A Rebellious Spirit 


Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Romans 13:2

A popular mindset in our culture is to rebel against authority. We love feeling autonomous, independent, stubborn, and in control. We dislike anyone telling us what to do. But remember what Samuel told King Saul: “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15:23).

According to the Bible, God ordained authority to maintain order in the world, the nation, and the home. That’s why Romans 13 tells us to obey those in authority over us. Being ready to carry out the will of God sometimes means being ready to carry out the will of someone over us—like a child wisely obeying a parent. The exception comes when the authority tells us to do something contrary to the will of God, and then we must say, like Peter, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Has someone in authority over you—a parent, a boss, a public official—told you to act in a certain way? Wisdom listens, submits, and seeks God’s will with humility. Don’t let a rebellious spirit overtake your heart.

The modern world detests authority but worships relevance. Our Christian conviction is that the Bible has both authority and relevance.
John Stott

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Janitor to President 


But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
Luke 22:26

James A. Garfield has a remarkable history. He grew up in an Ohio log cabin—poor and fatherless—a youngster who worked in the fields to help feed his family. Wanting to improve himself, he read and attended school whenever possible. He enrolled in the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio, where he also worked as a janitor. The once student/janitor ultimately became the school’s leading professor, and in 1857, its president. A quarter-century later, he became the 20th President of the United States. In his teens he gave his heart and life to Jesus Christ—adding teacher and preacher to his resume.

The progress of his life—from poverty to humble service to knowledge to leadership—is a lesson for us. Everyone wants to be a leader in some form or fashion; but serving comes first. Serving others, in fact, is the very essence of leadership. Just as Garfield’s leadership was enriched by his years as a farm boy and janitor, so our leadership is strengthened in the humble acts of kindness and care we perform daily.
If you have the opportunity of either serving or leading, and you can only do one—serve!

Let me ask you to choose the undying Jesus as your everlasting Friend and Helper. Let me urge you to follow Him.
James A. Garfield

Faith v. Flesh


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Paul’s letter to the Romans takes place near the end of his ministry.  It includes his mature reflections on the Christian life.  In the seventh chapter he writes, “For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh.  I can will what is right, but I cannot do it.  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.”

In spite of our best efforts we still lose our temper, say things we shouldn’t have and may not accomplish everything we want in this life.  Lust, greed, envy and pride are all day every day temptations.

It is only when we understand that this flesh is rebellious, wants everything in it’s path and can only be tamed with faith, that life changes.  Faith and the belief in God is the only context in which our being makes sense.  We are given life freely by our Creator.  We can choose to follow him or reject him, we can pick earth or eternity and convenience or Christ.  We choose to tame the flesh by faith or feed its every desire and ultimately choose death.

 

Pastor Shawn, Seymour UMC

Author of Incomplete

incompletedevotional.com

What Photos Can’t Show


But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7

One of the first photographs ever taken (1839) was of an American photographer taking a picture of himself—perhaps history’s first “selfie.” Fast forward to today—there are tens of millions of selfies posted on social media sites around the world every year. Many of the pictures record events and relationships. But far too many are of individuals taking images of themselves alone—the “Look at me!” variety of selfie.

The problem with any picture, selfie or otherwise, is that it only records what is on the outside. The camera has yet to be invented (and never will be) that can photograph the spiritual status of the heart, soul, or mind. And that is the part of us God is most concerned about. When Samuel was sent to anoint Israel’s new king, God told him not to anoint a man who looked like a king. Instead, he was to anoint a man who had the heart of a king, a heart after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22).

Those viewing your photos can’t see your heart, but God can. Make sure He finds in you a heart that is pursuing Him.

A man’s heart is what he is. 
R. B. Kuiper

Let the one without sin cast the first stone…


 

“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”  Christ’s statement to the scribes and Pharisees that presented an anonymous female adulteress before him in the temple.
The guilt and shame this woman must have felt, the anxiety she must have experienced.  She was probably well aware of the penalty for adultery – death by stoning.  A public and barbaric display to make an example out of the sinner.
Christ was being tested to see if he would uphold the law and condemn the woman.  Christ advocated for the truth and challenged those that judged her to look at the condition of their hearts, souls and the sin that existed in their own lives.
He did not pass judgment on her, as easy and common as that is today.  It is far easier to judge and place distance between ourselves and those whose appearance, clothes, homes, income level and tattoos we don’t like and don’t even begin to understand.
It requires that precious resource of time that we guard with an iron grip and are far too many times selfish with.  What do people want as much as anything in this life…….to be accepted for who and what they are in spite of their shortcomings.
Pastor Shawn, Seymour UMC
Author of Incomplete
shawnlarueorg.wordpress.com