Sunday, March 26, 2017

4th Sunday of Lent - - Oneness with Christ - Guarded by Grace

Deus caritas est! “…God is love.” 1 John 4:16
As we enter this season of reflection and renewal, let’s rediscover God calling to His children, revealing His goodness, and transforming each one with Perfect Love. "This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins" (1 John 4:10) ~ Donna Oswalt

Humanity is in the grip of an evil power, and we are helpless to free ourselves from bondage to that power by our own strength. The only one who can deliver us from it is Jesus Christ. Ray Stedman, Spiritual Warfare (p.41)

The power of evil is stronger than we are but not stronger than God. In fact, Scripture reminds us that God is greater than any power in the world. Unfortunately, all too often, we try to overcome evil by our own strength. We will always fail.

Little children, guard yourselves from idols.  1 John 5:21 NASB 

Anything that takes God's place in our hearts is an idol. We comfort ourselves by saying that these "idols" are nothing like the golden calf of the Old Testament; we are not melting gold, building a pagan god. The truth is ANYTHING that we allow to mean more to us than God is our idol. We surround ourselves with beautiful tokens of success, houses, cars, clothes, vacations, memberships, and more; we deny we feel empty. Lost in negative rhetoric and consumed by our personal opinions, we pretend to defend righteous living. We share about the mission trips we take and the foreign children in faraway orphanages we sponsor as if any part of missional living is our idea. God, forgive us; guard our hearts!

READ 1 John 5:21

consider this!

- What idols do I worship?

- How do I plan to "guard" my heart from these idols?

- Am I willing to place Jesus Christ at the center of my life?

Lord, I go along without thought to idols, thinking my gestures of love and service in Your name are enough. When I place time in the Living Word last in the day, when I place my desires ahead of another's needs, when I spend Your offering on tokens that will not bring me joy, when I take credit for the goodness and success that comes my way - I place my idols BEFORE You. Forgive my shallow, selfish ways. Guard my heart from the evil one. Guard me from myself. Amen. -dho

All rights reserved; copyright 2017 by Donna Oswalt/Co-Founder of Mangrove Ministries/Christian blogger and author;  Breathing Room For My Soul (blog)~ Follow on Twitter @soulchat

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