Resolved: To seek God’s glory

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad’s of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever. - Jonathan Edwards

Who are you living for – yourself or the Lord? If I’m honest, I have to admit that I spend a lot more time looking after what I want than I do what He wants. But I know what I’m supposed to do. Why is it so hard?

The thing is, Christianity isn’t about a list of things to do. It’s not about serving God because we’re supposed to. We humans are awfully good at taking just about anything and making it into a to-do list. We look at sections of the Bible that speak on how to live, such as Romans 12, and we think it’s a list of things to attain.

Romans 12:9-21 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

It is how a Christian should live, but we can’t miss the point that it’s through God’s empowerment and for His glory that we live this life. It’s not to achieve His approval or check some stuff off a list. We respond to what God has already done for us in Jesus Christ by living for Him, giving ourselves to Him fully.

So let’s start out this year right. Let’s resolve to live for Him in every choice we make, with every plan, with every move. When we trade what we want for what He wants, we’ll prosper like never before.

Resolved

What’s your New Year’s resolution? For the past few years, I’ve resolved not to make resolutions. The thing is, they don’t work. At least not for me. I get this idea in my head of a goal I’d like to achieve, and before March hits, I’ve already either failed, forgotten, or given up.

But someone who did have some pretty great resolutions was the great minister of old, Jonathan Edwards. I don’t know if you’ve ever read through his, but they’re God-glorifying, others-focused, spiritual growth-producing things that we should all consider.

So, for the next few weeks that’s what we’ll be looking at. These devotions may look different from what you’ve seen in the past because I won’t be starting out with one particular Bible verse. Rest assured, though, the content will be biblical and Scripture will be presented within.

Are you ready to take this journey with me? Let’s dig down into what Jonathan Edwards set out to accomplish with new resolve. Let’s keep in mind that to really succeed we have to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), not looking after our own pursuits.

Everlasting to Everlasting

Psalm 90:2  Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Our God is eternal.  He has existed from before time and will continue in existence for all eternity.  From everlasting to everlasting He is God.  You’ve probably heard this truth before, but have you taken the time to meditate on it?

There’s assurance in the fact that the God to whom we belong has always been and will always be.  He knew you before there was a you.  He’s aware of your every struggle and He cares about your every pain.

Unlike the false gods of this world, our God lives and cannot die.  He is present in your life and seeks a deeper relationship with you, His child.  Take comfort in knowing that the Creator of all things has everything under His control.  He is capable of being our dwelling place because He is eternal and unchanging.  Abide in Him.

Continue reading Everlasting to Everlasting

The Rock

1 Corinthians 10:4  and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

Every bit of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, points us to Jesus.  The foreshadowing given, the pictures painted, all are for the glory of God and to teach us about His character. The Old Testament and the Law set up the coming Christ and His fulfillment of the Law.  Study of God’s Word can teach us lessons we never realized could be learned from these stories.

Paul shows us, in His letter to the church in Corinth, that the story of Moses in the wilderness with the children of Israel is more than just a story.  The rock that Moses struck (Exodus 17:6) was more than just a rock, and this was more than just God showing His power.  This, like so many other biblical illustrations, points us to Jesus, who is The Rock.  In Him we find living water, water better than that which flowed to the thirsty people of Israel.

But this is also an illustration of what happens when we corrupt what is of God and celebrate it as man’s own (Numbers 20:10-11). The story of Moses striking the rock when God told him only to speak to it is a look at how we can be so quick to disobey God and make an idol out of our own achievements.  Moses knew that once he had make water come from a rock by striking it with his stick, so when God told him to speak to the rock, Moses disobeyed and tried to repeat his previous feat.  Moses took what was good and corrupted it.  You know the rest of the story, he didn’t get to enter into the promised land with his people.  Even with a great man like Moses, God didn’t tolerate idolatry.

Jesus is the true Rock, He is the source of all things good.  Because we’ve experienced His goodness in the past, we can be too quick to assume that we had something to do with the blessings and try to get the same results in our own strength.  This is idolatry, making ourselves into our own gods.  There is only one Rock that has the water of life, and it’s Jesus.

 

Amazed at Him

Luke 2:47  And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

Even at a very young age, Jesus had a way about Him that amazed those with whom He had interactions.  There was just something about Him.  One can only guess what it would have been like to live around Him when He was only a child, but the Word tells us that even back then He was something else.

As Jesus visited the temple as a child, He asked questions of the experts and discussed heavy theological matters with them.  The people in that temple probably would have been impressed with an adult that had the knowledge and wisdom that Jesus displayed, but for it to be coming from a child… They’d never seen such a thing!  There they were discussing God with God face-to-face, and they didn’t even know it.

To experience Jesus is to be amazed by Him.  It’s impossible to encounter Him and keep going along without any change, without even blinking.  It’s impossible.  To be with Jesus elicits awe and amazement.  It makes one want to worship Him, not just carry on as usual.  He’s the manifestation of God, the Lord’s revelation of Himself to man.  How can we not be amazed when we see Him?

Rejoice!

Luke 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. 30 For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all people, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

How happy are you today? It’s a few days before the big day and there are a lot of reasons to not be happy so tell me if you are ready to rejoice or are you ready to recline and take a nap?

We cannot know what it is like to live before Jesus time on earth and to have to keep our faith without the fulfillment of prophecy to give us assurance, I think that it would be more difficult to keep the faith if I were living before Christ came to earth, faith is more difficult when there is less tangible evidence.

This guy Simeon was a Godly man, he had blind faith, it had been hundreds of years sine the last prophet spoke and it probably seemed that God had checked out on his people. Simeon didn’t know that the messiah was going to visit him in the temple that day but when it happened he couldn’t help but get excited to see what had been promised.

The baby was good news which caused Simeon and Anna to praise God, they were ready for the Messiah to come and redeem God’s people, their excitement is something that we seldom see these days at Christmas time. The Christ child gets lost in all of the excesses that we have cluttered around his birth. If we keep our eyes on the true reason for the season then we can really rejoice!

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Seeing salvation

Luke 2:30-31 for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples

What must it have been like to wait for years and years with the promise of a Messiah to come, never knowing quite when He would arrive?  Oh the faith of Simeon, to keep believing even into old age that God would keep His promise.  Simeon is a good example of faith rewarded.  He waited and he waited for the Promised One and then a day came when God allowed him to see Him with his own eyes.  What a day that must have been for Simeon.

We know that he rejoiced and gave praise to God over the joyous occasion, but he also revealed that at this moment his life was complete.  He had been promised that he would not see death until the Lord’s Christ had been born and there He was in front of Simeon, being presented at the temple.  Simeon could die in peace.  Are you so content with encountering Christ that you’d say you can die in peace right now because you’ve seen Him?

It’s a great occasion any time we get a taste of the Lord’s goodness.  His salvation is a free gift that we can never earn and it comes only from Jesus Christ, and to experience this is something to sing about, to make a fuss over.  But do we look at this as enough?  Is your life complete now that you’ve seen the Lord’s salvation?  For Simeon it was enough.  There was nothing more that the world had to offer him that could even come close to meeting Jesus face to face.  Somehow for us there is still a lot competing for our affections in this world, but the reality is that Jesus is enough and we should be content with Him.  He’s all that we need.

Hurry To The Manger

Luke 2:15-18  When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  16  They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.  17  After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.  18  All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished.

Every birth is an exciting miracle but this one was even more exciting and more miraculous than normal. This birth was predicted for hundreds of years, this child would be born in the lineage of the kings of Judah, this child’s arrival was exciting to the angels in heaven.

The shepherds receive the exciting news from the angels and they couldn’t wait to get there, not because they don’t believe the angels, they had to get there because they were sure that this child that was born was a special child. They were excited and had to get there because they had faith that what the angels said was true and they had to see him as soon as possible and after they found the baby they couldn’t contain the good news, everyone that they came into contact with was going to hear about it.

Delays are dangerous and can be very costly.

The truth about Jesus has been made known to us and we all decide for ourselves how to react to the news. Many think that they can check out Jesus at a later time when it is more convenient, they think that Jesus can wait, but none of us know how much time we have.

We need to be spiritually sensitive to the good news, it should be something that we can’t wait to know more about and we should be eager to tell others about it after we have checked it out for ourselves.

Are you excited that we have a Savior? Does it really sink in how desperate our situation was?

Wise men seek Him and worship

Matthew 2:11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

Long before Jesus was born, there was a group of people who studied the prophesies of the coming Messiah, hoping that one day they would be among those who would crown Him as king.  The Magi were men of the east who had been watching for the Promised One for many years, each generation passing along the information to the next.  Imagine being among those who finally got to see the Christ face to face.  Imagine how that would make you feel.  It would make you want to worship.

And so the wise men, as we call them, set out to find the child, for that very purpose.  They longed to see Him and worship Him, bringing gifts with great significance.  Because He was a King, they brought Him gold, because He was the great Healer, they brought Him frankincense, and because He would die for the sins of mankind, they brought Him myrrh.  These were thoughtful gifts, they showed what the Magi thought of Jesus. They were not arbitrary.

So what will you bring before the King to lay down at His feet?  What will you offer Him in worship?

Glory to God in the highest

Luke 2:13-14 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The angels, the shepherds, the wise men, all thought to do the same thing at the birth of the Savior.  They worshipped Him.  This is the proper response to being in the presence of God.

Too often we let Christmas blow right by us without a second thought to the significance of the event we are celebrating.  This is more than just the birth of a baby, this is God come down to earth for the sake of mankind.  He showed up among us as a little baby and yet that baby was so worthy of praise and honor and glory and worship.  What must it have been like to be there when God himself entered into time and space?  It had to be overwhelming.

Throughout the Bible, it seems that whenever someone encounters God and they’re greatly overwhelmed by that, their natural response is to bow down in worship.  It seems that this is the expectation.  Glory of God equals worship of man.  So this Christmas, slow down and worship.  Slow down and embrace the overwhelming notion that God came to us that night in Bethlehem.  Put yourself in that scenario and imagine what it must have felt like.  And worship Him.

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