Daily Easter Devotion Monday, May 6th

Monday, May 6, 2013 – Psalm 124; Deuteronomy 8:1-10; James 1:1-15 and Luke 9:18-27

Our readings today really focus upon the theme of our being strengthened or weakened through our temptations.

First I read Psalm 124 and immediately wrote the note that follows it. Then I read the Old Testament reading from Deuteronomy and noted how the Israelites where tested in the wilderness and God provided for them. Then in James I heard how I can be strengthened through testing, for as I trust in God I will find true life. Our readings for today ends with Jesus saying unto me and all of us; “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.”

Psalm 124 – 1   If it had not been the LORD who was on our side
— let Israel now say —
2   if it had not been the LORD who was on our side,
when our enemies attacked us,
3   then they would have swallowed us up alive,
when their anger was kindled against us;  ….

 8   Our help is in the name of the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

For me, our enemy is our own sinfulness, which strives to take our life from us. Yet God, through Jesus Christ defeats our sin and gives us new life. Truly, our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Amen.

Deuteronomy 8:1-10 – 2Remember the long way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.

James 1:1-15 – 2My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, 3because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; 4and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. ….

13No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. 14But one is tempted by one’s own desire, being lured and enticed by it; 15then, when that desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and that sin, when it is fully grown, gives birth to death.

Luke 9:18-27 – 23Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. 25What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?

When I was at Ghost Ranch with K.O., he had a couple of magnets which he carried in his pocket. They were given to him by his son. As I think about those magnets and our readings today, I sense how good and evil, God and worldly temptations are like two strong magnets and I’m caught in between both. I can be drawn to one or the other. If I let God draw me in, then I’ll find real life. If I let the temptations of life draw me in, I may get temporary satisfaction but only that, for the ways of the world are fleeting.

Two questions; what tempts you to wander away from God’s ways?

And secondly, what loss did you experience as you gave into a temptation?

Jesus’ statement to us says; “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Jesus was saying to his disciples that choosing to follow him is something we choose daily. I’d add, moment by moment.

Today, choose to take up your cross and follow Jesus, knowing that he’ll be with at all times.

O Lord, I know I have given into temptation and thus turned from your ways. Thanks for continually calling me back to your ways, the ways of real life. May I trust in thee, and at all times seek to follow thee. Amen.

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