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June 30, 2003

All Mixed-Up

2 Kings 17:41
So these nations feared the Lord, yet served their carved images; also their children and their children’s children have continued doing as their fathers did, even to this day.

I was talking with my father-in-law last night about the challenges in planting a church in Irvine. He's been a part of the process as a member of our church and knows the ups and downs. We agreed that is is a difficult thing to fight the culture, especially in an area that is so affluent. I do know that there are man people in our community who passionately and uncompromisingly follow Jesus. But I also know that many people who consider temselves to be Christians have become a little mixed up as they have mixed into thier beliefs other things that they worship.

In this passage, the nation of Israel has been divided into 2 kingdoms for more generations that they were united. The northern kingdom, Israel, had been conquored by vairuous surrounding nations which with each invation came a different form of religion and a different set of gods to worship. At this time there was a resurgence of worship to thier God as the priests of Israel called them to return. Vs.33 describes the situation well - "They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods—according to the rituals of the nations from among whom they were carried away." It's like they knew enough to want to do what is right but were unable to detatch themselves from the lifestyle that they had grown accostomed to.

What rituals of my "carried-away culture" have I allowed to get mixed into my life as a follower of Jesus? I know that the amount of television I watch is a major contributing factor. How many times do I need to watch SportsCenter? Do I really need to know what were the top 100 one-hit wonders? Has HGTV become some wierd kind of suburban pornography, as I lust for new landscaping or a new remodeling project somewhere in my house? The worship of "keeping up with the Jones'" is a point of mixture. The desire for new cars and bigger houses, while not a totally carnal one, does breed dissatisfaction in my life. Authentic worship of the true God should be producing satisfaction with Him and dissatisfaction with the things of this life. It's easy to let it become the other way around.

The cost of living iin this duality s huge. In the passage today, it says that this kind of mixed-up heart went on for generations, even continuing to this day. I dont want my children to live in confusion - fearing God, but worshipping man-made ones. This is a reminder to keep my own heart pure, and my devotion solely directed.

February 17, 2011

New Routine

Leviticus 18:2-3 (NKJV)
According to the doings of the land of Egypt, where you dwelt, you shall not do; and according to the doings of the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you, you shall not do; nor shall you walk in their ordinances. 4 You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God.

OBSERVATION
Leviticus lays out all of the rules and regulations for navigation life as Jew - clean and unclean, relationships, sacrifices, etc. These rules defined a people who other than for maybe a style of dress wouldn't be identified as unique for the other peoples of the region. It describes the way that the Lord wanted them to live because as He said, "I am the LORD your God."

APPLICATION
There are so many things I do everyday that I dont even really think about. My routine of getting up, reading the word, having a cup of coffee, watching the morning news as the family starts moving, heading to the gym, coming home and having a 2 egg omlette...everyday stuff. I remember when my breakfast was a bagel. But since I wanted to lose weight I needed to cut some carbs and add protein. So I changed my routine, but only because I had a reason to.

All these regulations presented in Leviticus required a change in routine, and change in lifestyle. I would have been so easy to "love God" and still live with the old routine. But often we don't know why we have the routine we have. It's default living. And as long as Egypt lives in me, I won't make the Lord mine. If I get swayed by the way they do it here in Canaan, I placed myself outside of His covering.

I find that I add the Lord to my regular routine other than changing it. There's the tendency to modify my life's patterns, conforming in little ways as I'm influenced by what I see going on around me and not making intentional choices about why I am or not doing a particular thing because I don't hold it against the Lord's judgments or ordinances. Just because "we've always done it this way" isn't reason enough to hold on to what the Lord requires me to do differently. Nor is the excuse that "everyone else is doing it" reason enough to compromise the standards that God has established for me. This seems like BasicLife101. But I think it's more subtle than that. The Lord's requirements for living are often "other than" what has been my old routine. There's another way to do life. I need to pay attention, not living as an Egyptian or a Canaanite, but as God's.

PRAYER
Lord, continue to point out to me where I still carry habits and routines that are other than the ordinances and directives you've laid out of me. Let my life's choice and habits be a witness, if only even to myself, that I belong to You.

March 2, 2011

All I Can Do

Mark 14:6-8 (NKJV)
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could.

OBSERVATION
This is the story of the woman with the alabaster flask of perfumed oil who anointed Jesus.

APPLICATION
"She has done a good work for Me...She has done what she could." Amidst all the call to social justice, Jesus is before us. There are "good works," "mitzvahs," that God even "prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10) that we should be doing. But there is a good work for me to do: to come and worship Jesus.

I was so convicted this morning reading what Jesus said about this woman: "She did what she could." The implication I get is that this woman considered every option, considered every offering, and determined her best to bring to the Lord. I don't what to be known as a man who gives what is convenient, or easy. Whether it is 5 loaves and 2 fish like the little boy, or the expensive perfume that made up this woman's net worth, I want to to give all that I can in worship to the Lord. The ultimate good work is to acknowledge God's worth. The only way to do that is to give all that I can to Him.

PRAYER
Lord, you are all. There is no gift, no action, no response that can ever measure, that would ever qualify. But that's not what you require. So I will give what I am able - not the minimum, but the maximum. All that I can I give to you.

About Devotion

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in the Devotion category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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