Devotions to Inspire Your Week
Do you start your day with devotions? Do you at least begin by reading some scripture? I believe that for everyone who wants to grow in Christ, scripture, Bible study and reflection are key elements. On this page, you'll see a growing number of devotional readings meant to help you with your time of personal reflection. I pray they will encourage you to grow in Christ and soar like an Eagle to become all that He created you to be.
Here are the titles you'll find below:
- I'm Too Weak for That
- Let Us Never Forget
I'm Too Weak For That
2 Corinthians 11:19-21
If you begin at the top of chapter 11, you'll see Paul is worried that the Christians in Corinth may be easily drawn away from the truth of Jesus Christ. There were men in his time (as in ours) who had "exchanged the truth of God for a lie" (Romans 1:25) and were attempting to convince other believers to do the same. It would appear from Paul's rants that they were having some measure of success. Paul's words here in Second Corinthians almost seem to have been written for the 21st century instead of the first.
Recently as I read this section of scripture, however, I discovered this short message in the midst of Paul's worry for his fellow believers. Obviously in Paul's time Christians struggled with many of the same things that cause us conflict today. These few verses reflect a tendency to believe that Christians should be doormats. So often as Christians we allow people to walk on us and bully us. We've been taught this is the Christian thing to do. In an attempt to mirror Christ's walk to the cross, we forget that He also overturned money tables.
I nearly laugh when Paul tells his readers that he is "too weak" to "put up with anyone who enslaves, exploits or takes advantage" of him. Our modern faith conveys the message that it's actually noble to allow someone to expoit us. Where do we read that Christ allowed himself to be taken advantage of or exploited? He did go to the cross without a fight, but that's because the Roman government was actually a pawn in the bigger plan of God. They weren't exploiting Him, He CHOSE the road to the cross. His submission only exemplified His complete control of the situation.
Many non-Christians think that Christians are weak. It's primarily because a lot of followers of Jesus Christ won't stand up for themselves. For some reason they believe that Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 12:10 "when I am weak, then I am strong" means they are required to be slaves, to bend and bow to everyone else's whims.
Paul chose to not exert his strength. He opted to serve those who were trying to discover who they were in Christ. However, he would not allow someone to rule over him or exploit him. Even in prison, Paul was in control. His actions caused those over him to give him respect.
Likewise, we never see Jesus being ruled by the Pharisees or Saducees. He showed them respect, but never backed down when they challenged Him. Yet, He consistently served and showed kindness, mercy and love to those who were looking for the truth in the gospel.
As leaders in the body of Christ, our attitude should be that of Christ (see Philippians 2). We should encourage those seeking to grow in Christ and serve the congregation where our Savior has planted us. All the while, we must not allow anyone or anything to enslave, exploit or take advantage of us. We must remember we are children of the King, a loving, caring peace bringing King, but nonetheless, a King.
Let Us Never Forget
This weekend I had the opportunity to witness two examples of things remembered. The first was a gift of two mugs, one for Steve and one for me, momentos to help us remember the way God touched our lives at a retreat where I was privileged to lead worship. The presenter mentioned a professor he'd had in seminary who'd taught him to cherish those physical reminders of "God moments." During the hard times, years after the event when it all seems surreal and during those times when we doubt if we were really touched by God, these objects can be for us like the stones the Israelites set up on the west side of the Jordan River. They can give us something to touch and see, something that will take our minds back to a day when God moved and changed our lives forever.
The facility where the retreat was held is not far from the 9-11 Flight 93 Crash Site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. So on our way home, we made it a point to stop. We went about 30 minutes out of our way and walked in the rain to look out over a park that isn't open yet. From our vantage point, we couldn't see very much. The memorial is scheduled to open in time for the 10th anniversary of that fateful day in history, so today visitors can only see the "temporary memorial" and look through a fence about ½ mile away from the actual crash site. Regardless, I had an ominous feeling as we drove to and then looked over the place where 40 innocent people lost their lives at the hands of terrorists. We stayed only a few minutes because of the rain and the fact we couldn't get close enough to see much.
These two types of memorials sat in direct contrast on one another in my mind. On more than one occasion, the Israelites were commanded to have physical signs and days of remembrance to constantly bring to their minds the times God had intervened for them. They were to remember God saving their firstborns from the angel of death. Each of their holidays was reminder of a time when God had worked on behalf of the nation of Israel. All through scripture God set up dates, places, objects and events as reminders to His people.
As I considered these thoughts, and compared our first and second "memorials" of the day, I wondered if we, as a nation, have it all backwards. Don't get me wrong, I am glad that we remember these 40 heroes and heroines. We should never take for granted what they did to save countless lives in Washington, DC. However, I had this overwhelming feeling that God doesn't want us to remember the tragedies more than we remember the times He blessed us.
We have a Vietnam Memorial to honor those who lost their lives in that war and another to remember the Marines who died in World War II. Town after town has set up war memorials, statues, stones, markers and whole parks to honor and remember those who have served in war, and while there is nothing inherently wrong with these monuments, my question remains, "If we are remembering these horrific events with such magnificent structures and elaborate expense, what are we doing to remind ourselves of the utterly spectacular God gives us on a daily basis?"
This week we will be often reminded of that tragedy 10 years ago, it's not my goal to minimize the heroic acts of those on Flight 93. However, I believe if we set up as many "memorials" in our own lives, physical reminders of those days we saw the hand of God move, felt His touch or heard Him speak to our hearts, our lives would be forever changed. Like the Israelites, we would have more stories to tell our children and our appreciation of what God does, how He moves and how He loves would grow deeper and stronger each and every day.
So the next time God speaks to you, moves in your life or blesses you, grab hold of some physical "memorial" of the day. Use something solid, something you can touch, to remind you of the goodness, the might, the power and the love of our Creator.
How Often Do You Lead Devotions
© 2014 Lynne Modranski