West End Assembly of God
Saturday, May 30, 2015
Daily Devotional Guide
DAILY DEVOTIONS – May 25 through May 30, 2015
From the writing of General Superintendent, Dr. George Wood, in the Assemblies of God Ministers Letter (April 2015) describing “What Jesus Wants in His Church.”
MONDAY, May 25 - Revelation 2:1-7 (Focus verse 4)
Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
Jesus wants us to be doctrinally sound and spiritually passionate.
“The Ephesian church had a great history with pastors like Paul, John, and Timothy. Jesus commended them in six areas: Hard work; perseverance (mentioned twice); lack of toleration for wicked men; testing of false apostles; endured hardship; had not grown weary. The believers at Ephesus combined doctrinal orthodoxy with hard work. But they had one failing. They had not wed passion for Jesus to their orthodoxy. Their first love for Jesus and others had been forsaken. Fighting false doctrine and false preachers can diminish your power to love Jesus and people. We live in an era of the 24-hour news cycle, of attack electronic and print journalism. Some of this spirit has invaded the church as well, and we can see it in the social media posts and Internet blogs in which believers attack one another in the spirit of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The Ephesian church had vigorously defended doctrinal purity, but in doing so had lost their passion for Jesus. Can we keep these two things together: purity and passion? Jesus seeks a church that is in love with Him.”
TUESDAY, May 26 – Revelation 2:8-11 (Focus verse 10b)
Be faithful, even to the point of death and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.
Jesus wants us to remain true despite severe trial from the world.
“The Smyrna church had no ‘inside’ problems. But, it was under ferocious assault from the world. We are certainly seeing that replicated all over the world today with the martyrdom of Christians, the displacement of historic Christian communities, the virile hatred of major religions against Christians, coupled with the scorn and disdain against Christians from the secular world. Persecution doesn’t start with acts of murder or ethnic cleansing, of course. It starts with caricatures, marginalization, and discrimination. It seeks first to dehumanize other people, for once a group is regarded as less than fully human, then it becomes acceptable to shunt them aside, to disregard them, and to treat them badly. Will we remain true to Jesus in the face of external pressure? Within 15 years after Revelation was written, Ignatius passed through Smyrna on his way to martyrdom in Rome. Four decades after the death of Ignatius, Polycarp, bishop at Smyrna, was burned at the stake…no wonder Jesus honestly disclosed, ‘Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer’…in eternity they would be vindicated.” Will you remain faithful?
WEDNESDAY, May 27 – Revelation 2:12-17 (Focus verse 13)
I know where you live...
Jesus does not want us to compromise our witness.
“Pergamum served as a center for the major pagan cults of the day. The presence of the demonic was real and palpable. But Jesus identifies himself as the One with the real power. He says to the church, ‘I know where you live’. The saints at Pergamum were not visitors or passersby. They dwelled there. Day by day, they made their living and their life in a place not conducive to their spiritual well being. Many believers, even today, because of circumstances live in a hell on earth. But the unique paradox of the Pergamum church is that it had held up against the outward pressure…but it tolerated a minority within its midst who held ‘to the teaching of Balaam.’ This minority wanted all the benefits of grace without the cost of discipleship. They wanted to stay in the church and hold on to a lifestyle contrary to God’s Word.” Let us live in a way that pleases the Lord.
THURSDAY, May 28 – Revelation 2:18-29 (Focus verse 19)
I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Jesus wants us to have a present that is greater than our past.
“Thyatira was not an easy place in which to live and work. The social structure of the town centered on the guilds—woolworkers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leatherworkers, tanners, potters, bakers...If you did not belong to a guild, you didn’t have a decent job. But, guild meetings began with recognition of Caesar as lord; and meals and banquets began with a sacrifice to the gods. The main body of believers abstained from such events, but evidently some within the church compromised. Jesus corrects the majority for tolerating the conduct of this minority whom He labels as Jezebel. But, in correcting them for tolerating Jezebel, the Lord did not overlook their progress. This is a good example for us. There will always be things in the church that need to be corrected but that should not keep us from acknowledging the good things that the Lord is doing among us...” Are we perfect? By no means! Is God using us to advance the gospel? Yes, by all means. God promised Thyatira that He would make them into a great missionary church. Missions is in our DNA. May we be known as a church “doing more than we did at first.”
FRIDAY, May 29 – Revelation 3:1-6 (Focus verse 1b)
I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Jesus wants us to have performance consistent with our profession.
“Sardis had a great external reputation, but it was unhealthy on the inside. They had only a few who had not spiritually soiled themselves. (They had) outward forms, ceremonies, organization, but death reigned. The church can operate for some time without the Spirit…but when the Spirit is no longer treasured, when the church becomes satisfied with itself, death reigns. The Sardis church was Pentecostal in name only. Its deeds did not match its splendid reputation. Buildings, budgets, numbers, and noise don’t tell the real story. Jesus is looking for a church rich in prayer, rich in love, rich in good deeds, rich in the Word, rich in the power of the Spirit.”
SATURDAY, May 30 – Revelation 3:7-13 (Focus verse 8b)
See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.
Jesus wants us to respond to opportunity.
“The city of Philadelphia had been founded to spread Greek language and culture to the regions of Phrygia and Lydia. That attempt had been so successful that in 100 years Greek had replaced the mother tongue of Lydia.” This church is told it had an opportunity—despite its own struggles—to spread the gospel. “It’s fascinating that the church that Jesus described as having ‘little strength’ is the church that is told it has an open door of opportunity. The danger of a ‘little strength’ church is that it will feel itself insignificant. But every person, every place, every church is important to God and vital to the Kingdom.”