devotional for today

WHAT RIGHTS?

This past week I have noticed how many Christians are beginning to protest lockdowns and stay at home orders. Many have taken to the interwebs and expressed their frustrations with businesses being shut down and their freedoms restricted. Some have even participated in ”protests” in violation of stay at home orders. It reminded me of a story in scripture.

John 18:33-36 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"
35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."

As Jesus stood before Pilate, as his freedoms we're entirely gone, he didn't call on his people to stage a protest; he instead told Pilate a startling truth. If my kingdom were of this world, my people would fight to have me released. They would have surrounded me and started chanting with banners and signs calling for my release. They would have come up with witty chants to let people know that they were not going to take it anymore. But instead, Jesus told them that his kingdoms is not of this world, and his fight is not with them. You see church; our fight is not with this world. Our fight is not with governments, presidents, or city leaders. Our fight is with the enemy of our souls.

Ephesians 6:12 tells us,” For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

I am not saying it is wrong to protest injustice.I am not saying that everything that the government is doing is perfect. I am saying that if we forget that we are citizens of God’s kingdom above citizens of the USA, we will be fighting for the wrong rights.

Let me ask you, Christian, would you give up the right to go to the movies for the sake of the Gospel?

Would you give up the right to go to a restaurant for the sake of the Gospel?

Would you give up the right to go outside for the sake of the Gospel?

Would you give up the Constitution or the Bill of Rights for the sake of the Gospel?

We forfeited our rights when we clothed ourselves in Christ. We are no longer our own, for we were bought with a price.

I leave you with the words of the Apostle Paul.
1 Cor 9:19-23 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law,[e] I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.
- Pastor Dan
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose

This verse has probably been quoted and taught more in the last month than it has in the previous ten years. Right now, many people are clamoring for hope amid uncertainty. People are looking for the silver lining on this dark cloud. The problem is that most likely; we are looking for the silver lining to be the wrong thing. Most of us want the silver lining to be a return to normalcy. We just want things to be the way they were. Going to ball games with friends. Complaining about getting up early to go to work, or ushering the kids off to school so that we could have our quiet time. We all want a glimpse of the old routine back in our lives matter how ”normal” it was. We all watch the news patiently, hoping and praying that it will tell us when ”normal” will come back. But what if it doesn't..? What if the way things were won't be the way things will be? What if there is a new normal?

You see, the part of Romans 8:28 that we don't read says a lot. The verse says that God is working in all things for His good, but he doesn't promise that we are going to see it. He doesn't promise that His good is our return to ”normal.” He is the potter, we are the clay. It is not always for us to understand.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The ways of God are not always ours to understand. If there is one thing that we can say for sure is God is not normal. What we can say that God is many things, but normal is not one of them. God is faithful, kind, merciful, etc. But one word that most certainly doesn't fit is normal! He is far above and beyond, beautiful and radiant. All-powerful and near the brokenhearted. Holy. He is so far beyond what we can even fathom...and, he knows your name. God has not called us to worry or stress about the future. He has called us to be filled with His Word, peace, joy, and the Holy Spirit. It is our job to trust that he is working in all of these things for his glory...even if we don't see it.

May you be filled with His peace and presence today, Church. My his joy rest upon you, and may your new ”normal” be filled to overflowing with His Spirit.

Pastor Dan