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More Inspirational Moments for Your Walk With Christ
Daily devotions are one of the most important ways to build a strong relationship with Christ. Below you'll find a few meditations designed to help you focus on Christ for a few minutes every day. A life centered in Christ is a life filled with Peace.
Devotions you'll find below:
- Servant or Friend
- Master, Teacher, Father
- Do you have a Spring or a Cistern?
- A New Command . . . From the Beginning
- Who do you look to for approval?
Servant or Friend
I no longer call you servants,
because a servant does not know what his master is doing.
But I call you friends,
because I have made known to you
everything I heard from my Father.
Friends of Jesus . . . many places in scripture remind us God calls us His friends. Unfortunately, as I move about in society, I’ve begun to understand that most people don’t truly know what friendship means.
Often it’s difficult to hire a friend to work for you because so many people believe if you’re working for your friend you should get special privileges and less work. Paul told Timothy, “Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare” (1 Timothy 6:1) Those who will truly work harder for their friend are few and far between.
Add to that the number of children who’ve come to conclusion working for family means I get to be the boss, and the problem with a good work ethic becomes even more evident. When I worked in my parent’s business, we worked as if our next meal depended on it. Each of us slaved right beside those regular employees. We generally worked harder and longer, and had to earn a position of authority.
Once again, it looks like the body of Christ has allowed itself to be influenced by the world instead of the other way around. Because we’re a “friend of God” and John told us we’re blessed because we’re called the “sons and daughters of God,” many take that for granted. Church attendance isn’t important, and serving Christ is left to those who get paid for it.
As I share the gospel of Christ, I never want the emphasis to be on what a person should do. First and foremost, the message is about what Christ has already done. But I wonder what the church is doing for her best friend. Jesus didn’t start calling us friends because we aren’t called to serve anymore. However, in our service we’ve been elevated to a place of priority; we’re part of the inner circle. We’re still servants, but now we’re servants whose best friend is the Master. So, even though I am the dearest friend of the Most High, I will take up Joshua’s creed, “Choose for yourselves this day who you will serve. . . , as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)
Teacher, Master, Father
Do not call anyone on earth your father,
because you have one Father, who is in heaven.
Confession time . . . I am fascinated with ancient European royalty. In high school I read all kinds of historical fiction set during the times of King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. You can’t imagine my delight when I discovered myself a descendant of the Stewarts of Scotland, and right now I’m in the middle of TV reruns featuring the French Court.
Recently when I prayed, I addressed God as Lord. And even though it’s totally appropriate, it bothered me a bit. I realize all those nobles of ancient Europe were called lord. For some it was their proper title. I also know from history that many who used that title or referred to those above their station with “lord” didn’t really feel the respect the title would normally deserve. Most of those noble titles were thrown around out fear or self-serving ambition. I wondered how often we do that to our Creator.
How many times do I use the titles and descriptions of God out of habit or to remind myself of my place rather than to truly revere the One who deserves more praise than I can imagine? I started to wonder if I should even call God “Lord” with the way the word has been abused throughout the ages, and as I prayed about it, I was reminded of the verse above.
Very seldom did God restrict the titles we give to humans. There are only three Jesus asked us to save, Teacher, probably for the Holy Spirit and Master, for the Messiah, and one He asked us to reserve for the One who made us. The surprising thing is it's not a title of grandeur or majesty. When we think of this word, we’d place it far below Master and Teacher on the totem pole. It’s so common; it’s most babies’ first word . . . Father.
Jesus said, “Don’t call anyone on earth your father.” Matthew Henry suggested the Master meant Spiritual Father because of the context, and I believe he’s right. But I find it very telling that the One who can be called Omnipotent Sovereign, Creator of the Universe, Master of Nature and Most Holy Awesome Lord, specifically reserves one title for Himself . . . Father.
The One who commands the seasons and set the stars in place wants us to know Him as Father, in all the fullness that word is meant to contain. He could have reserved any title for Himself, but He wants us to know Him as the One who loves us more than Himself, the One who will defend us and lead us, teach and care.
Perhaps those words of Jesus are why the enemy has worked so hard throughout the years to destroy the image of what Father was meant to be. Earthly fathers have fallen so short, some more than others; they have redefined the beauty of our true Father’s Holy title. But God wants to take us back to the origin. He wants us to know the loving Creator who gave life to all. He will always be King, Lord, Creator, Omniscient Spirit, Ruler of the Universe and more, but to those who come to Him, His greatest desire is to be a loving Parent, something many have missed out on. The All Powerful Provider Ancient of Days wanted us to know His greatest desire is to be our true Abba, your Daddy, my Father.
Do you have a Spring or a Cistern?
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
I have to wonder if today’s generation, with water pumped from a filtrations system, can truly appreciate these words of Jeremiah. I grew up on a farm with a spring. No matter how dry the season, we never ran out of water, and it always ran cold. There were several springs in our area that had been harnessed, with pipes coming out of the hill, the world was invited to fill jugs from these cool clear sources.
My aunt had a cistern. During dry seasons at her house we were more careful with the water we used, because she’d have to pay to have it filled if it ran dry. Her water was refreshing as any, but she had a jug in the refrigerator because her tap didn’t run cold.
Spring water rushes through rocks to purify it and comes from deep in the earth making it cool. It was constantly moving. Cistern water just sat there. It may have moved a bit when the water was running or rain ran in, but for the most part it was still and warm.
Plus, cisterns have to be dug out and lined with clay or, in our day, a metal tank so the water doesn’t soak into the soil. They’re a lot of work. Springs occur naturally and need just a bit of effort to harness them. Even in this day of technology and filters, bottled spring water is still a favorite.
So, when God says we forsake Him, the Spring of Living Water, and instead dig our own cisterns, he’s describing something that in my childhood would have been considered foolish. No one who had a good spring on their property would have ever resorted to a cistern.
Today we have one more analogy. Most of us have city or county water’ we get a bill in the mail every month for the privilege of allowing the world to supply our water. But what about your spiritual supply, does it come from the world, a cistern of your own making or the Spring?
Jesus called Himself a Spring of Living Water in John. The refreshment of the Trinity has been available to the people of God from ancient times, but just like in the centuries before Christ was born, many are attempting to find peace and refreshment from the world or their own means, digging, shovelful at a time, their own cisterns. They work hard just to settle for still warm water when the pure, cool Springs are offered at no cost to everyone who truly believes.
A New Command . . . From the Beginning
I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
2 John 4-6
The message in these few verses is one that must have been important to John. He emphasized it in nearly everything he wrote. It’s found at least five times in 1 John and seven in the apostle’s gospel. And it’s a theme that has come up at several of our studies at church recently.
As I’ve contemplated what the “old command” “from the beginning” could be, I had to go back to Genesis. The only command I can find at the beginning was “Don’t eat from the tree.” So I made it my mission to figure out how the two go together.
Have you ever noticed God often has two messages when He speaks. The first is always the exact words we hear, but most of the time our Creator wants us to pay attention to the heart of His message, too.
So, what’s the heart of the message, “Don’t eat from the tree”? After reading John, I believe it’s “Trust me. Have faith I know what’s best for you. Love me enough to obey whatever I tell you even if it looks foolish to your limited human knowledge.”
What if the only command God ever had was to love Him? “Love me enough to obey. Love me enough to believe I know what’s best.” What if everything our Heavenly Father has ever done was to teach us to love Him so we can love others?
My friends and I joke that common sense is in short supply these days. But when I think about it, I’m like Eve. My human, very common, sense sometimes gets me in trouble. We need more than common sense. We need a supernatural sense, uncommon sense. If we truly want things to work out for the best, we need God’s sense. John tells us how to get it. God told Adam how to achieve it from the beginning.
John wrote us an old command, one that was from the beginning. We must love our Savior so much we’re willing to obey Him even when we don’t understand His instructions. Even when . . . especially when . . . I think I know better, I want my love for Christ to conquer my oh too common sense so I can obey.
Who Do You Look To for Approval?
Nevertheless, many did believe in Him even among the rulers, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, so they would not be banned from the synagogue. For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.
One of the most difficult things I face on a regular basis is turning my back on my love of praise from human beings. I’m a people pleaser. As a child and even into my teens, I’d probably have been called a goodie-two shoes. In the recovery circle, it’s known as co-dependent. I like to keep folks happy. I avoid conflict like the plague and worry way too much about what others think, especially about me personally.
There, I’ve said it! It’s out there. You’d think that would help me just get on with my life and live in complete obedience to Jesus Christ. But I’ve confessed in the past, and even though I’m much better than I used to be, I’m still a long way from tossing my cares of what others think into the wind.
And like many of the best Christian virtues, there’s a fine line between the extremes. As I practice putting my focus on the praise of God I also need to avoid the arrogance of completely dismissing the feelings or opinions of others. So, from time to time my Father allows me to walk into situations that can help me “work out my salvation”, and I have to tell you, they aren’t fun.
It’s really difficult for me when someone I care about doesn’t agree with something I’ve done or questions my motives, and I’ve spent too much time sitting in a pew before a concert worrying about what the crowd will think about my songs or my message. No matter how much I pray about it, no matter how much reassurance I get from my Heavenly Father that He approves, I still find myself tossing around in my head all the ways to convince the humans in my life I was right or make sure they like me. What I’d really like to learn to focus on completely is the Holy Spirit’s constant whisper in my ear, “Why does it matter what they think?”
I’ve grown a lot in this area over the past twenty years, but it’s often still a struggle, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. Praise God for that whisper from His Spirit. As I listen to that still, small voice and learn to ask more and more, “Father, what do you think?” I find myself able to experience greater peace when the crowd doesn’t approve. Jesus’ stories along with the adventures of the disciples remind me this life is not a popularity contest, while the Psalms and the Cross assure me, I’m quite “popular” with the only One whose opinion really matters!
I hope you'll stop back every couple of weeks to see the latest devotion. Or e-mail me and I'll add you to the mailing list where these originate.