Day 18 – The Incredible Gift You Won’t Accept

Day 18

Read

2 Kings 5:1-19

Reflect

God invites us all to be healed by him.  To have our life changed in transformational ways.  He offers us all forgiveness.  Spiritual healing greater than even what Naaman received.  A new life!

So often, however, I want God to change me on my own terms. I want forgiveness and I want to repent (turn to life with Jesus), but in the ways I control.

Spiritually, like Naaman, we want God to heal us but…

…we want to bring God our good deeds as payment for healing, rather than look in the mirror and focus on repenting in the areas where we need to change. (denial)

…we want Him to deal with the issues we are willing to confront, not the uncomfortable areas He wants us to confront. (pride)

…we want to be challenged in the ways that are easy or exciting, not in the ways that force us to make uncomfortable changes to things like our time,  finances, or friends. (selfishness)

If God made us and knows what’s best for us, the best choice we can make is to surrender to the work He wants to do in our lives, but that means doing it on His terms.

Respond

Belong – Because you can belong before you believe
The great news is that God offers the gifts of redemption, forgiveness, and transformation to everyone. He’s not exclusive in His gifts. If you began a relationship with God, what’s an area of your life you wish God would change?

Believe  – Because those who belong often start to believe
Choosing to believe in Jesus starts an incredible journey of life change.  God doesn’t want to leave you the same person, but He wants to continually transform you into something new.  As you consider a choice to believe in Jesus and rely on Him for forgiveness and transformation, ask Him to show you where He wants to heal you.

Become – Because everyone who believes can become someone new
One of the common hindrances to spiritual growth is an inability to or an unwillingness to examine your own heart, look in the mirror in search of the areas of your life where God wants to work.  Sit in silence for 10 minutes today and ask God to search your heart and show you where He wants to work.  Chances are you may already know. 

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
  test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
  and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Amen

– by Jeff Brodie

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2 Comments

  1. Pam says, April 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    I don’t know if this exactly fits with today’s devotion but … this series and this spiritual journey has created a lot of discussion between my family and friends (both Christians and non-Christians). Among many questions is the one my mother and I are having a ‘healthy’ debate over – what happens ‘physically’ (maybe not the right way to put it?) when we die – do we wait in the ground until Jesus returns to earth again or do we go to heaven and wait for others to join us? She printed this scripture for me from the discussion in her small group: 1 Thessalonians 4: 15-18 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. – Love to hear your thoughts on this!

  2. Yvonne says, April 20, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I am not a theologian but I have some thoughts on your question Pam.

    First of all, Christ is called “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (I Cor. 15:20). He is the prototype. When the early followers went to the tomb on Easter morning, Jesus’ physical body was not there. He had risen, body and all. The early disciples saw him in a physical body that could be touched. (See John 20:27) It is interesting to note that Christ’s resurrection body had the physical marks of His formerly earthly body. He was recognizable to those who knew Him. His resurrected body was different though than His pre-resurrection body. He wasn’t limited by walls (see John 20:26) or gravity (Mark 16:19) This new body will happen to all of us but not until Jesus comes again. (See 1 Cor.15:22-23)

    So what happens in the meantime? Paul lets us know that as long as we are in our earthly bodies we are away from God but when we are away from our bodies, we are at home with the Lord. (See 11 Cor. 5:1-6) Jesus tells the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) In some way, as soon as we die, we are with God in a wonderful place. The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 also indicates that as soon as people die they are immediately in another place depending on how they lived their lives. Lazarus gets carried away by angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man ends up in hell. It seems that Lazarus is asleep. The rich man tries to talk to him but it’s Abraham that answers him. Very often, those who die in faith are called “asleep in Jesus” in the Bible. I think our pre-body time in heaven is like our sleep time on earth. It’s pleasant and refreshing and there is no idea of how much time has elapsed. There is no mention that Lazarus was aware of what was going on on earth or in the new place he finds himself after he has died. He just seems to experience peaceful rest. This is not true of the rich man. He is very aware of his own needs (he’s desperately thirsty) and he’s very worried about his remaining family on earth.

    1 Cor.15:35-57 speaks specifically about the resurrection body. It likens our earthly bodies to seeds. When a seed dies, the plant within grows. It’s amazing to me how tiny seeds are and how large a plant they can produce. Our heavenly bodies will be much “bigger” and more amazing than the puny earthly bodies we walk around in. The resurrection of the dead will be the revealing of what sort of seed God designed us to be, I think. It seems like a long time between when people die and when they get their new bodies in our estimation but I believe there is no such sense of time in God’s presence.

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