Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Take Time Tuesdays

Chapter 9 - The Good Competes with the Best

"And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice - the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him." Romans 12:1

"In seeking the Best we soon find that our enemy is our good things, not our bad. The things that keep us back from God's best are not sin and imperfections, but the things that are right and good and noble from the natural standpoint... Very few of us debate with the sordid and evil and wrong, but we do debate with the good." Oswald Chambers

Wow! I knew reading the first two quotes of the chapter that I was in trouble this week. My biggest struggle is with "good things"... Sigh. So thankful God is patient with me. Okay, Lord ~ let's work on this next area together! Please help me make wise choices so my life and my time are completely devoted to You.

So, it's really about choice isn't it? It's about giving up control and allowing God to guide our lives, our choices, our actions... Such a simple concept to understand, but a monumental challenge to live out in reality. I've done alot of really good things over the years, but have they been the BEST for my life? Possibly not. And yet I could get really stuck here wondering about choices that were made, I know I cannot dwell on the past - living in the present - but I can ask God to help me learn to hear His voice and make the best choices from here on out... Our lives are about ongoing transformation.

Good versus Best (scripture examples)... Sacrifice, burnt offerings BUT the best is:
  • obedience
  • a broken and contrite heart
  • a broken spirit
  • doing what is right and just
  • mercy
  • acknowledging God in all things
"The offering of ourselves should be voluntary. No other can be a true offering, and none other can be acceptable... It implies that he who offers it presents it entirely, releases all claim or right to it, and leaves it to be disposed of for the honour of God." Albert Barnes

So we offer our lives for service, in relationships, in ministry because we feel an obligation or is it a free offering with no strings attached. I know I've fallen short in this area from time-to-time. We all desire to be valued for our service, to be recognized ~ but it's really ALL about God. When we do things as a "sacrifice" to God, it's good but not our best...

"Judaism sought mercy by sacrifice and service; St. Paul teaches that God seeks man's true sacrifice and service by showing mercy. We are to come to Him not that He may love us in the end, but because He loves us from the beginning. Our obedience to God is to be, therefore, no task-work, but love-work; not servitude, but sonship. God's love is the great motive-power of the new life." T.F. Lockyer

Are you wrapping your heart and your head around what this says? He loves us from the beginning - way before we ever considered loving Him. Our life should be filled with love-work, not as the drudgery of chores; not as ones who must serve, but as those who desire to do their Father's work. Perspective and insight do much for us. And, when you realize just how much God loves you, it will leave you speechless, stunned and overwhelmed...

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these." Mark 12:30-31

The best of the Best! I've been wrestling with these verses for the past year or so... The greatest commandment God gave us EVER! Impossible to accomplish. At least, humanly impossible. Without the love of God, without Jesus as our Savior, without His amazing love and without the help of the Holy Spirit ~ we cannot possibly accomplish this. But WITH ALL, we shall be able! It means giving up ALL control and going after God's BEST...

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31

This verse caught my attention this week ~ even when I eat or drink something. No matter what I'm doing ~ ALL should be for God's glory. This was a big revelation for me. When you begin to put that food into your mouth or that glass up to your lips or choose to engage in some type of activity - stop and ask yourself, will this bring glory to God - then proceed with the BEST answer!

"Why are you doing what others can do, when you are leaving undone what only you can do?" Bruce Bugbee

Another big revelation for me this week... I know I've done this so often over the course of my life. But, this quote makes me wonder what I have left undone that only I could do. That's much to consider, but instead of pulling myself down and being critical I must remember that God is able to redeem my life and I can live according to this now and for all the days ahead that God gives to me. I'm going to post this where I can read it often and pray God will bless me with discernment to know when to act and when it's not my responsibility. I must remember that my time is His and my obedience to His Best will bring glory to His name. It is the outward evidence that I am inwardly devoted to Him.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you." Psalm 32:8

A promise of God. He has shared this with me many times over the years. How thankful I am, no matter how painful the lessons may be, that He continues to instruct me and teach me; counsel me and watch over me. There are times when the pain is nearly unbearable when I finally learn a lesson, but I am so thankful to finally have understanding and I trust that His grace, mercy and love shall bring healing to others for the many times I've fallen short and let them down... And, if there is action needed on my part I know He will show me what to do.

"I Am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." Isaiah 48:17

Why is it so hard for us to understand that God desires to teach us, knows what is best for us and He will show us the way to go? How often I've thought I know. I know. And then, He reveals again that I must relinquish control and allow Him to be my Master in every way!

"O Lord, may I be directed what to do and what to leave undone." Elizabeth Fry

Cynthia shares a prayer she prays when she gets out of bed each day, "Lord Jesus, I present my body as a living and holy sacrifice to be used as You will. I relinquish all rights to myself and ask for You to guide me and enable me to choose that which is best. May I, this day, continue to live in simple and pure devotion to You."

I pray you and I will desire to lay down the "good things" that keep us from God's BEST and continue to allow Him to transform our lives to become Women of Simplicity. Abundant blessings...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Rebecca. I so agree!

    Interestingly, my life is not nearly as "full" as it has been. God has continued to remove much that I have time to focus on Him... For that, I am so thankful.


Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie