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

Parenting: Some Bible-based Perspectives

Daily Devotional: Day 172

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, AKJV).

Today’s message is addressed, first of all, to parents and guardians; to all who now or in the future will play some form of parental roles; and to anyone who is interested in some Bible-based perspectives on parenting. Proverbs 22:6 assumes that parents know the way the child should go; for you can only lead others on a path with which you are familiar.

Train your child, your way – the Bible way. Give children the knowledge of God. Put the fear of God in them when they’re little. They need it, even if they don’t want it. Train them, not only to love God, but also to fear Him. If anyone loves God, they will fear Him also. If they fear God, it means they love Him. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (cf. Proverbs 9:10). A child who fears God will most likely fear his parents, and vice versa. In Leviticus 19:3, God commands everyone to fear his mother, and his father.

Make time to train your own child. Don’t leave the education of your child to HollywoodDisneyvideo games or the Government. Today’s world is aggressive on all fronts. Even adults are stumbling. Therefore, you can’t afford to leave things to chance and hope that children will magically turn out alright. Children deserve to be adequately prepared to face and overcome the pressures of this world.

Don’t compromise on discipline. God is a Parent and He doesn’t compromise on discipline (cf. Deuteronomy 8:5). Neither should you. Children will test you. If you compromise on discipline once, the game is over. They’ve won. Compromise projects weakness. Children will notice it, and they will use it against you by habitually resisting you. Maintain your integrity and authority as a parent. Care for children, love them, protect them, provide for them; but be firm. Love your child, but don’t let your love cloud your judgment.

An undisciplined child is a danger to himself and others; but a disciplined child is an inspiration. Don’t just talk about discipline; enforce discipline. The most valuable thing you can bequeath to your children is neither a house, nor money, nor a car; but rather, godly discipline. Open their eyes to the lies and deceptions of this world. Show them the truths they need to be successful. Successful parenting is a catalyst for a sound Church and a healthy society.

Fear not. Being a parent is an honor. It gives you the opportunity to raise another human being. This makes you a Minister of God. In churches, there’s a ministry for nearly everything: children’s ministry, choreography, music ministry, youth ministry, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, singles’ ministry, etc. But parenting as a ministry is often overlooked. Parenting is a divine calling and a ministry. If you do it well, our heavenly Father will greatly reward you.

True, this world doesn’t make it easy to be a parent, but with God you can do all things. And, He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Have courage. Be loving. Be fearless. Be the parent God ordained you to be.

May the Lord remember your labor of love and greatly bless you. Amen.

For further study: Hebrews 12:1-13

 

Where the Holy Spirit Leads

Daily Devotional: Day 151

“Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them” (Acts 16:6-7, NKJV).

Paul, Silas and Timothy traveled together, delivering the decision of the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 15:1ff) to the believers in several cities. Today’s passage tells us that at one point, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word of God in Asia. The Holy Spirit further prevented them from going into the Roman province of Bithynia. Instead, the Lord directed them to go to Macedonia; and they complied (cf. Acts 16:8-10).

Why would the Holy Spirit forbid God’s servants from preaching His word in certain places? After all, God wants all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). On the surface, the Holy Spirit’s decision doesn’t make sense. But if we look at things from a spiritual perspective, it should make sense. We need to understand and respect the role of the Holy Spirit in the Church. Jesus left Him in charge of the Church. To borrow a term from the corporate world, we might call the Holy Spirit, the Director General of all ministry tasks undertaken by the Church. Knowing this, we will do well to discern the will of the Spirit in all our ministry endeavors.

When Paul and his team were forbidden to preach in Asia and Bithynia, they didn’t fight it. They didn’t blame it on the devil. They humbly submitted to the Spirit’s will. How did they know that the Spirit didn’t want them to go to Asia and Bithynia? They discerned. Today, discernment is one of the critical areas of need in the Church. Without discernment, we would be operating in the dark, thinking we are working for the Lord, when in fact, we are on our own.

Some ministry decisions may appear right in our eyes, but to the Holy Spirit we would be operating against God’s will for us. Additionally, some things may appear to us as ministry opportunities, but to the Holy Spirit, that ‘opportunity’ may not be God’s will for us. At times we are so determined to do what we assume (without discernment) to be God’s will, that we fail to notice the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Bottom lineThe fact that you see an open door does not mean you must walk through it. Not all open doors are meant for you to enter. Some open doors are traps, not opportunities. Learn – by prayer and study of the Bible – to discern what the Spirit is saying in any given situation. Go where the Spirit wants you to go; don’t go where the Spirit doesn’t want you to go, even if you see opportunities; and finally, do what the Spirit wants you to do, according to the timing of the Spirit.

May the Father bless and increase you! Amen.

For further study: Matthew 10:1-15