Devotional for April 21, 2021

Greetings in Christ,

  In the book of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream he did not understand.  In this dream a mighty tree reaches far and wide providing shade and food for many living creatures.  The king tells Daniel his dream and describes to him the tree gets cut down with the parts of tree dispersed in many places, it had a band of iron at the top of the stump with the roots still attached, the stump is drenched with dew, and the stump will have a mind of an animal for seven periods of time.  Unsure of the meaning of the dream he asked Daniel to interpret the dream.  Daniel reveals the meaning of the dream to King Nebuchadnezzar telling him he is the tree, and the things which happen to the tree will unfold and be done to him.

  This dream was a warning to King Nebuchadnezzar about his prideful thinking.  He had believed he accomplished great things on his own by building a great kingdom.  The king proudly talked about the battles he had won stretching his kingdom far into other regions, and he had gathered many resources to supply and feed the number of people within the kingdom.  The king felt he had accomplished more than any other king and he was proud of his work, but little did he know or recognize the hand of God had been working in the background making the king’s progress possible.  King Nebuchadnezzar overlooked God as a reason for his great accomplishments by using his own measures of success.

  John records the conversation between Jesus and Peter.  Jesus is asking Peter if he loved Jesus.  Peter answers he did.  Jesus asked Peter three times and this upset Peter.  Jesus went on to tell Peter he had made choices in his youth which were in his favor, but he will have choices made for him by others when he grows older.  This was to signify what type of death Peter would have, and it would bring glory to Jesus.  It was to bring awareness to Peter and the commitment he would make to follow Jesus.  

  Peter evidently did not grasp the depth of what Jesus was saying because his response was to point to John and ask Jesus what about him.  Jesus, in His response, said if I want him to stay alive till I return what is it to you?  You follow Me!  Peter was trying to apply his own method to measure success in his life and the life of John.  Peter did not think about the hand of God working in the background making way for both him and John to go out and proclaim the name of Jesus.  Peter wanted to use his own measurement of success.

  It is easy to use our own method of measure of success in our lives and apply it to others.  It is easy to look at our surroundings and say I have done well, and we compare ourselves to others to measure the success.  We have a sense of pride in what we do, but we forget the hand of God working in the background aiding us in that success.  King Nebuchadnezzar let his pride lead to his downfall, and Peter let his pride cloud his thinking.

  Peter later realized the importance of recognizing God in all things as he wrote these words.  “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.   Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaint.  As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.   Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

  Peter wanted the people to connect with God through prayer and other people by loving them.  The most important for them was to recognize God’s grace going before them.  It is connecting to God they were able to love each other, and to see God’s grace enabling them to speak and serve.

  When we are truly connected with God, our pride and need for success becomes unimportant as we begin to focus on what God has in store for us.  We see God’s grace extended to us allowing us to love each other with unlimited boundaries.  When the focus is on God and not on us, we can see God working in our lives and the lives of others.

  “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.  Why should the nations say, where, now, is their God?  But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. The heavens are the heavens of the Lord, but the earth He has given to the sons of men.  The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence; but as for us, we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forever.  Praise the Lord!”  Psalm 115:1-3, 16-19

  Lord we thank you for Your grace as it is extended to us, and may we focus on You as we serve You by serving each other.  Amen


  Mark Johnson
  Psalm 114,115,148,149,150;Daniel 4:1-18; 1 Peter 4:7-11;  John 21:15-25

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