Sunday Devotional - Stay Devoted

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 
(Romans 8:37)

You are already a winner. Even before the battle has begun, God has called how the ending is going to turn out. Our lives are a constant war between what we know we should do and what our flesh wants to do. We battle between what will feel good now, and what is the right thing for later.

For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
(1 Timothy 4:10)

If we trust the living God, and believe what He says, then we know our labor is not in vain. We can have faith in the fact He has seen the end and has faith in us. When we rely upon God we can be conquerors with Him. But first we have to make up our minds and believe in Him. If we fix our minds on the main goal, and not waver back and forth, we will show true determination and devotion.

It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, 
And afterward to reconsider his vows.
(Psalm 20:25)

Once we set our minds on our goal, let it stay set. Devotion is about making up our minds. It's about not changing later and not reconsidering our rash decisions. Once we know we're called to be holy and determine to renew our minds by taking on the mind of Christ, must stay the course and remember that our win has already been decided--if we don't waver.

Whatever it is we're struggling with today, we must remember that this battle with the flesh is only temporary. To win it, we have to determine to turn to God and rely upon His strength every time we waver. If we start to reconsider if the boundaries we've set for ourselves are a good idea, let us take this question to God, and really pray on it. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. He doesn't wish for us to set unnecessary burdens upon ourselves, but He also wants us to keep making the decisions which bring us closer to Him and the victory He has in store for us.

Sunday Devotional ~ It's Okay to ask God to Hurry

And let us not grow weary while doing good, 
for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.  
(Galatians 6:9)

God has His own timing, called "due season." In this day and age, we're always in a hurry, but God never is. However there's a major benefit in asking God to hurry, even while we wait. Asking God to hurry keeps our prayers honest. 

It may seem like it takes greater faith to say, "God, take your time," but the psalmists often asked God to hurry:

But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! 
You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.
(Psalm 70:5)

Be pleased, O Lᴏʀᴅ, to deliver me! O Lᴏʀᴅ, make haste to help me! 
(Psalm 40:13)

O Lᴏʀᴅ, I call upon you; hasten to me! Give ear to my voice when I call to you! 
(Psalm 141:1)

God wants our prayers to be fervent. Fervent means passionate, heartfelt, and honest. He doesn't want us to pretend to not be in a hurry when we are. Asking God to hurry means that we understand who is in control of all timing. He is. It gets our minds straight so we expect God to answer, know He's going to answer, and ask Him to please not delay.

If we're honest in our prayers, we'll feel the longing in our hearts and we'll be stirred to pray even more persistently. When we believe God will answer quickly if we ask Him to, He will honor it.

 I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. 
(Luke 11:8)

Asking God to hurry makes our prayers persistent, expectant, fervent, and honest. This is exactly the kind of prayer God tells us He wants from us. If you've been waiting a long time for something, maybe it's time to start asking God to hurry?

Love in Bloom Giveaway

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Sunday Devotional: Complaining Under Pressure

And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. (Hebrews 12:5-8)

God has big plans for us. But to fulfill those plans, we have to lean into the correction He gives us. His plans are for our success and for us to become a better, greater, bigger person than we are now. But if we don't understand that His correction is for our best interest, we might grow to despise it.

Oh Lord, why can't we be like everyone else?

Is that what we really want? Often when we are in the midst of our change, we groan, complain, and wish we were like everyone else. But do we really? If we've known the love and forgiveness God provides, we don't want to live without it. But this love and forgiveness also comes with correction. We are not undisciplined children. Instead, God wants us to grow up to proper adulthood, and not be wild.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
(1 Peter 5: 10)

As we grow, there are growing pains. But they are always temporary, for our benefit, and to make us stronger in Christ. So let us not be weak in our weariness and complain how we want to be like other people. Instead, let us determine to endure and remember there's a purpose in our pain.

Sunday Devotional: Waiting Instead of Chasing

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:32-33)

Are you tired?

Have you been chasing your dream, your want, your need so hard and for so long, that you can hardly remember not chasing it?

God wants us to wait for Him to give us what we need. If we're striving too hard to grasp for what we want or know we should have, we'll often make it our first focus. Instead of seeking God's kingdom first, we are working hard at getting what it is that we think we want. But God wants to provide for our every need, and He wants us to stop chasing after it for ourselves.

Trying harder doesn't work.

Worrying more doesn't work.

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 
(Phil 4:12-13)

When we are striving and trying harder, we are not content. Instead we are working too hard on our own for things we believe will make our life better. But God wants us to rely upon Him in every situation and to be content. The only way that this can happen is when we realize that we can only achieve our dream by leaning on God and waiting for Him to act. Seeking His kingdom--seeking Him--is what we are called to do.

Whatever you are trying to succeed at today, my prayer is that you will remind yourself to wait upon God and ask Him for the strength that you need to be content while you wait.