While his children grew, he often attempted the impossible task of being in two places at once. Forty-hour work weeks often required fifty-five hours. Vacations, when they were not postponed, seemed to be something to endure not enjoy. Today, well today it seems like the beginning and end run together. This devotion is an audio podcast. In it I talk about the shortness of life and how much trust we must place in God.
In Mark Chapter 5, there is a story about a woman who was a nobody. We don’t even know her name. If we had been there on this day, she would not have been in our field of vision. Seeing her would have made us uncomfortable, so we would have chosen not to see her. If we had seen her at all, we would have assumed her problems were her own fault, because that is the way we think.
She was a nobody that most people avoided. She was not supposed to be there. For twelve years she had suffered from an issue of blood. This made her unclean. Because she was unclean, she could not be around others. She could not even worship God. In her shame and grief, she spent everything she had seeking help. She has suffered all sorts of abuse and indignities. Hopeless and helpless, she spends her days and nights lonely and untouched.
She felt like a nobody, but one day she overheard people talking about Jesus. I say “overheard” because since she was a nobody, why would anyone bother to tell her about The Savior? She considers herself a nobody so she cannot even face Jesus. She hopes that maybe if she can just touch his coat she will be healed. To the world and herself, she was a nobody. But to Jesus she is somebody. He stops everything and looks for her. He finds her and calls her His daughter. Her faith in Him has made her well. She was a nobody, but now she is somebody. She is a child of God.
Do you feel like a nobody? Have addictions caused you to spend all you have seeking relief from your demons? Are you broken and abused? Do you stand there weeping? Is your life filled with loneliness and do you spend your days untouched and unloved? Maybe it seems that no one sees you, because no one offers help. It seems that no one cares. To the world you are nobody.
Today I hope you hear about Jesus. I hope you will push through the crowd and reach out for Him. Have faith only in Jesus. He will stop everything to reach out to the ones the world ignores. Everybody is somebody to Him. The Bible tells us that God is rich in mercy. Because of His great love, even when we are nobody and dead in our sins, He makes us somebody alive in Christ.
Nehemiah was an Israelite who loved God. He was heartbroken when he heard that his nation and the city of Jerusalem were broken and in distress. He spent many days mourning and fasting for his people. In the Bible, the book of Nehemiah is the story of how God heard and answered Nehemiah’s prayer.
In Nehemiah 1:5-11, we find Nehemiah’s prayer. Today I am going to borrow Nehemiah’s thoughts and adapt his prayer to fit the world we live in. This is my prayer.
Lord God in heaven, the Creator and Sustainer of all things. You are the great and wonderful God who keeps Your gracious promises to those who love You and keep your commands. But you are also a righteous God who allows us to suffer the consequences of disobedience. Please let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear my cry as I lift my voice to You and pray for Your children and this hurting nation.
I confess the sins we have committed against You. Lord, we have been faithless and sinned. We have allowed entertainers to become advisors and given sports figures hero status. We have passively watched as many who were elected to serve this nation wrongfully establish themselves as our rulers. We have acted unfaithfully toward You and have not kept the commandments that You gave to us through Your servant Moses. Lord, we are an unholy people. We suffer as a result of our sinfulness.
Lord, I know that if we treasure sin in our hearts You will not hear our prayers. I know that you will not bless the life of the unrighteous man. But You have promised that if we your people, who are called by your name, will humble ourselves and pray, and if we turn from our wicked ways then You will hear from heaven and heal our land. I know Lord, that in this nation Your people indeed are few. However, You are not concerned with numbers but seek to honor the ones who have broken and contrite hearts.
God, we are Your servants and Your people. You have redeemed us by Your great power and strong hand. Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to my prayer and to the prayers of all Your servants who delight in Your name. Give Your servants success today, and have compassion on us in the presence of evil men as we attempt to reclaim this land for Your Glory.
In the Power and Authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen
Indiana Jones is a popular movie character. He is an archaeologist/professor/adventurer whose life is in constant peril. Going from crisis to crisis he is always seeking some elusive archeological treasure.
The dangers that Jones faces are many. He has escaped from rolling boulders, fires, plane crashes, and booby traps. He has faced Nazis, snakes, rats, and his own fears. He always comes out alive and he never loses his hat.
Indiana Jones is a heroic character, but he is a fictitious character. I want to tell you about a real hero and adventurer. He had a treasure that he lived to share. His name was Paul the Apostle and his treasure was the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul also was constantly in danger. He spent much time in jail and escaped from one city in a basket. Five times he was beaten with a whip. Three times he was beaten with rods and once he was stoned and left for dead.
Three times Paul was shipwrecked and once he was snake-bit. As he traveled, he faced dangers from rivers and robbers and friends and enemies. He found trouble in the cities, trouble in the open countryside, and trouble among people who pretended to be his friends. He spent many sleepless nights, hungry, cold, and thirsty. From his letters, we know that he often longed for the warmth of a coat and the companionship of a friend.
Indiana Jones never lost his hat, but Paul never lost his faith. Paul ran a strong race and fought a good fight. He knew that he would be all right. He once said, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Jones faced danger for dead treasure. Paul gave his life for incorruptible glory
The Indiana Jones movies are mildly entertaining but the stories of Paul are awe-inspiring. Indiana Jones is make-believe, but Paul is real. May we all be like Paul who said “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes–. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith”. (Romans 1:16-17)
By now almost everyone has heard of the “Asbury Revival.” A Wednesday night chapel service that continued for weeks. It has been reported that the Holy Spirit had taken control. It was also reported that the testimony, preaching, and singing of ordinary people were used in a mighty way.
This happened organically. There were no famous preachers, no well-known musicians, and no influence from religious denominations. It seems the Holy Spirit alone was in control. Jesus was lifted up and people were drawn to Him. And some people didn’t like it.
What I have to say is not in response to the “Asbury Revival.” I was not there so I can’t give an accurate report on it. But I have heard and read commentary on this amazing phenomenon from different people. Most have been positive. Others however have been negative. What I have to say is in response to the negative comments.
When I read the Bible, I see that whenever Jesus was teaching there was always Scribes and Pharisees present. These men were not there to worship, learn or glorify God. The Pharisees would show up to hinder Jesus and try to retain their influence over the people. Sitting in prominent places they were horrified because Jesus didn’t follow their rules and regulations.
Today many self-appointed VIPs have reported their negative opinions on this movement. Some say we should test the spirit, and with that, I agree. Some people ask if this revival is for real. To that, I say “Wait twenty years until we can examine the fruit of this movement, then ask me again.” Until then I will rejoice that the Name of Jesus is heard everywhere. He is lifted up, souls are being saved, and lives are changing. And I will pay no attention to the Pharisees on the front row.
A religious leader approached Jesus and asked, “ Sir what is the first and greatest commandment?” Jesus answered, Listen! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. “The second is to Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
It is true and all Christians know it. All the commandments of God are contained in these words, “ Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” I do not intend to take anything away from those commandments but I believe that we have missed the first commandment in this passage of scripture. You see the very first thing Jesus commanded us to do was to “ listen”.
Read the Bible and you will hear the voice of Jesus as he teaches the whole counsel of God. Listen to the wind in the trees and be reminded that the Holy Spirit reveals knowledge of the Holy One. Hear the laughter of a child and know that there is joy in heaven over the salvation of a lost soul. Hear the shuddering sobs of mourners and understand that Jesus weeps with the brokenhearted. Just listen and the evidence of God’s love will be heard all around.
So, rise early and listen as a new day begins. Hear the last call of the whippoorwill and the awakening coo of a dove. Listen as the raucous cawing of a crow instigates the chattering debate of squirrels. In the distance, a cow is lowing to be fed and closer by hummingbirds are quarreling over the feeder. Through all this noise you can’t help but love the Lord your God with all your heart. Especially when this cacophony of nature transforms into the symphony of creation. You see it’s just an old fashion love song that was written for you and me and it’s being sung in perfect harmony.
When I read the Bible I see that whenever Jesus was teaching there was always Scribes and Pharisees present. These men were not there to worship or learn or glorify God. The Pharisees would show up to hinder Jesus and try to retain their influence over the people. In this podcast, I share my thoughts on the people, who have spoken negatively abouttheAsbury Revival.
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.
Everywhere you go you will find men with the spirit of Isaac. Most people unfairly consider them to be 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 bi-vocational 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.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus asked two fishermen, Simon and Andrew to be His disciples. He called them by saying,” follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” These were two ordinary men who were destined to remain ordinary until they trusted Jesus. Then He made them into extraordinary men.
When most people consider what Jesus said to these men they usually focus on the words, “fishers of men”. However, you miss the point if you focus on those words. Jesus used these words because they were fishermen, and they understood the terminology. Jesus will always speak to us in ways that we can understand.
As we consider what Jesus said to these men I think that the most important words in this sentence are, “I will make you.” It is important to realize that Jesus has a plan and purpose specifically for each of us. You see, He made Simon and Andrew fishers of men. If you are a carpenter He might make you into a builder of men, or a welder may become a mender of broken men.
An old preacher used to say; “bloom where you are planted.” That is good, but I say that we should also use the tools that are handy. Whatever and wherever you are God is exceedingly and abundantly able to use you. He does not want you to be something that you are not. He just wants to make you the best at what you are.
In 1 Peter 4:10, we read; “Everyone should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.” God is calling out to you with a promise. He promises to make you into an extraordinary person. But you must be willing to trust Him with your life. You must choose to follow Him and let Him use your tools and your talents for His glory.
It was a cold day in February. I sat at my breakfast table and watched a couple of blue jays build a nest in a tree in my yard. As I watched, it occurred to me that these birds were exercising great faith.
By building this nest they were saying, we believe that spring will come, the sun will shine, and worms will come from the ground. We also believe the eggs in this nest will hatch and the baby birds will grow to maturity and fly away. That is a lot of faith to be exercising on a chilly February morning.
Well, you may say that faith is not the right word to use here. That it was not faith being exercised by the blue jays. They built this nest because of the natural instinct ingrained in their DNA. However, these birds were sure of things they hoped for and certain of things they did not see. That is faith!
What is Christian faith anyway? Is it not the exercising of the God-given DNA we inherited when Jesus became our Savior? Hope enters our hearts when the Holy Spirit is our Guide and God is our King. This hope is not wishful thinking that something good might happen. It is a calm assurance that God has promised us a bright future.
The sun does not always shine. Some days are cold and dreary. Often our finances are strained and we struggle with sickness. But as God’s children we live by faith. And like the blue jays, our faith allows us to be sure of the things we hope for and certain of things we cannot see. It is through this faith that we have won God’s approval.