October 6 – Matthew 16:24

There’s a scene in Fight Club in which Brad Pitt’s character explains to Edward Norton’s that if he wants to be free, he has to give up the things he holds most dear. “First you have to give up,” he says. “You have to know—not fear, know—that someday, you’re gonna die.” To drive his point home, he burns Norton’s hand with lye, to show him the weakness of his body. Pitt might be crazy, but he’s also right. This is the first step to freedom—to know that the road of the cross leads to Calvary. He goes on: “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” We resist. “Lose everything? Deny myself?” we protest. “But that’ll mean weakness … and death. That’ll be the end of me!” The somethings we hold on to, the things we imagine are keeping us alive, are the very things that are killing us. The things we own end up owning us. Ed Norton puts our greatest fear into words: “You don’t know how this feels!” We cry so to God, “You rip my desires, my hopes, my dreams—my life!—away from me. You don’t know how this feels!” Brad Pitt holds up his hand, with an identical lye burn scar, proving to the faithless that he’s been here before. Like Thomas, converted by the wounds of the risen Christ, Norton is converted by Brad Pitt’s wounds. He has passed this test. He has carried this cross. Jesus Christ has borne His cross so that death can be not just an end for the old us, but a beginning for the new us. Christ died so that we might live. He died, and we died with Him (Gal. 2:20), so that now we can be free. We have to know, not suspect, the reality of the cross. It is only then that we can really be free. The good news is, in those moments when you feel as if God is killing you, He is. But He’s killing you to make you alive. Behold, says Jesus, the old has passed away. The new has come.

Tchividjian, Tullian; Lannon, Nick. It Is Finished: 365 Days of Good News


More devotions are on the way! ~ 6-17

More Devotions are on the way! Sorry for any inconvenience!
Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


Why He is closer than a brother to you ~ 6-16

Insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops. — Cary Grant

On a hill deep in the dusty Jordan country, Jesus taught the most famous of all sermons: The Sermon on the Mount. Powerful words, stunning words… words that defied conventional wisdom. Two of these words are as life-changing as any words ever spoken:

Our Father… (Matthew 6:9)

Jesus was showing us a way to pray. For thousands of years since, this “Our Father…” salutation has been, perhaps, the most common (and, unfortunately, probably the most brainlessly repeated) prayer introduction ever. Let’s fix that.

“Our.” Jesus’ prayer started with the plural-possessive pronoun. That means that whatever is to follow is something that is shared by us. In this case, that “something” is amazingly important: “Father.”

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)

“Abba” is Aramaic for “Daddy.” It’s the word little kids used in Jesus’ neighborhood. And this is the name that Jesus used to call on the heavenly Father. He got in a lot of trouble with the religious leaders for it. It was so informal, familiar, so un-religious… and it’s the word, “Daddy,” that we’re encouraged to use too, when we pray, when we talk with Him.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


No favorites, ALL favorites ~ 6-15

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish it to be. — Thomas Kempis

About the only time I complain about “favoritism” is when I’m not the favored one. In the world, it’s all about favorites, actually. We reward those who behave as we wish, act as we wish, look as we wish. That’s the way it works in the flesh, but God has a different standard in His family:

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

Knowing who you are as an individual in Christ can transform your individual life. In the same way, a corporate understanding of who we all are in Christ can transform the Church. God’s truth trumps temporary social distinctions every time. Earthly ethnicity, gender, or social standing does not define us in God’s eyes. If we are in Christ, we are brothers and sisters. The Church of Jesus Christ is the one place where ethnicity, gender, and social standing should not matter.

Is it possible that we must learn to walk in the Spirit as a family just as we must learn to walk this way as individuals?

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


How you can live differently ~ 6-14

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them. — Desmond Tutu

I know a missionary family in India that perfectly displays the family of God. It’s not because they’re perfect, because they aren’t! But they’ve been assembled perfectly, just as God has assembled us.

It all started one day when they came out of their home and found a one-day-old girl lying on their front step—alone, abandoned, dying. They picked her up, bundled her up warmly and held her to their chests. She lived, and they kept her as their own. They began to hear about others who had been thrown out like trash (literally) on the side of the road. One by one these newborn girls have been brought into the missionary’s home. At last count, there are more than twenty of them who are growing in Christ in this beautiful family.

It’s messy and loud, but it’s real. Really real. When the mother was asked what she was going to do with all these girls, she replied “I’m going to give them my name!” And in a sea of nameless orphans, that’s a huge, life-changing gift. With a name, they belong.

This is another picture of what God has done for each of us—and a challenge to live differently in the family of those who are saved.

The Church takes orphans, the Church takes deserted people, the Church takes abandoned people and pulls them in, and God gives them His Name. He gives them a family.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1)

  • Are you willing to allow Jesus to live out this reality through your own life?
  • Do you see yourself as an orphan saved into a new family?
  • Are you willing to be used by Him to expand His family in this way?

Father, by Your love and strength, may it be so. Amen.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


Your role in God’s family ~ 6-13

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. — Erma Bombeck

That kind of sums up the family of God, doesn’t it? “Sharing… hiding… locking each other out… inflicting,” etc. As brothers and sisters in Christ, the same longings and desires drive us toward what we could be; meanwhile, experiencing what we are and aren’t: “A strange little band of characters trudging through life… trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”

The “common thread” is there, however, written clearly in the lines of the Bible. It’s something deeper than the random victories and defeats we experience together, something stronger than the “good times” when we seem to meet each other’s needs as we stand shoulder to shoulder for a common cause:

In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will … In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:4-5, 11-12)

God has a plan for His family; we are that plan. Destined and adopted, we are living in harmony with His pleasure, His will, to His glory.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


Seeing others as God does ~ 6-12

Families are like fudge—mostly sweet with a few nuts. — Author Unknown

Leave it to brothers and sisters to bring on plenty of embarrassment. When our daughter Annika was in middle school, her older brother would yell out of the van shortly after she was dropped off at school, “I love you Annika, and Jesus does, too!” He was trying to embarrass her, and, each morning, it worked.

God’s family is no different—partly because we are all so different, partly because we really pull some swift ones sometimes… legit mess-ups that give plenty of reason to hang our heads and walk away in shame. Yeah, families can be embarrassing, but only if we look at each other from an earthly perspective. When we see ourselves and each other from God’s perspective, it’s totally different.

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 2:10-11)

Jesus calls us brothers and sisters, and never for an instant is He embarrassed by us. Is that an act of God’s grace or what? No doubt about it: Every family has its share of nuts and its share of ghosts. God’s family is no different—and God never hid that fact throughout Scripture. The requirement for belonging has never been our performance. We have been perfected through His suffering; we are holy because of who we are in Him.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


The kiss of the family of God ~ 6-11

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. — Albert Einstein

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’d say a kiss is worth at least ten thousand. But even then, can words do it justice? In his book Your God is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan attempts an objective description of the kiss:

“Two people press their moist, creased, facial orifices together; cinch tight the sphincter muscles that draw the flesh around the orifice together into a bulbous mound, and exchange saliva and breath.”

Hmmm. That doesn’t describe the smooches I exchange with my wife. The fact is, sometimes you have to experience something to understand it. This is true with kisses… and it’s also true with the family of God.

An important element of our identity in Christ is our integration into the family of God, as Paul assumes in Colossians 1:1-2:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

“Brothers and sisters” is translated from the Greek word adelphos (which literally means “a male sibling with at least one parent in common”). In context, it clearly means “God’s holy people”—those of us who have become brothers and sisters in Christ, and as they say, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.” Whether intimate or estranged, unified or conflicted, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, siblings in the family of God.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


Fighting with the flesh ~ 6-10

All generalizations are false, including this one. — Mark Twain

Of the three enemies of faith (Christian philosophy, paralyzing fear, personal flesh), my personal weak spot is the flesh. That’s not a false generalization! Flesh says, “I can take care of this!” Flesh says, “I don’t need God; I can do it myself.” Flesh says, “Independence from God!” Flesh preaches the antithesis of dependence; it promotes the opposite of the faith that pleases God.

I tend to try to do things on my own. My flesh shows up in areas where I think I have some capabilities, and the drive to win unleashes my flesh to run wild in all its demented glory.
Romans 8:8 says: Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

So even when I “win” in the flesh, I lose. But God isn’t asking, What did you win for Me today? He’s asking, Did you trust Me or not?

Did you hear me? If your goal is to please God, and you’re trying to do it in the flesh, you can’t please Him no matter what you accomplish, no matter what you win. You are not going to reach your goal of pleasing God unless you are doing it out of trust in Him and His presence in you. Bill Gillham says Jesus tells it to us this way:

“Your job is to do the very best you can, trust that I’m doing it through you, and leave the results to Me. If it turns out well, praise Me. If it doesn’t, praise Me anyway, and let Me handle any problems that are created as a result. Your job is to concentrate on your method which is ‘dependency!’”

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


The fear foe ~ 6-9

It’s wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears. — Helen Keller

I once was listening to Neal Anderson. He gave a fabulous example of what fear is really all about—the kind of fear that robs us of faith: “In order for fear to happen, there needs to be something that we’re afraid of that is both present and potent.”

Present. It has to be here, now.

Potent. It has to be a strong threat to something important.

Fear causes us to shrink our faith back into philosophy. It’s the primary reason we choose to not trust God:

  • We’re afraid of what God might ask us to do.
  • We’re afraid of actually doing it.
  • We’re afraid of what people might think if we do it.
  • We’re afraid of letting go of the things that we know we’re going to have to let go to do it.
  • We’re just afraid, so we choose not to trust Him fully.

Listen to this: The Omnipotent One, the Omnipresent One, the Omniscient One, The Omni-Everything One says, “What are you afraid of? I’m more potent than anything that’s come in front of you, and I am always present in you and around you. Besides that, I know about everything and I love you more than you can imagine or understand. TRUST IN ME!”

Lord, my heart’s desire as an individual, as a saint, as a child of God is to walk in moment by moment dependence as You live Your life through me. Jesus, enable me to do just that—enable me to trust You. Even faith is a gift from You, Jesus. Please give me that gift too! So I offer myself to You that I might experience Life in who I really am in union with Christ, the Son of God, and the King of Kings. I pray these things in Jesus’ precious name. Amen!

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’