devos from the hill


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Our Discontented Adversary

Satan was not content to fulfill God’s purpose. Are you?
Lesson 14 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

Before Adam breathed his first breath, God had created a multitude of spirit beings called angels. These creatures were given great strength and intelligence to serve God, on earth and in a holy place called Heaven. One angel was given more power than the others. Known today as Satan, this angel was not content to fulfill the purpose for which he was created. He wanted to take God’s place. So Satan became God’s enemy, leading a great number of angels to rebel against God. And so it was that Satan was cast down from his position of privilege before God.

– The HOPE, Chapter 2

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

The Bible and The HOPE tell us that we have an adversary, a foe, an opponent in this life. He is known today as Satan. Not much Biblical narrative is given to the story of Satan’s creation and fall. However, enough passages do exist to piece together what God wants us to know about this fallen angel who challenged God.

Many Bible scholars draw upon Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18 to learn of Satan’s fall. While these two passages are commonly understood as references to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, many believe they have a double meaning, referring also to Satan, the spiritual power behind those kings.1

These passages show that Satan was given much by God, yet he was not content to fulfill the purpose for which he was created. In his discontent, he rebelled – and when he did, he lost everything. In fact, Satan has become the most despised being in all of creation, and his end, as we shall soon see, is tragic and certain. He chose against God!

ASK & REFLECT

Do you understand the purpose for which you have been created? If so, are you content to fulfill it? Many people are not. Consider the following verses about your purposeful creation:

For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:13-17).

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). Continue reading


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Active and Passive

Mars Hill Staff Devotional – July 31, 2012

For today’s staff devotional, we discussed “Being versus Doing”.
Key take away: He is the initiator and we are the responders.
Our role is to say “yes” and follow. His role is to lead and do what
only He can do . . . in us, through us and around us.

Active and Passive by Ray Stedman
Read the Scripture: John 15:4-11

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me (John 15:4).

Notice that our Lord divides this passage into two sections. There is an activity that is to be done, and a passivity that is to be acknowledged. We are to remain in Him (that is active, something we do), and we are to let Him remain in us (that is passive, something we allow Him to do). Both these relationships are essential, not one as opposed to the other, but both together.

When our Lord says Remain in me, He is talking about the will, and the decisions we make. We must decide to do things that keep ourselves in contact with Him. The Holy Spirit has placed us into Christ. Now we must maintain that relationship by the decisions we make, such as exposing ourselves to His Word and having a prayer relationship with Him. We remain in Him when we bear one another’s burdens and confess our faults and share in fellowship with one another. All of this is designed to relate to Him: Remain in me. If we do that, we are fulfilling this active, necessary decision of the will to obey His Word.

This is what Bible study and prayer are all about. They are not mere mechanical practices that every Christian ought to do in order to get brownie points with God! No, they are means by which we know Him. If you open your Bible and begin to read it without the conscious expectation that it is going to tell you something about Him, you will read in vain. If you try to pray as though it were some exercise in which you chalk off fifteen minutes’ worth, mechanically going through a list, it is a valueless experience. But if you pray because you are talking with One whom you love and want to know more of, sharing with Him out of the fullness of your heart, then prayer becomes a beautiful experience. That is remaining in Him.

But that is only part of it. Jesus says, Remain in me, and I in you. There is also the other side–Let me remain in you. That has to do with empowerment, enablement. You can make choices, but you cannot fulfill them. And though you are responsible to make choices, you are not responsible for the power to carry them out. There you are to depend on Him, to let Him abide in you. You are to rest upon His ability to see you through. As you venture out on that basis, you expect Him to carry you through.

Both of these are absolutely essential. Making decisions and then trying to do the whole thing yourself is going to produce intense activity, but no results. On the other hand, letting Him take all the responsibility and making no choices at all will also produce a fruitless life. We must determine to expose ourselves to Him; we must seek His face in the Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with others. And then we must count on Him to see us through, to supply that enabling power that makes us able to love and forgive and rejoice and give thanks. When we do, we are remaining in Him and letting Him remain in us.

Father, teach me the proper balance between making hard choices to remain in You and resting in You to do in me what only You can do.

Life Application: What is the tremendous difference between our will power and our activity power – between our power to choose and our power to do?

Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotion is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to http://www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.

http://www.raystedman.org/daily-devotions/john-13to17/active-and-passive