Dear Friends, we're beginning the four week countdown to REAL with this gift for you. It is the first of 14 Daily Devotions. Each was written by a woman in our community, led by the writers of Exposition.
They were written with you in mind, that you would carve out a few minutes today to read these words, to help you to read the Word, and to let these words bring Truth to you and your situation.
So each Monday on the run up to REAL, and then after the conference, each weekday for two weeks, I'll post a Daily Devotion on my blog. It will also be sent out by email to all the REAL delegates.
We pray that you'll be blessed, encouraged and challenged. God loves you!
We can't wait to all be together soon at REAL.Until then, pop the kettle on, settle down and let these words of real truth bring freedom,
With love Catrina and the REAL team x
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ John 8:31-32 (NIV)
In the previous chapter of John we read that there is much debate and speculation about Jesus’ identity. Some were inexplicably drawn by a hunger that was unlocked, but many more were offended and resistant; so troubled that they sought to silence and destroy the man they viewed as a heretic.
Jesus was creating a stir and stimulating debate and gossip. This set the curious off investigating, talking to anyone who knew anything and voicing their opinions, making judgments and shifting their views according to whom they listened to.
Humans are social beings so we form our beliefs according to all sorts of alliances and allegiances that we make. Some are thrust upon us by the nature of our birth and the innate qualities that define our unconscious world view. Other values are driven by the environment and the experiences that shape and form us.
Some of us have multiple streams of influence flowing through us every day. The term "Twittersphere" and "trending" are recent constructs to measure what topics have momentarily surfaced as noteworthy; headlines on a news report or the success or failure or notoriety of fickle public interest.
So who influences me? Do I hop from blog to blog, or book to book, or listen and watch the latest voice? Am I like a foraging insect moving from flower to flower taking what I can and filling every waking moment with entertainment and distractions, always consuming more?
Yes, I can be like this, so I have to make decisions about who and what influences me. I find that the first part of my day is sacred and informs the hours that follow. I look to build a solid foundation each day by consciously setting my thoughts on Christ through reading the bible and prayer. If I skip this then I rarely find that time is captured back. Throughout the day I have frequent brief times of stopping for silence and reflection and one sentence prayers. These help me to centre and settle and rest from the onslaught of the external influences that fill my day.
Jesus says here if you hold to my teachings. To hold is to grasp and have a physical connection. We hold a child’s hand to guide them safely across the road. There is proximity and intimacy. Holding is about familiarity, knowledge and personal experience. When I read the bible I receive guidance and inspiration through my personal encounter of the Holy Spirit which revives and directs me.
To hold can also mean to keep and maintain a steady dedication and commitment. I am able to stand secure in times of trouble, anxiety and challenge. I will not be derailed by external forces seeking to control or influence me. To be a believer and disciple of Jesus calls for holding His hand, and walking in His ways knowing that He is trustworthy and true. The consequence is freedom. I am no longer to be swept away by the opinions of others and can experience true liberty and enjoy being myself.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to hold to your teachings. Give me the desire and discipline to stop and make time to encounter your presence and power as I read the bible each day. Help me to have the courage to turn off the noise and create pools of refreshing silence and prayer. Amen