Whole-hearted Devotion

In the wilderness, the pillar of fire kept the Israelites warm in cold desert evenings, and the cloud gave them shade under the hot desert sun. They clearly saw God’s will when He moved the fire at night and the cloud by day to direct them (Numbers 9:20).

Yet, I think that we actually have more of an advantage of walking in God’s will than they did, because we have God’s Holy Spirit residing within us every second of every day.

Even in times of trouble and uncertainty, God is happy to generously give us His wisdom (James 1:5). He searches our heart and discerns our every desire, thought and motive (Jeremiah 17:10).

When we serve God with wholehearted devotion, a submissive will and an obedient mind, He tells us whether to turn to the right or the left to find His will for each moment of our day (1 Chronicles 28:9; Isaiah 30:21).

When our delight is in the Lord, He actually puts His desires in our heart (Nehemiah 7:5; Psalm 37:4). As we commit our thoughts, choices and feelings to the Lord, He leads us in His will for our day (Proverbs 16:3).

Some people enjoy physical abundance with more money and possessions than they know what to do with; however, they have a life filled with greed, strife and disappointment (Proverbs 15:16).

Even when we have few material possessions or advantages, we have an abundance, because it is covered with God’s love (Proverbs 16:8). Our ways are peaceful and full of God’s favor as we serve Him with wholehearted devotion (Proverbs 3:17).

Prayer:
Father God, You love us so much, that when we ask, we receive; when we seek, we find; when we knock, You open doors for us to walk in the center of Your will (Matthew 7:8). As we always look to You and seek Your face, we find our delight in Your presence within us (Job 22:26, 27:10; Proverbs 3:5-6).

When our thoughts, words and behavior please You, even our enemies live in peace with us, and You grant us our heart’s desires without withholding any of our requests (Proverbs 16:17; Psalm 21:2).

A baby bird sits in the nest, trusting its parents to fill its gaping mouth. As we have a similar trust in You and we open our mouth wide, as our Heavenly Parent, You always fill it (Psalm 81:10).

Thought for the Day:
Our life is not our own, and it is not up to us to make decisions and to plan our activities for our day; instead, we pray and God communicates to us where to go and what to do.           – Jeremiah 10:23, 42:3

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Consulting the Lord

Joshua took over the leadership of Israel from Moses. He followed in Moses’ footsteps and sought God’s direction for each decision he made and every action he took. He had no confidence in his own ability and He generally relied on God’s counsel. God promised to give Joshua every part of the land where he set his feet. God also declared that no army would stand against him (Joshua 1:3,5).

Therefore, with a few successful battles to his credit, Joshua’s fame traveled throughout Canaan (Joshua 6:27). This caused his heart to swell with pride, and He got overly confident. He started believing the praise awarded to him, rather than giving credit to the Lord. The unconventional warfare God told Joshua to use at Jericho (Joshua 6:20) puffed up his confidence. Therefore, at the next battle, in the tiny town of Ai, Joshua did not bother to consult the Lord.

He relied on his own wisdom instead. He sent up an army of about three thousand men, expecting to hear of their anticipated victory. However, God taught Joshua a lesson through this and allowed the few men of Ai to defeat Joshua’s army (Joshua 7:3-4). God humbled Joshua, and he ended up embarrassed and dejected. It happened again when the Gibeonite ambassadors tricked Joshua by their deceptive words (Joshua 9:14-22).

Joshua foolishly believed he could handle these decisions without the Lord’s direction. We do this too. We forget to pray and to seek God’s counsel when salesmen pressure us, friends and family manipulate us and those in authority over us demand things from us. True success in life only comes when we seek advice from the Lord before making a decision, and follow His advice even if it is not popular or seems not to make sense. Hindsight always proves God right.

Prayer:
Father God, as Your children, we will need to make some important decisions throughout our lifetime. We have the choice of following a humanistic plan of action or of seeking Your divine direction. Remind us to trust in You with all of our heart and not to lean on our own understanding. Help us not to be wise in our own eyes, but to consult You (Proverbs 3:5-7). That way we will not be anxious about anything, but we will pray about everything and present our requests to You (Philippians 4:6). When we lack wisdom, we can ask You, because You give it generously to all without finding fault (James 1:5).

Thought for the Day:
Consult the Lord in whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
– Proverbs 16:3

Trials are not Punitive

Some people think that if someone is going through a prolonged illness, time out of work, heart-wrenching grief or a trial of some sort, that God is trying to teach them something; and that once they learn it, they will be freed from the trial. Those in the trial beat themselves up by thinking they need to pray more, read their Bible more or make some attempt to appease God’s wrath.

This causes people to doubt their connection to the Lord and gives them hours of unrest and soul searching. Trials are not only times of correction and repentance, but also of renewal and sweet fellowship with our Father God. God is jealous and enjoys having us all to Himself. We find our self lost in the presence of God. We surrender all control to Him.

During times of trial, we have an abundance of time to spend with God. When we think back on those days of horrid illness, stress or persecution, we smile; not because we are masochists and love pain, but because our normal schedule is totally interrupted and we have free time. We are isolated from the world and able to spend that sweet time of oneness with the Lord.

Often, the Lord will give us a “holiday” through a trial, during which we can spend focused time worshipping the Beloved of our soul. During trials, do not trust in your own efforts or expect generosity from family, church and friends. Instead, wait with your whole soul – your mind, will and emotions – and put complete hope in the Lord and His Word.

Prayer:
Father God, You hear our voice in the morning, as we lay our requests before you and wait expectantly on You (Psalm 5:3). You love to spend all of Your time with each one of us. The next time we are without work, isolated by sickness or find our self alone through the death of a loved one or the devastation of divorce, we will take this time to spend entirely with You. When we do, we always find our self irrevocably changed in spirit, soul and body.

Thought for the Day:
We walk in the ways of the Lord and wait for Him, because His name and fame are the desires of our heart. – Isaiah 26:8

Unified Prayer

Praying together for a common cause evokes spiritual power, which puts thousands to flight (Deuteronomy 32:30). We do not have to band together in one room at any certain time, but if we will all commit to pray without ceasing as the Spirit leads us, we will see God move in a mighty way (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). It pleases God to allow His Spirit to move within and through His Saints.

God teaches our soul to pray for the persecution, nominal faith and lack of spiritual power of the church worldwide. He burdens our soul for the situation in world governments. He grieves our soul with sorrow over the condition of the poor and needy (Mark 14:7). When we pray a unified prayer, directed by God’s Holy Spirit, Jesus prays right along with us and God grants our requests (Matthew 18:20).

Knowing the mind of the Spirit and searching our heart, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us (Romans 8:27, 34). The steadfast love of our Almighty God never ceases (Lamentations 3:22). He waits upon us to make our requests known to Him in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7). He grants us anything we need by His glorious heavenly riches, as long as it is according to His will (Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:19).

Prayer:
Father God, Your mercies are new every single morning. Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). We know that You listen to the cries of the destitute and You will not ignore our needs (Psalm 102:17). Remind us to pray with a discerning mind and a grateful heart (Colossians 4:2). We know that there are certain spiritual strongholds of darkness that we will not be delivered from except through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). Teach us how to pray, unified by Your Spirit (Matthew 6:9-13).

Thought for the Day:
The early church constantly joined together in unified prayer.
– Acts 1:14