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You can consider this article as part II of my previous post, “Secure in the Everlasting Arms

God has already promised eternal security to those who have faith in Him and love Him. However, we must be willing to accept that security and let God have His way. Too often I find myself not going to God for security, and going to other things instead. I’m not regularly laying my life in God’s hands and telling Him “God, You know and do what’s best. Please have Your way in me. My security lies in Your hands and Yours alone.”

Some questions I ask myself include, “where does my security lie?” “Am I willing to lay everything I know on the altar?” “Will I forsake everything I have for the sake of Christ and take up my cross in following Him?” “If I lose everything, will I still say, Lord, I am secure in your arms?”

To have faith of this degree, I would have to have no other security than that in Christ. This is unconditional faith. It’s not something that can be found in every believer, but it should be. After all, we serve an omniscient, omnipotent God. We are told to not lean on our own understanding or strength, but to find our strength and ability in God’s power. We are to have God be our primary focus in life. If we find strength in God’s power, what are we afraid of? If God is our primary focus, and the only foundation on which we stand, why would we want to pursue anything else?

God is my security. That I have concluded. However, now I’m wondering what is keeping me from serving God whole-heartedly. What are the strongholds in my life that are obstacles on the path to Him? Why is it that I have not yet overcome these obstacles and run into God’s hands to give my heart and all to Him?

I believe that it is because of the fact that I still find security in these obstacles. They are a part of me, so to speak, and am allured by the familiar. I still idolize my obstacles and am determined to stay where I am comfortable. I want to have a pure, loving relationship with God, but I’m not willing to release my security in those obstacles. The obstacles are my “competing affections,” things that take hold of my love and keep me from giving it all to God. It is my pride that induces me to audaciously believe that I can do things on my own, that I can do everything I want on my own strength, and that I don’t need to fully surrender my heart to God.

What in insane idea! What could be better than being with God, to know that I am a helpless infant who can find security in the person who made me, the world around me, and the universe! What could be better than serving God with everything that I have, knowing that in joyfully and humbly serving Him, I will know Him more and more intimately.

Am I scared that if I follow God’s commandments, I will lose my reputation? Am I scared that if I will lose those closest to me, and that I will be left with nothing? Am I scared that I don’t have enough faith? Am I scared that if my pride is broken, I will be so shattered that there is nothing of me is left?

My identity is in Christ alone, as a child of the Lord Most High. I should place my loved ones in God’s hands and pray that He will gain them as well. It is not my faith that saved me and protects me, but God’s love and His grace. The Lord despises the proud but blesses the humble.

Tell me again… why have I not wholeheartedly given myself to the Lord?

He is more than enough.

He is everything good and eternal.

He made love.

He is love.

If I have God — if I have Love — what would I lack?

Nothing.

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The Lord is harsh with me.

Maybe even brutal.

It’s my fault, really. I could have listened to what He said earlier. I could have heeded His nudges and convictions. But no, I had to wait for Him to literally drop an anvil on my head and crush me into noticing Him again.

Looking back, I can distinguish those small moments where God nudged me, whispered to me, that I need to change or give up something in my life. I ignored it the first time, discarded the idea the second, and refused to acknowledge the third. My chances are up, and God still wants my attention. I can count how many times he used the big guns on me. Every time he does, I learn a lesson I could just have easily learned if I had paid attention to His gentle whisper.

And [the angel of the Lord] said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19:11-13

I really appreciate the deeper meaning of this passage. One would expect the “God of the Old Testament” to appear in a hurricane and lightning to speak to His prophet in a rumbling and thunderous voice. However, that was not the case; He chose to speak in “a low whisper.” Elijah paid no heed to the wind, the earthquake, and the fire. When he heard the whisper, however, he came out to meet with the Lord.

I believe that God wants to speak to His children with the tenderness a parent would to their child. He doesn’t need to utilize the forces of nature or use extreme experiences to pass instructions to His servants. They already know He exists and that He’s there. His voice can be as gentle, as soft, and delicate as a whisper. His convictions can be a small nudge to your conscience.

Too often we expect to hear from God in extraordinary ways, divine intervention, or through supernatural acts. We expect Him to slap us with revelation and call to us with brothers and sisters pressuring us to follow His word. We don’t want to quiet down and simply wait and listen. Why do we not pay heed to His nudges and whispers? I sometimes have these scary moments where something someone says sounds like they spoke directly from God, especially when it comes from a nonbelieving person or a brother or sister who usually doesn’t discuss matters of the faith. It pierces me, but it is still a painless experience compared to the trials God throws me in if I didn’t pay attention.

It’s not that hard to know when God is whispering… it may be your Bible lying near you, a song on the radio, or a comment by a friend. When you notice, take care to listen to Him. Take heed to what He says, because truly, you can save yourself a lot of pain by simply listening the first time He whispers to you.

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As believers, I’m sure most of us have been taught that we should preach the gospel to unbelievers, especially those close to us. Some of us have learned that preaching the Gospel to ourselves is an extremely helpful and healthy habit. However, what about our believing friends? Don’t they need the Gospel too?

Here is one of my favorite quotes of all time.

Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.

We usually interact with our friends on a regular basis, especially those of us in high school… It’s every day! We’re comfortable around each other. So comfortable, in fact, that we would act in certain ways that we may not with other people.

I’m an introvert. As such, I’ve spent quite a lot of time quietly observing people interact with each other. It saddens me when I see people act so comfortably, they use language they wouldn’t say and do things they wouldn’t do in, say, a professional setting. Sometimes the language my believing friends use or the things they do sadden me; they don’t know how their actions can so easily become a stumbling block to other believers. The images their dirty language conjures and the innuendo in their actions can fill their brothers and sisters’ minds with material that shouldn’t be there.

This is where the quote comes in. It is important for believers to fill their minds with the things of God and to act as such. Rehearsing the Gospel daily and having it reflected in our actions will speak to our fellow believers. It reminds us that we are fallen sinners who were bought by the blood of our Father’s only Son through the Father’s mercy and love, and that we are no longer our own but indebted to serve Him in holiness and purity. If actions truly speak louder than words, then how we act has much more influence then constantly pestering them with Bible verses and a list of does and dont’s. It also gives us more credibility while hindering hypocrisy.

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

Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. – 2 Timothy 2:14-26

Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. – 1 Timothy 4:12

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? – Micah 6:8

All believers need the Gospel every day. We need to remind ourselves each day of God’s love and desire for us to be His sanctified priests and future Bride. Without Him, we are nothing, but in Him, we have everything. Our actions reflect what we know, believe, and is in our hearts. We just need to make sure that we are reflecting Christ and the Gospel.

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It’s funny how we hear all these truths from the Bible, in church, in songs, and even day-to-day conversations, and completely forget or become desensitized to them. I want to point out one in particular, one that is very very important yet very very often forgotten: that is, thankfulness.

Not surprisingly, I was reminded of this truth during the first day of my church’s VBS program today. The theme was gratitude, and being surrounded by stories and activities that reflected this character trait caused me to reflect on a lot of things in my life I take for granted. I have a home, food, siblings, both of my parents, 3 of my grandparents, a wonderful church with an excellent youth group, a group of brothers that hold me accountable, sisters in the church that properly teach me how to deal with beings with double-X chromosomes (x.x), opportunities to serve in ministry, a private school with at least 60% less temptations than a public school would have, and so, so much more.

I understand many people do not have what I have. However, I ignore that fact and continue to want for things that I don’t necessarily need. A lot of my wants are legitimate, but perhaps God is happy with me where I am for now and will bring in answers for those needs later, when I need them more. I remember wishing i had someone my age to talk to about my faith, standards, etc. ever since I was 13 years old. I looked on in jealousy at the people who did have someone, and wished and wished and tried and tried to get just even one guy. All of them failed, because it wasn’t God’s timing. However, I noticed in the years that followed that God WAS bringing people my age into my life, just not the way I expected, and not as close in age either. However, this past year he has blessed me with the opportunity to fellowship more closely with brothers within a 2-year range of my age (17), and allow me to build the friendships I’ve wanted since 4 years ago.

Through this experience, and many others, as I reflect on what God has done in my life instead of what I think He should do, I’m reminded to be grateful for everything I have. God knows my needs, He knows my wants. If they align with His will for my life, He will give them to me. However, He will give it in His time and not whenever I want it. He knows what is best for me; He even knows what and when before I ask! Also, I should be grateful for everything I have, because Jesus did save me and brought me salvation and an eternal intimacy with the Lord. He does not owe me anything yet offers these blessings so freely despite all I’ve done. If anything, I should be on my knees in adoration and thankfulness for all He has given me.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

– James 1:17

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.

– Hebrews 12:28

I need to be thankful, because if I’m thankful, I will anticipate and appreciate God’s blessings even more. He gives when He wants, and takes when He wants. But I rest assured that if I follow Him faithfully, He will also be faithful in providing for me and blessing me.

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:23

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.

– Job 1:21

And with trials and suffering, rejoice in them because I know God uses trials to teach me lessons I cannot otherwise learn, as well as draw me closer to Him as I stretch out and strengthen my faith, hope, and trust in His plan for my life.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

– Romans 8:28

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thus, I’ve resolved to make a Gratitude List in my journal, where I will dedicate several pages to listing all the things I’m grateful for.  I will be adding to this list whenever I get reminded of something new I should give thanks for. If you want, you can join me in making these lists, and truly “count our blessings and see [all of] what God has done.” 🙂

P.S. I would love to hear from you about the things you’re grateful for. Just drop me a message on my Contact Me page, or send me an email at the address listed there. Thanks! 🙂

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I’ve noticed that blogging has become somewhat time-consuming as well as energy-draining for me these past few months.

I also found out today that Lent has begun.

Therefore, I’ve decided to take a break from Revine until Saturday, April 23. Lent lasts 43 days, starting from today: Wednesday, March 9.

This season I will spend more time building my personal relationship with God. Without having to worry about what to do for Revine, I can actually have more time apply the truths I’ve learned from writing all these articles. I can also rest and formulate new articles to write for Revine once I get back.

Also, you may notice a long list of books on my Updates page that I need to review. I will be taking some time to review these books, and I might be posting some of the reviews periodically during this season so that I keep up with the review deadlines. However, I will not be posting anything in addition to these reviews.

So for now, I will be going on hiatus. I hope that you also can give something up this Lent season, and instead spend more time with your Creator and Savior. It will be a time well spent. =D

Check back periodically for the book reviews, or come back on April 23 to read the new articles. =) Also, you can flip through my Archives (found under the Storehouse section of my sidebar) and read the posts you’ve missed or haven’t seen before.

See you soon!

In Christ,

Kyle

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