The One and Only Judge

“There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbor?”James 4:12 (NIV)

At a place I know, there used to be a coke machine that was frequently out of order. This machine (designed to take sixty cents and give someone the soft drink of their choice) seemed to have a mind of its own. Sometimes it would take a whole dollar and give nothing. Other times, it would give you the beverage of its choice… not yours. It was frustrating and there was a great demand by all to get that machine back in order.

One day, the skilled technician showed up. He opened up the machine and began to look at all that was inside. His knowledge of how things were supposed to work was compared to all he examined. He judged each part to be either “in order” or “out of order.” At the conclusion of his work, all that was “out of order” was removed, new parts were installed, and the machine worked as it was designed. There was great rejoicing in the place I know.

In the beginning, God created all we know and it was perfectly “in order.”  This order was disrupted and continues to be disrupted by the choice of all people to seek after their own agendas rather than the agenda of God. God has declared that one day He will come and set all things back “in order” permanently. This day necessitates a day of judgment, where the only One who knows what perfect order looks like removes all that is “out of order.”

We can be found “in order” by being found in Jesus Christ…

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.  And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” – John 3:16-19 (NLT)

Only God can judge because only God is perfect holiness, righteousness, and order. Our job is not to judge, but to trust each and every word of the One who will judge all things, and to share His words with everyone we can so that they might make the choice to choose Jesus and be found in order on judgment day. 

How about you? Do the people you know see you more of a judge or as someone who intimately know the One who will judge it all? Ask God to help you know Him and through your life and words communicate the gracious truth of how someone can be found “in order” on judgment day.

Building the Church

Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.  Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. – Matthew 16:15-18 (NLT)

One day Jesus asked his followers what people were saying about Him.  Several responses came, but today’s passage tells us Peter’s response: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus used this moment to introduce the idea of “church” to his disciples.  In this passage we learn two fundamental truths about church:

  1. The church is built by Jesus, not by human will or accomplishments.
  2. The church is built on the fundamental belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.

Though people make up the church, it is not built for us or by us. Christ will use us in various ways to accomplish its building, but there is a difference in a “tool in the hand of God” and our attempts to make church happen.  Jesus has a great purpose, plan, and desire for the church. Our job is to seek the Lord’s revelation of that purpose, plan, and desire and make ourselves available to the Lord to build up the church through our unique gifts, talents, and abilities. 

As a church, we are not called to promote ourselves but Jesus, the Son of God. Promoting Him to our community as the way, truth, and life is what changes people’s lives. As one person has said, “If you meet me and forget me, you have lost nothing. But if you meet Jesus and forget Him, you have lost everything.”

How about you? Are you trying to build church into what you want it to be or are you submitting yourself to the Lord as a tool He can build His church into what He wants? Are you doing your part at church and in the community to promote Jesus to others as Savior and Lord? Ask God to give you a love and a passion for His church, and let Him use you to make your church all God intends for it to be.

Ambassadors for Christ

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

In 2009, one of democracy’s finest moments occurred yet again, as Barak Obama was sworn in as our 44th President of the United States. The transition of power from George W. Bush’s presidency to the Obama presidency was even more amazing because ideologically these two men were not on the same page with their views on several matters.

Around the world, the United States has (in most countries) someone designated as a United States Ambassador. The Ambassador is asked to live not in the United States, but in another country and another culture (usually many miles from home) to represent the President and the United States of America in matters of interest. If an issue arises in one of these countries, it is the job of the Ambassador to know what the will of the President is on that issue and communicate that will clearly to the leaders of this foreign government. Failure to do so could cause a foreign government to act in a way that could damage diplomatic relations. In 2009, Ambassadors had to be briefed on specific differences between the previous Bush presidency and the new Obama presidency.

Today’s scripture reminds us that we too are ambassadors, not of an earthly government but of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Though believers in Jesus have a home in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1-10), for the time being we are asked to dwell on this earth, in a culture that pursues many things that are contrary to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus prayed that we would be “in the world but not of the world” (John 17:15-16). Jesus wants everyone to become a believer and to enjoy an eternal citizenship in the heavenly Kingdom. This passage says he wants to make this truth known through you.

How can you be a good ambassador for the King of Kings?

  • By knowing the will of the King. We don’t have to guess, just read it.  The message we need to know is found in the Bible. Are you committed to knowing the will of the King?
  • By living the will of the King. Its not enough to know the will of the King; as ambassadors we are called to be living examples of it (James 1:22-25).  Are you committed to living out the will of the King in every way?

I’m sure that if a president had an ambassador who was not acting in accordance to his will, he would communicate his displeasure. Through the Holy Spirit, the King of Kings does the same, calling on His ambassadors to confess their sin so that they might be restored (1 John 1:9). If Jesus is currently making you aware of ways your finances, relationships, actions, or attitudes are running counter to His will, confess it and let Him bring you the victory and restoration you need to be an effective ambassador for Christ.

Cultivating a lifestyle of worship

Worship is more…

… more than attending church on Sunday

… more than singing along to Christian radio

… more than a one-time camp or conference mountain-top experience

Worship is meant to be more than an event on our calendar. It is meant to be a priority rather than a result of convenience and comfort. And it is meant to go far deeper than getting goosebumps during your favorite song.

A lifestyle

Worship is meant to be a lifestyle, through which we actively and intentionally engage with the Heavenly Father every single day.

There are many different things we can do to cultivate that lifestyle, including:

  • attending corporate worship gatherings (worship services) every weekend
  • attending smaller subset worship gatherings (usually with people in a similar life stage)
  • setting aside daily personal prayer time
  • setting aside daily time spent in God’s Word

How to use this blog

This daily devotional blog was created to be a resource for you in that fourth area. Whether you choose to spend time with God at home or on-the-go, before the sun comes up, during a break in your day, or after everyone has gone to bed, we encourage you to use this resource to draw closer to the Father.

Each devotional is designed to provide Scripture and a devotional thought to help you engage in God’s Word. Each devotional will also have a prayer prompt or encourage a next step as you live out the truths you read.

If you don’t currently have a regular personal Bible study or quiet time, let this blog be a resource to help you get started. If you already have a daily time set aside to be in God’s Word, consider adding this devotional blog to that time, and share it with someone who might be looking for a resource just like this.

New devotionals will be posted daily (Monday-Friday) at 5:00am beginning Monday, August 12, but you can access them anytime by coming back to this site each day or sign up to have the daily devotionals delivered to your email inbox. Sign up at the bottom of the home page.

If you have any questions about how to cultivate a lifestyle of worship in your own life, feel free to reach out to us at