Daily Devotional – 1/11/18 “From struggle to sacrifice”

On my ride to work this morning, the song “Different” by Tasha Page-Lockhart was playing and she said, “You can see it, I’m different in my walk. Others see it, in how I talk. I can see it in how I pray, I start to shed some tears each word I say. See I’m different. They tell me, I’m different.” Listening to those words, the Holy Spirit said to me, the difference is moving from struggle to sacrifice. And as I thought about that, it begin to resonate within me. See, one definition says struggle is to have difficulty handling or coping with and sacrifice is an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy. Let me break this down in order for you to shout.

In my struggle, I found it difficult to make ends me. In my sacrifice, my ends have met with the same money I had in my struggle.
In my struggle, my prayers were empty promises I kept making to God knowing full well I probably wouldn’t keep them. In my sacrifice, my prayers changed to use me Lord and I’ll go and I meant it.
In my struggle, I was going to church. In my sacrifice, the church is in me.
In my struggle, I cussed folk out. In my sacrifice, I pray for and still love them.
In my struggle, I did some stuff I’m not proud of. In my sacrifice, I forgave myself for those same things.
In my struggle, I answered to my past. In my sacrifice, my name changed to favor.
In my struggle, I used God. In my sacrifice God uses me.

So you see, your struggle isn’t meant to harm you but it’s preparing you. The things I thought I needed in my struggle proved to be an obstacle in my sacrifice. The things I thought I couldn’t live without in my struggle were the very things I willing gave up in my sacrifice. This is why you cannot discount your struggle, no matter how hard it is or how much it hurts. Come here Abraham. Your struggle, beloved, is the very thing strengthening your trust in God to be able to take the thing you love (Isaac) to a mountain with wood, rope and a knife as your sacrifice when He tells you too believing He will show up with a ram in the bush!

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Daily Devotional – 10/17/17 “Are you doing your part?”

God has a responsibility to His children but are you doing your part as His child? Yes, sometimes He allows us to fall into the wrong hands but that’s after disobedience. Yes, sometimes He allows us to fail but that’s after we have stopped listening. Yes, sometimes He allows hurt but that’s after we try to do things on our own. Are we doing our part before expecting God to do His? Because the bible tells us in Proverbs 1:24-31, “But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD. Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”

Oh but get this … Proverbs 1:23 says, “Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.” If you notice above, verses 24-31 gives us what will happen should we not take heed to God’s reprimand but verse 23 tells us what will happen if we do. In other words, God is telling us ahead of time before destruction even comes. Are you doing your part? Yes, we can ask of God but we first need to have faith. We can say yes to God but it needs to be when we are truly ready. Are you doing your part? Because I’ve found that when we do what we can, God will do what we cannot. This is why the bible says in Psalm 54:4, “Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul.” Just as God has a responsibility to us, we have a responsibility to Him. We cannot expect of Him knowing we don’t have our part. That’s like being mad at your roommate for not having their half of the rent when you know good and well, you don’t have yours either. Do your part!