Love is not premeditated– it is spontaneous; that is, it bursts forth in extraordinary ways. There is nothing of precise certainty in Paul’s description of love. We cannot predetermine our thoughts and actions by saying, “Now I will never think any evil thoughts, and I will believe everything that Jesus would have me to believe.” No, the characteristic of love is spontaneity. We don’t deliberately set the statements of Jesus before us as our standard, but when His Spirit is having His way with us, we live according to His standard without even realizing it. And when we look back, we are amazed at how unconcerned we have been over our emotions, which is the very evidence that real spontaneous love was there. The nature of everything involved in the life of God in us is only discerned when we have been through it and it is in our past.
The fountains from which love flows are in God, not in us. It is absurd to think that the love of God is naturally in our hearts, as a result of our own nature. His love is there only because it “has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 5:5).
If we try to prove to God how much we love Him, it is a sure sign that we really don’t love Him. The evidence of our love for Him is the absolute spontaneity of our love, which flows naturally from His nature within us. And when we look back, we will not be able to determine why we did certain things, but we can know that we did them according to the spontaneous nature of His love in us. The life of God exhibits itself in this spontaneous way because the fountains of His love are in the Holy Spirit.
“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 6:12
We all have little slips in our memory once in a while, right? I love the story about the guy who decided to do something about his increasing forgetfulness. This poor chap decided to attend a seminar on how to increase his ability to remember things. And, to his great delight, the seminar worked! A few weeks later he sat in his living room, chatting with a friend about his newly improved recall ability.
“You won’t believe it,” he gushed, “This memory seminar really has helped me remember things better. I have a whole new lease on life!”
“That’s great,” his friend replied. “How does it work?”
“Well, you simply think of a common object that helps you build a link to whatever you need to remember. If you can remember the common object, then you’ll remember the other object.”
“Wow!” said his friend. “You know, to be honest, my memory’s slipping a little. What’s the name of the seminar? I think I might sign up for it.”
“Okay,” the guy replied. “Let’s see, think of a flower with red petals . . . long stem . . . thorns . . . rose.” Then he yelled to his wife in the next room, “Hey, Rose, what was the name of that seminar I went to?”
In Deuteronomy 6:12, Moses is talking to the Israelites about the danger of memory loss when it comes to forgetting God. God’s people were standing on the edge of the Promised Land, ready to enter a land with great cities they did not build, houses full of good things they did not fill, and vast and lush vineyards they didn’t plant. And, as good as the prospect of all this prosperity was, there was a danger lurking under the blessing. Moses knew that in good times it’s easy to forget God. The people were in danger of forgetting that it was God who had given them this land flowing with milk and honey; forgetting that it was God who went before them in each battle; forgetting, in fact, that it was only through God’s gracious choice of them as His people that they were enjoying the blessings of their new home and country. And, when we forget God, we become unthankful, proud, and self-sufficient—the kinds of things that are offensive to the Giver of every good and perfect gift.
So the solution for Israel—and for that matter, for us—is keeping God in mind! The book of Deuteronomy is actually a memory seminar about God’s goodness to His people. Moses reminds the Israelites of the law that was given on Mount Sinai. He tracks the Israelites back over the ways God miraculously provided for them—battles won, food given, shoes that didn’t wear out—the list of God’s providing work is long.
So, here’s the lesson. Beware! When God is abundantly good to us we are in great danger. We are in danger because in good times it’s easy to forget God. It’s easy to be so consumed with the gifts that we forget the Giver! And if we do that, we end up worshiping the blessings and not the One who in His amazing grace has blessed us.
The benefit of keeping God in mind is that it keeps our hearts grateful, appropriately humble, and delighted in our God for His goodness to us. Believe me, delighting in Him beats being consumed by the stuff that He has given us.
Memory lapses in our daily routines may be normal for us. But remembering God’s goodness in our lives is something we can’t afford to forget!
- Take some time to write out what God has done for you. Let it be an exercise in remembering His goodness and grace in your life!
- While we can rejoice in the fact that God forgives and forgets the sins that we confess before Him, it’s sometimes helpful for us to remember just how much He has forgiven us. We are, as Paul said, examples of God’s “unlimited patience” (1 Timothy 1:16).
- How does remembering what God has done for you personally affect the way that you will live your life today?
From: Through the Bible
Joshua 22:7b-8 (NIV) 7b When Joshua sent them home, he blessed them, 8saying, “Return to your homes with your great wealth–with large herds of livestock, with silver, gold, bronze and iron, and a great quantity of clothing–and divide with your brothers the plunder from your enemies.”
The tribes of Gad, Rueben, and half of Manasseh had done their duty. They stayed the extra 5 plus years fighting along side their brothers to secure a place for them. Because of their integrity in keeping their word they were rewarded with their portion of the spoil from the enemies. They were not going back empty handed.
Those that stayed behind to watch out for their territory and protect the women and children were to receive their share of the spoils of war. They hadn’t risked their lives to capture it, but they did the job assigned to them. I imagine the soldiers returned to homes that were in better condition than before because of those who stayed behind.
Not everyone is called to go out on the field and win the masses. We are all called to be a witness. We are all called to be servants. Some are called to stay by the stuff and keep the home fires burning. Will they receive any less than those who risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel? Not if that was their calling. If they were obedient to God where they were, they will share in the spoils of war. They will receive their portion. It is not the role you fill but your faithfulness in doing what you are called to do. Remember, Christ says, “Well done good and FAITHFUL servant.
Consider: Do I recognize the victory belongs to all God’s faithful servants?
Luke 2:48-49, 52 (NIV) 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” 49“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”
52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
We have very few accounts of Jesus’ life from birth to thirty years of age. These verses at the end of Luke are all we have to go on. In the tradition of that day, a man was a disciple under a master until the age of thirty, then he was ready to be an instructor. Jesus needed to grow and learn just as you and I do. The author of Hebrews tells us that He learned obedience through the things He suffered. The last verse of today’s text tells us He grew in wisdom. The humanity of Jesus experienced learning and growing as we do.
When the family went to one of the religious feasts in Jerusalem, the Feast of Passover, Jesus was around the age when a young Jewish male was considered as one of the men. This year, since He was no longer considered a child, He began to ask the religious leaders questions and answer theirs. Verse 47 tells us that they were amazed at His understanding of the Scriptures. Jesus’ mind was fully yielded to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. They probably wondered under which Rabbi Jesus was being taught. Rabbi means teacher. Jesus was listening to The Rabbi, the Holy Spirit.
Jesus’ parents were headed back to Nazareth and thought Jesus was playing with relatives. After awhile, they grew concerned and headed back to Jerusalem. Mary probably knew right where to look, in the Temple. He had “wasted” their valuable time and worried them. Jesus responded, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Jesus knew His unique call and mission even from that early age.
Jesus went home with His parents and submitted Himself to them as an obedient child until His ministry began. His life, which overflowed with love, joy, peace and patience, gained favor with God and men. He patiently learned and awaited the call for His mission to begin. If you are in a learning period, don’t be overly concerned about lack of ministry. The present time may be for learning and growing.
Prayer: Lord, help me to grow in wisdom and learn through the things I suffer.
The Real Battle (Ephesians 6:12)
It’s hard to believe your struggles aren’t against flesh and blood when your two year old is screaming and you can’t get them to stop. When your teenager is belligerent and you’re getting nowhere. That’s not your real battle.
Although these are obvious flesh and blood issues we tackle, the point of Ephesians 6:12 is that it’s the inner fight against the evil of darkness that’s causing all these struggles. Don’t diminish this. Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. But don’t overdramatize it either.
More importantly, find a balance in recognizing where evil comes from and how it’s affecting your family. Pray for God’s protection over your family. Remember, the power of Christ is far greater than the power of Satan. That battle has already been won. Christ defeated the grave and evil has lost. Claim that promise over your family and seek to honor God in all you do as a parent. God will provide, bless, protect and defend you as you seek him.
Know that Satan is your real enemy, not your children.
Points to Ponder
- How much time do you spend fighting flesh and blood?
- How could you get a better understanding of who the real enemy is in your house?
- How are you seeking God to grow in victories?
Taken from Once a Day Nurturing Great Kids