I hope that you had an awesome weekend! I pray:
- That you took time to worship with us online at royred.org (the worship services are still there…as well as many other ways to connect with God and with us as a church, as well as devotionals, group info, children’s ministry)
- That you spent time praying and reading God’s Word… applying it to your life and situation.
- That you processed through what your biggest hurt, habit, hang-up is.
- That you will let God lead you through this day… to accomplish His plans for you… and to know that He loves you.
The last 6 devotions that I have written are part of a series designed to help you deal with the past…trust the Lord with your future…and guide you through each minute of today. So far in this series of devotions we have looked at:
- The Reality Choice… Admitting that you are not God…and life can be unmanageable…. identifying the main issue that impacts your life.
- The Hope Choice… Believing that God exists, you matter to Him, He can help you deal with your hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
- The Letting Go Choice… the Commitment Choice. Committing your life to Christ’s Love, care, and control.
- The Coming Clean, House Cleaning Choice… Taking time to examine your past and to confess your faults…first to yourself…and then to God. Many find it very helpful to confess them to a trusted person…to own them and release them.
- The Transformation Choice…making changes. This is when you begin to be who God created you to be! This is when you voluntarily submit to every change that God wants you to make and to humbly ask Him to remove any character defects.
- The relationship Choice…repairing relationships. This is when we evaluate all of our relationships…offer forgiveness to those who have hurt us…and make amends for the harm we have done to others.
I keep repeating these steps because they are great tools for you to use throughout your lifetime. They can be used today, tomorrow, each day of your life until God calls you home to a place where we will not need them. God tells us that “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Life happens…and it can be painful. These tools will work for each hurt, habit, hang-up you will encounter.
Today we will look at The Growth Choice…maintaining momentum. One of the greatest Joy’s we have is that God wants to communicate with us! In this choice you will commit to reserving a daily quiet time with God…for self-examination…Bible reading…and prayer. You do this to know God and His will for your life…and for the power to follow His will!
A middle-aged woman went to New York and up to the 23rd floor of an apartment building. She knocked on the door and a beautiful young woman opened the door. Incense came wafting out, music was playing, she was wearing a sarong, and she was clapping little bells. The young woman asked “are you here to see the great Bagone? The one who knows all, sees all, tells all, understands everything, and is in ultimate control”? The middle-aged woman said” Yes, tell Sheldon his mother is here!”
Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are just “Sheldon” or whatever your name is. We need to be reminded we don’t know it all, we are not God, and that on our own we will fail, fall, make poor choices, sin, and “be human”. I hope that you have been working on the previous choices and making some progress with healthy Christ-centered living. Be careful not to slip back to old habits. We all need a regular time to recharge our batteries and update our navigation system. Let’s take a closer look at this growth Choice:
- Commit to reserving a daily quiet time with God. Figure out a time that works for you. Make it the same time each day. Find a place with no distractions. Remember to use the ACTS of prayer: A= adoration…C= confession…T=thanksgiving…S= supplication (requests). Find a quiet place, talk to the Lord, sit and listen to Him whisper in your ear. This works best for me first thing in the morning, asking for direction for my day. Jesus did this often. Mark 1:35…Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Luke 5:16…but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. If He needed to do that…we should as well!
- For self examination…This works best for me right before bed. I assess how the day went, both where I made poor choices, and who I was able to impact for the Lord. I can reflect on how I am doing with my physical health, my spiritual health, my emotional health, and my spiritual health.
- Bible reading…God knew that life in our sinful world would be complicated and confusing. That we would face many hurts, habits, and hang-ups. That we would face temptations and options. He loved us so much that He wrote you a love letter…A book that tells us who He is and who He created you to be. His promises to you and how we are to live as His children. Some think of it as Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth.
- Do this to know God and His will for your life. God loves you so much that He sent His Son to die for your sins. That’s His part…our part is to follow His lead with our thoughts, words, deeds…so we can accomplish His plans. Jeremiah 29:11(esv)… For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Have you figured out what His plans are for you yet? Plans using your personal passions, abilities, interests and resources. Ask the one who Lovingly made you what His purposes are for you.
- And for the power to follow His will! I hope that you have realized that you cannot be all you were created to be on your own power. The good news is that you do not have to… Ephesians (esv) 3:20…Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. Ask God to lead you and equip you.
Hopefully you can see that this step or choice is an everyday maintenance choice. Just as you refresh and update your computer… you need to refresh and update your walk with the Lord. Tomorrow we will finish this devotional series as we see who you can reach out to.
Jesus’ disciples were confused on how to pray…He taught then the Lord’s prayer. The healthy choices that we have been looking at are found within this prayer:
- Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name (The Reality Choice) realize I am not God. (The Hope Choice) Believe God exists.
- thy kingdom come; (The Sharing Choice) Yield yourself to be used by God. (We will cover this tomorrow.)
- Thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. (The Transformation Choice) Submit to the changes God wants you to make.
- Give us this day our daily bread. (The Letting Go Choice) Submit to God’s care.
- And forgive us our trespasses, (The Coming Clean Choice) Examine and confess your faults.
- as we forgive those who trespass against us. (The Relationship Choice) evaluate all of your relationships and repair broken ones.
- And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. (The Growth Choice) Reserve a daily time with God.
- For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Note: The choices that we are talking about are in part found in a book called “Life’s Healing Choices” by John Baker. Know that it is only by God’s choice that we are saved. He has chosen us. We had nothing to do with it. We do not deserve it. And yet, Because we are saved by Grace through faith…we respond by making healthy…Christ-centered…God pleasing choices.