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Monday, March 26, 2012

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Saturday, March 24, 2012


HOLINESS DAY BY DAY

Acknowledging Unworthiness

Today's Scripture: Luke 7:6
"I am not worthy to have you come under my roof."


I was talking one day with a man whose mother, a faithful servant of God for more than forty years, was dying of painful cancer. He said, "after all she's done for God, this is the thanks she gets." Such a statement sounds irreverent, but the man didn't intend it to be that way. He simply thought God owed his mother a better life. He only verbalized what many people feel.

There are other occasions when we remind God of the sacrifices we've made to serve him and expect an answer to prayer in return. With such an attitude we may grumble about blessings not received instead of being grateful for those we have received.

We need to adopt the attitude of the Roman centurion described in Luke 7. This man sent some Jewish elders to Jesus asking him to come and heal his sick servant. The elders pleaded with Jesus: "he is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue" (verses 4-5).

The centurion surely was a remarkable man. But his attitude about himself is even more remarkable than his deeds. Instead of thinking of what he should receive because of what he deserved, he freely confessed he didn't deserve anything. He sent word to Jesus: "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you" (verses 6-7). Because of this attitude, the centurion not only experienced the joy of having his request granted but also the added joy of knowing he had received what he didn't deserve. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)


The text for this devotional comes from the award-winning NavPress devotional book Holiness Day by Day by Jerry Bridges. For more information or to order a copy, visit the NavPress website.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

10 Ways the Bible Feeds My Prayer Life - NavPress

"I think I have taken it for granted that everyone who is excited about prayer is also excited about Scripture. But several conversations I’ve had recently have caused me to start questioning that assumption. So, by way of encouragement—or perhaps challenge—I want to share with you some reasons why as a pray-er, I can’t live without spending time in God’s written Word."


1. It helps me get to know and love the God I’m praying to. Which helps me to understand what He’s like—what brings Him joy, what grieves His heart, what He longs for, what He likes doing, how He feels about me, about my friends, about my enemies—it reveals what kind of Person He is. Which is not just making requests at a celestial service desk—it’s relating with a real Person who has feelings, opinions, and a definite personality.
2. It shows me what kinds of things God has already done—as well as the things He has opposed. It teaches me about what kinds of prayers He loves to answer, and which ones He doesn’t. It helps me see His purposes in history—which helps me to better align with what He is doing now.
3. It helps me to pray beyond my personal scope and small perspective on the world. I see how big God is. And as I become better acquainted with the things that concern Him, I pray larger, broader prayers.
4. It gives me faith-building promises that give me confidence as I pray.
5. It provides a way for God to initiate conversation with me. Instead of prayer always starting with me talking to Him, I can let Him talk to me through His Word and respond to Him. In this way He gets a chance to talk about what He wants to talk about for a change.
6. It teaches me what God’s voice sounds like and the kinds of things He says so that when He speaks to me, I can be assured that it’s really Him.
7. It introduces me to prayer mentors from whom I can learn how to go deeper with God in prayer.
8. It gives me words for prayer—words to express praise, adoration, wonder, thanksgiving—as well as words (and permission!) to cry for help, complain and groan, lament, or express my contrition.
9. It inspires me to persevere in prayer, grow in faith, live honestly before God, and love others—because in His Word I learn that God especially honors the prayers of those who seek to live in these ways.
10.It shows me the possibilities for relationship with God. When I look at how Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul, and others related to God and enjoyed Him, I am inspired also to go after a similar degree of intimacy, companionship, mutual trust, and meaningful partnership with God. His Word lets me know that He wants to have that kind of closeness with me, too—and teaches me how to cultivate that relationship.
How does the Bible help you in prayer? Or, perhaps you struggle to get into the Word. I’d like to hear about that, too. Let’s keep learning from each other.

Friday, January 27, 2012

. . . the mature . . . have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. - Heb 5:14

"The relationship between conduct and character is an intimate one. In the form of repeated actions over time, conduct produces character. That's the teaching of 2 Peter 2:14 and Romans 6:19. But it's also true that character determines actions. What we do, we become; what we are, we do.
Conduct is always feeding character, but character is also always feeding conduct. Paul's experience while shipwrecked on the island of Malta furnishes a good example of this relationship. The islanders built the refugees a fire because of the rain and cold. Luke related in Acts 28 that Paul gathered a pile of brushwood, and, as he put it on the fire, a snake came out of the brushwood and fastened itself on Paul's hand. Under the adverse circumstances of shipwreck, why would Paul have gone about gathering fuel for a fire built and tended by someone else? Why not just stand by the fire and warm himself? Because it was his character to serve (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9). He'd learned well the lesson Jesus taught when He washed His disciples' feet. Because it was Paul's character to serve, he gathered the brushwood instinctively.
Because conduct determines character, and character determines conduct, it's vitally important— extremely necessary—that we practice godliness every day. That's why Peter said, "Make every effort to supplement your faith with ... godliness" (2 Peter 1:5-6). There can be no letup in our pursuit of godly character. Every day that we're not practicing godliness we're being conformed to the world of ungodliness around us. Granted, our practice of godliness is imperfect and falls far short of the biblical standard. Nevertheless, let us press on to know Christ and to be like Him."
-- Jerry Bridges