Monday 13 Jan 2020

January 13: Matthew 21:28-32

Key Verse: Matthew 21:32
For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Devotion:
How much do you think you obey God? I know it is a loaded question because so many of us do not realise when God is speaking to us because we are so caught up in the things and people around us. When we get caught up, we lose focus and we tend to stop listening for those small voices and hints He gives us. It is not often we receive an audible response from God but rather a response through others – how we treat those responses defines how well we listen to God!

I went through a stage in 2018 of not listening to the people around me when they were telling me to go to the doctor and get myself checked out… I was too caught up in worldly things, worldly ways and my own pride to listen – God had obviously been trying a few ways to get my attention. Needless to say, early 2019 came along and I ended up in intensive care. The rest of 2019 was spent in hospitals and recovering and revisiting hospitals – all because I did not want to listen to something so small as my friends and fellow Christians telling me I needed to get myself checked out!

It is not just you who will be affected by these choices you make – it affects all those people around us, especially the people we love the most! Listening to God has got to be central to our lives and needs to be a constant in our lives. Don’t just dismiss things other people say, start praying about things and then stop and listen. The more we are caught up in our own busy lives, the less we get to listen. We need to stop and just focus on God for a while – every day!

John was telling all manner of people about God and it was the people who were not so focused on what they thought they should be doing who heard the most. The religious people were so focused on doing the right thing and trying to keep themselves apart from the world; they lost focus on God. I wonder how many people stopped what they were doing and actually listened to Jesus as He was reminding them of this fact here.

Points to Ponder:
Do you get caught up in work too easily?

Will you make a time in your day to stop and just listen for God?

Sunday 12 Jan 2020

January 12: Matthew 14:1-5

Key Verse: Matthew 14:5
Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.

Devotion:
When we continue to walk with God and listen and obey His wishes, we are going to meet all manner of opposition during our life; not because we are doing anything wrong but because there are people out there who somehow feel unsettled with us. When we lead a life with Christ, we act differently from the other people around us and we often start to stand out, we get noticed!

When we get noticed more than the people who are actively going out to get noticed, they start to object – they don’t like us getting the attention more than them. Don’t be too surprised when they start to work against you, using worldly measures to try and get back at you or bring you down. This is exactly what was happening back in the days of Jesus walking amongst us – the authorities did not like Him getting more attention than them and made stories up about them to try and bring them down in one way or another.

If we continue to listen to Christ, He will guide us as far as He can, but at some stage we are going to lose track and give in to the ways of the world and the people around us; just another way the evil one has to stop us from worshipping Christ. We are living in the world and the world can get very powerful because of the support it gets from people of the world.

Herod was not about to give in and allow another man to become too popular just in case he lost popularity amongst the people; his power came from the fact others were afraid of him and of his ways. If he lost that fear amongst the people, he may lose the political battle he would face against the people. Fear of the unknown or fear of losing popularity will often make us do stupid things – Herod was heading down that path and beginning to hate John for what he was able to achieve by telling people about Jesus. Herod also seemed to understand God was a lot more powerful than many realised and he was not going to give anybody the chance of allowing them to see God was more powerful than him!

Points to Ponder:
Are you proud of something in your life?

Would you be willing to lift up someone else just to give God the glory?

Saturday 11 Jan 2020

January 11: Philippians 2:5-11

Key Verse: Philippians 2:8
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!

Devotion:
No, you are not seeing things and my bible isn’t stuck in one place, but these verses have so much to give us! What is the best way to infiltrate the enemy? What is the best way to be able to walk around the enemy’s camp without being detected? If you wanted to be able to walk unnoticed in a rough neighbourhood, would you walk through it is a suit with flashing lights, or in clothes they wore in that neighbourhood?

The Lord knew the only way to reach people, was to become a person. He knew He had to bring Himself down to our level to allow us to see what He has in store for us. He knew He would have to show us how He was willing to accept all the punishment which is due to us. If you wanted to show someone you could arm wrestle them, would you cheat by taking a robotic arm in to the contest, or would you offer your arm against their arm?

Jesus knew He had to accept the punishment in the same form which we accept our punishment. He knew He could only show us how much He loves us if He was at our level – if He was in a human body, the same as we are in a human body. He needed to show us His love for us by showing He was willing to accept it all for our sake. What better way than to become one of us, to become a human being, so He could share the pain as we would if we had to pay the price for our sins.

He was willing to take on your sins for you when He went to the cross. He was willing to take on human form so He could accept the punishment in the same body as you would normally accept it – just because He loves you. He was willing to be born of no reputation, be your servant and become one of us, just so we could see how much He loves us.

Points to Ponder:
Have you ever pretended to be someone else?

Jesus physically became a human to make sure He paid for our sins IN FULL!

Friday 10 Jan 2020

January 10: Philippians 2:5-11

Key Verse: Philippians 2:7
rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Devotion:
How many times have you figured out the best way you can help someone out? Do you ever think how you could best be of use to someone else? One of the best ways, but one you may not like doing, is to be their servant. By doing that, you will do whatever they wish you to do; in doing so, you would not expect anything in return; you would not do other things first because it is what you want; you would be looking after them before looking out for yourself.

Can you imagine what people would think of you if you turned round and said you would be their servant? Here in England you may well get a few mad looks, but in some parts of the world, this would be a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

What would you do if a man dressed up in a very expensive suit, with a posh sounding voice, and a very expensive car, came up to you and offered to be your servant for a year. What would you do if the Prime Minister or the President came up to you and offered to be your servant for a year? What would you do if a King or Queen came up to you and said they were willing to be your servant for as long as they were alive!

Well, our King of Kings, our Lord of Lords, has already done that for us. He came down to earth, made himself to be of no reputation by being born in a stable, dressed in rags, and then began to act like He was our servant (Vs. 7) just so we would be best served by Him. He did not just say He would be our servant, but actually did it! He came down to earth so we would be forever able to ask Him to do anything, forever able to ask Him for anything, and forever able to know He was going to answer each one of our requests.

Points to Ponder:
Have you ever had a servant?

Would you be willing to do anything for God that He asked of you?

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