The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”” (John 1:43–46)
“Come and see.” This is a challenge to see in Jesus the Answer to all questions, the Object of all desires, and the fulfilled Promise of all time. Indeed the invitation is to come and see in Jesus the Final Treasure that is worth any sacrifice we have to make.
When Philip said, “I have found Him” he was saying they had been looking for a Messiah who would change their lives and he recognized in Jesus the Messiah. The crisis of our time is that the ones who need Him the most are not looking for Him. Oh, they are looking for something but they don’t recognize that Jesus is the Final Treasure.
A question for you, Christian. Do you recognize Jesus as the Final Treasure? The answer to that question may be the answer to the question of why has the American church lost its ability to impact society.
Brothers, you say that you are a Christian, so I challenge you to make the Word who was in the beginning, the Word who was with God and this Word who is God to make Him the Final Treasure of your Heart. Then maybe you can impart to a dying and thirsty world a desire for this Living Water.
Then when you extend an invitation to “come and see,” they will see that Jesus is indeed The Final Treasure.
Early morning is best. I sit on my back porch to read, write and visit with God. Even though it is going to be hot today the air is still cool. While the breeze whispers a peaceful melody the birds and bugs sing the lyrics of creation. I can almost imagine that the world is at peace. However, the sound of a jet overhead reminds me that a great big stupid world is never far away.
I don’t know who said it but I once read that government is a necessary evil. It is necessary because men need to be governed or there will be anarchy. It is evil because people with authority always crave more authority. Government has an insatiable appetite for growth and its food is the well-being of the governed. Authority must be limited because a large and unlimited government is worse than no government at all.
As Christians, we are told to pray for those in authority so that we may live in peace. We must obey God. However, there has never been a time without strife or war somewhere. Does this mean that God ignores our prayers? Of course not! You see, peace is not the absence of war. Peace is the presence of God and the knowledge that your eternal soul is safe even if your mortal body is not.
Yes, God told us to pray for those in authority but He never told us to trust them. Often world leaders will gather together for council. But these planning sessions are never for the good of the people. They are only seeking to perpetuate their power. However, if we trust in God’s holy name we know that He will frustrate their plans. The Word of the Lord will stand forever and no weapon formed against Him will prosper.
The eyes of God are on those who fear Him. If our hope is in His mercy, He will deliver our souls from death and protect us in times of trouble. If we entangle our hearts in God’s strength, He will be our help and shield. So, when the heathen rage and the nations plot vain things let not your heart be troubled. Listen; the birds and the bugs are still singing because they know, our God still reigns.
People often asked me, “Where do you get the ideas for the devotions that you write?” The short answer is,” God gives them to me.” The long answer however is that I have learned to see the evidence of God in all my surroundings. This forensic evidence confirms the power of His love. Just as with Jeremiah, the proof of God ignites a fire in my soul that cannot be contained. It is my inspiration to write and to preach.
Right now I am watching some large birds floating on currents of air that are stirred up by an approaching storm. The gentle strength of the wind that carries the birds and the boisterous power of the coming storm bear witness to the presence of an omnipotent God. I can see the fingerprints of God all over the red and yellow leaves that seem to have suddenly appeared on the trees. He tells us in Psalms 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Never make the mistake of thinking that God is in everything. That kind of erroneous thinking often leads to idolatry. No, God is not in everything, but evidence of God is in everything. He is the Creator of all things and all of creation bears His DNA. The heavens declare His glory and the ocean tides reveal His constancy. The silence of a falling star punctuates His brilliance and the crash of thunder highlights His strength. In all things He makes Himself known because all things bear His fingerprints.
So, where do I get the ideas for the devotions that I write? Well, the answer is easy. My heart is warmed by His invisible presence, while my eyes marvel at His visible glory. The simplest things bear witness to the most profound truths. It is easy to write when I take the time to “Be still and know that He is God.”
This week my daily Bible reading has me in the book of Job. As I read, it occurs to me that we may have missed something in this story. You see for years I’ve heard people talk about the patience of Job. However, I think it was God and not Job who was patient.
As I read the story of Job, I see God being very patient as Job’s wife tells him to “curse God and die.” God was patient with Job’s friends who gave long speeches but had nothing to say. Most of all I see the patience God had with Job himself. Job struggled with his pain and suffering. He charged God with being unfair. He wanted to meet with God in a court of law and he demanded answers from God. But through it all, God patiently waited until Job was ready to see Him with clear eyes.
God’s patience has been evident throughout all time. He was patient with Adam and Eve when they hid in the garden. He was patient when David cheated with Bathsheba. He was patient when Jonah ran from His calling. And He has been very patient with me when I have been everything but the man I should be.
I am thankful that the God of all grace has called me to His eternal glory in Christ. I know that even though I fail miserably, He will restore me and make me strong, firm, and steadfast. The patience of God is driven by His love and mercy. It is because of His merciful patience and not my goodness that I know He will never leave nor forsake me.
How magnificent is my God? With omnipotence, His shining glory illuminates the highest heavens. By His authority, He has ordained strength from the mouth of the most helpless of babies. In His presence, the enemy is silenced. With His righteous power He has, He is, and He will defeat the adversary.
On a blustery day, I hear the wind howl and watch as the tree sway back and forth. I watch as the sun goes down and light fades away. The moon rises, chasing away the darkness, and stands guard over the night. In the distance, a whippoorwill cheers as the stars decorate the purple sky. All of this makes me wonder. Who are we that God would have us on His mind? He made us a little lower than the angels and He has given us a crown of glory and honor.
He is a great and awesome God and He has given us authority over His creation. He has placed all things in our control, the cattle in the field, the beast in the woods, the birds in the air, and the fish in the water. We are just sons of men, yet the Son of God has visited us and given us the right to become children of the most gracious God.
How magnificent is the Power and Authority of the Lord my God. His shining glory illuminates the highest heaven. To Him be all honor and glory. Oh LORD our Lord How excellent is your name in all the earth.
In Luke 24 there is a story of two followers of Christ who are walking home to Emmaus. It was Sunday and Jesus had been crucified on Friday. They said, “We might as well go home it’s over.” Some women had gone to the tomb early to anoint the body and came back to report that the tomb was empty. They said something about an angel and Jesus being alive. But the two disciples knew that was foolishness. He was dead and they were going home
Cleopas and the other disciple thought they had found the Messiah. They had heard the great stories and had even eaten some of the fish and loaves. They had seen a cripple man run and heard a mute girl speak. They thought Jesus had to be the Christ, the Son of God. But then He was arrested, tried, beaten, and crucified. Soldiers took His dead body down from the cross and buried Him. He’s dead. It’s over.
These two disciples were very disappointed in this Man named Jesus. They thought He was going to use His power to overthrow the Romans, restore the kingdom of David, and set them free. But He did not do things the way they thought He should. And now He’s dead. So they said, “It’s over we might as well go home.
As they walked home to Emmaus, Jesus Himself began to walk by their side. They did not recognize Him. They had eyes to see but could not see. He chastised them because they were foolish and slow of heart. Then using Scripture, He taught them that it was necessary for Christ to suffer and enter into His glory.
As He walked with them, their hearts began to warm. As he taught them their hearts beat faster. His Word was percolating their hearts. Later when He broke the bread, the full-blown aroma of salvation enveloped and filled them. All of a sudden they saw Jesus. He’s not dead. He is alive. It’s not over. It has just begun.
Most mornings I spend a half hour or so listening to my friend. As I sit, mostly with my eyes closed, I try to take in all that He has to say. Sometimes He tells me secrets about Himself that I never knew. Occasionally He reveals His reasons for things that seem to have no reason. Other times He just lets me know how glad He is that I am His friend.
My friend is Jehovah Shalom, the God of the universe, the Creator of all things, the Lover of my soul, and my Prince of Peace. Some people would call what I am doing, “Prayer” but I call it listening to my Friend. Sometimes when I sit listening to Him I drift off to sleep. However, He does not mind that I go to sleep, no more than I mind when my grand-baby goes to sleep in my arms. You see it’s easy to fall asleep when you know the Peace that is beyond your understanding.
You might ask, since you are spending time with God shouldn’t you be praying for your friends and loved ones? Shouldn’t you be telling Him your trouble and asking for help? Aren’t you just wasting your time sitting there with your eyes closed? Don’t you have more important things to do? The answer is no, there is nothing more important than listening to my Friend
All day long God walks with me. He has told me to pray without ceasing, so we have a running conversation. We talk about my friends and their needs. He knows about the ones who are sick and hurting and He knows that you need encouragement. We talk about my family and I ask Him to watch over them. For the most part, my days are filled with me talking and God listening.
That is why most mornings I spend time listening to my Friend. I enjoy the feel of His hand on my shoulder and the sound of His voice whispering in my ear. When He whispers in my ear I feel the warmth of His breath on my neck and His Spirit enlarging my soul. As I drift in and out of sleep, I dream the dreams of eternity. I have peace that is beyond my understanding because my Friend is God, the glorious One, the Lover of My Soul. He is Jehovah Shalom. He is my Prince of Peace.
I have often stood outside on a clear night and marveled at the beauty and scope of the night sky. I know that I cannot count the stars and yet some of the stars are not stars at all. Instead, most are entire galaxies of their own. Science tells us that there could be as many as 100 billion galaxies and each of those galaxies could have more than 100 billion stars. This boggles my mind.
I often wonder about the purpose of all these stars. Why did God create these galaxies? Mankind can never visit them, they are too far away. They can never provide us with any of life’s necessities. All we can do is look at them. They are beautiful but what is their purpose? And what is the purpose of the immensity of the universe?
Could it be that the answer to my question is as simple as this; a Great God needs a big universe to contain the love that He has for His children? Maybe the uncountable stars in the universe are there to illustrate the uncontainable mercies that He has for us. After all, His Word does tell us that “His mercies are new every morning“. And listen to this, science teaches us that even now the universe is growing and expanding in size. Wow, what manner of love the Father must have for His children.
In Ephesians 2:4-7 we read; “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Let me be bold and say it this way; God loves you so much that he gave His only Son for you and if you trust in Him you can have everlasting life. For that reason, the universe cannot contain “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
The Word of God is always right. It is always right about everything. You may have an incredible IQ or you may be abundantly ignorant, however, if you say, ” I know what the Bible says but this is what I think.” Be assured of this. God does not care what you think. If you disagree with God you are wrong and He is right. Always.
The Word of God is never wrong. Maybe your circumstances have led you to think you can disregard His teaching, but you are wrong. Perhaps your situation causes you to feel as if His commandments don’t apply to your life. If so, you need to know that your feelings are wrong. Understand this. His ways are higher than your ways and His thoughts are higher than your thoughts. If you disagree with the Word of God, you are wrong and He is right.
God is never wrong! Never!
The Word of God is righteous. Some people have issues with the things the Bible teaches. Their perception of God is that He is cold and heartless. But they don’t know that God is omnipotent or that He transcends time. He was in the beginning and He is in the future. God has seen the actions of men in the past and knows the results of these actions in the future.
Do not trust your own understanding, but take joy in the Lord’s instructions. Meditate on His Word day and night and you will find that His Word is always righteous. Always.
My favorite place for a morning quiet time is the back porch. Here I can see the sunrise, feel the morning breeze, and listen as the birds start their business for the day. Knowing that days have started like this for thousands of years helps me to draw close to the God of hope and glory.
As I sit and try to commune with God, my dog will pester me for attention. She stands on my left nudging my hand begging me to pet her. When I ignore her she goes around to the other side and nudges my right hand. If I continue to ignore her she comes around in front of me and plops her big ol head down on top of my Bible. When I push her back and continue to read she will lie down at my feet and wait until I decide to pay attention to her.
Why does she so persistently seek my attention? Is it because I feed her and take care of her? No. She would be loyal to me even if I did not feed her. She is persistent because she longs for my touch. Because I am her master, Her greatest joy is in the touch of my hand.
Like this dog I long for my Masters touch. While I sit on the porch and watch the sunrise I look expectantly to God. With the morning breeze He fulfills His promise as He opens His hand and satisfies my great desire with an amazing caress. The birds pay no attention to worldly affairs, as they have for thousands of years they just go about their daily business of singing to the Glory of God. So through it all, I remember this; God is righteous in all His ways and gracious in all His works. And He has promised To be near to all who call upon Him. If we seek first His Kingdom He will fulfill our greatest desires with the touch of His Hand.