Eyes

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,  but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! [Matthew 6:22-23]

I wanted to share this devotion with you that I read today through my YouVersion Bible app. Check it out:

“The Lamp”

Our natural eyes are given to us to help us function and communicate in the natural world, but they have another purpose; to help us perceive the beauty and glory in the natural world that bear witness to the nature, character and purposes of God the Creator. We all know that natural eyes, if they are blinded or otherwise defective, can block or distort the light that is intended to guide us. This is true in the spiritual world as well.

One way this happens is when, as Romans 1 explains, we exchange divine glory for natural glory, and things such as female beauty, affection and sexuality take on an exaggerated importance to us because they have been separated from other things which are supposed to be part of the male-female relationship, such as genuine love and covenant. Romans 1 goes on to explain how we can even be “given over” (essentially, addicted) to increasingly wicked behavior, because our “bad eye” has distorted our perspective.

The way out is to reverse the exchange we have made through repentance, acknowledging God and making a conscious choice to value divine glory over natural glory. Only then will our “bad eyes” become “good eyes” again, allowing our bodies to be filled with light instead of darkness.

I read this and thought of the song lyric, “Be careful little eyes what you see”. The eyes are indeed the windows to the soul and ones that will pollute your soul in a big hurry. And when we are polluted, we exchange the glory of God for that which is not beautiful. It’s only a false beauty that will wear out and grow dim. Only the glory and beauty of God will never dim and never disappoint. Only the beauty of God will draw us in and hold our affections. Natural beauty begs us to return and through sin we are more than happy to acquiesce.

So…

Keep your eyes fixed on the beauty of God.
~ Running to His Word
~ Dwelling in His promises.
~ Gazing on the cross of Jesus.
~ Reflecting on your sin and God’s forgiveness of said sin.
~ Spending time with other believers in worship.
~ Studying God’s word.
~ Filling your thoughts about the glories of God.

Basically, keep yourself so busy with God that your eyes don’t have time to let in false beauty that is of this world. Look at everything through the lens of faith and give glory to God our Father; beholding His beauty.

Holy God, give me eyes so I can see Your beauty and not exchange Your beauty for that which will fade. And where I have failed; where I have exchanged Your beauty for natural beauty, grant me faith and strength to repent. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ God can handle it

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
[Matthew 6:33-34]

Oh dear Christian, there is so much to worry about in this life and so little that can be changed by worrying. There is so much to worry about in this life and so much that can be lost by worrying. There is so much to worry about in this life but we have such a big God to handle our worries.

But what can be lost by worrying?

First off, we are not guaranteed tomorrow so worrying about tomorrow seems to be a waste of time. Deal with what you can control now and go from there; placing tomorrow in God’s hands.

But second, worrying now takes you away from a great and joyous pursuit: Seeking God’s Kingdom and enjoying all that God is.

When you worry about things that you have no control over you are placing such pursuits over God and actually making said worries a god over God almighty. But you are also robbing yourself the opportunity to enjoy God and see God’s mighty hand at work in your life; however that may look.

When I worry too much and get anxious about the many ministry demands in my life everything is effected. My chest starts to hurt as my heartburn kicks into high gear. I get distracted by such pains thinking that this might be “it”. So I stop what I am doing and maybe go home for a while to rest and calm down, all the while worrying about what I should be doing. I vicious cycle. Grrr.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

What if you actually did that and sought God’s kingdom and his righteousness? I am not giving you permission to be lazy and neglect your to do list, but what if you spent more time enjoying God’s promises and less time worrying about things you can’t control. When you can do that then you can spend more time witnessing to others as you live for God.

Now that sounds like a good plan:
(1) Seek and pursue God
(2) Enjoy God’s promises
(3) Watch God do His Mighty thing in your life
(4) Receive all you truly need

Deal with today and let tomorrow rest in God’s hands. Trust him, God can handle it.

Praise be to God, always and forever.

The Pastor -|—

Morning devotions ~ Rewarded

But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. [Matthew 6:3-4]

Have you ever met a person who likes to make sure others know about the charitable things they do? What they do is great and it helps others but it causes me to wonder what their motivation is. Are they seeking a reward? If so, their reward won’t last long or their charity will backfire as people will think they are arrogant for bragging about it or worse yet, God is not impressed.

Seeking rewards in this life, through things we should be doing anyway, is not the way of the Christian. Seeking praise is this life is idol worship. Seeking attention is stealing glory away from God. Besides, why seek a reward when you have already been given the best reward? And that reward was something that Jesus won through the cross and then handed over to you through faith. Anything we might gain in this life pales in comparison to the eternal life we have through Jesus Christ.

Matthew says here that if you service others in secret, your Father will know and He will reward you. This reward is nothing more than the realization that what you have done has come through saving faith. You can’t earn your way to heaven you can only receive and then worship God through your life ~ all the way to heaven.

As a Christian, one way we worship and praise God is through serving others. So do it. Don’t brag about your serving; boost about what God offers all sinners. Don’t worship to show off to others, worship God because He is worthy. Don’t shout from the mountain tops that you are awesome, but shout that Jesus Christ was born for all.

Praise be to GOD always and forever, Amen.

The Pastor -|—