Value, Worth & Riches
I am not a rich man by the world’s standard. I can not buy a house but I know that I have a home. I do not own any land upon this earth but I am going to a homeland in a heavenly country. I will never get to go on a trip to a foreign exotic country, but I am going on a journey to a land where I will walk upon streets of gold. I do not have a savings account but I have an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled that does not fade away. To this world I am just an unknown rural pastor to a small country church, but I am known by the ONE who owns it all, the ONE who controls it all, the ONE who knows all things knows me by my name. He calls me His son! I call Him my Father! He is the King of the kingdom of which I am an heir. Who is this King of Glory? His name is Jesus! Do you know Him? More importantly does He know you? Where is your treasure today? What do you value the most? What do you focus on the most; the here and now or your life to come in eternity? Jesus asked the question,(Matthew 16:26) For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Jesus answered like this. (Matthew 16:27) For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. The King is coming back some day! What will we cherish then?
(Colossians 3:1 NLT) Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.
3:2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
3:3 For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
3:4 And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
July 31, 2013 By Daniel Davis
Focused on Jesus
A devotional thought from Lizette Beard for “The Spirit’s Identity”
1 Corinthians 2:10: “Now God has revealed these things to us by the Spirit, for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”
The Holy Spirit is God, He is eternal (Heb. 9:14), and He knows everything (1 Cor. 2:10-11). He comes and reminds us of the most important truth—that our sins are paid for and we have the free gift of faith in Christ (1 Cor. 2:12). It is humbling to think that the living God who created everything, knows everything, and transcends time cares enough to come and dwell—not just near us—but in us. The evidence of someone who is submitting to the Holy Spirit at work in his or her life is that they are more like Jesus and more focused on the ways of Jesus in their lives.
The apostle Paul, who had so many great reasons to bring attention to himself, said: “I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom but with a powerful demonstration by the Spirit, so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
Pause and Reflect
• Think of a time when your own intelligence, wit, or abilities got in the way of helping people focus on Jesus Christ. What happened?
• How appealing is it to you to follow Paul’s example of going to others “in weakness”?
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Whenever you face challenges in your life, what is the first thing that you think about?
Do you immediately begin to fear and focus on your circumstance and problem – or do you focus on the One who can give you the answer to your problem?
In our Christian walk it’s important for us to always learn to stay focused on Jesus who is the Author & Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It’s important that we don’t get distracted by waves of circumstances in our life but that we hold on to Jesus.
Matthew 14:29-30 NKJV
So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
Sometimes life is full of challenges. There are things and situations that we face that cause us to fear, worry or become depressed. However in life, we should not allow problems to paralyze us or allow them to dictate our emotions and our mission. We must be focused on Jesus and remember that Jesus can save us from our challenges.
Jesus’ disciple Peter faced a situation where his faith was tested by the situation that surrounded him.
Matthew 14:28 NKJV
And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
When Peter saw Jesus walking on water towards them, Peter also wanted to walk on the water, just like Jesus. We too are all called in our Christian life to imitate Jesus. Peter initially showed faith by wanting to walk on water in order to imitate Jesus. However, as Peter began to walk on the water, he started to pay more attention to the boisterous wind, instead of focusing his attention on Jesus and going towards Him. As a result, the more Peter focused on the strong wind, the more he became afraid.
Life’s challenges can do that to us at times. When we focus on our challenges or on a bad circumstance, we begin to fear, worry and doubt. God wants us to focus on Him only, no matter what challenge or difficulty you are facing. Because the more you focus on your difficulties, the more you fear and the less you focus on Jesus. Remember – only Jesus can save you.
Matthew 14:30 NKJV
But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
Therefore Peter began to sink because he was afraid and he also took his eyes off Jesus and focused more on the boisterous wind. Do not let your difficulties paralyze or sink you. Focus on Jesus. Give all your issues to Jesus. Let Jesus save you.
When Peter realized that he was sinking, he knew who to cry to – Peter cried to Jesus to save him. Even in your own difficulties, cry to Jesus to save you – and Jesus will save you – just like He saved Peter.
Matthew 14:31-33 NKJV
And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
TODAY. If you are going through difficulties, focus on Jesus – not on your circumstances.
Question from a Site Viewer
I was saved several years ago. At the time, I couldn’t go to church because my husband wasn’t saved and he thought it was a real waste of my time. I have a seven year old boy and he was around two. Anyway, I thought that I missed some very precious time not knowing what to do at the time. At that time, my husband was also very abusive. I tried to keep reading the Bible and praying. I know some people noticed a change in me. Anyway, with this site I can read about things I was scared to ask. Because even being a Christian I’m extremely shy. I sing in choir at a church I’ve been attending–the one I use to just visit off and on years ago. And I’m quite sure it’s the right one for me. It’s just taking me time to get really comfortable there. But I feel that just in a short time your site has helped extremely. There is a time right after you get saved that you’re on fire for Christ, and you really need someone to help you understand and be supportive to you. So, at times, I didn’t know if I backslid, because I didn’t go fellowship with my brothers and sisters. I think I’m alright now, but sometimes it’s like the devil gets me to doubt my relationship with God. I never went back to bad language, smoking, or drinking. But that doesn’t mean I’m without sin. It’s just hard for me to really focus on Jesus.
Thank you for your email. I understand that sometimes it is difficult in some circumstances to get the fellowship and have access to the teaching most useful for spiritual growth. God understands this as well. I am glad that you have persevered through this time and that you have more freedom now to engage in the church.
As I understand your question, it seems that there is a concern that your heart does not burn as much for Jesus as it did when you first came to Christ, although you still want to serve Him. You just do not still have the same fire and you really find it hard to focus on Jesus. This is not a good thing, although it is good that you have noticed this and have a concern about this.
One of the ways we rob ourselves of the blessings of God is that we sometimes get into routines and substitute religion for a close, personal relationship with Him. The Christian things we do–go to church, serve, read, pray, give – becomes our duty and the evidence of our Christianity. And we have moved away from being deeply in love with Jesus.
Here is what I would encourage you to do. Re-read Galatians, especially the last half of chapter 2, chapter 3, and chapter 5. Evaluate your life and the things, including people (other than God), that are most important to you. Write them down on a sheet of paper. Work through these items and ask yourself what would life be like if you did not have them. They may be things, they may be children, they may be friends, etc. If God were to take each one away, one at a time, what would their loss do to your relationship with God? Would you be bitter, angry? Can you truly say with Job of old, “The LORD has given and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD”?
This may not be an easy exercise. But I have found it very useful in my life. As I work through the list, if there is anything on the list that would make me upset with God if He took it away, I know that thing or person has become an idol to me. I must work through the matter in my mind until I can surrender it to Jesus. Only when I can say that there is nothing else I want more than Him, when I can give everything to Jesus, am I then prepared to focus my life to seek after Him.
It is not that we want to be unappreciative of His blessings, but His blessings are a poor substitute for Him. We want to be at a place in our lives where we would gladly give up everything so that we may have Jesus (He may not and usually will not take everything from us; but we must be willing to give everything to Him).
Now, having gone through that exercise, I would make strengthening my relationship with Jesus the priority of life. As with Paul, the Apostle, we want to make our number one desire to know Jesus (Philippians 3:10). We want to talk to Him and look eagerly for His answers. We want to live our lives in such a way that every part of the day we are looking for Him. If we sin, we want to confess immediately and apologize and seek His forgiveness and favor. We want to greet Him when we wake up. We want to ask Him to use us to bring His kingdom to bear in this world. We want to ask Him to guide us in our decisions. We tell Him how lovely He is. We tell others about what a great God He is. We make it our focus to feast on His beauty, to taste and see that He is good, to know the sense of His presence, to let our hearts be touched by His compassion and hurt. As in the words of the prophet, we want to break up the hardened ground and seek the Lord. As we do so, our hearts will return to a longing for Him, a deepening appreciation for what He means to us, and a renewed focus so that our eyes are looking only to Him (Hebrews 12:2). Christ is the One we see before us and around us; He is the One who is our life and we live this life to please and honor Him. When He is the focus, then what other people do around us can no longer affect our core life. We can then have compassion on sinners, we can love those who hate us, we can pray for those who misuse us. Our focus is being the instruments to bring His kingdom to bear upon the lives of people on earth. We want to be in such tight yoke with Jesus that He is in all our thoughts. This does not mean that we can never think of anything else. But what it does mean is that, just as is the case when you are in the presence of a dear friend, so we are in the presence of Jesus. His presence is always felt, even when we may be focusing on getting dinner made, paying bills, or talking to someone else. And we do not neglect Him.
I think you will find that when you devote your energies to seek after Him, you will find Him and rekindle your deep love for our great Savior.
May the Lord bless you in your journey.
Thanks for writing.
a fellow pilgrim
The Unpardonable Sin, Part 1The Unpardonable Sin, Part 2Blasphemy