Summer Devotional August 14th, 2017

Habakkuk 3:19:  “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

I’ve been reading a lot lately about goals and this verse reminded me how God is behind us every step of the way. He’s the one who enables you to reach your dreams, your goals, your heights.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 9, Day 4: Matthew 8:18-22

Summary of passage:  The crowds had grown so much that Jesus sought solitude by crossing the lake.  A teacher told Jesus he would follow him wherever he went and Jesus said his life is one of no home.  Another desired to bury his father first but Jesus said to follow him for he is the living one.

Questions:

10a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The teacher’s heart was not committed to him enough to follow him wherever he went.

b)  Jesus has come to save the living.  When his father dies, he will be buried.  Now is the time to proclaim the kingdom of heaven.  Basically, following him (Jesus) comes first.  Caring for and burying his father–second.

c)  Luke tells us that emphasis Jesus is placing on the here and now.  Time is of the essence in converting people and doing his work.  The time is now to proclaim the kingdom of God.  Excuses he will not accept.  Jesus first or forget it.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The time is now.  We must be willing to be inconvenienced for God and proclaim His kingdom.  Excuses are unacceptable to God.  Following Jesus must come first.  Family and everything else second.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a hard one because I hate my routine thrown off.  But I see this blog as my ministry and I get up early every day and type these answers to you all.  I put off cleaning the house, writing my novel, reading books for me, etc to do this.  I try to put others first and shine God’s light into this world.  Hopefully, it’s worth it in the end.

God must come first.  Our lives must be God-centered.  He is our number one priority.  We must be completely and totally His.  Otherwise, we are wasting our time here on earth.  I try to follow His calling no matter what.  It is hard but with His help I will succeed.

Conclusions:  Nice, succinct lesson.  God first.  Everything else second.  Period.

End Notes:  Perhaps those who asked to follow Jesus were in it for themselves.  Jesus was popular and perhaps they thought they’d benefit from this.  Just like groupies today.

“Let me go and bury my father” is probably an expression or figure of speech used that meant “Let me wait until my father is dead.”  The disciple did not literally mean bury his dead father.

We must remember in ancient culture and in some cultures today caring for elderly parents was a duty.  You cared for your parents until they died.  This was a priority.  In the US, elderly tend to be stuck in a home more and cared for others other than their direct descendants.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear:  following him comes first–above family obligations.

Fun Fact:  The phrase “Son of Man” is used 81 times in the gospels, each either by Jesus himself referring to himself or someone quoting Jesus as saying this.  It is used twice in the Old Testament:  Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 8:4

The Answers I Seek Lie In God’s Word

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard, “Just open the Bible to any page, start reading, and you’ll find an answer to your problems.”

Lately, for whatever reason, I had been thinking this is hokey.  I mean, if I’m looking for comfort, wouldn’t I turn to the pages on comfort?

But, Day 5 of Lesson 19 in BSF changed all of my thinking, gave me peace in my myriad of minor problems, and turned my thinking around.

I was wallowing in self-pity again when I completed Day 5 and wrote this conclusion: “There is no other Rock.”  This sums it up for me.  If God were my Rock in every situation every day of my life, I’d be a lot happier and much more fulfilled and joyful.  Only God can fill me.  If I am full of God, then there is no room left for miscellaneous ‘idol’ distractions, mini-crises, or unnecessary drama.  God and His blessings would rule.  The Devil would have no place to hide.

This was from Isaiah 44, a passage that didn’t seem to have any bearing on my current dilemma or state of mind.  But the universal truths of God as my Rock struck me and made me realize He wasn’t my Rock in this situation.  He wasn’t my Rock in my mind.  In fact, He was dwelling far away.

I sat and meditated on this fact for a while.  I have been stressed lately:  we’re trying to decide where to move and when and the indecision is getting to me.  Hence, minor little things have been blowing up all around me.  And I haven’t been turning to God’s word for the answers.  I’ve been praying but doing little else.

Until I read Isaiah.  Then I realized (again) God was not my center.  He is my Rock.  And if I’d just slow down for a few minutes and remember that, everything else would fall into place around Him.

I must remember to pray before I flip out.  Pray in every situation.  Read His word and find comfort as it speaks to me.  And all of it (the Bible) speaks to me.

Keep God first.  Remember His faithfulness.  He will do the rest.

Seek God First…

Everything else falls into place.

Jesus said, “Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things [eat,drink, wear] will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Remember God is with you.  You are not alone.  He’s there in your highs and in your lows.  He’s there always.