Check Your Devotion, not Your Deliverance!

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And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Colossians 3:17 ESV). As I share this message with you this week, I must give honor and thanks to the Reverend James Braswell II, Pastor of New Life Ministries in Valdosta, GA. In his message, “The Ministry of Midnight” (Acts 16:25), this past Sunday, he mentioned that some of us are so focused on our deliverance from God, rather than our devotion to God. We need to check our devotion, not our deliverance. When many of you receive a blessing, expected or unexpected, from God, you get very excited and begin to praise Him and witness to others about what the Lord has done for you. However, there are times when things don’t go so well, some of you forget who God is and won’t even take the time to pay Jesus Christ a prayer, until the next time He delivers you from the “miry clay”! When you do that, your devotion to the Lord needs checking. Oftentimes, some of you worry so much about what man thinks about you. Don’t sweat it; I have done it as well, and sometimes still do! It is not important to God about what man thinks of you. What is important to God is, “What do you think about Him”? Do you believe Him? Do you trust in Him? Do you run, curl up, and hide, when things go awry? Do you pray without ceasing, or only when you are in need of deliverance? Read, ponder, and share the following illustration, along with this complete message, that drives home my point about spontaneity in your devotion to God Almighty: “Spontaneous Faith is Not Beyond You.” “I always enjoyed visiting my sister’s home church in upstate New York. The pastor at the time did a children’s message every Sunday. As many churches do, the children come forward and sit down on the steps leading up to the altar. Instead of a message prepared in advance, the faith lesson is totally spontaneous. Here’s how it works: Each Sunday one child brings to the altar area a bag that had been given to him or her the previous week. The child could put anything in the bag from their house and bring it to church. The child would keep the item a secret until the moment that the bag was opened by the pastor, at the time of the children’s message. The pastor would do an impromptu children’s message using whatever was in the bag as a prop. He had a knack of being able to develop a faith lesson from anything and often tied it into the theme for that particular Sunday. It became a game, but the pastor always came through. “Living as a person of faith does require spontaneity. Life comes at us pretty fast. We face challenges every day. But, being spontaneous is just applying what we already know about God’s direction for our lives. The pastor who could take any household object and create a faith lesson is merely applying God’s Word in real life. He has trained his mind to see God in everything. Make an effort to see God in real life. You can do this!” Have a wonderfully blessed week, be thankful in all circumstances, and never leave home without Him! (Anna Bright is a minister and educator in Walterboro. She can be reached at abrightcolumn@lowcountry.com)

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