Daniel Fast Day 21

You Can’t Sit This One Out

We have a saying when we don’t want to participate in something or go to a certain event. We’ll say something like, “I think I’ll sit this one out.” We do that for a variety of reasons. Maybe we are tired or we don’t feel like doing it. Maybe we actually don’t like to do it, and therefore, don’t want to do it. Maybe we feel what is being asked is ridiculous, so we don’t engage. Or maybe it could be that we see no value in it or perhaps we’ve done it so many times that we’ve simply had enough. There is nothing wrong with that, however, that approach to God’s kingdom and God’s Word will not suffice. God requires full participation and He expects all of us to be all in, all the time. There is no such thing as a part-time Christian. We cannot take unsaved leave.

Paul writes: Colossians 4:16-17(NLT) “After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them.  And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”

The church in Laodicea received the same instruction as the church in Colossae. Paul instructed the Colossians to pass the message on because the Word applies to all. We see this charge from Paul to Archippus, who likely is part of the church in Laodicea, to carry out the ministry the Lord gave him. “All hands on deck” or, no one resting below deck. It doesn’t matter how great things have been and how much we have done or even accomplished, there’s more to reach for. No one should be resting on their laurels. Yet we find in Revelation that they are not living up to what is required. Revelation 3:14-20 (TLB) “Write this letter to the leader of the church in Laodicea: “This message is from the one who stands firm, the faithful and true Witness of all that is or was or evermore shall be, the primeval source of God’s creation: “I know you well—you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other!  But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!  “You say, ‘I am rich, with everything I want; I don't need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.  “My advice to you is to buy pure gold from me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight.  I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God. “Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me.”

Hot water has benefits (like the hot springs of Hierapolis), cold water is refreshing (like the pure water in Colossae), but lukewarm water (Laodicea) is only good to be spit out. We cannot wear our “new clothes” only when we attend church or hang out with church people. Just because we think we are good, does not mean Jesus thinks the same. Don’t ever equate financial blessings with God’s approval. The Pharisees did that and we know they were “white painted sepulchers… full of dead man’s bones”, Jesus’ words, not mine. Don’t be blind to your own indifference, don’t be deaf to the knocking of Jesus at your door. Let Him in! I promise you, you will never, ever regret it. Will it change you? Absolutely! Will it affect your everyday life? Without a doubt! Will it challenge you beyond your capacity? Will it wreck your selfishness, hopefully beyond repair? Will you have to evaluate everything? Unequivocally, YES! 

Maybe you think it sounds hard. Hard compared to what? Compared to imprisonment? Being boiled in oil? Beheaded? Fed to wild animals in an arena? Being torn apart? Lit on fire as human torches? Hebrews 11:35b-38(NLT) “But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection.  Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons.  Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated.  They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.” Now that is hard! Having to show up on time for service, not hard. Meeting in a nice building, not hard. Giving some time to serve in a ministry, not hard. Being part of a small group, not hard. Giving my time, talent, and treasure, not hard. Doing a Daniel fast, not hard. Reading this devotional? You tell me… 

One day at the marriage supper of the Lamb, we will be sitting next to these saints that have endured such incredible hostilities. Many who have been martyred for the sake of Christ. Remember every time you open your Bible, you are reading the words of martyrs. Paul, the man who wrote this letter that we have been going through in our devotionals, was beheaded. Most of the verses we claim for our blessings were birthed in pain by the disciples. They paid the ultimate price. Today in different parts of our world, many followers of Christ are paying with their lives simply because they believe in Jesus. We, on the other hand, have panic attacks when things don’t go our way. We hide behind busy schedules and lame excuses not to participate in community or serve in some capacity. We find the smallest things to be offended over, yet we profess maturity in Christ. We’ll claim lack of Biblical evidence for tithing or say it’s an Old Testament practice to validate a lack of generosity, all the while conveniently forgetting that Jesus requires it all. When we go through difficulties, we think God has abandoned us. Look at the last words Paul writes to the Colossians. Colossians 4:18(NLT) “HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL. Remember my chains. May God’s grace be with you.”

Remember my chains. Remember the suffering of others. Remember the price that was paid to purchase your freedom. Stop thinking “me” and start thinking “us”. Stop seeing yourself as separate from the body and start seeing yourself as a vital part of the body. We are all called, we are all sanctified, we are all commissioned and all of us have the mandate to make disciples. We are all commanded to love one another. You are not a spectator in God’s kingdom; the only spectators are the great cloud of witnesses that have finished their race. We are all still running, we are all still fighting. Let’s live our lives for the Audience of One! 1 Thessalonians 2:11-13(NLT) “And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children.  We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.  Therefore, we never stop thanking God that when you received his message from us, you didn’t think of our words as mere human ideas. You accepted what we said as the very word of God—which, of course, it is. And this word continues to work in you who believe.”

So, I plead with you, don’t sit this one out. You cannot sit this one out. You should not sit this one out. As a father would entreat his children, I plead with you, I encourage you, I urge you to live your life for the glory of God and the benefit of His kingdom. It will be worth it. Cast your fears aside and embrace your brand new identity. Come boldly into His presence and put on your royal clothes. You are royalty, you are the King’s kid and He has given you gifts to use and distribute. Don’t be intimidated by the threats of this world, Jesus already whipped them. They just haven’t realized it yet.

It’s time to grow some tough rhinoceros skin and keep a tender heart. Love sincerely. Serve faithfully. Give cheerfully. Forgive freely. Work diligently. Grow deeply. Learn willingly. Trust unwaveringly. Worship joyfully. Pray unendingly. Commit completely. It’s time to bet the farm. It’s time to go all in. Put all your chips on the table. The Master is holding the winning hand and you cannot lose. You will only lose if you do not plant the seeds necessary for a fruitful harvest. ARE YOU IN?

1 Peter 4:7-10(HCSB) “Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer.  Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.  Be hospitable to one another without complaining.  Based on the gift each one has received, use it to serve others, as good managers of the varied grace of God.” 

Prayer and Reflection:
  • Why do people become complacent? What lies do they believe for not going all in on the things of God?
  • What is holding you back from going all in? Answer sincerely; you might need to think long and deep.
  • How would you define being lukewarm? We are very good at convincing ourselves that we are doing great, yet Jesus says the complete opposite. How is it possible to feel so good about ourselves, like the church in Laodicea, yet Jesus says we are not what we think we are? In what ways are you lying to yourself? 
  • What are you afraid of losing or giving up for the sake of the Lord’s kingdom? What has it cost you to serve Jesus? 
  • What would the church look like if all who say they believe start living all in? Would you encourage others to be all in by praying for them and showing them by example?
  • Jesus was all in to save you, will you be all in for Him? 

Thank You Father that You love us completely, You love us unreservedly and You love us perfectly. Jesus, You are all in for us. So much so, that You stripped Yourself of all Your divine privilege and came in our likeness, and came as a servant. You humbled Yourself to the point of death on the cross. We are forever grateful and thankful. So I say, I am all in! Help all of Your saints to be all in, all the time, in every way!

Now to You Lord, the One who can keep us upright and plant us firmly in Your presence—clean, unmarked, and joyful in the light of Your glory— to the one and only God, our Savior, through Jesus the Anointed our Lord, be glory and greatness and might and authority; just as it has been since before You created time, may it continue now and into eternity. Amen. Jude 1:24-25 (VOICE)

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