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Friday, July 18, 2014

Loyalty Rewards

"The idea is not that we do work for God, 
but that we are so loyal to Him that He can do His work through us" – Oswald Chambers

Hot air balloons rely entirely on the heated air to fill them - Hudson River, July 6, 2014
When I made my reservation a month ago with an airline I had not flown in many years, I knew I had a loyalty membership number, but didn't know where and didn't want to take the time to find it. During a layover for my return flight, however, I received an email with the membership number and found my way, both to a cafe for some coffee, and through the forgotten username and password maze into my account to register my ticket. Obviously, earning loyalty points was not my first consideration and I had not been a particularly loyal consumer, but I graciously received the blessing, nonetheless.

My departing flight was delayed, so I sat sipping the rest of my coffee and opened a pocket devotional to the day’s message. Once again, I was awed at the way The Lord assures us of His presence and His guidance. The author's topic was introduced with an exposition on airline loyalty rewards.  He proceeded to relate the story of Paul's first-century travels, motivated by his loyalty to Christ. But, it was not the message the author intended to convey that impressed me; it was what the Spirit of God was revealing to me that was so meaningful. 

Undoubtedly Paul listened to and followed the leading of the Holy Spirit, as we endeavor to do. But in so doing, what was proven was not his own loyalty, but the loyalty of God Himself: faithful to bless, faithful to fulfill His promise, and faithful to show His power through Paul. Paul showed no false humility when he professed to being the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). He simply acknowledged the truth he recognized and yielded himself along with his faults to the leading of an almighty, merciful God. Paul didn't plan His itinerary to be in a certain place at a certain time, to speak to a certain people in practiced prose, and he didn’t rely on all of his studies to convey his message. In fact, he stated, “My message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 2:4). 

The Spirit of The Lord instructed him and led him, and on at least one occasion told him not to speak (Acts 16:6). The other disciples had been told not to worry about what they would say, even when they were arrested (Matthew 10:19, Luke 12:11, Mark 13:11). Depending on the promise of God's loyalty to his followers was all they needed.

What God wants from us is not our loyal performance of perfectly ordered lives, or even pledges of loyal service. He simply wants to display His loyalty through our earth-worn vessels, so that we continue to be overflowing with His love, joy, peace and power. He wants others to see His loyalty and goodness, not ours. 

Psalm 145:13
The Lord will keep all his promises [is faithful/true in all his words]; he is loyal to all he has made (Expanded Bible).

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in a fragile vase of clay, in order that the surpassing greatness of the power may be seen to belong to God, and not to originate in us (Weymouth Translation)

Acts 17:24
The God who made the universe and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. He doesn't live in shrines made by humans (God’s Word Translation).

2 Timothy 2:13
If we do not believe in him, he still is true, because he cannot say he is not what he is
(Worldwide English New Testament).

Excerpt from:    
While it is Called Today - 
a 30-day photo devotional for living well   
 by Dee Marvin Emeigh

(c) 2014 Dee Marvin Emeigh
all rights reserved

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