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Characteristics of God Devotions Godly Living

Meeting My Shepherd

So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away! {Luke 15:3-7, NLT}

Today, I want to focus on the lost sheep that our Lord Jesus purposely went and redeemed. He saved this sheep from danger and brought them home. Friends, we are His sheep.

Anyone who has repented from their sins and chosen to follow Jesus Christ – is one of God’s sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. {John 10:14-15}

I have grown fond of the illustration as God as my Shepherd. Ever since I studied John 10 in a seminary course, I have felt drawn to seeing God as my Shepherd. However if I am honest, I haven’t always allowed Him to shepherd me. I have been a stubborn sheep who goes astray. But, He never stops pursues me – thankfully.

I want to start out by explaining what repent means. To someone unchurched or even someone like me, I needed the definition. I don’t want to use the word “repent” lightly or misuse it when I write an Instagram post, etc.

Repentance means:

→ To change one’s mind.
→Turn from our sins, and turn to Jesus Christ.

When we make the decision to turn from our old life and follow our Lord Jesus, there is much rejoicing in Heaven. The Lord is going to keep cheering us on, as we seek to bury our old sins in His strength and make Him our number one choice.

He doesn’t leave us in this process of trusting Him with our lives. He gives us every ounce of strength, courage, and grace we could ever need.

Hang in there, dear friend. Take heart in the fact that our great God is going to keep cheering you on.

For myself when I make decisions, I need to remember my “why”. We see this word in health related challenges. “Remember your why” in the context as the reason for what you are doing.

For us, as believers in Jesus Christ, we need to remember the One who has laid down His life for us. We make our decisions based on this love relationship we have with Jesus Christ.

See Galatians 2:20; Psalm 23

Featured Unsplash photo by Pawan Sharma.

In Him,
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*Secret Glimpses Devotions Diving Into Corinthians

Who Are We Living For? {Diving Into The Corinthians}

This week, we have been studying 1 Corinthians 3. I have loved every moment of it. While it isn’t always easy to stop distractions for Bible study, it is always worth it!

Let’s get started, shall we? Grab your Corinthians journal, Bible, notebook – whatever you need.

Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t speak to you as people who live by the Holy Spirit. I had to speak to you as people who were still following the ways of the world. You aren’t growing as Christ wants you to. You are still like babies. The words I spoke to you were like milk, not like solid food. You weren’t ready for solid food yet. And you still aren’t ready for it (1 Cor. 3:1-2, NIRV).

God wants to save us, and to be in community with us through His Son Jesus Christ who paid the price! But, there’s more to our story: God wants to be our Refuge, Peace, and Comforter. He wants to rescue us from sin, help us through difficult times, and become our Best Friend. This is the God we get to experience on a daily basis.

Life gets rough, but it’s encouraging to know: God wants to be there for us.

Meeting with our Lord Jesus is going to transform us. God’s Spirit will actually change us from the inside out.

Holy Spirit Led

Paul couldn’t talk to the people like those who were being led by God’s Spirit. They wouldn’t allow the Holy Spirit to change them. They chose their sins, instead. We all have been there.

When living by the Holy Spirit: We will actually want to be around other Christians, talk about the Lord and Bible, and allow Him to radically change our lives. Their focus is on the Savior and eternal things.

Without the Holy Spirit leading us, our focus is on other things. It isn’t on our Risen Lord who can defeat the giants in our lives.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:1-3, NIV).

If we want to see God perform miracles in our lives, we have to go deeper in our relationship with Christ!

Finding Excitement in Christ

There is an undeniable joy, when we have spent time with the Lord! He replaces loneliness and incompleteness with the filling of our soul. It’s inexplainable, other than to say “our cup overflows!”

To grow in Christ, we make the choice to invest in our relationship with Him. We choose to turn from sin and run to God – prayerfully sharing our need for Him! We may have screwed up, but no matter what – God’s grace is made available to each us – as we turn to Him.

Three questions for us –

  • Are we turning from sin, so we can turn to Christ?
  • Are we craving (and enjoying) alone time with our Lord Jesus?
    • Reading the Bible?
    • Prayer?
    • Being with other Christians?
  • How are we following Him in obedience?

Featured image by Ruben Mishchuk from Unsplash.

In Christ,

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Categories
Chronological Bible Study

1 Samuel 4-8 (Part 3)

“The Lord is a holy God. Who can stand in front of Him? Where can the ark go up to from here (6:20)?”

God set apart Eleazer to guard the Ark. This was his primary purpose aside from knowing God, because God had a specific task for this man.

God is declaring to the world that He is holy. God is not simply one of their buddies, but He is absolutely holy and cannot even look upon sin.

Before we are in the battle, we need to learn that God is absolutely holy. God is far smarter than we are. And, God is all-powerful. When we step into battle, we are not the first one to see what we will experience. God goes before us.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged (Deut. 31:8).

When Life is Good. . .

For twenty years, the Ark remained at Kiriath Jearim and life was good. The people of Israel turned back to the Lord – which is the most important indicator of “life is good”.

Samuel’s honest wisdom applies to us too.

If we really want to return to God, we need to do so with all of our hearts and seek Him alone (see 7:3-4).

The people of Israel gathered together, fasted from food, and repented before the Lord that they had sinned against Him (see 7:6). This is something profound, but we often don’t see this anywhere in our culture – today.

How often do we see our loved ones coming together, fasting together, and being prayed over as we truly repent?

Worship in the Battle

Israel’s hearts were changed from that day. You can sense it, as you read their heartfelt plea to Samuel – one of God’s prophets. “Don’t stop crying out to the Lord our God to help us. Keep praying that he’ll save us from the power of the Philistines (7:8).”

Worship guarded their hearts. As they worshipped God in the midst of their battles, God answered them (see 7:9). He did not abandon them, but He answered their prayer. Worship was their weapon against the enemy. As they worship, God acted with a mighty hand – displaying His power before the enemy.

The Illustration of Pursuing Worship

Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel (1 Sam. 7:10a).

This is a powerful verse, that we need to remember in our daily lives. Many of us face great battles. What are we doing in those moments, when we could be worshiping the Lord our God?

The Lord has helped us every step of the way (7:12b).

Godly Leader

Samuel was a leader we should seek to learn from. He was an incredibly leader who stood for God with unwavering faith and a heart for worship (see 7:15-17).

Feature image by Bonni Bird.

Categories
Chronological Bible Study

Deuteronomy 5-11

This is a large chunk of Scripture to ingest, but let’s see if we can make it through these seven chapters.


Chapter 5: The Big Move –

God brought Israel out of Egypt and is jealous (and protective) of them (5:6, 9). In chapters 5-8, I want to say that Israel is reacquainted with the Lord their God – their first love. Israel is moved from their old life and introduced to a life with God. Let’s remember how Jesus Christ has rescued us, and continues to teach us how to live with Him by our side.

Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you. . . (5:33)

Chapter 6: The Great Heart Issue –

In 6:13-19, we are taught to fear God and keep Him where He belongs in our lives. Our response to God ought to be love and excitement to enjoy Him and speak of His name boldly to others (6:2-3, 5-9). We need to make it a common practice to talk about the Lord and make King Jesus our focus.

Because of who we are in Christ, we can fearlessly share His truth.

Chapter 7: Our God –

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments (7:9). . . If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you (vv. 12-13a).

God is holy. The Israelites likely understood this truth more than we do today. God is faithful, but He is holy too. God is the One who deserves all of our affection. We need to allow our actions to be made for God alone.

Our Relationship –

Now as we move into chapters 8-11, we are encouraged to think abut our own relationship with our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. These words in Deuteronomy are for us too.

Chapter 8: The Discipline –

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. . .Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you (8:2, 5).

We are reminded why we face testing. I have this passage highlighted in my Bible, because I need it to stand out whenever I open it to chapter 8. As we face testing in our lives, we need bold reminders that God is with us and He is doing a work in us.

. . . This is where we are reminded of our need to cling tighter to our Lord Jesus Christ!

Chapter 9-11: Stiff – Necked People

Israel was given the Promised Land because of a specific promise God made. It is fully dependent upon God, rather than the people of Israel. They turned from God, which cost them many blessings. Rejecting God and His Word brought curses on themselves, because that’s what they ran toward.

. . . You had turned aside quickly from the way that the Lord had commanded you. (9:16b) Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. (10:16)

Friends, we have our own stubbornness keeping us from God. We need to turn our hearts away from sin. . . and run to King Jesus!

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. (11:18).

Feature image by Derek Mack.

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Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

The Wandering Heart {{Week 5}}

Hi, my friends,

Today’s blog post is a bit late. I apologize for that, but it’s here! For anyone who is curious about what I have been up to, feel free to catch a glimpse over at Chronically Overcoming. I actually, just wrote up a new blog post on what I am going through.

Without further adieu, here is today’s blog post on what we can Glean From the Heart of Jesus (Please Note: It’s an affiliate link for the accompanying journal). You can find all of our “Gleaning From the Heart of Jesus” posts over here (putting them all in orderly form, is quite possibly one of the best ideas – ever. Especially for when I need to redo this study at a later date. . . Might even be time to go through Ephesians again.).


 The Scriptures – Matthew 5:27-28; Exodus 20:17

Do not want to have anything your neighbor owns. Do not want to have your neighbor’s house, wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey (Exodus 20:17, NIRV).

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ (Exodus 20:14) But here is what I tell you. Do not even look at a woman in the wrong way. Anyone who does has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).

Devotion

Lusting is to have an intense desire for someone that is not your spouse.

Jesus reminds His followers that there is such a thing as “heart adultery”. This is not a light-hearted thing. Jesus is showing us the seriousness of our thought life, too. We are held responsible. Point blank. Lusting after another who does not “belong” to you (in the context of Ephesians 5) is destruction. In Ephesians 5:3-7, we are reminded that the adulterer is not going to inherit the Kingdom of God. Lust is still sin. It is breaking one of the Ten Commandments. Which means – it is, in fact, going against the Most High and Holy God of the Universe.

When we sin we are choosing to say with our thoughts and actions, that we think our ways are far better than God’s prescribed ways.

Lust actually points to a deeper problem. If we are lusting (or coveting), it reveals that we have an unrestrained thought life. This is an area of temptation for many of us, but through Christ we can overcome it. In James, I am reminded that I am the only one who can make that choice to sin. It isn’t the Devil. It definitely isn’t God causing me to make that choice. But, it is me. It is all me and I am accountable for the choices I make.

We all are, responsible for the choices we make.

Today, let’s resolve to give this area to God. Take some time to repent of the ways you have lusted after (or had a desire for) another.

Christ is our great Redeemer, who is still mighty to save!

  • Acknowledge your offending a holy God. Confess your sin to God. “God, I am coming before You right now. I know I have sinned against you, by the way I have ____________.”
  • Seek His forgiveness. and help.
  • Remember His cleansing power.
  • Begin to put a plan in motion, to help you not fall into any tempting traps. 1 Peter 5:6-11 teaches us the importance of this step. While my list may look different from yours, my “plan of action” includes: Bible study. Keep Praying, Praising, and Serving God. Set Boundaries. Guard my heart and eyes. Hold onto and live out Philippians 4:8

Lord Jesus, lusting after another is serious. I know I am guilty of this, and cannot hide it. Not from You. I come before You to ask for Your forgiveness and for You to help me turn from my sin. Help me to not just turn from my sin, but to fully turn toward you. Help me to run toward You. I need to allow You to be the One to soothe my heart and be my portion. Thank You for all You are. Amen.