Walking Humbly in Your Position

DAILY DEVOTION: SAY 210

“And they prayed, and said, Thou Lord which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apotleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place” (Acts 1:24-25, KJV).

We all are important before God, but none of us is indispensable. It takes humility to realize this. When you rise to a position in life, you can easily forget how you got there. You can forget Who put you there. This forgetfulness can lead to complacency, pride and even unfaithfulness. We need to remember the words of Scripture, that “all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass” (cf. 1 Peter 1:24). When you remember that you are where you are because of God’s mercies, it will keep you humble. And your humility will keep you grounded.

In Daniel 2:21, we are told that God sets up kings and removes kings. Remember, therefore, that no matter how secure or indispensable you think you are, God can replace you. God can raise you up, and He can bring you down. Whatever assignment, responsibility, job, ministry or task you are given in life, hold firmly to it. Discharge your duties as faithfully as possible, and walk humbly with your God. Do not forget that God can replace you and have another take your place. You are not indispensable. The truth is, you are nothing. If you are something, it is because God has made you something.

Everything we’ve said so far has to do with today’s opening Scripture from Acts 1:24-25. So, let’s get into it.

As you recall, Judas was one of the original 12 Apostles chosen by Jesus. These men were the closest to Jesus. The Lord took them from nowhere and made them “special.” He gave them power to perform signs and wonders. Judas was in the middle of the action. He had front row access to Jesus’ love, His power, and His glory. But Judas took Jesus for granted, forgetting who put him in that position. He became unfaithful, even to the point of betraying Jesus to His enemies. This was the height of ingratitude and pride. What was God’s response? He removed and replaced Judas.

When the remaining 11 Apostles gathered in the Upper Room, Peter asked God to choose Matthias or Joseph Barsabas to “take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell.” When Judas transgressed, God removed him and He let Matthias take his place.

What happened to Judas can happen to anyone. Several examples exist in the Scriptures about people God replaced (or threatened to replace) due to their unfaithfulness. Even in Revelation 2:5, Jesus warned the church of Ephesus that if they didn’t repent, He would come quickly and remove their candlestick (their position and identity as Jesus’s church) out of its place.

God loves us and He wants to do great things with us. But let’s keep in mind that we are not indispensable. Let’s do all things with gratitude, humility and faithfulness to God. Amen.

For further study:  1 Samuel 15:1-35

When It’s Time to Leave a Relationship

Daily Devotional: Day 176

After this he [Samson] loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah . . . So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you” (Judges 16:4, 6, NKJV).

Yesterday, we heard a message about how the Lord heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds. As the message went out, it seemed helpful to offer some Bible-based ideas on how to protect your heart from being broken. While Jesus can heal your broken or wounded heart, it is even better if you learn how to not have your heart broken in the first place. This can apply to different contexts. But today, let’s look at relationships between people of the opposite sex; specifically, people who are dating with the hope of marrying in the near future. This is important, because experience shows that many instances of broken heart occur within these types of relationships. Given the emotional investment (not counting the time, energy and money) people commit to these relationships, that is no surprise.

The purpose, therefore, of today’s message is to help people respond in a timely and decisive manner when they see warning signs in a relationship, before things get too far. Whether you’re currently in a relationship, married or celibate, you might find something of value in this message.

Samson was chosen by God from his mother’s womb and consecrated to Him as a Nazirite. He was a judge over Israel for twenty years. By the power of God, he accomplished mighty deeds on behalf of God’s people. In fact, in the Letter to the Hebrews, the Bible names him as one of the great men of faith whose life is worth emulating (cf. Hebrew 11:32).

At one point in his life, Samson fell in love with Delilah. But, unbeknownst to Samson, Delilah had other intentions: to betray him to the Philistines for 1,100 silver pieces. She began by asking Samson to share with him the secret of his strength and what could be done to subdue him. On three occasions, Samson refused to tell her. But after relentless nagging and emotional manipulation by Delilah, Samson finally opened up; and, that was the beginning of his end.

Notice that the first time Delilah demanded to know the secret behind Samson’s strength was a red flag, but Samson didn’t take it seriously. He underestimated Delilah, until he met his end. Lesson: If you see red flags in your relationship, it’s time to run. Don’t try to be a hero. You have only one heart and one life. Do the right thing. Act wisely, and quickly. Red flags are God’s way of telling you to escape before it’s too late. You can’t eliminate risk entirely from a relationship; there’s always a measure of risk one must assume. But when you see clear warning signs, count yourself blessed, and gather the courage to leave.

 Whether you’re a man or a woman, you can learn important lessons from Samson and Delilah’s relationship. Some people in your life may have a ‘Delilah spirit.’ Such people (men or women) have mastered the art of deception. They have little to no sense of loyalty. While they may give you the impression that they love you, in their eyes, you are disposable. If they get a better offer, they’ll dump you at the drop of a hat.

Unfortunately, when many people fall in love, they become blind to reality. Some even forget their God. By the time they wake up to reality, they discover that they’ve fallen on the wrong side of love. It remains a mystery, that under the spell of love, people are willing to surrender their freedom and peace of mind for momentary pleasure. In Proverbs 22:3, the Bible declares, “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished” (emphasis added). You need godly foresight and clarity of mind to survive in today’s relationship environment. 

Learn from Samson and Delilah’s relationship. When in love, keep your eyes and ears wide open. Don’t ignore the evidence in front of you, especially the little things. Do love, but be safe.  

May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today. Amen.

For further study: Judges 16:4-22

Let’s Talk about Love and Kisses

Daily Devotional: Day 100

“Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him.” Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him” (Matthew 26: 48-49, NKJV).

Not every kiss is a kiss of love. Jesus found out the hard way. His own disciple whom He called, loved, fed, protected, empowered and served for at least three years, betrayed Him to the Jewish and Roman authorities. Consciously or unconsciously, people often have a reason or motive for the things they do or do not do.

Motives can be pure or impure, godly or ungodly. Recognizing the difference isn’t always easy. If, however, you give it sufficient time, people’s true motives eventually become clear. This happens even in the sphere of love.

Jesus is Love. That fateful night in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas betrayed the Lord of Love; and he did so with a kiss. Judas perverted the gesture of love and turned it into a weapon of betrayal. Those who supposedly ‘love’ you are at times the very ones who can turn against you in a beat and throw you to the wolves. What happened to Jesus is a lesson for us all because the stories in the Bible are there for our instruction (cf. Romans 15:4).

While you cannot avoid dealing with people, it is important that you keep your eyes open always. Do not fall for every smile, every hug and every kiss. ‘Judases’ exist everywhere – even in the house of God. As a child of the Father, God wants you to be loving, but not at the expense of wisdom and discernment. God doesn’t want you to shut your eyes and miss the writing on the wall. What happened to Jesus can happen to all of us. That is why we need to be discerning when it comes to the relationships we forge. You have only one heart, so it is important who you bring close to your chest

Many people, blinded by ‘love,’ have had their hearts terribly broken because they were in denial and refused to acknowledge the obvious. It is important that we watch and pray so that we can recognize the ‘Judas’ in our life before it is too late.

The peace of Christ be with you!

Prayer:

Father, give me a spirit of discernment. Open my eyes to see and my ears to hear. In my going and coming, protect me from the snares of the enemy. In the Name of Jesus, I pray.

For further study: Genesis 37:1-36

Eyes on the Cross

Daily Devotional: Day 96

“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him [Jesus], saw that He [Jesus] had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5, NKJV).

Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities. Rather than face the consequences of his actions, he chose to die a coward. It is bad enough to sin against Jesus, but it is worse if you disqualify yourself from Jesus’ mercy. You need courage and humility to face the Cross. Why? Because on the Cross you see the cost of your sin; but more importantly, you see an innocent, loving and merciful Savior who died that you might live. Judas did not turn to the Cross; instead, he turned to himself and ended up in the grave. When you sin, the last thing you want to do is to turn to yourself. You should turn immediately to the Cross, look Jesus in the eye and you shall obtain grace and mercy.

 When I say ‘Cross,’ I am not referring to a piece of wood, metal or plastic, the work of human hands. If you turn in prayer to a man-made object called ‘cross,’ that is idolatry. Remember that God is Spirit, and the power of the Cross is a spiritual reality that is present to you anytime, anywhere; it is not associated with any object made with human hands.

Strictly speaking, Judas did not repent, because true repentance leads you to Jesus; it does not lead you away from Him. Judas felt bad for himself, but did not see the point of turning to God for mercy. He didn’t realize that the Innocent Blood which he betrayed was the same Blood that could have saved him from his sin.

Judas made the right confession to the wrong people. To the chief priests, he confessed, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” The chief priests could care less. Judas should have turned to Jesus instead. The truth is, no man can save you from your sin; not even yourself. God alone can. Therefore, to Him, and to Him alone, should you turn for mercy. If you have hurt people, it is important that you apologize. But no matter what you have done or how horrible you feel, turning to the Cross is your antidote. No one can turn to the Cross for you. It’s your call.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, I repent of all my sins. I turn to you for mercy and grace. Cleanse me with your precious Blood and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Make me new and set me apart as a vessel of honor. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

For further study: Numbers 24:4-9 and John 3:14-18