As a Christ follower I used to wonder...
* How much time do I need to spend on my daily devotions?
* Do I need to set aside time all seven days or just six, since I attend church on Sundays?
* Should I read a specific number of verses or chapters from the Bible?
* Should I buy a book or do something on my own?
* How much time do I need to commit to in order to be a "good Christian"?
Through the years, I've come to understand that there are not "good" or "bad" Christians. Once you commit to follow Jesus, you are a work in progress. It's a journey & a process that only becomes perfected on the day we stand in front of God. As His Word says,
"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns."
I've prayed about it & adopted the philosophy that it's not the quantity of time I spend with God that matters nearly as much as the quality of time I spend with Him. And, in keeping with the way I handle almost every other situation in my life, I begin with baby steps. My motto has been, "Start small... just start." So, I have consistently set my mandatory goals rather low - with the knowledge that some days God will take me further into study & prayer and other days He will work through a small amount of time.
Today was a day that my commitment to spend 4-5 minutes reading a devotional book blessed me in a way that I'm certain no other words could have. Without going into the details of some challenges I face lately, let me just say, the following short devotional caused my heart to SING praise to my Heavenly Father...
MAKE THE MOST OF WHATEVER COMES
"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9
Sometimes, we must accept life on its terms, not our own. Life has a way of unfolding, not as we WILL, but as it will. And sometimes, there is precious little we can do to change things.
When events transpire that are beyond our control, we have a choice: we can either learn the art of acceptance, or we can make ourselves miserable as we struggle to change the unchangeable. We must entrust the things we cannot change to God. Once we have done so, we can prayerfully & faithfully tackle the important work that He has placed before us: doing something about the things we can change ... and doing it sooner rather than later.
Can you summon the courage and the wisdom to accept life on its own terms? If so, you'll most certainly be rewarded for your good judgement.
Challenging Your Faith: When you encounter situations that you cannot change, you must learn the wisdom of acceptance ... and you must learn to trust God.
"Two words will help you cope when you run low on hope: accept & trust." ~ @ChuckSwindoll #quote
"Acceptance says: True, this is my situation at the moment. I'll look unblinkingly at the reality of it. But, I'll also open my hands to accept willingly whatever a loving Father sends me." ~ Catherine Marshall #quote
"Surrender to the Lord is not a tremendous sacrifice, not an agonizing performance. It is the most sensible thing you can do." ~ Corrie ten Boom #quote
"Sheathe your sword! Should I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?" John 18:11
"He is the Lord. He will do what He thinks is good." 1 Samuel 3:18
"Do not remember the past events, pay no attention to things of old. Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:18-19
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise the name of the Lord." Job 1:21
Today's Prayer: Dear Lord, Let me live in the present, not the past. Let me focus on my blessings, not my sorrows. Give me the wisdom to be thankful for the gifts that I do have, and not bitter about the things that I don't have. Let me accept what was, let me give thanks for what is, and let me have the faith in what most surely will be: the promise of eternal life with You. Amen
(Directly from the pages of Finding Boundaries, 100 devotions for women published by Family Christian Bookstores)
I tweeted about it this morning: "Sitting on the patio swing in my red 'scotty dog' jammies - being blessed by God's faithfulness. He's never early, never late, always right on time!"
Eternal blessings in 5 minutes or less.... totally a possibility.
YOU... can make it a reality!
A great YouTube video to go with this is His Grace is Greater by Larnelle Harris.
(shared this with the Ann Voskamp One Thousand Gifts community)