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Prioritizing the eternal over the temporary ~ 5-2

Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us. — Blaise Pascal

Kids and Christmas morning—that’s the temporary world in the extreme. The holiday season now officially starts shortly after Valentine’s Day, followed by months of hype that fuel the hopes and the dreams of children (and retailers) everywhere. When the big day arrives, it’s over in approximately 47.29 seconds.

It’s a rush, to be sure. And who doesn’t like getting nice presents, even as an adult? But don’t you also notice how fast it’s all over and the kids just move to the next thing?

So it goes with everything in the temporary realm. It has a timeline, a beginning and an end. It’s a realm of activity, of processes, and of physical needs. It’s the realm where we see both good and evil. There is birth, growth, and death. With all our senses, we can experience God’s gift of creation in mountain ranges and valleys full of wildflowers. With our hands and our minds we can joyfully receive all the great stuff He has given us in the temporary realm.

But this is actually the danger of the temporary realm: It does have a lot of great stuff. And it’s really easy to love stuff—to love stuff more than the One who made it. It’s like telling God, “I like You, but what I really love is Your stuff—as long as You give it to me.”


What parent yearns for that reaction from their kids? When we lust after the temporary pleasures of this temporary realm, we trade the best for the stuff that’s not even going to last a moment in eternity.

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


Living now with the next world in mind ~ 5-1

If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world. — C.S. Lewis

Believers in Jesus live on two planes of existence simultaneously. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go science fiction on you. (Actually, this is even crazier than sci-fi!) The truth is that we live in Christ… and we also live in Dallas/Phoenix/London, or wherever. We are in Christ spiritually, and yet we are in our physical location—living our lives with work, family, and other commitments.

Yeah, it sounds nuts, but the New Testament is full of this dual reality. Consider Paul’s salutation in Colossians 1:1-2:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae.

Notice the four words at the end of this verse. IN Christ AT Colossae. He is saying that they are in Christ, but that they are also in Colossae. How can someone be in both places? Think about what Paul wrote in another letter, 2 Corinthians 4:18:

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

The words temporary and eternal are key here. The world we live in can be seen; it’s physical and visible, and we interact with it continuously. It’s also temporary. It’s here for a while, but then it will go.

Then there is the invisible world. It is Christ and all that comes with Him. He is our purpose for being, the reason we go about things in the physical world.

We like to compartmentalize and sort things. That’s why label makers and organizing software sell well. But we can’t compartmentalize the eternal and the temporary. The two are interchangeable for believers. We live in both right now! And if we’re paying attention to the eternal, our temporary life will show it.

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


Take regular time to marvel at God’s greatness ~ 4-27

What we do in life echoes in eternity. — Maximus, Gladiator

I often think of the galaxies in outer space as being symbolic of God’s eternal vastness. No doubt, it’s hugeness beyond our comprehension. Light from some of the closest stars takes 2,000 years to reach earth. Beam me up! But that’s just the physical world.

Eternity is infinitely bigger than that! It’s changeless, timeless, and it’s the realm of spirituality and God’s mighty attributes. It’s the realm of ultimate reality of completeness and wholeness, where things are finished and settled. It’s also the realm of right now.

When God called Moses at the burning bush, He told Moses to tell the people that “I AM” sent him. (That’s terrible English grammar, but perfect theological grammar—so I suppose theology wins out over English!)

I AM is the way God wanted Moses and the people to think about Him. I AM is eternity past, right now, and always in the future—all at the same time. Yep, it’s pretty baffling. That’s the point! God is so infinite and vast that to describe Him is an exercise in futility.

Is God that infinitely large in your prayers and worship?

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


Forever changed by the living Jesus ~ 4-26

The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances. — Robert Flatt

Information alone rarely changes lives. But when someone experiences the truth, their future is often changed for good. This is certainly the case of the disciples, who went from frightened to fearless very quickly. So what happened?

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)

This encounter with the living Christ transformed them from men who hid behind “doors locked for fear of the Jews” into an unstoppable team. History and tradition show us that the disciples were tortured, exiled, and killed for their faith:

  • James of Zebedee was beheaded in A.D. 44.
  • Philip was scourged and crucified in Phrygia.
  • Matthew was martyred in Ethopia in A.D. 60.
  • James was stoned and clubbed in A.D. 94.
  • Matthias (Judas’ replacement) was stoned and beheaded in Jerusalem.
  • Andrew was crucified in Edessa.
  • Peter was crucified.
  • Bartholomew was beaten and crucified in India.
  • Thomas was thrust with a spear.
  • Simon the Zealot was crucified in A.D. 74.
  • Judas of James was crucified in Edessa in A.D. 72.
  • John was exiled to Patmos.

Billions of people can testify to the change that the resurrected Christ has made in their lives! Yes, information is important. But a living, relational experience with the risen Christ is most important.

How would your life be changed if you had a fuller awareness of the resurrected Jesus?

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


The hope found in an empty tomb ~ 4-25

It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming! — Tony Campolo

I love Peter. Not only is he my namesake, but I can appreciate the way he was prone to live on the extremes: He was bold and boisterous when he was with Christ, but when he was separated from Christ, Peter was a wimp. He caved under the pressure, even cowering to the questions of servant girls, denying that he had ever even known Jesus at all. (See Mark 14:66-72).

We might look at the cross today as symbolic of some sort of victory, but it was devastating in the moment. The significance of Christ’s death was the shedding of innocent blood—the perfect and final sacrifice for human sin. But what is the significance for us if He was raised? I can’t answer that any better than Peter:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:3-7)

What a contrast! Yes, Jesus had to die and we had to be crucified with Him to get to this point. But what a difference the resurrection made to Peter and what an astounding difference it makes to us. In the mercy of the Father, through the resurrection of Jesus, God has given us two crucial things: new birth and a living hope.

Where would we be without either of those?!

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


The transforming power of the resurrection ~ 4-24

What gives special authority to the list (of witnesses) as historical evidence is the reference to most of the five hundred brethren still being alive. St. Paul says in effect, “If you don’t believe me, you can ask them.” — Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University

There is no question that the Romans were successful in crucifying Christ. The apostle John personally confirmed His death when he saw Him jabbed in the side with a spear causing water and blood to flow from His heart (John 19:33-35). Many others saw His body wrapped and placed in the tomb.

But Sunday revealed a stone that had been rolled away, guards who had fled for their lives, and an empty tomb. People started seeing Him alive. The apostle Paul recorded that the living Christ appeared to Peter, the disciples, and more than 500 other people (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Many of these witnesses were hostile towards Christ before they encountered Him. The most notable of all these was the apostle Paul himself who encountered the resurrected Christ long after the fact. In his words:

Then he [Jesus] appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. (1 Corinthians 15:7-10)

This encounter with Jesus impacted Paul personally—transforming him from an arrogant religious leader into a humble, faithful servant… a man transformed by the grace of God.

May it be the same for each of us!
Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’


Having faith in the resurrection ~ 4-21

And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history… — E. M. Blaiklock, Professor of Classics at Auckland University

Christians, in general, seem to have a pretty good handle on the theology of the cross. I mean, that’s how we got into a relationship with God in the first place. Jesus died for us so that we could be forgiven, so that we can relate to God on an intimate, personal level.

But what about our theology of the resurrection? What if Christ was not raised from the dead? Let’s let the apostle Paul answer that:

And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:14-19)

If His body is still in the grave, faith is useless, we are still in our sins, none of us will be raised, and we are (basically) idiots to be pitied more than everybody else. But the list of objective evidence regarding the resurrection is substantial.

  • Jesus’ body was dead.
  • The stone was rolled away.
  • The tomb was empty.
  • The Roman guards were AWOL.
  • The grave clothes were present.
  • Hundreds of witnesses reported what they saw.

Books and books written on this topic make for great inspirational reading. If Jesus wasn’t raised, it’s game over. But if He was—and if we believe it—then the game has just begun.

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


The power of Christ’s resurrection ~ 4-20

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime. — Martin Luther

Sunday morning the disciples were still locked away in hiding. The body of Jesus was still sealed securely in the tomb… or so they thought.

God had performed a miracle. Molecule by molecule He defied the natural laws. He restructured cell walls, purged toxins, replaced decayed biochemicals, expelled microscopic scavengers… until the body was ready once again.

And with a breath, the soul and Spirit of Christ came to earth again. Supernatural? By all means it was. God’s business is supernatural—reversing decay and giving new life. God’s business is resurrection, and those who are in Christ are part of it, right here, right now:

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. (Romans 6:4-5)

This is all part of the incredible mystery of life “in Christ.” It’s a mystery, but when we see it in action, it’s undeniable. Several of years ago, right after Easter, this email said it all:

Dear Pete, It was 7 years ago Easter weekend that I was at the end of my downhill spiral. I had just spent the weekend choosing drugs over life and the custody of my first son, and I felt as though I had nothing left to live for. I cannot describe the overwhelming peace and joy that I experience today! I was allowed to serve at two services and attended the third. It’s like there is no other place I belong on Easter morning…

This precious woman met the risen Christ. Today she walks with Him in forgiveness and grace and shameless worship. If you really want to see the resurrected Jesus, just look at people like her, because she, somehow, was resurrected with Him, too.

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


Where Christ is in your suffering? – 4-19

As the sacrifice of Jesus Christ reached its climax, as the sins of the world were being paid for by His suffering and death, there was a moment where God the Father Almighty turned His back on Jesus Christ, His Son. On a spiritual level, Jesus Christ realized that His Father (with whom He has been intimately bound since eternity past) had turned away.

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Matthew 27:45-46)

This suffering, the most spiritually acute of any suffering that one could imagine, was fully felt; but it did not last. When the sacrifice was complete and all that had been prophesied was fulfilled, “Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46) and His inseparable union with the Father was reestablished.

Jesus really did suffer in every way humankind does. By being separated from the Father, there is no doubt that Jesus suffered spiritually.

We suffer a “cloudy” spiritual existence today as well. We see God only “dimly.” When we finally leave these fleshly bodies behind, we will finally relate to Him “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). When Jesus ascended to the Father, He made the promise, “I will be with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Will we experience suffering? Yes. Spiritual dimness? Yes. Spiritual separation? Never again!

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


Your true source of love and acceptance ~ 4-15

Yet while none of its suffering can be exaggerated, the fact remains that the cross’ greatest cause of anguish may not have been the nails impaling the hands and feet. The greater cause may have been its shame. — D. Bruce Lockerbie

Jesus Christ was a human being with emotion. The Bible says He suffered from loneliness (Matthew 26:40), frustration (Mark 8:21), anger (Mark 3:5), and He experienced the feeling of abandonment (Mark 15:34).

However, when He was on the cross, He shared in the most painful of all human emotions: Rejection.

  • He was rejected for who He was by the authorities who scoffed at His claim to be the Son of God. (Matthew 26:63-66)
  • He was rejected by those who loved Him when the disciples abandoned Him in His time of need—when Peter denied Him three times. (Matthew 26:73-74)
  • He was regarded worthless by those in charge. At the insistence of the crowds, Pilate released a notorious prisoner, Barabbas. For the sake of political convenience, he gave into the crowd’s demands to “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:15-22)

In the end, only a few women and John stayed by Him. When He was finally recognized and received for who He was, it was too late.

Are you experiencing the agony of rejection? Rejection is yet another aspect of suffering that can draw you into deeper intimacy and unity with Christ. Christ can sympathize with you and this shared suffering can be a major point of contact between the two of you, because not only has He been there, but He promises to always be here, with you, and never ever leave you or forsake you.

So yes, when it comes to rejection, Jesus “gets it.” He understands big-time. And He’s with you and in you right now, ready to walk through it together.

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