Love Comes First

(yesterday’s devo)

Today’s devo focused on Joshua 23:11

Be very careful to love the LORD your God

–Joshua 23:11

Joshua said…..”be very careful” to love Him. It is an act of the will, an intentional response to who He is….

Many who set out to love God focus on theology. But theology, while important and necessary, makes God an academic subject to study or a philosophical argument to prove. It may be a product of our love for God, but it does not define love….

Many who set out to love God focus on works. But works, while an essential outgrowth of love for God, can easily become an attempt to gain His approval. In truth, they are not acts of devotion, but acts of self-interest. We want to gain higher esteem in His eyes, something that makes us one of His “insiders.” But we end up with a self-righteousness that fills us with brief satisfaction but leaves us empty of love….

Many who set out to love God focus on emotions. But emotions, thought a desirable and essential outgrowth of love, cannot define our love. They are far too fleeting. We end up riding waves of feeling or missing out on them altogether. Love remains constant. Feelings don’t….

So how do we love God? We lie at his feet and tell Him we are His. We seek to honour Him in all we do. We want to be like Him. We crave His fellowship. We pray His desires. We are consumed with, obsessed with, and filled with His ways, His works, and His will. The theology, the works, and the feelings will come. They are good–but only after the devotion. Love always comes first.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. And by no means, do I feel that this is easy btw.

At the same time, if you think about it, God’s greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God (the second being, love your neighbour). Really, if you can do that (love God with everything, in everything you do), then the rest will come. If there isn’t love for God, then it’s very difficult to (I think) live your life with genuine love.

I think anyway.

A distinctive voice

(devo from 2 days ago)

Excerpts from today’s devo that stood out to me:

“We cannot live in this world with diligent attention to discernment….If we can’t distinguish our Shepherd’s voice from theirs, we’re liable to end up in the wrong flock and headed in the wrong direction….Make discernment a priority. In eternal matters, sheep cannot coast through life.”

This actually reminds me of something I learned when I went on a fishing trip a few weeks ago with my family.

Different fish tug and react to being caught differently. Pull too late and the fish may have almost swallowed your hook (which could kill the fish), pull too early and you may have missed it or it won’t have hooked the fish properly (causing the fish to possibly fly away). Some fish flail when caught, some just try to pull you down and away. A lot of the time you’re waiting for something, but that doesn’t mean you’re not doing anything per se. Because if you’re not diligent, you may have missed your big catch.

Likewise, if we’re not diligent, we might miss God’s voice calling us in the various ways he may choose to call us (whether it be through word, other believers, someone’s actions, his creation etc.)

Fear Not

From today’s devo:
“God does not fly by the seat of His pants, picking up those whom He can and abandoning those who have become too difficult. You were redeemed; you are His….He will watch over you as a treasured possession because that is what you are.

….He didn’t redeem us just to leave us alone.”

I really do believe that God will never give up on us.
It’s kinda like getting a pet. You wouldn’t get one if you weren’t going to take care of it, feed it, train it, play with it etc. But clearly we aren’t God’s pets, he desires a loving and meaningful relationship with us. Course it’s not always something that comes instantly, buts something that we work at slowly.

I pray that I never give up on God :]

God-Centered Ministry

devo time!

…This life we’re living isn’t about us; it’s about Him. We’re not to be preoccupied with our survival. We’re to be preoccupied with His reputation in this world…

That sounds as if it will lead us into dismal slavery, but it won’t. Just the opposite, in fact. It leads us into a glorious freedom. When we’re centered on God, we no longer need to obsess about our work, our children, our lifestyle,, or our image. We can obsess about His name and let Him take care of the rest…It doesn’t mean we don’t care about the other things, it means that if we concern ourselves entirely with His mission, He concerns Himself entirely with our needs…

I can say off the top of my head, it’s not easy. But then again, God never said it would be easy to follow Him and live a life centered around Him (we wouldn’t be stuck here if it were easy hohoho).

I agree with what today’s devo said about when we focus our lives on God and His gospel, God will take care of what we need in our lives. As Jerimiah 29:11 puts it:

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.

At the same time, as I have mentioned before, living, walking the Christian life isn’t all rainbows and flowers, we do live in a broken world full of sin, controlled by Satan. And in some cases, walking towards God will bring us trouble, it’ll hurt us. But I also believe that God will never push you further than needed; and only He has the ability to pull us back to the right path.

God-Centered Prayer

From today’s devo:

“Glorify Your (God’s) name”…that is essentially the prayer of everyone who prays with power: that God would glorify His name. It isn’t that asking God to meet our needs is wrong (because we’re flawed like that, so we have a tendency to see us first before others); there’s just a greater issue at stake…We should be entirely focused on what He is doing in this world and how our needy situation relates to it.

That doesn’t mean that we should never ask God to meet our needs–spiritual, physical, emotional, material, psychological, relational, or whatever else we truly need or even desire. It does mean, however, that even in our deepest crises, our prayers should be God-centered. There’s a huge difference between praying, “Lord, please give me what I need so I can be content and fulfilled,” and “Lord, please give me what I need so You can be honoured as the Giver or all good things.”

This kinda relates back to my last inspiration post (well…inspiration #9 I mean). If your heart is aligned with God’s I believe what you ask of him can happen. God, being the being who knows all there is, was and ever will be about you and me, knows that each of us has our own needs and desires. God knows what’s best for us, and I believe He answers prayers in his perfect time.

What’s to learn here about prayer?

It requires, patience, perseverance, faith, trust, and a desire to see God glorified in and through your life.

I pray that I can pray and live with God-centered in my words and actions

Image Reflection

From today’s devo:

Have you ever considered what it means to be made in God’s image? It doesn’t mean we’re omniscient or omnipotent. That’s clear. It also doesn’t mean we’re pure and holy. That’s clear too. What did He want from us? Why did He find it meaningful to create a being who resembled–in some manner and in some degree–Himself?

Perhaps that angels cannot feel the pleasure and passion of God. Perhaps they do not know the many kinds of love that God has made us capable of. Perhaps they can’t express the grief and anger over sin and destruction that we can. Perhaps there was no one in this heaven who knew anything substantial about mercy and grace. So God made man.

Of course I’m not saying this is the one true answer to why God made us to be like him. But it’s a thought. God didn’t want to create more loyal (and I guess in a way mindless) beings who worshipped him without truly knowing Him. I guess maybe, God wanted someone to empathize with. Maybe.

Why are we made in God’s image?

It’s a question for sure that’s run by my head, but I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought.

But I pray that I can be the person He wanted me to be.

Even though, it’s hard to live up to His perfect standards