Only One Way

In Judges 17, a man named Micah created household idols, including a large one made of silver. When a young Levite came his way, he hired the Levite to be his personal priest, thinking that the Lord would blessed him. He said “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest” (Judges 17:13 ESV).

Micah couldn’t see the first for the trees. Yes, the priests were descendants of Levi, but what did it matter if he was worshipping idols? God would not bless his household for hiring a Levi when he was violating one of the central requirements of the faith: to worship God alone.

Instead of being blessed, other men came along and hired the young Levite as their priest, taking his idols, especially the large, valuable idol made of silver. God had brought Micah low for his disobedience, rather than blessing him for his religious actions that only have a nod and wink to the true worship of God.

We live in a day and age where our society tries to do the same thing. I can live how I want, practice what I want, believe what I want, and call myself a Christian. I can wink at the gospel without following Jesus. I can make truth whatever I want it to be. I can make my own way to God.

The truth, however, is this: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 NIV) and “Anyone who loves [Jesus] will obey [his] teaching” (John 14:23 NIV).

Salvation only comes through faith in Christ, and real faith will result in obedience. There is no other way to heaven but a life surrendered to Him. Are you living a life submitted to Jesus?

Impatient God?

Have you ever felt impatient with God? Facing a difficult situation, have you ever wondered where He is and when He will act on your behalf?

In Judges 10:16 we read that, when the people of Israel turned their hearts back to God, “he became impatient over the misery of Israel” (ESV).

You may be waiting on God, but take heart! He is impatiently waiting for the proper moment to act on your behalf. His children’s burdens way heavier on Him than they do on us!

At the proper time, He will act. Until then, know that He is anxiously waiting to move on your behalf!

God of Impossibilities

When Gideon gathered an army against the enemies of Israel, the Lord told him “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand” (Judges 7:2 ESV). God is not interested in doing the possible. We can do that. He desires to do what only He can do.

Why exactly is that? To build our faith, because there is no doubt that He did it. It is not the work of our hand; it is the move of His hand.

What does this mean for us? Dream big, believe big, set your eyes on something bigger than yourself. Listen carefully to the voice of God and embrace His vision for your life. What we do in the natural will receive a natural reward, but what is done in the supernatural will receive a supernatural reward.

God, help me to dream big. Help me to believe big. Grant me faith to move mountains I pray. Amen.

Through God’s Eyes

“Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.'” (Judges 6:11‭-‬12 ESV)

As Gideon hid in a wine press to thresh wheat, fearing the Midianites, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and called him a “mighty man of valor.”

Isn’t that an interesting assessment? That doesn’t look like valor to me. I’m certain that Gideon didn’t feel all that brave. Yet the Lord saw a mighty man of valor hiding in that wine press.

In the midst of our shortcomings, we see the worst of what we are, but our Heavenly Father sees us differently. He sees great potential. He sees everything we could become.

Begin to see yourself through God’s eyes; your sins and faults have been paid for; He sees a mighty man or woman of God. He doesn’t look down on you in judgement if you have received forgiveness through Christ; He looks upon you with great expectation. He sees immense worth in the fabric of who you are. You are a mighty man or woman of valor!

Your Ministry

In the midst of every day life, it can be tempting to think that what we do does not matter. You might say “I’m just a cashier”, “I just work in a factory”, “I’m just fill-in-the-blank.” However, no believer is “just” anything. In every circumstance, we are a child of the King and a minister of the gospel.

Scripture tells us that “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (Colossians 3:23 ESV). The example we set in the most mundane tasks is an act of ministry to the lost and service to God.

Brother Lawrence was a kitchen lay worker in a monastery in the 16th century. He wasn’t a monk. He wasn’t a scholar. He cooked and cleaned. Yet he became revered and his writings have endured the centuries because of his wisdom in approaching such “lowly” work.

Brother Lawrence said it this way: “”We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God.”

It is not what you do; it’s how you do it. A pot scrubbed in the name of Jesus with an attitude of honor to the King has eternal value, “knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (v. 24).

This is your ministry: do everything, whether mighty or mundane, as a servant of Jesus and for the glory of God. “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 17).

Unity in the Spirit

In Psalm 133, we are reminded “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” (Psalms 133:1 ESV). We hardly have to make the argument that this is true. Unity is better than division. Peace is better than war. Love is better than hate. Kindness is better than enmity. But the blessings of unity extend far beyond peace in our church, home, our community.

This Psalm continues to say that unity is “like the precious oil on the head” (v. 2) and “like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion” (v. 3). This imagery is powerful and important.

First, the anointing oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It was used to consecrated things, people, and sacrifices to the Lord. In this verse, it mentions the oil running down the face of the first chief priest, Aaron. This picture is one of being set apart by the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Second, Mount Zion was considered the mountain of God and symbolized his presence. The dew could also be seen as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, of times of refreshing.

What are we being told here? Times of refreshing arise when we are in unity. Revival comes when we “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3 ESV).

Lord, I pray that we would not let our human pettiness get in the way of the move of God. Help us, Lord, to embrace kindness, forgiveness, love, and patience. I pray that we would not grieve the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Knowledge, Wisdom, & Understanding

Paul the Apostle prayed for the church at Colosea “that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Colossians 1:9 ESV). These three spiritual traits- knowledge, wisdom, and understanding- are needed by every Christian “to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him” (v. 10). So what is the difference between these three similar spiritual blessings?

Knowledge here refers to “knowledge of his will.” This is special revelation from God about his specific direction for our lives. This comes from prayer, but not just speaking to God. To gain this kind of revelation, we must hone the art of listening; we must learn to filter out the competing voices in our heads- the world, the enemy, and especially ourselves- so we can hear what God would speak.

Wisdom is also of great spiritual value. We gain wisdom in several important ways. Much of the Bible contains godly wisdom for life, and Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon are all books of the Bible devoted to wisdom. We also must be able to look at our own lives and learn the lessons God has been trying to teach us. We often soon our wheels because we aren’t learning the wise lessons God is trying to teach us.

Finally, understanding means understanding who God is, understanding His nature, His Word, and His will. Such understanding does not come from simply reading the Word- we must study and ask God for discernment, because the Bible is spiritual, and cannot be fully understood in a natural way. And understanding God is more than knowing about Him- it is knowing Him personally. Every day ought to be a relationship building exercise with the Lord.

With that three spiritual blessings, we can walk in a manner worthy of the Lord. This brings us back to Paul’s ultimate solution to see this realized in the Colossian church. He prayed from them. It starts and ends with real, sincere, uninhibited prayer. We find favor with God when we take time and energy to press in and hungrily seek the face of God.

A Trustworthy Word

A man is only as good as his word. Trustworthiness can be hard to find in this world, so much so that a firm handshake has been replaced with multi-page contacts of small print legalese. A truthful word is a rare occurrence.

Yet we know someone who’s word can always be trusted. When the people of Israel had finally settled in Canaan, we read that “Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass” (Joshua 21:45 ESV). There is no deception, no falsehood, and no failure to fulfill promises in God. If he speaks it, we can believe it’s, we can stand on it, we can rely on it. His Word is truth.

Paul the Apostle expressed this truth in another way: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ. And so through him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV). All his promises are yes and amen.

Lord, in a world of shifting and, we thank You that Your Word is our solid rock and or firm foundation. Amen.

ROI

In the business world, ROI is a concept with which everyone is familiar. It stands for Return On Investment, and is there measure of the value received on an investment versus other uses of the same capital. It’s not just about a profit, but the best profit. The ROI determined where resources are committed.

Have you looked at the ROI of your life pursuits? Don’t ask yourself in there is value in what you do; rather, are you receiving the best value for what you do?

As believers, the reality of eternity is laid out before us. This changes everything. The worldly person sees the best ROI in pleasures of this world, in amassing wealth, in nice things, in stature or status. But these things are but a breath. They are dust in light of eternity.

Your best ROI is in building God’s Kingdom. We can alter the course of someone’s eternity for the better. We can store up eternal treasures in Heaven. Even our investment in family is made more profitable on an eternal scope when the Word of God is part of our familial culture. The way this world lives had no value compared to the life lives as a citizen of the Kingdom.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”
(Philippians 3:8 ESV)

What About Me?

“Look out for number one.” Many of us have heard this. Many have said it. But this attitude has no place in the life of a Christian.

The Word of God tells us to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3 ESV). We have to abandon “what about me”, “that’s not fair”, and “they don’t deserve it”. Love demands that we sacrifice our rights to do good for others.

Remember this: Jesus said “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last,” (Matthew 20:16) and “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The abundant Life that Jesus gives is experienced when we exalt others as humble ourselves. In a life of service and selflessness, we will find a purpose and joy that the works lacks.

“have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:5-7 NIV)