31 May 2013

Let God Transform You

Scripture: Romans 12:2 NLT

Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Observation:
The "behaviors and customs of this world" (or "this age" in the HCSB) exist in the Body of Christ as well as out of it. There is much I've been taught that has calcified my relationship with God, and bound His ability to really connect with me and change me.

Application:I'm eager to continue discovering more and more liberty and intimacy in my closeness to my God, and to turn my mind toward Him--to eagerly await the changes He will work in me, as I learn to rest in Him.

Prayer:God, please give me discernment. Open my eyes and heart to understand what to search for, and how to think, so I might draw ever closer to Thee. I want to walk in Your way, and be filled with Your love--both so wildly different than the imaginations of men.

30 May 2013

Wisdom and Foolishness

Scripture: Proverbs 13:20, 14:6,8 & 15 NLT

13:20 -- The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.
14:6 -- A mocker seeks wisdom and doesn't find it, but knowledge [comes] easily to the perceptive.
14:8 -- The sensible man's wisdom is to consider his way, but the stupidity of fools deceives [them].
14:15 -- The inexperienced one believes anything, but the sensible one watches his steps.

Observation: The juxtaposition of wisdom and foolishness kept jumping out at me, along with the way that both wisdom and foolishness exist in all of us, depending (so often) on who we are with and what we are doing.

Application: I have noticed, lately, in my interactions with others, how we all progress through many stages of foolishness that (hopefully!) becomes wisdom. I've wondered how I appear--and have watched myself more closely for inexperience and ignorance, and pray that I won't allow what I don't know to make me foolish . . . but rather that God will fill me with humility and His wisdom.

I'm reminded of 2 Nephi 9:28: " O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish."

Prayer: Dear Lord, please guide me in my walk every minute of every day. Show me my blind spots and the gaps in my understanding, and please give me discernment so I won't hurt or discomfit others through my ignorance or inexperience. In Jesus' name, Amen.

29 May 2013

Living the Law: in Faith or in Works?

Scripture: Romans 10:1-4

"Dear brothers and sisters, the longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God."

Observation:

Israel (the Chosen People) were so zealous about their law.  They clung to performance--just as I did.  If you don't DO what you should, then how will God EVER believe what you profess, right?  Dustin observed about Romans 9:32-33: "When lived in faith the Law brings freedom, when lived in works the Law proclaims the things you can't do."

Application:

DUH.  God knows my heart, people! lol  When I give Him my heart, He shows me what He wants me to do . . . and instead of clinging to the law in fear, I get to fly. :o)

Prayer:

God, my Beloved Father, always keep me in the right way.  I never want to lose this infilling of love and the Holy Ghost.  In Jesus' name, amen!

What We Need

Scripture: Proverbs 10:3 -- The Lord will not let the righteous go hungry, but He denies the wicked what they desire.

Observation: God gives us what we need. When our desires are righteous, what He gives fills them. When they're not, nothing we can give ourselves will satisfy. Ever.

Application: How many thousands of mornings have I disobeyed what I knew was God's will, in order to satisfy (however abusmally ineffectually) the idol of "a good night's sleep"? But He has better plans for me, and will make good on His promises.

Prayer: Oh, Lord, ever remind me to hunger & thirst ONLY for You! In Jesus' name!
 

26 May 2013

Sin On the Hunt

Scripture: Proverbs 7:6-21
6 At the window of my house
I looked through my lattice.
7 I saw among the inexperienced,
I noticed among the youths,
a young man lacking sense.
8 Crossing the street near her corner,
he strolled down the road to her house
9 at twilight, in the evening,
in the dark of the night.
10 A woman came to meet him
dressed like a prostitute,
having a hidden agenda.
11 She is loud and defiant;
her feet do not stay at home.
12 Now in the street, now in the squares,
she lurks at every corner.
13 She grabs him and kisses him;
she brazenly says to him,
14 “I’ve made fellowship offerings;
today I’ve fulfilled my vows.
15 So I came out to meet you,
to search for you, and I’ve found you.
16 I’ve spread coverings on my beds—
richly colored linen from Egypt.
17 I’ve perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of lovemaking until morning.
Let’s feast on each other’s love!
19 My husband isn’t home;
he went on a long journey.
20 He took a bag of money with him
and will come home at the time of the full moon.”
21 She seduces him with her persistent pleading;
she lures with her flattering talk.

Observation:

~The woman didn't wait in her house for the youth to find her. She was scouring the city for a likely victim . . . and when she found one, she flattered, manipulated*, and worked on him until he gave in.
~The young man walked her street from twilight until dark. Whether or not he knew what a snare he courted, he hung out in the vicinity of sin, wearing a big sign that said "Hey sin! Come take a crack at me!"

*I suddenly realize why the word isn't "womanipulated".
;o)


Application:

~ Sin is LOOKING for ME. And for YOU. The enemy prowls constantly, watching for a weakness, a chink, a moment when we wander too close to it's home or make a misstep on our path in life. The enemy uses a "take no prisoners" approach--the goal is spiritual destruction and endless torment. No Doofenschmirtz-style camaraderie here when the rubber meets the road.
~How often have I courted some type of sin--sins of omission, sins of fear & despair--without realizing it? (In this case: sin = that which takes us away from God via our own choices. There are other definitions, but that's the one I'm using this morning.) I've never been one tempted by serious moral sins; but the enemy knows me well. Many times I didn't recognize it was sin, cloaked in the name of entertainment or escape . . . when Christ was waiting, arms outstretched, calling my name at the top of His lungs, aching to be the refuge, the joy, I needed.
~Not only do I need to run from the appearance of sin (i.e. when I first see it--not only doing things that might LOOK like sin to others), but I need to keep my feet on the other side of town, in other cities, or (better yet!) on another continent. ;o)

Prayer:

Oh God, I praise You for Your Goodness, and for the Glory and Grace in Your Love for me. I pray You would show me when I'm faced with sin--reveal it in its true character--so I might flee ever closer to Thee! In Jesus name, Amen.