Saturday, January 5, 2019

Devotional Journaling #1

I am reading two devotional books this year. One is Living Hope for the End of Days by John Samuel Barnett. One is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.

Living Hope for the End of Days: 365 Days of Devotions from the Book of the Revelation. I chose this one because I am going to be reading Revelation fifty-two times, or, once a week throughout all of 2019. I love, love, LOVE this book of the Bible. I've owned Living Hope for the End of Days for a few years now but never read it--at least not all the way through. There are presumably fifty-two themed weeks covering the book and pulling in other scriptures.

Week One: Worship the Christ of Revelation.
“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” ~ William Temple
One clear way God invites our worship is by revealing Himself through His divine names. The greatest insight into adoring the Lord comes by way of His names and titles in His Word. 
Barnett then goes through all twenty-two chapters of Revelation. I won't share all of what he writes. But I will give you an example or two. 
Chapter 1: He is the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the Dead, Ruler over the Kings of the Earth, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the Almighty, the First and the Last, the Son of Man, the Living One!
Chapter 4: He is the One who sits on the throne in heaven!
Chapter 5: He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, and the Lamb who was slain—who lives forever and ever!
Barnett points out that worship is something we can/should cultivate. He makes a good point. We often want to worship without the work--the work of confessing sin and 'mortifying' the flesh.
Cultivating worship also involves dealing with all the weeds that grow and choke the growth of your crop, as well as the pests that try to steal the harvest.
He has this to say about church.
When we are gathered for genuine worship, we are like a heap of burning coals encouraging one another to warmth of love and devotion. Go to church—even if you do not feel like it. Go to church—even if worship has been discouraging and dry before. Go to church—praying. Go to church—expecting. Go to church—looking for God to do a new and living work among you as His family. 
This statement gave me food for thought: Worship is the most vital and life-changing topic of the whole Bible. It makes sense if you think about it carefully. What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. But if you don't give it too much thought, you'd almost be tempted to say that something is wrong with the statement. That it should be salvation or redemption or resurrection. But we were created to worship. We were saved to worship. We will spend eternity worshiping God.

I have one more quote to share from this first week of devotion.
We can still serve God regardless of where we are, what is taken away from us, or how hard the times might be.
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I've been meaning to read this one for a few years now. There are no themed weeks so far as I know. Each entry is dated.

January 1. Chambers summarizes Paul as saying, "My determined purpose is to be my utmost for His highest--my best for His glory." Chambers argues that this requires surrendering all to God.
I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and Him alone.
January 2. This entry is all about trust. Chambers writes, "Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do--He reveals to you who He is."

January 3. Chambers points out that it is only through the Spirit that Jesus and his teachings can be understood. He writes, "The people who are flippant and disrespectful in their approach to God are those who have never been introduced to Jesus Christ."

January 4. This entry is all about waiting. Our natural impulses may mislead us. We hate to wait. HATE. But God has things to teach us in the waiting. And God's timing is best.

January 5. This entry seems to carry over from the day before--again we're looking at Peter and the idea of discipleship. The idea of spiritual man and natural man. What I loved about this one was his concluding insight, "All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to accomplish them....There is now only ONE who directs the course of your life, the Lord Jesus Christ."

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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