He is most well known for being the son of Abraham and the father of Jacob. Some commentators have referred to him as a mediocre son of a great father and a mediocre father of a great son. I think this is unfair to Isaac. I believe he admirably fulfilled his place in history. He was not born to be an Abraham nor was he born to be a Jacob. He was just Isaac.
Every where you go you will find men with the spirit of Isaac. Most people unfairly consider them to be just mediocre. For instance, you might see a man at the little league game in grimy clothes. His clothes are dirty because he came straight from work to watch his child or grandchild play. You might also see him in those grimy clothes at church on Wednesday night. He wants to be an example for his children and grandchildren so he also came there straight from work. He will probably never be great in the world’s eyes, but he loves his family, does his job and worships Jesus. He will never be seen as a V.I.P. But neither was Isaac.
On Sunday a bivocational pastor will step into the pulpit to preach a message that God has given him. Many nights he has been up past midnight praying and laboring over the sermon. He pays the bills by working all day. He then rushes home, cleans up, and spends the evening visiting his small congregation. The members of his little church love him but the denominational leaders don’t know him. Although his sermons are better than most of the big shot preachers, he will never be asked to preach to large crowds. He is just a simple man doing what God called him to do. Just like Isaac.
Throughout history a handful of great men have done great things for God, and we all know their names. However the Bible teaches that in Heaven the first shall be last and the last shall be first. By far the men who have done the most for the Kingdom of Heaven are the simple men whose names are not known. On earth they never hear the applause of men, but in Heaven a great cloud of witnesses will greet them with a standing ovation. With dirty hands and calloused knees they are simple but faithful servants who do their jobs well. Just like Isaac.
Lazarus was dead. His strong body and determined will to live could not overcome his sickness. The doctors who treated his illness had given the family hope. His sisters had prayed to Jesus. Their faith in God had given them hope. But now not only was Lazarus dead, but he had been in the tomb for four days. His sisters did not want to open the grave because by now the body had begun to rot and it stunk. It was a hopeless situation.
When you think of the story of Lazarus, you may think only of a dead man being brought back to life. However, it occurs to me that this is a story of Jesus’ ability to overcome the most hopeless of situations. When Jesus arrived at the tomb of Lazarus, everyone thought that He was four days late. However, Jesus is never late. He simply waited until Lazarus was dead enough for people to see and believe that He is Lord over the most hopeless of situations.
Many situations arise in our lives that appear to be hopeless. They may be caused by our own foolishness or maybe things happen that are beyond our control. Our will to overcome is not good enough. Friends speak of hope, yet we feel despair. We have prayed but it seems Jesus doesn’t hear. Now our situation stinks worse than a four day old corpse and we are saturated by hopelessness.
Jesus said; “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die — ever.” If Jesus can raise a dead man for the Glory of God, He can handle your problems for the Glory of God. Bring your mess to Jesus, loose yourself and let yourself go. I promise you this, in Christ there are no hopeless situations.
Douglas & Deborah Huff From Down Where The Pavement Ends
I recently acquired some chickens. Seven fat hens. I am responsible for their safety, so I built a secure pen for them. It has a top to keep out hawks and is reinforced around the bottom to keep out varmints. Daily I make sure they have fresh water and plenty of food. They are safe, well fed and have a warm dry coop to sleep in. Everything a chicken could want.
Everything a chicken could want, except they want out. Whenever I go to feed them, they are standing at the gate hoping I will let them out. They are glad to exchange the free food for food they can find for themselves. They are also happy to swap the safety of the enclosed pen for the wide open freedom of the yard. When a hawk flies over they hide under a bush and when a varmint comes around they fly into a tree. They don’t need me to take care of them. They are willing to take care of themselves.
It occurs to me that my chickens are exhibiting the true American spirit. True Americans don’t sit around waiting to be fed, they take care of themselves. True Americans will not trade freedom for safety. True Americans will not be told when, where and how to worship. They will worship how, where and when the God of all creation calls them. True Americans don’t depend on the government but will lift their eyes unto God in whom they have placed their trust.
The Declaration of Independence declares that it is evident that we are endowed by the Creator with the rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It appears that many people are willing to trade these rights for the dubious promises of corrupt politicians. I am not! I know that Jesus Christ died on the cross to free me from my sin. And brave soldiers died on the battlefield so I can live in freedom. Satan cannot steal my salvation and I will not sell my liberty. I will stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made me free, and will not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. I was set free to live in freedom and I will be free.
In Matthew 11:12 we read “ From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” For a long time I did not understand this verse. I would read it, scratch my head and ask God “What in the world are you talking about?” The Bible says ask and you will receive, so one day while I was driving He showed me what this verse meant.
I was driving up the road in my little pickup when I met a truck pulling an open sided trailer hauling 10 or 12 cars. As the air went over under and around these cars, a forceful turbulence was created. As I encountered this turbulent air, it was like a violent force that almost stopped my pickup. In order to continue on my way I had to become more forceful than this wall of invisible air. So I grabbed another gear, stepped on the gas and powered through the violence.
This is the lesson I learned. The kingdom of heaven and God’s children have always faced violent attacks from Satanic forces. These attacks have and will increase as the Great Day of the Lord draws nearer. God’s people must not be fooled by those who tell us we should be tolerant and compromising. Like David we must fill our pockets with stones and like Jesus we must prepare to turn some tables over.
Jesus told us in this world we would face turbulence. But we need not be afraid, He has overcome the world. Satan will continue to attack us with violence and force. But with God we will gain the victory and He will trampled down the enemy. So when the enemy comes at us with a wall of turbulence and trouble, don’t let it slow you down. Lean into it, grab another gear, step on the gas and go.
What kind of people do you think Jesus likes to have around Him. You may have gotten the idea from some church people that Jesus prefers to be around preachers and Sunday School teachers and other good people. After all Jesus said be perfect because I am perfect and these people are perfect Right? Righttt!
I guess there are some people who think that Jesus would never choose to be anywhere near a drug addict or alcoholic or anyone who does bad things. And Jesus would never chose to be around anyone who does not go to church, would He?
I know that a lot of you have serious problems in your life. Maybe you are an addict of some kind. Most of us are. Maybe your marriage is closer to hell than heaven on earth. Some of you may have a child who has broken your heart or a parent who has broken your heart. Do you have scars and pains from past mistakes? Do you have wounds on your heart that still festers years after someone hurt you? If so I have some good news for you.
You are the kind of person Jesus likes to hang around with. Jesus loves broken people. The Bible tells us that “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.” So if you have a broken heart or a broken marriage, if you are the victim of broken promises or broken dreams you can know that God has a special love for you.
All people have an element of brokenness within them but few find the blessing that God has for them in there brokenness. Jesus said “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Many of you have a darkness in your hearts that comes from brokenness. But Jesus says you do not have to walk in this darkness because His Light can overcome your brokenness.
There is blessedness in brokenness and it is this, God will draw near to you in your brokenness. He says to you come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.
Legend has it that the apostle Paul was only about 4 feet 6 inches tall. Physically he was a small man but spiritually he was a giant in God’s army. As a soldier of Jesus Christ, he felt constant grief in his heart for those who did not know the Savior. Gladly, he would have suffered eternity in hell if it meant that lost people would be saved. When threatened with death for preaching the gospel, he knew that he was standing against the gates of Hell and he would not back down.
Paul was devoted to the task of proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. He was determined to boldly open his mouth and preach truth to all people. He knew what was right and would not let the world turn him around. He put on the whole armor of God and went to battle with the ruler of darkness. He did all he could to stand and then he stood his ground. Knowing that the shield of faith would protect him from the fiery darts of the evil one, he refused to back down.
When Paul went to war with the enemy of Christ, Satan came against him with everything he had. Five times Paul was whipped almost to death. Three times he was beaten with rods. Once they stoned him and left him for dead. No matter where he was, he was always in danger and spent many cold, sleepless nights with a hungry belly. But for him these were light afflictions that could not compare with the eternal weight of glory that waited for him. When they finally took Paul’s head off, he entered heaven to a hero’s welcome while in hell Satan licked his wounds. Paul counted it all joy to suffer for Christ and he would not back down.
Today Paul is among a great cloud of witnesses in Heaven. They watch to see if anyone will let the love of Christ compel them to stand for righteousness. As Christians, we should continuously grieve for those who are lost because without Christ they have no hope. Would you pray that the Word of God would become like a fire in your bones that cannot be quenched?Because God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We should be determined that even if they stand us up against the gates of Hell, we won’t back down.
Most of us know that Jesus is the only begotten Son Of God. We also know that He is the only truly righteous Man to ever live. His death on the cross was an atonement for our sins. He was bruised for our iniquities and chastised for our transgressions. It is by His stripes that we are saved.
However for a couple of minutes I want you to remove from your thoughts the fact of the Deity of Jesus. From a human point of view I want you to know that Jesus was killed on the cross because He was guilty of committing a horrendous crime. It was a crime that mankind cannot tolerate. You can do almost anything and be forgiven, but not this. We do not forgive people for this crime. What was this horrendous crime? Jesus was guilty because He did not fit in. He stood out from the crowd. He did not do what they thought He should. He was guilty of being different, so they killed Him.
The Pharisees thought He should have conformed to their rules, but Jesus would not, so they pronounced Him guilty. Jesus would not do what the people wanted Him to do, so they called for Him to be crucified. Rome wanted Him to blend into the crowd, but Jesus would not, so Pilate nailed Him to the cross. The Son of God was guilty of being a different kind of Messiah, so they killed Him.
Among all living breathing beings on earth the most hated creature is the one who stands out from the crowd. And yet a famous preacher once said, “The sad thing about modern American Christians is that nobody wants to kill them anymore. Jesus tell us in John 15:18-19; “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.”
If you are a child of God, your purpose on earth is to glorify Him and make a difference in this world. You cannot honor God or impact the world if you will not stand out from the world. God’s people must not be tossed to and fro like a reed blowing in the wind. We must be influenced only by the Presence of God, led only by the Holy Spirit of God and strive to be perfect like the Son of God. Stand out from the world and Jesus will stand up for you.
Jesus is my Savior. When I was a nine year old boy, I reached out my hand to Him and trusted Him with my life. I didn’t understand a lot about Him. But that was ok, because He understood everything about me. My faith in Him was not misplaced. He has never failed me. I have many good friends and loved ones whom I can trust with things of this world, but for my eternal hope I will trust in no other name than Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Light. No one can ever make their way to heaven except through Him. He is the only begotten Son of God. He came to do the will of His Father. It is the will of God that no one should be lost but that all should have eternal life. When the religious leaders instructed Peter not to preach in the name of Jesus, Peter said, “I think I will listen to God and not you.” Then Peter preached with the authority of God that there is no other name by which we might be saved than the name of Jesus.
If you trust Jesus, you will find in Him everything you need. When your life seems to be as dark as night, He is the Bright Morning Star. If your world seems to be crumbling around you, He is the Rock on which you can stand. If you feel loneliness, you can know that He will always be there. His righteousness will wipe away your sin. If you are prone to wander in darkness, He is the Good Shepherd and the Light of Life.
Have you trusted Jesus and Jesus only for eternal salvation. I have heard His voice and I can tell you without a doubt that He, and He alone, can save your soul. Many things and people want to be a god to you. But Jesus is the only God who died to wipe away your sins. He rose from the dead to reveal that He alone can give you eternal life. In Christ alone, can you find Salvation. There is no other authority under Heaven by which you might be saved. No other name but JESUS.
I almost feel as if I should recuse myself from writing this devotion. I am too close to the subject to be objective. I am a daddy and I am familiar with all the emotions that daddies experience. Understand this, contributing biologically to the conception of a child does not make you a daddy. Being a daddy is a heart thing.
The heart of a daddy is a mess. It has experienced every emotion known to mankind and even some that are known only to him. It causes tears to leak from his eyes that he doesn’t want you to see and cheers to come from his lips that he wants the world to hear. A daddy’s heart tends to hold things in and makes it hard for a man to express his feelings. It will swell with pride and race in fear. Love will make it tender inside but it is often surrounded by a hard outer shell that needs to be cracked. Yes, a daddy’s heart is a mess but it never stops loving his children.
A daddy’s heart is big. It has to be. It has to be big enough to hold strength, courage, wisdom and gentleness. A daddy needs to be brave enough to kill spiders and strong enough to open jars. He must be smart enough to fix a bicycle and gentle enough to eat imaginary cookies. A daddy’s heart has the wisdom to let little hands do what they can and knows when to help and when not to help. Most daddies don’t know how big their heart is, but it is big enough to love his children with an unending love
Strong is the heart of a daddy. The heavy duty heart of a daddy has been crushed, broken, stretched and swollen. It has soared like an eagle and has stooped to the eye level of a child. This great heart can roar like a lion and purr like a kitten. For the sake in of his children he will stand up and fight the fiercest enemy or kneel down in prayer to the Holy Father. A good daddy places his heart in the hands of Jesus. He knows that he loves his children best when he loves the Savior the most.