Weekly Devotionals by Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D.
August 5, 2012 – Everything We Need
People often confuse the concept of needs and wants. We think we have certain needs that are not needs at all. Biblically speaking, the only true needs a person has are food and shelter. Without these basic needs being met, we cannot contemplate other more philosophically oriented needs, e.g. romance, career goals, etc. The American psychologist, Abraham Maslow, created a hierarchy of needs which has been widely used by various clinicians and behavioral scientists.
Note the upward progression of categories moving from
survival, the most basic of needs, to esteem needs and self actualization.
If you were to evaluate this list you would see that each stage was focused on self. While it is not wrong to be concerned with your physiological needs, as believers we need to trust and obey the clear teaching of Scripture concerning these matters, Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:6-7.
So what does the Bible tell us about our needs? How can we avoid becoming preoccupied with these self-centered needs?
The Apostle Paul instructed the body of believers at Philippi:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever, Amen, Phil. 4:6-7.
God provides for us a sure-fire way to avoid the adverse effects of uncontrolled anxiety in our lives. He offers us the solution for the fear-based worries that often overwhelm us. God will take very good care of His children. God, whose promises are always “yes” by Him, should be “amen” or “so be it” where we are concerned.
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen, Phil. 4:19-20.
August 12, 2012 – What He has Done
We can find instruction for this in the second letter that the Apostle Peter wrote to the believers in the first century AD, or as the Holy Spirit inspired him to say, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Messiah Yeshua have received faith as precious as ours, II Peter 1:1; Eph. 2:8; Jer. 23:6.
Even though Peter’s second epistle is really a treatise on false teachers (chapter 2) and an exhortation to remain faithful in the last days (chapter 3), the letter opens with these words of encouragement:
For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue).
By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature, II Peter 1:3-4.
There can be no doubt that we have truly been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Messiah, Eph. 1:3. Peter is simply acknowledging this truth that we are completely equipped by God through the work of the Holy Spirit and the clear instruction of the Word to succeed in every aspect of our lives, II Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 8:37.
August 19, 2012 – What We Should Do
We can clearly see according to God’s Word that our victory is in Jesus. We are destined to win, so what is our responsibility in this? Peter continued his instruction:
For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control (temperance), and in [exercising] self-control (temperance) [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance, perseverance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection (kindness), and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love (charity), II Peter 1:5-7. The Amplified Bible
We are instructed to make every effort via the exercise of the gift of faith. The clear implication from the Greek is that each one of these collective behaviors is connected. They build upon one another and develop out of, and in relationship to, one another.
Virtue - intrinsic moral goodness derived from the indwelling Holy Spirit).
Knowledge -knowledge, primarily of spiritual truth. It implies an active seeking on our part.
Self control or temperance – the ability under the power of the Holy Spirit to control ourselves.
Patience - cheerful endurance. It is the same word used in Rom. 5:1-5 “the cycle of spiritual growth.”
Godliness - to be devout, piety that is holy and pure attitude that is well pleasing to Him.
Brotherly kindness - love of the brethren. A genuine feeling of family affection to other believers.
Love (charity) - God’s agape love. Unconditional, sacrificial and intelligent love.
The final fruit of what we should be doing, by grace through faith, will be a manifestation of God’s agape love.We should easily see the obvious parallel Peter’s instruction has to Paul’s own passage concerning the fruit of the Holy Spirit., Gal. 5:22-23.
August 26, 2012 – No Greater Love
What motivated five missionaries and their families to go to the jungles of Ecuador in 1956 to bring the gospel to a tribe of Indians that people knew to be extremely violent and thought were still practicing cannibalism? What motivated Jim Elliot, Nate Saint Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Ed McCully to fly deep into the uncharted jungle to make contact with the Waorani people?
Through Gates of Splendor is a 1957 best selling book written by Elisabeth Elliot. The book tells the story of Operation Auca, an attempt of five American missionaries (including the author's husband) to reach the Huaorani tribe of eastern Ecuador. All five of the men were killed by the tribe.
The title of the book is derived from the fourth stanza of the hymn "We Rest on Thee". This hymn was famously sung by the missionaries before the men left for Huaorani territory in January 1956. The lines read:
We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender. Thine is the battle, Thine shall be the praise; When passing through the gates of pearly splendor, Victors, we rest with Thee, through endless days.
What motivated the women of the martyred missionaries to remain in the jungles of Ecuador and steadfastly continue to make every effort to reach the murderers of their husbands? Perhaps we can understand what motivated them by a note written in the Bible of martyred missionary pilot Jim Elliot which read:
“He is not a fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.”
With such a great cloud of witness (martyrs), those who have given and continue to give their lives in the furtherance of the gospel, should we do any less? Hebrews 12:1-2.