It occurs to me that “nothing”, is a very important factor in the Christian life. That may sound strange, but it is true. You see the essence of “nothing” plays an important part in our worship of Jesus. We even sing about it in church when we sing; “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
There is a lot of nothing in the Bible that reveals the Amazing Grace of God’s love. Starting with the fact that in eternity there are only two destinations. One is Heaven the other is Hell. You’ve done nothing to deserve a home in heaven and nothing you can do will rescue you from hell. The only hope you have is based on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and His righteousness. If you have eternal life it is because of nothing you have done and everything that Jesus is.
A question is asked in Romans 8, “What can separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, hardship, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or death? No, in all these things we have complete victory! For I am certain that nothing can separate us from His love: not death nor life, nor angels nor other heavenly powers, nothing in the present nor the future, nothing in the world above nor the world below — there is absolutely nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The greatest nothing of all was found that Sunday morning when the ladies went to the tomb to anoint the dead body of Jesus. The stone was rolled away and when they looked inside, they saw Nothing! He was not there. He is alive! He has defeated death, hell, and the grave. Nothing could hold Him down. Nothing can rise against Him and prosper. Nothing is more powerful than God and nothing is more beautiful than His Majesty. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. Nothing is as solid as my Jesus.
Even though Paul was a great man of God, he still suffered from what he called a thorn in the flesh. What was this “thorn in the flesh”? No one knows for sure. It could have been an illness, a deformity, blindness or anything that might have affected his physical body.
This devotion is an audio podcast. Click the link below to hear more of my thoughts on Paul’s thorn in the flesh.
Early morning is best. I sit on my back porch to read, write and visit with God. Even though it is going to be hot today the air is still cool. While the breeze whispers a peaceful melody the birds and bugs sing the lyrics of creation. I can almost imagine that the world is at peace. However the sound of a jet overhead reminds me that a great big stupid world is never far way.
I don’t know who said it but I once read that government is a necessary evil. It is necessary because men need to be governed or there will be anarchy. It is evil because people with authority always crave more authority. Government has a insatiable appetite for growth and its food is the well being of the governed. Authority must be limited because a large and unlimited government is worse than no government at all.
As Christians we are told to pray for those in authority so that we may live in peace. We must obey God. However, there has never been a time without strife or war somewhere. Does this mean that God ignores our prayers? Of course not! You see, peace is not the absence of war. Peace is the presence of God and the knowledge that your eternal soul is safe even if your mortal body is not.
Yes, God told us to pray for those in authority but He never told us to trust them. Often world leaders will gather together for council. But these planning sessions are never for the good of the people. They are only seeking to perpetuate their power. However, if we trust in God’s holy name we know that He will frustrate their plans. The Word of the Lord will stand forever and no weapon formed against Him will prosper.
The eyes of God are on those who fear Him. If our hope is in His mercy, He will deliver our souls from death and protect us in times of trouble. If we entangle our hearts in God’s strength, He will be our help and shield. So, when the heathen rage and the nations plot vain things let not your heart be troubled. Listen; the birds and the bugs are still singing because they know, our God still reigns.
Two ships leave the port. Headed for a distant land both ships hope to return loaded with valuable cargo.
One ship rides high and majestic in the water. Her sails filled with air, she seems to fly along on top of the water. The captain stands at the wheel piloting his vessel with pride. Because of the speed and agility of the ship he anticipates a quick and successful journey.
The second ship sets low in the water. Her sails are also filled with air but she struggles to force her way through the water. With a firm grip on the wheel her captain watches as the first ship leaves him and his crew behind.
The first night out there is a fierce storm. Both ships are hit hard by the force of the wind. As the lightning flashes the crashing waves pound against the vessels. The storm is devastating. Only one vessel is able to survive. The wind and the waves batter the other one and is is tossed around on the ocean until it capsizes and is lost.
Why was one ship able to withstand the storm but the other couldn’t? The answer is simple. The surviving ship was weighed with ballast stone and the other vessel was not.
The first ship was lost in the storm because she was light and had no weight to give her stability. The second ship was able to withstand the storm because the captain had filled the cargo hold with ballast stones. The ballast stones caused her to ride low in the water, slowing the ship and making her look cumbersome. However, the ballast stones also gave her stability and the ability to withstand the storm.
The first ship is called Pride and the second ship was called Humility. The Bible teaches us that, A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor. Let humility be the ballast stones of your life because pride brings destruction but those who are humble will survive the storm.
In Matthew 11:12 we read “ From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” For a long time I did not understand this verse. I would read it, scratch my head and ask God “What in the world are you talking about?” The Bible says ask and you will receive, so one day while I was driving He showed me what this verse meant.
I was driving up the road in my little pickup when I met a truck pulling an open sided trailer hauling 10 or 12 cars. As the air went over under and around these cars, a forceful turbulence was created. As I encountered this turbulent air, it was like a violent force that almost stopped my pickup. In order to continue on my way I had to become more forceful than this wall of invisible air. So I grabbed another gear, stepped on the gas and powered through the violence.
This is the lesson I learned. The kingdom of heaven and God’s children have always faced violent attacks from Satanic forces. These attacks have and will increase as the Great Day of the Lord draws nearer. God’s people must not be fooled by those who tell us we should be tolerant and compromising. Like David we must fill our pockets with stones and like Jesus we must prepare to turn some tables over.
Jesus told us in this world we would face turbulence. But we need not be afraid, He has overcome the world. Satan will continue to attack us with violence and force. But with God we will gain the victory and He will trampled down the enemy. So when the enemy comes at us with a wall of turbulence and trouble, don’t let it slow you down. Lean into it, grab another gear, step on the gas and go.