Monday, April 23, 2007

Devotions And God's Grace

Have you ever felt as though God was really wanting to tell you something? I've felt that way today. This morning I met with Paul Field and after we were done, I did my usual routine: thought about what we discussed, went home, took a shower, got dressed, helped to get Isaiah ready for the day, etc. Then, and little after Tracy got home from Curves, I went to church. I read some e-mails and then spent some time in prayer. After that, I asked God for wisdom on what to study for my devotions. See, I've been reading Philippians over and over again - not sure if God wants me to continue to study that or move on. This morning, it seemed as though God wanted me to move on to Galatians. The phrase, "Fruit of the Spirit" was going through my mind - I think because of some struggles I was praying about earlier. So, I decided to study Galatians 5. I read Galatians 5 and it was as though God was not done with me. He wanted me to move on to Galatians 6. So, I began reading Galatians 6. Right off the bat, I was revealed some truth: "Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted."(Galatians 6:1, ESV) I was hit with the phrase "spirit of gentleness". What did that mean?! When I see others sinning or doing something I think it unwise, how do I respond? Do I respond with a "quiet and friendly composure which does not become embittered or angry" (TDNT, Kittel). Many times I might seem that way, but I know what's going on in my sinful flesh.

Well, God wasn't done with me yet. I kept reading and I was hit again: "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." (Galatians 6:9, ESV) This verse and Gal. 6:1 have caused me to meditate more today. When I was done reading, I made some notes in my journal and continued to work.

But, God still wanted to make sure that I meditated on these verses. I was driving the car to go pick up Josiah from school and take him to our house (something I don't normally do), and while in the car, JQ99 read the verse of the day from Galatians. Yep, it was Galatians 6:9.

Even as I e-mail, I'm making more connections.... These verses are talking about ministry and working with people. Often we get frustrated or tired in ministry and the reason is because we focus on ourselves and how we want people to respond to us instead of how we want to see God glorified. Verse 5 of Galatians 6 says that we are nothing; so, we ought not to deceive ourselves by focusing on us and what we want. Instead, we need to focus on God's plan for individuals.

But, here's the point. Right now I am writing about what I read this morning and how the Creator of the universe spoke to me. There's a relationship going on here - one in which God ALWAYS initiates. It's amazing to me that God would even allow me or want to tell me Truth and yet He does! I'm not writing here because of how super-spiritual I am, but because of how gracious God is in opening my eyes and ears to His message. I'm still not exactly sure about all the application points He wants me to walk away with in this specific passage, but I am confident in this - God is gracious and faithful!

I hope you walk away from reading this thinking the same way. And, may God use this to draw you closer to Himself.

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