Devotional Times

Taking a moment to be with God


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The Law of Sacrifice

“But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45 ESV

Recently I picked up John Maxwell’s The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership in which I found the following statement which made a profound impression on me:

“The higher the level of leadership you want to reach, the greater the sacrifices you will have to make. To go up, you have to give up. That is the true nature of leadership. That is the Law of Sacrifice.” 1

How true is it not for us Christians? We have to give up our wills, our families, our time, our dreams, our talents, our money, our desires, our very beings, in order to go up to Heaven and live with Christ for all eternity. From others’ perspective our sacrifices are for nothing. But, we are only following in the footsteps of God, our Saviour. He gave up eternity in Heaven and all the riches and pleasures Heaven affords. He gave up the special communion He, our Father and the Holy Spirit had. He gave up the world of light to come to this world of darkness only to be mocked, ridiculed, slandered, and murdered by us so that He could save us. He endured the ultimate form of humiliation: an innocent man dying the public, tortured death of a criminal.

Jesus who invented the Law of Sacrifice lived by it–even died by it. And we are called to do the same: to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow Him. Are you willing to count the cost?

Loving Father, You sacrificed a lot just so that You could commune with me. You placed Your Son and Your Kingdom on the line just to save a vagrant like me. Thank You for Your sacrificial leadership. Please give me a heart like Yours, Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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Submission

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:7-8a ESVUK

Today another poet will speak for me. Mrs Rebekah Smith–a poet–who in 1871 published an anthology of poems (Poems: With a Sketch of the Life and
Experience of Annie R. Smith
) in memory of her daughter who was also a poet. This poem impressed me greatly and advises us on how to endure suffering. I pray that you’ll be blessed.

Submission

The Saviour knows our every grief;
He knows the time to give relief:
When we are purified and tried,
And our whole wills are sanctified.

How to destroy our dross and tin,
And cleanse us from each stain of sin,
What to inflict, the Lord knows best;
‘Tis only ours to stand the test.

What though we suffer grief and pain,
And earth’s fair prospects strew the plain,
Let us submit, whate’er befall,
And make our God our all in all.

What though we’re wrongfully accused,
Oft times e’en slanderously abused?
Say not these ills we cannot bear,
But in our Saviour’s sufferings share.

What he endured no tongue can tell,
When on Him our transgressions fell ;
Meekly he bore them on the tree,
And paid the debt for you and me.

He purchased holiness and Heaven,
Or we could ne’er have been forgiven.
The Saviour’s blood redemption cost,
Without which all our race was lost.

Shall we then sink beneath the rod,
Inflicted by a holy God
To purify and make us white,
That he may be our sole delight?

No; though it sharply smites, resign,
And pray for grace and love divine ;
For all this, Heaven will make amends,
And ofttimes quick deliverance sends.

The Lord in him would have us free ;
Through Him we gain the victory,
All he will be to us we need,
That we a holy life may lead.

Be holy. Oh! how blest to know,
Our Father helps to make us so ;
‘Tis but for us to yield our will,
His word and promise he’ll fulfill.

No guilt or fear, no will, no choice ;
In God alone we now rejoice,
And bless the hand that gave the blow,
And laid our earthly comforts low.


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Writer’s Block: The bane of writers

“I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.” Luke 5:24-25 KJV

It has long been known that writers, whatever the type of pieces they create, suffer from writer’s block from time to time. Writer’s block binds the writer so tightly that he cannot get a single word down on paper–much like stage fright does to the public speaker. Many theories regarding its origin exists–some more plausible than others. And even more advice on removing the blockage abounds. But, it all boils down to the writer putting pen to paper and writing about having the bane or whatever else the writer sees or experiences.

The same is true for the paralytic to whom Jesus said, “Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.” (v. 24) The only way the man could be cured of his malady was by doing the very thing he was unable to do. But, he did the impossible. At the command of Jesus he took up his bed and walked. He could have wavered and hesitated, but he did not. He chose to do that which his heart desired and which God desired him to do.

And God expects the same from us. He expects us to do what must be done without wavering. He expects us to use the talents, gifts and entrusted truths and privileges He gave us to bring Him glory and fulfill our purpose. But, sometimes we suffer from writer’s block, like Moses (Exodus 3), and we waver. And just as Moses and the paralytic, and writers throughout the ages did, to overcome the wavering we have to get on and do it. For it is as we do the little we can do that Christ enables us to do the things we ought to do as children of the living God.

Gracious Father in heaven,
to Thee be all glory given,
for Thou hast bid us do Thy will
but we don’t think we fit the bill;
indeed the bill we don’t fit
but strength Thou promis’d
in Thy Holy Writ.
For strength and courage we pray,
in Jesus’ dear and holy name,
Amen.


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Talking Sense

“And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” Genesis 3:9 KJV

God created humans to with five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. These senses work together to form another layer of senses: equilibrioception, thermoception, propioception, nociception, chronoception, and interoception. Equilibrioception allows us to orientate ourselves, giving us a knowledge of our body’s posture, which direction we are facing, how much we are accelerating, and our body movements. With thermoception we perceive heat through our skin. Propioception allows us to always know where our body parts are in relation to each other even though our eyes might be closed or we might find ourselves in a dark room. Nociception is the perception of pain. Chronoception allows us to sense time. The circadian rhythm plays are role in the functioning of this sense. With interoception we sense the state of our internal organs and other sensations our conscious mind does not perceive.

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, their senses were disturbed. One sense in particular was disturbed: their sense and perception of God–who He is and His love for them. But, they did not realise this at first. They knew they sinned against and that judgement was imminent, but their intimacy, their close relation with Him was severed and they didn’t perceive it. That is why God asked Adam, as the head of his household, where they were. God knew where they were spatially, chronologically and relationally to Him, but they did not.

We do not know how long it took for Adam to come out from behind the bushes they were hiding, but they did. And even after God pronounced judgements on the human race and snakes, they still did not realise what they had done–not until Cain killed Abel.

And so it is with us. We don’t realise the extent of our sins–even now the light from Calvary is dimmed for many of us. Which is why God still asks the question to us He did back then: “Where are you?” I would encourage you to take the time to answer this question, to do the introspection and make things right with God.

Dear Father, thank You for being so concerned with my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Thank You for coming to look for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.


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Autumn Falls

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow… Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:7,10 KJV

Autumn Trees

 

The year is winding to an end as we transition to autumn. Whenever we enter this time of the year Continue reading


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An Eagle, a Snake and a Ship

“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.” Proverbs 30:18-19 KJV

King Solomon took this proverb from King Agur, a Babylonian/Mesopotamian king. Scholars agree that Continue reading