Tag Archives: daily devotions

How to Know God’s Will

daly mna        

          The Old Testament is full of amazing stories that are types and shadows of our Christian life and the problems we encounter in that life. Understanding the significance of these events and what they point to in our lives today will give us the tools we need to navigate our life of faith in Christ.

          Let me throw a few thoughts out there that will help you understand some of the basics of interpreting the Bible.

  1. Many of the writings of the New Testament assume a pre-existing knowledge of the Old Testament.
  2. The Old Testament was written to spiritually dead people who had no revelation of the devil. Therefore, anything that happened, good, or bad, they thought God did it.
  3. The Old Testament Law was never meant to be kept. It was given to man to be broken so that man could see the futility of His own righteousness and expose his need for a Savior. This is why no man, except Jesus, was ever able to keep the Law. It is referred to in the New testament as “the Law of Sin and Death” (Romans 8:2) 

          Understanding these three facts will help you understand the writings of the New Testament and protect you from wrong theology.

          For this teaching we will focus on Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt and their journey to the Promised Land. This entire story is a type of our deliverance from the bondage of slavery to sin, and the Christian life of pursuing the New Testament promises of the Kingdom of God and our eternal reward. We are going to focus on one small part of their story which, I believe was a huge contributing factor as to why they didn’t enter the promised land. It is the story of the manna that fell from heaven.

          The children of Israel walking around in the desert for 40 years is a type of the modern day Church. It is a picture of us walking around in this broken, corrupt, and fallen world.

          While in the wilderness, God rained down manna from heaven to sustain them every day, for FOURTY years. They were required to go out daily and gather this manna that fell in the form of little pieces the size of coriander seeds. Through all the drama, through all the amazing events that happened on their journey, this was the one constant that they had to do to survive. How they dealt with this supernatural provision gives us a clue into our own spiritual lives and the importance of daily spiritual food to sustain us in our Christian walk.

Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.

          God gave Israel specific instructions on how to handle this manna. This was a way for God to test His peoples faith. You could only gather as much as you could eat in one day. Any more and it would rot and produce worms. It was useless.

Exodus 16:4  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.

          God provided food to sustain their physical needs and to test them. This is a type of what He has designed for us spiritually. For us to live a successful Christian life, we need daily exposure to, and intake of The Word! Jesus Christ is the Word of Life, The Bread of Life!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

          We need this spiritual sustenance to develop and fulfill what God has purposed for us. We need it to grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. If we do not pursue relationship with Him daily through His word, fellowship through prayer, worship, etc. we become spiritually starved and try to satisfy our starving spirits with the inferior substitutes that this fallen world has to offer. Without this daily manna, we become dry clumps of clay, difficult for the potter to mold and shape into His likeness. We hinder the work of grace and quench the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

We don’t forget to give our bodies three square meals a day, so why are we feeding our spirits only one or two small snacks a week? Our spiritual health depends on a daily  diet of spiritual sustenance.

          It takes natural food to fuel your physical body. If you maintain a diet of healthy food in the right proportions, you will be physically strong, and able to move around, working and accomplishing what is needed in the life. If you only eat once or twice a week, or only eat junk food with not much nutritional value, you will begin to decline physically, become weak and be susceptible to sickness and disease.

          It also takes spiritual food to fuel your spiritual body. You need DAILY spiritual manna to insure you are strong spiritually. If neglect to feed your spirit you will become weak and susceptible to deception, confused about what God’s will is for you. discouraged and a prime target for the enemies attacks. Another mistake is to always read books about the Bible or listen to sermons about the Bible instead of reading the Bible for yourself. This can be like eating fast food in the natural. it is not healthy to live on that alone. Understand that these are just supplements to the real thing and they lack the pure spiritual nutrients to make you develop properly. You need to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you personally. There is NOTHING that can take the place of you own personal revelation of God’s word.

          If you are struggling to find God’s will, the best place to start is to fill your spirit with His written will, the Bible. I remember a certain minister telling me a story about asking God to speak to Him. He saw other Christians having these great experiences of God speaking to them personally and giving them direction concerning His will for their life. He was seeking God’s will about some big life decisions and just couldn’t get clear on what God’s will was. So set apart some time to pray about by himself. He said he fell across his bed and wailed and cried for about 45  minutes for God to speak to him about these things he was confused about. He finally ran out of steam and became quiet and the Lord DID speak to him! The lord said, “You don’t know what I have already said to you. I have said many things to you already in MY WORD. Find out what I have already said and if I need to say something else, I will.”

          That should be a revelation to a lot of folks. Open the Bible and find out What God has already said to you. God has a lot to say and he has written it down for us so we can read it and re-read it at our convenience. There is no excuse for us being ignorant of His will for us.

          Many places in the Bible we are shown the importance of daily keeping His Word before us. Here are just a few.

Joshua 1:8  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

2 Timothy3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Proverbs 4:20-23 My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; 22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.

John 15:7  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 

          We must understand that the Bible is God talking to us. We can’t take that for granted! If we really believe in God, the creator of the universe, the one who actually made us, and He has some things to say, shouldn’t we put forth the effort to find out what He said?

          His words are Spirit and they are Life. They are needed daily for our spiritual health and development. The Lord feeding the children of Israel with manna is a type of what we should be walking in today. We must put forth DAILY effort to ensure our spiritual health and growth. 

          I have encountered many people over the years asking the same question, “why doesn’t God speak to me?” The answer is obvious to those who are a student of the Bible. God has already said many things in His word. Find out what He has already said and He will surely begin to speak to you further. God wants relationship with you. He is serious about it. When you begin to take it serious a whole new world of light and revelation begins.

           God’s word is His will. If you are not sure what the will of God is for your life, you will find it by a daily pursuit of Him through reading and studying the Bible, worshipping from your heart when no one is looking, and giving yourself to having a hearing and receptive heart. This is what being a true disciple looks like. God’s word prepares your heart to receive His life and nature. It gives you direction and illuminates His will and plan for your life.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feetAnd a light to my path.

          God’s word is a treasure of riches just waiting to be discovered. I love how Job says it:

Job 23:12  I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.

          Look at the language, “… treasured the words of His mouth…”  Every day should be a new treasure hunt. The value that you place on God’s Word is evident by the time you are willing to spend on it. The value that you place on your relationship with Him is evident by how much you invest yourself in the relationship. The greatest investments you can make in this life are the attention that you give to His Word and your relationship with Him.

          When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, a part of that prayer was “give us this day our daily bread.” Have you asked for your bread today? Have you found your treasure today? …Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find. (Matthew7:7-8)

          A great way to read the Bible, get daily devotionals, and study the word of God is BibleGateway.com  This online resource makes it convenient and fun to explore God’s word in any translation you prefer. All Bible links to this site are from BibleGateway and I use it on virtually every blog post on this site. There is a wealth of study tools dictionaries, and commentary that will feed you spiritually and encourage you in your walk with God. BibleGateway also has a convenient phone app and a Scripture Engagement section that is a fun, interactive approach to learning the Bible.

JC

Loving God, What Does That Look Like?

lov3        

When was the last time you came to God  just love on Him and be close to Him?

          I have three sons of varying ages who are completely different from one another in their personalities, likes, and interests. Each one is unique and I thank God that, He made them that way. I love each one equally and show no partiality to any one of them. They all know that I love them and I know that they love me. This is an understood fact and we all express that love to each other all the time. We live with an awareness of that love and we are conscious of the fact that the love we have will never change. There comes a time though, as they walk through their day-to-day life that the knowledge of that love is not enough.  They need to experience it.

          They need one on one, face-to-face interaction. They need a loving touch, they need to share thoughts and emotions and spend intimate personal time with me. They need to know that they are special to me and that my love is for them is real. There is a wonderful exchange that takes place in these times. I become sensitive to their needs and desires and reaffirm my love for them. It solidifies our bond and their faith in me as a loving father. It enriches and strengthens the relationship that we have.

          Each of my children likes to experience this love in different ways. As they age and their interest changes, our time together begins to look different also. My 13-year-old likes to go to the gun range and I teach him about shooting techniques, safety and responsibility, preparing him for manhood and the challenges that are ahead of him.

          My 10-year-old likes swimming, nature  and art. We enjoy each others company and I see the joy in his face when we are alone together. I encourage him to develop his gifts and artistic talents. My youngest, the 6-year-old, likes to crawl up in my lap and play silly little games. These games may seem insignificant to some, yet to this child it is one of the most important parts of his day and if we miss that time together he tells me about it. This time together is very important to him … It is also very important to me.

 lov2         As believers we need this intimate time with our Father, God. It is not enough to walk through life just knowing about the Love of God, we must experience it. The most important relationship that we have is with our creator. If we invest in this relationship, it pays dividends in all other relationships, making them richer and stronger.

          These times I described with my kids are all very important to me. Your personal time with God is very important to Him too. Is it important to you? As you grow as a Christian these intimate times with God will change and evolve to match your level of maturity and the life lessons that God knows are important to you at the time. No matter where you are in your walk with God, always approach Him as a child. Don’t take for granted that the most amazing thing available to you through Jesus sacrifice is your ability to stand before God like a child with no guilt, condemnation, or shame. Jesus made fellowship and intimacy available through His shed blood. His sacrifice was made so Father – Son relationship could be restored.

Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.

         lov5 I think we tend to get in rut with our “devotional” time and make it mechanical and impersonal. We come to God with a list of prayer needs and a plan to study, or read a certain amount of scripture and we never connect with Him personally. We go through the motions with a legalistic, works mentality, believing that its the right thing to do in order to be a “good Christian.” The truth is, very little fruit comes from actions like these. This is not relationship, and it does not promote growth and change, instead it perpetuates a legalistic mentality which quenches the grace of God and hinders the transforming work of the Holy Spirit.