“Devotions” or Devotion?

I just had to share this amazing video teaching by the late Keith Green. It is based on teachings by Charles Finney on what true Devotion looks like. The video is really great and below is a summary of the video teaching taken from the Last Day Ministries website. May you be blessed. by Charles G. Finney Edited and paraphrased by Keith and Melody Green “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” -I Cor. 10:31

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father… whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men. -Col. 3:17,23 “For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.” -Rom. 14:7-8

These Scriptures reveal the true nature of what devotion to God really is. In discussing this subject, I propose to show: I. What true devotion to God is not. II. What true devotion to God is. III. That devotion, and nothing short of devotion, is true Christianity. IV. Several mistakes commonly made upon this subject.

I. What True Devotion To God Is Not.

  1. Devotion does not consist of reading the Bible, nor praying, nor attending meetings. These may or may not be specific instances of devotion, but are not to be regarded as devotion itself.
  2. Devotion does not consist of a private or public commitment of our lives to God. These are to be regarded as special acts – pledges or promises of devotion – but not as devotion itself.
  3. Devotion does not consist of individual acts or exercises of any kind. These may indeed be devotional acts, that is, “acts of devotion,” but let it be remembered that no acts or exercises in themselves constitute devotion.

II. What True Devotion To God Is.

Devotion is that state of the heart in which everything – our whole life, being, and possessions – are a continual offering to God, that is, they are continually devoted to God. True devotion must be the supreme devotion of the will, extending out to all we have and are – to all times, places, employments, thoughts, and feelings. Let your own ideas of what a pastor ought to be illustrate my meaning. You most likely believe that a pastor, in preaching the Gospel, should have only one purpose in mind – to glorify God by the salvation (and later the sanctification) of sinners. Since he professes to be a servant of God, you feel that he ought to study, preach, and perform all his ministerial duties, not for himself, not for his salary, not to increase his popularity, but only to glorify God. Now you can easily see that if he does not have this singleness of eye, his service cannot be acceptable to God. For it is not an offering to God, it is not a devotion to God – but a devotion to himself. Devotion then, in a pastor, is that state of mind in which all his pastoral duties are performed for the glory of God and where his whole life is a continual offering to God. Again, you feel that a minister ought to be as devoted to God in everything else as he is in praying or preaching – and in this you are right! For he not only ought to be, but really is only as devoted in the pulpit as he is out of the pulpit. If he is influenced by selfish and worldly motives during the week, then these same motives are surely in his heart on the Sabbath. If during the week his thoughts are centered upon his own interests, endeavoring to promote himself, you can be sure it’s the same on the Sabbath. You most likely also feel that if a minister’s devotion is merely an outward farce – that he preaches, prays, visits, and performs all his duties mainly for the purpose of supporting his family, or to get honor and attention for himself – you would say that he was a wicked man, and unless he is converted he would inevitably lose his soul. If these are your views on the subject, they are undoubtedly correct. Here, where you have no personal interest, you form a right judgment and decide correctly concerning the character and destiny of such a man. Now remember, nothing short of this standard is devotion in you! Bear it in mind that no particular acts or zeal or gushings of emotion – or resolutions to change, or promises of future obedience – constitute devotion. For devotion is that state of the will in which the mind is swallowed up in God as the object of its supreme affection – in which we not only live and move in God, but for God. In other words, devotion is that state of mind in which the attention is diverted from self and self-seeking, and is directed to God – the thoughts, purposes, desires, affections, and emotions all hanging upon, and devoted to, Him.

III. Devotion, And Nothing Short Of Devotion, Is True Christianity.

Devotion and true religion are identical.

  1. It is impossible for us not to be devoted to the object of our supreme affection. If we love God supremely, He will be the reason for which we live. If an individual loves God supremely, he will be as conscious that he lives for God as that he lives at all!
  2. Nothing short of this can be acceptable to God. Unless devotion be a habit or a state of mind, unless the whole being be an offering to God, He must have a rival in our hearts. This He will not endure. And to attempt to please Him by isolated acts of devotion (when it is not the habit and state of our minds) is far more abominable than for a wife to attempt to please her husband with an occasional smile, while she lives only to please and gain the affections of another man.
  3. A departure from this state is heart-apostasy. Whatever a man’s outward behavior may be, the moment he turns aside from sincere devotion to God – from a supreme consecration of his whole being to the service of God – he has, in his heart, renounced true Christianity. He is no longer in the service of God, but is serving the object upon which his heart is set; and this is the object of his devotion – that is, it is his god.

IV. Several Mistakes Commonly Made Upon This Subject.

  1. Many imagine that there is a real difference between “devotional” and other kinds of duties – as if a man could be “doing his duty” in that which is not devotion to God. The duties of devotion are generally supposed to be prayer and reading the Scriptures, together with singing and praying in the fellowship of God’s House. On the Sabbath, men imagine themselves to be devotional, while on weekdays (except for those few acts they call their “devotions”) they are serving themselves and are supremely devoted to their own interests. Now all such ideas arise out of a total absence of true devotion; and individuals who entertain such views do not yet understand what true Christianity is. Nothing is “duty” if it is performed for God. A man that is truly religious is as devotional in his daily business as he is on the Sabbath. The business of the world is performed by him with the same spirit and purpose as he prays, reads his Bible, and attends worship on the Sabbath. If this is not the case, he has no true religion.
  2. Now there are some people who really live for God and are obviously in a devotional state of mind, who do not seem to realize that every act devoted to God is as acceptable to Him as prayer or praise. If by necessary responsibilities they are kept from spending much time in prayer or going to a lot of meetings, Satan takes advantage of their ignorance and brings them into bondage. He tries to persuade them that they are neglecting their duties to God by attending to other things.  Now you who are devoted to God, should understand that if His providence should confine you at home to nurse the sick, or prevents you from observing those hours of secret prayer that you are used to keeping, you are not to be brought into bondage or condemnation by this – if you are conscious that these other duties are being done for the Lord.
  3. Others think that devotion can be sincere, but yet extend only to certain duties. That is, that a man may pray sincerely and from right motives, and yet be worldly in the transaction of business. Now a little reflection will convince any honest mind that this is naturally impossible. Devotion to God cannot be sincere any further than it annihilates selfishness. Devotion and selfishness are eternal opposites.
  4. Many mistake the religion of emotion for that of the will. You can see this from their lives – they weep and appear to melt and break down. They promise to change and offer entire consecration to God. But attempt to do business with them the very next day, and you will find them supremely selfish – they are not devoted to God at all, but to their own interests. They are ready to take any advantage, even of their brethren, to benefit themselves. Now it is obvious in this case that their melting and breaking down was merely a gushing of their emotions – not a will surrendered and devoted to God.

Some Helpful Remarks

  1. A spirit of devotion will turn the most constant cares and the most pressing labors into the deepest and most constant communion with God. The more pressing and tedious our duties – if they are performed for God – the deeper and more continual our communion with Him. For whatever is done in a spirit of devotion is communion with God.
  2. They are not Christians, who do not hold communion with God in their ordinary employments. If you do not hold conscious communion with God in your ordinary business, it is because your business is not performed in a spirit of devotion. If not performed in a spirit of devotion, it is sin. For “whatever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23)
  3. They are certainly not in a sanctified state, who cannot attend to the ordinary and lawful business of life without being drawn away from God.
  4. Whatever cannot be done in a spirit of devotion is unlawful. If you feel the inconsistency of performing it as an act of devotion to God, it is unlawful – you, yourself being the judge.
  5. Anything not right or wrong in itself may be either right or wrong, according to whether or not it is done in a spirit of devotion. Therefore…
  6. A selfish man may condemn a godly person for doing something that would be sinful if he, himself did it – because the motives of his heart are all wrong. The selfish man assumes that the other person’s behavior is also wrongly motivated. On the other hand, a sanctified person may give credit to a selfish person when it is not due, taking it for granted that, “when the act is right, the motive is right.”
  7. There is no peace of mind but in a state of devotion. No other state of mind is reasonable. In no other state will the powers of the mind harmonize. In any other state than that of devotion to God, there is an inward struggle, and mutiny and strife in the mind itself. The conscience rebukes the heart for selfishness. Hence, “‘There is no peace for the wicked, ‘says the Lord.”(Isaiah 48:22)
  8. They have “perfed peace whose minds are thus stayed upon God” (Isaiah 26:3) in an attitude of constant devotion. It is impossible that they should not have peace, for devotion implies and includes peace.
  9. And now beloved, do you have the spirit of true devotion? Do not reply, “I hope so,” for nothing but a conscious awareness should satisfy you for a moment. If you are devoted to God, you know it – and if you are not conscious of being devoted to God, it is because you are not devoted.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:7-8)

(Article Edited and paraphrased by Keith and Melody Green) ©Last Days Ministries. All rights reserved.

A Prayer for Weakness – Upon the Waters -& Amidst the Desert

Today I wanted to share a prayer I wrote and one of my favorite songs for when I cannot see nor know what God is doing in my life. May you be blessed and your spirit made strong.
Mariana

You called me out upon the waters…..to the great unknown.
You called me apart to the desert…….to experience the arid climate of the human soul.

You called me to set my feet firm on sinking grounds.
To look up to you,
to keep my eyes fixed on you
regardless of the ground beneath me.

My heart yearns for you so
and is so heavy that I cannot sing my worship to you
only pray silently, that your spirit would govern over all the unrest,
weakness, fear and uncertainty that has woven webs around your servant.

Hear your servant oh Lord, Let your glory shine down from heaven.
That this broken vessel would be filled with your power and made whole in your sight.

“And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

You called me out upon the waters…..to the great unknown
Yes, you called me to wander in the desert,
to witness your great hand at work.

And although the heat may wither a thousand flowers
and there may be no water to drink
I know that I am safe
under the shadow of your wings.

Although I cannot sing, your praises are in my heart
although I cannot see what you are doing
I know your spirit goes before me

Hear your servant oh Lord,
let your glory shine down from heaven.

Amen
(©)

What is Pure, True and Good


It is the begging of a new week, new endeavors, new accomplishments, new struggles and new ideas. My prayer for my friends and family is that we will be aware of those things that keep us away from what is pure, true and good. Today is a big day for millions of sports fans and there will no doubt be many parties, drunken stupors and bets all the while little eyes watch and record what is seen, heard and felt.  At the same time in various parts of the world both women and young girls are being sold into sexual slavery.  Thousands of these poor souls will be exhibited and sold today while many drink their beers and cheer for their team.  My prayer? That we will see the evil and expose it. That we will protect our children from sick ideals brought to us by the local media, the popular clothing lines and Hollywood.
You see people just don’t wake up and decide they are going to work in prostitution or become sex traders, criminals and drug abusers.  There is a slow ripping away of what is pure, true and good, the degradation of the human soul who pushes away God’s love and truth.. And before they know it, the enemy of our souls envelops the innocent and the willing and pushes them into some of the most heinous and sick crimes known to humanity.Going back in history we can read that Hitler was not born a wicked man. He was made into one.  He was actually baptized and confirmed in the Catholic faith as a child in Austria. But through a series of events he grew up with a twisted view of what was pure, true and good. He sought to eliminate the God of the Christian and Jewish faith. To create his own ideals, to impose them on others with abuse, tyranny and consequence.  When I look at mainstream media and at many people in power I scratch my head and see their distortion of what is pure, true and good and their laws on how we should educate and raise our families.  Next to these outfits, the Political puppets, AKA the media continues to offer and embrace marketability of sex appeal by which they seek to indoctrinate our young children into liberal lifestyles and distorted sexuality.
Artists such as Jay Z teach our youth to adore money, crave for sex and mistreat women.  Don’t even get me started on Eminem, Madonna and Katy Perry. There are to many to name but you get the point.

Now I ask you, what are you allowing the world to teach the precious minds of your young ones?  Are they being robed of their innocence by video games, music and mainstream media? It saddens me to see all the young teenage girls completely engulfed in the fashion industries idea of fashionable.  Showing but cheeks and cleavage because they want to be noticed and because they are hurting inside.  And what the heck are we doing about it?  Not a darn thing.  My prayer? That we would wake the heck up before it is to late for those we know and love. That we would seek to protect the minds and hearts of our family. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 That when we sit down and watch TV or movies we would be selective and diligent on what sounds and images we allow to come into our brains and be embedded into our hearts forever. Yes, my prayer is kind of long but a needed one.

So today as you come back from church, the park, the store or get ready to go to a Super Bowl Party be mindful of what you do and what you are teaching your family by your actions.  Standup for what is pure, true and good. For me that means holding fast to my faith because it is the only thing I have proven in my life and the world to be true.  It is what guides me and shapes me day by day.  And although this vessel is lacking and imperfect I know that the redeemer of our souls is with me.  He waits patiently for his beloved people to turn their eyes away from evil and run towards the truth.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13

Take All that I Am

What a Beautiful God we serve!
Let His praises be heard all over the earth and let every weary soul know the greatness and vastness of His love .

The more I know Him the more I want to love Him.  Yet at the same time it seems like the more I search for Him the more He undoes me.
It’s like trying to look straight at the sun and having your eyes burn.
Your Glory is far more powerful than my limited mind can comprehend.
In only ask of you that you would heal my heart daily, renew my mind every moment and that your word would always be the lamp unto my path.

Take all that I am Lord, that I may love you and you alone.
Teach me to walk diligently, trustfully, and humbly in your site.

Oh that my mouth would say only those things that bring you praise.
That my heart would mourn for those who don’t know of your endless mercies.
That my hands would work at helping others find you.

Be the light in me that quenches all my thirst and removes all the darkness that seeks to destroy me.

Amen!
Mariana

Come Lord Jesus – A Prayer

Come Lord Jesus,
Come and reside in my heart.
Come and dine with your servant.

Behold I lay at your feet, holding on to your garment, waiting for a release of your power in my life.

I lay at your feet, humbled and with a contrite spirit, asking for your covering.
Come and cover your servant as Boaz covered Ruth.

Come Lord Jesus,
Come and cleanse me from my sin
Come and bless your servant.

For I am here awaiting your call.
Let the power of your Spirit be restored in my broken heart.
Let the joy of your salvation be evident on my lips.

Come Lord Jesus,
Come and reside in my heart.
Come and dine with your servant, for I am ready to break bread with you,
now and forever.

Amen
Mariana

My Prayers are with you Aurora Colorado

We are a family that stays away from TV.  We have a TV but if it gets turned on, it’s usually to watch a movie on DVD or an old VHS movie.  

Yesterday when we were shopping at WholeFoods the gentleman in the meat area asked my husband if he had heard of the news about a shooting in Colorado.  My husband turned to me as I looked through the things in our cart.  I only half heard what he was asking and shrugged my shoulders and head as if to say no. 

The kids were carrying on asking: “Mommy can I have this, look mommy, look over here” so I really did not understand what he was asking me at first… 

“Shooting” I said to him, “no I did not know of anything like that.”  The gentleman in the meat area then went on to explain to us what happened. 

How tragic I thought to myself, my heart sank for moment.  But it was not until this morning as I was driving into work, amidst rain and slow traffic that it hit me.  I felt a deep pain in my heart and started to cry.  I kept thinking of the mother of the young man who is responsible for shooting and killing 12 people and injuring over 50 in Aurora Colorado. I thought about the dear parents who lost children and all of the people who lost someone or who are caring for someone who was injured the day of the shooting.  I thought about my own children, their sweet innocence and how I would feel if at this moment they were no longer here.  I cried even more. 

It’s a hard thing to grasp and understand.  So many questions remain unanswered about why this young man did what he did.  There are no words of consolation I can offer for those that have lost someone they love.  However, I can pray and will continue to pray for Gods healing balm to cover the broken hearted.  Brothers and sisters in Aurora Colorado, I don’t know who you are but know that you have a sister in Florida that is praying for you. 

I know how it feels to loose a loved one tragically and without warning.  It’s a crippling sensation in your gut that can leave you broken and angry. 

My prayer is that Gods peace which surpasses all human understanding would be with you and guard you.  My deepest condolences go out to those who have suffered through this tragic event.  I will continue to pray for you in the days to come. 

And for the rest of us who stand by and watch as this story unfolds, let us not forget for a moment that our life on this earth is like a vapor.  One moment its here and another moment it’s gone.  We know not the day when our clock will tick its last bit and we will be summoned home. 

News like this reminds me to stop majoring on the minors and truly live each day as God has planned for me, not wasting any time in selfish arguments and unimportant tasks.

Life in our physical bodies is God’s gift to us if we accept His redeeming love and salvation.  It’s life for our soul and a promise of his eternal love for us.  Let us not waist time on the foolishness of the world that surrounds us, let us instead seek to know God truly, understand His will for our life and commit to following Him so that through his Spirit and by His grace we can impact a hurting world that is desperate to know of His love.

The words from 2 survivors of this shooting sums this post up beautifully.

With a heavy heart for those who are now suffering,

Mariana

No Time for Prayer Today – Sorry God

Some days I just wake up in a rut.

I‘m exhausted from my midnight escapades of cooking and trying to put our little one to sleep before midnight.

Then to my utter frustration the alarm keeps making that annoying (going to throw you against the wall) noise and to top it off I realize that I have no clean clothes to put on for work.

Sigh and stumble as I get out of bed.  OUCH!!!!! The pointy end of my son’s toy just dug into my skin.  Try not to make noise as I get dressed in the dark as to not wake my husband and little one, quietly sleeping in bed.

I fumble through my closet pulling down clothes and I think to myself that I should have set my clothes out the night before, but something distracted me and I forgot to prepare them.

Ah yes, it was my daughter screaming because our little one “fights with fists” has taken a kitchen spatula and is swatting away at my daughter saying “haya haya, I got you.”  Yep, that’s exactly what happened, and so my thoughts were distracted and when I finally made it to my room I could not remember why I went there in the first place.  Hence, no clothes, no clean laundry for work.

I sit staring at my clothes in the dark and I think to my self, “I really hope these pants are black and not dark blue cause they won’t match what I am wearing.”  Okay, I manage to creep out of the room on my tippy toes looking out for sharp objects and misplaced toys.

I run down the hall, then quickly grab the bananas, frozen strawberries, spinach and kale for my daily organic green smoothie.  I run back down the hall to switch on the air conditioning so the entire house it not woken up from the thunderous noise my mighty Vitamix blender makes.  I then run back into the kitchen, the sound of the AC now muffling any loud noise, and on goes the switch for the blender.  I add in some coconut milk and water, and blendy blend.  Whew, 25 seconds and I have my self a green mustache.  Finally something fast and efficient.  I feel the rejuvenating greens energizing me as I take each sip.  Now if I can just find my other shoe that would be great.

I chug down my green smoothie only to realize that its way past the time and I have to leave now or be late.  I grab my bible as I swing out the door.  I say a quick prayer of protection over the family, grab the car keys and I am gone like the wind.

———-

So I know what you’re thinking.  What a crazy chic this Mariana is.  But I really think you’re more concerned about the green smoothie I made, wondering to your self how disgusting it is that I blended kale and spinach in with fruits.  That’s another topic but just for fun check out this article on green smoothies.

Whatever your reaction is to my little real life story above, I hope one thing pops out at you. 

Ding, ding, ding…..and the thing that pops out at least for me is that I did not have time with God at all in the morning before leaving.  Instead, I rushed through my crazy morning completely forgetting the author of it all, my Dad in heaven, the creator of the heavens and the earth.

And yet I have the audacity to get frustrated when my day is hard and I feel upset or frazzled.  But I know deep down inside that I have a void in my heart on those days I wake up and don’t communicate with my Father in Heaven.  I have a disconnect from His power and presence in my life; and if I keep it up long enough (without praying) I will fall into a deep spiritual hole.

Yet we are reminded in Ephesians chapter six that we are to be praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

But we let the little, insignificant things around us distract us from having communion with God and from allowing His Holy Spirit to descend upon us and equip us for His holy work.

When we don’t have quiet time with the Lord each day, it blinds our eyes to spiritual things and we walk in our own strength so we are prone to overreact, lose hope and handle things with impatience and irritability.  But when we pray and ask His Holy Spirit to come and reside with us, we are blessed as He examines our hearts and convicts us of our sin and then restores us to the Fathers love.  Prayer and alone time with God is essential to the life of every follower of Christ, so we must find the time to spend with Him.

Here are a few quotes from some of the Christian Celebrities of our past on the topic of prayer.
“Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.”~ R. A. Torrey

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” ~ Corrie ten Boom

“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath, as a living Christian that does not pray.”  ~ Matthew Henry

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”  ~ John Bunyan

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” ~ Oswald Chambers

Lots of Love!
Mariana