Devotional

It is a mistake to interpret prayer on the natural instead of on the spiritual line, to say that because prayer brings us peace and joy and makes us feel better, therefore it is a divine thing. This is the mere accident or effect of prayer; there is no real God-given revelation in it. This is the God-given revelation: that when we are born again of the Spirit of God and indwelt by the Holy Spirit, He intercedes for us with a tenderness and an understanding akin to the Lord Jesus Christ and akin to God; that is, He expresses the unutterable for us.

Prayer is not logical, it is a mysterious moral working of the Holy Spirit.

Reflection Questions: In what areas do I assume that my feelings about an issue are God’s feelings? What should I trust instead of my feelings?

Quotations taken from If You Will Ask and Christian Discipline, vol. 2, © Discovery House Publishers

From YouVersion

Your Money: Yours to Manage, Day 2

Today’s reading is drawn from Deuteronomy 8:10-18, 1 Chronicles 29:10-14, Matthew 25:14-30, Romans 14:12.

The financially confident woman knows that money is for managing first and spending second.

This isn’t just another reminder that “it’s all God’s money.” Of course, money does originate from God’s hand. However, practically speaking, he has put you in charge of a certain amount of it. In that sense, your money is your money to manage. And God expects you to use it well and not to abuse your responsibilities.

The Old Testament tells how the Israelites gave offerings to God out of the abundance he’d given them. Approximately two-thirds of Jesus’ parables are about money and financial management.

In one of Jesus’ parables in the New Testament, he likened spiritual faithfulness to being a responsible manager or steward of funds (see Matthew 25:14 ñ 30). In this story, only two of three managers graduated from God’s Business School with their MBAs. (The other flunked out.)

One of the prerequisite “courses” in this prestigious university underlines the principle that money is for managing first and spending second. The difference between the two is the difference between the financially foolish and financially confident woman.

The foolish woman imagines having her own money means fine living and gratifying her indulgences.

  • So she lives beyond her means.
  • She confuses desires with needs.
  • She loses sleep over unpaid debts.
  • She wonders where all the fun associated with having her own money has gone.

In contrast, the financially confident woman recognizes God as the source of her money.

  • She has a sound plan for the amount divinely allotted to her.
  • She knows she cannot afford to keep all her money, so she gives generously.
  • Out of what is left, she pays herself first, saving aggressively.
  • Then, she is free to spend her money within the boundaries she has established.
  • She knows the secret to enjoying life’s pleasures is not living on credit, paycheck to paycheck. Rather, she is in control of her money, not the other way around. The financially confident woman forgoes temptations to spend her money today, and by doing so she manages to be good to herself tomorrow.

When we graduate from God’s Business School, we will have our MBA in Biblical financial principles — rules to live by that honor us as intelligent women who are respected managers of God’s money.

Reflect

Would you describe yourself as a financially confident woman?

Bible Gateway

God’s Greatest Desire is That We Love Him and Love Those Around Us, Day 4

Today’s reading is drawn from Mark 12:18-34 and Deuteronomy 6:5.

While the rest of the world is focused on climbing the corporate ladder, God wants his children to focus on pleasing him. Our lives are measured by how we love God and others — not by how high we can climb.

The object of life, according to Jesus, is breathtakingly simple: Be rich toward God. Don’t spend your life [trying to climb the corporate ladder]. It’s a sucker’s game. You can’t beat the house. But you can be rich toward God. Your life—with God’s help—can be a source of pleasure to the God of the universe. You can make God smile. When the game is over, all that will matter will be God’s assessment of our lives. Venture capitalists and Hollywood stars and school janitors and Somalian tribesmen will stand in line before him on level ground.

Being rich toward God means growing a soul that is increasingly healthy and good.

Being rich toward God means loving and enjoying the people around you.

Being rich toward God means learning about your gifts and passions and doing good

work to help improve the world.

Being rich toward God means becoming generous with your stuff.

Being rich toward God means making that which is temporary become the servant of that which is eternal.

Being rich toward God means savoring every roll of the dice and every trip around the board.

Each of these dimensions of richness matters. But Jesus expressed [richness] in two great commandments, each built around a single word: Love. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, he said. Love your neighbor as yourself. Everything else is commentary. No one can do this and be poor in God’s eyes. No one can fail to do this and be rich in God’s eyes.

Being rich toward God begins with giving to God that which he desires most of all. And what he desires most from you is you—your heart and devotion.

>>BRING IT TO LIFE:

Do you give God the attention that he deserves? If you love him unconditionally, not only will you grow in giving him the adoration he deserves, but your affection for others will grow as well.

 

Bible Gateway

Devotional

It isn’t me, is it?

The great story, well known yet little known, bursts upon us
in a deeply disturbing scene: friends at the table discovering that one of them is to be a traitor. We often wonder what it was that made Judas do it. Perhaps we should also ask what it was that held the others back. They, like Judas, had misunderstood so much. They still didn’t realize what it was Jesus had to do. There is a worried humility about their question which we would do well to imitate as we approach the narrative of Jesus’ last moments, such a horribly public scene of torture and death and yet such an intimate portrait of him and those closest to him. To read this story casually, glancing through and reminding ourselves of its main outline, is to trivialize and so to misread it, like hearing a great piece of music played at ten times the proper speed. Read it with the question in mind, ‘Lord, it isn’t me, is it?’ and see what answer you get.

Because it is me — and you, and all of us. We are all here somewhere. We have all been loyal and yet disloyal. We have all wanted to do the right thing and then run away when the go- ing got tough. We have all colluded with injustice, stayed silent when we should have spoken out, and then perhaps blurted out some give-away remark when we should have shut up. And we have all stood by scenes of sorrow and tragedy, not knowing what to say or do but feeling that somehow, if only, we could or should have prevented it.

And, maybe, some or even many of us have, in time past, looked at Jesus and decided he was mad, crazy, a deluded fanatic. ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!’ Many have hurled insults at Jesus; the worst, perhaps, is to patronize him by saying what a fine moral teacher he was, as though he was simply trying to be another Socrates and unfortunately got mixed up in local Jewish politics and religion. ‘Lord, is it me?’ If it is, or has been, then stay with that memory for a bit. Find yourself in the story, wherever you are.

Only then, perhaps, can we ask the question in a different way. Because from the earliest days of the church’s life the followers of Jesus told this story for another reason. The story of Jesus became their story, in the sense that they believed they had died with Jesus; they had suffered with him, been crucified with him, been buried with him. Somehow — and this mystery lies at the very heart of authentic Christian experience — they believed, and knew it to be true because of the utter difference it made to life, that through baptism and faith they were living in Jesus, and he was living in them. ‘Lord — is it me? Is it me, facing misunderstanding and betrayal? Is it me, praying in agony, being arrested, tried and unjustly condemned, abandoned by my friends, mocked, beaten up, stripped and hung up to die in shame?’ As we read this story in faith, we should hear the answer, life-transforming as it is: ‘Yes, it is you. This is who you now are. You are not the person you once were. You are the person to whom all this has happened. This is how your life is now to be shaped and directed. You are in me, and I am in you. You have died; your life is hidden, with me, in the life of God himself.’

All this, of course, is straight out of St Paul (another much misunderstood man). When he speaks of being ‘in Christ’, this is basically what he means. Jesus, the Messiah, died on the cross; you are ‘in him’, part of his family; therefore you died with him, were nailed to the cross with him, were buried with him. This is who you now are.

Yes, there is more. Easter and all that follows gives a further dimension. But take one thing at a time. It is through Jesus’ crucifixion, Matthew insists, that he becomes what he was born to be: the saviour (1.21). And this is how he does it: by extending his arms on the cross, enfolding us in that God-with-us embrace, and bringing us with him through death into a whole new life.

TODAY
Thank you, loving Lord. Thank you.

From YouVersion