Archive for September, 2020

Receiving God’s Message


   “I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world.  They were Yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you.  For I have given them the words which you have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from you; and they have believed that that You sent me” (John 17: 6-8.)


  Jesus began speaking directly to God in the presence of his disciples.  He identified his task and acknowledged that it had been accomplished.  His duty was to make God known to all those who were willing to listen.  The true children of God heard Jesus, accepted him as God’s messenger, and received his words as the words of God.  The Lord had given the disciples to Jesus; to teach, to love, to protect, and to nurture.  Today, God is still selecting individuals out of the world, to become His eternal possessions.  Anyone who accepts the message of Jesus Christ is a true child of God.  Those who follow God are saved, but those who choose to ignore His message will perish.

    In 1912 the Titanic slipped beneath the icy waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly 1000 people joined the ship on its journey to the bottom of the ocean.  Although there weren’t enough lifeboats to carry all of the passengers, no one truly needed to die.  Most people are unaware that a large ship named ‘The Californian’ was less than 20 miles away that night (close enough to have saved most of Titanic’s passengers.)  ‘The Californian’ received the distress calls from the Titanic (via radio communication and lamps;) they even observed nearly 8 distress flares, and the crew members later testified that the Titanic appeared to be listing in the water (leaning to one side.)  No one but God knows why, but for some reason the captain of ‘The Californian’ didn’t seem to take these messages seriously; he returned to bed after hearing the reports.  During an official inquiry into the captain’s actions, he remained elusive, continually changing his story; he even made attempts to doctor the log book and change their reported position on the evening of the tragedy.  The real circumstances of his inaction were never clear.  Many however went on to speculate that the Captain simply didn’t take the messages seriously.  He had heard the reports, but didn’t believe them, and for that reason 1000 people lost their lives.

   Jesus Christ, and the words that he spoke are God’s signal flares in a very dark and frigid world.  Some see the signals, and they are drawn to Him.  They see Jesus and know that He is God’s message, and because they believe in that message they are saved from death.  Sadly, no matter how many flares He sends up pointing to His Son, most will never take God’s message seriously. Jesus Christ is God’s message to us all.  Those who respond, will follow Jesus and dedicate their lives to spreading His message.  The initial response is your belief?  Do you believe today that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and that because of your faith in Him you have been granted eternal life?

    “Lord heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You increase our faith.  We desire to be Yours, and we believe Your message and accept Your words.  We await the life You have promised us, and we ask that you strengthen us in this world to do Your work.  Give us a desire to spread Your message to others, that we would make more disciples, and bring others out of death and into life.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Loving Your Neighbor


   “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered him saying: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he looked upon him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and, and took care of him. The next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend when I come next time, I will repay you.’ So, which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10: 29 – 37.)


    Samaria consisted of a population of pagan individuals dwelling within the borders of the nation of Israel (just north of Jerusalem); as non-Hebrews, they frequently engaged in immoral and idolatrous behaviors; for this reason, they were despised by the religious Israelites. In fact, many orthodox Jews, when traveling, would contemptuously journey around Samaria. After confirming the importance of loving one’s neighbor, Jesus was asked to define what constituted a neighbor. His reply came in the form of a story; in the narrative a man was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road; two religious Jews passed by, yet neither stopped to help (one was a priest and the other a supposed man of God.) Soon however, a Samaritan happened by, and his heart was filled with compassion. Seeking to preserve the man’s life, he gave of his time, his money, and his resources. He showed genuine mercy and astonishing generosity. Many today, like the priest and the Levite, are so concerned with what lies ahead that they fail to stop and assist those who are hurting and in need of assistance.
    Some time ago, during a cross-country meet in Minnesota, a young man named Mark Paulauskas was injured in the first half-mile of a two-mile race. He had been spiked by another runners’ cleats (a wound that would eventually require 20 stitches and a walking boot.) As Paulauskas cried out in agony, most of the other runners passed him by; they were more focused on the finish line than on the pain of a suffering opponent. Yet one individual heard his cries and was filled with compassion. A runner named Josh Ripley willingly abandoned his pursuit of victory so he could stop and help. Without hesitation he picked Mark up and carried him a half-mile back to the starting line. After committing his wounded competitor into the arms of the coaches, Josh Ripley sprinted off into the wilderness again; to complete his race. Although he didn’t win, he obtained a great victory in the eyes of God.
    Our fleshly nature commonly causes us to become so focused on what lies ahead that we ignore those who are right beside us. If we are not careful we can pass right by those who are hurting and ignore the call of God to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves.’ The world can be cold and apathetic; yet in the midst of indifference, there are those who are willing to display great compassion and mercy; they give selflessly; they love unconditionally; they listen to the Spirit of God; they are followers of Jesus Christ; they are Christians.
    “Lord Heavenly Father, may we always show sympathy toward those who are hurting and in need. May we be relieved of indifference and filled with mercy. May nothing ever be more important than genuine compassion, nor greater than Your divine love. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might be examples of Your affection in a world that has grown cold and apathetic. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Relying on God’s Power


    Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of me this very night, for it is written:  ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”  Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”  Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you that this very night, before the rooster crows, you shall deny me three times.”  Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you” (Mathew 26: 31-35.)


   After rejecting Christ’s prophecy, Peter vainly exalted himself above the other disciples, saying, “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”  Despite his best efforts, he would go on to deny the Lord three times before morning.  To strengthen His followers, Jesus promised to eventually send a replacement; and after his resurrection and ascension, he fulfilled His commitment. On the day of Pentecost, the disciples received the Holy Spirit.  Immediately after receiving God’s Spirit, Peter’s zeal was restored; prompting him to enter a crowded temple and boldly preach the gospel.  Leaning on his own strength, Peter had denied Christ three times; but relying on God’s power, he proclaimed Christ without fear.  Peter would go on to endure beatings, imprisonment, and even death for spreading Christ’s message.

   Peter shares his experience of divine empowerment with some other notable men of the bible.  While the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, a young Hebrew man named Moses believed it was his destiny to free his people.  One day he observed an Egyptian taskmaster beating one of his countrymen.  Filled with rage and a sense of duty, he killed the Egyptian.  In an effort to conceal his crime, he buried the body beneath the sand.  However, the body was quickly discovered, and a few days later, Moses’ life was in jeopardy.  Defeated and alone, he fled to the desert and became a shepherd; caring for livestock for decades.  At approximately 80 years old, God appeared to him and instructed him to return to Egypt to free his people.  He responded by proclaiming to God that he wasn’t ‘the right man for the job.’  He no longer believed he was capable of accomplishing the task.  A previously prideful and self-reliant young man had become an old man who realized his own weakness (apart from God); he was finally ready to be used by the Lord.  Relying on his own power, the young Moses hadn’t been able to bury even a single Egyptian.  But the mature Moses, utilizing God’s power, led his enslaved nation to freedom, and buried the entire Egyptian army beneath the waves of the red sea.

    Western culture often promotes self-reliance; but in divine culture reliance upon God is paramount.  Is there anything in your life that you are trying to accomplish on your own?  Are you struggling to endure a difficult trial unaided?  Our best efforts will never rival the works of God.  No matter how large the obstacle, or how great the need, if we humble ourselves, we can harness the power of the one true and living God. Only then will we be able to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 13.)

   “Lord Heavenly Father, You are an awesome and amazing God. Apart from You we are weak and insufficient.  Become our strength, that we might rely upon You instead of ourselves.  Give us victory over the things that cause us to stumble. Help us to stand firm, to endure, and to overcome.  May our hearts be humble and our lives filled with joy.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Two messages a week will be sent to your email address.

Join 6,155 other subscribers