The Highest Law

By    •   July 3   •   Topics: 

The men who framed our Constitution knew they were writing the basic document for a government of free men; they recognized that men could live as free and independent beings only if each one knew and understood the law. They were to know their rights, their privileges, and their limitations. They were to stand as equals before the court of law, and few judges could be unfair; for the judge, too, was bound by the same law and required to try each case accordingly. . . . As the Constitution is the highest law of the land, so the Bible is the highest law of God. For it is in the Bible that God sets forth His spiritual laws. It is in the Bible that God makes His enduring promises. It is in the Bible that God reveals the plan of redemption for the human race.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Find answers.

Prayer for the day

Almighty God, each day our nation and we, the people, face so many crises. May each one of us seek wisdom through Your Word, the Bible

A Positive Negative


And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.”—Luke 16:9 (NKJV)

What? Did we read that right? After reading the verse above where Jesus tells His followers to make friends by “unrighteous mammon” we should be scratching our heads. Why? Because there’s an apparent conflict here. Jesus consistently warned us about mammon (the personification of the power of wealth) and its potential power to entice and lead us away from God. In fact, Jesus will go on to say exactly that in Luke 16:13.

So, how can Jesus instruct us to dirty our hands by using unrighteous mammon to make friends for ourselves? This is where it benefits us to hold this thought and read on, because it will clarify what He is really saying here: “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own” (Luke 16:10-12 NKJV)?

At the outset of this parable, which we examined two days ago, we saw a foundational principle established: A servant must be faithful to their master. That was the catalytic truth for this parable. Now Jesus ties all things together by bringing the focus back to faithfulness.

In so many words, the Lord is telling us that being faithful involves our looking ahead. The unjust steward looked ahead and acted accordingly by using mammon in consideration of the future. Christ isn’t telling us to mishandle money or deal deceitfully, but He is telling us that we can learn something very valuable from a character like this.

We can emulate his forward thinking, and we actually need to. Faithful servants in God’s kingdom are always going to be those who are thinking in heavenly terms, where “true riches” reside.

If we simply see life through an earthly lens, without a perspective on the eternal realities and consequences that exist, our service to the Lord will never be what it should. Our priorities won’t match His—our time, talent, and treasure will be invested in things that won’t result in spiritual substance. And, we will pursue this world’s definition of wealth instead of making it our goal to be rich towards God (Luke 12:21).

From the negative example of the unfaithful steward, we can take away a positive lesson on faithfulness. He can serve as a reminder that we need to set our sights on the truths of eternity, the values of heaven, and faithfully serve our King.

DIG: Why do Christ’s opening words appear to contradict His other teachings?

DISCOVER: What is the resolution to this apparent contradiction?

DO: Consider different ways you can improve the practice of looking ahead.

 

Pressing Through the Pain

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a (NKJV)

Does it ever feel like the heartbreak in your life is trying to break you?

I understand. I’ve been in that place where the pain of heartbreak hits with such sudden and sharp force that it feels like it cuts through skin and bone. It’s the kind of pain that leaves us wondering if we’ll ever be able to function like a normal person again.

But God has been tenderly reminding me that pain itself is not the enemy. Pain is the indicator that brokenness exists.

Pain is the reminder that the real enemy is trying to take us out and bring us down by keeping us stuck in broken places. Pain is the gift that motivates us to fight with brave tenacity and fierce determination, knowing there’s healing on the other side.

And in the in-between? In that desperate place where we aren’t quite on the other side of it all yet, and our heart still feels quite raw?

Pain is the invitation for God to move in and replace our faltering strength with His. I’m not writing that to throw out spiritual platitudes that sound good; I write it from the depth of a heart that knows it’s the only way.

We must invite God into our pain to help us survive the desperate in-between.

The only other choice is to run from the pain by using some method of numbing. But numbing the pain — with food, achievements, drugs, alcohol or sex — never goes to the source of the real issue to make us healthier. It only silences our screaming need for help.

We think we are freeing ourselves from the pain when, in reality, what numbs us imprisons us. If we avoid the hurt, the hurt creates a void in us. It slowly kills the potential for our hearts to fully feel, fully connect, fully love again. It even steals the best in our relationship with God.

Pain is the sensation that indicates a transformation is needed. There is a weakness where new strength needs to enter in. And we must choose to pursue long-term strength rather than temporary relief.

So how do we get this new strength? How do we stop ourselves from chasing what will numb us when the deepest parts of us scream for some relief? How do we stop the piercing pain of this minute, this hour?

We invite God’s closeness.

For me, this means praying. No matter how vast our pit, prayer is big enough to fill us with the realization of His presence like nothing else.

Our key verse (James 4:8a) reminds us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. When we invite Him close, He always accepts our invitation.

And on the days when my heart feels hurt and my words feel quite flat, I let Scripture guide my prayers — recording His Word in my journal, and then adding my own personal thoughts.

One of my personal favorites to turn to is Psalm 91. I would love to share this verse with you today, as an example for when you prayerfully invite God into your own pain.

Verse: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1, NIV)

Prayer: Lord, draw me close.

Your Word promises when I draw close to You, You are there. I want my drawing close to be a permanent dwelling place.

I am not alone, because You are with me. I am not weak, because Your strength is infused in me. I am not empty, because I’m drinking daily from Your fullness. You are my dwelling place. And in You I have shelter from every stormy circumstance and harsh reality. I’m not pretending the hard things don’t exist, but I am rejoicing in the fact that Your covering protects me and prevents those hard things from affecting me like they used to.

You, the Most High, have the final say over me. You know me and love me intimately. And today I declare that I will trust You in the midst of my pain. You are my everyday dwelling place, my saving grace.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

And with that I close my prayer journal, feeling a lot less desperate and a lot more whole. I breathe the atmosphere of life His words bring.

I picture Him standing at the door of my future, knocking. If I will let Him enter into the darkness of my hurt today, He will open wide the door to a much brighter tomorrow.


Learn how to steady your soul through prayer and overcome feelings of helplessness by inviting God into your situation with my Steady Your Soul: A 21-day Prayer and Journal Experience.

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