“Glorification In Suffering”

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” – Romans‬ ‭8:17‬

No one that I know in the natural sense enjoys suffering. No doubt there are many days we wish it would all just “go away.” Unfortunately, (as it would seem unfortunate), the Bible is very plain regarding the topic: Suffering is and always will be a part of “this” life.

Jesus set the expectation stating:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

In our opening verse, it calls the “born again” (John 3) “children of God,” as well as equal heirs or sharers of Christ; both in inheritance and in peril. It compares the tribulations of life to that of Jesus’ encounters of His suffering, BUT it equally assures us that if we are joined to Christ in suffering, we are ALSO joined to Him in glorification!

Here’s a profound reality: Promotion is an elevation of a “lower state.” In that, we realize that whilst we are in the body, in suffering, in this cursed world, the only way from “down” is “up”

So many questions have been asked such as “Why God?” (as I’m sure we have all asked the same question before). Though we may not see God’s full picture, and the grand scale of his plan, we can rest assured that He is smarter than us, and knows exactly what He is doing.

At some point, undeniably-Biblically, “Joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5)

Brining balance to the reality of trials of life, it is necessary to point out the imperativeness that we should not be enduring tribulation or affliction as a result of sin. Though the Bible tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45), it also tells us that we should not be suffering as a consequence of willful sin.

“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” – 1 Peter 4:15-16

Each & everyday (as I would recommend very early in the morning as according to Psalm 63:1), we should seek God for His strength for the upcoming day that His grace would sustain us to resist the devil that he would flee from us, as well as for the endurance of this present suffering as glory in the name of Jesus Christ! You might say it like this: “Bad days don’t have to be “bad” when God is good because the truth is life is always good when God is your life, because God is good!

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18.

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“Remembering our Frame”

“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not .” – John 8:6

For me, this is probably one of the most intriguing verses to find in the Bible.

Quick Background:

If you’re familiar with the verse and/or passage, you’ll know it involves a pretty unfortunate, embarrassing, public-shaming scene for a woman caught in an adulterous act. If you pay pretty close attention to the exact wording, scripture says that this exposure happened IN the temple where Jesus was sitting teaching the people (8:2), as well as the woman was literally caught in the very act of adultery. (8:2)

For the record, I write this, not for shock value, but for a clear picture of the Biblical account of the unfailing mercy, immeasurable love, and forgiveness of our God. Not only were the religious leaders shaming her in front of “the congregation,” but they were actually ready to kill her.

The writer, John, points out their malicious attempt to catch Jesus in a controversial stance for which to accuse Him, but Jesus begins His huge winning response by first stooping down, ignoring the accusers, then “doodling in the dirt.” It was the doodling part that had me stuck at, “Why?” Then all of a sudden, the Lord graciously reminds me of a single attribute of Himself, easily overlooked, but relieving & profound all at the same time:

“[14] For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:14

Personally, having studied the scriptures since childhood, I can say that today, I am totally convinced that Jesus shut out the world around Him, and had a momental and monumental inward reflection of remembrance that we quite literally are dust, as he was passing his fingers through it reinforcing the need for a merciful reply, as opposed to a wrathful one.

Now I obviously cannot, nor am I attempting to say that this is in-fact exactly what He was thinking, or answer why He wrote in the dirt; it is subjective, but I can’t help seeing anything else. When you consider the full context of the scenario, Jesus’ dirt drawing, the. blunt-profound & humbling response to the Pharisees, added with the merciful hand of forgiveness stretched to the woman literally lifting her up out of the dust, it connects perfectly. It’s as if it reinforced His stance of a merciful reply. It can also sound something like, “He who is not ‘dirt,’ cast the first stone.”

To be fully understood, Jesus’ merciful act was to position her in His grace to, “go and sin no more.” (8:11), but if God brings to His remembrance that we are frail and destitute humans that aren’t much more than breathing dirt of the ground, how much more should we take that to account when we might become frustrated or angry or unforgiving to the “dirt piles” around us. We ourself are one. I’m reminded of a portion of the most memorized, (yet seemingly least taken to application) prayer: “…Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US…”

It’s time we remember too…

We need to humble ourselves,

Have patience with others,

And forgive 70 x 7 (indefinitely)

(For Full Passage)

John 8:1-11

Flee & Fight

“But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” – 1 Timothy‬ ‭6:11-12‬

The book of Timothy gives really good insight on Christian leadership as Timothy, an apprentice of the Apostle Paul is a pastor. Anyone who is called to ministry really should study this “manual for ministers”

The Christian life in many instances can be very trying at times, but God is always working things in our lives for our good, our growth, and our maturing. Timothy is exhorted in this final chapter of Paul’s letter, to flee the lusts of the world, and also to fight the good fight of faith.

Whether we are leadership or laity, the abandonment of the world combined with the pursuit of God in our battles to trust Him when it doesn’t make sense, is the fruit or evidence of our spiritual regeneration by the power of the Holy Spirit!

“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” – 2 Timothy 2:21-22

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these ; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:19-25

“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.” – Psalm 119:10

This morning know that no matter what you’ve done, you can run for His mercy and forgiveness of sin! The devil wants you to feel like “the fight” is hopeless. It’s not!

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John‬ ‭1:9‬‬

if you have been defeated by the enemy, submit to God and flee and fight!

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” – James 4:7-10

The Two “R’s”

“And that repentanceANDremission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” -Luke 24:47

As a pastor now, having grown thus far from a child raised in God’s Word, there has been much maturing in the 34 years of my spiritual walk and even lessons gained from the “lack thereof” when I ran like that prodigal son from my Father’s house. For that (the maturing process), I am very grateful.

When I read the scriptures today, because of what I recognize was and is the Holy Spirit growing me in grace & mercy, I see the scriptures quite black and white. Specifically? The issue of sin. It’s because of this issue, that is it’s literally the whole reason the scribes of old were directed of the Holy Spirit to write which became the Holy Bible. Out of the entirety of the Bible, the whole of all scriptures comes down to teaching us these two undeniable principles:

Simply put…

1.) Sin is bad. -Romans 6:23

2.) Godliness is gain. -1 Tim. 6:6

I intentionally refer to sin as an “issue” realizing that sin is not only the cancer that plagues the world, but today unfortunately, even the modern church by in large willfully retains sin under the excuse of their humanity. Humanity should simply be the platform for desperation of God, the Lord Jesus, our Savior… Not the “ball and chain” that binds us to evil vices.

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” -Romans 6:22

The POWER of God’s grace not only forgives sin, removes our sin, but overcomes the power of sin’s enticement by His saving and equipping grace! Grace isn’t the ability to excuse our sin, but the power to overcome!

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? -Romans 6:1-2

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; … Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” -Titus 2:11-12, 14

From our opening verse:

The Two “R’s”

1. Remission

2. Repentance

Remission is God removing and forgiving us of our sin.

Repentance is us turning away from our sin (also done by the empowering work of God’s grace given at salvation)

It is literally heartbreaking that when I talk to “the churched” about simply living for God by obeying His Word, I get accused of teaching a “works salvation.” Of course we can’t earn our salvation; it’s free, however once saved by grace through faith, we live for God, and not for any sinful desires.

Let’s look at what the Bible says:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” -Ephesians 2:8-10

Did we catch that in verse 10? The popular quote is verses 8-9, but verse 10 completes the picture: “Created unto good works” The whole of salvation is not only FORGIVENESS of sin, but removal and abandonment of sin.

The woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), is a regularly referred passage by people who attacked anyone who calls out sin for what it is. Yes we are not to “cast stones” of condemnation, but offer the love of God that leads to repentance. (Ephesians 4:32) But let’s not forget the end of that passage…

“When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” -John 8:10-11

Even though the Pharisees were out of line in their approach, we have to still realize that adultery was still sin, and sin needs addressing. Jesus addressed it; not excused it.

He forgave her:

“Neither do I condemn thee”

Then He exhorted her unto righteousness:

“Go and sin no more”

The messages taught today that it’s Jesus that saves us by faith alone without or not needing any choice on our part to repent (abandon) our sins once forgiven and having been saved, is a very dangerous one.

The word “Repentance” is so much more than a “change of mind,” but also, a “change of lifestyle.” If you change your mind on something, naturally your change of actions will back up your change of mind. Example: If I change my mind about the order of my desk, I’ll actually change it! Changes of thought are always preceded by changes of action. Remission AND Repentance.

“I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” -Luke 5:32

“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” -James 5:19-20

“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” -Jonah 3:10

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” -Isaiah 55:7

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:” -Matthew 11:20

Remission of sin isn’t much good if you leave the door of your heart wide open for you’re old master, sin. You cannot serve two masters. You will either love one and hate the other. (Matthew 6:24)

Choose today!

I choose Jesus!

I choose remission AND repentance!

In God’s Economy

Surprisingly, you’ll find the Biblical principles of Godly gain, spiritual gifting/blessing, grace, exaltation, promotion, all things we would hold to be “worth attaining to” are found and available through methods the natural mind wouldn’t expect.

Now to accurately preface this devotion, I’m not speaking of the modern ideals of “Christianity” that seek specifically for monetary, personal gain motivated in pure selfishness… I’m referring to the truest sense of Biblical promotion: When GOD raises us up!

In short, we are going to see the 3 main unconventional principles for “Godly gain”

1.) If You Want to Save, You Have to Lose:

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” -Luke 9:23-25

2.) Humbled to be Exalted

“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” -Luke 14:11 -Matthew 23:12

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” -James 4:6

3.) To Be First, You Must Be Last.

“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” -Matthew 20:16

Wether or not these principles make sense to us regarding this logic, the Bible is absolutely clear: “His ways are HIGHER than our ways… His thoughts are HIGHER than our thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-13) Also, “The wisdom of the world is foolishness unto God.” (1 Corinthians 3:19) So whether we think this makes sense, or not, we know that we can trust God and His Word! He is so much smarter than we can or ever will be.

As Christians, we always start in the low seat. (Luke 14:10) We, like Christ, have been called to be servants. Matthew 20:27-28.

So really you can summarize this by saying, “Those who chase a crown, will never find it. Those who are not chasing it, the crown chases them.” True Biblical promotion will be motivated in humility and selflessness. God desires to reward His humble and obedient!

Today let’s choose not to pursue our own personal desires, but rather let us be so consumed with Jesus that nothing else matters. It’s to them whom God pours out upon!

Prayer:

“Lord help me to be humble and keep my eyes completely on You. I thank You for your continued love and patience and teaching me Your ways.”

“Getting to the Root”

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

-James 4:8

As natural human beings, living in a corrupt world full of opportunities and temptations, sometimes we find that it can become a real fight to remain true, pure, living with integrity as the Bible clearly instructs us to once we receive salvation by His grace through our faith in Him.

The good news is God hasn’t left us “high & dry” in this life here on earth to live for Him. If you’ve ever heard me preach or read other manna’s I’ve written, you’ll know that it is by His grace alone that we are not only saved, but even sanctified as well. Empowered by His Spirit!

Anytime there is an ailment, any good doctor would try to accurately diagnose the condition to accurately prescribe a remedy or cure. Throughout the scriptures you’ll see that the “root cause” of addictions, sins of all sorts, you’ll find are rooted in self gratification.

Ever heard of the saying, “Let’s get to the ‘root’ of the problem”? We all have.

It simply means to find the origins or cause of an “issue.” Then just like a tree that is only killed at the root, we have to find the “root” and “kill it.” All of our “issues” of life, can easily simply be brought to “self.”

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” -1 John 2:16 (KJV)

Many people greatly desire to be freed from addictions or habits that are sinful, but unfortunately not many people actually understand the “root” of their problem. Once the cause of these struggles are identified, like a diagnosis is important for a prescribed remedy, we also can Biblically diagnose our own lives and see that the remedy is to “die to self”. When flesh stops “feeling” or “desiring,” it’s much easier to refuse that which we are commanded to abstain from.

As was all of my sins I was bound by, they also were rooted completely in selfishness: the desire to fulfill my own personal desires or cravings.

Being born again is to start over with ALL NEW desires!

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” -2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV)

Having said that, it’s time to crucify that flesh that pulls us to do those things that we shouldn’t.

“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” -1 Corinthians 15:31 (KJV)

The key to overcoming sin is to overcome your desire for self-gratification. And to do that is to metaphorically die to “self”.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20 (KJV)

I’ve heard it said that sin is both stupid and selfish. “Stupid” due to its consequences (death), and selfish identifying its motivation.

In conclusion, the root is always “self.” It’s time to do some “spiritual gardening.” Take selfishness up by the root!

If that is where you are today, and you want to live and walk in victory over temptations, then call out to Jesus! He selflessly was slain for us, and now our invitation is to selflessly lay down our lives for Him! He alone can set free!

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” -John 8:36 (KJV)

Not Mine

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians 1:11 (KJV)

Paul addresses the church of Philippi in this introduction from prison. While there are many great take-aways in this introduction, I am intrigued by verse 11 in the phrase that says “…which are by Jesus Christ…”

Any sincere, mature, hungry-for-God Christian does understand that we must naturally produce the fruit that is evident of our salvation we already received ONLY by faith. But let’s face it, sometimes doing all the right things can be really difficult in trying times. The hope and key to understanding how any Christian can actually look, act, and speak like Christ, is none other than Christ Himself living those works IN you and THROUGH you. The apostle Paul and Jesus Christ Himself said it best in these verses:

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20 KJV

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” – John 15:5 KJV

Every great man and woman of God in scripture understood that they don’t have it within themselves; only Jesus! The apostle Paul also said this revealing statement in regard to fruit that wasn’t “from him” or “his”

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” – Philippians 3:9 KJV

The desire of any born again believer is to say, “Thank you Lord Jesus for forgiving me of my sin, but Lord help me to abstain from these things that brought me to your altar in the first place.” The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that saved us, is also the same divine strength that also sustains us in our walk of supernaturally purifying sanctified living. The key is learning not to trust yourself with the spiritual fuel, but trusting God.

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:5-8 KJV

As we are divinely empowered by His grace, it’s time for us to passionately choose what is right, and to boldly reject what is wrong!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, forgive me, and equip me to do your will in my life. I cannot do this on my own; I NEED you! Thank you Jesus!!!

Biblical Prosperity

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“Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:7-8

In a day and age where we are all pressured in climbing the ladder of financial success and prosperity, (even now in the church unfortunately), it is a rare treasure to find people who define success & prosperity the way God truly defines it in His word. Even now as a pastor, I’m having to re-shift some career priorities due to the pressures of climbing the monetary ladder of prosperity. We’ve all felt it; some ways different than others, but the in the end, it reaches to every young adult in college, every middle management personnel, etc.

The historical context of this scripture is God speaking to Joshua the apprentice (now in command) immediately after Moses dies. You can read this passage from verse one through to verse nine. No doubt that Moses was deep “shoes to fill,” so one could only imagine what pressures Joshua was feeling to step up to the plate leading the people of Israel, and not fail. God knew this, and fervently encouraged Joshua that He would be with him “whithersoever thou goest” (vs. 9) So God does something truly profound: He tells Joshua just exactly how to be successful and prosperous in his new position.

Let’s take a real look at the opening passage again, and notice EXACTLY WHAT GOD SAYS is the criteria to “make your way prosperous” & “have good success”

  1. “observe to do according to all the law”(obedience to God)
  2. “turn not from it to the right hand or to the left”(consistency & endurance)
  3. “meditate therein [the book of the law] day and night”(devotion & worship)

I find that one of the biggest heartaches within the modern church is that the message of the gospel has become so unapologetically selfish pursuing more money, wealth, and “things” of this world that don’t amount to anything eternally speaking. The devil has without a doubt crept in swaying the minds of our pastors enticing them to pursue what is pleasing to the flesh and somehow attempting to justify it by twisting scripture out of context; just like Satan does so regularly.

“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”
Leonard Ravenhill

Remember: When we came to God, it was about us surrendering to Him, and giving our lives for His will; not us treating God as a “genie in a lamp” to do our bidding. It’s no different each and every day for us to take up our cross and follow Him.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

If we truly want to be successful, we start by recognizing where true success comes from: God.

  1. Love Him
  2. Live for Him
  3. Stay the course!

It’s that simple!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:19-21

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Strangers & Pilgrims [part 2]

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“[7] But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. [8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,” -Philippians 3:7-8 (KJV)

(Today is the second edition of a “part one” written previously. If you haven’t read that one, I would encourage you to start with that one first. Click here to read that one.)

I find it blatantly interesting & theologically appropriate that the apostle Paul chose the word “dung” to describe “all things” compared to winning Christ.

As a born again Christian that I’ve been most of my life (childhood, teen, young adult, etc.), I’ve found that this is one of the hardest focuses to maintain. Don’t misunderstand me, you know this truth if you have been radically saved by faith in Jesus; I’m referring to an unwavering, continual path of consistent mental dedication living every single day as though EVERYTHING else outside of Jesus is truly, “dung.” Let’s look at what the original text of the New Testament defined it as:

Dung: Original Greek Word “σκύβαλον” | Transliterated Word: “skubalon” | Phonetic Spelling (pronunciation): “skoo’-bal-on” which means, “any refuse, as the excrement of animals, offscourings, rubbish, dregs of things worthless and even detestable.”

I want you to see what I’m seeing this morning.  Two parts: Not just worthless, but even detestable, meaning even undesirable!  That’s a tough one there! Many things I know I have put “sweat, blood, and tears” into, I realize I don’t need to. If anything, I shouldn’t, especially if those things become idolatrous. (putting anything above the Lord). It’s ok to work to provide meals and shelter for you and your family, of course. What the issue can be is pursuit of no satisfaction putting everything monetary above our spiritual needs of maturity in the Lord, and personal growth.

Remember: The Lord has never seen the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37:25) We all have the same amount of time in every day; just 24 hours. We need to examine our daily time investment portfolio. In it’s assessment, what percentage of that time is invested into eternity?

When we put so much stress and anxiety over the littlest things on this life, I want us to start seeing our lives here on earth the same way Paul did: Nothing is of real value compared to Jesus. Our parking spots my get taken, our plans might be rescheduled or even canceled, we might not get that promotion at work, we might even have tragic loss of monetary things, but we have to be encouraged and remember that none of this will even be a glimmer of thought 100 years from now. (See Romans 8:28)The fist part to this message I described us born-again believers as “renters” temporarily living in this earth knowing the Bible tells us this is not our home.

John 15:19 – “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”

John 17:16 – “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Colossians 3:2 – Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

1 John 2:15 – Love not the world, neither the things [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Today, ask the Lord to help you see our lives here for what it really is.  If we know the Word says that we will all be judged by our works, (Romans 2:6, Matthew 16:27, Ecclesiastes 35:19) then we really should have a re-shift of priorities. In eternity, it will not be whether we got that two-story house, or the in-ground pool, sports car, etc., but what will be known about you is whether you put Jesus FIRST IN ALL things or not.

As Christians, we truly are strangers here, so let us stop worrying about “fitting in”

As Christians, we truly are pilgrims here, so let us remember we are just “passing though”

Lord I pray for all who are reading this that know in their heart that if they put half as much effort in their walk with you as they do other goals or obligations, they’d have a much stronger walk with you. Teach us all daily this important truth. In Jesus name we pray, Amen!!!!  [Watch this video, and listen to the powerful message in it]

Strangers & Pilgrims

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” – 1 Peter 2:11

This morning in my prayer time, I wept bitterly like a baby. If you’ve been saved by His grace, regenerated by His Holy Spirit, set established on the Rock of Jesus Christ, delivered from your sin, … You know it. You remember when His power and love hit you like a ton of bricks. Even the most hardened, stubborn, non-emotional person will weep in the presence of the Lord. The problem with us good-intending Christians is we get caught up in the cares of the world (education, better job, bigger house, nicer yard, newer cars, etc.) that we miss sight of what is truly important: Jesus. That’s it. Of course there’s nothing wrong with these ambitions; the issue I’m referring to is having these ambitions far above our ambition for the Lord, time with Him, our prayer closet, etc.

I’m hitting home the simple reality of what the Bible refers to us as “strangers & pilgrims.” If we tightly grasp this revelation, many things we place our focus on will no longer be seen so important anymore. Simply put, “This is not our home.” I’ve never seen anyone who rented a residence put a ton of finances or efforts into its improvement. Some yes, of course, but I’m talking a “full overhaul.” They don’t own it; it’s not theirs. The same is to be said of this world: We don’t own it, we are not of it; the only thing we look forward to, and invest our efforts into is the “end of our lease” here on earth.

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21

In another way to say the last embolden portion of that verse: Our investments are a direct reflection of what’s important to us. Whether the currency of time & energy, or monetary currency, we put energies toward our desires and focuses.

As Christians, we have to ask ourselves, “Do we ‘invest’ an adequate amount of our ‘currencies’ in our spiritual ‘portfolio?’ ” I know I haven’t been the “investor” I’d like to be. But the Lord is showing me day by day just how depraved I am without the time I need with Him.

So many things in our life we invest into that aren’t necessarily bad, are the biggest distractions because we have a sense of justification toward them more than we atually should, especially if it falls in the “need” category.

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

I would sincerely ask that if you are reading this right now, though this devotion is short and simple, play this song at the bottom of this message while spending some much-needed resources of time in intercession with Jesus. If you do this with all your heart, (and if need be repent of loosing sight of the priority of Him over other cares of this life), I would be shocked if it won’t bring tears to your eyes. If He is or was your first love, make Him just that today. He is the ONLY one who can bring you true peace.