MISSION OF THE LOVING SHEPHERD

"We Dare To Believe"


 


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7 Day Devotional: Boot Camp: the Basics of Dependence


Contents:

Day 1: Stability. God is our foundation and makes our dwelling complete.
Day 2: Strength. God is our source of power and makes us prepared.
Day 3: Security. God is our protection and makes us confident.
Day 4: Sufficiency. God is our fullness and makes us satisfied.
Day 5: Satan. God is our authority and makes us righteous.
Day 6: Speaking. God is our voice and makes us heard.
Day 7: Salvation. God is our defense and makes us warriors.

Introduction:

Basic training is meant to push and pull you, to shape you into someone you weren't. The clay is sculptured. The result is a thinking, feeling, fighting machine - a spiritual warrior.

Ahead is some boot camp training. After you graduate you'll view the world differently ... and others will view you differently. Here's the readiness agenda.

Day 1: Asking Yourself Questions That Matter

Isaiah 40: 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.

How long do you think you'll live?

I asked an 80-year-old man, "When you were 20 did you ever think about being 80?"
"No, I didn't," he said.

I asked, "When you were 35 did you ever think about being 80?"
"No, I never did," he said.

So, I asked, "When you were 50 did you ever think about being 80?
"I may have, I can't remember," he said.

I pressed on and asked, "When you were 65, did you think about being 80?"
"I suppose I did occasionally," he said.

I meant no disrespect, but I asked, "When you were 75 did you think about being 80?"
"Yes I hoped I'd make it," he said.

I then asked, "Now that you're 80 what do you think about being 80?"
"I can't believe I'm 80 ... until I look in the mirror," he said.

Whatever our age we, hopefully, grasp our physical life is temporary. Our lifetime is held in the hands of God.

The foundation of life, now and forever, is an intimate relationship with God.

At 20 (and at other ages) we think we have loads of time to establish a relationship with God. At 80 we realize there isn't much time left to build a relationship with God.

How old are you? Do you think you'll make 80?

God's salvation makes us complete whatever our age.

Day 2: How To Find Courage Inside Trouble

Psalm 46: 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Temporary life is messy and it's full of junk.

It rarely follows our preconceived plan, does it?

Mokokoma Mokhonoana, for instance, said, "In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying."

The unknown terrifies us. Our temporary life prefers comfort.

I haven't met many who thrive on terror. Of course there are a few who get excited by Freddie Kruger, or the classic Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or The Exorcist but hey, those are simply Hollywood movies.

I mean even if you're frightened by Halloween cinema, this is nothing compared to real terror. Real terror calls for courage. It's a risky venture to swing swords with real terror. It's chillingly unsettling to lock eyes with real terror.

Is defending yourself from real terror even possible?

Yes and no.

No, if you're uneducated and unprepared. In this case, you'd be no match for terror. You'd be eaten alive ... or something worse.

Yes, if you're educated and prepared. In that case, you could survive terror. Although, you may be left with a story-telling scar which may offer someone encouragement.

Where do you develop the street smarts and bravery to go mano a mano with terror? Is there such a place?

I think so. In my estimation, it's usually taught gradually (I'm thinking Karate Kid wax on, wax off) and accomplished as we're overwhelmed by experiences of terror. It takes training in dependence to deal with terror.

Evidence for this is found in Jesus, (Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 7, and John 15). Watch and consider what Jesus did, and then do that.

No one has the ability to defeat terror on their own. Yet, Jesus showed us how to win against terror.

God is the preparation and strength we must depend on.

Day 3: What Is A Reliable Source Of Freedom and Security?

Philippians 1:6 God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won't stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns.

What makes you confident?

Just for the fun of it make a quick list. Write at least three items on your list.

For instance:
1. Money in the bank.
2. Food in the cupboard.
3. The latest iPhone.

It's eye-opening to write a list of what makes us confident.

But beyond this list what, specifically, do you do to make yourself secure?

Perhaps you think to:
Lock the doors before you climb in bed.
Take your meds at the proper time.
Hide a spare key and remember where you put it.
Drink plenty of water.
Buy a dog that barks and attacks only during an evident threat.

It's revealing what we do to make ourselves feel secure, isn't it?

The former president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, spoke about freedom and security when he said, "If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. "

Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5). Freedom and security are wrapped in this Bible verse. Freedom and security result in dependence on Christ.

Elisabeth Elliot spoke the truth when she said, "Where does your security lie? Is God your refuge, your hiding place, your stronghold, your shepherd, your counselor, your friend, your redeemer, your savior, your guide? If He is, you don't need to search any further for security."

Don't forget this: your only reliable source of freedom and security is your intimate relationship with the living God.

Day 4: Why You Can Live Beyond What Makes You Happy

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

Did Anton Chekhov tell the truth when he said, "People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy?"

What makes you happy?

A popular sentiment is to do what makes you happy, right?

Never mind that our fallen nature is bent on doing stuff that is not necessarily good for us nor inclined to give us any lasting satisfaction thus, happiness.

So what makes you happy?

A warm and fuzzy teddy bear you can hug and kiss? A warm glass of milk before bedtime? A warm welcome when you show up for work?

What makes you happy?

I want to confess - though it's embarrassing - I have rarely considered that God could make me happy.

Shame on me.

Still, as I searched for truth, I pondered this notion that happiness is wrapped up in my intimacy with Jesus Christ.

This idea of happiness in Jesus became infectious. The sick things I promoted to gain health and happiness, temporarily, gave way to things that actually made me happy. As an example, spending time in getting to know God better.

What does it mean to learn the truth about your relationship with Jesus? To allow the Holy Spirit to grow you up? Is this a potentially happy thought for you?

It's easy, of course, to suppose you have a better idea of what will make you happy than God does. But do you?

Are you even curious enough to find out if the Lord knows more about what will make you happy than you do?

Well, if your willing to step out in faith, you will discover something beyond what you think makes you happy, no matter what the season.

Day 5: How to finally get it right

James 4: 7 Surrender to God! Resist the devil, and he will run from you.

To become a spiritual warrior the four days prior to this one, day five, are vital to your training in warfare.

You must learn and understand that God is your stability, strength, security, and sufficiency. If you have not mastered these lessons, then you're not ready to take on Satan.

Before you are able to deal effectively with your enemy you will have to discover dependence on Christ.

Please remember Jesus did not do things on his own. It wasn't his plan and purpose that was being accomplished. Instead, it was Jesus' Father's plan and purpose that was being accomplished.

If you think God is going to do things your way, you're truly mistaken. Moreover, this would be evidence that you're not prepared for day five.

Tongue in cheek Mark Twain wrote, "We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents."

Satan is not a wimp. You have no authority over Satan unless the Holy Spirit chooses to grant you that authority. But even then, you won't become independent of God's control and authority.

Jesus operated within this truth.

Evil knows when you're faking and will rip you like the demons ripped the sons of Sceva.

So, how do you get it right? How do you become a spiritual warrior?

Your attitude, your prayer, has to declare word-for-word and action-to-action exactly what Jesus said, "Father I'd like this cup to pass, but your will be done not mine."

This is the dependence that will finally make it possible for you to get it right.

Are you ready for day five?

Day 6: Simple And Genuine Speaking That Produces Sensational Results

Mark 4:39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

James, the brother of Jesus, provided a poignant insight when he presented the idea that we don't get what we want because we want what we want and nothing less.

We ask amiss. We speak nonsense.

The key to speaking the word of faith, as in day five, is moving beyond our will to embracing God's will. Once this is applied we will begin to comprehend and practice what is necessary to speak with God's authority.

We've all witnessed a questionable evangelist, TV or otherwise, shout, prance, and command healing and deliverance in the name of Jesus. Sometimes something appears to happen. But usually what's desired doesn't occur. Rarely, after the healing service is a person sent to the priest or doctor to confirm their health and wellness.

What's the difference between truth and lie? Do the research, observe the true biblical prophets, such as Elijah, Elisha, and Daniel. Or Jesus, Peter, and Paul. There's a right way and a wrong way to speak for God.

Daniel didn't yell, "Throw me in the lion's den and I'll prove there's a God!"

No, Daniel was thrown into the lion's den to die. Daniel didn't die because it wasn't God's will for Daniel to die.

God's will isn't often the same as human will. Super heated imagination and drama have little to do with speaking with the authority of Christ.

Jesus spoke with authority because his relationship with the Father had already been established. There was no question about the results. Are you there yet? You can be.

Depend on the Holy Spirit.

Practice God's will and not your own will.

Day 7: Trading a Harp and Cloud for Authentic Salvation

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Why did Jesus come here? Was it to give us a harp and a cloud in the sweet by and by? Or something more?

If this is a quiz question, the answer is much more than eternity.

Such as?

The temporal benefits of salvation.

"I've never heard of those, what are they?"

I'll mention one and list a couple more you can unwrap and use the rest of your life.

One major benefit of Salvation is the ability to become a Spiritual Warrior.

What's that?

A spiritual warrior is someone who doesn't necessarily appear intimidating until a circumstance occurs that calls for warfare skills. (By the way, these situations happen every day).

What moves does a spiritual warrior make?

A spiritual warrior runs in retreat and surrenders.

Let me explain.

When temptation threatens it is an opportunity to make a stand by running away from the temptation and hiding under the protective wing of God ... just like a chick would run for momma when danger is sensed.

Successful spiritual warriors won't battle in their own strength because they realize they don't have any strength to withstand, nevermind defeat, temptation.

Spiritual Warriors have learned through battlefield experience. They bear the marks of repeated failure. Thus, they learned to depend on Christ's ability to save them from any present danger.

This is a big benefit. Sadly many have never heard of it, never mind included it for their welfare.

I don't pretend that it's easy to become a spiritual warrior.

Dependence on Jesus is only one characteristic of a Spiritual Warrior. Other characteristics would be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Salvation is serious about making you a spiritual warrior ... beginning today.

Are you ready to enlist?

Or are you reluctant to sign up?

In either case, Salvation wants you!

About the author:

Lee Escobedo is retired from a 25+ year career in Christian radio at Family Life Radio in Tucson, Arizona.
Read his Blog @ Lee's Nite Radio
Get Lee's book Getting Unstuck: 7 Steps to Freedom @ Amazon
Contact me if you have questions or comments: service@missionofthelovingshepherd.org

God bless your day.

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