TAG | Matthew 26:41
Pleasure and Prosperity: The two things that make the World go around, or at least that’s what the World tells us. It’s not a new message – it’s one of old – it’s one that began shortly after the Evil was introduced to the Garden – the Evil that led to the Fall – the Fall that led to the Curse – the Curse that caused the Misery and the sense of Hopelessness – the Misery and the sense of Hopelessness that drives each of us to make some sense out of this life by chasing the lies of the World: Pleasure and Prosperity.
The pagan idols of the ancient world were not all that different than they are today. Back then you had to devote some amount of time and/or resources to some demonic god of the World that promised either pleasure or prosperity – Today, we do about the same thing, don’t we?
Most of us still have a tendency to covet something that someone else has – a neighbor or that guy on the TV commercial that looks really happy – so we devote our time and energy to do whatever we have to do to get the things we covet. Then, when we get it, we realize that that wasn’t really what was going to make us happy. Or perhaps we’re looking for pleasure in a pre-marital or extra-marital affair – or perhaps we have a digital affair with the images of someone else’s wife or daughter on a computer screen. The promises of the World are lies – the same old lies that have been told since the beginning, especially when it comes to the things that deal with Pleasure & Prosperity.
As we continued to read through the Book of Joshua we saw the Judgment of the LORD being executed – it was executed for the idolatrous ways of the inhabitants of the lands – the inhabitants were rabidly sick spiritually – they sacrificed to their demon gods – they set up temples to Molech by which they burned their children alive in the hope of future prosperity – they set up poles and temples to Ashteroth by which they would seek pleasure – they would do things to each other that would make us sick to our stomachs – therefore, God put them out of their misery – God judged them – God used the Israelites to execute that judgment, and when that judgment was partially complete, Joshua – the leader of the judgment spoke.
Let’s hear what the Word of the LORD would say to use today.
14 “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  – Joshua 24:14-15
My Friends, this is one of my Life Verses. I mean Joshua cuts to the chase doesn’t he? “Look here! You have a choice – You need to make it today! Are you going to serve the demonic gods of Egypt (a reference to the World system), or are you going to serve God?” That’s really the only decision we really have to make, isn’t it?
It’s popular today to believe that we can give part of ourselves to God and still hold a portion back for ourselves. I heard a story of one preacher who actually told his congregation that God just really wanted their upper bodies (their hearts and minds) – from the waist down they could keep that for themselves and do whatever they wanted. Uuhhmm… Wellll… Ahhh… Noooo… I don’t think so – in fact, I know it’s not so, for the Bible tells me so. Fortunately, the God of the Old Testament is also the God of the New Testament.
Let’s return to the Word of the LORD to see what else He would say to us today.
14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 20 …the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons.
21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons. 22 Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He? – 1st Corinthians 10:14 & 20-22
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. – Matthew 6:24
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. – 1 Corinthians 6:15-17
Friends, Jesus offers so much more than the lies of the World, but like He said “…you/I/we cannot serve two masters…” We have a choice – Jesus presents us with a choice – the same choice that Joshua presented to Israel. Jesus asks each of us “Who will you serve – the gods of bondage or the God of Heaven?” That’s a big question. It’s a question that we only need to answer once to Jesus, but we should ask ourselves continually (at least I do) – when a situation presents itself – “Well Jess, what are you going to do here?” – I would like to say that I pray continually and I always make the right decision, but I don’t – the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak – I often do that which I don’t want to do (Matthew 26:41 & Romans 7:15).
What’s my response to Jesus’ and Joshua’s question? The same as Joshua – “As for me and my house we shall serve the LORD.”
How do I deal with my failures? Repentance – a change of heart that leads to a change in action.
What good does Repentance do? It establishes Faith – Faith in His Faithfulness – His Righteousness – His Promise to continue the work in me.
Let’s return to the Word.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1st John 1:9
6 [I am] confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you [me] will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;  – Philippians 1:6
Father, we thank You for the opportunity to respond to Your Grace – the ability to determine for ourselves today who we will serve. We pray that You will help us to choose You continually. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray – Amen.
Semper Fidelis †
 The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Jos 24:14–15.
 The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Co 10:14–22.
 The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Mt 6:19–24.
 The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Co 6:15–17.
 The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Jn 1:9.
 The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Php 1:6.
Comments off · Posted by Calvary Chapel Southbury in Bible Devotions
How have things been going for you this week?
For me, well, it’s been busy – a little more hectic than I planned for on Sunday (I packed for a 2-day trip, and circumstances… well, I’ve been on the road all week), but things are still good – one thing that suffered though (again) is my daily study of the Word – not that I didn’t have time – It seemed that every time I opened the Word, my eyes become heavy or my mind began to wonder back to issues at work (again). That’s the frustrating part about having to be here on this Fallen Earth – ”The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) – Just frustrating at times down here.
Anyway, as I did get time to read, one of my favorite devotionals popped up on my RADAR, and it spoke to my spirit – How do I stay focused on the things of Heaven?
Let’s hear how the LORD spoke to Brother-Pastor Courson.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Set your heart on things above. Live for heaven, and you’ll enjoy life. How does that happen? Many ways, but I’ll suggest three…
Number One: your treasure. Jesus said, ‘Wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be also’ (Matthew 6:21).
For one week, I had a crush on Denise Fuller and wanted to take her to our church youth group’s spring banquet. In order to pay for it, however, I had to sell my one share of American Motors stock which I had bought for twelve bucks. Now, I was really into my one share of stock—so much so that, although I was a big San Francisco Giants fan, before I checked out the box scores to see how Mays, Cepeda, and McCovey were doing each day, I turned to the stock page to check on American Motors’ progress. But when this banquet came up, I sold my one share of stock. And guess what. Once I sold my share, I never turned to the stock page again. I just lost interest.
When Jesus tells us to lay up treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20), it’s not God’s way of raising money. Knowing that where our treasure is, our heart will follow, it’s His way of raising our hearts and minds out of this world and up into heaven. You see, if you invest your treasure in American Motors, that’s where your heart will be. If you put your treasure in your house or hobby, your heart will be there as well. Your heart follows your treasure—so one of the ways we get our hearts on things above is by investing in the Kingdom.
Secondly, we live for heaven through our trials. I am convinced God will send a trial a day our way just to keep us homesick for heaven. If He didn’t, we would become bound up in this earth and would miss out eternally on what He has in store for us.
A third way the Lord gets me to set my heart and mind on things above is by transfers—when the people we love precede us into heaven. This process is very important because when you have transferred friends, parents, and spouses in heaven, your heart longs to be there all the more keenly.
Treasures, trials, and transfers—three ways our hearts can be constantly set on things above.
Well, I think this week would fall under the trials category – the LORD gave me opportunities to seek Him mightily, but I just don’t think I lived up to my full potential (again) – man, maybe I’ll get it right next week, but regardless of whether I do or not, He still loves me – just as He still Loves you – regardless of the type of week you’ve had.
Father, we thank You for Your Grace – Your unconditional Love. Help us to always stay focused on the Heavenly things – not getting bound up in the problems and ways of the World. It’s in Jesus’ name we pray – Amen.
Jon Courson, A Day’s Journey : 365 Daily Meditations from the Word (Santa Ana, CA: Calvary Chapel Publishing, 2003).