Readings from II Kings, II Chronicles, Psalms, Jeremiah, Nahum, Habakkuk and Daniel.
My mind is buzzing with the readings from this week, a favorite movie and my quick trip to Louisville, Kentucky…I mean watching the Beth Moore simulcast from the south.
A couple years ago while Carl was serving as an elder, we were asked to give our testimonies and an exhortation during an evening service. I don’t enjoy public speaking and it would have been wise to not give me much lead time because the months before the appointed date caused many sleepless nights. It is not an exaggeration that I thought about it EVERYDAY until that evening in September…
As I sought the Lord on what I was to share with the body…He was so faithful to help me figure out how to share my testimony and weave that into what I was to share as encouragement…the key word was devotion…
Earlier this week, Carl was sweet to stay up past bed time on a work night and finish watching a movie that was on the Turner Classic Movies channel…yes,movies from my youth are now classics!
The Trouble with Angels was one of my favorite movies growing up…as I shared in my testimony, I grew up in a Presbyterian church but I had a fascination with the Catholic faith…I thought the word “catechism” was the coolest word I had ever heard…and I wanted to be a nun…I guess I felt that the only way that I knew to be close to God…I mean really close was to become a nun…not being Catholic posed a problem. When I first saw this movie…not only did I adore Hayley Mills from the Parent Trap but in the end of the movie (hope I am not spoiling it for you) Mary Clancy (Hayley Mills) decides to remain behind the other graduating girls and enter the cloistered life…knowing the end doesn’t spoil it for me because I cry EVERY TIME…I can’t help it…there is just something about deciding to turn…deciding to take a different path…allowing something or more accurately Someone to take a hold of you and life changes…forever. Her best friend at school, who has been her partner in crimes of rebellion doesn’t understand…in fact she is furious and feels betrayed. Many of you may know what it is like to follow Jesus now and many you love may not understand your decision. Stand strong…you serve a God who is wildly devoted to you…today and forever! In fact, before you even knew Him…does that blow your mind that before we even gave a second glance in God’s direction, He was devoted to us…he was just crazy about us…couldn’t wait to get started on leading us down a better path…I hope you are on that path…it’s got the best scenery…maybe a few detours…and thankfully for me, heels are optional!
The news that I found as I got a little older was that I did not have to change a denomination to be found by God…I could be His just by being Helen…He would draw near me as I drew near to Him…He was so devoted to me finding Him…it only seems right that I would devote my life to Him.
What I know down deep in my soul is that a life devoted to the Lord is a life that will bring abundant joy even in the midst of the storms of life…I want my children to know that it pays to serve the Lord with unswerving devotion!
“Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did–with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength…” (II Kings 23: 25)
“The other events of Josiah’s reign and his acts of devotion, according to what is written in the Law of the LORD–all the events, from beginning to end, are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.” (II Chronicles 35: 26, 27)
Josiah chose a life of devotion to doing the work of the Lord and following after Him. Josiah did life with His God well…there was no one that filled the role as king the way he did…his life of devotion is documented…from beginning to end. Do we realize that we can live a life like no other before us or after us? No one can live an identical life of devotion to the Lord…isn’t that exciting! Draw your line in the sand now…this is the day…
This is what a person devoted to a devoted God can say:
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.”
Habakkuk 3: 17-19
“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.” (Daniel 1: 8a)
In the face of captors, Daniel remained devoted to God.
After Daniel sought the Lord for an interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he praised the Lord:
“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
He knows what lies in darkness;
and light dwells with him.
I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and power,
you have made known to what we asked of you,
you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Daniel 2: 20-23
A life of devotion is a life that embodies praise and seeking God’s face and wisdom.
“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Daniel 3: 16-18
A devoted life knows that there are no other gods worthy to serve or worship…no matter the cost…
As I sat virtually with tens of thousands of women over the weekend…70,000 women at 715 different sites…do you think the enemy was a bit defeated…I certainly hope so…because the worship alone was enough to put him under all of our feet!
Beth Moore spoke on the parable of the sower…the bulk of what she shared could give me fodder for posts for quite a while. One big reminder was to be in the Word…daily…early…all the time…if we do not know the Word we will not live the life that we were destined to live…one that is thoroughly equipped and effective in our callings…and I would add the more we immerse ourselves into the Word the more our desire to be devoted to Him will grow.
Do you remember that song in the musical Grease where Sandy sings how she is hopelessly devoted to you…that devotion was without hope because it was all wrapped up in having to change to be loved and accepted…that is not the Hope we have in Christ…
Be in the Word…cling to Him…be devoted to Him…join Bev and others as we read through the Word…