Enslaved to God

“Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, live as God’s slaves.” 1 Peter 2:16.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 20, Isaiah 38-39, Psalm 75, and 1 Peter 2.

I am a free, yet I am a slave of God.

I am encouraged to live as if I’m free with the understanding that I am enslaved to God.

Confused yet?

Because I love God, I want to please Him.  I am eager to do what He wants……….and I have the freedom to express that love in any appropriate way.

My love for Him is even higher than that: I want to be like Him.  Think of how effective I would be a slave if I knew exactly what my master wanted.  If I had studied His likes and dislikes.  If I had read/listened to what He said.  If I had chatted with others regarding my master.

The Godly slave does not leave all the heavy lifting on his Master.  He figures out what his Master wants and then gets after it.

I do not know my Master well enough.  How do I know that?  Because I do not represent Him consistently.  I often act as if I have no idea what He wants.  How sad, because I want to be Him wherever I am at.

What should I do?  Surrender to the Master.  Surrender my thoughts, words, and actions.  Surrender my hearing to Him…….”be quick to listen.”  I need to read the Bible with a passion to know the Master better.  It can’t just be academic!  There is so much to be done.

“Lord, Your Word cuts me deep at times.  That was today’s passage for me.  I have in no way been enslaved to You.  I am sorry.  Forgive me for studying You for knowledge only.  I need a life-style change!  Forgive me for asking You to change me and then sitting back taking no part myself.  I must love You enough to passionately desire total enslavement to You.  I need to take action in that direction.  I cling to You for directions.”

Is there any evidence that we are slaves of God?

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Peter

Why am I so gloomy?

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”  1 Peter 1:8-9.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Isaiah 36-37, Psalm 76, and 1 Peter 1.

Are you in a funk?

Are the world’s cares getting you down?

If you are a believer, you may have taken your eyes off the Big Picture, as described in today’s two verses.

Today’s verses state that we should be filled with, “an inexpressible and glorious joy.”  How are you doing on that?  Same for me.

I take my eye off the end game.  I win in the end!  Jesus returns and a new earth is set up.  Nothing in that new earth will wear out including my body.

I enjoy watching repeats of major sporting events in which the teams I follow have won.  I sit there so relaxed.  Not a care in the world even if there are some letdowns within the game.  Why?  I know the ending!

Am I willing to live as if I know the ending?  Or will I continue to get gloomy over the letdowns along the way to that glorious ending?

“Father, forgive me for concentrating on the here and now and losing track of what will be.  You will return. The result will be glorious to say the least.  I love You, Lord.”

I must see beyond the hurdles and live accordingly.  There is a bright future.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Peter

I’m tuned out and shouldn’t be

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”  James 5:19-20.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading; 2 Kings 18-19, 2 Chronicles 32, and James 5.

I will assume that we all have family members who have been exposed to the Good News and who have not acted accordingly.

We’re talking good folks who have heard but not believed.

These verses start in a low-key fashion but then get very serious.  When it says, “will save them from death,” that’s serious!  This isn’t happy or more happy. This is life and death.

How is death involved?  Those who do not believe that God took care of their sin problem and live/act accordingly will NOT spend their after-life with God. Their sins will separate them from Him.

Action must be taken by them but how about our part?  We MUST also take action to prevent them from a Godless ending.  How?  By repenting of our relaxed response to their fate.  By asking God to intercede in their lives.  By asking God to help us understand what we should do to change their thinking and act accordingly.

“As a believer, I have responsibilities.  Today’s verses reference action in bringing folks to believing what You have done for them.  I want to do that in every situation I am in.  I beg for Your firepower to do it right.  I beg for a complete dose of Your Holy Spirit on me now so that I will act as You want me to act.  I am desperate for You, Father.  Help me, I beg.”

Am I concerned about family members who have not believed the Good News?  Yes?  What am I actively doing about it?

Leave a comment

Filed under James

Get on the right track and stay there

“In the first month of the first year of his (Hezekiah) reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the Lord and repaired them.”  2 Chronicles 29:3.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 29-31, and James 4.

There had been a run of terrible kings but along came Hezekiah.

We have no idea what caused him to be so different from those before him but it must have been something significant.  Talk about night and day!

What impressed me, among many things, was that Hezekiah started changing things for the better immediately.  He didn’t settle into the job of King and think that eventually a change or two might be put in place.  Not him, right away he is into getting the temple back into working order.

In my own life, I need to make immediate and significant changes.  I need to do them now.  Slowl surely doesn’t work.  Too much falling back along the way.  Get things right and stick hard to them.

Hezekiah never wavered and God was pleased with him.  I want that from God.  I want a consistently, Godly lifestyle.  I want to do the right thing without looking back.

“Lord, You are my God.  Guide me each step.  Enable me to be full-time Godly.  Prick my conscience when I am off-course and help me, I beg, to get things right at once.  I love You, Father.”

I need to start each morning in a hurry to be filled with God.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Chronicles

My ears are sealed!

“They would not listen, however, but persisted in their former practices.”  2 Kings 17:40.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: 2 Kings 17, 2 Chronicles 28, Psalm 46, and James 3.

There has been a run of three days with verses connected to listening.  Coincidence?  No way!

If I am not listening then I will mess things up.

I have told myself lately that the best part of what someone is telling is the ending.  I must let them get to that point.  Tuning out, butting in, must be avoided.

The consequence for the Israelites was severe.  God told them over and over what NOT to do.  They ignored Him.  They heard but didn’t heed.  They tuned God out.  How pitiful!

I need to hear from God.  I believe that He speaks to me through others.  They have His Words for me.  I can’t gear my listening intensity on my assessment of the speaker.

James 3 talks of the struggles of taming the tongue.  From where I’m coming from lately, the key to taming the tongue is to upgrade my listening.  My tongue goes off on tangents because I haven’t gathered all the information available.  I haven’t completely listened.  I’ve heard what I wanted to hear and my reaction was based on that limited input.

“Lord, I need You every second.  Forgive me for missing Your Messages from others by listening to them poorly.  Open my hearing to You.  I surrender to You.  Take every part of me over.  I love You, Lord.”

Are you giving God a chance to speak to you through others?

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 KIngs

Do you listen twice as much as you speak?

“Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples!  Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!” Isaiah 34:1.

Verse chosen from today’s Bible reading: Isaiah 32-35, and James 2.

Is your hearing as bad as mine it?

I am not talking about my ability to detect sound.  I am talking about listening to what is said.

I ran into this topic yesterday in James 1.  I was advised to be “quick to listen.”  That’s not me!  I listen selectively and respond profusely!

Today in Isaiah, the hearing thing is back.  The instruction is to hear and pay attention to what I am hearing.  Again, for me, an adventure for sure.

It is remarkable how smart other people become when we decide to hear them out.  No interruptions.  Just let them finish their thoughts.  Sometimes their best stuff is at the end of what they’re telling me.  By listening selectively and barging in before they’re finished I regularly miss the best they have to offer.

It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen twice as much as we speak.  Good advice.

“Lord, Your Word is sharp.  I feel the point today.  I must quicken my listening skills.  I want to hear better.  I want to learn via hearing.  I want to hear You and some of that hearing from You will come to me through others.  Forgive me for being so impulsive in conversations.  I know better.  I love You, Lord.  Guide me, I beg, this day.”

I must let others seek my opinion before offering it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Isaiah

How to be Godly in interactions

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”  James 1:19-20.

Verses chosen from today’s Bible reading: Isaiah 29-31, and James 1.

So easy.  Yet so hard for me to live out.

Notice the pace; quick and slow.

How often do I mess up the order?  I get indigestion by what you say and then give you indigestion by what I say.

Food is supposed to be eaten slowly.  If I gobble, I will get indigestion.  If I would listen carefully I would understand better.  I would, therefore, be able to react to what you say in a Godly fashion.

Instead I hear trigger words or phrases and I am into a reaction mode even before you’ve finished speaking.  My response is seldom a Godly one.

When I get off to a bad start, by not carefully listening, the result will often be anger.  I may get angry or my response may produce anger.  Not good either way!

James states the obvious when he declares that anger is not Godly.

My concern is my insistence on producing anger or getting angry.  Poor listening skills as well as poor reacting skills are the culprits needing serious improvements.

I must start each day aligned with God.  I must go through the day constantly reminding myself of my union with Him.  I cannot function without this.  My Godliness comes unraveled in a hurry when I put any trust in my own listening/reacting abilities.

“Lord, forgive me for my poor listening and my poor reacting.  I blame my disconnectedness from You as the problem.  I am incapable of pleasing You apart from You.  It shows up so often in interactions at home.  I get it wrong so often and it pains me in review.  I desperately need You all day long.  I cling to You, Father.”

How Godly are your listening and reacting skills?

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized