Read an Excerpt
The One Year Sacred Obsession Devotional
By Becky Tirabassi
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.Copyright © 2007 Becky Tirabassi
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJANUARY 1
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. PSALM 1:1-2
* * *
It is your choice to follow after, stand around with, or join in with those who chase after the holy or unholy. But of this I am sure, whatever you chase after, you will become....
You undoubtedly have seen a person's life fall apart or seen someone who has become entangled with the wrong friends, a secret tryst, or a devious plan to acquire some illegal, unhealthy, or immoral possession. It never ends well. Loss of family, job, reputation ... for what? An immediate pleasure that steals from self and humiliates God?
The psalmist gives you such a simple picture of what, how, and whom to chase-if you want to know real joy.
In fact, the secret is in the chase. Chase the holy-the Word of God-and you'll find safe counsel, honorable companions, and unending courage. Chase the unholy-the wicked who mock the Lord and love to sin-and you'll become just like them. It is your choice.
"Why are you so angry?" the Lord asked Cain. "Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master." GENESIS 4:6-7
* * *
Maybe we forget. But the Scriptures make it clear from the earliest passages....
Sin will actively pursue us all of our lives. We will never be free from sin and its eagerness to control us. Yes, sin chases us, every one of us-from the most professional minister to the newest believer-all of our lives.
Therefore, the simple command in the passage is to "do what is right." If you refuse to do what is right, watch out! Rather than let sin control you-you must become its master. You will either be the one who is controlled or the one who controls.
I have many, many friends who call themselves Christian who are subdued-overwhelmed, overcome-by sexual sin (same-sex attraction, pornography, sexual immorality, even adultery). They lose the fight daily to the sin, rather than become master over it....
To hate sin, run from it.
My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! ... My child, don't go along with them! Stay far away from their paths. PROVERBS 1:10, 15
* * *
During a recent tour of twenty-three college campuses over a forty-day period, I found myself speaking to students more often as a parent than as a youth worker. The compromised lives they were leading and the resentments that many divulged toward their parents and pastors were not surprising in light of the statistics: Over 43 percent of their parents are divorced.
Rather than blame these students for following after their worldly peers, I wanted to strangle some parents and pastors out there who have suggested by their moral failures that moral blamelessness-fidelity in marriage, sobriety, and holiness-is impossible!
Perhaps in the twenty-first century, we must admit that our peers, parents, or pastors should not set the spiritual standards for our lives-the Word of God alone must be our source of counsel and guidance.
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed-he healed them all. MATTHEW 4:23-24
* * *
I love the stories that tell how often, how quickly, how dramatically, and how completely Jesus healed people when He walked the earth. One who has been healed-physically, emotionally, or mentally-will never be convinced that Jesus won't, can't, or doesn't heal today.
Having been an alcoholic and drug addict for almost five years, I identify myself as having had a disease, possibly even being demon-possessed. Yet the unexplainable power of my conversion experience is that within twenty-four hours of asking Christ to come into my life, to forgive my many sins, and to fill me with His Holy Spirit, I quit drinking and doing drugs. With over thirty years of sobriety, I contend that my healing was miraculous.
Having shared this story in a variety of venues for over three decades, I was not surprised when a neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins humbly told me that what happened in my brain on the day of conversion that "flipped the switch" from chronic addiction to instant sobriety ... was indeed a miracle.
I believe in miracles-I am a miracle.... Maybe that is why I can't stop telling my Good News story.
O Lord, hear me as I pray; pay attention to my groaning. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for I pray to no one but you. Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. PSALM 5:1-3
* * *
Through this psalm, King David taught much about the expectant attitude of a powerful pray-er.
He begins his prayer as if he is putting his hands on each cheekbone of the face of his God and saying, "Please pay attention to my pain and anguish. No one else who listens to my complaints has the power to change my circumstances as You do, O Lord, for You are the God above all gods. You are all-knowing, always present, and all-powerful."
The truth taught in every psalm is this: God alone is Sovereign. The psalmists were convinced that they could petition the King of kings with the smallest or deepest angst of their hearts-He was neither too great nor too busy nor too powerful to care about the singular needs of His followers. And David wasn't going to wait until day's end to speak with Him. No, the earliest hour of his day was barely soon enough.
Plan your appointment with the King one day in advance. Put it on your calendar as the first uninterrupted hour of your day.
O Lord, don't rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your rage. Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak. Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. I am sick at heart. How long, O Lord, until you restore me? Return, O Lord, and rescue me. Save me because of your unfailing love. For the dead do not remember you. Who can praise you from the grave? PSALM 6:1-5
* * *
For many centuries, the book of Psalms was the tool used by the church to teach believers how to pray. I find that most of us, in general, are swayed by misconceptions of prayer that we learned as children or heard as adults that "sounded" right. But I encourage you to read the Psalms daily, and make them your personal prayers. Rewrite and paraphrase them, knowing they are the written prayers of those who knew and loved God deeply. Pour out your heart ... and record God's answers.
If or whenever you feel afraid, attacked, or apart from God, stop everything and tell Him exactly how you are feeling and what you are thinking. Ask or even beg Him to immediately help, forgive, restore, or rescue you physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Don't stop praying until you feel His presence.
When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. MATTHEW 6:6
* * *
There is nothing like having the undivided attention of someone you love or respect. There is no price we wouldn't pay to have a private meeting with someone who holds an esteemed title or a powerful position, or has access to a network we'd like to reach.
That is why it is so incredible how little effort, interest, or commitment we place on making and keeping an appointment with the King of kings.
To have an audience with the King of kings is the privilege of every child of God ... but most of us-and this is not an exaggeration-are either too busy, too tired, or too lazy to pray. We resist setting aside time to be alone with God. Why? It is not convenient. Also we've lost the awe-inspiring image of a personal, powerful God who waits for us....
We miss so much power, passion, and purpose when we do not make time daily to hear His voice and respond to Him with immediate acts of love and obedience.
Corrie ten Boom, Holocaust survivor, said, "Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." Will you make an appointment with the King today-and every day for the rest of your life? If so, put it on your calendar. If not, you must ask yourself, Why not?
Excerpted from The One Year Sacred Obsession Devotional by Becky Tirabassi Copyright © 2007 by Becky Tirabassi. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.