“You Have Chosen Poorly”

Poorly

Photo Credit: YouTube

I am a big fan of the Indiana Jones movies. Once in a while, since I was his only son, (with two sisters) my dad would take me out with him to see a “boy” movie – a tradition I continued with my own son when he was little and now with my son-in-laws as well!

There is a scene in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” where Jones and the “villain” need to choose the cup Christ drank from in order to receive eternal life. The villain (since he had the gun) chooses first, and picks a beautiful silver cup and, of course, not really knowing who Christ was, drinks from the cup stating, “this cup is certainly the cup of a king” (or something to that affect). His outcome of course was not a good one after he drinks the water. I’ll save you from the gory details of his demise. I DO, however love the comment of the guardian when he observes what unfolds and simply states, “He chose poorly”. Jones on the other hand knowing history and of Christ, knows Christ was a carpenter and picks the simple wooden cup to drink from. The guardian of the cups response to his choice was, “You have chosen wisely”.

Life is full of SO many choices. Some as simple as what to have for breakfast and some difficult because of their possible lifelong effects (college choice, vocation, whether to marry and who to marry…).

However, there is one more choice which greatly affects THIS life AND the life after death! We can choose not to believe in Christ and serve ourselves OR we can choose to accept him as our savior and allow him to direct us all the way into and throughout eternity. According to scripture, one road is more difficult and less traveled and there is no road in between:
Matthew 6:24 says:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  Then Matthew 7: 13 and 14 says:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

This poem by Cooper Abrams (who revised this version of the Robert Frost poem) “The Road Not Taken” says it all:
Two roads diverged in a forest glen, and I wondered which I should take,
And long I stood and pondered, looking
down each road as far as I could,
to see what choice I should make.
I looked for direction to made my choice.
One was well traveled, broad and wide,
and looked easy as it crooked through the glen. 
The other was strait, narrow and clearly less worn.
Which road, I contemplated, would I have the better end.
Then there appeared a Man with a book in his hand,
It pages He knew so well, He sternly spoke and with authority said,
”This book the end of both roads will show.
It says the wide road will take you to dark depths,
to a place you do not wish to go.”
He then smiled said don’t look so grim, 
I prepared the narrow way for you take, 
where you never go alone,
For this strait road is the only way, 
and I will go with you and take you home. 
It was years ago I stood at that the fork in the road,
and the Man’s sound counsel I took. 
The road was as he said, 
and the end as stated in the book.
Two roads diverged in a forest glen, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
I let the Savior lead me by His word,
And that has made all the difference.”

In college, I came across a “Daily Bread” devotional that was titled, “Two Roads to Choose”. It stated that we had just one life to live and two choices of how to live it: serving ourselves, or serving Christ. I made the decision that morning while reading that devotional that the choice for Rich Rose was to serve Christ wholeheartedly -thus my life’s verse of Col: 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” It was a choice I do not regret and is what God desires for each of his children!

Consider what choice you have made. It’s not too late to give your life fully to Him and let your creator fulfill his purpose in you for this life AND forever! When you finally meet Christ, will he say, “you chose poorly”, or you chose wisely”. Take a lesson from Indiana Jones and chose the simple wood cup of a carpenter…

“Uniquity”

Trevor Dunaway

Photo Credit: Trevor Dunaway via CC Flickr

“For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

 For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.  If they were all one member, where would the body be?  But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

 Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations,various kinds of tongues. All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? All do not have gifts of healing, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? But earnestly desire the greater gifts.
And I show you a still more excellent way.” ~ 1 Corinthians 12: 12-27


As the HS chapel leader years ago at Norfolk Christian, I started off
the chapel season one year creating this “sniglet” (a combination of
two words with a meaning utilizing both words) to create the word
“uniquity”. I always liked making up sniglets (and still do) when a
normal word just doesn’t make it like “slibble” – a slip/dribble – the
process of stepping on a soccer ball while dribbling but wiping out
and falling on your back!). As you can guess, uniquity is a combination of being unique and unity. This was my hope for the HSstudent body that year. My desire (as was all the HS teaching staff) was to see each student continue to be the uniquely created individual
that God made them to be; and to see them utilize those gifts and
talents in the HS community to strengthen the body and do their part
to make it stronger, function better AND be, of course, unified as a
child of God AND loving and accepting of each other’s differences.

This word could be used for all Christians whether referring to their relationship with the body of believers, their function in the church or even in their own family. In this chapter,
Paul says that, just like the different parts of the human body,
whether the brain, heart, eye or the seemingly most insignificant
part, ALL the parts are important to the proper function of the body.

This illustration is symbolic of body of Christ. All members are
important, bring a special gift to the group, AND should appreciate,
acknowledge, accept and encourage those gifts, talents, personality
traits  and skills those in the body bring!

These verses were always part of the first devotions I would have
with my soccer teams at our preseason tournaments leading into our
first games: “So that there should be no division in the body, but
that it’s parts should have equal concern for one another. If one part
suffers, every part suffers with it,  if one part is honored, every
part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ and each of you
is a part of it.” I Cor. 12: 25-27.

Know what your “part” is in the body of Christ, do all you can to
utilize it to build up the body, and appreciate and encourage what
each member of the body of Christ contributes!!

The Way God Wins

Gabriel Rosa

Photo Credit: Gabriel Rosa via CC Flickr

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses…., God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in (Jesus).” Colossians 2:13–15 ESV

When God wins, He wins big time! We’re not talking an overtime, squeak-it-out victory. And we’re not talking about a soccer game where there’s a shootout win because one ball dribbles in, but otherwise it would have been a tie. God doesn’t operate like that. When He wins a battle, His victory is decisive.

As God was pouring out His wrath on His Son, we were there in His mind. From each painful step to Calvary, to His last breath on the cross, Jesus was taking on the ultimate battle—“the rulers and authorities” who were waving “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.”

Satan had an open-and-shut case against us. Left to ourselves, we were toast. But Colossians 2:15 declares that when Jesus won the victory on the cross, “He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (NKJV). When it came to settling our eternal destiny, God wasn’t offering an obligatory “good game.” He was triumphing over the principalities and powers, including the enemy himself: “You lost! Just like I told you!” That’s the way God wins.

Further, after what looked like a devastating defeat by the enemy, came the ultimate triumph: “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6). Neither death nor the grave nor Satan’s plans stood a chance against the risen Savior!

Today, Jesus lives to further His victory through the lives of His followers. In fact, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). In Christ, we aren’t just conquerors, we’re super conquerors—because God doesn’t just win, He crushes the enemy (Romans 16:20). That’s why we don’t want to take on this battle ourselves. It is the reason the transaction at the cross was entirely out of our hands.

Jesus took on our debt, our sin, our (broken) condition, and defeated the condemning, eternal hold these things can have on us. Because of His death and resurrection, all who trust in Him for salvation are granted a place in the conquering band that will rejoice in His victory forever!
(All the above from James McDonald)

Pushbacks:
* Consider your personal battles in light of this truth.
* Express your heart to the Lord, pouring out your adoration, for an ultimate reason to celebrate.

LORD, when You win, You win big-time! That’s what makes this Friday so good and me so richly blessed. Thank you for becoming my complete sin-bearer, my only righteousness, my matchless defender, my true victor and coming King. You are the best, worthy of my lifetime devotion.

GOOD Friday to you!!!
Coach Mo

Only Two Things Deliver

John Christian Fjellestad

Photo Credit: John Christian Fjellestad via CC Flickr

“Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.” Proverbs 22:4

What things do you always carry with you? My stock answer has always been: my Bible, my ball, and my best playing shoes. 😉 Today’s text introduces two more ‘must adds’. They’re so simple but crucial. They’re small but they don’t always fit so easily. In fact, some think they won’t fit, don’t fit, can’t fit, so they often stay left behind. But without them God says it’s about impossible to experience what we really hope for in life.

God says that there are just two things that bring the big things we all look for: wealth, honor and life. Only one pair can deliver this trifecta. Nothing else can…for very long.

What brings real wealth, honor, and life is humility and the fear of the LORD. Humility keeps our powerful urges for control, approval and comfort from taking over and messing things up. Humility helps us trust the process, trust God. Then ‘Fear of the LORD’ brings us to where our needs for control, approval and comfort are best met. Without humility and the fear of the Lord our pursuit of wealth, honor and life can never bring us the control, approval and comfort we really long for. Only two things, humility and the fear of the Lord can.

LORD, make it very clear to us that the only real, sustainable way to wealth, honor and life is found through humility and the fear of the Lord. Don’t let us look for it any other way. Only two things deliver.

Be strong.
Stand for truth.
Live for eternity.
Coach Mo

Bonus Coverage: 5 extending footnotes
that define this verse’s 5 terms:
WEALTH brings power and control. Thats why we want it. That’s the endgame. True wealth brings freedom from control and freedom to control. True wealth never brings slavery. Wealth = Control
HONOR signals approval, recognition, the feeling of accomplishment we get when others believe we’re great, have value or make a real difference. Audience matters. ‘Audience of One’ matters more. Honor = Approval
LIFE seeks satisfaction, a sense of contentment and fulfillment that a life well lived brings. Life = Satisfaction
HUMILITY brings a correct view of self. It’s not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less. Gotta have this to live on well. Humility = Seeing Self Straight
FEAR OF THE LORD’ simply means a proper view of God, seeing God for who He really is. Fear of the LORD = Seeing God Straight

Perfect Ref/Perfect Sub/Perfect Win

Daveynin

Photo Credit: Daveynin via CC Flickr

“All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.” 2 Thessalonians 1:5

Referees are paid to call only what they see and to call it right. They can’t guess. They can’t assume. And they can’t be mistaken or fooled. They must cover ground faithfully to take in all that’s there. They must take great pride in seeing the game properly, getting the most accurate feel for the game and it’s people. Finally, they must know the rule book well and apply it fairly, judiciously, uncompromisingly. The best referees do all this at breakneck speed.

Players must honor and adjust their play or get in foul trouble. Playing the game of life too often means inevitable foul trouble and need of a substitute. In order to guarantee victory a change has to be made.

God is Ultimate Referee, Remarkable Substitute, Eternal Reward. He loves the game and it’s people. He sees all, knows all. Nothing escapes His attention. He knows the rule book perfectly and applies it with both unflinching truth and prodigal (extravagant) grace. His play on our behalf insures our triumph and His glory.

Let’s see all this play out in 2 Thessalonians 1:5. Here’s what God wants us to clear about:

  1. God’s judgment is right. Deal with it. He doesn’t miss a call. He examines both our blamelessness (righteousness) and our blame (sin). He wants to see righteousness win and grieves when it doesn’t.
  2. God offers hope that we can stay out of foul trouble, that we can be ‘counted worthy of the Kingdom of God’. This hope is found through His Son. The Son becomes blame-bearer and sin-substitute. Our sins (serious foul trouble) get pinned to Him.
  3. For those counted worthy, suffering is temporary but triumph inevitable. The most perfect wins often push through the greatest pain. Hang in there!

The bottom line of the Gospel simply becomes this:

Holy God in love became

Perfect Man to bear my blame.

On the cross He took my sin.

By His death I live again.

May you live loving the game, the ref, the substitute, the journey…and live again!

Love you, too!

Coach Mo

Kingdom Reach

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10

In about 1000B.C., the Chinese of the Chou empire period named their country ‘Zhongguo’, meaning ‘Middle Kingdom’. Unaware of other high civilizations to the West, they believed their empire occupied the middle of the earth, surrounded by barbarians. The nickname they gave themselves stuck for many centuries but eventually thwarted their ability to grow and progress. In the end, the empire was overthrown, decayed from within.

We too can think of ourselves as center of the universe. I see it in lots of players, teams, schools, businesses. When we do this, when we set the definitions for everything – right, wrong, good, purpose, control – we leave no room for any outside forces to define, inform or shape anything about us. We live in a secret vacuum as if in our own Middle Kingdom.

That’s why the core prayer that Jesus gives us in His lesson, ‘This Is How You Pray’, starts out with straightforward worship of God and then invitation of another kingdom, God’s Kingdom, to come, rule and reign and set the definitions in us day by day. He doesn’t want to see us get stuck in our own little middle kingdoms. Another kingdom needs to invade ours. Otherwise we’re doomed.

So let’s worship God each day and allow His Kingdom’s rule and reign to reach into ours. Let’s long to see the domain of the sovereignty of God in Christ extend everywhere, in heaven, on earth, in me. And let’s play a vital role in this beautiful movement.

How far does God’s Kingdom reach get into you and through you?

LORD, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…

Wanting His reach extended in me and through me,
Coach Mo

Ever Feel Like Your Prayers Are Useless?

Photo Credit: Udeyismall via CC Flickr

Photo Credit: Udeyismall via CC Flickr

“Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:3–4

There are many times that I feel like my prayers are useless. I repeat the same thing, day after day, and see no answer from God, no results.

Other times, I treat prayer like the least and last thing, when there’s nothing else I can do: “I’ll pray for you.” I say it when I’m feeling helpless and hopeless.

When did prayer become like this for me?

Jesus prayed constantly. He would sometimes stay up all night to pray. He went away to lonely places to pray. He experienced everything we do, so I’m sure there were times He felt like God wasn’t hearing Him. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed for the cup of suffering to pass from Him, and His prayer wasn’t answered.

In Revelation, the prayers of God’s people are offered with incense on the altar. Our prayers are like incense—an aroma before God, pleasing Him, moving Him. The aroma becomes stronger the more we pray or the more intensely we pray. Our prayers rise before God’s throne. Our prayers reach Him.

So even if I feel like my prayers are worthless, or I’ve become repetitive, I have to remember that they’re valuable; they can please God and move Him.

Faith step: Is your prayer life stagnant? Give it a new jolt of energy. Remember that your prayers are treasured, that they rise to God where He sits on His throne. Devote yourself to a certain amount of prayer every day this week, and make your prayers incense before God.

By Camy Tang

This devotion is excerpted from Mornings with Jesus.