Everyone who has ever owned a house knows that taking care of it is a constant job. Everyday either the roof needs patching or there is cleaning and painting to be done. When you think you have everything under control and can sit down to rest, then you will find a faucet leaking or a light switch is broken. The fact is, in the natural order of life all created things will deteriorate. Everything of value requires a high level of maintenance.
This is also true of the human body. If we want to enjoy good health, we must be diligent to maintain our bodies. This requires us to exercise regularly and to be careful with our diet. As we get older, maintaining our health will probably require medication. So on a weekly basis we will fill our pillboxes and set alarms to remind us to take these pills. This is because in the natural order of life all created things will deteriorate. And even our bodies require a high level of maintenance.
All of this is true because of Adam. When he sinned in the Garden of Eden he unleashed the second law of thermodynamics upon the world. This law states, that when left alone everything will collapse, breakdown, or wear out.
When God created this world it was perfect and incorruptible. The first man Adam, chose to rebel against God and sin entered into the world. The curse of sin brought death and destruction. Therefore, we have to work hard to maintain houses and machines and our bodies or they will deteriorate.
But don’t be discouraged. Because of what Jesus did on the cross we can overcome death and destruction. Yes everything on this earth is temporary and one day it will all rot, rust or burn. However let’s not focus on that which is temporary, focus instead on that which is eternal. In Heaven there is no corruption and there is no death or destruction. There will be no medicine in Heaven because God has promised that if we believe in Him we will not perish but we will have eternal life. Jesus has prepared for us in Heaven an eternal home. A house from God that is not made with hands. A home that will never not need maintenance.
If you are going the wrong way or there is danger ahead, you need to turn around. On the other hand, if you are investing time and effort in things that don’t work you also need to repent. Click the link below to listen to this podcast about repentance.
This devotion is an audio podcast. In it I discuss the importance of and reasons for repentance. Click the link below to listen
Esther is a young woman who has a choice to make. Her family, friends and people face extermination. She must choose. Will she put her life in danger and try to save her people? Or will she do nothing and watch as everyone she loves is destroyed. Her uncle Mordecai tells her that she was born, “for such a time as this.” She chose to put her life on the line and she was used by God to help save her people.
You and I are here in this place and this time. You did not choose this time and maybe didn’t choose this place, but here you are. I would like to suggest that you may have been chosen for such a time as this. You were uniquely created for the responsibilities and opportunities of your life.
Like Esther you have choices to make. Maybe your choices are not as drastic as hers but they are yours to make. I take that back, your choices are just as drastic as hers. Your choices are life shaping for you and everyone in your life.
You may never stand before a king, but every day you will stand before someone. If you will be like Esther, you can make a positive impact on this world, but you must choose wisely. Today choose righteousness, choose wisdom and choose kindness because you never know whose life you maybe saving. After all you were born for such a time as this.
His name was Bill Borden. He had been born into a wealthy family, After he graduated from high school in 1904 he felt a need to help the poor people of the world. He surrendered his life to Christ and decided to become a missionary. A friend of his told him that he would be wasting his life as a missionary. In response Bill wrote two words in the back of his Bible. The two words were,
“ No Reserve.”
As Bill prepared for the mission field he entered Yale University. While in college, he spent his spare time ministering to those around him. In his journal he wrote that his philosophy for life was simply to “say no to self and yes to Jesus every time!” After he graduated from Yale Bill received many high paying job offers, no one would have blamed him for taking one of these jobs. However at this time he wrote two more words in the back of his Bible they were
“ No Retreats”.
Bill Borden was a millionaire but he realized that his responsibility was to be about the Father’s business. His missionary call was to minister to the Muslim Kansu people in China. Bill planned to spend time in Egypt learning the Muslim language before going on to China. But he never made it to the mission field.Shortly after arriving in Egypt he contracted Spinal Meningitis. In less than a month he was dead. Shortly before he died William Borden wrote two more words in the back of his Bible these words were,
Was Bill Borden’s life wasted? Some people would say; if only he had stayed in the States, with his money and talents maybe he could have done great things for the Kingdom of God. But that was not God’s plan. When his story was told it is said that many hundreds of people were inspired to surrender to the mission field. Because of this, more people were reached for Christ than Bill could ever have reached himself.
The Bible tells us that God’s plans are greater than our plans and His ways are greater than our ways. Bill Borden knew that obedience to God is the only way to be truly successful . His story is a challenge for us to surrender to God with no reserves, to follow Jesus with no retreats and to live in obedience to the Holy Spirit with no regrets.
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 on 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.”
“Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in a sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see.” Children have sung this cute little song in church for decades. We think it is about a short man who could not see Jesus because of all the tall people. However, maybe we have missed the point. Maybe this story is about a group of people who are so self centered they make it hard for others to come to Jesus.
In this story good people have laid claim to Jesus. They have treated Him like a first come first serve buffet. Throughout the New Testament, in story after story, we see needy people having to do extraordinary things to reach Jesus. One woman just wanted to touch the hem of His coat, four men tore the roof off a house to bring their friend to Jesus and Zacchaeus climbed a tree just to get a glimpse of Him. Meanwhile, many good people are angry because Jesus has gone outside the walls to help those who need Him the most.
These Bible stories are great. But they are useless if we don’t apply them to our lives and our churches. I believe every action of Jesus was designed to make you think. So think.
Ask yourself these questions. What can I change in my life to make it easier for people to see Jesus?What kind of adjustments does my church need to make so people don’t have to climb a tree to see Jesus.
The bottom line is this. God never intended for His children to sit satisfied and comfortable on their pews. Jesus said “ I will build my church.” But He did not build His church with walls, He built His Church with legs. He did not build His church and say stay, He built His Church and said “ Go”.
We serve God best, not when we gather but when we scatter. So let’s go and tell the Zacchaeuses of this world that Jesus wants to come to their house today.
Her name was Hagar. You can find her story in Genesis 16. Fleeing from a life that she thought was intolerable, she is on the way to a place called Shure. But she is not sure of anything until the Angel of the Lord finds her sitting by a spring of water in the wilderness. There God speaks to her, giving her instruction, comfort, and hope. Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees.
Our lives should be guided by this principle, “The God who made all things is the God- Who-Sees.” Children of God are the light of the world. But the only light we have is the reflected Glory of God. So, give to be seen by God, pray to be heard by God, and let your worship be from your heart to the great heart of God. The more He sees in you the brighter your light will shine into the world.
Sometimes, like Hagar, we may think that life is unbearable. But we must never forget that He is the God-Who-Sees. When life is intolerable and unsure, He will bring clarity to your soul. With artistry that can only come from the Creator, your broken heart and shattered dreams will be remade into a beautiful mosaic.
Maybe you are sitting in your wilderness asking God “Why?” Possibly the answer is as simple as this, you were created for the Glory of God. The God-Who-Sees can take the broken pieces of your life and create a montage of grace. And maybe, just maybe, today someone needs to see the reflection of His Glory as it shines through the mosaic of your life.
Every decision we make in life is based on the value or worth of things, experiences, or people. In fact everything in life is a transaction of sorts. Whether we are getting married, buying a house, or going on vacation, we are always making an exchange. Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?” From this passage of scripture we learn this, in every transaction be sure what you gain is worth what you are giving up.
In 2 Tim.1, Paul teaches Timothy that faith in Jesus was a faith worth having. Faith in Jesus is faith with a heritage. Each generation is given the Gospel and the responsibility to advance the Kingdom of God. Paul was willing to suffer anything for Jesus because of his Faith. Now you and I must decide what we are willing to sacrifice so that the next generation will inherit a Godly Heritage.
Faith in Jesus is faith with purpose. Our calling, our purpose is to glorify God and advance His Kingdom. This is faith with power, as the gospel of Christ is the power of God for Salvation. This is also faith with a promise as we believe and are persuaded that God is able to keep that which we commit to Him. Faith in Jesus is also faith that is seen, as others watch to see what we are willing to sacrifice for the Kingdom of Heaven.
Do not misunderstand the idea of faith as being worth having. Because the truth is there is no value, no worth, nor is there any power in faith alone. The value, the power of faith comes only from the object of faith. The object of our faith must be Jesus Christ. Our hope can be built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. He is our hope of glory. He is our promised peace. He is our Life. The next generation must inherit this Holy Faith in Jesus no matter what it cost us, because it is a Faith worth having.
I must confess, what I am about to say I find it difficult to practice. You see, I am a child of God. That means I am in Christ and Christ is in me. In Christ, I am a new creature. This means I can no longer see the world through the filter of the culture I was raised in. The love of Christ compels me to see people with the eyes of Jesus.
Consider the tenderness you always have for a small child. Most of us will always treat children with kindness. We know that their view of the world is simpler than ours. Because of their innocence, they do not have a complete understanding of their surroundings. For this reason we will stoop to their level and speak to them with words they understand. We don’t expect them to act like grownups
The tenderness you have for a child, our Savior has for all people. When the Pharisees falsely arrested and condemned Him to death, Jesus still loved them. When Pilate tried to wash the guilt from his hands, Jesus would gladly have taken him by the hand and led him into righteousness. And when the soldiers beat Him and nailed Him to the cross Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them because they don’t understand.” Jesus did not come into this world to condemn anyone. He came to bring salvation to all people. Because He sees everyone through eyes of Compassion, it breaks His heart when people reject His love
We often look down on people who have made bad decisions. Emotions, personal situations and cultural peer pressure often lead people to make poor life choices. We tend to see these people as people to avoid. But the people we try to avoid, Jesus sees as precious souls. If indeed we are in Christ and Christ is in us, then we will love as He loves and learn to see everyone through His eyes of Compassion.
An old year is passing away a new year is being born. Leave your worries and cares behind. Claim God’s promises for the New Year. Call out to God and He will answer you. Listen to God and He will teach you. Look to God and you will see new things. Because every day His mercies are new.
This devotion is an audio podcast. Click the link below to listen.