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My Apology - A Devotion

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Matthew 10:38-39 (Message)
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”

God is faithful. I am not. It’s true. Not meant as a slight to myself, but careful introspection revealing a rebellious heart and diverse nature that tends to be concerned about me than I should be. How does one forget about yourself when self is the driving force of our very nature? How do you keep your eyes on Jesus when we cannot see the Lord, feel Him or touch Him in a tangible way? That is a lot to ask of such a fickle motivated by all five senses and limited in one’s perception of eternity as it is hidden in our heart. The eternity that God has placed in our heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) is the very thing that keeps us pursuing life. It is our will to live. That little bit of forever is our intent on finding out what more there is to this life than our current conditions indicate. Coupled with the measure of faith that we have been given the need for the everlasting causes us to strive for something more knowing innately that there has to be more to life than this. This sounds deeply philosophical but I assure it is not. Every human being ever created has Eternity in their heart and a measure of faith ready to grow that comprises their true ability and potential to prosper. But missing a key ingredient, life becomes trial and error laced with delays and detours that have you discouraged on the brink of devastation. Stop right there! Don’t take another step! Turn around slowly! I have a message for you today worth hearing. It will change your life forever if you will just stop being stubborn and listen. God is faithful. You don’t have to be faithful because He is faithful. You just have to be willing…

Psalm 91:14-16 (Message)
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says GOD, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”

"Hold on to me for dear life." I would like to apologize to every person reading this who has ever been mislead by religion to believe that we have an active part in salvation. I used to think that I had to be the faith full one in my relationship to the Father, too. I had a long list self-prescribed rules and regulations that would label me faithful and pleasing to the Lord. I was wrong oh so wrong. God does not want a religious army but devoted children. Those who know Me and trust Me is His Calling. But because people do not know God, they have made Him out to be some sort of staunch disciplinarian who is ready to crack the whip over our life and make us do everything His Way or else. Perhaps, it is Christian folks who have done this with our propensity for judgment and condemnation rather than big arms, bigger pockets and even bigger love. We do not love others and cannot love ourselves because we have never fully accepted the Love of God awaiting us. Such people are attempting to share an empty cup. All the Lord ever asked is that we come to Him and hold on for dear life – Eternal Life and Love in His Presence forever.

Psalm 91:1-13 (Message)
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “GOD, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!” That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards. His huge outstretched arms protect you—under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm. Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day, not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon. Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses. Yes, because GOD’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door. He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling. You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

Trying to lead others where we have not been ourselves is impossible so my apologies to all those who I tried to lead before I learned to follow Jesus Christ. I am to live in the Presence of God but too often run around trying to find it because I forget that He lives in me. I try to build earthly refuges rather than concentrating on the firm foundation called faith that I have been given which allows me to seek solace in the Presence of God. By putting my trust in the Lord, I need no other source of comfort or protection for I am satisfied and safe in such a place. I have nothing to fear so I don’t need to be better than anyone else or stronger than anything, I just have to trust the Lord. Trust is not a sign of weakness or vulnerability but a surrender of that measure of faith tucked in my heart to the One who is Faithful filled with unfailing and overflowing love for me that allows me to love others unconditionally. If only I would stop battling the demons in my life and surrender my sword that is useless for His Word, His Truth, more powerful than any other two-edged sword. Since the Lord has become my refuge, I do not have to live in fear any longer that hinders my ability to love and trust others but rather now I have been set free. There is a guard along my path and even when I stumble because I surely will, His Angels catch me and right my way because He alone is faithful.

I Thessalonians 5:23-24 (Message)
May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!

My apologies for all the times that I tried before and failed to be holy in every way especially for all those times that I adopted a holier-than-thou attitude to cover my inability to be faithful at all times. If God said it, He will do it in my life! All I must do is live underneath His Shadow and cling to His Presence in my life, and He will work out every detail for my good (Romans 8:28) and to perfection. (Psalm 138:8) See religion hands us the pieces of our broken lives and tells us to do something with it, but not the Lord. Our relationship with God through Jesus Christ says, “Just give me all the pieces and I will work it out for you!” What an awesome God we serve! He will make all things new when we give Him everything that we have. It only makes sense that surrender is necessary. But it is also optional, God will not force us to surrender our lives to Him, but rather invites us to a relationship of love that is stronger than death. (Song of Solomon 8:6) God’s Love seals our heart and writes His Name on it. It is in that moment that He takes full responsibility for our life including every sin. It is an act of faithfulness and unfailing love that we as human beings are not capable but as Children of God we must strive for. God’s Loyal love for us never runs out. His Mercy concerning us is new every morning and well worth hoping for. (Lamentations 3:22-24) Forgive me if I made you think that anything that I am doing is of my own strength or mindset because this is clearly not the case. It is the God in my working His Way out to change my circumstances and settle some situations. Just because I have given up on you, doesn’t mean that the Lord has. My apologies for my poor representation of the massive God who I serve. (I Corinthians 1:7-9) Please forgive me for all the times that I have let you down. But remember the Lord will never let you down. (I Corinthians 10:13) When my love grows cold and my patients warn, please not that God’s Love will never run out or runaway. He will not take it from you and give it to someone else and it doesn’t come and go as the tide. (Isaiah 54:9-10) Thankfully His Grace and Mercy are newly prepared for me each morning for all these shortcomings. Only the Lord can make us holy and complete. All I can do is give Him my life holding nothing back.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (Message)
You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.

I used to think that I was to win the race myself. God did not call me to win the race, He told me to finish it. Jesus is the winner! He brings us victory. His Spirit encourages me and empowers me to keep going especially when I am ready to throw in the towel and quit. He calls me a “good soldier” who has been commissioned to march to the end. This requires endurance and surrender on a daily basis because it is my nature to do-it-myself accepting help from no one. Why? I don’t want to owe anyone anything. My life is obligated to the Lord. He is the One who gives me victory and it is my duty to accept it by finishing the race. “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” (I Corinthians 9:24-27) The only thing that can keep us from crossing the finish line of faith is disbelief. (Hebrews 3:12-14) Do you believe? Does your life resemble what you believe?

I John 2:24-25 (Message)
Stay with what you heard from the beginning, the original message. Let it sink into your life. If what you heard from the beginning lives deeply in you, you will live deeply in both Son and Father. This is exactly what Christ promised: eternal life, real life!

My apologies that sometimes I forget the real message that I am a product of. The one that says, God is love and He chose to love me. This is the very essence of what I believe. I must let this “sink into my life” so that I always remember that without a lifestyle of love and pure devotion to the Lord My God that I have missed the point altogether. I was created to love and be loved by God. I was given Eternity in my heart because there is more to life than this. By connecting my faith with God’s Love, I am able to love others as Christ loves me and they will see the Gospel and want what I have otherwise they will work hard to stay away from it. How can I tell others this beautiful message of love and salvation? How can I break open my heart and share its contents? When will I be able to stop apologizing for all my shortcomings and rejoice in this brand new life? Is today too soon? We get caught up in religion and miss the point of our relationship with Jesus Christ which estranges us from Him. When we are lacking fulfillment and satisfaction found in the Lord alone, we become agitated and moody because of the vacancy produced when we step away from the Lord. It is even more overwhelming. God is faithful. He remains true and constant even when I am random or rebellious. He is always reliable even when I find my way a whole lot easier or so I think. He is truthful and His Word never returns void. He is not a man so God cannot lie. He is accurate concerning every detail of my life as He pursues perfection for us. My pursuit of faith requires only that I form a strong, unshakeable bond bound by belief in the Lord Jesus Christ and purpose never to wander from it. God’s most definitely not finished with me yet. I must not throw in the towel either but return to the heart of the matter and live in His Great Love making no apologies for my new life in Jesus anymore.

Revelation 2:2-5 (Message)
“I see what you’ve done, your hard, hard work, your refusal to quit. I know you can’t stomach evil that you weed out apostolic pretenders. I know your persistence, your courage in my cause that you never wear out. But you walked away from your first love—why? What’s going on with you, anyway? Do you have any idea how far you’ve fallen? A Lucifer fall! Turn back! Recover your dear early love. No time to waste, for I’m well on my way to removing your light from the golden circle.”

I John 4:17-19 (Message)
God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love. We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.

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