Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not of This World?

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. (John 17:14-16)

Do you see in this verse that Jesus said His followers are not of this world any more than He is? That is pretty awesome! I have to admit that I do not always think like that. I get caught up in what is going on here and forget how Jesus thinks about the matter. As the verse goes on, we find Jesus asking the Father to protect us from the evil one. So He knew that we would be attacked. I see a very loving Lord in this verse. A Lord that cares about us.

Friday, August 21, 2009


The above word is something I know that I can have a real problem with. Pride is sneaky, it creeps up on us without us knowing about it. Especially when we live in a society that encourages us to have pride. We are assaulted on a daily basis. People's bumper stickers expressing pride in their football team, their bad attitude, sexual orientation or their child at school. Commercials on TV urging us to keep looking and acting young with products, procedures and drugs. If you start looking around with spiritual eyes, you will see lots of things in our society that draw us into pride. Pride can be good, pride can be bad. As a Christian what we are proud about needs to be kept in check.

The Pharisees were very proud of their behavior. Proud because they thought they were right with God. Why, they thought this way was the problem. They followed strict rituals and rules. Their righteousness hinged on their own efforts. We too may fall into thinking this way when we attend church regularly, have a lead position in the church, etc. We have to make sure that we are remembering who made us righteous. It never hinges on us, we are not the star of the show. The only star is Jesus.

As in the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee (Luke 18:9-14). One was a sinner and he approached the Lord with humbleness asking Him to be merciful to him for he was a sinner. The other man was a Pharisee who approached the Father with pride, saying he was glad he was not like "that man" a sinner. Jesus said that the first man had the right attitude. Let that attitude be in us also.

Remember, legalists emphasize external ritual, often to the neglect of genuine heart issues. Jesus encouraged us to consider our hearts. Here is a simple way to check your spiritual temperature. Matthew 15:18 says: "Those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart." What is coming out of your mouth? I know for myself, I have got some pride that needs to be dealt with.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Let this mind be in you...

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

This morning I read this verse and noticed the phrase "Let this mind be in you". What is that mind? It is humility. Jesus completely emptied Himself, he held on to nothing for himself. What he did hang on to was the Father. He did only what the Father wanted. That is the mind that should be in us.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Valley of the Shadow of Death

I am still reading the book Pilgrim's Progress. I came to the part where Christian has to journey through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. This valley is filled with darkness and the path is narrow, with one side having a ditch and the other side a mire. Taking this path requires a constant balancing act. When Christian lifted his foot to take a step forward he did not know where his foot would land. Also along the path were hideous noises, flames, smoke and sparks. To keep balance on this path Christian resorted to prayer. He could be heard crying out "O Lord save me!" Here is a quote from the book:

"He went on like this for a great while, but the flames were still reaching him. He heard threatening voices and rushing about, so that sometimes he thought he would be torn in pieces or trodden down like mud in the roads. For several miles altogether he saw these frightening sights and heard these dreadful noises; and coming to a place where he thought he heard a gang of fiends coming toward him, he stopped and began to consider what would be the best thing to do. Sometimes he had half a mind to go back; then he thought again that he might be halfway through the valley. Also, he remembered how he had already vanquished many a danger and that the risk of going back might be much more than going forward. So he resolved to go on, yet the fiends seemed to come nearer and nearer.

When they had almost reached him, Christian cried out with a most earnest voice, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God.""

Do you feel as if you are walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death? Are you crying out "O Lord save me!"? I am. Certainly Christian is a good example for us to follow. So keep praying, keep moving forward and say in an earnest voice, "I will go in the strength of the Lord."