Verse of the Day (c/o YouVersion):
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13
Sidenote: It’s Steph Curry daaaaay! Not really. It’s just that I associate this verse with him and his shoes.
Photo from Slam Online
Today’s Abide devotional mentions that we are called to do difficult things for God’s glory, and these are the situations that require God’s extraordinary providence towards us. I may have used this verse in the past thinking that it applies to things that will just bring me the glory being matters of personal success. Yet, it is good to put this into proper context. “All things” here mean things that are in accordance to God’s purpose for us. In short, if I was not meant to be a basketball superstar like Steph, no matter how many times I quote this verse, I will not gain the same prestige.
What’s cool to note actually is that it can apply to seemingly trivial matters. Things I can think of are:
- Being content (in relation to today’s other readings)
- Being more patient
- Being more loving
- Being forgiving
- Caring more for our bodies
- Resisting temptation
In those situations, we can believe that we can do it, despite what our flesh might dictate, because God is on our side in our quest to be more like Jesus.
I also liked how the passage highlights 2 actions: we do, and God strengthens & gives what we need. This is not a passive activity of us just doing and doing, or God just giving and giving while we just sit back and relax. It is a partnership. God strengthens, and we put it into action.
In my life, as I relate this to today’s readings in my 2 other devotionals, I really need more strength to be content. It’s common for me to get envious of others and always compare, and I almost want to pass it off as “human nature” but I trust that I CAN BE CONTENT through Christ who strengthens me 🙂
The Essential Jesus:
The parable in Luke 12:13-21 does not easily come to mind for me. Yet, today, it came at a perfect time. The passage tells of a person who asks Jesus to make his brother share his inheritance with him. Jesus responds and cautions them to take heed of covetousness for life is beyond what we possess. He then tells of the parable of the rich man who stored up lots of crops for himself, confident that when he was lots, he can just lay back, eat, drink and be merry. Yet, on that evening, he is to die–and he is asked who then shall own all of his possessions. Jesus ends the parable by noting that it is foolish for one to lay treasures for himself and not be rich towards God.
Just last night, my mom, sister and I were discussing about money matters. I don’t know why, but they seem to have a notion that I’m a millionaire, and that I earn hundreds of thousands every month. Both are not true. I told them that I am only able to save just enough because of the school expenses that I shouldered (that totals to about 300-350 thousand pesos) and my random treat-outs for other people, etc. I got a knot in my throat and a push in my heart that maybe I need to save more money for my future. I started thinking of the “givings” that I need cut down on. Actually, up until before this devotion, I was so disturbed with the idea of not being able to save enough. Yet, indeed I am moved by today’s reading–as if it was hand-picked just for me. There’s no use in storing too much for myself. It is more long-lasting and eternal to invest in the lives of other people and in the Kingdom. MAY I PUT THIS TO HEART AND TRULY BELIEVE IT. It’s so tough. Huhuhu. Monies.
Morning and Evening:
“I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content.”
These words show us that contentment is not a natural propensity of man. “Ill weeds grow apace.” Covetousness, discontent, and murmuring are as natural to man as thorns are to the soil. We need not sow thistles and brambles; they come up naturally enough, because they are indigenous to earth: and so, we need not teach men to complain; they complain fast enough without any education. But the precious things of the earth must be cultivated. If we would have wheat, we must plough and sow; if we want flowers, there must be the garden, and all the gardener’s care. Now, contentment is one of the flowers of heaven, and if we would have it, it must be cultivated; it will not grow in us by nature; it is the new nature alone that can produce it, and even then we must be specially careful and watchful that we maintain and cultivate the grace which God has sown in us. Paul says, “I have learned … to be content;” as much as to say, he did not know how at one time. It cost him some pains to attain to the mystery of that great truth. No doubt he sometimes thought he had learned, and then broke down. And when at last he had attained unto it, and could say, “I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content,” he was an old, grey-headed man, upon the borders of the grave–a poor prisoner shut up in Nero’s dungeon at Rome. We might well be willing to endure Paul’s infirmities, and share the cold dungeon with him, if we too might by any means attain unto his good degree. Do not indulge the notion that you can be contented without learning, or learn without discipline. It is not a power that may be exercised naturally, but a science to be acquired gradually. We know this from experience. Brother, hush that murmur, natural though it be, and continue a diligent pupil in the College of Content.
I am naturally a complainer. And I mean, really. I complain about all that I can complain about. I pray for help and guidance as I try to hush the murmurs and be more content–regardless of the situation. The no complaining habit starts now!
“Thy good Spirit.”
Common, too common is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit. This is folly and ingratitude. He deserves well at our hands, for he is good, supremely good. As God, he is good essentially. He shares in the threefold ascription of Holy, holy, holy, which ascends to the Triune Jehovah. Unmixed purity and truth, and grace is he. He is good benevolently, tenderly bearing with our waywardness, striving with our rebellious wills; quickening us from our death in sin, and then training us for the skies as a loving nurse fosters her child. How generous, forgiving, and tender is this patient Spirit of God. He is good operatively. All his works are good in the most eminent degree: he suggests good thoughts, prompts good actions, reveals good truths, applies good promises, assists in good attainments, and leads to good results. There is no spiritual good in all the world of which he is not the author and sustainer, and heaven itself will owe the perfect character of its redeemed inhabitants to his work. He is good officially; whether as Comforter, Instructor, Guide, Sanctifier, Quickener, or Intercessor, he fulfils his office well, and each work is fraught with the highest good to the church of God. They who yield to his influences become good, they who obey his impulses do good, they who live under his power receive good. Let us then act towards so good a person according to the dictates of gratitude. Let us revere his person, and adore him as God over all, blessed forever; let us own his power, and our need of him by waiting upon him in all our holy enterprises; let us hourly seek his aid, and never grieve him; and let us speak to his praise whenever occasion occurs. The church will never prosper until more reverently it believes in the Holy Ghost. He is so good and kind, that it is sad indeed that he should be grieved by slights and negligences.
May I learn to be more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and treat Him as He is–a person of God.