Saturday Sabbath – 10/24/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
—Philippians 2:12-13

When my sins are forgiven, my neighborhood is improved. Philippians 2:12-13 calls me to expect this and to make it so.

These Fighter Verses call you to soberly and intentionally work out (apply) the gospel of your salvation to your mind, your tongue, your wallet, your sex life, your food pantry, your cancer, and your casket. They also affirm that God is at work in you to accomplish this mission.

Coupled together, we have an imperative: “work soberly at your faith!” with an indicative: “God is working out the gospel into every crevice of your being.”

Repentance is an imperative. “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come” (Acts 3:19-20). Yet repentance is part of God’s work of grace. Paul instructed Timothy to teach patiently, saying, “God may perhaps grant them repentance” (2 Tim 2:25).

In the fear of the Lord, we must keep God’s commandments. “By this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments” (1 Jn 2:3). Yet God is the one working in our desires, making us careful to keep his laws. “And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ez 36:27).

We are commanded, “Be strong in the Lord” (Eph 6:10). But strength comes from God. So Paul prays, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might” (Col 1:11). We are called to “rejoice in the Lord” (Phil 4:4). Yet even in this, God is at work in us: “For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work” (Ps 92:4). Romans 12:11 appeals to human effort: “Serve the Lord.” But whatever ministry we take up, we may say with Paul, “I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given to me by the working of his power” (Eph 3:7).

It’s not, “I do half and God does half.” It’s all God’s work. As a human experience, I decide, reject, choose, fight, serve, endure, appeal, take up— fear and tremble, weep and rejoice. But behind the curtain of my humanity, I see a love-prompted, outworking grace. God is altering my appetites, strengthening my grip, loosening my wallet, expanding my concerns, compelling my commitments.

God is working in you to bring the gospel of your salvation to maturity and to fit you into the mosaic of his wondrous Great Work of salvation history. So work and strive to think and apply your salvation to every matter under the sun.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – 10/23/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. —Philippians 2:10-11

One day, cancer will bow. One day, pain and sorrow and hurt will eat dust. One day, racism and prejudice will fall on their faces in abject surrender. One day, atheists will believe and demons will shudder, forced to face the One they have hated and denied. One day, there will be no uncertainty, no ambiguity, no shades of gray. One day, oh one day, every knee will bow, every stiff neck will bend, every rebellious heart, every arrogant spirit, every proud thought will kneel before the King. There will be no debate, nor argument, no objection. One day, there will only be assent, recognition, and humility. One day. One day.

One day the cry of the heart will not be “Me! Me! Me!” It will be “Him! Him! Him!” One day every fist raised in fight will sink to its side as open palms rise in deference. One day every tongue, every voice, every capacity to communicate will have but one message: “He is Lord! He is Lord! He is Lord!” “Glory!” will be the anthem. “Glory!” will be song. Every exhalation will be exaltation. One day. Oh, one day.

“How can such a thing be,” you ask? Because of one day. One day the infinite, eternal Son of God, the Word who was in the beginning with God, who was God, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, made himself nothing; he took on the form of a servant. One day, the Creator of man took on the form of man, being born in the likeness of men. One day, being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient. One day, the Son, the Word, the eternal joy of the Father, the Beloved and Begotten went to the cross, and he died.

One day, the plan of God to express the fullness of His glory to the created sphere through sacrificial, redemptive love was realized in the death of Christ on the cross. On that day, God exalted him. On that day, God bestowed on His Son, the name that is above all names. The praiseworthy name. The trustworthy name. The sacrifice-worthy name. The honor-worthy name. The glory-worthy name. The bowing the knee and proclaiming out loud worthy name.

One day became that day and will become one day again. But in between that day and one day is today. Right now. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess because there will be no other choice. No will of man or angel or beast shall rise against the will of God, one day. Today, however, we have a choice. Today we may bow and confess because we get to, not because we have to. Today we may join the Father in the exaltation of the Son! Today, we are free to bow and submit and honor and glory. We do not have to wait for one day. Today can be that day, if we will but bow the heart, submit the spirit, surrender the mind to the all encompassing, discipline the body to the living truth that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Philippians overflows with joy and thanksgiving. Look carefully at the entire passage where Phi. 2:10-11 is located. Can you find seven or more reasons in these verses where something Jesus is or does would cause glory to be given to God?
  2. Think carefully about the name of Jesus at which the entire creation will bow and confess. Names, especially the names of famous people, cause us to think certain things about the people they identify. What does the name of Jesus bring to mind that would make Him worthy of praise?
  3. One day, because of who God is, because of who Christ is, the entire created world will proclaim God’s glory. What one thing can you do today to proclaim God’s glory to the world?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The smile of the Father shines on me – I am approved of; [i]

I have the mind of Christ – I have important things to say; [ii]

Upon me is the anointing of the Holy Spirit – I am empowered. [iii]

~

Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I dwell in his Kingdom of the Heavens; [iv]

He is my Teacher and I am his beloved apprentice, – [v]

I urge people to join me and be with Jesus to become like him. [vi]

~

The Word of God is alive and active and it dwells richly in me; [vii]

And the Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ words of truth and grace, – [viii]

So I can minister the Word of life to others and it will not return void. [ix]

~

The Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me; [x]

So I do not speak with human wisdom or worldly excitement, [xi]

Or rely on my own strength – I count on the power of Almighty God.[xii]

~

As I teach I listen to the voice of God and invite others to listen too; [xiii]

As I serve I join the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, [xiv]

Praying that we all cry out with the Spirit, “Abba Father!  Jesus is Lord!” [xv]

~

The Lord is glorious in all things and captivates me continually;

So I do not draw attention to myself, but to Jesus Christ alone;

Nor do I base my identity on what people say about me.

~

I am Christ’s Ambassador; [xvi]

My citizenship is in heaven’s kingdom; [xvii]

My message is simply: “Follow me as I follow Christ!” [xviii]

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces 10/21/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, –Philippians 2:8-9

Most of us have wanted to make a name for ourselves at one time or another. We want to be liked. We like to be noticed. We notice when others get glory and we don’t. We often secretly want to make a name for ourselves even though we say things to the contrary. Our post-Fall anti-humility problem is pervasive, and there is only one remedy. His name is Jesus.

In last week’s post, Tim Cain reminded us to keep our eyes on Jesus so that we might gain a mind and a life like His. That’s good counsel. After all, there is no greater humility to be found than the Lord of the universe found in human form. When the Son of God put on the humility of humanity, the Creator stooped to the creaturely. The Supernatural took on the natural so he could feel our weaknesses and walk through the world’s temptations, and yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

Only God himself could complete this perfect obedience. But Spirit could not shed the blood necessary to forgive our sins (Hebrews 9:22). So the Son of God became God-man to meet the need. His obedience went all the way to death. This was not some random death. No, God chose the most painful and, more than that, shameful form of execution. It was a criminal’s stake. That’s why verse 18 says it was even death on a cross. Yes, Jesus stooped that low, and even lower, as he bore all our sins and suffered the wrath we deserved.

Because of Jesus’ perfect humble obedience (obedience that Adam and no man since could complete) God the Father highly exalted him. This is not just a step or two higher than the next exalted guy. To get the meaning across some scholars use the term “super-exalted.” In other words, there is no higher position in all of heaven and earth. Jesus was restored to his rightful place at the right hand of God, but this time including his glorified humanity. Jesus, the God-man, went low, low, low to be exalted high, high, high above all.

Why did God the Father choose to send his own Son on such an excruciating exploit? One reason is because he received glory through the redemption (buying back) of his people. Another is because our greatest joy is in being the ones he bought back. When we surrender to Jesus as our Redeemer we enter into his humility. We enter into his death, resurrection, and ascension. We die to sin and receive new life. And one day we will be joined with him in his exaltation. What better name could we possibly hope for than to be called a child of God? What higher position could we possibly hope for than to join Jesus at in his super-exalted state? There, and only there, will our joy and pleasure be full and forevermore (Psalm 16:11). “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The smile of the Father shines on me – I am approved of; [i]

I have the mind of Christ – I have important things to say; [ii]

Upon me is the anointing of the Holy Spirit – I am empowered. [iii]

~

Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I dwell in his Kingdom of the Heavens; [iv]

He is my Teacher and I am his beloved apprentice, – [v]

I urge people to join me and be with Jesus to become like him. [vi]

~

The Word of God is alive and active and it dwells richly in me; [vii]

And the Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ words of truth and grace, – [viii]

So I can minister the Word of life to others and it will not return void. [ix]

~

The Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me; [x]

So I do not speak with human wisdom or worldly excitement, [xi]

Or rely on my own strength – I count on the power of Almighty God.[xii]

~

As I teach I listen to the voice of God and invite others to listen too; [xiii]

As I serve I join the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, [xiv]

Praying that we all cry out with the Spirit, “Abba Father!  Jesus is Lord!” [xv]

~

The Lord is glorious in all things and captivates me continually;

So I do not draw attention to myself, but to Jesus Christ alone;

Nor do I base my identity on what people say about me.

~

I am Christ’s Ambassador; [xvi]

My citizenship is in heaven’s kingdom; [xvii]

My message is simply: “Follow me as I follow Christ!” [xviii]

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces- 10/20/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.–Philippians 2:5-7

We live in a world consumed with personal glory. As much as we may disdain this sort of arrogance in other people, the truth is: pride is something that all of us struggle with. We long to be the center and are willing to use others to build ourselves up. We want to be in control, and become anxious when we realize that we are not. We complain because some part of us thinks that if we were God, things would be better. We secretly celebrate others’ failures because it makes us feel better about ourselves. We envy others’ successes because we feel like we deserve it more. Since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden, people have been trying to be like God.

But, the Bible tells us that there is one person who was different. One person who didn’t act out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility spent his life looking out for the interests of others. There was one person who didn’t seek his own glory, but lived his life for the glory of his Father. Paul tells us about this person in Philippians 2 and what he says about him ought to blow our minds.  Here, Paul tells us that the humblest man to ever walk the face of the earth was God. Please let that sink in for a second. The humblest man who ever walked the face of the earth was God.

Paul tells us that though Jesus was God, he didn’t cling to his equality with God. Instead, he humbled himself and took on the form of a servant. Oh, how different Jesus is from us! Even though we are created human beings, we are constantly grasping after equality with God – which we don’t deserve and will never achieve. But Jesus had it. Jesus had what everyone in this world has been fighting for since the beginning. Yet, he willingly let it go in order to take on flesh and come down to earth.

When he came, he told his disciples that he didn’t come to be served but to serve. You and I have a hard time serving those who are in positions of authority over us. Can you imagine how hard it must have been for Jesus to serve sinners like you and me? But he did. While his disciples argued over which one of them was the greatest, the Son of God got up from the table, laid aside his outer garments, and tied a towel around his waist. Then Jesus did something that no other superior in all of ancient literature ever did, he washed the manure off of his disciples’ feet.

And that was just the beginning. Soon even the towel would be ripped off of him and the Son of God would hang naked on a cross. There, the humblest man who ever lived died the death of the arrogant. There, the one who refused to grasp the glory that was rightfully his died like a thief in our place. He died for all the times we have tried to steal God’s glory for ourselves. There, the Son of God gave his life as a ransom for many. There, God opposed Jesus for our pride so that one day we might be exalted on account of his perfect humility.

There at the cross, you and I find the antidote for our pride. John Stott writes, “Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary. It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.”1

At the cross, it becomes painfully obvious that you and I don’t deserve to be the center, but the cross doesn’t leave the center empty. Instead, the cross shows us who ought to be there. You see, the only way we will ever stop grasping after the center, is if we find someone that we believe is more worthy of it than we are.

The Bible tells us that Jesus is that one. He is more worthy of the center than you. Not just because he is God, but also because he has loved you and gave his life on the cross for you.

So take your eyes off of yourself and look to Jesus. Let His beauty and His worth and His love overwhelm you; let His power and majesty and glory entrance you; let His promises protect you; let His resurrection from the dead give you a living hope. He is the center, and life is so much better when we realize that. So, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:5).

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. What evidences of humility in Christ do you see?
  2. How does the cross serve as an anecdote for our pride?
  3. What are some attributes of the mind of Christ? How does your thought life compare?
  4. What makes Jesus more worthy of the center than we are?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The smile of the Father shines on me – I am approved of; [i]

I have the mind of Christ – I have important things to say; [ii]

Upon me is the anointing of the Holy Spirit – I am empowered. [iii]

~

Jesus is my Lord and Savior and I dwell in his Kingdom of the Heavens; [iv]

He is my Teacher and I am his beloved apprentice, – [v]

I urge people to join me and be with Jesus to become like him. [vi]

~

The Word of God is alive and active and it dwells richly in me; [vii]

And the Holy Spirit reminds me of Jesus’ words of truth and grace, – [viii]

So I can minister the Word of life to others and it will not return void. [ix]

~

The Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives in me; [x]

So I do not speak with human wisdom or worldly excitement, [xi]

Or rely on my own strength – I count on the power of Almighty God.[xii]

~

As I teach I listen to the voice of God and invite others to listen too; [xiii]

As I serve I join the intercessions of the Holy Spirit, [xiv]

Praying that we all cry out with the Spirit, “Abba Father!  Jesus is Lord!” [xv]

~

The Lord is glorious in all things and captivates me continually;

So I do not draw attention to myself, but to Jesus Christ alone;

Nor do I base my identity on what people say about me.

~

I am Christ’s Ambassador; [xvi]

My citizenship is in heaven’s kingdom; [xvii]

My message is simply: “Follow me as I follow Christ!” [xviii]

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Weekend Worship – Oct 17-18, 2020

Scripture Reading/Lectura bíblica:  Matthew 22:1-14/ Mateo 22:1-14

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.

“Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’

“But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.

13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

—————————————————————————–

Jesús también les contó otras parábolas. Dijo: «El reino del cielo también puede ilustrarse mediante la historia de un rey que preparó una gran fiesta de bodas para su hijo. Cuando el banquete estuvo listo, el rey envió a sus sirvientes para llamar a los invitados. ¡Pero todos se negaron a asistir!

»Entonces envió a otros sirvientes a decirles: “La fiesta está preparada. Se han matado los toros y las reses engordadas, y todo está listo. ¡Vengan al banquete!”. Pero las personas a quienes había invitado no hicieron caso y siguieron su camino: uno se fue a su granja y otro a su negocio. Otros agarraron a los mensajeros, los insultaron y los mataron.

»El rey se puso furioso, y envió a su ejército para destruir a los asesinos y quemar su ciudad. Y les dijo a los sirvientes: “La fiesta de bodas está lista y las personas a las que invité no son dignas de tal honor. Ahora salgan a las esquinas de las calles e inviten a todos los que vean”. 10 Entonces los sirvientes llevaron a todos los que pudieron encontrar, tanto buenos como malos, y la sala del banquete se llenó de invitados.

11 »Cuando el rey entró para recibir a los invitados, notó que había un hombre que no estaba vestido apropiadamente para una boda. 12 “Amigo —le preguntó—, ¿cómo es que estás aquí sin ropa de bodas?”. Pero el hombre no tuvo respuesta. 13 Entonces el rey dijo a sus asistentes: “Átenlo de pies y manos y arrójenlo a la oscuridad de afuera, donde habrá llanto y rechinar de dientes”.

14 »Pues muchos son los llamados, pero pocos los elegidos».

Confession/Confesión:

Merciful God, You made us in Your image, with minds to know You, hearts to love You, and wills to serve You. But our knowledge is imperfect, our love inconstant, and our obedience incomplete. We refuse to go where You lead us. We fail to grow into Your likeness. Have mercy upon us. Forgive us and free us from our sin. We ask in the gracious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dios misericordioso, nos hiciste a tu imagen, con mentes para conocerte, corazones para amarte y deseos de servirte. Pero nuestro conocimiento es imperfecto, nuestro amor inconstante y nuestra obediencia incompleta. Nos negamos a ir a donde nos lleves. Dejamos de crecer a tu semejanza. Ten piedad de nosotros. Perdónanos y líbranos de nuestro pecado. Te lo pedimos en el misericordioso nombre de Jesucristo. Amén.

Pause for 2 Minutes of Silence/ Pausa por 2 minutos de silencio

Pause for 1 Minute of Silence/ Pausa por 1 minuto de silencio

The Our Father (slowly pray this)/El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto)

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, Hágase tu voluntad en la tierra, como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdona nuestras ofensas, como perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos dejes caer en la tentación, sino líbranos del maligno. Para ti es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre, Amén.

Saturday Sabbath 10/17/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. 17And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. –1 John 2:15-17

Excerpts from Stop Loving the World by William Greenhill (1598-1671), edited by Joel Beeke and Jay T. Collier; © 2011 Reformation Heritage Books

What “the world” means:
“World” refers to the visible heavens and earth, with all the creatures in them, as they came from the hand of God. Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” And after that, we are told of particular things that were created. In the New Testament, we are told that “all things were made by him,” and that “he was in the world, and the world was made by him.” The world, and all things in it were made by Christ”  (pg 3).

“World” means customs, manners, worship, and fashions of the world. Romans 12:2 says: “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed.” The world here refers to the ways of men, the worship of men, and the ways of men in the worship of God, elsewhere called “the traditions of men” (Colossians 2:8) (pg 4).

“World” means the pomp and splendor of the world, which Satan makes use of to further his kingdom and interest as well as to hinder the kingdom and interest of Christ. It is the abuse of the glory and greatness of God’s creation, the excellencies and gifts of men, the profits and pleasures, and the honors, the comforts, and the contents of the world. Galatians 6:14 Paul says “But far be it from me that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (pg 5).

Christians are not of this world. We are chosen out of this world by Jesus.

Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”   John 15:18-19

Christians will not love the world.

To love the world is to highly esteem it, holding it in a high account. In Luke 14, when men were invited to the great feast, held their farms, their oxen, their wives, and the things of the world in higher account than the things of Christ (pg 5).

We love the world when our thoughts are fixed on the world. What a person loves, their thoughts are much upon. We meditate most on the things we love (pg 6).

Men are said to love the world when they desire the world. What men and women love, they desire much. Love is a desire to be united with the thing loved (pg 7). This love encompasses the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life.

Love for the world is found in setting the heart on the things of the world. Psalm 62:10 warns us: “if riches increase, set not your heart upon them” (pg 7).

We are said to love the world when we employ most of our strength in, on, and about the things of the world (pg 8).

We are said to love the world when we watch all opportunities and occasions to get the things of the world: to buy cheap and sell high; to get great estates, houses, lands, and things of that nature (pg 9).

Men love the world when they favor the world the most. When they favor the things of the world in their discourses, they are in love with the world. Christ tells you, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). When the world is in the heart the heart loves it (pg 12).

A man loves the world when he mourns and laments for the things of the world that are taken from him. That which we love, we mourn over when we lose it. (pg 14)

The world, with all of its enticements to love it, is powerful. We cannot overcome this power in our own strength, but Jesus has overcome the world.

The will of the Father is that we believe in Him and Jesus Christ the great overcomer of the world who He has sent. The world is passing away, but those who do the will of God abide forever.

I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. Examining your life, would you be recognized as one who is not of this world; as one who is utterly devoted to Christ?
  2. What do you think about most of the time? What occupies your mind most of the time?
  3. When you turn to Jesus, He will give you the strength to set your mind on things above and resist the temptations to love the world. Have you turned to Him today?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sacred Spaces – 10/15/20

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 Minutes)

Scripture Reading & Devotional:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. –Romans 8:1

“Men like you can never change.”

Condemnation changes everything.

It stems from a crime. It removes freedom. It changes the trajectory of a life.

For more than 20 years, “Confrontation” has been my favorite song from the musical Les Miserables, the redemption story adapted from Victor Hugo’s book of the same name. The protagonist, Jean Valjean, has served 19 years in prison for stealing bread. His past conviction has marked him for life and he has hidden his criminal history to try and make a life for himself.

In the song, Valjean, now a successful businessman and mayor, encounters a policeman, Javert, who has been hunting him for years. In the beautifully written duet, the two men – criminal and lawman – sing over each other with the lawman repeating the powerful line, “Men like you can never change.” He makes clear what Valjean’s condemnation means: his identity, his future, everything, is defined by his condemnation.

This week’s Fighter Verse brings us to a key moment in Paul’s letter to the Romans. Looking back over the previous seven chapters, Paul assures his readers that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Why do Christians need to hear this? We have been “set free from sin” and have received eternal life, the “free gift of God” (Romans 6:22-23).

Put simply – we need to hear this encouragement because life this side of heaven is hard.

More times than I can count in the last few months, we have received messages from friends and family that have involved stories of hopelessness, powerlessness, or anxiety. Cancer. High risk pregnancies. Conflict at work. Strained marriages. There is a lack of peace. There is a deep sense of the brokenness in our sin-stained world.

But here in Romans 8:1, Paul reflects on the beauty of the work of redemption, even in light of the continuing impact of sin this side of heaven, and says: “Now! No. More. Condemnation.” Without a shadow of a doubt, the condemnation has been removed. No matter how things may appear. No matter how we feel about the past, no matter what we see in the present, those who are “in Christ Jesus” are free from condemnation. We’re not on the run anymore. Our future is secure.

That’s the heart of this battle over condemnation. Those who trust Jesus face a daily struggle to trust that Christ truly has removed our condemnation. That God has permanently altered our future.

This verse is the foundation of the powerful verses to come. We can be assured of our lack of condemnation because our justifying God gave up His Son to death so that there would be no charges against God’s elect (Romans 8:33-34). We are not and will not be condemned. Christ is at the right hand of the king. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Walk in that truth, Christian. Run with abandon in that blood-bought reality. Know that the king has declared you innocent because of the work of His Son. You are not and will not be condemned.

Question to consider: Which word or phrase stands out to you. What might God be saying to you?)

  1. What brokenness are you seeing in the world that is causing you to doubt that your condemnation has been removed?
  2. What practical steps do you need to take to cast your anxieties about those things on Him, knowing He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)?
  3. How should the truth that you are not “on the run” anymore change your life today?

Prayer:  Conclude with Silence (5 Minutes)

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.