West End Assembly of God
Friday, July 03, 2015
Daily Devotional Guide
DAILY DEVOTIONS – June 29-July 4, 2015
ENGAGE NOW In Spiritual Practices: Simplicity
MONDAY, June 29 – Ecclesiastes 7:30 (JB)
God made man simple; man’s complex problems are of his own devising.
“The spiritual discipline of simplicity is an inward reality that results in an outward life-style.”* It profoundly affects the way we live. We are affected by our culture’s lust for things, and it drives us to accumulate all the stuff that clutters our lives and wastes our time. “Our need for security has led us into an insane attachment to things…the modern hero is the poor boy who purposefully becomes rich rather than the rich boy who voluntarily becomes poor …covetousness we call ambition. Hoarding we call prudence. Greed we call industry.”* In the middle of all this, God calls us to give, to empty ourselves, to sacrifice; and in the process we discover freedom from the incessant need to impress people. We discover all we really need is God. He is enough. Let the Holy Spirit challenge your heart regarding ways you may need to “go simple.”
TUESDAY, June 30 – Psalm 62:10 (KJV)
…if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.
The Bible deals “decisively with the inner spirit of slavery that an idolatrous attachment to wealth brings. The 10th commandment is against covetousness, the inner lust to have, which leads to stealing and oppression…Jesus declared war on the materialism of his day.”* He called “mammon” a rival God (Lk. 16:13). He often spoke about the unique challenges associated with wealth and worldly prosperity. He counseled people to “follow Him to a joyful life of carefree unconcern for possessions.”* While spiritual dangers lie hidden at every level of socio-economic existence, Americans should listen carefully to Christ’s teaching. The web of covetousness spreads stealthily over our hearts in our culture. Where is your heart? Examine your checkbook! (Matt. 6:21, 19). We all need to return to the scriptural plumb line.
WEDNESDAY, July 1 – Luke 12:15 (KJV)
A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
“Jesus exhorted the rich young ruler not just to have an inner attitude of detachment from his possessions, but literally to get rid of his possessions if he wanted the kingdom of God (Matt. 19:16-22).” He counseled others to sell their possessions “and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail…” (Luke 12:33). Christ referred to a rich farmer who hoarded; while we would call him prudent, Jesus called him a fool (Luke 12:16-21)! Ouch, ouch, ouch! Do you hear what I hear? Jesus calls us to simplicity so that our lives can become uncluttered and available to God for kingdom purposes. How are you doing with that?
THURSDAY, July 2 – Philippians 4:12
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…
“Asceticism and simplicity are mutually incompatible. Occasional superficial similarities in practice must never obscure the radical difference between the two. Asceticism renounces possessions. Simplicity sets possessions in proper perspective. Asceticism finds contentment only when it is abased. Simplicity knows contentment in both abasement and abounding.”* Simplicity reorients our lives so that we can genuinely enjoy our possessions without them destroying us. “Without simplicity we will either capitulate to the ‘mammon’ spirit of this present age, or we will fall into an un-Christian legalistic asceticism. Both lead to idolatry. Both are spiritually lethal.”* Simplicity sets us free to receive and enjoy God’s good provisions without them owning us, and with us liberally sharing them. You will know how much they own you by how easily or difficult it is for you to open your hands. Can you let God take them and use them for His kingdom purposes? This goes far beyond tithing. This touches everything we “own.” Let the Holy Spirit measure and correct your heart.
FRIDAY, July 3 – Deut. 8:17(NIV)
“You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’”
God led the Children of Israel into the Promised Land with several warnings. It would be a land flowing with milk and honey, a good and prosperous place. Yet, God knew the tendency of the human heart to lose perspective and default to personal glory. So He warned them: Beware lest you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” God doesn’t care so much about the brand you wear or drive; He cares about your heart and your availability to Kingdom purposes. If you refuse to tithe and give liberally to missions, then you have a heart problem. God knows how to groom you! We must be good stewards of every blessing He has given to us. How are you doing with that?
SATURDAY, July 4 – Matthew 6:25-33(KJV) (focus verse 33)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness...
To live an ordered life, we have to set priorities. It is impossible to overstate the importance of Jesus’ statement here. “Everything hinges upon maintaining the ‘first’ thing as first.”* Nothing must come before the kingdom of God. Focusing on the Kingdom of God is the primary, central core of the spiritual practice of simplicity. “What does God want?” “How can I be best available to Him?” Ask these questions and let the Holy Spirit lead you.
*Quote taken from Richard J. Foster’s book, “Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.”