February 6 – Playing Second Fiddle

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I heard a story once of a man who would travel to towns where a well-known evangelist of the time was scheduled to have a series of meetings.

It was said that this man would cover his own expenses for days on end just to pray in his hotel room, morning and evening for the will of the Lord to be done in that town. When the evangelist arrived, the man moved on to the next town.

It wasn’t important to him that people knew his name or even why he came. What mattered most was that he fulfilled what the Lord had given him to do.

This morning, I just had a conversation with one of my “extroverted” children. He isn’t bashful and loves to be in the center of the action. And at times, his desire to be the front guy takes precedence over just taking out the trash. But taking out the trash and picking up the random pieces of paper on the way to the dumpster qualifies us for greater tasks ahead.

That doesn’t mean that if God calls upon us to pick up trash for Him the rest of our days that we are lesser than the dignitaries who travel after us on clean streets.

On the contrary, it means we know how to be willing and obedient to the leading of the Master. In my estimation, maturity is reached when His kingdom coming and His will being done means more to us than fame, fortune or even a great name.

May the Lord help us rejoice in our lot, our spots of service, whether bottom or top in the eyes of the world. May our gaze rest on what He sees and not on our own need for value and validation.

And at the end of the day, may we hear His voice alone say, “You done good, my child, you done real good. Well done!”

 Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees. And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan where John was baptizing. John 1:24-28

 Biblical Meditation: 1 Timothy 6:6 [And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.

 

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January 10 – Nobody Wins

 

nickbrandtlionbeforestormii-sittingprofileMost of the adults I know who have children have at least one thing in common. They would rather hard times fall upon them instead of their children.

It breaks our hearts to see our little ones struggling with a cold or our older ones to facing a tough situation with friends. Likewise, any man worth his salt feels the same way about his wife. I don’t want to see her in need of anything.

But often we fail to equate those same intense feelings for our family’s welfare when selfishness knocks at the door. Every one of us is prone to give into selfish desires that can destroy the lives of the very people we love the most in this world.

I am convinced the governors and satraps who conspired to have Daniel killed never imagined the harm that could come to their families if the plan was unsuccessful. I mean, why would they? There were no records of anyone surviving in a den of lions!

Daniel had broken the law by praying to someone other than the king. But, in spite of the broken law, the motive of the governors’ hearts made them guilty of selfishness and pride. They were so focused on destroying Daniel; they couldn’t differentiate the forest from the trees. And lest we think ourselves much better, take a moment to reflect on some of your own story.

We have all been down the road of selfishness that leads to evil dealings. But, thank God, we don’t have to live there.

The main purpose in having a daily dialog with God is to avoid the plague of self. He alone puts life in its proper perspective and identifies the lurking lies of the heart that can get us into trouble. Outside of Him, there is no effective way to avoid selfishness; it’s instinctual.

My prayer for us all is that the testimony of the men in Daniel and the peril of their families will wake us up. May we find ourselves humbled by the fact that our own selfishness is sin and as long as we tolerate it, all that we hold dear is at risk.

 And the king gave the command and they brought those men who accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions-them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. Daniel 6:24 NKJV

 Biblical Meditation: James 3:13-17