Wednesday, May 01, 2013

May 1, 2013 … Life and Death Matters

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 121

Passage of the Day: 2nd Corinthians 4: 11-12 [in the context of verses 8-12 [NLT] …
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don’t give up and quit. 9 We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. 10 Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you.
Contextual Study of today’s passage: 2nd Corinthians, Chapter 4 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: Luke 9: 23: [The great mystery of discipleship – the death of self produces a living relationship with the Savior.] …[NKJV] … Then He said to them all, “If anyone is going to follow Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”

My Journal for Today: It’s one of the great mysteries and paradoxes of the Christian life … that only through death can we find life. And in today’s highlight verse from the 2nd letter we have from Paul to the Church in Corinth, we see this paradox expressed. Christ died that we might have life; and as Jesus expressed often (as in my oft quoted passage from Luke 9: 23), His disciples must die to self, taking up our crosses daily, to follow Him.

Os Hillman said it well in his devotional today: " When Jesus extended us an invitation to experience salvation and a relationship with Him, it came with a great cost, our very lives. Yet what we don't realize is that until we relinquish our TOTAL lives, we really aren't living at all. Without this death we will continue to strive, manipulate, and fret over every detail of life. It is when we finally say, "Yes, Lord, I am Yours completely," that we experience real freedom for the first time. This is the only time when Christ is fully seen in and through our lives.” 

The questions I have for myself, from my personal mediation on these truths, are these …
– Have I truly died to self or am I trying to keep my SELF alive by trying to be in control, or at least holding on to certain aspects of my life? … OR … 
– Can I die to my self enough to be able to carry the crosses I must bear daily? … OR … 
– Am I really following my Savior or just desperately holding on to my own life in some way?

These are haunting questions for me because I so desire to be a vessel of purpose in my relationship with my Savior. However, I know from more than just my devotional thoughts today – from nothing other than God’s own truth – that I will never be an effective vessel of God’s fruitfulness unless and until I can completely give of my life – ALL OF MY LIFE – to my Lord.

My Prayer for Today … Oh, help me, LORD, to give it all up for You … to die to self so that I can be made alive in my relationship with You. … Amen

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