Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Recipe for Destruction

Recipe for Destruction
by Fred Alberti, Crosswalk.com Manager of Communities

…They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.

I've been thinking of this passage lately from Jude. Jude is warning the people about the false teachers in their midst. What does he mean by these three examples?

In each case the person was rebelling against God in some way or another.

When man sinned, God covered his nakedness with the skins of animals. Thus began the shedding of blood. Abel's sacrifice was acceptable to God because of the attitude of his heart, but Cain's was not. Instead of offering the sacrifice on God's terms he offered it on his terms. Cain's rebellion was against God's prescribed method of salvation through faith in the offering of shed blood.

Balaam was a prophet of the Lord who prostituted himself for the sake of financial gain. Sadly, we see many popular evangelists engaging in this same sort of error. They attempt to fleece God's flock for the sake of their own posh lifestyle. Balaam's sin, as well as those popular ministers today, is the sin of greed and misleading the children of God. Trading the Gospel message for the sake of high living was never the intent of Jesus who had "no place to lay his head."

Lastly, we have the sin of Korah. He and those who rebelled with him were in opposition to those whom God had placed in authority over them; namely, Moses and Aaron. I see this same sin a lot throughout the week in Christians who feel that they are not beholden to those in authority over them. Somehow they have managed to tear out entire portions of God's Word, which instructs us to obey those in authority and to give honor to those who honor is due. To them the rules do not apply.

If we were to wrap this verse up into a package it would look like this:
There are people who reject God's way of salvation for a lie; who exercise their spiritual gifts for the sake of greedy gain while leading others down the same trail. Additionally, these people reject the authority God has placed over them. This combination is a recipe for destruction and it is something we all must be wary of both in ourselves and in our churches.


Intersecting Faith & Life: Have your kids or some neighborhood kids help you make a special pie. Start with a bowl full of some mud. Add old vegetables to the mix representing Cain's sacrifice, mix in some dirty coins representing Balaam's greed. Stir the concoction and then set in the sun to "bake." Lastly, dig a hole and crush the mud pie into the hole and bury it representing Korah's destruction.

Further Reading

Genesis 4

Numbers 22

Numbers 16

Unity of the Spirit


Did you enjoy this devotional? Check out the rest of Crosswalk.com - The Devotional:
Click Here

Monday, April 14, 2008

Payin' Taxes... Gone Fishin'
by Fred Alberti, Crosswalk.com Manager of Communities

After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

This is another of my all-time favorite stories. Jesus and his disciples are newly arrived in town and right away Peter is asked by the tax collectors, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

Not wanting any trouble, Peter responds, "Yes, he does."

I imagine Peter made a bee-line for Jesus thinking along the way, "Crud, I need to find out how Jesus intends to pay the temple tax."

Perhaps you are of the sort that has put off your yearly tax to Uncle Sam and are now scrambling to get things done. Don't you wish it was as easy for you as it was for Peter?

What was Jesus' solution?

"…go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours." (Matthew 17:27)

"Peter, I want you to go fishing."

Are you sometimes approached by circumstances that seem impossible to resolve?

Peter may have been concerned over how he was going to pay his own tax. In either case he knew where he had to go - the Master to get the answer.

Peter's solution required him to work in obedience to Christ's instructions. He couldn't just sit there and expect the solution to fall into his lap. Rather, he had to go out there and start throwing the line.

Don't expect the solution to your problem to just fall out of the air. Look for the uncommon solution and expect there to be some work. The solution that the world would say is impossible just may be the solution that Jesus had planned all along.

Listen for the Lord's leading… he may be instructing you to do some of your own fishing.

Intersecting Faith & Life: After paying your taxes go fishing. While waiting for a bite consider all the ways that the Lord has provided for your needs.

Further Reading

The Christian Tax-Payer

Tax Poem

Duty Calls

Did you enjoy this devotional? Check out the rest of Crosswalk.com - The Devotional: Click Here

Friday, April 4, 2008

Level the Trail

Level the Trail
by Fred Alberti, Crosswalk.com Manager of Communities

"Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless…

My kids and I have been developing a nature path in the back woods of our property. I just love to take them back there and enjoy the sounds and smell of nature.

In the back woods trail there is an area that has holes in the ground that are mostly filled with leaves. This can be a rather treacherous area for ankles and we call it the booby trap zone. One of these days I'll have them help me bring back some buckets filled with dirt to fill in these hazardous little traps.

Today's passage brought this little area to mind. What does it mean to "make level paths for your feet?"

I think the verse is intertwined with the one that follows, "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy."

I think as we journey down our trail of faith there are people with whom we will come into contact. Good or bad, lengthy or brief, our journey with them will leave a mark on their lives. Will they experience healing from their interaction with us or will we sow bitterness? Our charge is to, as much as it depends on us, bring peace to them through our holy living and to make sure they are exposed to the opportunity of experiencing God's grace and salvation.

How level is your path?

Are you leaving pitfalls of bitterness, sexual immorality and activities that promote godlessness?

Start making your path level today.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Take a prayer walk in a park or on a local nature trail. Pray that God will help you to be an agent of peace to someone you have recently had a conflict with.

Further Reading

Mark 9:50

Prayer for Peace


Did you enjoy this devotional? Check out the rest of Crosswalk.com - The Devotional: Click Here