Devotional

What is a Devotional.  It comes from the word DEVOTE:  Dedicate. Committed.  Set apart to God.  Hold fast to.  Endure in.  Stand perpetually ready.  persevere in.  To associate closely with.  To attach oneself to.  Be Loyal to.   

And, on and on, each definition, in its various form, calls us to an action.  In this case, we are called to the act of dedicating ourselves to apply what we've read in God's word.  To associate closely with it. 

How sweet it is to spend time in His word.  But if it only lasts for that moment, what good is it?  Carry His words into your day, and begin to be transformed by it.  That's my prayer for you, and for myself. 

  • Wash Me Thoroughly

    It's sure a pretty cup in the picture, well except for those stains inside, and the dregs in the bottom that I have tried to hide from you.  It's still pretty on the outside though, isn't it?  The cup is a favorite gift that I received from my daughter one year.  Hand-painted from Poland, the artwork and the richness of the color, well, I just love it!  It makes me smile in the morning when I reach in the cupboard to grab it for my morning tea.


    But when I finish my tasty drink there's always this ugly residue that stains the inside and although the outside remains as beautiful and ornate as ever, the inside doesn't look pleasant at all.  Now, it most certainly would be silly to only try to wash the outside and stick it back in the cupboard, for even though the outside would look good, if I wanted to use it again I would surely have to do something about the mess that is still stuck on the inside.  Regardless of the beauty on the outside there's no way it will be fit for use if I leave the dregs and stains on the inside.


    You know, Jesus said some incredibly interesting words while He walked this earth.  He always spoke right to the heart of a matter.  At times He even addressed some with extremely strong words.  In Matthew 23 we find just those kind of harsh words about a group of men whom He called "hypocrites". 


    It's a word often used in connection with Christians.  What does it mean to be a hypocrite?  Let's look.


    Hypocrite: 1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion.

                      2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.


    Simple Definition: a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs.   (Merriam Webster Dictionary)


      

    In speaking to the crowds, and to His disciples, Jesus broaches the subject of those who are saying one thing and doing the opposite.  He has instructions for both those who are speaking, and for those who are listening.  We would do well to listen to His words.


    The scribes and the Pharisees that Jesus was referring to were the leaders over the people of Israel.  And it's intriguing to me that even though Jesus lays into them in the rest of the chapter, He tells His followers that these are the men in authority and they are to obey what they are told by them, then He follows it up with a warning to not do what they are doing!


    The saying, "Do as I say and not as I do" must have been around a very long time, because that's just what Jesus is telling the people. Do as the Pharisees say, but don't do as they do.


    Jesus points out that these ones in authority "say things and do not do them." (v. 3)  They are living out the very definition of being hypocritical.  They, instead, "do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels" (v. 5).  These men were far from humble, drawing attention to their religious standing and self importance, they forgot that the important thing was what was on the inside not their outer garments. Jesus is well aware that they needed to be washed thoroughly!


    What about us?  We should probably check our insides often, and see if there's any cleaning that we need to take place.  It's as easy as asking God to reveal any areas where you are being hypocritical.  Sure, we may look pretty on the outside. Others may only see our pretty pattern, the color we show them, but we (and God) know what is truly on the inside, don't we?  We know when our mouth says one thing and our behavior does the opposite.  We know when we put on "religion" while we are actually not in fellowship, following the Holy Spirit.  Yes, we know what it means to be a hypocrite.


    Like the scribes and Pharisees we need to "clean the inside of the cup so that the outside may become clean also." (v.26) 


    Let's just think about ways we might be hypocritical to who we are in Christ. As believers, we have the ability to love every person, yet we don't.  When we don't love those around us we are acting contradictory to the Spirit within us because He is love. 


    Every one of us have the ability to trust God in every circumstance because He has never, nor ever will, fail us.  But we don't, do we? 'Fess up. We question, we fret and worry rather than trust Him.


    Every one of us have the opportunity to be overcomers, for in Christ we are!  But instead we walk around in defeat.  Dear one, that is hypocritical to who we are in Him.  When we live any other way than in the victory we have in Jesus Christ, when we live under our own power rather than the power of the Spirit of God within us, when we try to put up a good front of religion with God and forsake our relationship with Him as our Heavenly Father, we are hypocrites!


    The only solution is to be washed thoroughly.  Cleansed, inside and out.  And God is just the One to do that.


    King David wrote in Psalm 51 -

    "Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness,

    according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."

     

    Won't you allow Him to wash you right now?  He is even able to wash away those thoughts that are condemning, judgmental, ungodly.  He is able to wash the dregs of addiction, whether that's to self ego, food, alcohol, pornography, whatever it is that you hide from the rest of the world but are unable to hide from the omniscient One who sees all and knows all. 


    Dear One, today, right now, ask for His cleansing. He is here. At the first hint of repentance His Spirit scrubs us clean and washes us 'whiter than snow' as the Psalm continues. He alone is able to match up our walk to the truth of who we are in Christ.  All we need to do is ask.  

     

    Father, You alone are able to scrub us bare.  To remove every stain and the dregs of sin that we have carried.  Don't let us put on as if we are clean inside and out if there is sin remaining.  Don't let us in any way look religious and yet hide the wretched stuff that keeps us from walking with You in honesty and truth.  Thank You for Your mercy that brought Your Son to the earth so that we could have relationship with You.  Help us to walk in the truth of who we are in Christ.  Help us to be washed thoroughly and not hang on to any of the last vestiges of the sin of this world.  May we only desire YOU!  May we be washed so that we are useful for Your purpose. Praise You Lord God.

     

    Read Matthew 23

    Don't forget 1 John 1:9

Grace to Joy

Encouraging women to know the grace of God and experience His joy!