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‘For the kingdom of Heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.’ (Matthew 25:14-19)
Consider these definitions of shy: ‘Easily frightened away, timid; distrustful; wary; deficient’ (Random House Dictionary). Applied to the Parable of the Talents, it might read like this:
Once upon a time, a wealthy lord planned a long trip. Before he left, he entrusted three servants with his wealth—expecting them to handle it wisely. When the lord returned, he looked upon his estate. Two of the servants doubled their lord’s talents, and he commended each one:
‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord’ (v.21,23).
But the third servant was shy (timid). Instead of investing his lord’s talents in the world to multiply them, he was shy (frightened) about losing them. He was shy (distrustful, wary) of strangers, and preferred to stay comfortably at home. So he buried his lord’s talent in the backyard. Therefore, when the lord returned, this servant was shy (deficient) of a return on his lord’s investment.
The lord’s words? ‘You wicked and lazy servant… Take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents’ (v.26,28). The shy servant’s outcome? ‘Cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’ (v.30).
In Matthew 25, The Parable of the Talents is the final story told by our Lord before His crucifixion and subsequent departure from earth. In Body (as opposed to Spirit), He’s on a long trip. But He’s returning soon. In the mean time, His servants have been entrusted with His property. We are those servants.
Is today’s talent industry the world’s big bank of investment? Does it offer the greatest return? Surely in this mission field called media, we have been given an unprecedented opportunity to multiply His talents.
Actors, models and talent for Christ, make no mistake about it. The talents you hold are not yours, but His—and with them, you are not shy. Because fear has no place within you. Neither does timidity, distrust or deficiency. Shyness has no vote in the decisions you make. Because if you allow it to influence your present, it can ruin your future.
To Be Continued….
This devotion is #3 in a series called “Deny Shy” intended for actors, models and talent for Christ. To subscribe to AMTC Daily Devotions, please see the link on our home page.
‘Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand’ (Ephesians 6:13).
‘I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in Heaven’ (Matthew 16:18-19).
If Jesus already won the war against Satan, why do we still have to fight?
Maybe because God ‘Desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Timothy 2:4). Maybe because if Jesus came back right now to claim the land He owns, millions would die who might have been saved.
Maybe because God is waiting on actors, models and talent for Christ to stand up as His concluding witnesses in Earth’s trial—before His final verdict is issued. Whoa! That’s a heavy message and a major role. Could it be true?
Consider the evidence mentioned by Jesus in His pre-trial summaries. Much of it has already been presented in Earth’s courtroom:* 1) Wars and rumors of wars rage like never before—by means of ceaseless media coverage; 2) False prophets reap false profits in grand stand shows worldwide. 3) Famines and earthquakes grow in intensity. (See the articles below for an evidentiary list.* Better yet, re-read Bible prophesies.)
Perhaps the most significant evidence presented to date in Earth’s concluding trial is the reassembly of Israel as a nation in 1948. This unprecedented miracle was foretold by God. But it followed two thousand years of enemy occupation, while the children of Israel fled to live across the globe.
The likelihood of God’s prophesy being fulfilled seemed a physical impossibility. Since then, the survival and prosperity of this small nation is a continuing miracle. Because the countries surrounding it are larger, more populous, more powerful and have vowed its utter destruction.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: know your role in this dramatic trial. You are His final witnesses by means of a communication technology only recently developed by the enemy—but now used by God for His purposes. As an army, you are the communication task force: His advance guard sent out to spread the Truth to a bewildered population. If you don’t do your job, millions might perish.
Yes, Jesus won the war. But the enemy still occupies the land: an enemy who threatens and roars, deafening the ears and blinding the eyes of those who are vulnerable to his tactics—tactics that include charm, fear, manipulation and intimidation.
But you aren’t vulnerable. You are strong in the Lord. You are protected, and you must walk forward like Daniel into the lion’s den of entertainment. Because for this purpose you were made. And for this moment in time, our Lord has leashed the lions. You will not be harmed that many might be saved.
To Be Continued…
‘And it happened when He was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, ‘Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.’
Then He put out His Hand and touched him, saying, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ Immediately the leprosy left him’ (Luke 5:12-13).
Unforgiveness is a demon that ruins our lives like leprosy. In the Bible, its victims were isolated and forced to call themselves, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ (Leviticus 13:45). Physically, leprosy is caused by a germ or bacteria called mycobacterium leprae.
‘The bacteria attack nerve endings and destroy the body’s ability to feel pain and injury. Without feeling pain, people injure themselves and the injuries can become infected, resulting in tissue loss. Fingers and toes become shortened and deformed as the cartilage is absorbed into the body… 115 countries reported cases of leprosy in 2012. Three to four million people have disabilities as a result of leprosy’ (American Leprosy Missions).*
‘A world without pain? Can such a place exist? It not only can—it does. But it’s no utopia. It’s a colony for leprosy patients: a world where people literally feel no pain, and reap horrifying consequences’ (The Gift of Pain).**
Consider heart leprosy. In the Bible, God calls its victims, ‘Impudent and hard-hearted’ (Ezekiel 3:7). They become unfeeling: ‘Being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart’ (Ephesians 4:18).
‘Lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them’ (John 12:40). Heal them? Yes! Internally and externally. Mentally healthy minds and physically healthy bodies come from spiritually healthy hearts. Therefore, the condition of your heart is of primary importance to God.
Leprosy of the heart is caused by unforgiveness, which is caused by anger, which is caused by pride: the sin of Satan, who grew to consider himself equal with God.
Being equal with God would mean that he (and we) believe we know what is best: we are qualified to determine both crime and punishment. Because when we refuse to forgive anyone for anything, we make ourselves equal to God—or even superior to Him.
Because He commands us to the opposite behavior. Because He put His Money where His Mouth was: by Jesus, He forgave us.
Therein, harboring unforgiveness causes leprosy of the heart, and we who live with this evil spirit are indeed ‘Unclean! Unclean!’
The Gift of Pain is a critically acclaimed book by Dr. Paul Brand (renowned surgeon working with leprosy patients) and Philip Yancey (award-winning writer)
This devotion is #1 in a series called “Unforgiveness” intended for actors, models and talent for Christ. To subscribe to AMTC Daily Devotions, please see the link on our home page.
‘Then Samson called to the Lord, saying, ‘O Lord God, remember me, I pray! Strengthen me, I pray, just this once, O God, that I may with one blow take vengeance on the Philistines for my two eyes!’ And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them, one on his right and the other on his left. Then Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life.’
‘And his brothers and all his father’s household came down and took him, and brought him up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of his father Manoah. He had judged Israel twenty years’ (Judges 16:28-31).
Samson, our flawed hero, had a flawless finish. He brought down 3000 Philistines during a great celebration honoring Dagon, their god. ‘Our god has delivered into our hands Samson our enemy! (v.23). ‘So it happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, ‘Call for Samson, that he may perform for us’ ‘ (v.25).
Since his capture by the lips of Delilah, the blinded leader of Israel became their chief amusement. Like Jesus, Samson was betrayed, scarred and scorned. Like Jesus, Samson surrendered his life willingly—so that his brethren might be free.
‘Then his brethren and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him—This awful catastrophe seems to have so completely paralyzed the Philistines, that they neither attempted to prevent the removal of Samson’s corpse, nor to molest the Israelites for a long time after’ (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary).
God confirms Samson’s flawless finish in Hebrews Chapter 11, now called the ‘Faith Hall of Fame.’ * Because God never stopped loving Samson, especially during his torture and confinement. God’s plans for His flawed hero were heroic to the end.
Did it have to happen this way? Only God knows. But we know Samson needed to return to his First Love. We know Samson received multiple opportunities to get it right. So God gave him the opportunity to get it wrong. Therein, Samson was perfected through suffering.
Yes, his finish was flawless.
‘And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again’ (Hebrews 11:32-35).
This devotion is #5 in a series called “Star Struggles: Samson & Delilah” intended for actors, models and talent for Christ. To subscribe to AMTC Daily Devotions, please see the link on our home page.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions (Psalm 51:1).
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace (James 3:17).
Consider two popular billboards: 1) ‘God prefers kind atheists over hateful Christians;’ 2) ‘I’ve got nothing against God. It’s His fan club I can’t stand.’ Consider a quote from Ghandi: ‘I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike Christ.’
Hateful or judgmental Christians present a contradiction in terms. Because you can’t be full of hate or judgment—and be full of Christ at the same time. ‘If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar’ (1 John 4:20). Even more, ‘Mercy triumphs over judgment’ (James 2:13).
Personally speaking, I was deterred from Christ by hateful Christians—until a merciful God revealed Himself directly to me. But aren’t we supposed to be His middle men, a.k.a. His Body?
So what is mercy and how does it pertain to us as the Body of Christ? Mercy is ‘compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender.’ It is ‘an act of kindness, compassion or favor’ (Random House Dictionary).
Mercy is an act of love when it’s hard to give it—when it’s unusual or inconvenient. Like helping a stranger, an enemy or an obvious sinner. Mercy is giving love to someone who doesn’t seem to deserve it. Like the adulteress facing her accusers.*
Mercy is a calling card for Christ. Every time you hand it out, you make the best possible connection and truly represent the God of mercy.
What if people don’t appreciate your mercy? Most people will. Mercy is a life-saver. But even if they don’t, God does. After all, His opinion of us is the only One that counts.
How does mercy relate to media? Don’t hate the sinners. Don’t judge them. Because Jesus didn’t. His only harsh words were directed to the rule-driven ‘religious’ people of His day. Instead, give them mercy.
Because God promotes people like His Son, people of mercy. Therein mercy is a success strategy.
This devotion is #23 in a series called “Success Strategies” intended for actors, models and talent for Christ. To subscribe to AMTC Daily Devotions, please see the link on our home page.
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