Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

Reading: 2 Chronicles 17-20; 2 Corinthians 6-7

[Jahaziel] said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you’” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17” NIV).

“You will not have to fight this battle.”

How many battles have I fought that were never mine to fight? How many times have I tried to fix things, when it was none of my business to do so? How many times have I tried to make those around me happy, giving my expert opinion when all I was really called to do was pray?

More times than I can count.

My desire to make those around me happy has gotten in the way of my Savior working.

That’s why it’s been good for me to be at a distance from certain things.

Although I miss my friends and family, living far away has given me a sense of perspective.

It’s caused me to fall to my knees in prayer, instead of getting the middle of a situation.

It’s reminded me of the power of prayer.

For the battle has never really been mine to fight.

The battle has always belonged to the Lord.

It always has.

It always will.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christ’s Love Compels

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV).

What does it mean to be compelled by the love of Christ? How does this influence the way we live our lives?

The Greek word for compelled, synechō, means to hold together with restraint. Christ’s love holds us together. He makes us complete. He is our reason for living on this earth. And so why wouldn’t we live our every breath for him? Why wouldn’t we make Him the center of our world, our number one focus and priority?

But do we? So often I find myself coming up short. With a new baby in the house my priorities in life have shifted. She has become the center of my world. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She definitely needs my love and care. Just the same, as I care for her, I can’t forget where my heart ultimately belongs: to my Savior. He’s the one that has given this precious little life. He’s the one in charge of everything. He compels me each and every day. He holds all of my pieces together, even on the days when they feel like they’re coming unglued. He is there, by my side, helping me through this crazy days called motherhood. He restrains me, consoles me, and reminds me to find joy as I live my daily life for Him. He is my everything, I would be nothing without Him. What about you?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eagerly Seeking

Reading: 2 Chronicles 15-16; 2 Corinthians 5

They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. They took an oath to the LORD with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the LORD gave them rest on every side” (2 Chronicles 15:12-15 NIV)

Eagerly seeking after Him. What does this look like? What does this mean? I love God with everything in me, but it isn’t always evident in the way I live my life. At times, He becomes an afterthought, a rushed prayer, someone I turn to on the bad days. But to seek Him eagerly, to desire to spend time in his presence, do I do this? I want to, I do desire it, but I don’t always put in into practice. My life gets busy. Already I’m focused on the holidays, and trying to pack in as much fun as possible. In the midst of it all though, I’d love to think that I’ll find time to spend with my Savior, even when my house is full of friends and family. I’d love to think that Jesus will still be my number one priority, even in the midst of a busy season. Now to put it into practice.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Do Not Lose Heart

2 Chronicles 7- 14; 2 Corinthians 2-4

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:6 NIV).

Do you ever get to the end of the day, thankful that its over and a new one is about to begin? I know I do. This world can be draining at times. Some days are just tough. Nothing seems to go right. I love the verse above, because it reminds me that the things of this world truly are just temporary. What truly matters is on the inside. While things around us may be falling apart, we are being renewed and strengthened day in and day out. Our Lord and Savior walks through each trial with us, and reminds us of what really matters, eternity with him. In order to truly bring this point home, I looked up the meaning of a few words in this verse. The first two words “lose heart” were translated from the Greek, ἐγκακέω, which means to become discouraged. It’s so easy to become discouraged when we look at everything that is wrong in our lives, isn’t it? But this verse reminds us to not lose heart, but to instead focus on what’s important.
The last word I looked up was renewed. Renewed was translated from the Greek word ἀνακαινόω, which means to make new, to grow up, to give new strength and vigor, or to be changed into a new kind of life as opposed to the former corrupt state. God gives us new strength and vigor each and every day as he transforms us into the person he created us to be. This process isn’t always easy, at times it’s downright hard in fact, but just the same, it’s wonderful. Personally, I’m thankful that God didn’t leave me the way I once was, that person wasn’t exactly pretty. Instead, He is daily transforming me into a work of art. A masterpiece He created just for His glory.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We are the Temple

Readings: 2 Chronicles 1- 6; 1 Corinthians 16; 2 Corinthians 1

I love the description of the Temple of the Lord that we read of in 2 Chronicles. It was truly a spectacular thing. We’re told that, during the dedication of this dwelling place, that the glory of the Lord filled the Temple in the form of a cloud (2 Chronicles 5:14 NIV). How amazing it would have been to experience that! To hear the people celebrating, to smell the incense, and to see the presence of the Lord fill the temple. It would have been such an exhilarating moment. The Israelites were worshiping the one true God with all of their hearts, souls and minds. Just the same, I’m thankful that I don’t have to sacrifice at a temple to find atonement for my sins. Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice when he died on the cross for you and for me. Now, instead of going to a temple to experience the presence of the Lord, I feel him inside of me, each and every day. As 1 Corinthians 6:19 reminds us, our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. How amazing is that! It certainly gives me some perspective as I live my life, day in and day out. If God dwells inside of me, then I certainly want to make sure that that dwelling place is a clean one, worthy of the king of all kings.

What does being the temple of the Holy Spirit mean to you?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Think About It

Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 20-29; 1 Corinthians 14-15

Do you know what you believe? We live in a world filled with false doctrine. At times it is terribly hard to discern fiction from fact. Paul writes about this very thing in his letter to the Corinthian church. Somehow, this church had adopted some false doctrine. They had come to believe that there was no resurrection of the dead. Paul quickly set them straight, reminding them to use their heads and think about what they were actually saying. If they truly believed that there was no resurrection of the dead, then they were, in fact, saying that Christ never rose from the dead. If they were saying this, then none of them had anything to believe in at all, or any reason to live (1 Corinthians 15:12-14 NIV). At times it’s so easy to be misled. The only way to combat this is to look toward scripture and to see if what’s being said lines up with the Word of God. If it doesn’t, then it’s obviously false. As Paul reminded the Corinthian church:

“Come back to your senses as you ought; and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34 NIV).

We have the important task of sharing the Good News with the world around us. If we don’t truly know what we believe, how can we even begin to do this?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sacrificial Love

Because of the demands of a new baby, I’m attempting a new, Tuesday/Thursday publishing format here on Latte Lover Devotions. I’m hoping that, by publishing twice a week, I can become more consistent for my loyal readers. Please bear with me☺

Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 17-19; 1 Corinthians 13

“ And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV).

And now we come to one of my favorite portions of scripture, 1 Corinthians 13. This scripture was read during my wedding ceremony two years ago. The words are precious to me, because they speak about the kind of love I try to exhibit each and every day. They are the kind of love my Father in Heaven has for me.
An entirely sacrificial love.
With a new baby in my life I’m learning about sacrificial love each and every day. I’m learning what the Apostle Paul meant when he said that love was not self-seeking. I’m learning how to put the needs of my family above my own needs. At times this means going without sleep, going hungry for awhile while my little girl has her bottle before I have my lunch, or spending time talking to my husband in the evening, instead of having some time to myself. This type of love isn’t easy. But is the love of the Father easy? He sacrificed his son for us, the ultimate act of sacrificial love. If he could do that, then I’m up to the task of loving sacrificially here on this earth.
Loving sacrificially causes my heart to stretch and grow. At times this is extremely difficult. At times I miss simpler days, when my life was more self-centered. But then I look at my wonderful life, my military husband who works so hard, and my sweet baby girl, and my heart swells a bit. Loving may be tough, but it’s worth it in the long run.

What words from 1 Corinthians 13 strike a cord with you? How is your heart being stretched to love more sacrificially?