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 saw 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 with 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 over heard people talking about Jesus. I say “over heard” 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 to 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? Has addictions caused you to spend all you have seeking relief from your demons? Are you broken and abused ? Do you stand there weeping? Your life filled with loneliness as 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 a nobody.
Today I hope you hear about Jesus. I hope you will push through the 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 sin He makes us somebody who is alive in Christ. Wow, look at the love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Anybody can reach out to Jesus because everybody is somebody to Him.
He walked into the shop early on a Monday morning. With my usual greeting I asked him, “ how are you doing today?” His answer was “ I don’t know yet.” My pastor senses were triggered, telling me that he had some problems on his mind. I said, “ Jesus loves you, so everything is going to be alright.” His face lit up and he said, “ Brother, you know you are right, and I really needed to be reminded of that this morning.”
His name was Harry and he and I immediately became friends. We are about the same age and have a lot in common. Both of us love Jesus, our families and America. In our conversation, we talked about the craziness in the world today. We are both concerned about all the riots and the hysteria over the corona virus. This causes us both to worry about the world that our grandchildren will inherit. Thankfully, we both know that Jesus is in control.
Oh, by the way Harry’s skin is dark and my skin is light. But our different skin color does not matter to us. We became friends because of all we have in common. It is our common prayer that America would return to the God of our salvation and be healed.
In this world we live in, racism is a commodity of small minded and manipulative people. Many politicians, most of the news media and some so called preachers, exist only for the money they make by causing heartache and division. These evil and wicked people thrive most when good people suffer. They hate it when good men like Harry and I ignore our differences and come together over the things we have in common.
Hey, let’s turn this world around. Just turn off the news. Those talking heads on television will only tear us apart. Love God with all your heart and your world will be changed. Love your neighbor as you love yourself and you might change their world. Understand this, you cannot be reconciled with your fellow man until you are reconciled with God. I am paraphrasing Romans 10:12-13 when I say; “ There is no difference between Black and White, because the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:12-13
Let us all call on the name of the Lord and let the reconciliation begin.
I sit on my back porch drinking coffee. The air is still cool, the birds are singing and last night’s dew still glistens on the grass. Everything I see is beautiful and everything I hear is peaceful. As I sip my coffee, I am almost deceived into believing that all is well in this world.
But then I listen to the radio or watch a talking head on television and am reminded that stupidity is prevalent. Satan is the great manipulator. He has convinced people that immorality is moral and wickedness is righteous. Souls are marching to hell while flying the rainbow flag and babies are being murdered with the approval of many so called christians. And I know that the world is far from well.
Here in America we are concerned for our nation. We hope and pray that God will turn us from our sins and return us to our former righteousness. However, we make the mistake of reminiscing with rose colored glasses. You see the good old days were not that good and this country has never been righteous. Understand this, God is not going to save America because God does not save nations, He saves people.
But there is cause for optimism. Our God still reigns and always will. It is true because of our prosperity many Americans think that God is unnecessary. However the Light of Salvation is driving out darkness in all the nations of the world. In Habakkuk 1:5 we read, “Look at the nations and observe — be utterly astounded! For something is taking place in your days that you will not believe when you hear about it.”
Yes, God is answering our prayers for revival. Great awakenings are happening all around the world. Just not in our neighborhood. An inconvenient truth for children of God is this. Salvation does not come from works less any man should boast but revival is all about us working for and bragging on God.
When the children of Israel were trapped between Pharaoh and the Red Sea they cried out to God. God told them it was time to quit talking and start walking. Jesus commands us to “ Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.” Prayer is important. But the bottom line is this, until we are willing to stop talking and start walking there will be no revival in our neighborhood.
What is a conqueror? A conqueror is someone who enters into battle with the knowledge that he might lose. Yet with courage and determination he pours all he has into the battle seeking to overcome the enemy. Hoping that he will be victorious.
However, the Bible tells us that a child of God is more than a conqueror. What does it mean to be more than a conqueror? Well, a person who is more than a conqueror knows that the fight is fixed and he cannot lose. As we enter the battle, we know that we can be wounded and injured. There will be times when we are frightened and discouraged. And yet, we are more than conquerors, because we have the assurance that whoever is born again has already overcome the world. Our hope is in Christ and He has already made us victorious.
Yes, those of us who are more than conquerors are assured of victory before the battle even begins. When Moses demanded that Pharaoh let the Israelites go, Pharaoh was already defeated. The walls of Jericho could not stand, because Joshua obeyed the instructions of the Commander of the Army of the Lord. And the giant Goliath had no chance against a little shepherd boy, because David knew that the battle belonged to the Lord.
We have this promise, if God is for us then no one can stand against us. So, I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable can defeat us. If Jesus is your Lord, absolutely nothing can come between you and God’s love. Victory is ours because in Christ we are More than Conquerors
It had been a good trip. Thousands of men had gathered on the Mall in Washington DC for a Promise Keepers rally. The glory of God had invaded the place. Great sermons and music had blessed all our hearts. Now riding on a chartered bus we were on our way home.
The trip home was going pretty good until somebody discovered that the bus had a PA system. Now there is something about a microphone that makes some men think they have something important to say. So one by one various men grabbed the microphone to “ share” their testimony. This was all good, I guess. But I tuned it out, because all I wanted to do was to ride in silence, look out the window and think about God’s great love.
We were riding through Virginia. The highway we were on gave us a great view of the Shenandoah Valley. Surrounded by hills and mountains this green valley stretches for miles. It is one of the most beautiful views in America. Never having seen it before, I was fascinated by the beauty of God’s handiwork. It was at this time that the microphone holder said, “ I want everyone to bow your head and close your eyes while I pray!” I said to myself “ I don’t think so you big dummy.”
It seems to me that men are always getting in God’s way. When The Father wants to show us great things, somebody wants us to close our eyes in prayer. When God wants to whisper in our ear, somebody wants to shout a sermon at us. And when the Lord wants us to be still and know that He is God, a lot of churches want to fill our lives with things to do.
Yes, it is true. We need to pray with each other, and we need to spend time encouraging each other. It is important to listen when people talk about what God is doing. It is also true that we need the church and the local church needs us. But we must never forget that even Jesus needed time to rest and be alone with His Father.
In His wisdom God has given us ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts full of desire. So with your ears, listen to His still small voice. With your eyes, look for the beauty of His Holiness and with your heart, yearn for the peace that is beyond your understanding. The sweetest communion with God is found in the solitude of your soul. So learn to tune out the noise of the world and listen to the whisper of His voice.
The Apostle Paul was a simple man. To the Corinthians he said that he had decided that he would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the One who was crucified. He came to them in weakness, timid and trembling. His message and preaching was very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches he relied only on the Holy Spirit.
Paul was not an attractive man; he did not draw crowds because he looked good . When he spoke he was blunt and to the point so people did not gather around him for his charismatic character. It is thought that he may have had a physical deformity, so his appearance may have caused people to avoid him.
He was not a big shot preacher. If he were here today he probably would not be invited to speak at the annual preaching conference nor would he be appearing at the denominational convention. And yet this simple man, while he was in chains, had the opportunity to stand before kings and governors and preach Christ and Him crucified.
It is true, Paul did not have a church growth plan, but everywhere He went strong churches grew. He did not have a disciple making plan, but his disciples took the Gospel into all the world. He was not a dynamic preacher but his preaching is still impacting the world today.
Paul was an intelligent and highly educated man, but for him it was the foolishness of the cross and not the wisdom of man that was important. He gladly poured out His life for the Gospel and counted it a privilege to suffer for the Savior.
This is my challenge to all of you. I hope you understand that the just shall live by faith. You must never be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. The scandal of the Cross is our only hope of eternal life.
To the preacher who wishes to please God I say this; put away the how to preach books. Throw away that resume that you planned to send to the bigger church. Stand wherever you are and preach with the power of the Holy Spirit. Understand this, your purpose and goal is to take the Gospel into all the world and it is not human wisdom but the power of God that will save the souls of men.
I saw it on an empty shelf in a store. The merchandise that usually filled that shelf was sold out. In its place was a sign that said, “ more to come”. This was a promise that the empty shelf was only a temporary condition. There was more to come, it would be full again.
“More to come” was an assurance that the emptiness would not last. This is nice if you are looking for a book in a bookstore. But what happens if it is your life that suddenly has the gaping empty spot? Where is the promise of “more to come” when death takes a loved one? Where is the hope of “more to come” when a crazy disease steals your future? Where is the desire for “more to come” when divorce devastates your marriage? Life events like these often leave us feeling empty and thinking that there cannot possibility be any “ more to come.”
However in Jeremiah 29:11, God says “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Now, can you hear the laughter of children and the birds singing? That is God’s assurance that life will go on. Take a deep breath, do you feel the air rushing into your lungs? That means you’re still alive. If you’re still alive, then take the breath that is in your lungs as God’s promise that there is “ more to come”.
Now, God never promised His children that every day would be good. But if we trust Him, we will find that everyday God is good. As a child of God, we have only seen the beginning. We don’t know how we will end up! Our eyes cannot see, our ears cannot hear and our hearts cannot understand the fullness that God has for His children. We know that faith is the essence of things hoped for and the certainty of things not seen. It is our faith in Jesus that fills our empty hearts and guarantees us that there is “ More to Come”.
The old man sat in a corner of the church enjoying the worship service. He was the best preacher and teacher in the church, but he seldom spoke anymore. He was old and he was tired so he had passed the baton to another generation. But in recent months, he had begun to be concerned about the things being taught to the congregation. The pure Gospel of Jesus Christ was being changed to appeal to a larger audience. Many were teaching that Jesus was not a real person and that He was not the only way to the Father. The old man determined he must speak out. He would tolerate nothing, but the truth.
With strength in his legs and firmness in his voice which he had not felt in months, he stood and began to speak. This is how his message began “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life” Yes, the old man was John the beloved, the one whom Jesus loved. He was the last of the generation that had eaten fish with Jesus. He had leaned against the breast of the Master. He had watched the Savior die and he saw Him live again. He, the one whom Jesus loved, would never let the Lover of his soul be marginalized by any teaching that was not the truth.
John stood as a wall that was intolerant of false teachers. He proclaimed that Jesus is alive and we can walk with Him and talk with Him. He taught that the Son of God was the only one who could stand for us as an advocate before the Father. John knew that the Holy Spirit bore witness to the Truth. He also knew that the Antichrist had evil spirits speaking through many false prophets. John’s writings teach us, if we are children of God we will be obedient to God. And if we are obedient to God, we will tolerate nothing but the truth about the Savior .
Jesus is the one who was from the beginning. With my ears I have heard His voice and with my eyes I have seen his love. His breath has breathed life into my soul and His touch has guided my steps. Like John, I have been heartbroken when man made doctrines have guided people into hell. Now while many preachers are arguing the finer points of Calvinism and Arminianism, I have determined to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified. Jesus Christ is the living Savior. This is truth. I challenge all who hear and read these words. Stand on the Word of God, accept only the truth and nothing but the truth.
I feel like we may have been misled. Most of us were told that all we had to do was repeat the sinner’s prayer and we would be saved. After saying the sinner’s prayer most of us were led to believe that living for Jesus was going to be easy. But it ain’t.
As a nine year old boy, I repeated the sinner’s prayer and was saved. Yet it was not the words I prayed that saved me, it was my faith in Jesus. At the time I did not understand much about Jesus, but I trusted Him. The amazing thing is He understood everything about me, yet He still trusted me with the gift of salvation.
Yes it is easy to receive salvation. You don’t have to do anything or say anything. All you have to do is trust Jesus and surrender your life to Him. However, regardless of what you may have been led to believe, it ain’t easy to live for Jesus after you’re saved. I know. I am sixty five years old. I have been saved since I was nine. Yet I still struggle with the same sins I struggled with as a teenager. I thought it would get easier, but it didn’t.
Jesus never promised that walking with Him would be easy. He told us that in this world we would have trials and tribulations. But He he did promise that His grace would be sufficient. The perfection of His power is revealed when we are weak. So when I struggle with sin, I know the Lord God helps me and I will never be disgraced. For this reason I am determined to be hardheaded as I face the world and I know I will never be put to shame. It is Jesus Christ who has vindicated me and He will never be far from me. Together with Him I will stand. because life in this world ain’t easy.
A large source of contention between many husbands and wives is that the husband does not talk much. I suppose it has always been this way. Most men do not feel a need to talk. When they do, they use short sentences and mostly single syllable words. This drives their wives crazy. They wonder does my husband love me? Well yes he does, but he is most comfortable saying nothing.
Now, men have a good precedence for not being talkative. Joseph the husband of Mary was one of the most well respected men in the Bible. And yet no one can quote anything Joseph said. Joseph was a good man who sought the best for his fiancé. He was a thoughtful man who carefully considered the path that he was to travel. He was a listening man who was able to hear the angel say, “You are to take Mary as your wife and call the baby Jesus.” Joseph was a quiet man and in all of this we find that Joseph said nothing.
Now I am not defending the tendency of men to be silent. I, like most men, need to learn to better express my thoughts and feelings to my loved ones. However, I do want to challenge men to step up and become men of God. A great problem in the world today is brought about by Satan’s mostly successful plan to destroy the family. This problem is the huge number of children who have no father because of rampant divorce and unwed pregnancy. This issue is as prevalent in the church as it is out. And just like most men are silent, the churches of today are loudly saying nothing.
Joseph did not have to be a daddy to Jesus. But he listened to God and did it anyway. That is what real men do. We listen to God. Hear me men, it is time for you to step up and become the righteous leaders of the church. It is time to address the uncomfortable issues. It is time for men to be Godly daddies to their own children. It is time for men to be righteous father figures to those who have no daddy.
Now I may have lead you to believe that the Bible did not record anything that Joseph ever said. But that is not quite right. You see, when Mary’s baby was born Joseph called His name Jesus. Today we need Godly and righteous men who will speak the name of Jesus to the world. When it comes to saying anything better than that, I can think of nothing.