Thursday, April 10, 2008

My This Morning Devotion

God is not impressed by my appearance (1. Samuel 16:7). The Lord said to Samuel, "Don't judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person's thoughts and intentions (heart)." (NLT). Jesus even said that appearances can be deceiving (Matt. 23:27), therefore we are not to judge others by their appearances (James 2:2-4)because Paul wrote "The trouble with you is that you make your decisions on the basis of appearance." 2 Corinthians 10:7 (NLT). Inner beauty is more important than physical beauty (1 Peter 3:1-6). Christians are warned to be careful about their welfare because they should care more about spiritual than physical welfare (1 Tim.2:9-10). In Proverbs 21:2, "People may think they are doing what is right, but the Lord examines the heart." (NLT). God is looking for Christians who will worship Him from their hearts, minds and bodies. The heart is where God meets us because that is where we make our decisions. Our hearts are where our desires and motives are located. It is important to understand that our hearts is the state of our "flesh". Our flesh search for pleasure, pride, passions and selfish motives. The heart is the source of our emotions, thoughts and motives.

God's purpose in redeeming me is not to make my life happy, healthy, and free of trouble. It is not an escape from my physical pains because God's purpose is to make me more like Christ. He chose to allow me to have deafness, multiple sclerosis and other trials. My daily life always face some obstacles in the way because Jesus doesn’t want to destroy my will, but to sanctify it. I have learned to understand the true nature of the Christian life which is unpredictable and expanding everyday. Bad things happen to everybody because we are living in a sinful world. Things will go wrong, they will go wrong all the time and that God has given us the grace to survive. God has given us the grace to sanctify us. God uses suffering to perfect His power which the Bible referred this as "Power is perfected in weakness". God is saying "You should not have self-confidence and trust in yourself in the sense you believe you're capable of anything eternal that only I can provide grace and power."

Paul reminds me that spiritual training is this: "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But God said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me". (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). Paul wanted the thorn removed but God wanted to teach Paul that "the sufficiency of His grace" in the worst of human circumstances is that when a person is weak in a temporal sense while the person is strong spiritually by God's Grace in eternal sense. If I keep forgetting the basic meanings of God's grace, I would become a bitter, angry, and cantankerous person just because things are not going "my way". Grace teaches me that I am to continue to rejoice and praise God even in the midst of my trials and suffering in this earthly life! This is related to the Beatitudes of a "happy paradox" to focus on God's power to control my thoughts.

So, how I do I endure through my trials? This is all up to me and my attitude. I need this reminder.


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my life with bipolar disorder said...

Thanks for this encouraging post, Jim. I need this reminder too. Often the circumstances in my life or my own struggles and pains caused me to forget that God is working all things for His glory and my good. Instead of wanting to be free from this thing, how can these draw me closer to God, to know Him and His mercies, and what He is teaching me through them? Sometimes I forget that we are not to lay our heart and affections on this earth, but rather above. Not our own happiness but how we can glorify God. Just what I need to be reminded of!

I am glad to read of your love for the Lord and desires to walk in His ways, though it is not easy. Truly God's grace is sufficient for us and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. May we live for His glory and draw sinners to know His love and mercies too. Take care.

whimsical brainpan said...

Excellent post Jim!