Walking Humbly in Your Position

DAILY DEVOTIONAL: DAY 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 lift 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

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

A Lesson from Elisha and Gehazi

Daily Devotional: Day 153

“But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him’” (2 Kings 5:20-21, NKJV).

July, 2007. I had just been ordained a Roman Catholic priest. Before I began my assignment as Associate Pastor, I needed to take driving lessons. My driving instructor was a young man, probably in his mid-30s. He was preparing for ministry in an evangelical church. One hot afternoon, while we were on the road, he sought my advice regarding the integrity of a man of God. His question was: “So, what should a man of God be more careful about, women or money?” “Money,” I replied. Surprised at my answer, he said, “Oh, I thought it would be women.” “No,” I replied. “Women are visible and human like us, so you can easily tell if a problem is approaching and advice yourself. But money neither talks nor walks. It has no face; it controls people through its invisible yet seductive power. You won’t even know you’re in love with it. Love of money is the greatest threat to the integrity of a man of God.” Our conversation continued, but I’ll spare you any further details. 

In today’s passage, the prophet Elisha heals Naaman, the commanding officer of the Syrian army. In gratitude, he offers Elisha a gift. Elisha declines. But Gehazi, unable to control his greed, pursues Naaman and takes gifts from him under the pretext of acting on the orders of Elisha. That was the end of Gehazi’s ministry. As further punishment, he was inflicted with the leprosy of Naaman. This story teaches us a lesson about greed and integrity in the service of God.

Greed is idolatry (cf. Colossians 3:5). Whatever a person is greedy about, that is his god. Greed is unbridled desire to pursue or possess things of the world. When it takes hold of people, it’s like a drug; people can’t let go, except by sincere repentance. Over time, if people don’t change, they become numb to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Recall the story of Judas. People will kill because of money. They will betray friendship because of money. For the sake of money, people will even make a covenant with satan. Inside the Church or outside it, the god of greed has many victims worshiping at its altar. 

Today, God wants you to be like Elisha, and not like Gehazi. He wants you to remember your calling in Christ Jesus and keep your focus on serving God with integrity.  No matter what your needs are, resist the temptation to compromise your relationship with God. Trust the good Father to provide for your needs. 

 May the Lord supply all your needs in accordance with His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! Amen.

 For further study: 2 Kings 5:1-27

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