Feb 16 2014

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I didn’t really mean it


Marcie stood before her Dad looking at her favorite toy car.

Suddenly she jumped up in his lap and said, “You know, Daddy, this is my favorite toy. But I want you to have it.” Surprised, he asked, “Why, I know that you love this little car. Why are you giving it to me?” “Because I love you,” was her reply.

A few moments later she climbed back into his lap and said, “Daddy, I want my car back. I guess I didn’t love you as much as I thought I did,” and took her car back. Many Christians have the same attitude toward God. We give ourselves to Him and then realize that it’s going to bring about changes in our lives that we did not realize. So, we take back our “gift.”

In Psalm 118 we read of a “festal” procession with people going “up to the horns of the altar.” The people in this procession are taking a sacrifice to God. This is not unusual because throughout the Bible people take many different sacrifices to God. In this verse, however, the people in the procession are required to take their “bough” in their hands – their sacrifice – and “bind” it to the altar. Once the sacrifice was bound to the altar, it could not be taken back! Paul wrote, “Give your bodies to God and let them be a living sacrifice.”

The sacrifice he writes of in this verse is not for our sin but for our salvation. When we accept His salvation He expects us to willingly “bind” ourselves to Him in loving service. Prayer: Convict us, Lord, to become “willing” sacrifices and abandon ourselves in service to You forever. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. How Was Doing the Will of God Like Food to Jesus? (John 4:27-34) “We get bigger by eating healthy stuff, and obeying God’s word helps us grow,” says Marina, 5. Serious athletes know that disciplined eating will enhance their performance on the field. Serious Christians know that they must feed on the Bible to win spiritual battles. When God’s word is embedded in your mind through memorization, you’re ready for action.

Every Christian faces a daily battle between old patterns of self-reliance and the new patterns of depending on God. “One thing I enjoy doing is pleasing my family, especially my parents,” says Theresa, 11. “When Jesus did something that he knew pleased God, he felt so joyful sometimes that his nourishment was the joy he felt.” Have you ever been empowered by God in an activity to the point where you simply forgot to eat? If you haven’t, imagine yourself on a high-speed roller coaster on the verge of dropping several hundred feet. I can guarantee that you’re not thinking about food. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). There’s an unimaginable joy and inner satisfaction that comes from walking with God. If I put water in the gas tank of my car instead of gasoline, I’m going to be very disappointed with the results. I would be stupid to curse the car. It’s not designed to run on water. Guess what? We aren’t designed to run on the spiritual junk food that’s offered to us every day. It’s a cheap substitute for living in an ongoing conversation with a holy, living God.

Don’t scream when you come to the end of yourself frustrated out of your mind. Your attempt to fill your own life with junk will leave you feeling empty and lonely. We’re not designed to live apart from God. Trying to run on water instead of the high-octane fuel that God has for us is a fool’s journey. When Jesus’ disciples returned from going into town to buy food, they offered some to him, but he said, “I have food to eat of which you do not know” (John 4:32).

Jesus had just offered living water to a Samaritan woman who came to draw water from a well. When the woman discovered that Jesus was the Messiah, she got so excited that she left her water pot to tell others about Jesus. We all have the need to eat and drink, but we have a deeper need in our souls for reality. When we discover that Jesus is the reality who satisfies the thirst and hunger in our souls, it’s easy to forget about our physical needs and a lot of other things. The deep, abiding joy that Jesus gives makes a lot of other things look very small and trivial. God wants us to live large, and that’s only possible with him.

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