Wednesday, December 17, 2014

December 17, 2014 … “Practice Makes Perfect?!”

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2014 - Day 351

Devotional Song: Go to this link  … Please take the time to take in video of the poignant song, sung by Phillips, Craig, and Dean, ... He’ll Do Whatever It Takes, … reminding us that our Lord will do His part in our discipleship; … but we have to be willing to do our part.

Highlight Passage #1 John 15: 10 [NKJV] … If we REALLY love our Lord, we will keep His commandments …
  10 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. … “ 
Highlight Context - John 15: 9-17 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Jesus teaching on on the connection between love and obedience and how these elements of discipleship lead us to grow in Christlikeness

Reference Passage #1 - Philippians 1: 6 [NKJV] … 
6 … being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; … 

Reference Passage #2 - 2nd Peter 3: 14-18 [NKJV]USE THIS LINK …   Exhortation from God’s word to be steadfast in the practice of our faith; … and especially note verse 18 where we are exhorted to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.”

My Journal for Today: Today’s Our Daily Bread devotional entry, authored by Cindy Kasper, uses a story about Pablo Casals, the great concert cellist, to illustrate the discipline and determination it takes to be a disciple of Christ. Kasper writes …
  Pablo Casals was considered to be the preeminent cellist of the first half of the 20th century. When he was still playing his cello in the middle of his tenth decade of life, a young reporter asked, “Mr. Casals, you are 95 years old and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?” … Mr. Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.” 

Another story I’ve often used to make the point of what it takes as disciples of Christ involved the Hall-of-Fame NFL Coach, Vince Lombardi, who heard a journalist make the observation at one of Lombardi’s team practices. The sportswriter said, “I see why your teams are so successful; … because ‘practice makes perfect!’ To which Lombardi retorted, “Absolutely not! … Only perfect practice makes perfect!”

 And when it comes to following Christ both of these stories help to nail the essence of discipleship as a Christian. I call it the “3 Ds” of discipleship: Decision - Discipline - & Diligence. And the highlight passage, from John 15 linked above, was Jesus’ take on the matter. And to be a fruitful and growing disciple of Christ, Jesus taught that it takes …
DECISION - First, one must decide to be obedient and follow Christ. God will never do it for us. And only when we, in faith, DECIDE to obey our Lord can He give us the grace to be fruitful as a Christian.
DISCIPLINE - It’s the heartbeat of discipleship. We’ll never become like Christ if we don’t discipline ourselves to be like Christ. Remember Lombardi’s adage: “Only perfect practice makes perfect!”
DILIGENCE - Just like Pablo Casals, we’ll never do what Peter taught in 2nd Peter 3: 18, i.e, to grow in Christlikeness, unless we KEEP ON KEEPING ON by practicing our faith all the days of our life.

 Okay, … today’s ODB devotional was a pop-quiz on my discipleship … at least for me! … How are we doing in the 3 Ds of following Christ as He commanded in Luke 9: 23 (I don’t have that verse above because I’m praying that you know it by heart. If not, please look it up and see how we’re doing today in the perfect practice of our faith).

My Prayer for Today … Lord, … Help me grow in You … ALL the day of my life. Amen

Blogger Note: Everyday during this year, my daily devotional blogs are influenced by the reading and study of the online devotional blog entitled Our Daily Bread, distributed online via email by RBC Ministries. If you GO TO THIS LINK on the date of my blog, you can read/study the ODB blogs; or you can subscribe to the blog via email at that site.

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