Pastor Stephen Dedman

Be Gracious To Others

And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭9:54

Have you ever been so angry that you wanted God’s wrath to be poured out on someone? We need to be careful with this type of attitude.

As Jesus made His final trip into Jerusalem to face the cross, He wanted to minister to a village of Samaritans but the people would not welcome Him.  Jesus sent a few men ahead of them to find a place to stay but they couldn’t find one.  

The city of Samaria wanted nothing to do with Jesus.  When James and John discovered this, they wanted to see the village go up in flames.  They thought the people should be destroyed because they rejected the Messiah.

James and John were nicknamed “Sons of Thunder” because of their bodacious attitudes. (Mark 3:17)  They were brothers and close friends to Jesus and expected people to believe in Jesus as Messiah.  However, we all know that Jesus is rejected by many.  

Even today we witness people rejecting the message of Jesus but we should never want to see them consumed with fire because of their hardened hearts.  Instead we should pray for them and for their hearts to be softened to receive the gospel of Jesus.  Jesus rebuked James and John for their judgmental attitude.

Again in Acts 8:5, Philip (one of the twelve disciples) went back to Samaria to preach the Gospel and great things happened as they received the Word of God.  We should never give up on those who reject the gospel of Jesus.  

We should be consistent with sharing the love and good news to those who are ignorant to the truth.  Calling down judgment and wrath is not the right perspective.  God’s ultimate plan was carried out as they finally accepted Jesus and believed.  But what if they were destroyed before they ever believed?

Prayer

Lord we want to see Your great work done here on earth and we want to witness your power and grace. Help me to have a soft heart and a compassion for others.

How Are You Living?

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”
Philippians‬ ‭3:20‬

The Apostle Paul was writing to the church at Philippi who placed much value in their Roman citizenship. Although they were not living in Rome, they considered themselves to be under the Roman law, custom, and culture.

Paul, himself, was a Roman citizen and knew their mindset. So Paul under the influence of the Holy Spirit wrote this Scripture for them to consider the value of what it means to be a citizen of heaven.

Just as a Roman citizen would never forget that they belonged to Rome, Christians must never forget that they belong to heaven. This ultimately means that we must conduct ourselves as heavenly citizens. If we belong to heaven, we need to act like it.

To live somewhere you don’t belong means you’re an alien or pilgrim. We live on this earth we but don’t belong here. We were made for so much more. This earth is foreign land to us.

As Christians we are pilgrims passing through and waiting for our time to come when we are residents of heaven. We should be set apart from this world and noticed for something special about us.

The problem is sometimes we live like we belong here on this earth and value the things here more than heavenly things to come. For example, if we know that we have a mansion in heaven being prepared for us, why are we placing so much value in a home here on earth?

Paul says it best in verse 19, “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.” Then he says, “But our citizenship is in Heaven.”

Are you living like you belong here or heaven?

Are you storing up treasures here on earth or investing in Heaven?

God would have you to place more value in the life to come in heaven than being so earthly mindset. Take a moment today to consider your heavenly citizenship.

Pray

Lord, I know I belong to you. Let my actions and words be proof of my citizenship to Heaven. Today I live for You.

Honor And Glory To God

“Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”
Psalm 29:2

Psalm 29 uses the name “The LORD” (Yahweh) 18 times in 11 verses. It’s a holy and reverent name referenced to God. There is and has always been a great emphasis on the name of the LORD.

Words cannot completely describe or explain His majesty, power, and grace. His name is above all names. And His name is to be treated with reverence and never in vain.

We also reference the LORD as “Jehovah” taken from the four letters Y H V H. The Jews would never speak this name because it is so holy. 

Today we often hear someone saying the Lord’s name in vain or using it to swear by. We must always lift up the name of the Lord as a holy name. As verse 2 commands, we are to give glory to His name.

To give glory means to praise and honor. It means to worship or bow down before. When we worship and glorify the name of the LORD we recognize His character and nature. The idea of this Psalm is that man should bow in humble adoration of the greatness, beauty, and holiness of the LORD. 

The frightening takeaway from this devotional is that we don’t worship and glorify God as He deserves. We don’t give Him the worth that is due Him. We don’t give Him the glory that is to be given. If only we would worship Him like all of Heaven worships Him as we read in Revelation chapters 4&5.

This Psalm of David is a reminder for us to get our worship on. It’s time for us to give what is owed to the One and True God. We do so by praising His great name. We sing to Him. We pray to Him. And most importantly we serve Him.

Pray

Lord, You alone are deserving of praise and glory. Help me to remove myself from getting in the way of Your great works. Help me to share Your amazing grace to those who need it.