Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy Wednesday

To what are you devoted?
     by M. J. Knight
It is a sad truth in our lives that we sometimes become more devoted to things other then God and His glory.  It is easy to do.  In the world, there are people who are devoted to movie stars. They admire them and elevate them to a status of extreme honor and adoration.  People are far too often devoted to sports teams, almost to the point of reference.  We become devoted to political parties, ideologies, causes, and even cars.  Devotion is all around us in the world.  Some of it is good and some of it is not.  Good examples of devotion can be found in the love of a mother for her children and of a father for his family.  Bad examples can be found in extreme devotion to cars, houses, appearance, money, and possessions.  It is in our nature to become obsessed with things. 
Now, there is nothing wrong with being devoted to something -- unless that devotion becomes an obsession. If it does, it pushes out proper behavior and proper adoration of God.  This then becomes sinful.  There should be nothing that holds more devotion in our lives than the Lord.  Everything else, must follow far behind.
When you look at your own heart and look for what is most important to you, what you devote the most time to, what you find?  To what are you most devoted?  When I look inward, I become a bit uncomfortable.  Though there are things that require greater amounts of time than worship and adoration to God (i.e., work, sleep), what is most critical?  What is most important?  I find that sometimes, that the thing I feel most intensely devoted to isn't the Lord.
Yes, it is very easy to get out of sync regarding the Christian walk. It is easy, very easy, to become devoted to something so much, that it infringes on one's relationship with Christ.  When we realize that, we must take a step back, reassess what is most important to us, and once again look to the cross of Christ where His love and patience abound.
I'm reminded of a very important scripture. "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself," (2 Tim. 2:13). And another, "What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?" (Rom. 3:3). And still, another, "God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord," (1 Cor. 1:9).
The priority of our devotion should always be God first. Notice the last verse above where it states that God desires we have fellowship with Jesus Christ. This fellowship is the Greek word "koinonia." It means "intimacy and communion." God wants this intimacy and this communion with us.  He wants our devotion to Him because it is only in this intimacy with the Lord Jesus that we can truly know what proper devotion really is and thereby experience the wonderful joy of the Lord's grace in a great way.
We need to look to the cross where we see the wonderful demonstration of God's loving devotion to us.  It is there that we see a perfect devotion, a perfect devotion combined with perfect love -- that brings glory to God.
Are you seeking God?  Are you devoting yourself to Him?

Daily Smile:
A man takes his place in the theater, but his seat is too far from the stage. 

He whispers to the usher, "This is a mystery, and I have to watch a mystery close up. Get me a better seat, and I'll give you a handsome tip." 

The usher moves him into the second row, and the man hands the usher a quarter. 

The usher looks at the quarter, leans over and whispers, "The wife did it."

In The News:

Iran Sentences American Pastor Saeed Abedini to Eight Years in Prison
American Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, imprisoned in Iran on charges of evangelizing, was sentenced Sunday morning to eight years in prison, Fox News reports. According to the American Center for Law and Justice, Abedini was verbally sentenced in Tehran by Iran's infamous "hanging judge" to eight years in prison for threatening the national security of Iran through his leadership in house churches. He will serve the time in Iran's notorious Evin Prison, known as one of the most brutal. The evidence was based on Abedini's activities primarily during the early 2000s, when house churches were not considered a threat in Iran, the ACLJ said. "With today's development I am devastated for my husband and my family," Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, said Sunday after learning about the court action. "We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil." ACLJ executive director Jordan Sekulow said: "Here's the troubling reality: we have a U.S. citizen, who has been beaten and tortured since his imprisonment last fall, now facing eight years in Evin Prison, one of the must brutal prisons in Iran. A harsh sentence in a notorious prison -- likely facing life-threatening torture and abuse at the hands of the Iranian regime. Simply because of his Christian faith."

Stanford Law Opens Country's First Religious Liberty Legal Clinic
As religious freedom litigation has ballooned in the United States, especially over the last year, Stanford Law School has opened the nation’s first legal clinic devoted exclusively to religious freedom cases, WORLD News Service reports. "It’s not needed because the United States is uniquely persecuting — it’s not," said former U.S. circuit judge Michael McConnell, a professor at Stanford Law who argues many religious liberty cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. "I believe we are the freest and most welcoming country in the world … but we still need to fight and to think and to litigate and protect."

Creflo Dollar Free After Anger Management Training
Georgia megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar avoided a court appearance on charges that he assaulted his 15-year-old daughter last June, WORLD News Service reports. Instead, according to The Fayette County Citizen, "state court prosecutors allowed Dollar to enter a pre-trial intervention program which required him to complete an anger management program and pay $1,072 in fees and court costs." During the three-month program, Dollar had to meet regularly with a probation officer and avoid "violent contact" with others. Dollar is the of World Changers Church International, and was the subject of an investigation by the Senate Finance Committee several years ago.

S.C. Episcopal Diocese Claims a Victory in Secession Struggle
The breakaway Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina has won the latest round in its fight to secede from the national church, the Religion News Service reports. A South Carolina judge on Jan. 23 issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the national church from using the name or seal of the diocese, which espouses a more traditional theology and disapproves of the national church's acceptance of same-sex marriage and gay bishops. The order, as diocesan officials understand it, essentially tells the national church it may not preside over the existing diocese. "We believe what the judge has said is what we have been saying for quite some time," said Jim Lewis, a top aide to Bishop Mark Lawrence. "The Episcopal Church is more than free to establish a new diocese in South Carolina. What the ruling says, though, is that they can't do that and claim to be us." Though 44 of the 71 parishes in the diocese support secession, according to the diocese, Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has said that differences of opinion within the church should be tolerated but unilateral secession is not permitted. Secession must be approved by the church's General Convention, she said, which next meets in 2015.

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