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Devotion

March 31, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s such a powerful word, isn’t it? Devotion. It conjures up images of commitment, faithfulness, love and sacrifice. I’ve been growing in my understanding lately, that devotion is the heart of the Gospel. First, in that God is devoted to us, and second, that God calls us to be devoted to Him.

Consider the following passage with me:

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Rom. 5:6-11)

Note the various adjectives that are used to describe us in the above passage: weak, ungodly, sinners, enemies. These adjectives all describe our relationship to God before we came to Christ. There’s almost a progression here, a crescendo of sorts (or better, a decrescendo), where we start out as merely weak in relation to God, but end up His enemies! Colossians 1:21 puts it this way: “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds.” Again, Ephesians 2 gives another laundry list of our hostility toward God: dead in trespasses and sins; following the course of this world; following the prince of the power of the air; by nature children of wrath; separated from Christ; alienated; strangers; having no hope; without God.

Ugly stuff! Note, however, in our verse, the vocabulary of our new relationship with God: justified by his blood, saved from the wrath of God, reconciled by his death, saved by his life. I think the key word in the above passage (since it is used three times) is ‘reconciled.’ Another powerful word! Though we were once estranged from God because of our wickedness, yet now in Jesus Christ that breach has been healed, relationship has been restored. That was God’s devotion to us even while we were His enemies!! God saw the wickedness of mankind, and He still chose us over His own Son! He was pleased, the Scripture says, to crush His Son – not because God is sadistic, but because He knew the breaking of His Son meant the healing of the world. Hallelujah!

Our response to all this? Just as the above verse says, “We also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As if that wasn’t enough, God’s devotion to us is greater still! For though the ministry of Jesus Christ has won for us the supreme blessing of restored relationship with God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, whom Christ left for us, keeps us secure in that new found relationship! Consider the following passages:


And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans… (John 14:16-18)

But the fruit of the Spirit [that is, the inevitable results of a life yielded to the Spirit’s control, cf. v16] is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Eph. 1:13-14)

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)

God could have easily stopped after the work of reconciliation which He completed in Christ, and the world would have been all the better for it. But God wasn’t satisfied with even so great a gift as reconciliation. God insisted that He must take up residence within “temples not made with hands,” and that He by the inward compulsion of the Spirit would guide His people, even as He did by the outward sign of the pillar of smoke and fire in the OT.

God’s devotion toward us is so great that He was willing to sacrifice what was dearest to Him in order to have us, and then esteemed us worthy habitations for His divine presence through the Holy Spirit. That Spirit guides and leads, convicts and encourages, transforms and sanctifies, not to mention the many ways in which God chooses to operate through us to transform the world. Yes, God is DEVOTED to you! He is committed, faithful, loving and sacrificial. There is no length to which God won’t go – rather, there is no length to which He has not already gone – to have you and keep you. Can you see how He loves you?

My earnest prayer is that both you and I would be so overwhelmed by God’s total devotion to us, that we would find in ourselves no other proper response than to return that devotion to God in complete surrender to Him.

Next time we will observe what human devotion to God looks like.

Categories: Bible

My Prayer Closet

March 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve recently renewed my commitment to prayer. It’s been a long time coming. I’m sure I’m not alone in this, but it feels like when my life gets hectic, prayer is the first thing to go out the window. Well, my life has been hectic lately, but I’ve made the decision to give my mornings to Him.

I’ve found that this has produced a strange side-effect. My “prayer closet” now feels like a holy place. Now, I live by myself in a one-bedroom apartment, so the whole thing is a closet (in more than one sense). But I have chosen this specific spot in my bedroom to pray, and I’ve noticed that whenever I pass by it, I get this calm sense of the presence of God, and find myself quite unconsciously uttering a few praises to God under my breath.

I think there should be more holy places in our lives – places where we meet with God, or that remind us of times we met with God. I want to encourage you all, if you have not committed to daily prayer, to do so. Create a holy spot in your house, or somewhere, anywhere, where you can go to be alone with God.

Categories: Life Tags: , , , ,

Weight Loss Adventure (Round 2)

March 24, 2010 Leave a comment

So about a year and a half ago, I tried to lose some weight by following the South Beach Diet. It was effective. I lost roughly 30 lbs. Then – I gained pretty much all of it back. So I’m trying again.

I started (or rather tried to start) Phase One last week, which turned out to be a bad week to try and start a diet. A St. Patty’s Day potluck at work, then a dinner that night at my mom’s, another special dinner on Friday at my sister’s, then a Funeral and a Wedding on Saturday, at both which I was fed. One thing the SB Diet requires is that you make your own food so that you have complete control over what you put into your body. Though last week wasn’t a great week to start, I did my best, then I really kicked it into gear this week. So far so good.

So here’s the info. My starting weight was somewhere in between 230-235 lbs (let’s assume 230 for the sake of the math). My goal weight is around 185 (a difference of 45lbs). This morning I weighed in a 223.3 – that’s 6.7 lbs! Off to a good start. I’ll keep you posted.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Categories: Uncategorized