to be, all your dreams, visions, hopes and desires. Make everything His, and He will demonstrate His power through your life.”  ~ UNKNOWN

A Bondservant of Christ Jesus Is Never Complacent

*bondservant

We should all strive to be satisfied and content with the provisions provided by God, but not at the risk of spiritual degeneration. When one becomes too comfortable in life, there is a serious danger of growing complacent. With complacency, self-satisfaction rules the heart. And because of this smug attitude of being pleased with ourselves, we loose interest in growing more like Christ. Thus, we hinder any further transformation God has designed for us.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”                      1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NKJV)

 

Any time “self” enters into an equation, we must pause and consider whether it should be present at all or completely stricken. A bondservant’s focus should always be on his master and his desires. What pleases the master will in turn satisfy and please the bondservant.

Therefore since we are called to be the *bondservants of Christ” (1 Co 7:22), we need not worry about finding our personal joy through selfish acts of pleasure. For if we set our focus on pleasing God, we will experience the inexpressible joy that only comes from serving the One who loves us beyond all comprehension.

To say God will never bless His children with wealth or gifts is wrong. However, we must always remember that nothing we possess is actually ours. EVERYTHING we have…. Finances, family, education, talents, beauty, intelligence…. Comes from God and belongs to God. We do not possess these things because of our own doing for God has given us the ability and grace to obtain them. To say otherwise is to loose sight of God’s dominion and His loving desire to provide and bless.

Furthermore, we ARE TO USE our God given gifts to glorify His name and bless others. We should not hide or bury our talents and then expect interest or growth. If a bondservant had a special musical ability, it would please his master to hear this gift. How would it please the master if his bondservant only sang or played his instrument in solitude and out of earshot?

Woe to the servant who is aware of a gift or talent but refuses to use it, for it was given for a reason and a harvest is expected. We must cultivate that seed God has provided. He expects interest. There is a purpose for the gift(s) you have received.

With a contented heart praise God for the many blessings in your life. Do not compare your riches to that of your neighbor. God has a reason for blessing some with financial wealth and others with less. We may not know the reason but it has nothing to do with God having favorites. He is impartial and loves all His children equally. Be sure to use your gifts and remember, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:8 (NIV)

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REFLECT ON THESE SCRIPTURES AND ASK GOD TO STIR THE GIFTS WITHIN YOU. CONSIDER WHETHER YOU ARE LIVING YOUR LIFE AS A BONDSERVANT FOR CHRIST.

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Matthew 25:26-30 (NKJV)

*A synonym for bondservant is slave.

“The description of a Biblical bondservant of is one who chooses to serve his Master till death. He will forever wear the mark of this Master. He accomplishes all the Master’s will for his life because of a love called “agape”. Exodus 21: 1-6 http://www.christsbondservants.org/Home_Files/Bondservant.html

For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.” 1 Corinthians 7:22 (NKJV)

The Humility Of Christ’s Birth

*Manger

Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.”  Proverbs 15:33 (NIV)

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John 1:14 (NKJV)

Amazing!

Jesus left His heavenly home and His eternal fellowship with Father God to take on human form and humbly live among man. The Son of God, free of all sin, agreed to live among a menagerie of sinners. Our transgressions had separated us from the love of God and His blessed fellowship. We desperately needed a Savior. Only through Christ’s death and resurrection could God consider reconciliation. When Jesus took the sins of the world to the cross our fellowship with the one and only Creator was restored.

God planned the virgin birth of Jesus Christ before Adman and Eve had spent a single moment in the Garden of Eden. He knew they would be tempted and deceived by the serpent. He knew they would fall. I am sure God’s heart broke when sin was birthed in the paradise He had created for them.

The humble emergence of baby Jesus gives us insight into the heart of God. He did not pick a wealthy couple of immeasurable means to care for His son. He did not pick a mighty man of power and influence or a famous and prominent woman to raise His son. Instead, God acknowledged the quiet and sincere faith of both Joseph and Mary. He selected them for the wondrous honor of raising His son Jesus, an honor that was both costly and a blessing. But because of their humility, they too become special examples of God’s grace.

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud,
 but gives grace to the humble.’” James 4:6 (NKJV)

Humility is important to God. Take note of Christ’s place of birth…. a stable. God provides for all our needs, so Mary was not forced to give birth to the Son of man in the wilderness. No, a warm stable that was out of the elements was God’s provision. This humble environment was the setting God chose for our Redeemer to enter the world…. But why? There must be a reason!

When we are in need, there is a greater urge to call upon God and rely on His provisions. Because Mary accepted the honor of being the Mother of Jesus, she faced much ridicule and doubt from her community, including her betrothed. She fell upon the grace of God and in her humility He smiled and provided.

When God’s son was about to enter the world, He again saw Mary’s need and provided a warm and safe place for the birth. He did not provide a wealthy establishment or mansion. It was to rural shepherds that angels appeared and announced the Savior’s birth. This environment shows the concern God has for His people, and it is not dependent social class and vocation. We all matter to our heavenly Father. God is not a respecter of man or of position for HE is the one who provides said position and wealth.

“Then Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Acts 10:34-35 (NKJV)

Jesus came into the world to save sinners, yet sinners are both rich and poor! Again I ask, why did God give Jesus such a humble birth and life, especially since leaving heaven was already a sacrifice of humility beyond our comprehension? We find the answer in Scripture.

By reading Philippians 2:3-9 we see the importance of putting others first, esteeming them better than ourselves. God wants us to be concerned with the needs of others. This is one way to grow in love. In addition, we are told to have a mind like Christ. Jesus was humble and therefore we too should walk in humility. It pleases our Creator. Jesus humbled himself by becoming the Son of man, taking on our humble appearance. And because of His humble obedience at the cross, God rewarded Him with a name above all others.

Humility gives God glory. He created us for fellowship but also so that we might glorify His name. When we live humble lives, whether we are rich or poor, we honor God. By putting the needs of others before our own we demonstrate the true love of God. This love is the light within us that should not be hidden under a bushel. (Mat 5:15-16) The reason Christ came into this world was so that all men and women would be saved. We could not ask for a better role model. The humility of Christ is astounding. http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Luke/Birth-Jesus

USE YOUR QUITE TIME TO READ THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE

“A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”   Proverbs 29:23 (NKJV)

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38 (NKJV)

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” Philippians 2:3-9 (NKJV)

We had long known the Lord without realizing that meekness and lowliness of heart should be the distinguishing feature of the disciple.” ~ Andrew Murray

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God Does Not Compare The Flowers In His Garden

 

Flowers Don't Compete:UnknownYou don’t need to be better than anyone else. You just need to be better than you used to be.” —Unknown

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work”.  1 Corinthians 12:4–6 (NIV)

The refining process—which we must undergo to become what God created us to be—is a continuous one. It involves extreme pressure and, yes, pain. When God turns up the heat to melt gold, dross will rise to the surface. Dross is a collection of impurities. Sin is our impurity.

Hopefully, the refining of our spirit will bring about a forward motion in our walk with Christ. With each new lesson God sends our way, we should grow in our maturity and knowledge of Him. We are not to remain “baby” Christians all of our lives. Rather, we are meant to become mature, able to teach and witness to others.

There is danger when we start to compare our growth to the spiritual growth of others. Just as every child is different in personality and looks, so, too, is each one different in his or her abilities to learn. Growth patterns differ from individual to individual, whether we’re talking about academics or spiritual lessons from our Father.

When we compare our walk to that of another, one of two things may occur. We may become convicted and then inspired to follow that person’s good example, or we may become jealous and fall prey to the lies of the Enemy who jumps at any opportunity to pull down and discourage the children of God.

Just as the physical body has many parts, the body of Christ has many parts, too. Each part is dependent on the other. We need the eyes to see and the mouth to communicate. We need the hands to heal and serve and the feet to travel to far-off lands. All the parts are important. We can’t compare the importance of body parts, because all of the parts are essential and necessary.

Look to others and be encouraged, not condemned. Map your own course of spiritual growth and monitor it to see if you are either growing in your walk or remaining in the same place. You do not want to experience stunted growth. If you see yourself as still requiring milk, like a newborn baby Christian, then take steps to stretch yourself. Allow the trials in your life to bring about your maturity. Then rejoice over the gifts allotted to your fellow brothers and sisters and be thankful for your own personal and unique talents.

A rose is beautiful, but so is an iris. Both are flowers and both are special and unique. However, they bloom in different seasons and have different aromas. They both glorify God, but in different and unparalleled ways.

That is how we are in God’s eyes. We are beautiful and unique flowers in His heavenly flower garden. He adores and treasures each and every one of us.

Here, I provide you with one special Bible verse to meditate on:

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand,         “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable, we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12–27 NIV)

The Anxiety of Mary

*Mary

“Mary lived in invisibility in the moments of an ordinary, obscure life, as far as anyone in her own life knew.  And yet, in the living of her life, quietly, faithfully, God noticed her…..God saw her and she found favor and pleased His heart.  God always sees…. Even when no one else is noticing.”   -Sally Clarkson

“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”  Luke 21:14 (NIV)

Do you ever feel invisible?  Do you ever feel like you are so ordinary that nobody, not even God could notice or use you for a purpose?  If so, be encouraged by the story of Mary, the woman chosen to give birth to the Savior of the World.

The Virgin Mary lived her life in quiet faithfulness and God noticed her as she lived her day-to-day life.  The bible does not remark that she was a great beauty, like Esther.  Nor was Mary an incredibly intelligent and gifted girl, at least not as far as we know.  She did not have to be talented or outwardly beautiful to get God’s attention.  Her simple faith and goodness is what found her the favor of our Creator.

This favor came at a great cost to this young woman.  Her trials would put many of our sufferings to shame.  We ought to find encouragement in her perseverance and faith to accept the path God decided to lead her down.  She did not shout from the rooftops that she was carrying the Savior of the World.  No, it was with quiet submission that she accepted the will of God.

Mary must have felt great anxiety when facing her betrothed with the news of her pregnancy. Joseph had not known her intimately, and had decided to divorce her quietly. God provided for Mary by sending an angel to Joseph in a dream.  In Matthew 1:20 the angel said, ““Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”

When Joseph woke up from his dream, he did what the angel had commanded and took Mary home as his wife.  Any worry Mary felt was set aside by God’s provision and grace. Protection had been provided.

Throughout Mary’s life, the hand of God was there to provide for her. The birth of her son occurred within walls and not in the great outdoors. A lowly manger was the Savior’s bed, but it was God’s provision and sufficient for Mary’s needs.

Shortly after the wise men had left their gifts with the newborn Savior, a new crisis erupted for Mary and Joseph.  Herod had heard about the birth of a new ruler for Israel.  He sent out an order to kill all the boys in Bethlehem two years old and younger.

Matthew 2:13 continues the story by saying, “When they (Magi) had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

“So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.”

Mary had to set aside her worry and trust that God would protect the Son He had given her through the Holy Spirit. Since the message to leave Bethlehem had come to Joseph, Mary also had to trust that God was leading in her life through her husband.

Mary found favor in God’s eyes through her quiet faithfulness.  She did not go unnoticed.  Her obedience in submitting to God’s eternal plan could have led her to many anxious nights.  Instead, Mary exercised her trust in His goodness and provision.  She threw her cares back up to her heavenly Father, and depended on Him to protect her and lead her throughout life. 

If God is for you, who can be against you?  (Romans 8:31) If you submit to His will for your life, He will be faithful to complete the work that He has begun in you.  Mary’s purpose was to give birth and raise the Son of man.  She did not let worry interfere with that purpose.  She did not let the fear of man or circumstance rob her of the honor God had offered.

Remember Mary and all she had to face the next time worry tries to visit your doorstep.  Consider her act of faith and submit to the trial before you, knowing that God will take care of any problem that challenges you. He is looking for the faithful to cast their cares upon Him.  His shoulders are just about as big as his arm span, and they are as far as the east is from the west.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (NIV)

“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” Luke 1:28 (NIV)

The description of ‘highly favored’ comes from a single Greek word, which essentially means ”much grace.”

** You will find this devotion in my book FACING TRIALS: THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION now available on Amazon.           http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Trials-Meditation-Cheryl-Zelenka-ebook/dp/B00K7TNT5W/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1418278635&sr=8-2&keywords=CherylCheryl

Christian Fellowship: Are You Read To Be Sharpened?

*Iron

A dull knife is still a knife but far less effective than one that has been thoroughly sharpened. The same goes for Christians. A Christian who is lax in obtaining knowledge by way of reading scripture is still a Christian, but far less effective than a believer who reads the living Word daily. Both Christians will be used of God, but the one who is more spiritually minded will have greater success in leading others to Christ.

We were created for fellowship and a lone Christian is at a great disadvantage. Again let me refer back to the knife analogy. A single knife sitting in a drawer, with no other blade next to it, will eventually grow dull and less effective in its purpose. The same goes for the Christian who neglects fellowship with other believers. They are that solitary knife growing duller and more foolish every day, due to the absence of a sharpening “blade.”

The people who cross your path have been placed there for a reason. Nothing in this world is a coincidence and no meeting is by chance. Every person you work with, all of your family members, the homeless person on your street corner, even the neighbor next door has been placed in your life for some purpose. God has provided interactions with these individuals, although certainly in different measurements of intimacy. Everyone in your life is beneficial to your spiritual growth.

“Every experience God gives us, every person He puts into our lives, is the perfect preparation for a future only He can see.” Corrie ten Boom

The individual who causes you the greatest annoyance is sharpening your capacity to love unconditionally. The family members who borrow money they can never repay have been provided for your benefit as well. They are the means by which God is instructing you concerning the very profitable lessons of mercy and grace. And finally, the friend who refuses to turn an eye when the sins of your flesh rise up is God’s precious gift to you. This friend, who fearlessly exhorts in love and practices dauntless accountability, is invaluable and a true treasure. They have surely prevented your foot from slipping more than once, and hopefully you have returned the favor.

Fellowship with the body of Christ gives us strength, especially in the presence of evil. These are dark days we now live and the temptations of the world are closing in all around us. We need faithful brothers and sisters in Christ who will hold us accountable and this includes church leadership. Pastors should seek out mature believers who are not afraid to speak honest words of encouragement and exhortation.

“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17 (NASB)

The lamb who wanders off alone is the one most likely to be caught in the enemy’s snare. There is safety in numbers since more eyes are available to observe approaching danger. In turn, every precious lamb of God has a spiritual gift. The more sheep abiding in a flock, the more spiritual gifts available to use against evil.

Faithfully, God prepares and equips His children for each of their earthly tasks. He uses many people and surprising circumstances to train and equip each of us for battle, as stated in Proverbs 27:17. I pray that the men and women of iron now present in your life continue to sharpen your faith. May you be like a two-edged sword, mighty and swift in your attack and victorious over all evil in your path. Oh that we would all grind and hone our only offensive piece of spiritual armor… the sword, otherwise known as the living Word of God.

“Whoever heeds life-giving correctionwill be at home among the wise.”  Proverbs 15:31 (NIV)

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV)

“A righteous man who falters before the wickedis like a murky spring and a polluted well.” Proverbs 25:26 (NKJV)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

“Fellowship means among other things that we are ready to receive of Christ from others. Other believers minister Christ to me, and I am ready to receive.”   ~ Watchman Nee

This devotion is from my upcoming book FACING ADVERSITY WITH WISDOM, PRAISE AND PROMISES. Check out my other books on Amazon at this site….

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Cheryl%20Zelenka&sprefix=Chery%2Caps

 

 

A Reverent Fear For God

*Respect for the Lord RL

There is a fear of God that admiration enfolds with arms of  adoration. It acknowledges the absolute power of the Creator and the inconsequence of man. This holy and reverent fear is the beginning of wisdom, for it is wise to know ones place in this world…. And in the next.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”Proverbs 9:10 (NKJV)

The Bible gives many examples of believers showing reverence for God. Abraham (Genesis 17:3), Moses and Aaron (Numbers 14:5), Daniel (Daniel 10:15) and Joshua (Joshua 5:13) all fall on their faces in humble adoration and respect. In the New Testament, Mary Magdalene demonstrates her devotion for Jesus by pouring expensive perfume on His feet and using her hair to wipe them clean.

Because of pride, man often thinks too highly of himself and claims credit for that which God has achieved. It is dangerous to be wise in your own eyes. Stealing from God is no small matter, be it His plunder and goods or acts of might. Consider what happened to Achan (Joshua 7:20-25) and the arrogance of David’s soldiers when they demanded spoils for an unmerited victory. God had gifted them the spoils and the battle victory, it was not won by mere flesh and blood (1 Samuel 30).

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;Fear the Lord and depart from evil.” Proverbs 3:7 (NKJV)

When we live a life of contentment and satisfaction we provide the enemy with fewer foot holes to tempt us with. A fulfilled life leaves the adversary little room for traps. Temptation is harder to achieve with a saint living in peacefully with what God has provided. Evil will readily slip past the door of a contented man and seek out easier and less satisfied prey to devour.

“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and he who has it will abide in satisfaction;He will not be visited with evil.” Proverbs 19:23 (NKJV)

Certainly a holy reverence is due our God yet, we have fallen away from positions of prostration during prayer. No longer is it a common practice to bend a knee during times of prayer or during solitary moments of thanksgiving and praise. Where has our reverence for God flown?

In mercy and grace the Savior freely gives atonement for sin. Yet, do flippant confessions and petitions show up in the throne room with an expectation of unquestionable forgiveness? This is my prediction. Is not a broken and contrite heart the sacrifice God expects when delivering His gifts of redemption?

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,a broken and a contrite heart~
These, O God, You will not despise.”Psalm 51:17 (NKJV)

Consider how you have been approaching God as of late. Are you entering into your prayer time with an awareness of His righteous sovereignty? Do you toss petitions at His feet without any thought for quiet meditation? Forgiveness is a precious gift and your prayers should be made with reverence and offered in awe.

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.” Proverbs 14:27 (NKJV)

“In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” Proverbs 16:6 (NKJV)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we mayserve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29 (NKJV)

“Fear the Lord and the king, my son,and do not join with rebellious officials,” Proverbs 24:21 (NIV)

What Will You Lay At The Foot Of The Cross?

Jesus on Cross

“Our sins twisted the crown of thorns; our sins drove the nails into His hands and feet; on account of our sins His blood was shed. Surely the thought of Christ crucified should make us loathe all sin.”  ~J.C. Ryle

http://eph5v2.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/our-sins-drove-the-nails/

“He (Moses) chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26 (NIV)

Martin Luther put it very well when he said, “Sin is, essentially, a departure from God.” When standing in the all-consuming fire of God’s great love, any sins still clinging to our garments will find themselves exposed. Nothing is hidden from our Heavenly Father. He sees all, knows all, and is all. Therefore, it is a spiritually immature child who images iniquity can remain concealed from an all-knowing God.

Our reaction to having personal sins exposed will be one of two possibilities. Either we will shudder and shriek in shame and fall to our knees in humble and contrite repentance, or we will grab onto our sinful vice with unspeakable determination and flee the presence of God….. Choosing temporary pleasure over His grace and forgiveness. Mind you, forgiveness is necessary in order to have fellowship and a true relationship with the Creator.

When Jesus died upon the Calvary cross, He took all of our sins with Him, and then threw the iniquities as far as the east is from the west. Because of His great love for us, He willingly suffered an unthinkable death. It was only through His obedience and sacrifice that a way to the Father was procured. Jesus is THE WAY. He is our mediator! He pleads our case and intercedes on our behalf both day and night. So why, WHY would anyone choose sin over the fellowship offered by God?

Hebrews 11:24 tells us that sin is pleasurable, but fleeting. The human race is obsessed with pleasure, whether it is attained through the food we eat, sex, or objects bought on credit. A juicy steak may delight us for a few moments but the thrill is short lived, and we will soon find ourselves thinking about the next delectable to devour. The flesh is never satisfied.

So sin gives us pleasure but it is only temporary. And because the enjoyment is not long lived, many of us are cursed with the addiction of finding new and better ways to curb our cravings for gratification. With our focus on the “next good thing” we forget that all things in this life will pass away. We ignore the warning to lay up heavenly treasure, where moth and rust have no affect.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” If Christ is our treasure, we will crave fellowship with Him. If the lusts of the world are the treasure we desire, we will exit the presence of God in order to pursue them. Being short sighted in such cases is a gross understatement, for those who toss aside the eternal to live for the temporal can’t see past their next pleasure fix. They lack self-control.

The Devil tries to use our sins to erode the significance of our Savior’s death on the cross. He casts out his nets of deception and daily collects a multitude of sinners, entangling them in a latticework woven by human iniquity. Jesus suffered so that all of us might live eternally with Him. When we CHOOSE a life of sin over a life of gratitude and obedience, it is as if we are helping the Roman soldiers hammer the nails in the flesh of Christ. Jesus was crucified for our salvation. Unrepentant sin is our damnation.

Will you continue to hold onto your sins for the mere temporary pleasure they give you, or will you surrender each one now and lay them at the foot of the cross? It is never too late to start! Begin building your treasury in heaven. You will be glad you did, for eternity is for an eternity and life on earth is but a blink of the eye.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”                         Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)

The Thorn

Thorn

THE THORN

The thorn in my side
 daily reminds me of my weakness.                                                                                        Is not His strength made strong in me for His glory?

The thorn in my side keeps me humble and dependent upon Christ
.                                                                    Who better to lean on?

The thorn in my side causes me pain and sorrow.                                                                                                      He was a man of sorrows, why not I?

The thorn in my side reminds me of Jesus and the spear in His side. 
                                                                   Surely I can bear such a small wound as a thorn.

This thorn in my side allows me to share in the sufferings of Christ.  
                                                                   Is it not by His Stripes that I am healed?

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“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of *satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 CORINITHIANS 12:7-9  (NIV)                     

We all have thorns that we must bear and carry in this lifetime.  They are painful but beautiful too.  They bring out our godliness and magnify God’s provision and strength.  Refining will bring all the dross of our lives to the surface. Is your spiritual goal to be purified into the image of Christ?  Developing a Christ-like character takes a lifetime to accomplish but you can begin today.

 How then does one manage the pain of a personal thorn? It can be achieved through a complete and utter submission to the will of God.  Keeping your eyes focused on Him will draw your attention away from your suffering and help ease your pain. When walking in His footsteps you will find rest in His care and provision. 

Contentment will seep into your heart as you willingly laying down your desires, asking Him to make His your own. By casting all of your cares upon Him, burdens will lift and a spiritual balm will find it’s way to your wounds.  Healing will come but suffering will become a new joy for you to bear as you share in the sufferings of Christ.

You have been giving a free will.  You can choose the road that leads upward, keeping a righteous man from stumbling and going down to the grave.  Or you can choose to light your own lantern, attempting to be entirely self-sufficient.  This is not wise, as God wants us to be dependent upon His grace and mercy.  He did create us, so who are we to say that we don’t want or need Him. Do you really think you will be just fine on our own?  This is a pretty big planet and there is a mighty enemy looking to devour easy prey.

The Lord took up His cross and obeyed the will of His Father.  Surely we can bear our personal thorn and learn to obey God’s will as well.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.” ISAIAH 53:5 (NKJV

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