Friday, July 31, 2009
To learn more about this please visit Days of Repentance
This Declaration of Repentance is a good way to start your prayers. Some of us at my work got together this morning to pray this together and then we walked around our building in prayer.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
This verse tells us not only to draw near to God, but to do so with a sincere heart. I want to draw near to God, but how sincere is my heart? In the past I would have said, “yes, definitely!” but anymore I in all honesty say that.
It is not because I have changed, as if I had a sincere heart at one time but no longer do. Instead it is that I have started to see myself and my motives more clearly recently. I’ve come to see how much selfishness I have in my heart and how much I still cling to the things of this world – material things, worldly thinking and reasoning, worldly desires, the praises of men.
So then the question becomes, if I say I want to draw close to God – what is my reason? If I don’t have a sincere heart then is it because I want something from Him? I’m still seeing Him as a genie in a bottle who will perform as I desire if I just learn the correct way to appease Him?
Please transform my heart. Cleanse me of the things of this world which in my weakness I continue to grasp. Soften my heart that I may draw near to You.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God,
you will not despise.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.
Too often we forget Jesus as the chief cornerstone of our spiritual foundation. The one who joins us all together to be a holy temple for the Lord. If we leave out that chief cornerstone and put our focus on anything else (no matter how "good" it may be), we are building on perishable, unstable materials. No matter how beautiful it may look on the outside, the inside is unstable and condemned. It will not last, it will fall and crumble into ashes.
More times than I can count the Lord has revealed to me that I am once again building upon the wrong foundation. I need to keep my focus on Jesus. Doctrine, the church I attend, rules I follow, good works I do - none of them mean anything if my focus and motivation is not Jesus.
I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. ~ Phillippians 4:13
Funny thing about reading the Bible - it is the Living Word of God and as such God will use it to reveal something new to you each time you read it if you are open and willing to listen to the Holy Spirit.
The scripture above includes giving me strength in learning to bite my tongue, even when I have the "right" to speak out. To love and be kind and gentle even when I'm not being loved. To forgive even when things are being held against me that are not true.
Because it is not about me or my fragile feelings. It is about Him and following Him. Bringing Him glory and letting His light shine through me to those who need Him most. It is about focusing on Him - not my "rights", my pride or my ego. It is about being content in Him regardless of my circumstances.
help me to remember this when I feel the anger rising up, when my pride is hurt, when I start to feel sorry for me because nobody understands. Help me to remember to focus on You and lean into You.
Cease striving and know that I AM God. ~ Psalm 46:10
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
8 For it is by grace you have been samve, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God - 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I read this and realize not only is my salvation the work of God and not something for me to take pride in - but the good works that I do for God as a result of my salvation are also His doing - "which God prepared in advance for us to do". Therefore, I can't boast of them either because without Him they would be nothing, worthless, non-existent.