#7 Practicing Devotion to God-By Thinking Biblically

This idea of thinking biblically is something I’ve given quite a bit of thought.  Scripture tells us in Isaiah 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways Isaiah-55-9higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”   God’s way of thinking and doing things are not the same as ours.  We are human and finite and God is omniscient and infinite.  So, we need to learn to think biblically to understand God’s ways better.  How do you go about that?  The process begins by spending time in God’s Word, memorizing His Word, and meditating on His Word  so that your minds thoughts are immersed in His thinking and ways.  Then when you are faced with a situation, you will respond with biblical thoughts more often than with worldly thoughts and actions.  

I have had this happen many times while I was memorizing the book of James.  It is a very practical book with loads of thoughts to direct our actions.  When something would happen, I would immediately recall scripture as my first reaction to a situation.  I realized I was practicing biblical thinking and acting like God would have me act.  It is an amazing feeling when your first reaction is godly and not worldly.  Our thought originate within ourselves and are selfish at heart and of this world.  God’s ways are not like ours and only come from being fully covered in His Word.

Psalm 119:11 confirms this idea, I have stored up your word in my heart,  that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119: 98 “Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.”   Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is powerful and can discern truth.  “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”   Having God’s Word in your heart and on and in your mind causes you to think Biblically and react as God would have to you act.   As you strive to be more and more like Jesus, becoming sanctified in Him, your thoughts and actions need to reflect Jesus more and more.

psalm 119 11Ponder how you can think more like Jesus.  Delve into God’s Word and try to soak it up into your very being.  Endeavor to practice Biblical thinking this week and see if you are not wiser and led into sin less as you look to His Word as your guide.

Linda

Happy Valentine’s Day with a Thankful Heart

The cynic might say Valentine’s Day is the day for florists, candy and card makers to earn a great deal of money.  I walked into a local supermarket yesterday, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers, cards and candy that were on display.   On the love side, Valentine’s Day is a day when we can express our love for one another freely and not be thought of as sentimental or mushy.  How about God?  How does God express His love for us?   Here john 3 16is a familiar verse that gets right to the heart of God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For He did not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:16-17  

How much more love could God show towards us than sacrificing His only Son on our behalf?  He loved us that much.   He sent Him so that through faith in Jesus we could be saved and not condemned.  Only sinless Jesus could erase our sin and present us whole and perfectly clean before our Holy God.

valentineWhen you say ‘thank you’ today for a Valentine gift you receive, a card, note, flowers or someone simply saying ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’, think about thanking God too.  Thank Him for sending Jesus.  Thank Him for making a way for your salvation and eternal life with Him.   That is the best Valentine I can think of that is filled with all of God’s love for now throughout eternity.

Blessings on this Valentine’s Day.

Linda

 

#6 Practicing Your Devotion to God-by Repentance

Sin is something we all have to deal with in our lives.  We were born sinners, with a sin nature.  You only need to look at the willfulness of a small child to see they came that  sin separatesway with a rebellious, willful nature built inside.  It was not something they learned.  However, as we grow we learn to sin even more by fulfilling our own desires.  Adam and Eve fulfilled their own desires in the garden of Eden when they willfully sinned against God by eating of the forbidden tree, the tree of good and evil.

Each of us needs to come to the realization that we are sinners and approach God with a sin bridge Jesusrepentant heart asking Him to forgive us through faith in Jesus Christ.   Our faith in Jesus allows us to be cleansed and made whole.  However, we still have that sin nature within us and we need to grow and learn about Jesus, depend upon Him and stay repentant to walk with Him by faith.  Our heart’s desire is to walk with Jesus and grow more and more like him.  Sanctification describes this process in our lives and it is the work of the Holy Spirit within us that enables us to grow stronger in Christ and sin less.

David knew the key to a clean and whole existence with God was to be repentant and humble, confessing his sins to God.  Psalm 32 describes David’s thoughts about this:

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,            Repentance brings blessing.
    whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away                  Being unrepentant can cause
    through my groaning all day long.                                              you physical illness.
For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to you,                                               David resolves to repent with
    and I did not cover my iniquity;                                                 an openness to God.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

Psalm 51:1-2, 10    David knew that God alone was able to forgive sin and lays his sins before Him.   He knew he was unworthy of forgiveness but trusted God in his infinite mercy to forgive him.

psalm 51 1Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

He knew God alone could create a new heart within him.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.

What about you?  Do you know the truth and reality of 1 John 1:9 ?  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   This is a promise we can claim and depend upon.   God is faithful and will keep His promise to forgive all our sins.  All we need to do is confess and have a repentant heart before Him.

Practice repentance daily for a closer walk with Jesus.

Linda

#5 Practicing Devotion to God-Knowing your Identity

As we grow and mature in life we go through a process of learning to know who we are.  We struggle with self-esteem, motivation and self-discovery.  As a Christian, we also go through this as we learn who we are in Christ, and how much we are loved by God.  I personally did not really learn to love and appreciate myself until I got a grasp on how much God loved me,  and how important I am to Him.  This knowledge gave me worth in His eyes and was more powerful in shaping me than anyone or anything.

God tells us who we are to Him in His WordPsalm 139 is filled with His love for us.  Here are a few verses: 1-6, 14-15

Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
pslam 139 14You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it….. 13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

Isaiah also gives us a picture of God’s love for us in Isaiah 43:1-2, 4,7

But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
    he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43 74 Because you are precious in my eyes,
    and honored, and I love you,

7 everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.”

galatians 2 20God loves us beyond measure and we were created for His glory. His love was ultimately shown when He sent Christ to die for our sins and restore us to relationship with Him that was broken by sin.  Galatians 2:20 gives Paul’s testimony of who He is in Christ.  Let it be ours too.  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I pray that as you meditate on these verses you will catch of glimpse of how much God loves you and desires a relationship with you.  You are important to Him!  Know that you you-are loved by Godwere loved even before you were created and you are held precious in His eyes.  That is true worth,  to know and understand you are loved by God.  Let your life be governed by His love and let your identity be in and with Christ.

Linda

#4- Practicing Devotion to God-Meditate on God’s Word

Unlike the ancient believers we have the whole Bible to rely upon, refer to and reference for any and all circumstances, needs, encouragement, hope and reflection.  What about God’s Word makes it special?  Hebrews 4:12 tell us “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  God’s Word can touch us at the very heart of our being and is living and active 2Timothy 3 16-17in us and in our lives.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  God’s Word is inspired and breathed by God so that in using and applying it to our lives we can be ready to do the work and live the life that God has for us.   Can you imagine the power it took for God to create the universe?  That same power is available to us in His Word, He spoke the world into existence and we have His Word before us in the Bible.

isaiah 55 11Isaiah 55:10-11 tell us the intentionality of God’s Word in the world.

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”  Sovereign God knows where His Word is going and what it will accomplish.   We can count on its success as God never fails or is defeated.  “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”  Job 42:2

Knowing the power of God’s Word and how God will use His Word in our lives should give us hope and confidence as we study and learn from His Word.   Psalm 119:15-16 gives us what our attitude and actions towards God’s Word should be so that we can be  used of God and bearing fruit in our life for Him.

hebrews 4 12I will meditate on your precepts
    and fix my eyes on your ways.
16 I will delight in your statutes;
    I will not forget your word.

May you be mightily blessed as you open God’s Word and let your heart meditate and soak in the truths about God and what He has for you to do. Let the living Word of God live within you today!

Linda

#3 Practicing Devotion to God- Pray

prayerThe third practical way to experience love and commitment to God is to PRAY.  The Bible is filled with people talking, communing, listening and responding to God in prayer.  Isaac prayed for his wife Rebekah to conceive as she was barren, Hannah prayed rejoicing as God gave her a son to love,  David prayed for protection and guidance as he fled from Saul, Solomon prayed for wisdom to rule the people, Nehemiah prayed for the restoration of Jerusalem,  Jonah prayed from the belly of the fish, Jesus prayed many times to commune with His father while here on Earth, the Apostles prayed for guidance in presenting the gospel and encouraged all believer to pray constantly.  These are just a few examples of the who, when and why people prayed.

We often think of prayer as me talking and God listening.  All of the above knew that God was accessible in prayer and that He would answer with guidance, hope, love and compassion.  In Psalm 16: verses 7, 11 David reveals how he feels about prayer.  I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;  in the night also my heart instructs me.”  ” You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;  at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”    David received God’s guidance and counsel as God laid on his heart what he should do.  God revealed the right pathway in life to him. 

 Jesus instructed us on prayer in Matthew 6: 5-13He told us what not to do in verse 5,7-8 and then what to do in verses 6, 9-13.  Do Not “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.    Do “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”   Pray then like this:

lords-prayer“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.”

Prayer is personal as you alone can speak with Almighty God and lay your concerns, hopes, dreams and desires before Him.  As you learn to trust Him, He will reveal His will and desires to you.  Psalm 37:3,4 are some of my favorite verses and I pray and claim them often.  “Trust in the Lord and do good;  dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.Take delight in the Lord,  and he will give you the desires of your heart.”   

Psalm-37-4Talk with God, trust Him with the desires of your heart, keep on doing good and be safe in His arms.

Linda

#2 Practicing Devotion to God-REMEMBER!

The first way to practice devotion to God was to meditate on God’s great character. The second way is to Remember His Great Works!  If you like someone you think about the times you’ve been together and the things you’ve done.  You probably remember some of the things they have said to you and how you reacted to their love and friendship.

Moses warned the children of Israel over and over to Remember what the Lord has done.  If we do not remember, we will trivialize or marginalize the place of importance God has in our lives and what marvelous things He has done.  In Deuteronomy 7:18 Stone cairn on green blurry background,  pebbles and stonesMoses is reminding the Israelites of God’s favor towards them because they would soon be going into the Promised Land and would be facing certain opposition.  you shall not be afraid of them but you shall remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt,”   Remembering what God did to miraculously lead them out of Egypt would give them the courage they needed to face tomorrow.

David was pursued by Saul for over 10 years and fled for his life. In 2 Samuel 22:1-4 David remembers what God did for him:  “And David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said,

remember-what-god-has-doneblog“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation,
    my stronghold and my refuge,
    my savior; you save me from violence.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
    and I am saved from my enemies.”

Mary’s Song of praise to God for what He had done for her is recorded in Luke 1:46-55.  Here are a few of the verses: 49 “for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his name.”  51-54 “He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel,   in remembrance of his mercy,”

Remembering what God has done helps us to praise Him for the involvement He has had in our lives, to remember that He  is always with us, to remember that He has plans for us and all things will be good for us and bring Him glory.  If you don’t take time to remember, you forget and think ‘God doesn’t care about me’, ‘God will not help me’.  These thoughts are from Satan and he desires that we do not walk with God.  Satan knows that  not remembering will lead us away from God.

Remember GodSo when you have those doubts,  Remember what God has done for you in the past and what He is doing for you, in your life right now!   Practicing the habit of remembering what God has done enriches our lives and strengthens our faith especially in hard times. Be like the children of Israel, David and Mary- Remember God’s goodness and mercy towards you with praise today!

journalLinda

A practical idea is to have a praise journal that you can record amazing things God has done in your life.  Then when you have doubts or just want to remember- you can look back and see God loves you and truly cares for you.  He is faithful and will continue to do so in the future.

Let’s be Practical about Faith- #1 to Practice Devotion to God!

How can I be or show more devotion and love for God?   I came across a list of 9 practical ways for God’s people to experience love and commitment to God.  I want to pursue each way with you as I know I need my faith to be real and practical.  God desires that I know and seek Him each day.

Our first practical step in showing devotion and love for God is to recount His attributes.  There are many examples for us to follow in scripture of praise given to God for who He is.   1 Samuel 2:1-10 is a prayer of praise given by Hannah  because of her love and devotion to God who gave her the desire of  her heart, a son named Samuel.  Here is 1samuel2 1verse 1-2 ““My heart rejoices in the Lord!
    The Lord has made me strong.
Now I have an answer for my enemies;
    I rejoice because you rescued me.
No one is holy like the Lord!
    There is no one besides you;
    there is no Rock like our God.   Hannah praises God in her heart and knows He alone is holy, steady and all powerful. 

David praises the Lord in 1 Chronicles 29:10-13 as God has provided all the materials they will need to build the temple.  See here in verses 11-12 how David praises God for his greatness, power, glory and majesty.  He realizes that God owns, creates and is sovereign ruler of all things.  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. 12 Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength.”

Psalms is another good source for finding praise for who God is and what He alone can do.  Psalm 93 is short but packed with praises for who God is.

The Lord is king! He is robed in majesty.
    Indeed, the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength.
The world stands firm
    and cannot be shaken.

Your throne, O Lord, has stood from time immemorial.
    You yourself are from the everlasting past.
psalm 93 1The floods have risen up, O Lord.
    The floods have roared like thunder;
    the floods have lifted their pounding waves.
But mightier than the violent raging of the seas,
    mightier than the breakers on the shore—
    the Lord above is mightier than these!
Your royal laws cannot be changed.
    Your reign, O Lord, is holy forever and ever.   The psalmist sees God as eternal, all powerful, reigning king over all creation, unchanging and majestic beyond measure.

How do you see God?  Can you praise God for His attributes because you have personally experienced them in your life?  Join Hannah, David and the psalmist in praising God for those ways He has impacted your life with His marvelous character.  God has shown me His mercy, comfort, love, grace, hope, compassion, guidance, power, accessibility, and each day the list lengthens as God is unchanging and eternally present in my life.  Thank you Lord.

God-Attributes
Recount His Attributes today!

Have a blessed day as you meditate on the ways God has personally ministered to you because of who He is not because of who you are.  Praise Him today!

Linda

Plans, Dreams Realized in Walking with God. Thanks Dr. King for your example.

i-have-a-dream-mlkToday is deemed Martin Luther King Day in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood for rightness in the fight for freedom and equality for all men.  He was very eloquent in speech and inspired many with his life and his fight against oppression.  He challenges the generations to dream of equality and reach for it.  Where do you have unrealized dreams today?  Are you actively pursuing them, keeping them in focus and grabbing onto opportunities to make them happen?

This year my word is HOPE and like Dr. King I need to put my faith and trust in God and walk in Hope.  What about you?  Have you chosen patience as your word- do you need to purse patience in moving towards the goals God has for you?  Have you chosen structure- do you need to form a plan or have a pattern for your daily success?  Have you chosen peace- do you need to develop an attitude of peace in your heart and towards those around you this year?   Like Dr. King, we want our dreams and goals to be accomplished and we want to glorify God in the process.  I came across this verse today that fits in and encouraged me.  Proverbs 16:3 in the Message translation. Put God in charge of your work, then what you’ve planned will take place.”  Keep God in your focus, in your heart, in your prayer life and He will bring you to it and through it this year for your good and His glory!

As we remember Dr. King today and honor his achievements for mankind. think how much God has for you to accomplish and what wonderful purposes He has for you.  We know for certain that He has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11  Put God in charge of your plans and He will align them with His will to accomplish His purposes.  His are the best plans of all. Let go this year and let God be in charge.   But Jesus looked at them and said, Matthew19_26_All thingsWith man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26.

Linda

Total Hope, where do you find it?

These first few weeks of 2020 I have been looking into HOPE as it is my chosen word for the year.  I saw survival hope in Psalm 71:14 “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”, Hope in God’s Word, Psalm 119:114 “You are my hiding place and my shield;  I hope in your word.”,  Hope in God’s steadfast Love, Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,”, Hope in the future, Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” and daily Hope for living, Lamentations 3:21-23 ” But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  

Today’s verse helps me to see that God is my Total HopePsalm 62:5-7                            psalm 62 5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”     

I love the truth of these words written by the psalmist David so long ago.  They are truths confirmed throughout scripture.  My hope comes from God aloneHe is the one who stands by me and holds me in times of distress and trouble  Psalm 107:13 “they cried to the Lord in their trouble,   and he delivered them from their distress.”   God is so strong and mighty, so sure and complete that He cannot be shaken, Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.    He gave me salvation through faith in Jesus, Acts 4:12 “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”.   God alone is working in my life to mold and shape me into the person He desires me to be and shares His glorious attributes with me,  Romans 5:3-5 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”   He is the holder of my salvation and sent the Holy Spirit as my guarantee, 2 Corinthians 1:22 “and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”

Do these truths about God alone give you Hope for surviving, loving, learning and leaning on the truth of His Word, for looking into the future and for daily living?  God is my total Hope and that Hope is in Him alone.  He is and has all the hope I need.  in christ alone“Thank you Jesus for bringing God’s Hope to me.”  

May you grab hold of His Hope today and be uplifted and strengthened.

Linda