When Jesus taught his disciples using parables, the parable was like solving a math problem with pen and paper. He wanted His students to gain understanding more than knowledge. And Jesus used His parables like a road map because when His disciples arrived at their destination, He wanted them to know how they got there.
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A character from an eighties television show was known for this catch phrase, “ I love it when a plan comes together.” I believe he may have stolen that saying from the Apostle Paul. You see, Paul had a plan to preach the Gospel in Rome. However it was not really his plan, it was God’s plan. Paul made this trip to Rome, as a prisoner of Rome. On the way he was shipwrecked, he was snake bit and he was almost killed by Roman soldiers. However Paul never faltered because God had assured him that he would stand before Caesar. Paul was sure that his plans would come together, because he trusted in God’s plans.
Today this great country I love, is in turmoil. It is in turmoil because powerful people profit from this turmoil. It is also in turmoil because God’s people have become comfortable in their sins. In our comfort, Satan has lulled many to sleep. While God’s people are sleeping, the foundations of our nation are being destroyed. It almost seems hopeless. But God is in control. He has a plan. However, as we travel to the fulfillment of God’s plan, like Paul we may find that the journey is not pleasant. But pleasant or not we know that we can trust God, because His plans always come together.
It happens all the time. You have your life planned out. But then life happens. All of a sudden there are words in your vocabulary that you never wanted to speak. Words like miscarriage, bankruptcy, cancer, ALS, and Alzheimer’s. Words that destroy your plans. There are no words to counteract the heartache of those words. There is only the comfort of knowing that we have a God whose ways and thoughts are better than our ways and thoughts. He has a perfect plan for our lives. God says to us in Isaiah 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand.” Put your trust in God and you will find that His plan always comes together.
God specializes in nothing special. That which is ordinary is His specialty. You might think God would specialize in the extraordinary and would deal only with superiority. After all, the Bible tells us that God, “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think?
Yes, He is an omnipotent God with unimaginable power and ability. He is the God who spoke the universe into existence and directed light to come from darkness. He is superior to all things because He is The Maker of all things. He is the grand and glorious God, who specializes in nothing special.
Think about the ordinary things that throughout history God has used. For example, look at God’s greatest treasure, mankind. God formed man from a handful of ordinary dirt. Later He told Moses to use a simple staff to divide the Red Sea. And later still a plain shepherd boy named David would use an ordinary rock to kill a loud mouth giant. Even Jesus, our Savior was born in a cow shed and His first bed was a feed trough. Jesus then called twelve ordinary men to be the ones who would saturate the world with an extraordinary Gospel. You see God really does specialize in nothing special.
So, what does all this mean to us? Well, I think it is time to stop waiting on the doctors of divinity and professors of preaching to deliver revival. And don’t expect the mega-churches and tv preachers to bring about a great awakening. The Bible tells us “That not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” Because, “God gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases their strength.” He reveals His supernatural power by using ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
Here lies the strength of God. He can use stone cutters and carpenters to hammer out Satan’s influence. He will employ truck drivers and mailmen to deliver the gospel and farmers and sewing machine operators to sow seeds of hope. Meanwhile crane operators and Godly parents are raising up a new generation of evangelists. You see it does not matter who you are, where you are or what you are doing, God has a special calling for you. Maybe you are nothing special, but you are just what God wants, because He specializes in using nothing special for His glory.
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. “I Corinthians 1:26-28”
These fundamental objects of the Constitution are in perfect harmony with the revealed objects of the Christian religion. Union, justice, peace, the general welfare, and the blessings of civil and religious liberty, are the objects of Christianity, and always secured under its practical and beneficent reign.
The state must rest upon the basis of religion, and it must preserve this basis, or itself must fall. But the support which religion gives to the state will obviously cease the moment religion loses its hold upon the popular mind.
This is a Christian nation, first in name, and secondly because of the many and mighty elements of a pure Christianity which have given it character and shaped its destiny from the beginning. It is preeminently the land of the Bible,of the Christian Church, and of the Christian Sabbath……..
The chief security glory of the United States of America has been, is now, and will be forever, the prevalence and domination of the Christian faith.
( From the book, “The Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of United States.” By Benjamin Franklin Morris)
In Joshua 13:1 we read these words; “Joshua was now old, getting on in years, and the Lord said to him, “You have become old, getting on in years, but a great deal of the land remains to be possessed.” Now I wonder, was God displaying a sense of humor here. Really, as Joshua stood there with all the aches and pains that come with age and the long years of service to God, do you think that he needed God to tell him that he was old? No, i don’t think so,I really think that God may have chuckled when He said this.
I have had a good many birthdays. When I crawl out of bed in the morning my bones creak and pop. Then I reach for my glasses because the years have blurred my eyesight. Old wounds and scars I have accumulated throughout the years remind me of some of the dumb things I have done to myself. So if God where to say to me, ” Doug, you are old and advanced in years” I would chuckle and say, ” you think.”
Now, when God told Joshua that he was old, He also told him that there was a lot more land to possess. In other words God said, Joshua you are old, but you ain’t done. So rub some oil on those creaky old bones and get up and get busy.
In my years on this earth I have seen a lot and done a lot. But I am not finished yet. There is still a lot more to do and see. I believe that God has said to me, Doug, you are old and advanced in years but you ain’t done yet. There is more work to do, so get up and get busy.
Now many of you like me, have had a lot of birthdays. All those birthdays are making your bones ache and your muscles hurt. However if you have pain that is proof that you are alive and if you are alive that is proof that you ain’t done yet. God is saying rub some creme on those old muscles then get up and get busy. Remember, make plans for the future as if you have many tomorrows, but live today as if you have none.
Joash was a King of the nation of Judah. His mentor and advisor was a priest named Jehoiada. For many years the King was a great leader. Because of the influence of Jehoiada he made wise decisions and his leadership was pleasing to God. For this reason the nation was blessed. But then, Jehoiada died.
With the death of his Godly mentor, Joash lost his mooring. He then surrounded himself with ungodly men who led him to make poor choices. These men influenced the King to turn from worshiping God. This led to great suffering in Judah. The first part of his reign was filled with greatness, the second part was marred with failure. Joash was a good man who listened to the advice of wicked people, for this reason he died in shame and disgrace.
A local college football team was often encouraged by their coach to “Finish the drill”.
The coach was telling them to stay focused on the goal. They had to stay strong, remain grounded in their training and finish what they started. King Joash was a good man who started strong. But he did not remain grounded in his faith and he did not finish the drill.
Years ago I was watching the World Series when the announcer made a profound statement. He said that the championship teams did not get to the top by practicing the doing of great things. These teams were great champions because they hit the field every day and practiced simple and fundamental baseball. Practice keeping both hands on the glove and the impossible over the shoulder catches will come.
In the Bible Jesus promised that we can do great things. However, He taught us to do the simple things. As children of God, the greatest trophy we can hope to receive is to hear Jesus say “Well done My good and faithful servant.” This will happen only if we stay focused on the fundamentals. We must read the Bible daily, pray constantly and surround ourselves with Godly people.
Remember, it does not matter where you started, it is where you finish that counts. So focus on God, be led by the Holy Spirit, put on the mind of Christ, and finish strong.
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. Myself 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, stop waiting for a high powered evangelist to bring revival. Get up, walk into you neighborhoods and turn the world upside down with the Gospel. Pastors let’s stop preaching our puny little self help sermonettes. We must 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 all the world and make disciples.
The question is “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.
His name was, well we really don’t know if he even had a name. He is known as Bartimaus, but that just means that his father was a man named Timaus. 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 worthy of a name, so they just called him the son of Timaus.
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 loudly continued to 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 has a name that 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.
I remember once when I was a teenager, my daddy and I where deer hunting in the area of Oglethorpe County called Goosepond. My daddy had gone in one direction towards his stand and I went another way toward mine.
As I was going to my stand I jumped a deer. When the deer ran, I followed it. The deer never ran far, and although I never had a clear shot at it, every few yards I would catch a glimpse of it. All evening I followed that deer, with it staying just close enough to keep me interested in the hunt.
Now, here’s the problem; while I was concentrating on following the deer I was not paying attention to where I was going. All of a sudden I realize that I had been following that deer for several hours and now it is getting dark. But where am I? Which way do I go to get back to my daddy? I was lost! I was separated from my daddy and did not know how to get back to him.
Ok, you see the problem, and you probably know where I am going with this. You see the world has ways of separating us from our Heavenly Father. There are things that capture our attention and they beguile us into following after them. They may not be bad things; they are just things that take our focus of God. We start following after these things and all of a sudden we realize that we have not heard from God in a while. Now it’s dark and we don’t know how to get back to our Father. And it is dangerous to wander around in the dark.
OK, back to the deer hunt. I was lost and I really wanted my daddy. What did I do? Well I called out for him. He was a long ways off, but he heard me and he answered me. We continued to call back and forth until I found my way back to him. To this day I can still remember the sound of my daddy’s voice as he called out to me in the dark.
What do you do when the world draws you away from The Heavenly Father? What do you do when it is dark and you don’t know how to get back to Him? Well you call out to Him. You can be sure that He will hear and He will answer your call. In Psalms 141:1 we read; “LORD, I cry out to You; Make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You.”
Look, if you find yourself separated from God and it is dark just keep calling out to Him and He will keep answering you. You will never forget the sound of His voice as it leads you home.