Monday, December 17, 2012

Mourning Devotions

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for the water brooks,
         So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
         When shall I come and appear before God?

My tears have been my food day and night,
         While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
         For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
         With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
         And why have you become disturbed within me?
         Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him
         For the help of His presence.

O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
         Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
         And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
         All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.

The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
         And His song will be with me in the night,
         A prayer to the God of my life.

I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
         Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”

As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
         While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
         And why have you become disturbed within me?
         Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
         The help of my countenance and my God.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Morning Devotions

Philippians 3:7-11

But whatever things were gain to me, (from an earthly perspective - my good works, my family upbringing, my education, my accomplishments, my personal righteousness, my effort to please the Lord to earn salvation)

those things I have counted as loss of the sake of Christ.  (my righteousness was in the gain column, but now I have assessed them in light of the cross and placed them in the loss column - effort is in vain, my righteousnesses...worthless...even loss)

More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing (exceeding, greater than) value of knowing (intimate, relationship) Christ Jesus my Lord, (there is no greater treasure, no greater possession, no greater relationship than Jesus Christ, therefore all things are loss in comparison - anything that takes my attention away from Him is loss, anything that I pursue away from Him is valueless, anything that competes with my affections for Him is worthless)

for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, (my hope and faith cannot be in my works - I must reject the notion that goodness can save me and recognize that there is nothing good in me but Jesus - poor in spirit, mourning over sin rather than bringing my works as part of the payment - it is only then that I may gain Jesus)

not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, (my righteousness comes from believing that Jesus is Lord, that He exchanged identities with me, trusting that His work is sufficient to meet the wrath of His Father)

the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith (and this righteousness - my ability to believe - is not even from within me but a gift from God - His gift of faith - the ability to believe the Word of God and act on it)

that I may know Him (intimate, relationship)

and the power of His resurrection (there is no power in the Law - it cannot save me - there is no power in my good works - when I die, I die eternally - the only true power is in Jesus, revealed in His resurrection - power over physical and spiritual death - when I put aside my effort, focus my eyes on Jesus, I can see the power of His resurrection - it reveals His character, His authority and His promises)

and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; (Jesus died so that we might live - we are called to die to self for the cause of Christ - deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him for the purpose of furthering His kingdom - He willingly died to bring sinners to Himself - am I willing to identify with His suffering in order that others would come to know Him?)

in order that I might attain to the resurrection from the dead. (herein lies the eternal perspective - we have a goal, we have a prize - setting our eyes on Jesus, knowing that through His power we will also have the resurrection both physical and spiritual that is promised through the resurrection of Jesus Christ - the knowledge of this future event is motivation for me to walk by faith, share in His sufferings and conform to His death - this is the great hope of the church)