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Daily Thought - "valuing Garbage"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ – Philippians 3: 7-8 (NLT)

    Society promotes value in the most fleeting of things. Take sports for instance. As we enter into the World Series, realize that Major League Baseball spent over 3 billion dollars on player salaries this season alone! Advertising for the last super bowl eclipsed 200 million for the one game. What about individually? How often do we see crazed fans despondent when their favorite team loses? We proudly display our team jerseys and jackets for all to see! Or in this politically charged season take a look at the value placed on politics by this society. Close to a billion dollars will be spent trying to woo our vote for President. Individually we see people getting absolutely apoplectic at anyone who disagrees with their side and choice. This is not to speak against sports and elections. I love sports and feel that it is everyone’s civic responsibility to cast a vote. This is speaking to what we value and more importantly – where we value them in our lives.

    “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. – Luke 12: 33-34 (NLT)

    The purses of heaven never get old or develop holes! Ask Yankee and Met fans if that was true for them this year! Come November 7th, either supporters of Mitt Romney or Barack Obama are going to be sorely disappointed. The larger point here is that four years later we all will be disappointed. Because we cannot place our value in the things or people of this world. I checked with God recently and He assured me that come November 7th, He will still be on the throne. Four years from now, when both sides ratchet up the rhetoric and desperation again, God will still be on the throne. The even better news though is that He will still be exactly the same. He doesn’t need to lie in debates – He doesn’t have anyone who could debate Him anyway!

    So where is our treasure these days beloved? More importantly, where does Christ rank in the order of what we value? Do more people know that we are a Giants fan than a Christ follower? Do more people know that we back Obama than the fact that we back Jesus? Which has eternal value? How much value do we place in our career? I know people who were laid off during this economic downturn that had been good loyal employees for decades. Jesus will never lay you off! While some of these examples may seem obvious, let’s now turn it inward to examine our own religion versus our Savior.

    Our key verses are written by the Apostle Paul. He was raised to be a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He knew the law backwards and forwards. He had convinced himself that the religion he adhered to was completely within the will of God. Even when it found him presiding over the stoning of Stephen and the deaths of many other Christians. It took Jesus personally knocking him off his high horse and blinding him to get him to truly open his eyes. We still see this problem today as far too many churches are not about the Father’s business. They may sound right. They may look right. They may have success as measured by worldly metrics. But as Paul expresses in the key verses it is all garbage that they are valuing. Paul had to discard his religion in order to find his relationship with Jesus. Is religion worthless? Of course not. But its value is only found in Christ. It is not found in programs and buildings. It is not found in television ratings and sharp speakers. It is not found in perfect voices and dazzling choirs. It is found only in Christ. It is not found in becoming relevant to a fallen culture. It is not found in compromise with the world. It is not found in the next Christmas cantata or Easter play. It is found only in Christ. The truth is that sports and politics are like low lying fruit for this devotional. They are easy to spot and easy to pick off. But what Paul was actually speaking about when he penned these verses was the religion he had grown to believe and value. Until his dying day, Paul always considered himself the least of the Apostles because he had once persecuted the church. His religion, which was designed to bring people to God, was actually leading people away from God. So it was and so it still goes today. What does God say is pure and faultless religion?

    If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1: 26-27 (NIV)

    There are three benchmarks here to examine when we look at what we consider our religion and the church we attend. The first is there must not be a spirit of pride. That is what James is speaking about when he says it must keep a tight reign in its tongue. Christianity is not about braggadocios behavior. There is nothing boastful about it. Nothing arrogant about it. This may seem like a slam dunk but take a look at Facebook and you will see far too many Christians bragging about their church. During this election season, far too many hateful posts from self-professed Christians propping up their candidate. What is supposed to come out of our mouths is love, not hate. Mercy, not unforgiveness. Grace, not condemnation.

    Secondly, the church should be focused on the neediest people in society. Those who are poor, lonely, or unsaved. In other words – it should have an outward focus, not inward. If activities are more designed for the entertainment of the saints then the pursuit of the lost – then you know you have a problem. On the day Christ reached down into our mire and picked us up it was all about us. Since that day though it has to be all about Him and the countless amounts of people staring at an eternal separation from God unless someone shares the Gospel with them. Lastly, the church is meant to be separate. It is meant to be different from the world. Instead, the devil has convinced many leaders that they need to make their church “relevant” to the fallen culture around us. Nonsense! It is the culture that Jesus is trying to save them from! Remember, the Bible says the ruler of this world is Satan! Why in the world would you want to become relevant to Satan? People need to see the church as being separate and different. Unfortunately these days some churches allow so much leaven inside under the guise of “reaching as many for Jesus as we can” that there is little difference between the church and the world. The object is not to reach as many as possible but to reach them with Christ. Only Jesus can save them. Not our fancy programs. Not our fancy churches. Only Jesus.

    Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powersof this world, rather than from Christ. – Colossians 2: 8 (NLT)

    There is a spiritual war going on beloved. We do not teach it or preach it enough but that does not lessen it. We need to be wary of leaven in the church. High sounding nonsense based on human logic. James makes it clear. The church is to be humble and not boastful. It is to be outwardly focused on the needs of the needy not inwardly focused on the desires of the saints. It is to draw a hard line in the sand when dealing with the world – no pollution allowed! It is about value beloved. Valuing Christ over everything this world and even religion might be trying to sell us. Christ in – garbage out.

    Rev. Anthony

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