Devotional Times

Taking a moment to be with God


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A Thought on Conversion

Ps Doug Batchelor in his book Who Do You Think You Are? (p. 88) shares the following insight regarding good works and (true) conversion.

We can’t make the miracle of conversion happen by doing good works, but it won’t come if we feed on what the world has for us to consume. We can provide an inviting environment for the Spirit by what we choose to read, watch, and talk about. Conversion happens with the renewing of our minds, which the Holy Spirit makes possible so we can “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 KJV)

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Loving Stigma

“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 ESV

Living with stigma is not an easy thing. Many people around the world face stigma and discrimination on a daily basis but for none is it so palpable as for those living with HIV/AIDS. The general belief is that people with HIV are promiscuous and that when you have the virus your death certificate is signed and sealed. As a result HIV-positive individuals enter a deep depression. Some even begin to live up to the stereotype of being promiscuous because of rejection by family, friends, co-workers and even health care providers and health care workers–the very ones who are supposed to help and support them.

There was a time in Earth’s history when it wasn’t popular to be a Christian either. In fact, it was never popular and will never be popular to be a true Christian. There was a time when our predecessors were thrown to the lions, beaten to death, burned at the stake–tortured death just because they worship Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God. We were sold by our families, rejected, spat upon, for our “status”: Christ-positive.

Let us, therefore, embrace the stigmatised and love the HIV-positive people as Christ loves them, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the drunkards, the homeless, the lepers, the criminals, and many others who are the outcasts of society. For “God is love” (1 John 4:8, ESV).

Almighty Father in Heaven, You are so mighty that even a whisper from You can move mountains. I pray that You will move the mountains in our hearts that we may love with Your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Please note: Sexual intercourse is not the only way in which the virus is transmitted. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can be transmitted via blood transfusions, hypodermic needles penetrating the skin, during birth and via breastfeeding. Anti-retrovirals (ARVs) enable HIV-positive people to live long fulfilling lives.


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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.