Sunday, October 26, 2014

All I Need

All I Need

In today’s world it can sometimes be very difficult to distinguish between need and desire. We live in an age of excess. Selfishness, greed, entitlement, unrealistic expectations, etc. lead to a warped sense of sufficiency.

As a Christian, have you reached the point of being content regardless of what you have (or don’t have)? Paul did!
  • Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

The Eternal Promise
One of the most well known sections of scripture begins with an incredible promise; if God is truly your master, you will never be without something you need!
  • Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

The Needs
But as humans, our actual and perceived needs are many. There are countless opportunities for our desires to be perceived as needs (or rights). And when these are not satisfied according to our expectations, we become anything but content.
  • Physical (what we have)
    • Food, clothing, shelter, automobiles, toys, jewelry, money, trophies, land …
  • Emotional (what we feel)
    • Love, acceptance, happiness, fear, anger, sadness, resentment, jealousy …
  • Intellectual (what we think)
    • Education, entertainment, mental stimulation, validation, opinions, judging …
  • Experiential (what we personally go through)
    • Illness, struggles, crime, fights, loss, disappointment, rejection, betrayal …
  • Observational (what we see in the world around us)
    • Crime, injustice, others getting ahead, world hunger, war, terrorism, disease …

The Danger of Extremes
Yet, as much as we want to satisfy our needs and desires, often when we gain or lose them to the extreme, our wretchedness is plainly exposed.
  • Proverbs 30:8-9 Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; 9 Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God.

The Way
Christ made it clear, He is the source of all we need. And without Him we can’t do anything that will bring glory and honor to God.
  • John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Paul pointed us to Christ as the source of contentment in all circumstances. But beyond that, he identified Jesus as the only means by which we can reconcile and satisfy all our temporal and eternal needs.
  • Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

What do you need? What you need is Jesus. Find Him in the Holy Bible!


Heavenly Father, Your Word and Your Spirit guide us to the truth about our needs. Above and before all else is our need for salvation in Jesus Christ. I pray Father, that floating in the ocean of discontentment will lead many to Your Truth; the truth that Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth, lived a sinless life, died on a Roman cross, and was raised from the dead on the third day to make a way for lost sinners to be reconciled to You. Christ is the only way to eternal life in heaven. Please use Your Word to save the lost. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Power, Pride and Pain

Power, Pride and Pain

The Bible makes very clear the virtues of humility and the dangers of pride.
  • Matthew 23:11-12 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

In the Bible, we see many times when God reveals His power through someone. And unfortunately, we then see in that person the pride that arises due to human weaknesses. And finally we see the pain  and humiliation that comes after a fall. In this devotion, we will examine two examples of this: a King and a Disciple of Jesus Christ.


Amaziah was the son of Joash and became King of Judah at the age of twenty-five after his father’s servants conspired against Joash and killed him. Like his father, Amaziah did right in the sight of the Lord (to a large extent). God blessed Amaziah and gave him victory in battle over the Edomites.
  • 2 Kings 14:7 He killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela by war, and called its name Joktheel to this day.

After this display of power, pride led Amaziah to challenge the King of Israel to battle.
  • 2 Kings 14:8 Then Amaziah sent messengers to Jehoash the son of Jehoahaz, the son of Jehu, king of Israel, saying, “Come, let us face one another in battle.”

Unfortunately Amaziah ignored a clear warning from the King of Israel about going to war. The disastrous results of this battle were very painful for Amaziah and the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
  • 2 Kings 14:11-14 But Amaziah would not heed. Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went out; so he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another at Beth Shemesh, which belongs to Judah. 12 And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his tent. 13 Then Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh; and he went to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate—four hundred cubits. 14 And he took all the gold and silver, all the articles that were found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.


Peter was a bold, brave and brash disciple of Christ. He briefly walked on water with Christ.  While defending Christ during His arrest, Peter rashly drew his sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. God demonstrated His power in Peter by revealing to him that Jesus was the Son of God, the Christ.
  • Matthew 16:15-17 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

Yet as close to Christ as he was, as much as He loved Him, even when Jesus told Peter and the other disciples they would stumble that very night, in pride Peter declared that he would never deny Jesus (notice that the other ten disciples made the same claim – Judas had already departed to betray Him).
  • Matthew 26:33-35 Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And so said all the disciples.

Just as Christ had foretold, later that night when Jesus was arrested, in shame and pain Peter (along with the other disciples) abandoned Him.
  • Matthew 26:55-56 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. 56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
  • See Matthew 26:69-75 for Peter’s threefold denial of Christ and his bitter weeping afterwards.

What other Biblical examples can you think of that repeat the pattern of God’s Power, Personal Pride and Resulting Pain? Pray that God will manifest His power in and through you. But also pray that God will keep you humble! Instead of elevating yourself, be humble and let God do the exalting in His timing!
  • 1 Peter 5:6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,


Father, I know that much of Your Word is meant to be an example for my learning. I pray dear Lord that Your Spirit teaches me from these and other examples in the Bible of pride and pain following a clear demonstration of Your Power. May You empower me to be truly humble; putting others above myself. Christ showed the ultimate example of humility by coming to earth as a man and as a perfect sacrifice to die for the sins of the world. I pray that His love and sacrifice will motivate and guide me when pride rears its ugly head in me. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Are You in Disguise

Are You in Disguise

The book of 1 Kings is amazing! It begins with David, Israel’s second and greatest king, still on the throne. Continuing on, we read about King Solomon’s rule, the building of the God’s Temple in Jerusalem, the division of Israel into two kingdoms (Israel – The Northern Kingdom and Judah – The Southern Kingdom), the evil kings of Israel, the evil and a few good kings of Judah, most of Elijah’s ministry, the selection of Elisha as the prophet to succeed Elijah,  and so much more.

In chapter 22, the last chapter of 1 Kings, we read about the death of Ahab (Israel’s most evil king). The chapter begins with Ahab asking Jehoshaphat (one of the few God fearing kings of Judah) to join him in battling Syria. Unfortunately, even with a warning from a true prophet of God named Micaiah, Jehoshaphat decides to join Ahab in this battle.

Putting on a Disguise
  • 1 Kings 22:29-30 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth Gilead. 30 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle; but you put on your robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.

Going into battle against Syria, Ahab feared that if he wore his kingly robes he would become a more easily identified target for the enemy. So he disguised himself thinking he would avoid the hazards associated with his true identity. Do you ever disguise yourself? I’m not talking about putting on a mask or wig or makeup to hide your identity. Perhaps you fake a smile when you are angry, make small talk with someone because you are supposed to be nice, or even say a halfhearted prayer to God out of obligation or desperation. Also, did you notice that as he put on his disguise and blended in with the other soldiers, Ahab showed no regard for Jehoshaphat’s safety?

The World is Often Deceived
  • 1 Kings 22:31-32 Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, saying, “Fight with no one small or great, but only with the king of Israel.” 32 So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “Surely it is the king of Israel!” Therefore they turned aside to fight against him, and Jehoshaphat cried out.

Ben-Hadad (the king of Syria) was out to kill Ahab and ordered his troops to focus the battle on the King of Israel. The troops dutifully obeyed; yet they mistakenly thought that Jehoshaphat was Ahab. Our disguises can fool a lot of people. And unfortunately, sometimes those around us get hurt when we pretend to be someone or something we aren’t. Thankfully Jehoshaphat cried out to God and was spared (see 2 Chronicles 18:31).

As Abraham Lincoln said:
  • ‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.’

God is Never Deceived
  • 1 Kings 22:34 Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”
  • 1 Kings 22:37-38 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. 38 Then someone washed the chariot at a pool in Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood while the harlots bathed, according to the word of the Lord which He had spoken.
    • See God’s warning to Ahab through Elijah in 1 Kings 21:17-19.

In His sovereign reign over all things, God used the ‘random’ shot of a Syrian archer to accomplish His purpose (the death of Ahab – you will have to read more about Ahab’s reign as an evil king to understand why). God is never fooled. He sees through every disguise. In the Bible, He has warned us about the dangerous consequences of our sin/disguises/hypocrisy.

As God said through King David:
  • Psalm 139:1-4 O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.

Are you in disguise? Do you think you’ve been successful at avoiding the hazards of being a Christian? Has your disguise led to others being hurt? God knows your every action, your deepest thoughts, and the path that lies before you.

Tear off your disguise and humble yourself before God or the archer may release his arrow.


Loving Father, I beg You to forgive me for the times I have used a smile and a kind word to disguise my anger, my judgmental nature, my pride, my sin. I confess the times I have used silence or concurrence to disguise my identity in Christ. Salvation in Christ and Your expectations of me have made holiness, righteousness and an eternally bright future in heaven a reality in my life. Please accept all my disguises as a burnt offering for Your honor. May Your Holy Spirit empower me to not wear disguises in the future. I pray in the name of my beloved Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Tending the House of God

Tending the House of God

Tom woke up early and was in an exceptionally good mood. He was very excited about getting to church and hearing the next sermon in the series the pastor started last week. Tom prayed earnestly and diligently reviewed last week’s sermon outline and his personal notes. ‘This is going to be great! Last week’s sermon really spoke to me.’, Tom said to his wife as they got in the car for the short drive to church. However, as they walked into the sanctuary, they were greeted by sounds of crying and a great deal of commotion. Then they saw it; the graffiti on the walls and the damage to the alter and baptismal pool. Tom was shocked. ‘Who could do such a thing?!’

Unfortunately, in today’s world, this story is not only believable, but multiple alternate scenarios could be imagined where the ‘House of God’ is defiled. As disgraceful and disgusting as this may be to Christians, what is more shocking is that many Christians seems to care more about what happens to a church building than they do about the living temple of God!

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
  • John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

In these two verses, the Bible (God’s Word) makes very clear that each individual Christian is the temple of God. Taking these verses in context and carefully reading them, we see that we are indwelled by the entire Godhead, the Holy trinity; that right, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (that’s Jesus talking in John 14:23). We are the House of God!

  • John 14:16-17 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 14:16-17, and many other verses, tell us that the indwelling presence of God in a Christian is permanent! Once God moves in, He never moves out.

  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

God bought each Christian with the precious blood of Christ and He takes the treatment of His temple very serious. This devotion is not meant to condemn anyone or to make anyone feel guilty (Romans 8:1). We all stumble and I have fallen very short in this area at different times in my life. However, this devotion is intended to get Christians thinking, talking, praying and searching the Word of God about this very important issue.

Here are a couple of topics for you to reflect on:
  • As a Christian, you have a personal responsibility to care for your body.
  • This applies to diet, exercise and anything else that impacts the condition (health) of God’s living temple.
  • You carry God with you wherever you go and whatever you do!

Ask the Lord to guide you, and then by the power of His Holy Spirit, make adjustments as needed to honor and glorify Him.


Dear Father in Heaven, and in me, please forgive me for the times when I have not taken care of this body that You have given me. I know I continue to fail in some areas; but I also know that I love You and desire to tend Your house very well. May Your Holy Spirit guide me to make better decisions about my health and everything I do with my body. I love You and thank You for Your grace, mercy and patience. I praise You and pray to You in the precious name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.