By Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of August 8, 2021
As I write this week, I am reminded there is beauty everywhere, even in hard places.
On this very day, this very hour, a longtime family friend is laying her husband to rest. At the same time, two of my relatives are preparing to meet our Maker as they near their final days on earth.
And there is more I cannot share.
Yet, God is with them all, and with me and with you.
His Presence is Love, Peace, Joy, and Glory.
Beyond our understanding.
And our reach for Him is always sweet devotion to His heart.
I am reminded of the prophet and widow, Anna, in Luke 2:36-38, who "never left the temple but worshiped night and day" (NIV). Anna thanked God for baby Jesus to whom she was drawn. She spoke about Him "to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."
She spoke to hope and new life.
Anna encouraged a nation’s redemption.
Anna understood that "God-devotion makes a country strong;" and that "God-avoidance leaves people weak" (Prov 14:34).
Anna understood intimacy and purpose in the precept of 1 Chronicles 16:11 AMPC, which is to "Seek the Lord and His strength; yearn for and seek His face and to be in His presence continually!"
No matter what the circumstances, even in one’s latter years.
Other Bible characters knew this as well, such as King David, Daniel, Joseph, and so many other disciples.
They all had a sense of identity and their role in God’s command in Acts 13:47 TPT, which says, "I have destined you to become a beacon light for the nations and release salvation to the ends of the earth!"
This blessing, this gift, this calling, the working out of victory-salvation in the hopeful hearts of the truly devoted will never be dashed.
Devotion means "constantly attendant" from sitting near (Strong's # 2138a). It means "compliant" and "ready to obey" (Strong's # 2138). It means yielded.
Devotion means "well-persuaded," already inclined, i.e. already willing (pre-disposed, favorable to); easy to come to terms with” (HELPS Word-studies).
Song of Solomon 4:1 TPT says, "…What devotion I see each time I gaze upon you. You are like a sacrifice ready to be offered."
This kind of devotion our Lord desires is:
Undivided (Prov 3:7 TPT).
Single-hearted (1 Cor 11:3 TPT).
Undistracted (1 Cor 7:35 TPT).
Loyal (Luke 16:13 TPT).
Obedient (Prov 1:7 TPT).
Lavish (Matt 26:6 TPT).
Passionate (2 Cor 8:7).
Extreme (Mark 14:3 TPT).
Undying (Song of Solomon 6:5 TPT).
Let’s also remember the benefits of devotion (Ps 103:2):
We are enriched by our devotion to God (Col 2:7).
"We cross the threshold of true knowledge when we live in obedient devotion to God..." (Prov 1:7 TPT).
Wisdom comes when our devotion to Him is undivided and when we avoid all wrongdoing (Prov 3:7 TPT).
As she put God first and worshipped Him alone, Anna was the picture of James 3:17 MSG, which says, "Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor."
Anna’s intimate Redeemer, no doubt brought comfort, value, and purpose to her in her widowed status. Therefore, it was easy for her to share about Him with those waiting in hope.
She was fearless in her devotion to God. She appears to regard Him as not only a Heavenly Father, but also a Heavenly Husband as in Isaiah 54:5 ESV, which says, "For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called."
Anna’s attitude appears to be like David’s in Psalm 27:4 TPT, which says, "Here’s the one thing I crave from Yahweh, the one thing I seek above all else: I want to live with him every moment in his house, beholding the marvelous beauty of Yahweh, filled with awe, delighting in his glory and grace. I want to contemplate in his temple."
Pray with me if you will…
Thank You for Your devotion to me. Thank You for watching over my family, my work, my community, and my nation. I invite You to awaken my heart to You as I come near to You. I choose to yield myself to Your spirit. My soul and body. You will always be my first, my center, my Heavenly Husband—the source for all my needs. Nothing else compares to You or completes me as You do. As I offer myself to You, may You see perfect, obedient devotion each time You gaze upon me (Song of Solomon 4:1 TPT).
In Jesus’ Mighty Name.
Margaret D. Mitchell is the Founder of God's Love at Work, a marketplace outreach purposed to share God's greatest power source - the love of Christ.