Daily Devotion

  • July 3, 2015

     

    The Price and Privilege of Freedom

     

     

    For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

     

     

    Freedom is a high aspiration.  However, freedom is never free. While we think of Independence Day as a time for celebration and fun, the first Independence Day, July 4, 1776, was a solemn and life changing day. Our forefathers shouldered a huge risk for the sake of their convictions.

     

    Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, 17 lost their fortunes, 12 had their homes destroyed, 9 fought and died, 5 were arrested as traitors, and 2 lost sons in the War. We enjoy freedom today in America because those who established our country were willing to forfeit their possessions, their families, and even their lives to purchase it. 

     

    Our spiritual freedom, which is of infinitely higher value, was purchased at an unfathomable price:  the life of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.  He laid down His position, His possessions, and His life to purchase freedom from sin for those who will follow Him. 

     

    Jesus likewise calls us to lay down our lives and take up our cross daily to follow Him.  Following Jesus means laying down your will, your desires, your future, and even your life, if necessary, for His sake. The old song says it very clearly:  I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.

     

    Nothing you value is worth more than the freedom Christ gives to His followers.   

     

    Have a great day, and Keep Moving Forward!

     

  • July 2, 2015

     

    A Mighty Fortress

     

    God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea…  Psalm  46:1-2

     

    Fortresses have been built from ancient times to protect people from the attacks of their enemies.  The world is dotted with these structures built as military strongholds, intended as places of protection and security.

     

    In general, ancient fortresses are no longer used as hiding places.  They are abandoned and unnecessary for anything other than to teach history lessons.  However, fortresses teach a valuable object lesson to believers in Jesus Christ. 

     

    The Bible speaks of God as a fortress.  I love the first lines of the time-worn hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is our God”:

               

    A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing

             Our helper, He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing ...

     

    Almighty God is the fortress that never fails.  His protection cannot be breached.  His walls cannot be brought down.  He is your hiding place and your protection from the enemy.  He will never forget you, and He will never forsake you. Today, you can thank Him for his unfailing protection.  Our God is a mighty fortress.

     

    Have a great day, and Keep Moving Forward!

     

  • July 1, 2015

     

    Obeying God Rather than Men

     

    And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this Name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this Man's blood upon us.”  But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”  Acts 5:27-29

     

    Most of the time, we can obey God and men.  Most of the time, we can obey God and government.  When you can obey God and men, do so.  But when you cannot obey God and still obey men, then obey God, even when you face punishment.

     

    In Hitler’s Germany, the Nazis pursued racist policies, and slaughtered millions of Jews, and others as well.   Pastor Martin Niemoller took a firm stand in his pulpit, preaching the truth despite threats from the Nazi regime.  As a result, he was thrown into a prison. 

     

    The prison chaplain was visiting prisoners when he came to Pastor Martin Niemoller’s cell.  He foolishly said to Pastor Niemoller, “What brings you here?  Why are you in prison?”  Pastor Niemoller replied angrily, “Brother, why are you not in prison?”

     

    The Bible clearly commands Christians to obey the law, and to honor those in authority.  However, when the time comes that a government or anyone else in authority over us directs that we violate God’s commands, then we must choose to obey God rather than men. 

     

    Remember, this world is not our home; we are strangers and aliens here.  Our citizenship is in heaven, and Jesus Christ is our King.  Entrust yourself to Him as you count the cost of obedience.  He will strengthen you now, and reward your obedience to Him in the end.

     

    Have a great day, and Keep Moving Forward!

     

  • June 30, 2015

     

    Honor the Emperor

     

    Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.   1 Peter 2: 17

     

    Is God a Republican or a Democrat?  Of course, God is neither.  God does not play politics.  He is only righteous all the time. 

     

    However governments and the men and women who run them often rule apart from God’s guidelines.  Christians in our current culture are often at odds with the policies of government officials.  So how can we keep the command to “honor the emperor?”

     

    All governments are established by God.  All rulers and all authorities are established by God.   Romans 13:1  says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

     

    When Paul wrote his letter to the Roman church, and when Peter wrote the words commanding us to honor the emperor, they were under the rule of governments run by wicked men.  Therefore, the command to honor those in authority is not only for those living under righteous governments. 

     

    You can, by faith, honor all officials in authority over you, whether you agree with them or not, because they are answerable to God.  From the police officer on the street, to the mayor, the governor, the senator, the judge, all the way to the president, we are to honor those appointed over us.  We are to be obedient to them – unless it violates God’s commands – and treat them with genuine kindness and respect at all times. 

     

    When you honor the authorities, you honor God who established them.  In doing this, you will be salt and light to the world, and will bring God glory. 

     

    Have a great day, and Keep Moving Forward!

     

     

  • June 29, 2015

     

    Submitting to Authority

     

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Romans 13:1-2

     

    Several years ago a friend of mine who was in charge of the Transportation Security Administration at the Charlotte airport died suddenly.  I performed his funeral service, which was attended by hundreds of TSA agents. 

     

    During the service, when I said, “Please stand to honor the family,” they all stood.  When I said, “Please be seated,” they sat.  When I said, “Please bow your heads and close your eyes,” they bowed their heads and closed their eyes.  In that service, the TSA agents submitted to me.  

     

    But when I go through the security line at the airport, I submit to them. Whatever they tell me, I do.  It doesn’t matter if they are older or younger than me, or if they have more or less education than me, or which of us seems to have more sense.  It doesn’t matter if they’ve been in their position for 10 minutes or ten years.  At the airport, they have authority over me. 

     

    The Bible is clear:  unless it violates God’s law, we are to obey our governing authorities.  The Bible says that authorities in public places are God’s servants for our good, and we are to obey them. 

     

    What does that mean?  It means obey the law.  Pay your taxes.  Stop at red lights.  Drive the speed limit.  If you do not obey, you will be punished by governing authorities, and rightly so.  By the same token, when we obey the law, we build a good reputation with those in authority over us, and we will have no reason to fear them. 

     

    More than anyone else, Christians should obey the law, and for no other reason than this:  God commands it. 

     

    Have a great day and Keep Moving Forward!

     

     

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