bobbydagnel

Pastor of First Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas.

Homepage: https://bobbydagnel.wordpress.com

GAINING GROUND

Saturday 02-22-20

“Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward” (2 John 1:8).

To speak of the journey of faith implies a forward movement toward an ultimate destination. Sadly, there are always those, within every organization, who think they have arrived when, really, all they are doing is blocking the road. For the followers of Jesus, however, there is no staying put. We are either going forward and gaining ground or staying put and losing ground.

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THE PARADOX OF SUCCESS

Friday 02-21-20

“Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).

That humility is the pathway to greatness is paradoxical; it seems to contradict itself. Understand, however, to humble oneself isn’t to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less. Scripture is filled with a variety of such paradoxical depictions of the life of faith—we see unseen things, conquer by yielding, find rest under a yoke, become wise by becoming foolish, triumph in defeat, and live by dying. The life we pursue is a contradiction to everything this world says brings success and reward because ours is a life given to the greater good of others.

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THE PRICE OF GREATNESS

Thursday 02-20-20

“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

The cost of conversion is the loss of a former life; the constant abandonment of all status and earthly definitions of success. Conversion is the starting point of recognizing how all secular ambitions kill all heavenly aspirations. The single-minded devotion of a child to the most, seemingly, insignificant task, models for us the preoccupation we are to have toward those the world has deemed little and insignificant. While the world will say, “That’s not the way to get ahead,” it is the only way to get a “Well done!” from the heavenly Father.

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A LITTLE GREATNESS

Wednesday 02-19-20

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And He called a child to Himself and set him before them’” (Matthew 18:1-2).

Even disciples struggle with ego. While it is most often veiled under the guise of noble intent, desiring to do great things for God, the image of a child communicates we must think smaller; that the path to doing great things for God is achieved in our attentiveness to the littlest of things. We must not allow ego to lift our noses so high in the air that our eyes miss the everyday opportunities resting at our feet.

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THE PICTURE OF GREATNESS

Tuesday 02-18-20

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And He called a child to Himself and set him before them’” (Matthew 18:1-2).

The use of “kingdom” language is a poor attempt to cover their own selfish desires. The skill of using false humility for the purpose of self-aggrandizing advancement is the arena of adults, and not yet learned by children. Context reminds us that this was a time before children were the axis upon which all things in the household revolved. They were not yet the decision-makers for the family. In fact, children had no status whatsoever. It was a picturesque way of saying, “Abandon the quest in its entirety. Stop all the posturing, maneuvering, and one-upmanship for the sake of seeking a status afforded you by others.” And a child is the best portrayal of this.

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OFFENSIVE FAITH

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“Then the disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?’ But He answered…’ Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit’” (Matthew 15:12,14).

While we must guard against flouting before the weaker brethren (Rom.14:1) our freedom from man-made expressions of religiosity, such sensitivity is unnecessary regarding the Pharisees. They are not weak, but obstinate—they are unteachable. Those most concerned with “how” religion is practiced inside the walls of a temple (church building) are energy vampires, and a deterrent to the outwardly focused missional task ascribed to God’s people. This is why they must be left to themselves.

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JUST IMAGINE

Sunday 02-16-20

“Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’  The Jews then said, ‘It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’  But He was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:19-21).

Most limit God to what can be explained and understood; a god confined to the realm of human experience; which is really no god at all. In contrast, biblical faith should expand our imagining of God to places far beyond what we see, know, or even expect. As Paul wrote, “For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees” (Romans 8:24).

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