Micah: God’s Harsh Words and Me

Scripture: Micah 2:6-11; Deuteronomy 11:13-17

01.24.2020 Micah 2.7We are to love the Lord our God above all. The Lord is jealous for His glory and will not allow His people to worship someone or something besides Him. In concept, it is easy to understand these words. However, in application, it is hard. When we are not keeping God on the throne of our lives, He will respond with words of rebuke that lead to judgement; words we will not want to listen to at all. A matter of fact, we may shut His Word out of our lives altogether.

Micah was the messenger who had to deliver such harsh words from the Lord to the people. They didn’t want to hear it from him. A matter of fact, they demanded that he stop preaching (Micah 2:6). God’s Words were repulsive to them because they were not living a life of righteousness. However, if they were walking as righteous ones, then the words the Lord gave Micah to deliver would have been welcomed words. They would have wanted to hear more. Since they were living a life of unrighteousness, they didn’t want them to be spoken.

Idolatry always leads to other sins and robs us of receiving blessings from God. It takes away from us delighting in the words of the Lord. When we wrap our lives around thoughts and ideas that are not of God, then we have setup idols in our lives. When we hear God’s Word speak out against those thoughts or ideas, we want to stop listening. It is our pride that is standing in the way of our walk with the Lord. We do not desire to listen because we have placed someone or something other than God on the throne of our lives.

Worship of things other than God may not look like a carved image in your life, but it can creep into our lives in many ways. We may worship our time, our own intellect, the moral standards we have set or even our material possessions. When we do, we are taking God off the throne of our lives and placing ourselves on the throne. Allowing sin in our lives does just that because anytime we sin we are placing ourselves and our desires above God by not following His Word and His ways. When God sees this, He sees idolatry and the need for judgement.

As believers, we have a Savior who paid for the sins that accompany idolatry. Therefore, we will not experience the judgement of separation from God. However, we do want to please God and not shut Him out of our lives. When we see God’s Word directing us in a way that is against our own ways, we should respond with repentance. Like the people of Israel during the time of Micah, we don’t want to hear the message either. When we take an honest look at our lives, we will see things that we love more than God; things that we have placed on the throne of our lives that receive our worship instead of God.

What are some of your idols? As followers of Christ, we need to work at identifying who and what we have placed on the throne of our life. If it is something or someone other than God, there is work to be done in weeding out the idols. Humbly go before the Lord and ask Him to show you the idols in your life. Beware, that some of them you will love and not want to give up. Ask the Lord to strengthen you to demolish these idols in your life. Allow God’s Word to show you how the idols appear to Him as affronts. Welcome the words of God as He removes the idols from your life that are harming your walk with Him. Seek the life of righteousness, so when you hear His Word you will rejoice because they are words of life that lead you to live justly, love kindness and walk humbly before your God.

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Deuteronomy, Micah, Micah - Justly, Kindness, Humbly

Micah: Godly Sorrow and Me

Scripture: Micah 1:8-2:5, 2 Kings 17:14-23

01.23.2020 LamentingBelievers, Godly sorrow should be our response to sin – not complacency, tolerance, and certainly not haughtiness. When we look upon the world that is lost in sin, as believers, who have the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, we should be grieved. Mourning over sin would be the response of the Holy Spirit, and we should follow His leading into godly sorrow. However, many times in our culture today we see opposite responses to sin. Some rationalize or tolerate it because it is easier to do so then confront the beast head on. Others respond with a haughtiness because they really haven’t learned how to speak God’s truth in love. However, if we respond how the Holy Spirit is leading us to respond, then He will lead us towards Godly sorrow. For it is there that we see how sin is destroying lives and should be addressed if we are to share the message of repentance.

Right in the beginning of the book of Micah we see mourning. The Israelites were so deep in sin that they were being stubborn and stiff-necked. The saddest part is that the practice of sin was being passed down from generation to generation. It saddens me most when I see children influenced by sin. Because of technology and the spread of media’s glorification of sin through things like social media, I have come across many pictures lately that show sin being glorified. Many of them have children in them who are influenced by the sin. Even worse, they are being taught that the sin is not sin at all. They are led to believe it is a part of life and the sin should be revered. My response is one of sadness. At first, I didn’t realize why I was sad. I thought it was anger, not sadness. But as the Lord guided me towards seeing that sin in someone’s life was sorrowful for Him, I realized the glorification of it was making it spread like wildfire and influencing generations to come. It is upon this realization that brought about the ultimate realization that this was Godly sorrow I was experiencing, and it was coming from the Holy Spirit.

Godly sorrow is the exact place where Micah is when he expresses he must lament. And don’t miss that he says, “Because of this I MUST lament” (Micah 1:8). Lamenting isn’t something that Micah is choosing to do, it is something his spirit must do because He sees how far his people are away from God. In addition, he sees the result to come, which is the exile and removal of his people from God’s presence. This is what should bring believers towards Godly sorrow. A look through the eyes of Christ that laments over sin because of the separation it brings from the Father. Just as Micah wept for the destruction that would come upon Judah. We should weep for the destruction of lives as their sin separates them from our Holy God, Who desires to save them from the very thing they rejoice over. For one to fully understand and properly respond to the depth of God’s mercy and love, they must see the sin that is in their life. Believers, we should reflect upon the experience of God’s mercy and grace in our own lives when we were saved. This should motivate us towards Godly sorrow over sin in another’s life because we have experienced the freedom that comes from trusting Christ to overcome sin; a freedom we want them to experience as well.

When you see sin in the lives of others, how do you respond? Do you celebrate it with them or rationalize that it isn’t a sin at all? Or is it possible that you respond with a haughtiness? Like those in Micah’s day, sin can be much too easy to accept into our lives. We let it reside with us far too long before we identify it, mourn over it, confess it and repent. However, if we are going to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before God, we must see the need to lament over sin. A step that is critical if we are to share the message of repentance. In our world that demands tolerance over truth, we avoid the word sin altogether. When we do, we miss out on the full message of salvation. More importantly, we miss out on reaching others with the full understanding of what Christ did for them on the cross. In the end, the result of their soul will be separation from God the Father eternally.

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Micah, Micah - Justly, Kindness, Humbly

Micah: Judgment and Me

Scripture: Micah 1:2-7, 2 Kings 17:7-13

01.22.2020 Matthew 7.17Judgement belongs to the Lord, but do I have a part in God’s judgment as well? Many Christians would immediately quote the verse where Jesus says we should not judge (Matthew 7:1). However, shouldn’t we look at ourselves and others under a critical eye if we are going to act justly? Our culture tends to use these verses on not judging someone to promote tolerance that often encourages acceptance of behaviors the Bible forbids. When Jesus stated we should judge not lest we be judged, He certainly did not intend that we overlook sin.

Micah pointed out to the people of his time that the Lord was coming to judge. When we look at 2 Kings 17:7-13 we see that the Lord did come to judge Israel and subjected them to captivity because of their sins which were listed as doing things secretly that were not right against the Lord; building high places in all their towns; setting up sacred pillars on high hills and under every green tree; burning incense (worshipping) on those high places; doing evil things provoking the Lord; and, serving idols. If we stop and look back over that list and compare it to our world today, we will see that there isn’t much difference. But wait, to do that comparison means you had to make a judgement. You had to consider the actions of yourself and people around you to be able to say, “Yes, the same applies today.” Does that mean you have just gone against what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1? I would say not. But to understand, we must look at what Jesus meant when He used the word judge.

To judge means to separate, to pick out, select, choose. By implication, it means to condemn, punish – avenge, conclude. It also carries with it discernment. And here is where we get to the key. Jesus doesn’t want us to condemn, but He doesn’t want us to walk around with blind eyes either. He wants us to learn discernment as we look upon others in the world. And if we are honest with ourselves, we will have to say that we discern things all the time. However, what tool or measurement are we using for that discernment? Reading on in Matthew 7:2-6 we see that Jesus expects us to judge, but to do so in a way that we are loving and compassionate. We are not to condemn anyone, that belongs only to God. We are to be affluent with God’s Word so we can look at individuals around us with a loving eye that recognizes there is sin in their lives, just like there is sin in our own lives. We are to share with them the message of salvation that gives them the only redemption from their sin. However, to be able to point out the need for salvation, the sin must be recognized. Therefore, discernment of what is sin must happen.

God’s Word encourages that we be fruit inspectors (Matthew 7:15-20). A matter of fact, it says that we will recognize individuals as belonging to God by their fruit (Matthew 7:17). If someone has a pattern of wrong or hurtful behavior, that information helps us make sound decisions. Paul tells the Ephesians that they are to take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them (Ephesians 5:11). And even in the church, Paul points out to the Corinthians that he passed judgement on the man who was committing sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5:3). He had no need to interview the man to find out why he was doing what he was doing. Paul looked at the Scriptures and the behavior of the man, and he let the Word of God determine the judgement. Why did God inspire Paul to encourage this? Because God is the ultimate Judge Who is coming to separate the wheat from the tares. That separation will happen based on if we belong to Christ or not. We need to point everyone to Christ for repentance and redemption of their sins for the judgement is coming.

To do justice, we will have to judge. To judge, we will have to learn how not to condemn, because that belongs to the Lord, but to have loving discernment. To have loving discernment, we must follow the Word of God. This is what is needed to do justice and direct ourselves and others to Christ for the redemption of sin.

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Micah, Micah - Justly, Kindness, Humbly

Micah: Leaders and Me

Scripture: Micah 1:1-7, 2 Timothy 2:1-6

01.21.2020 1 Timothy 2.1-2We all have a responsibility to lift the ones who lead us up in prayer. God’s Word indicates that it is important we pray for our leaders especially regarding their decisions they make for guiding people into a life of godliness and holiness. Whoa! Wait just a minute, you might be thinking there has been some leaders that you have had to sit under who didn’t display much leadership into godliness. My question to you would be, does that change your prayer? Does that mean you stop praying for them? I would say that Paul’s direction to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 would indicate not.

God’s Word tells us it is good and pleases God our Savior when we pray for our leaders. God desires that all be saved and come to know the truth. A leader that is going to lead people towards godliness and holiness will be one who has faith in Jesus, Who is the Mediator between man and God. It is only through Christ’s leadership and the following of His Word that we can live a godly and holy life. A leader needs God’s direction in their life, and our responsibility is to pray the leader sees this truth. When they do, they can lead effectively towards all knowing the truth.

Micah begins his book with a lot of important information. He tells us where he lived, Moresheth, and that he was a messenger from God. He then continues to tell us the three kings he lived under. More importantly, the three kings who were reigning when God gave him these prophetic messages. This information allows us to know he was an 8th century prophet from Moresheth, a farming community. From the beginning Micah is saying, he is the messenger.

When we look at God’s Word to discover more about these three kings Micah lived under, we see that they couldn’t be more different from each other. Jotham was indifferent towards God. 2 Chronicles 27:1-2 tells us that he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but he did not enter the temple. Jotham was doing things for appearance, but not because of a repentant heart. Entering the temple was where they would go to present their sacrifices. For a king, it was where he could seek the priest and get godly direction. Jotham obviously had no desire to present a sacrifice or get godly direction. Ahaz, however, was very evil (2 Chronicles 28:1-4). He was blatantly defiant against God and even sacrificed his own children, which we already know is evil but was a direct disobedience to God’s law as well (Leviticus 18:21). Then there was Hezekiah, who loved God and worked to restore His people back to God. He did what was right in the Lord’s eyes just as King David had done (2 Chronicles 29:1-2). Micah lived through some ups and downs regarding leaders being holy in their leadership. However, Micah’s closeness with God gave him clarity and direction as to how to speak justice into the lives of those around him, particularly those who were subjects to these kings.

At my age, I have lived under many leaders – presidents (the first I remember is Ronald Reagan), pastors, teachers, etc. I have been upset with their leadership, and I have been pleased with their leadership. However, the thing that changed the way I looked at their leadership had nothing to do with my emotion at the time or my own judgment. It was prayer. When I truly reached out to God in prayer for these leaders, I could see how God was using them. Yes, even the leaders who where not following God. Through communicating with God about them, I was given His perspective and it brought me peace. Even in times when evil seemed rampant. Prayer gave me understanding of how to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before God. Have you made praying for your leaders a regular part of your prayer life?

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Micah, Micah - Justly, Kindness, Humbly

Micah: Introduction

Scripture: Micah 1:1-2, 6:8

01.20.2020 Micah 6.8Justice, kindness and humility before God – Is this possible in our lives? God’s Word says it is possible. In fact, God tells us in His Word that it is required of us to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before our Lord. (Micah 6:8). I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time balancing these things in my life. Humbly walking with God showing His kindness to the world is hard enough in itself, but then there is the understanding of true justice that needs to be encompassed. Doesn’t that mean I will have to judge to do justice?

The book of Micah can help us with these concerns. Micah, a prophet from Moresheth, lived at the same time as Isaiah. He prophesied to Samaria and Jerusalem. We might not know much about this minor prophet, but he was used by God to contribute to Scripture a twofold message of judgment and forgiveness. If we look at the requirements God has given us to do justly, love kindness and walk humbly before Him, then we will see that there is an understanding we must have of God’s overall judgment and forgiveness. Over and over again in God’s Word we see His people turning away from God to do what was right in their own eyes. (Judges 17:6). In return we see that God is long suffering with them and raises up prophets to bring His people a message calling them to repent and return to the Lord. Believers, I am convinced that God has sent us today to be those messengers. We are to call out to all to repent and to seek God. To do this, we must understand what it is to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly before our God.

In Micah we will see that the people of God were caught up in several sins including greed, theft, violence, unrighteous leadership, crooked business deals and idolatry. Is this not what we see today? God didn’t just want Israel to stop sinning, but He wanted them to turn from their selfish and evil ways. God is calling for us to do so today. He understands the pull of our heart towards our sinful nature, and He desires to go down to the root of it all. He desires to change our hearts to seeking Him. It is for our good and for His glory.

However, right amid Micah’s writings we will see we aren’t going to be left with despair. We will find hope. God loves and delights in His people and wants to see them turn from their sins and fix their eyes on Him. Sin draws us in like quicksand and makes it impossible for us to climb out on our own. God stresses through Micah that He is a God of grace and mercy Who delights in forgiveness and restoration. The thread of Christ is shown in the book of Micah because only through the blood sacrifice of Jesus can we overcome sin in our lives.

We, like Israel, are prone to do what is right in our own eyes. We can be haughty in our thoughts and actions. We act as though we know better and our ways won’t have negative consequences. But God wants to show us differently. He wants us to find our truth in Him not on earth. In His kindness and mercy, He desires we seek Him to find how we can do what He requires.

During this next devotional series on Micah, we are going to look at the requirements of doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly before God. Throughout, I pray that you will grow in your walk with Christ and be a voice calling for repentance.

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Micah, Micah - Justly, Kindness, Humbly

Yielding: Conclusion

Scripture: Joshua 1:5-9

01.17.2020 Joshua 1.8One of the saddest things one can convey in their Christian walk is they don’t have time for reading God’s Word. As we conclude this devotional series, looking at our overall attitude about our relationship with God should be priority. We have talked about many things during this series: God creating us to have a relationship with Him; His acceptance of us as we are; and His plan for us. We have considered how we can block God’s plan through anxiety, entitlement, bitterness, and willful disobedience. We have looked at surrendering, forgiving ourselves, giving up idols, prayer and rest. As you have followed through this series, I hope you see the common thread that is motivating our understanding of how to yield to God – His Word. In addition, I hope you see your need to spend time in studying and meditating upon His Word.

The Scripture reading today comes from Joshua where God is giving him instructions right before they begin to take over the Promised Land. Joshua was a warrior and had been battling for God’s people physically while Moses was leading them spiritually. Joshua was often found by Moses’ side and near when Moses spoke to God. He had access to Moses personally. At this point in the Scriptures, Moses had died, and God is preparing Joshua to continue what he had been doing, fighting physically. But now, Joshua was to lead the people spiritually as well. The instructions God gave Joshua was to be strong, courageous and to meditate upon God’s Word day and night. Why? God desired to have a close relationship with Joshua because He knew the plans He had for Joshua. In addition, If Joshua was going to fulfill those plans as God intended, he had to stay close to God and know God’s ways. Joshua had to really know God’s Word.

Desiring to have a close relationship with the Lord is the most important goal we can have in our lives. In addition, yielding to Him is even better than just having the desire. However, to fulfill that goal, one must stay in God’s Word. Notice how God directed Joshua to be careful to do according to the law. He continued to say do not turn from it to the right or to the left. Why? So that Joshua would have success wherever he went. This is the same for you. Setting goals are nice. Desiring God is fabulous. However, if you want to have success in accomplishing the goal of yielding to God, then follow God’s direction here to Joshua. Do not let God’s Word depart from your mouth but meditate on it day and night. Knowing God’s Word is how you can be careful to do according to all that is written in it.

What has been your attitude about God’s Word? Have you made it a priority in your life to meditate upon it daily? Once you start feasting upon God’s Word, you will be amazed at how your hunger for it becomes regular. Read it regularly not only to yourself, but to those around you. Give them the opportunity to be attentive to God’s Word (Nehemiah 8:3). Remember that faith comes by hearing and hearing comes through the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Let God’s Word do its part in your life by being powerful and sharp to penetrate the deep parts of your being. Let it discern your thoughts and the intents of your heart (Hebrews 4:12). Store up God’s Word in your heart by memorizing it so you will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). Do not let it depart from your lips. Treasure it more than anything else in your life (Job 23:12). God’s Word is breathed by His Spirit. It is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness; all the things we need to be equipped for the good works God has planned for us long ago (Timothy 3:16-17, Ephesians 2:10).

Yes, yielding to God is only accomplished through knowing His Word.

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Joshua, Yielding

Yielding: Rest

Scripture: Genesis 2:1-3

01.16.2020 Genesis 2.1-3Rest is vital for a close relationship with the Lord. When God was completed with all His work, He rested and declared the seventh day as a day that was sanctified – meaning it was set apart from all others. It is a day that we should strive to keep as holy and set aside time to rest our bodies. The fact is we run around as individuals who are tired and overworked. We tend to keep ourselves so busy that the pure thought of resting for a full 24 hours is uneasy to us. However, God set the seventh day as holy because He knew that is what we needed.

You may be thinking, but there is always something that needs to be done – more dishes, more laundry, meals to cook, etc. And that is not including the responsibilities I have outside the home. But wait, let’s slow this down and consider the fact that God is the one Who should be directing us in our life – right? And with that consideration, we must realize even our day in day out to-do list is to be submitted under Him. Do you think God doesn’t know you have all these things to do? And did you ever think about the fact that if you bring your to-do list before the Lord, He will be able to guide you in doing them? Yes, it seems silly to pray asking God to direct you in cleaning your house and fulfilling what we see as menial tasks, but He desires that you do so. The Lord wants you to have a life that is fully submitted to Him and allows Him to show you how to live.

Right amid His direction you will find rest! Yes, I am convinced of it. Realize this, when God was finished creating, He rested. When we follow His direction, we will see that when we, being created in His image, are finished creating, we can rest as well. It took me a long time to understand how I could carve in a 24-hour rest day in my busy week. However, as I trusted the Lord more and more with my life, it became self-evident He was directing me towards a time of rest weekly. As I followed His direction and rested, I drew closer to Him because I was able to think with a clear rested mind. I could see that my time of rest was strengthening my relationship with the Lord, my family and others. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a typical busy mom. Just to give you a glimpse, these are some of the hats I wear: wife, homeschool mom, director of a homeschool co-op, Bible study teacher and writer, praise band director, treasurer for two churches . . . whew, let me stop there and rest! I’m already tired! But reality, there is so much more I can add to that list. And I am sure you can add so much more to your list as well. However, as I have submitted myself more and more to drawing closer to God, He has shown me the ways to accomplish the tasks that He sees necessary for me to accomplish.

Do you have a hard time following the Lord’s directive to rest? Trusting the Lord is the key. When we trust Him with all our heart, we will submit EVERY part of our life to Him. He will direct you towards rest because that is part of His plan for you. He will strengthen you to do the things you need to do in the time that He has provided to work. However, when it is time to rest, trust in Him still that He will direct you in accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. And realize, the enemy will try to zap your time of rest by placing thoughts in your minds that are unholy. Satan will try to make you think about all the things you need to be doing instead of resting. He will try to make you feel guilty for resting. Do you know why? Because he doesn’t want you to follow this command from the Lord. Satan wants you to be so exhausted in life that you will give in to any of his ideas of disobedience to the Lord. So, don’t fall for it. When you are resting and thoughts of guilt for resting appear in your mind, stop at that moment and pray. Ask the Holy Spirit to replace the thoughts with words of peace that you can trust in Him.

Yes, you can rest for 24 hours every week. Submit to the Lord and let Him show you how.

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Genesis, Yielding

Yielding: Prayer

Scripture: James 5:13-18

01.15.2020 James 5.16Prayer is essential if we are going to grow in yielding to the Lord. This devotional series was started with the question, “Why did God create you?” The simple answer to that question was to have a relationship with Him. Prayer is one of the main ways we communicate with God in our relationship with Him. One key reason we pray is because God expects us to do so. He sets this expectation because He knows we need to communicate with Him in this spiritual manner if we are going to stay connected to Him.

Prayer is an act of obedience. Throughout Scripture we see that God’s Word calls us to pray. Jesus would say things like, pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44); when you pray (Matthew 6:5); this is how you should pray (Matthew 6:9). It is obvious that Jesus not only was commanding us to pray out of obedience but expecting us to do so. Not only did He talk about praying but we see in the Gospels many references to the prayers of Christ and Him going away from the crowds to pray. These are examples that He set forth for us to follow as acts of obedience.

When we are praying it allows us to worship and praise the Lord. In our Scripture reading today notice how James expresses that prayer and praise should be continual. When we are suffering, we should pray. When we are cheerful, we should praise. Prayer and praise are both ways of communicating to God. When we praise God, whether it be through words or song, those are all directed to God. It is a communicating of our soul with Him just like prayer. Therefore, James is expressing the same thing that Paul expressed to the Thessalonians when he stated that we should rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Having prayer partners in your life will help you stay accountable. I have individuals in my life who I know I can call upon at any moment to pray for me. If I need someone to pray, I reach out to them. In addition, if they need someone to pray, they reach out to me. When we see the obvious answer to prayer, we praise God together for His direction. This is what we are directed to do in God’s Word. We are to pray for one another (James 5:16). The amazing thing about praying for one another is that it brings you closer to that person as well. So not only are you praying and communicating with God, which brings you closer to Him, but you are drawing closer to Him with a brother or sister in Christ. This strengthens the bonds of connection you have with the body of Christ and gives you support as well.

Have you made prayer a part of your life? Being obedient to God’s Word by praying is a must. However, the benefits from that obedience brings you closer to God and others. If prayer is not a part of your life, take time to begin by stopping at this moment and asking God to press upon your heart a reminder to communicate with Him more through prayer. Write down several people in your life who you know would pray for you. Reach out to these people today and ask them to pray with you or praise God with you. There isn’t a need to tell them specifics initially. You can just reach out to them asking them to pray that God leads you and you can draw closer to Him. You could just ask them to praise God with you today. However, as you grow closer to the Lord, specific prayers will allow you both to praise God for His direction.

Now is the time to pray. God is waiting to communicate with you!

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, James, Yielding

Yielding: Giving Up Idols

Scripture: Leviticus 26:1, Psalm 46:1-7

01.14.2020 Psalm 46.1-2When we place our dependence upon anything other than the Lord, we have an idol in our lives. Idols can be anything from food to jobs, and even, people or relationships. Who would set aside God, a fountain of living water, for anything else? You may be surprised to find out that it is something even believers do daily. Actually, we are doing that very thing when we turn from God and place our reliance for comfort and strength on anything or anyone other than Him. Our reliance on these idols in our lives hinders our ability to yield to the Lord.

Idols are sometimes hard to distinguish in our lives because they may be a necessity. However, anything that we truly need in life God will provide. This makes Him the Source and Provider of our needs. For example, food is nourishment. It is what God provides for us so that our body will run well and stay healthy. A matter of fact, God meant for food to be used effectively in our life and enjoyed. However, He never meant for it to be idolized. If you are confused at how food can be idolized, I just have one word that will bring it home for many – coffee! Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not picking on this drink which is made from a bean that God has provided for us. It is a drink that I enjoy each morning and many times when I read my Bible in communication with God. No, I am using coffee as an example. Have you ever thought or said, “I can’t survive the day without coffee!”? If you have, then you understand how idols can be hard for us to give up because we are using them for our comfort and strength.

When we have placed our desire for anything as our comfort and strength above seeking the Lord, then we have idolized that thing. While coffee may seem like too whimsical of an example, then consider other possibilities. Idols could be a person in your life, a relationship, a job or even a certain life circumstance. They can be good for us, but we have allowed them to creep up to a place of reverence without even realizing it. When this happens, they are hard to demolish. However, as we grow closer and closer to the Lord, He will give us the strength to bring them into their proper place. He will help us to place Him as Lord of our lives above anything else. Our first step is to realize when we have placed anything above God. Realize the idol. It may be needed to live life – like food, a job or loved one. However, realizing you have idolized it can step you closer in your relationship with God and He can help you to develop a proper attitude towards what you have idolized. He can help you place it in its proper place.

It may be difficult to look at some of these truths, but I assure you it can be the difference for you when it comes to development of a true yielding relationship with the Lord. Take some time in prayer today and ask the Lord to reveal to you what you have idolized in your life. Looking honestly at your life and the fears you have of giving something up is a good start when it comes to discovery of idols. What are you afraid of giving up because you depend on it for comfort and strength? Whatever this is, you have probably made a mountain out of it and made it your strong sustainer that you have place your feet on and depended on as a strong foundation. Realize that idols will not last. Even if they seem as strong as a mountain, you can’t depend on it for ultimate comfort and strength. Only God holds the river of comfort and strength. He has always been, and He will always be, even after the idols of your life have gone away.

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Leviticus, Psalm, Yielding

Yielding: Self-Forgiveness

Scripture: Psalm 32:1-11

01.13.2020 Psalm 32.1.jpgOur inability to forgive ourselves and move forward in God’s grace can hinder our closeness with God. We previously talked about how we should forgive others to avoid bitterness. However, when we cannot get pass our wrongs of the past and forgive ourselves, it can keep us from drawing close to God as well. A matter of fact, we are looking at the grace offered by God and telling Him we will not accept it.

Forgiveness can be one of the hardest things you have to do as you walk close with the Lord and grow in His peace. Forgiving yourself can be the hardest of all. Many times, we don’t even realize we haven’t forgiven our self. Actually, we will start shaping the character of who we are because of our past failures. If we have failed at actions of faithfulness to God in the past, we might tell ourselves, “Oh, what’s the use? I can never do anything right.” These thoughts move us further away from drawing closer to God because they are thoughts that remain from not forgiving our self. We will begin this self-talk to ourselves that begins to eat away at who we are in Christ and drive us away from a closeness with Him. Ultimately, we will look at our sin and rationalize that there is no point in even trying to overcome it because we will fail anyway.

There are things we say to ourselves that we would probably never dream of saying to others. I can only imagine how it must be for our Heavenly Father to hear us speak or think these words to ourselves. He loves us so greatly that He desires that we see how He forgives us for our sins. Yes, a recognition of sin in our lives is needed to draw closer to God, but to draw even closer we must accept His forgiveness. This is the only way He will be able to help you to get over the wrongs of your past. In addition, it is the only way He can strengthen you to overcome the sin in the future.

Everyone makes mistakes and even worse, intentionally choose the wrong way. However, when you have accepted Jesus’ payment for sin, then you are blessed because your sin is covered by the blood of Christ. Read over Psalm 32:1-11 and drink in the words of our Lord. Acknowledge your sin to Him. Do not hide your iniquities from Him. Confess your transgressions to the Lord and allow His grace to overflow you as you accept the forgiveness of your sin. He will instruct you. He will counsel you. Trust in His forgiveness and lovingkindness. Let it surround you and be glad in the Lord. Rejoice because He has made you righteous through the blood of Christ. Shout for joy because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Walk in self-forgiveness and draw closer to God. He will surround you with songs of deliverance!

Posted in ALL LFJ Devotional, Psalm, Yielding