Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beautiful Things - A Daily Devotional - June 26

Scripture:  Proverbs 21:5

 Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty
 Whilst I was reading this verse the word poverty stuck out at me because generally we associate poverty with being extremely poor financially and I know that wasn’t what King Solomon was talking about when he wrote this verse. Here he is talking about poverty being something that is inferior, lacking, not its very best.
This verse is really telling us we need to stop rushing, stop looking for the easy way, the quick way, the shortcut. What we need to do is look at the goal we want to reach and to take care getting there. We need to take ALL the steps needed to reach the goal and not look for shortcuts.
As a homeschooling mom I’m faced with this lesson almost on a daily basis, especially when teaching a new math concept. You see I’m always telling my daughter to write all the steps down, don’t miss any because then it is easy to see where she went wrong, but as soon as she thinks she gets the concept she starts skipping steps and of course she starts to get the answers wrong.
It’s the same in life. God wants us to have the very best and wants to have a relationship with us. He doesn’t want just some of us. He doesn’t just want us on Sunday’s at church. He wants it ALL. He wants us to plan our lives around Him and His word. He wants us to take the time to get to know Him. In return He promises to bless us beyond measure. There are no shortcuts when it comes time to grow and change. There are no shortcuts when it comes time to have a real relationship with God. If you want something badly enough you’ll put in the planning and you’ll do all the steps necessary to get to the desired outcome – doesn’t God deserve that kind of focus?
Dear Lord,
Thank you for your loving guidance. As I go through today in our fast paced lifestyle, show me where I’m taking shortcuts that are harmful to me. Show me the correct planning I need to do so that my entire life will prosper as you have promised. In your son’s precious name, Jesus I pray.
Are you taking shortcuts in your spiritual, emotional, physical life? Maybe you’re taking diet pills, for quick results instead of changing to a healthier lifestyle? Maybe you’re buying things on credit instead of saving and placing a budget into place? Maybe you’re only going to church on Sunday’s and hoping that will get you through the week? Re-evaluate your goals and lay out a plan and then take all the steps to get to the end result – the outcome will be worth the work I promise.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beautiful Things - A Daily Devotional - June 21

Scripture: Hosea 6:6 (NIV)

 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
 In Old Testament times when you wanted to atone for something you would go to the temple with the required offerings which were burnt on the altar – hence the term burnt offerings. When I was growing up I would go to confession, where I would enter a small, closet type room and I would tell the priest all the things I did wrong, he would then give me penance to say. None of this seemed to make sense to me.
As I read this verse I think yes this is exactly how I feel. I don’t want to worry about the ceremony, what I want is God’s mercy. I want to acknowledge Him for who He is, accept His gift and strive to be the person He wants me to be.
How do I do this? I do this by creating a relationship with Him. I don’t do it by expecting a sacrifice, a ceremony to make things right. I realize that no ceremony is necessary to receive the mercy God has for us. What is needed to receive God’s mercy is acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and repentance from our sin. When we accept and acknowledge God for who He is, we open ourselves up to a relationship with Him and this is God’s desire for us.
Dear Lord,
Please forgive me for trying to place You in a box. Help me see You for who You are and to openly accept Your daily offering of mercy and grace. Please forgive me when I look to ceremony, rules and religion before I look to You. Today I stand before You, with open hands and open heart. Today I accept Your offer of mercy and Your offer for an amazing relationship. May my eyes be on You and not on the man-made rules. In Your Son’s precious name I pray.
Are you caught up in the business of religion and ceremony? Have you accepted God’s gift of mercy? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Spend some time quietly talking to God and ask Him to show you where you need to focus more on your relationship with Him and less on the ceremonies of religion.