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)
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.
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 tells 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.
He had been coming to this pool for thirty-eight years. He was crippled, unable to move without someone helping him. The legend said that the first one in the pool after the water moved would be healed. Multitudes of sick people surrounded him. Because of his disability, someone else always got there first when the water was stirred
One day Jesus showed up and asked the crippled man, “Do you want to be made well.” Now some people might consider this to be a dumb question. After all, wasn’t it evident that this crippled man was there hoping for a miracle? However, we don’t know the whole story. But Jesus did. Maybe, the Lord knew that all the man needed to do to overcome his infirmity was to get up, take up his bed and walk.
Jesus is asking us today, “Do you want to be made well?” For as long as I can remember I have heard Christians talk about the need for revival. I and other pastors have dreamed of a great spiritual awakening. Congregations all over the world are wondering how they can keep their sick churches from dying. Meanwhile, we go into our buildings, pull the doors closed behind us, and hope for a supernatural movement to stir the waters.
Christians, it is time to stop waiting for a high-powered evangelist to bring revival. Get up, walk into your neighborhoods, and turn the world upside down with the Gospel. Pastors let’s stop preaching our puny little self-help sermonettes. Boldly preach the Word of God no matter who it offends.
When the people in the pews can no longer ignore their sins, there will soon be a great awakening. Congregations, you need to stop worrying about your church. Jesus said: “I will build My Church”! Your job is to go into the world and make disciples.
Do we want to be made well? If we do, then we have got to get up and walk. The Kingdom of God is at hand. We don’t have any time to waste. Let’s stop waiting for someone else to stir the water and go make a big splash ourselves.
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.
His name was, well we don’t know if he even had a name. He is known as Bartimaeus, but that just means that his father was a man named Timaeus. The Bible says he was a blind man who sat by the road begging. Sometimes a person would feel sorry for him and throw a cheap coin in his lap. But mostly the world saw him as a person with no sight, no usefulness, and no hope. He was not even worth a name, so they just called him the son of Timaeus.
However, even blind people can hear and this man with no name had heard that Jesus could give hope to the hopeless, sight to the blind, and would even use useless people. When he heard that Jesus was close, he began to shout as loud as he could “Jesus, Son of David have mercy on me!” The people around him considered him a nuisance so they told him to be quiet. But he wouldn’t. He continued to loudly beg for mercy. He knew the people would not help him, but because of his faith and persistence, Jesus did.
Jesus was surrounded by people who had names. These people were irritated because of the loud noise coming from a man who was blind. They wanted him to be quiet. Jesus wanted him to be healed. Jesus said to the blind man, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” When the man received his sight, he followed Jesus, because Jesus is the Way. Once this man was blind and had no name but now he sees and his name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Do you have a name that is written in Glory? Jesus Christ is nearby, call loudly to Him, and don’t stop crying out until He hears you. He will answer and show you great and mighty things. If you have faith and are persistent, you will see like you have never seen and you will have a name that Jesus will never forget.
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.