Monday, October 3, 2011

What Way Are You Heading?

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

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Joshua 24:15 (NIV)
15 But if serving the LORD 
seems undesirable to you, 
then choose for yourselves 
this day whom you will serve, 
whether the gods your ancestors 
served beyond the Euphrates, 
or the gods of the Amorites, 
in whose land you are living. 
But as for me and my household, 
we will serve the LORD.”

What direction are you heading in your relationship with Jesus? Are you moving closer to Him? Or are you thinking you are marking time and actually slowly drifting away?  We have to choose each day to follow Jesus. Is your love for the Lord growing? Those are the kinds of questions we need to be asking ourselves and each other on a regular basis.

I am reminded of the story of Jullian of Norwich.  In 1373 she was healed of a serious illness after experiencing a series of visions of suffering of Christ.  She wrote two accounts of her experience in a time when women were really not supposed to write or have much to say.  She spent the later part of her life as a type of recluse. She lived in a small round closed room attached to the church. The room had three windows; one to the outside world, one to the church so she could take communion, and one to those who cared for her needs.  In this room she lived a shut in life, devoted to prayer and seeking the Lord.  One of the things that struck me as I was reading some of the things she had written of her mystic encounters. The people around her had all but pronounced as dead.  She knew she was dying and her thought was one of sadness of not being able to live longer to know the Lord more. She wanted to live longer so she could continue to grow in her love and understanding of the Savior.  She wanted to better understand the passion and the suffering of Christ.

I have been walking with the Lord about 30 years at this point and I have found that there is alway more of Jesus, God The Father and Holy Spirit to know.  It is easy however to get caught up with the busyness of life and think because we attend church, and try to not cuss or commit any of the BIG sin that we are doing ok.  I attended a lecture this weekend on Pondering Revival. One of the handouts was a sheet that is helpful in preparing your heart for personal revival. It goes through 23 scripture verses and asks you some hard questions. I want to include the first one for you and will perhaps include others in future posts.  
This is the link to a printable journal page for working through Matthew 6:12-14

You are to read the scripture passage first then answer yes or no to the questions that follow

The Verse:
Matthew 6:12-14 (NIV1984)

12 Forgive us our debts,
   as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.[a]
   14 For if you forgive men 
when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

The Questions:
Is there anyone against whom you hold a grudge?
Anyone you haven't forgiven?
Anyone you hate?
Anyone you do not love?
Are there any misunderstanding that you are unwilling to forget?
Is there any person against who you are harboring bitterness, resentment or jealousy? 
Anyone you dislike to hear praised or well spoken of?
Do you allow anything to justify a wrong attitude toward another?

1 John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, 
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins 
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness"  

Sometime we need to allow Jesus to walk through the rooms of our heart and help us to do some house cleaning. If you have answered yes to any of the above questions it means there is some sin in your lift that you need to allow Jesus to help you deal with. 

His desire is that you would be moving closer and closer to Him. That you would be growing daily in your love relationship with Him.  Sometimes we have allowed an unforgiving attitude to keep us from that deeper relationship.  I know that some of you reading have probably been through some terrible things. Jesus understands your struggle and your pain. You may be thinking you will never be able to forgive those who have wronged you.  You may not be to a place of being able to walk out that forgiveness today but perhaps you can tell Jesus that you would like to be able to forgive. I know that Jesus wants to help you - trust Him.  Ask Him to help you. 

Dear Lord, 
Thank you for preparing our hearts to go deeper in our relationship with you. Help us to deal with those questions to which we answered yes. For some it is just something we have over looked or neglected that you have brought to mind. For others Lord, there is deep pain and hurt. Bring your comfort and your healing. Help us to forgive the way you have forgiven us.   

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