Friday, May 27, 2016

The Effectiveness of God's Way

Exodus 3:1-22

... we will see what God can do in the life of someone who is fully submitted to Him. If we let Moses' example teach us about the dangers of self-sufficiency and the advantages of depending on the Lord, we'll save ourselves a lot of hardship.
   When we submit to God's way, He'll do amazing things in and through our life. Despite past failures, Moses as still used n accomplishing the divine plan, but only after he became usable - that is, humbled and broken of his self-will. Just consider what God achieved when Moses relinquished control.
  • He showed He could do great things through a yielded person.
  • He got more done in less time and with fewer resources. There was no insurrection or lengthy war - just a dramatic display of His power.
  • He proved the superiority of His was by freeing over two million people without the loss of a single Hebrew life.
  • He sent slaves out of bondage with their captors' riches (Ex. 3:21-22)).
  • He proved to both the Israelites and the Egyptians that He alone is the God of heaven and earth.
  • He received all the glory.

   Our past failures never prevent God's willingness or ability to use us. In fact, our weakness is a great opportunity for the display of His power. In our own strength, we are totally ineffective. But when we submit to the Lord's authority in our life, we can experience His victory in whatever He calls us to do.
Stanley, Charles F. In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted People. February 2016. Atlanta. page 9.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Our Way or God's Way

EXODUS 2:11-25

   Whenever challenges come into our life, there are two ways we can respond: God's way or our way. Moses is an example of a man who, on separate occasions, tried out both options. In today's passage, we see him taking matters into his own hands. Although his motives were pure - namely, the relief of one Hebrew man's suffering - his method was wrong. Moses made three mistakes.

  1. He focused on the difficulty. How often have you and I done the same thing?The unfairness or pain of a situation grabs our attention and in our desire for a solution, we forget our all-powerful God.
  2. He relied on his own strength and understanding. When a problem arises, the most natural response is to do what we can to make it right. However, God wants us to rely on Him, not on ourselves.
  3. He acted impulsively. If a situation seems urgent, fixing the problem as fast as possible becomes our top priority. In our hastiness, we forgo waiting on the Lord.

   We've all followed Moses' example at some point and suffered the consequences of self-reliance. But God didn't reject Moses or cancel His plans for him. Instead, He refined the future leader's character through trials and gave him another chance. The Lord will do the same for us.
Stanley, Charles F. In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. February 2016. Atlanta. page 8.

In the name of Jesus, I refuse to be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs]. I submit to transformation by the [entire] renewal of my mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that I may prove [for myself] what is Your good and acceptable and perfect will, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [n Your sight for me]. My path is growing brighter and brighter until it reaches the full light of day as I follow You. Thank You, Father that Jesus was made unto me wisdom. Confusion is far from me. I trust in You and lean not to my own understanding. As I acknowledge You in all my ways, You direct my paths. I believe that as I trust in You completely, You will show me the path of life. Amen.
Romans 12:2; Proverbs 4:18; Proverbs 3:5-6
Copeland, Germaine. Prayers that avail much: A 365 Day Devotional & Journal. Tulsa, OK: Harrison House. 2010. page 36.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Created to Praise

Psalm 103

Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness

A Psalm of David.

103 Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good as long as you live[a]
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works vindication
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor requite us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
    so the Lord pities those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
    upon those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his word,
    hearkening to the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
    his ministers that do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
    in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul! RSV

   Do you ever wonder why you exist? Day-to-day activities and worries pull us in so many directions that most of us seldom think about the goal of life. But our Creator made us with a purpose: to glorify Him (Isa. 43:7).
   In His Word, God is emphatic that we are to testify to His faithfulness and His mighty works. Jesus Christ considered this important as well -when teaching His disciples how to communicate with God, He began His well-known prayer with adoration of His Father (Matt. 6:9).
   Why, then, do we tend to give so much attention to our petitions but so little to praising God? Perhaps some believers consider themselves too time-constrained to spend "extra" prayer time praising he Lord. Others may feel awkward expressing their gratitude to Him. Yet no excuses are acceptable. Psalm 103:2 tells us to remember God's benefits so we will humbly glorify Him. This psalm also explains how to lift the Father up with words - specifically, we should praise God for His character and for His work in the past, present, and future (vv. 2-8, 19).
   The Old Testament's primary words for "praise" refer to spoken words, music, and gestures like raising hinds and dancing. But we can also glorify Him in other ways, such as through actions, thoughts, and creativity.
   Praise may be something foreign to you. But it's the very purpose for which you were created. Observe how the Father is exalted in the Psalms and throughout the Bible. Then worship Him with praise as you spend time basking in His presence today.
Stanley, Charles F. In Touch: Daily Readings for Devoted Living. January 2016. Atlanta, page 8.