Reflect and Renew

The Blog of Pastor Alan Cassady of Navarre United Methodsit Church

Archive for the tag “Jesus”

Fear and Pride–Lead like Jesus

I have been simply amazed at how appropriate The Lead Like Jesus Devotional have been for me the last few Months. Here is another one I wanted to share with you.

DAY 119 | April 29, 2011

Fear and pride distort our ability to see the world from God’s perspective. When our own interests loom larger than God, our thinking becomes too narrow; focusing solely on other people can lead to worry. We need God’s Spirit and His truth to bring clarity to our vision and perspective to our thinking if we are to see as He sees and lead like Jesus. What difference will seeking God’s perspective make in your life today?

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path…. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. Psalm 119:105, 130

Prayer

Lord, I confess that fear and pride cloud my vision. Thank You that Your words bring light and understanding when I look at the world from Your perspective. Help me to see beyond myself and see others as You see them. Most of all, help me see You in every situation, so that I can lead like Jesus. In Your Name, Amen.

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A Leadership Devotional

This devotional thought comes from Ken Blanchard’s “Lead Like Jesus” email devotional. It was worth sharing with you all!

Click the image below to go to the website and sign up for these devotions and other information.

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DAY 105 | April 15, 2011


What does God expect of you as a leader? He doesn’t keep it a secret. First and foremost, He asks for your wholehearted devotion, a devotion that flows out in a life of obedience, love and service. He looks for men and women who fear Him alone, who do what He tells them to do, and who serve Him wholeheartedly. As God seeks someone for His next leadership assignment, will He find someone who meets His requirements when He looks at you?


And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deuteronomy 10:12-13


Prayer

Lord, I want to be a leader You can use, like Moses, like Jesus. Shape my heart and my soul to meet your standards. Help me keep first things first today, fearing, loving and serving You, walking in Your ways and observing Your commands. Thank You for remaking me in Jesus’ image. In Jesus; Name, Amen.

Lenten Devotions 9

Prayer

imageMay God the Father, and the Eternal High Priest Jesus Christ, build us up in faith and truth and love, and grant to us our portion among the saints with all those who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for all saints, for kings and rulers, for the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and for ourselves we pray that our fruit may abound and we may be made perfect in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN.
– Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

Born 69AD, Martyred 156 AD (a disciple of St. John)

Scripture

Monday, April 04, 2011         Luke 13

Tuesday, April 05, 2011        Luke 14

Wednesday, April 06, 2011    Luke 15

Thursday, April 07, 2011        Luke 16

Friday, April 08, 2011            Luke 17

Lenten Devotions 6

 

Prayer

imageAlmighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

1979 Book of Common Prayer

Scripture

Wednesday, March 23, 2011     Luke 7:18–50

Thursday, March 24, 2011         Luke 8

Friday, March 25, 2011             Luke 9:1–27

Monday, March 28, 2011          Luke 9:28–62

Jesus: Lord

Revelation 19:11-16

We all love the end of a story, especially when it says, “…and they lived happily ever after.”

We love it when the villain gets punished, when the lost dog finds his way home, the teacher finally turns her class around, when the underdog team wins the championship or when the dedicated musician finally gets a big break.

Let’s face it we like resolution, solved mysteries, happily ever after. Maybe we like that because that is seldom the way we find this world. We can’t stand it when resolution does not come, primarily because we have lost sight of the fact that Jesus is Lord!

A Dangerous World

In the book of Revelation, The Apostle John is writing to seven churches under the power of Roman. The Romans were very suspicious of new religions. The Jews had won a little freedom in their worship and were tolerated in the Roman world, which was not the case with the Christians. Christians found themselves on the outs with the Romans on a number of points. They refused to be part of the trade guilds because they refused to honor the gods associated with those guilds. They were branded as traitors by the Romans because they refused to burn an offering of incense to the Emperor and make the declaration, “Caesar is Lord.”

When new Christians were baptized they made the confession, “Jesus is Lord,” it put them in conflict with the whole culture of that day.

To remain faithful to Christ they had to be in conflict with every other aspect of life. So, they were persecuted, oppressed, denied rights branded as criminals, traitors and enemies of the state. They became the scapegoats of the whole empire and were killed by the thousands just for the entertainment of the crowds in the Roman Coliseum.

As the Book of Revelation opens John encourages and corrects the churches of the empire toward to ideas faithfulness and hope.

To make the confession, Jesus as Lord in that context was seen as stupid, irrational and dangerous. But, Christians knew something – Jesus was indeed Lord, so how could they say any different. They also had the hope that one day Jesus would come back to set everything straight. Their confession put them at odds with everything in their world, but that world was not the last word.

Revelation

The book of revelation reminds us of a truth we cannot see because we are blinded by our current circumstances. It tells us that in spite of how everything appears Jesus Christ is the true king. “[These verses] describe not what Christ is going to do but what he is: conquering King, righteous Judge, Captain of the armies of heaven.[1]

Look at the way Jesus is described in those verses:

  • Faithful and True,
  • A Judge and Warrior, leader of the armies of heaven
  • His eyes are like a flame of fire – he is able to see into the hearts of all
  • On his head are many diadems – he is the absolute ruler of all
  • He has a name written that no one knows but himself – he is under the control of no one
  • He is called is The Word of God and by his word he conquerors
  • The agent of the wrath of God the Almighty
  • King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus is the One to whom all people owe allegiance, the one before whom every knee will bow, the One who has the final word.

Our World

For us in the western world the danger is almost nonexistence. Instead of lions we have the ACLU, instead of burning incense we are asked to go with the flow – and many do!

The fact that Jesus is Lord calls forth two very important traits in those of us who claim to be his followers.

Faithfulness

If Jesus really is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, what other response could possibly be appropriate?

For faithfulness to be real it must be unconditional. When we chose to follow Christ we didn’t know what that choice would involve. We made the choice because in light of what we knew about Jesus there was no alternative. No one else can forgive sin; no one else can give new life; no one else can save. What life circumstances could possibly change that truth?

The truth that Jesus is Lord is the same in good times and bad, in prosperity and poverty, in sickness and health, in peace and in peril, when prayer is answered the way I want or not. And our only response is faithfulness – what else is there? Here was Paul’s experience:

[2 Co 4:8-11 ESV ] We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

And yet he remained faithful!

The circumstances we face in this world, whether personally or with our families and friends, don’t change the fact that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We remain faithful because there is no other option.

Does God do miracles, healings? Yes, they are wonderful gifts of his grace. But if God never did another thing for us, if all he did was forgive us and grant us new life here and in heaven…it would be enough for us to be faithful for all eternity!

What does faithfulness mean?

It means we maintain the relationship through prayer, we continue to obey, to worship, to learn and grow and gather with God’s people.

Since the fact of who Jesus is doesn’t change with the circumstances, neither does my faithfulness. Do the circumstances hurt, make me sad, cause me to doubt? Yes. But our doubt is expressed in relationship not out of it.

Many people only come to Jesus because of the personal benefits they will receive from him. If Jesus does not fulfill all of their expectations, they get upset and stop honoring God. If that is the case, who is really Lord?

Hope

If Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords that means my circumstance doesn’t have the last word – Jesus does!! And because of that I have hope!

Paul kept preaching and traveling because of this hope. In spite of all that happened to him. Listen to what he says:

[Ro 8:35-39 ESV ] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We can continue to pray, obey, worship, toil, grow, witness and even die because no matter what, Jesus has the last word! Do you believe that? That is what hope is all about!

An Invasion

When we understand that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that truth has a profound effect on our everyday lives. In reality it is not something that will happen in the future, it is something that is a fact now and because of that it affects our lives now.

That fact invades the present and affects the way I treat others, my decisions, my entertainment choices, the way I do my job, the way I dress, my dating life, if I am single, my married life, the way I view the government, the way I spend my money, the way I see the world and even the way I see my current circumstances.

The declaration, “Jesus is Lord,” is not about emotion, but the alignment of my life with the truth of who Jesus is. It is not about adopting a new philosophy of life, or merely reframing the world or my circumstances in the world. It is about a commitment to the One who not only will rule the nations with a rod of iron, but who allowed iron nails to pierce his hands and feet to show you how much he loves you. Isn’t it time you acknowledged Jesus is Lord? If not now when?


[1]Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation : I Saw Heaven Opened, Reprint. Originally published: I saw heaven opened. Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, 1975., The Bible speaks today, 183 (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., U.S.A.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1986], c1975).

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