Friday, October 31, 2008

November 2008 Devotionals - Pursuing Godly Wisdom

Personal NOTE: I know it's not November 1 yet; but I've been having problems with my ISP early in the morning when I normally post my devotional journal entries; so, I decided to get a jump on things and get my first Nov. 2008 posted while my connection to the internet is solid today. If you're reading this, I invite you to come along with me this month on this pursuit of Godly wisdom - something I need. Perhaps you do too!

This month I'll be posting each devtional entry as a separate blog rather than as comments to one blog as I've done in past months. I'll see how this goes. ... <'BB><

A Year of Daily Devotionals: A Journal by Bill Berry … November, 2008

November 1, 2008

Passage of the Day: James 3: 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

My Journal for Today [actually for tomorrow ;)]: New month … new topic; and for my acknowledged benefit, in November, again following John MacArthur’s devotional book, Strength for Today, as we have been this year, we will undertake a study of an element in life which should be highly pursued by all Christians; … and that is WISDOM from God (see Prov. 4: 7). And MacArthur, in his focus on Christian wisdom, will be using many passages this month from the Book of James in the New Testament; and I like his statement from today’s devotional entry, “Wisdom is the art of living skillfully.” And today’s passage from James, the brother of Jesus, is God’s challenge for believers to seek God’s way of living, through wisdom and understanding.

Above, I just referred you to Proverbs 4: 7. Did you look it up? [BTW, I do put these referral scriptures in my entries not only for myself – but also for you who might be reading this!] Well, if you haven’t searched it out, here’s what it says: Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it may cost all you have, get understanding.

Now, I don’t know about you; but that passage hits me where it lives. God is saying, through His Holy Word, … through James in the NT and Solomon in the OT, ... that wisdom is a value and an element of life to be pursued above most, if not all, other human pursuits. We all have opinions about life, which lead to our choices and our actions. [see NKJV – Prov. 23: 7] Even the fool, as MacArthur points out on this date, will claim to be making wise choices. However, James wrote that only the “understanding” that comes from God can be identified as the wisdom that directs the truly wise person to make Godly choices. That true believer will be the one, as today’s verse exclaims, who exhibits good behavior [i.e., Godly actions] with the humility and meekness of Godly insight. He (she) will also be the gentle believer who becomes a specialist at finding and living the Godly life, … the one who can/will be TRULY WISE [i.e., “Godly wise”].

My personal aspiration is to become one who seeks diligently to find God’s way and His will through this minefield we call life; and then I ardently desire to walk with meekness/humility, prayerfully as unscathed as possible by walking in the footsteps of my Savior (see James 1: 5 – 6, Luke 9: 23, and Prov. 3: 5 – 6). What about you? Is this a serious pursuit for you as well? If so, come along with me this month; and we will pursue the very mind of God together.

My Prayer Today: Lord, show me Your way … I will live it. Amen


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October, 2008 Devotionals: Hating Sin and Avoiding Its Power

A Year of Daily Devotionals: A Journal by Bill Berry … October, 2008

INTRODUCTION: Moving into October, I will be continuing to use the devotionals of John MacArthur in his book Strength for Today; and his topic for the month of October is Sin and Combatting Its Power. ... So, if you come along with me as I blog my devotional journal entries, maybe we all can come to learn to hate our sin and avoid its influence more in our lives. That's my goal! ... BTW, again if you want to add your comments, I'll be putting my daily entries in the comments to this October 1 blog. Feel free to join in with your comments. ... <'BB><
October 1, 2008 …

Passage of the Day: Romans 3: 23
[see in bold] … 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

My Journal for Today: This month, again with John MacArthur’s help, I will be looking at the topic every Christian should understand, and that is “sin.” I say the latter because sin is likely the only thing in this life to be feared by a Christian. In his devotional for this date from Strength for Today, MacArthur quotes an early Church leader, Crysotom, who wrote, “I fear nothing but sin.” Obviously, believing today’s highlighted passage/verse, we know that sin is pervasive in mankind, a force with which ALL Christians must deal. Therefore, understanding the dimensions of sin is of utmost importance to ALL believers. If you are reading this, I would assume that you might be as interested in learning more about how to avoid and deal with sin as do I; so, let’s dive in and grow in Christ together.

First, we know that sin causes death, physical and spiritual death; and it leads to eternal separation from God. Therefore, follow the logic with me. If we, as Christians, pursue God; and sin separates us from God, … then would it not behoove all Christians to do all we can to avoid sin? However, as we will see, all our efforts are futile unless we surrender our ALL to the One Who atoned for our sin … Jesus Christ. I boldly maintain that the most prominent reason most Christians cannot or do not avoid sinful choices is their incomplete surrender to God’s Spirit, Who has saved them; and as we saw in my devotional study last month, it is God’s Spirit Who is fully willing – and most certainly able [see 2Cor. 12: 9] - to provide us with the grace we need to overcome sin, if – and it’s an enormous IF – we humbly receive God’s enabling grace to do so.

MacArthur, in today’s devotional, scripturally defines sin with something that struck me to my core. He wrote, “Sin is the only thing that God hates (see Jer. 44: 4).” And MacArthur goes on to declare that since God hates sin so infinitely much, so should we hate sin, … those of us who call ourselves by His Name. Oh, I hate sin and my sinfulness! Do you? I’m going to assume that any Christian who reads this hates sin and anything in our lives which contributes to sin.

Maybe you don’t hate sin as much as you think you should? Well, join the club! This month, as I wrote above, I’m going to be exploring more of the dimensions of sin to determine just how deeply I understand the nature of its hold on me or any Christian. … I want to learn to hate sin so much that my choices will avoid the consequences of sin and draw me ever closer to God.

Are you with me in this? If so, come along with me daily; and we’ll do all we can, with the help of God’s word and John MacArthur, to more fully protect ourselves against our own sin nature.

My Prayer Today: Lord, separate me from sin and draw me closer to You. Amen