Whose confidence is fragile, And whose trust a spider’s web.
The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings’ palaces.
They hatch adders’ eggs and weave the spider’s web; He who eats of their eggs dies, And from that which is crushed a snake breaks forth.
“He has built his house like the spider’s web, Or as a hut which the watchman has made.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like Fall. The cool breezes of autumn cause us to reach for our favorite sweater, as we step outdoors to take a brisk walk in the crisp, clean air. The smell of burning leaves always reminds me of my childhood, with thoughts of flickering fireplaces and large mugs of hot chocolate, topped with a big ole melting marshmallow.
Another not so fond memory of autumns past, was one of me riding along on my bicycle, minding my own business, when suddenly I would find myself plowing head-long, face-first, into the middle of a large sticky spider web! Oh, how I hated that! With arms flailing and lips sputtering, I would attempt to peel off the remnants of what used to be Madame Spider’s abode as she would have no other choice but to now come along for the ride, and I just knew that her little eight-legged self was creeping along somewhere in the vicinity of my shoulders.
For some unknown reason, I have found myself very intrigued (again) with spider webs. I happened to spot one the other morning as I was heading out for my usual morning bike ride with my favorite Labrador companion, Champ. It was still dark and the moon was shining at just the right angle where I could see the reflection of the silk woven web. I was amazed at how perfectly concentric its design was.
A few seconds later, I was stunned, as I witnessed a very large fluttering butterfly come out of nowhere and rapidly plunge head-long into the center of its web. The poor butterfly frantically began to struggle only to find itself being wrapped tighter with each panicky movement. I instinctively lowered my bike and walked over and with both hands, reached in, and as gently as I could, cupped my palms around her and slowly pulled her out. I released her into the moonlight and watched as she hastily flew away.
Immediately, I thought of God’s own hands and how they had lovingly reached down into my own web of impending death. I recalled those web-like sticky fibers of sin that had wrapped themselves around my mind and heart so tightly, just waiting for me to die a slow death. I desperately tried to free myself from the bondage of sin, but could not. He came along at just the right moment and cupped his palms around me and set me free.
Today, I am that butterfly and I now soar in my new-found freedom, knowing full well just what I have been rescued from. I rejoice in the liberty that He has given me by way of my salvation. The very same palms that were nailed to a cruel cross, one day lovingly reached down into my own web of sin and forever set me free.
Will you allow Him to do the same for you? He understands how we so readily fall prey to the enemy of our soul, and He longs to release us from the entanglement of sin. Stop trying to release yourself, and let Him reach down and set you free.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery (Galations 5:1).
Always on Duty
From: Our Daily Journey
Julie Stroyne, a trauma nurse, had just gotten married and immediately after the reception was walking with her wedding party in downtown Pittsburgh. Suddenly she spotted an unconscious woman on a bench. Still in her wedding dress, Stroyne kicked off her shoes and jumped into action in an effort to save the woman’s life. It didn’t matter that she was celebrating her wedding. As a nurse, she was ready to serve.
The apostle Paul says that all believers in Jesus should be ready as well. He wanted those who have received salvation to know that “whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
Yes, we have a special responsibility to other believers (Galatians 6:2). Doing good to those who are in the family of God demonstrates His faithfulness to His people. Like a loving home, family members’ needs are to be met first—followed by friends and neighbors.
Members of the Galatian church to whom Paul wrote didn’t receive help from local civic leaders. The only source of aid for struggling believers was the generosity of other believers. So as the individual Galatian believers had opportunity to do good, they were to do so to everyone. Paul reminded them that no matter the disruptive circumstances, the constant inconveniences, or changing locations, they were always on duty, and shouldn’t “give up” helping others (Galatians 6:9).
Like medical professionals, followers of Jesus are always on duty. Therefore, the time for doing good is anytime. God is always orchestrating fresh opportunities for us to assist those who are in need. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes so we can see where and to whom He wants us to do good today.
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Recently, I read a disturbing quote from a pastor of a large church in California. He said, “I used to believe that we should ask Muslims to accept Christ as their Savior. But I don’t believe that any more. I’ve sensed the presence of God with Muslims, and I’ve come to believe that it’s wrong to try to talk them into becoming Christians.”
I don’t know why he changed his mind, but caving in on what Jesus has clearly said, is a betrayal of Jesus Himself. Jesus came to make a way to God by removing the one barrier that blocks everyone’s path to God—the barrier of sin. This meant that He had to die in our place to pay the price of sin. Without His sacrifice, there is no other way. Let’s face it; if there were other ways to God, then He didn’t need to die. It’s ludicrous to believe that His Father would send Him through the agony of the cross if it were only another religious option. To deny that He is the way is to deny Jesus.
But let’s get personal about this. While it’s easy to “be out” on a West Coast pastor who has bailed on the message of Jesus, we ourselves find it hard to tell people at the water cooler that we believe He is the only way. There are probably a lot of reasons why we tend to fudge on the issue: keeping culturally respectable, not appearing to be to the right of Attila the Hun, or just not wanting to seem intolerant or bigoted all stack up as pretty good reasons to duck when the subject is raised.
But at some point, we have to make up our mind about whether any of these pressures are worth betraying Jesus for.
Judas did it for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 27:1-5). And, to be candid about it, he had some pretty good reasons to bail. If he had stuck it out with the unpopular Jesus, he would suffer (as Jesus had told His disciples), be thrown out of synagogues, and perhaps even die for the cause. On the other hand, betraying Christ would bring him acceptance from the “powers that be,” safety, and security by aligning himself with the big guys—and some extra cash besides. Being like Judas is always an option. But let’s remember that he was no hero. When was the last time you heard of parents naming their newborn son Judas?
All I’m trying to say is that sticking up for Jesus against heavy odds is always tough. But it’s always right. Perhaps we have misunderstood the nature of being a follower of Jesus: We are to take up our cross and follow Him. Paying a price for Him comes into clear perspective when we remember the phenomenal price He paid for us.
I’m not asking you to be obnoxious about it, just humbly clear. And by the way, is there anything compelling about your life that would back up the words that Jesus is the way? Are you wonderfully different because Jesus is the way? Do people at the water cooler know that you are trustworthy, forgiving, fair and honest, joyful, and quick to speak a good word about others?
It’s always easier to speak up for Jesus when we have already shown up for Jesus.