This devotion consists primarily of Scripture with a brief message at the end. To many all of these Scriptures will be familiar. But please read them one after another after another for there is such power when God gives us a message and then affirms and confirms it with other Scripture (often broadening the message along the way).
Please do not be discouraged by the words which follow. Consider your life. Have you ever once been able to please all of the people all of the time? It is not possible because we are each fallable, dealing with other fallable human beings. God is perfect. There is great freedom, inner peace and even joy in living for Him with right expectations and mindsets. May this reminder of His way and how we can expect our lives in His service to be, strengthen us all! ~ Elizabeth
Note: all Scripture taken from Amplified translation unless otherwise noted.
1 JOHN 3:1,13
1SEE WHAT [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know (recognize, acknowledge) Him.
13Do not be surprised and wonder, brethren, that the world detests and pursues you with hatred.
16You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you.
17This is what I command you: that you love one another.
18If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.
43You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy;
44But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45To show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven;
10Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous (in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions) are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!
11Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward conditions) are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.
12Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you. [II Chron. 36:16.]
14Bless those who persecute you [who are cruel in their attitude toward you]; bless and do not curse them.
1 COR. 4:12-13,20
12And we still toil unto weariness [for our living], working hard with our own hands. When men revile us [wound us with an accursed sting], we bless them. When we are persecuted, we take it patiently and endure it.
13When we are slandered and defamed, we [try to] answer softly and bring comfort. We have been made and are now the rubbish and filth of the world [the offscouring of all things, the scum of the earth].
20For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul).
12Clothe yourselves therefore, as God’s own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].
13Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].
14And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony].
15And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].
16Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.
17And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him.
23Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men,
24Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah).
1 PETER 3:14-17
14But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed (happy, to be envied). Do not dread or be afraid of their threats, nor be disturbed [by their opposition].
15But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.
16[And see to it that] your conscience is entirely clear (unimpaired), so that, when you are falsely accused as evildoers, those who threaten you abusively and revile your right behavior in Christ may come to be ashamed [of slandering your good lives].
17For [it is] better to suffer [unjustly] for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than to suffer [justly] for doing wrong.
1 PETER 4:1-2,12-16
1SO, SINCE Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God],
2So that he can no longer spend the rest of his natural life living by [his] human appetites and desires, but [he lives] for what God wills.
12Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you.
13But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, rejoice, so that when His glory [full of radiance and splendor] is revealed, you may also rejoice with triumph [exultantly].
14If you are censured and suffer abuse [because you bear] the name of Christ, blessed [are you–happy, fortunate, [h]to be envied, [i]with life-joy, and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward condition], because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, is resting upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or any sort of criminal, or as a mischief-maker (a meddler) in the affairs of others [infringing on their rights].
16But if [one is ill-treated and suffers] as a Christian [which he is contemptuously called], let him not be ashamed, but give glory to God that he is [deemed worthy to suffer] in this name.
We have wrong expectations and this can give us a wrong focus. What is the motive of what we do for Christ? Are we looking for accolades and acknowledgement from our fellow humanity in order to feel successful and valued? If so, our motives are wrong and will hinder us in our service to our true King.
Because of our humanity, which is born wanting to be known and loved because we fear being rejected, condemned, overlooked and ignored, it is easy to fall into the trap of looking to others for acceptance and confirmation that we are in the will of God. But our job is not to chase approval from others who are incapable of consistently giving us the approval we need. Our job is to be so in love with God, so in awe of Him and all His attributes and promises that we look nowhere else for approval, but to Him. (And often His is the only approval we will get!)
If the world does not know, recognize and acknowledge Christ and we are following Him, how can we expect people to know, recognize and acknowledge us.
In fact, Jesus is clear. If they know and acknowledge us, there is a risk we may be more of the world and less Kingdom-of-God focused than we thought!
If we are seeking acknowledgments and pats on the back from others, to be known and visible and expressly appreciated, we also might not choose to follow Jesus into the forgotten dark places where He wants to bring us as His singular light to show the way out and into freedom for those who dwell there. If we need to be visible to others in a way that we feel appreciated, we may not stay in the dark places, where we feel invisible to the world and useless, but are infinitely loved and used with eternal purpose by God.
We need to change our expectations and stop seeking to have our work for Him become visible and known in this life. We need to embrace the hiddenness in which He may bless us to be.
Selah! [Pause and calmly think of that!]
Christmas is coming. A few years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that He wanted to be worshipped at Christmas and He showed me how many of the songs we sing beautifully tell the story of His birth and why He came, but very few actually worship Him during this festive season. As a result in December 2009 I was in the studio beginning to record CHRISTMAS WORSHIP, which includes 7 new, original Christmas worship songs, which the Lord had me compose specifically for this project. Please consider giving the gift of CHRISTMAS WORSHIP this Christmas. It can be purchased at www.holyspiritpress.org or amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Worship-Elizabeth-Fulgaro/dp/B004D9931G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069144&sr=8-2 or CDbaby.com http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethfulgaro3. Music clips can be heard at the CD Baby or amazon.com links. May God receive the honor and worship He is due this Christmas season.
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.