Daily devotion from Wednesday, 20/05/2020
|“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3 |
Have you ever been so focused on one thing that you forgot to do something else? Or been thinking about something while driving and missed a turn or went the wrong way? Maybe you’ve been so absorbed in a task you were doing that you didn’t notice anything else going on around you. All of these things happen because our brains have difficulty multi-tasking. Our brains cannot stay focused 100% on two different tasks or thoughts.
The same thing can happen to us spiritually. We often get so distracted with thinking about all the duties and responsibilities of our physical life, and so caught up in everyday activities, entertainment, jobs, education and relationships that we forget the simplest thing – that as Christians, we are to obey the Lord at all times. We forget that we are to study and meditate on the Word of God day and night and observe to do all that is written in it (Josh. 1:8). We forget that we are to teach the principles of the Bible diligently unto our children and talk of them throughout the entire day with them no matter what we are doing (Deut. 6:7). We allow the circumstances of this life to determine and influence our emotions and we forget to obey the command to “rejoice evermore” (1 Thes. 5:16), even in tribulation, temptation and suffering (1 Pet. 4:13-16). In our relationships with others in the world, we sometimes forget to obey the command that our speech is not to be filled with filthy or foolish talk, coarse jesting, swearing and cursing (Eph. 5:3-4; James 3:8-10).
Hasn’t God warned us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together for worship (Heb. 10:25)? Hasn’t He told us not to be judgmental of others (Matt. 7:1-5)? Are we not to love others as He has loved us (John 13:34-35) and forgive them as He has forgiven us (Eph. 4:32)? Has He not told us that when someone sins against us that we are to go to them directly and address the issue with them (Matt. 18:15) and if we have something against someone else that we are to follow the same process and go directly to them and reconcile the issue (Matt. 5:23-24)? How many times do we get so caught up and carried away in our activities, our thoughts, our feelings and emotions that we forget to obey the commands of Scripture? Or how many times do we just not think about, study, meditate and memorize the commands of Scripture?
Have we forgotten some of the simplest yet most profound truths and principles of the Bible? “With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Ps. 119:10-11). Are we seeking God and following after Him with our whole heart? Have we hid His Word in our hearts? Do we spend time with God in prayer, asking Him to keep us from wandering away from His will, way and Word? Instead of wandering away from His Word, let’s spend time wondering and in wonder of “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The Bible is packed with commands – both large and small – and they’re just as important as His promises. Focus on them so you’ll not have to stand before Him one day and say, “I just forgot.”
|Copyright © 2020, Mark Varga, All rights reserved.|
|Be Strong and Work|
“Then spake Haggai the LORD’s messenger in the LORD’s message unto the people saying, I am with you, saith the LORD.” Haggai 1:13
A mom gives her child an assignment that is challenging but doable. The test is whether the child will rise to and reach a new level of accomplishment or will lapse into lethargy, overwhelmed with the task. If the latter happens, a wise parent sees the need and comes alongside to encourage.
Our heavenly Father deals with us in a very similar manner. When Israel returned from captivity in Babylon, they were given the assignment by God to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. They laid a foundation and built an altar, but then lost faith and courage in the face of regional opposition from Samaritans and others. The task now seemed too overwhelming, it required too much energy to fight and build, and they began to focus on their own needs instead. The work on the temple lapsed for fifteen years while political forces wrangled. As the all-wise, omniscient Father, the Lord says a message to the people through the prophet Haggai: “I am with you, saith the LORD … yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the LORD; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the LORD, and work: for I am with you, saith the LORD of hosts: according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not” (Hag. 1:13; 2:4-5). With these words of encouragement and direction, the work on the temple was restarted and within years, the temple was finished.
As Christians, we can find ourselves in similar situations. We face some opposition, criticism or resistance and lose faith, courage and maybe even hope. Over time, we may become lethargic, apathetic or even disobedient in the face of a challenging responsibility or task. It helps to remember that the God who spoke through Haggai also speaks to us: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:5-6). He sees our need and is always alongside us to encourage, comfort, and strengthen us and give us a renewed hope and zeal for the things of God.
But most of the time, God is not going to do the work for us. He is the Encourager and the Enabler, but we must do the work. The apostle Peter writes it this way – “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:3-4). We have been given exceeding great and precious promises by God so that we can live a Christlike and godly life – remembering these promises and availing ourselves of them can make all the difference in the world. This is the foundation for our lives, and enables us to diligently add virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity to our faith (v.5-8). Take the time to search out the promises of God in the Scriptures and memorize them, so that when you are confronted with trials, tribulation, opposition, criticism, resistance, fears or doubts, you can take courage, be strengthened and encouraged in the LORD to continue to do His will and work.
|Copyright © 2020, Mark Varga, All rights reserved.|