Going Fishing

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Today’s Passages – John 20 – 21 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “1114 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Lovest Thou Me

“Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” – (John 21:3)

In our passage today we see Peter returning to his old occupation of fishing. When the Lord first called Peter into the ministry he was a fisherman. In fact, that occasion was amazingly similar to this passage. You can read about yourself in Luke 5, but I will point out some of the similarities:

In both passages Peter and company are fishing through the night on the Sea of Galilee (also called the Sea of Tiberius).

In both of the passages the fishermen catch no fish despite all of the efforts.

In both passages Jesus asks them to cast the net(s) out again. Actually, the first time the Lord told Peter to cast out his nets (plural). Peter reluctantly casts out one net, but the catch of fish was too big for the one net, and the net broke. He should have listened to the Lord.

In the first passage, Jesus was calling Peter into the ministry. He told Peter that he would no longer be fishing for fish, but rather he would now be catching men for the Saviour. In this morning’s passage, however, Peter is being reminded of that call. Jesus is reminding Peter that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. In other words, God was telling Peter that He had not changed His mind about Peter, even though Peter had just recently change his mind about the Lord. Remember, just a short time prior to this passage, Peter had denied the Lord. Peter thought that he was through. He assumed that the Lord would no longer want him in the ministry after what he had done. He was wrong. The Lord was not finished with Peter. He still wanted to use him. In tomorrow’s reading in Acts, we will see what the Lord will do with Peter.

The Lord is not through with you either. I know that you may have blown it in the past, like Peter did; but the Lord is merciful, and gracious. Don’t turn back, and if perhaps you have already turned back, you can always come back to the Lord. God called me to preach the Gospel nearly 25 years ago. There have been many times that I have wanted to quit and turn back, but I am thankful that the Lord has always somehow reminded me that He wanted me to keep going for Him, and by His grace, I am still fishing for men.

Don’t quit.


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Finish Well

finish-well

Today’s Passages – John 17 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 61 – 65; Proverbs 13)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “1113 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4)

I believe that John 17 is the real Lord’s Prayer. Jesus is about to be crucified, yet He spends this time shortly before His death praying for His disciples. He asks the father to shield them from evil, and to sanctify them through the Truth. He also asks that they would be unified, just as He was one with His Father. It is truly a beautiful prayer of intercession.

However, my thought this morning surrounds John 17:4. Jesus states that He was finished the work that He came to do, and that He did all to the glory of God. This verse reminds me of what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:6 – 8:

“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

The Apostle Paul completed the task that God had given him, and I believe the record plainly shows that he also glorified God with his life. He finished well.

What a practical challenge this is for us today. We should be encouraged to be like our Lord and also like Paul in this regard. Let us strive to completely, efficiently, and enthusiastically fulfill God’s will for our lives, and let us make sure that everything that we do brings glory to the Lord. We need to make the Lord look good to the world around us. Our lives ought to be bright, shining lights that boldly declare that Jesus is Lord.


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He Will Never Leave You

I-Will-Never-Leave-You

Today’s Passages – John 14 – 16; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 56 – 60; Proverbs 12)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Ephesians 4:32

Read the “1112 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (John 16:32)

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” – (Hebrews 13:5)

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – (Matthew 28:20)

The context of this passage of Scripture is the conversation Jesus had with His disciples after the Last Supper and before the crucifixion. He has repeatedly told them that He was about to leave them, and He has also instructed them several times in these three chapters about the coming of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost of God. In verse thirty the disciples make a bold declaration of their faith, and in the verse above (32) Jesus tells them that when He is taken away for crucifixion the disciples will scatter, leaving Him alone. However, He tells them that He is not really alone because the Father is always with Him. The Father will endure with Him the darkest time of His earthly life.

Have you ever felt that you were all alone and that nobody cared about what you were going through? God cares and God shares the pain and sorrows of life with you. If you are a child of God, born again through faith in His Son, you have the Holy Ghost of God that Jesus told us about in these chapters inside of you and with you. He is there all the time. Have you talked to Him today? Have you acknowledged His presence? Have you yielded to His will? I think the reason why most of us feel so alone at times is because we have failed to fully appreciate and develop our relationship with the indwelling Spirit of God, which then causes us to become over-dependent upon the approval of men. Think about it. If we could learn to live daily with the realization of the presence of God in every aspect of our lives, why we be so concerned about what people think? Yet, we are constantly pushed and pulled by the whims of men.

One of the central truths of the Christian faith is the presence of the Holy Ghost of God in the life of every believer, all of the time. We must learn to cultivate that relationship until the reality of that presence becomes very real to us. Speak to the Holy Ghost constantly, acknowledging Him. Ask for His help in understanding the Scriptures. Ask for His guidance and direction with decisions you need to make in life. Look to Him for comfort before running to another human. It may seem weird at first, but as you put these things into practice it will become more natural and He will become more real to you.


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Jesus Still Weeps

Jesus1_1024x1024Today’s Passages – John 10 – 11 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 46 – 50; Proverbs 10)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “1110 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Door”

“Jesus wept.” – (John 11:35 )

Though this verse is short in length, it is long in truth because it reveals the heart of compassion that God has for His children. If you think carefully about this passage, you will conclude that Jesus was not weeping for Lazarus. He knew that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead; He knew that Lazarus would soon be reunited with his sisters, Mary and Martha. In fact, Jesus delayed his arrival to Bethany long enough because had He gotten there earlier, we would have been reading about a healing rather than a resurrection. Jesus wanted to prove His power over death, and by so doing foreshadow his own resurrection. So why was Jesus weepin? I believe He was weeping because the people that He cared about were weeping. He identified with their grief. He actually felt the pain that they were feeling. It is comforting to know that even when Jesus allows difficult days to come into our lives, He goes through them with us; and He weeps with us.

As I was reading this passage, I got to thinking about another passage that tells us about our Saviour’s tears:

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – (Matthew 9:36)

In this passage Jesus looks out over the multitudes and He was “moved with compassion”, which means He wept for them. I believe at that moment Jesus not only saw the multitudes of that location and that time, but He also saw all of the people in every place throughout eternity that were without a Shepherd. He saw all of the people that were in need of a Saviour; and He saw all of the people who would ultimately die without Him. By the way, this verse has caused me to reject the Calvinistic idea that Christ created people to go to Hell, and does not give them a choice regarding salvation. Why would God weep over people that have no free will and were created to go to Hell. It just doesn’t make sense. No, “God is not willing that any should perish”. He wants people to be saved. Unfortunately, most will reject Him; and this will still cause God to weep.

Let me give you one more time where Jesus wept:

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – (Luke 22:44)

In this passage, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and He is about to have the sins of the world placed squarely upon His shoulders. His Father will turn His face away from Him, and pour out His wrath upon His only Son. Our sin causes God to grieve. We grieve Jesus, and we grieve the Spirit within us, when we sin. Many people are kept inside the will of God because they fear His wrath or judgment; but I have to tell you, His tears are what bother me the most. I don’t want to grieve God anymore. I have caused Him enough tears already.


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Before Abraham Was – I Am

John 8.58 I am

Today’s Passages – John 8 – 9; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 41 – 45; Proverbs 9)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Matthew 6:33

Read the “1109 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Put Down Your Stones

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. (John 8:18)

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23)

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:14)

This is one of my favorite passages of Scriptures in the entire Bible. I just love when Jesus tangles with the religious leaders. They never seem to get it. The “bottom line” of Christianity is taught very clearly in this passage: you either believe that Jesus is God or you do not. The Pharisees certainly did not. They accused Him of being a Samaritan and “born of fornication”. They said He had a devil. They claimed that because He grew up in Galilee that He was disqualified. I guess they didn’t bother to check where He was born because if they did they would have found that His birthplace was Bethlehem. Everything in the Scriptures completely pointed to Jesus being the true Messiah.

The thing that really amazes me about this passage though are all of the I am statements made by the Lord in this dialogue. There is no doubt here that Jesus was making a bold declaration as to Who He is. He is God. Remember when Moses asked God His name in Exodus 3. God said to tell the people that “I AM THAT I AM hath sent [him]“. Jesus uses that little phrase, I am, at least a half a dozen times in this passage alone. The best being verse 58 where He attests that He pre-existed Abraham. That really bothered the Pharisees. They took up stones to stone Him. Why? Because they knew that He was claiming to be God.

You can tell me that you do not believe the Bible, and I will accept that, but you cannot say that the Bible does not teach very plainly that Jesus is the Great I AM; that Jesus is God. And you cannot claim that Jesus did not claim deity for Himself. The record is crystal clear. You either believe it or you don’t. And until you put your faith in Jesus, the Great I AM, you will also remain in your sins.


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Are You Thirsty?

thirsty

Today’s Passages – John 4 – 5 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here  to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 31 – 35; Proverbs 7)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 89:1

Read the “1107 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Living Water

“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” (John 7:37)

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

I remember as a young boy I used to play baseball on a sandlot baseball team. Our team was made up of fellas from our neighborhood and we would challenge other neighborhoods to come play against us. I remember one particular game in the heart of the summer where we were playing the team from Lake Riviera. It was about 95 degrees outside and very humid. Do you know that only one person out of all of those boys there had enough sense to bring some water. We had about 2 dozen guys there that were very thirsty. The guy with the water jug almost did not make it out of there with his life, let alone his water.

In this passage of Scripture, we have the Lord Jesus talking with the woman at the well in Samaria. She was concerned about earthly water, the kind that is necessary to sustain life for the body. The Lord was concerned about spiritual water, the kind that is necessary to bring about everlasting life. He was referring to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God which would indwell all believers.

My thought this morning though is not about the water itself, but the thirst. Thirst equals desire. It is amazing to me how that so many Christians have a desire for the things that this world offers, but little thirst for the things of God. What do you desire? What do you thirst for? God desires to fill you to overflowing with eternal things, with the fruits of His Spirit; but He will not fill those of us who are not thirsty. Are you thirsty for God? I almost beat up the kid with the water jug that day, because I was thirsty; but how passionate am I about my desire for the spiritual? How about you?


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Just Do It!

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Today’s Passages – John 1 – 3 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 26 – 30; Proverbs 6)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 61:1 – 3

Read the “1106 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” – (John 2:5)

Several years ago Nike developed an advertising campaign surrounding the phrase “Just Do It”. I don’t know if the phrase was original with them or not, but they made it very popular. The world is stilled filled with t-shirts and bumper stickers with the slogan on them.

As I was reading this morning’s passage and came to John 2:5, I thought about the phrase “Just Do It”. I got to thinking that this phrase kind of sums up the secret to the successful Christian life. We are to find out what God says and do it. Now before you fuss with me, I understand that salvation is a gift we receive, and not and not an action we do; but we do need to listen to what God says about salvation and then apply it personally to our lives. And then after we are saved, we are to find the will of God for our lives through the word of God, and obey it. God says that if we “just do it” we will have success and fulfillment in the Christian life.

We are also to do the will of God heartily:

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” (Colossians 3:23)

There is way too much apathy among God’s people today. Where is the zeal for the Lord’s work that used to be so prevalent among believers.

We are also to do the will of God for our lives with joy:

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

We are also to do God’s will quickly, without procrastination.

“So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.” (Luke 14:21)

Just Do It!

“And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” (Luke 8:21)


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Mad About The Money

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Today’s Passages – John 12 – 13 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 51 – 55; Proverbs 11)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read the “1111 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read previous posts from this passage – “Closet Christians” and “Servant Leadership

“Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?  This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.” (John 12:4-6)

“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.” (Matthew 26:14-16)

Have you ever been to a church business meeting where people were fussing and fighting over how the money was being spent? In our passage today, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, took a very expensive ointment and poured it all out and anointed the Lord Jesus’ feet. Matthew’s gospel tells us that this ointment was worth three hundred pence, which is almost a years salary for a working man. Judas Iscariot thought that this was a tremendous waste of money. He said that the ointment should have been sold and given to the poor. He didn’t really care about the poor at all, but he did care about the money. Matthew’s account goes on to tell us that immediately after this event Judas set out to betray the Lord, and made the worst decision of his life – all because he got mad about the money.

Christian, be careful that you don’t get so concerned about money matters within the local church that it causes you to become angry, and then bitter, and then causes you to make stupid decisions. Jesus said:

“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15)

I have been part of local churches for a long time now, and I don’t always agree with every decision made by the leadership, but as long as the gospel is going forth and the Bible is being preached and God is being glorified, I do not let myself get bogged down with minor disagreements. Money issues can be a stumbling block for many of us, so be careful not to get too caught up in the administrative details of the church, and keep your focus on what is eternally important.


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That the Scripture Might Be Fulfilled by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passages – John 17 – 19 (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 61 – 65Proverbs 13)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 121

Read the “1113 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” – (John 17:12)

Good morning. What a great way to start the morning with my favorite chapter from the Bible: John chapter 17. Jesus is praying to His Father before going to the cross. Jesus prayed for His disciples, and us: those who would believe through their testimony: their word. And there was only one who was lost: the son of perdition: Judas.  And the explanation is given as to why: that the Scripture might be fulfilled (vs12). The Scripture, God’s Word, should be one of the most cherished possessions in our lives. Chapter 17 is all God’s Word (yes, even the 13 words printed black in verse 1). Because God’s will is being done no matter what, we can trust the promises from the Scripture will come to pass: that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

1) The Father would be glorified through Jesus, that the Lord’s glory would be restored as it was before creation, and that we would glorify Jesus (vs 1-10).

Revelation 19:11-16 says,

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

That the Scripture might be fulfilled.

2) Safety for believers (vs 11-16).

John 10:27-30 tells us this also,

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”

We are protected so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

3) Jesus also prayed that we would be sanctified (made holy) through the Scriptures (verses 17-19). And in Hebrews 10:10 the Scriptures tell us that,

“By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Because of His sacrifice the Scriptures say we are sanctified.

I’m getting excited about this. Isn’t it great to know you’re saved and on your way to Heaven!

4) In verses 20 through 23, Jesus prays for the unity of those who believe, and that the world would believe. Revelation 7:9-12 gives us a glimpse into the future. John said,

“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.”

And that’s only the tribulation saints, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

5) And I especially like verse 24 which tells us that one day we will see Jesus. Stephen saw Jesus just before he was stoned to death, Acts chapter 7:55-56 tell us,

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

Face to face we shall behold Him that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.

6) And that brings us to verses 25 and 26. Jesus prayed that we would have the same love of the Father that He had. This is the sacrificial love, the agape’ love. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This was Jesus going to the cross, paying the price for our sins, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. We are supposed to have the same love in us. We need to die too: die to self. If we can be a little bit humble, maybe bury our pride, we can easily forgive our brothers and sisters when they sin against us, or hurt us.

We should be demonstrating the love of God to others so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Peace (John 14:27).


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Do You Love Me?

Today’s Passages – John 20 – 21

(Second Milers also read –Psalms 66 – 70; Proverbs 14)

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)

I love this account of Peter being restored to service by the Lord. Let me make some observations:

Jesus first asks Peter if he loved Him “more than these”. The “these” of that question were the fish that Jesus had just prepared for the disciples. Peter had made the decision to go back to his old occupation of fishing. Peter was discouraged because of his previous failure of denying the Lord prior to His crucifixion. Peter thought that his service for the Lord had surely come to an end. Peter thought there was no way that the Lord would still want to use him after what he had done. God knew Peter would deny Him when He called him to follow Him, and He was still willing to use Peter even after He had failed. I think it is very interesting that the Lord did the very same miracle here at Peter’s restoration that He did very early in His earthly ministry where He first called Peter to serve Him.(see Luke 5:1 – 9) Both times Peter was fishing, and was not really getting anywhere. The Lord called Peter away from His fishing business in Luke 5, and He is now reminding Peter that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. Jesus had not changed His mind about Peter, though Peter certainly was not sure about himself.

The second observation that I would like to make is that Peter was certainly changed through the experience of denying the Lord. Formerly, Peter boldly asserted his love for the Lord stating that he would die for Him. Now, after failing that test, he is no longer self-confident. He does not make the same bold claims that he had previously made. The Lord use the word “agapao” when he asked Peter if he loved Him the first two times. Agapao is a deep, abiding, unconditional love. Peter replied that he “phileo” – loved the Lord. Phileo is the word for affection. Peter’s answer told the Lord that he had a fondness for Him, but he was no longer boldly declaring that he loved Him unconditionally. Peter was certainly humbled by his previous failure.  Peter is no longer boasting that he would die for the Lord, but the Lord goes on to tell Peter that he (Peter) would someday die because of his love and devotion to Him.

The third observation that I would like to make is that the Lord is very patient with His servants. He knows our frame, that we are but dust. He knows that even though we may be willing in spirit, we are still weak in our flesh. Praise God for second chances. I can’t count the number of times that I have blown it, yet God never gives up on me.

Peter certainly did go on to feed the Lord’s lambs, and he did get many more opportunities to demonstrate his love for Jesus. After the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, Peter preached the first great “church age” revival with 3000 saved and baptized. He had a boldness now that did come from his flesh, but that flowed mightily through him from the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

How about you? Maybe God called you to do something for Him, and you have forsaken that call. Why not come back to the Lord humbly, and see if He won’t put you back in the game like He did with Peter.


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Servant Leadership

Today’s Passage – John 12 – 13

“If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)

When I was in Bible College, I worked for Super One Foods, a supermarket chain that operated in the Ark-La-Tex area. They had a philosophy for management that was not common for many companies that I had been associated with before. They believed that the managers should work alongside of the employees, instead of just directing them. I was eventually promoted to a grocery department manager, which basically meant that I was the overseer of the night stockers. In order to get that position I had to demonstrate that I could stock as well or better than the other men on the night crew. Once I received the promotion, I still had to stock along with the crew as much as I could. There was nothing that I expected them to do that I was not willing to do myself.

Jesus taught and lived servant leadership. He did not separate Himself from His disciples, except when He was praying privately with His Father. He lived with them, ate with them, ministered with them; and most importantly, He served them. Here in this passage, He is washing their feet. It is interesting that none of the disciples thought about washing each other’s feet. The water was there, the towel was there, and the need was there; yet only the Lord had enough humility to get down on His knees and clean off the filth from the world that had accumulated on them.

I wonder, how many of God’s servants today are truly servants. Both words, “minister” and “deacon”, have as their primary meaning the idea of serving others. There are too many preachers out there that want to be ministered to, instead of ministering to others. Every once in a while I hear about  preachers that have a list of demands that must be met in order for him to come and minister to a church. The list might include first class flights, a certain brand of hotel, minimum amount of love offering, etc. Now I am certainly not opposed to giving “double honor” to the men that come to preach for us; but I can’t in my wildest imagination think that Jesus or Paul would have such a list of demands. We need to get back to serving people. All kinds of people: rich ones and poor ones; educated ones and ignorant ones; all cultures; all races; even the ones with very dirty feet.


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Where Am I Going To Go?

Today’s Passages – John 6 – 7; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 36 – 40Proverbs 8)

Memory passage for the month of November – Psalm 95

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” – (John 6:68)

I remember recently having a discussion with a close friend of mine about whether he ever thought about quitting on God. His answer kind of reminded me of Peter’s answer in John 6:68 above. He said, “where am I going to go?”.  What he was actually saying was that there is only one hope for salvation, and that is in the Person of Jesus Christ. Who else could we possibly turn to? There is no-one else.

I have been saved now for nearly twenty-two years; and in that time I have experienced many mountaintops. It is easy to praise God and exalt His name when I am on the mountaintop. However, I have also been in the valley, many times due to some bad decisions that I have made. In the valley it is not always so easy to praise the Lord. In fact it is not always easy to even see the Lord. There have been times that I have actually contemplated throwing in the towel, and turning my back on the Lord and His church. By the grace of God, He has kept me in, but I think what has always helped me was the fact that God would remind me that I really have no alternative. Who would I go to? What would I do? If I thought the valley I was in at the time was bad, I wondered how much worse life would be without the Lord. My faith in God, and the promises of His Word, would always keep me from quitting.

Praise the Lord for His grace! Let me encourage you: don’t run from the Lord – run to Him. He has the Words of eternal life!


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Living Water

Today’s Passages – John 4 – 5; (Click on the references to listen to the audio – click here to view the text from the Blue Letter Bible website)

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 31 – 35;Proverbs 7)

Memory passage for the month of November – Psalm 95

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 40:31

Read a previous post from this passage – “Are You Thirsty

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” – (John 4:13-14)

Several years ago I was preaching and teaching through the Gospel of John, and as I was preparing for the message from chapter four I came across a commentary written by a man named Arthur Pink. I was fascinated by what Pink wrote about this passage regarding how water is a type of salvation. Here is an excerpt from his book:

1. Water is a gift from God. It is something which man, despite all his boasted wisdom, is quite unable to create. For water we are absolutely dependent upon God. It is equally so with His salvation, of which water is here a figure. 2. Water is something which is indispensable to man. It is not a luxury, but a vital necessity. It is that without which man cannot live. It is equally so with God’s salvation—apart from it men are eternally lost. 3. Water is that which meets a universal need; it is not merely a local requirement, but a general one. All are in need of water. It is so with God’s salvation. It is not merely some particular class of people, who are more wicked than their fellows, for all who are outside of Christ are lost. 4. Water is that which first descends from the heavens. It is not a product of the earth, but comes down from above. So is it with salvation: it is “of the Lord.” 5. Water is a blessed boon: it cools the fevered brow, slakes the thirst, refreshes and satisfies. And so does the salvation which is to be found in Christ. 6. Water is something of which we never tire. Other things satiate us, but not so with water. It is equally true of God’s salvation to the heart of every one who has really received it. 7. Water is strangely and unevenly distributed by God. In some places there is an abundance; in others very little; in others none at all. It is so with God’s salvation. In some nations there are many who have been visited by the Dayspring from on high; in others there are few who have passed from death unto life; while in others there seem to be none at all. (Pink, Arthur –The Gospel of John, chapter 12)

I do not know if all of these thoughts were original to Mr. Pink, but I was fascinated by his observation. Let me be quick to point out, however, that we would certainly not agree with everything that Mr. Pink believed and taught, especially his hyper-calvinistic leanings; but I have been blessed countless times by some of the thoughts that he received from the Lord. We need to be good Bereans, and search the Scriptures ourselves in order to see whether the things that men are teaching us are true. But I am glad that I can glean some wisdom from men who have pondered these truths before me.

PS – I would like to ask you to consider another observation from chapters 3 and 4 of John’s Gospel. Notice the contrast between Nicodemus and this un-named woman:

1  Nicodemus is a ruler of the Jews. She is a despised, Samaritan woman.

2  Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night, perhaps because he feared being seen by his peers. Jesus comes to this Samaritan woman in the middle of the day.

3  Jesus is very pointed to the Pharisee, but He is very patient with the woman.

4  There is no indication that this proud Pharisee trusts Christ after this first encounter, though he did get saved later. The humble woman, however, saw her need and opened her heart to the Savior.

I love studying the Bible, don’t you? There are so many thoughts that we can pull from these passages. Perhaps you saw some things from the passage today that you would like to share with us. Leave a comment here so that others might be blessed with what God has given you.


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I’m Going Fishing

Today’s Passages – John 20 – 21; Proverbs 14

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 66 – 70; Memorize – Philippians 4:6)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Isaiah 51:11

Click here to read last year’s post from this passage.

“Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” – (John 21:3)

In our passage today we see Peter returning to his old occupation of fishing. When the Lord first called Peter into the ministry he was a fisherman. In fact, that occasion was amazingly similar to this passage. You can read about yourself in Luke 5,but I will point out some of the similarities:

In both passages Peter and company are fishing through the night on the Sea of Galilee (also called the Sea of Tiberius).

In both of the passages the fishermen catch no fish despite all of the efforts.

In both passages Jesus asks them to cast the net(s) out again. Actually, the first time the Lord told Peter to cast out his nets (plural). Peter reluctantly casts out one net, but the catch of fish was too big for the one net, and the net broke. He should have listened to the Lord.

In the first passage, Jesus was calling Peter into the ministry. He told Peter that he would no longer be fishing for fish, but rather he would now be catching men for the Saviour. In this morning’s passage, however, Peter is being reminded of that call. Jesus is reminding Peter that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. In other words, God was telling Peter that He had not changed His mind about Peter, even though Peter had just recently change his mind about the Lord. Remember, just a short time prior to this passage, Peter had denied the Lord. Peter thought that he was through. He assumed that the Lord would no longer want him in the ministry after what he had done. He was wrong. The Lord was not finished with Peter. He still wanted to use him. In tomorrow’s reading in Acts, we will see what the Lord will do with Peter.

The Lord is not through with you either. I know that you may have blown it in the past, like Peter did; but the Lord is merciful, and gracious. Don’t turn back, and if perhaps you have already turned back, you can always come back to the Lord. God called me to preach the Gospel nearly 20 years ago. There have been many times that I have wanted to quit and turn back, but I am thankful that the Lord has always somehow reminded me that He wanted me to keep going for Him, and by His grace, I am still fishing for men.

Don’t quit.


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That the Scripture Might Be Fulfilled by Pastor Ted Stahl

Listen to this morning’s message – What Makes God Weep?

Today’s Passages – John 17 – 19; Proverbs 13

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 61 – 65; Memorize – Philippians 4:6)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Isaiah 40:31

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” – (John 17:12)

Good morning. What a great way to start the morning with my favorite chapter from the Bible: John chapter 17. Jesus is praying to His Father before going to the cross. Jesus prayed for His disciples, and us: those who would believe through their testimony: their word. And there was only one who was lost: the son of perdition: Judas.  And the explanation is given as to why: that the Scripture might be fulfilled (vs12). The Scripture, God’s Word, should be one of the most cherished possessions in our lives. Chapter 17 is all God’s Word (yes, even the 13 words printed black in verse 1). Because God’s will is being done no matter what, we can trust the promises from the Scripture will come to pass: that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

1) The Father would be glorified through Jesus, that the Lord’s glory would be restored as it was before creation, and that we would glorify Jesus (vs 1-10).
Revelation 19:11-16 says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
That the Scripture might be fulfilled.
2) Safety for believers (vs 11-16).
John 10:27-30 tells us this also, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
We are protected so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
3) Jesus also prayed that we would be sanctified (made holy) through the Scriptures (verses 17-19). And in Hebrews 10:10 the Scriptures tell us that, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Because of His sacrifice the Scriptures say we are sanctified.
I’m getting excited about this. Isn’t it great to know you’re saved and on your way to Heaven!
4) In verses 20 through 23, Jesus prays for the unity of those who believe, and that the world would believe. Revelation 7:9-12 gives us a glimpse into the future. John said, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And that’s only the tribulation saints, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
5) And I especially like verse 24 which tells us that one day we will see Jesus. Stephen saw Jesus just before he was stoned to death, Acts chapter 7:55-56 tell us, “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Face to face we shall behold Him that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.
6) And that brings us to verses 25 and 26. Jesus prayed that we would have the same love of the Father that He had. This is the sacrificial love, the agape’ love. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This was Jesus going to the cross, paying the price for our sins, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. We are supposed to have the same love in us. We need to die too: die to self. If we can be a little bit humble, maybe bury our pride, we can easily forgive our brothers and sisters when they sin against us, or hurt us. We should be demonstrating the love of God to others so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Peace (John 14:27).


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A World Of Trouble – The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Passages – John 14 – 16; Proverbs 12

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 56 – 60; Memorize Psalm 100:4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Proverbs 27:15

Jesus said in the last verse of John chapter 16:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Have you ever visited Ellis Island? Ellis Island is where more than 12 million immigrants entered our great nation. They wanted to leave the tribulations going on in their own countries and start fresh, a new life, here. Little did they know what was coming. If you’ve been to the museum that is on the island, you know what I’m talking about. One thing they have there are computers loaded with names. There were three with the name Theodore Henry Stahl that came over on the banana boat. I guess my name was pretty popular. But when you tour the museum, they have pictures like the one shown here. First and second class passengers were interviewed and allowed to exit the ship and go through customs. The third class passengers were taken to Ellis Island where they were subjected to a medieval torturer doing a medical examination. Still, only 2% of those 12 million were turned away. Ellis Island was closed on November 12th 1954 (I was a little over 9 months old at the time).

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

If you asked an immigrant if the long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, and all the poking and prodding of the medical examination was worth their escape from the tribulation of the homeland, they would probably tell you: “Yes. It was.”

Jesus said that in this world ye SHALL have tribulation. Do you think heaven is worth it? All those things that happen to you or your family. The struggles to pay bills, buy your family food and clothes. Maybe you even face persecution for the Lord’s sake. Either way, in this world ye shall have tribulation. It’s part of the curse – “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread…” Maybe God put the trials and tribulations in our lives for a reason. Maybe we should look at our troubles in a different light. Maybe we should look at them as little gifts from God, drawing us closer to Him. After all, He is always going to be with us through whatever we go through. He will always give us what we need.

I think if we look at our problems as gifts from God, just maybe they will not upset or frustrate us anymore. When one of these “gifts” come up, stop and pray. Ask the Lord how He would want you to deal with it. Or maybe He will make it His to deal with, showing Himself great and powerful in your life.

Remember, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Peace. (John 16:33)


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Closet Christians

 

Today’s Passages – John 12 – 13; Proverbs 11

 

“Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” – (John 12:42-43)

We often talk to our children about peer pressure, encouraging them to not follow the crowd, and instead live their lives boldly according to principle. Peer pressure is not something that just affects young people, however. Most adults also live their lives in a form of bondage that causes them to adapt to the world around them. Unfortunately, the same can be said about most Christian adults. When they are around the people of the church, they act like Christians and talk like Christians; but when they get out into the world, they want to fit in with them as well.  In our passage today we read about these religious leaders of Israel that secretly believed in Jesus. Nicodemus was no doubt part of this crowd. You will recall from John chapter 3 that Nicodemus was the one who came to Jesus by night, probably because he didn’t want any of his friends to see him.

Christians are supposed to be salt and light to this world. We do not have the luxury as God’s ambassadors to be chameleons, adapting to every group we are with. We need to be Christians all of the time. When we are with our co-workers, or with extended family, or with the other parents of the kids that play sports with our child, we need to remember that our primary function in life is to draw attention to the Saviour: to glorify Him in all things. Stop trying to please or be like everybody, and have enough guts to take a stand for the Lord. You don’t have to be unkind or obnoxious: just be a Christian; and Christians should be different from the world around them.

We are living in a time period where the world, more than ever before, needs to see some real Christians who truly live out their faith. Most of today’s churches have adopted a people-pleasing, seeker-sensitive brand of Christianity. These churches make it their main goal to give people whatever they want. We have adapted Burger King’s “Have It Your Way” logo to our churches. The problem is that if we are just like the world around us, why would they ever desire to be one of us. I became a Christian because I saw something different, something real in the people that claimed the name of Christ. They were not like me. They had something I didn’t have, and I wanted it.

Christian, why don’t you come out of the closet, and start living like a blood-washed Christian should live. Be the salt and light that God expects you to be. Look deep within you, and find your backbone. It’s there somewhere. Stop compromising what you believe, and show the world that you belong to Christ, and that you are not ashamed of it.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” – (2 Corinthians 6:17)

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” – (Mark 8:38)

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” – (Romans 1:16)


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Jesus Still Weeps

Today’s Passages – John 10 – 11; Proverbs 10

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 46 – 50; Memorize – Psalm 100:4)

Read last year’s post from this passage – “The Door”

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 121

Click here to read “How To Steward Your Trials With Grace” by Paul Chappell.

“Jesus wept.” – (John 11:35 )

Though this verse is short in length, it is long in truth because it reveals the heart of compassion that God has for His children. If you think carefully about this passage, you will conclude that Jesus was not weeping for Lazarus. He knew that He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead; He knew that Lazarus would soon be reunited with his sisters, Mary and Martha. In fact, Jesus delayed his arrival to Bethany long enough because had He gotten there earlier, we would have been reading about a healing rather than a resurrection. Jesus wanted to prove His power over death, and by so doing foreshadow his own resurrection. So why was Jesus weepin? I believe He was weeping because the people that He cared about were weeping. He identified with their grief. He actually felt the pain that they were feeling. It is comforting to know that even when Jesus allows difficult days to come into our lives, He goes through them with us; and He weeps with us.

As I was reading this passage, I got to thinking about another passage that tells us about our Saviour’s tears:

“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – (Matthew 9:36)

In this passage Jesus looks out over the multitudes and He was “moved with compassion”, which means He wept for them. I believe at that moment Jesus not only saw the multitudes of that location and that time, but He also saw all of the people in every place throughout eternity that were without a Shepherd. He saw all of the people that were in need of a Saviour; and He saw all of the people who would ultimately die without Him. By the way, this verse has caused me to reject the Calvinistic idea that Christ created people to go to Hell, and does not give them a choice regarding salvation. Why would God weep over people that have no free will and were created to go to Hell. It just doesn’t make sense. No, “God is not willing that any should perish”. He wants people to be saved. Unfortunately, most will reject Him; and this will still cause God to weep.

Let me give you one more time where Jesus wept:

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – (Luke 22:44)

In this passage, Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane and He is about to have the sins of the world placed squarely upon His shoulders. His Father will turn His face away from Him, and pour out His wrath upon His only Son. Our sin causes God to grieve. We grieve Jesus, and we grieve the Spirit within us, when we sin. Many people are kept inside the will of God because they fear His wrath or judgment; but I have to tell you, His tears are what bother me the most. I don’t want to grieve God anymore. I have caused Him enough tears already.


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Put Down Your Stones

Today’s Passages – John 8 – 9; Proverbs 9

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 41 – 45; Memorize – Psalm 100:4)

Read this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 119:105

Click here to read last year’s post on this passage – “Believe It – He’s the Great I Am”

“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. … She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” – (John 8:7, 11)

Preachers have a difficult job. They are commanded by God to preach the Word; and as we all know well, preaching involves a great deal of reproving and rebuking. The problem is that the preacher who may be reproving and rebuking others through the Word of God is also a guilty sinner himself. Recently, I was told about a person who had fallen into sin. My first reaction was that I wanted to sharply rebuke this person; but then God began to remind me of how often I have failed; maybe not in the same area, but guilty nonetheless.

I have decided that I am going to put down my stones. Oh, I will still preach the Book; but I will try to stop preaching it with a self-righteous tone of superiority. I am guilty myself. The older I get, and the more I grow in the Lord, the more I realize how far away from God I really am. My flesh is still alive and well, and though I try to crucify it often, it still resurrects itself and wreaks havoc with my spiritual walk. You see, If I received my just reward there would be a pile of rocks on top on me.  Let’s try to be as compassionate as we can with people who are weak in their flesh just as we are. Let’s try to edify and strengthen each other; and encourage each other to walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Let’s stop condemning each other. There is going to come a day when I will need some compassion from the people around me; but I fear that I will only reap proportionately to what I have sowed. Let’s put down our stones.


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Where Am I Going To Go?

Today’s Passages – John 6 – 7; Proverbs 8

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 36 – 40; Memorize Psalm 100:4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4

Read last year’s post on this passage – “Don’t Quit!”

“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” – (John 6:68)

I remember recently having a discussion with a close friend of mine about whether he ever thought about quitting on God. His answer kind of reminded me of Peter’s answer in John 6:68 above. He said, “where am I going to go?”.  What he was actually saying was that there is only one hope for salvation, and that is in the Person of Jesus Christ. Who else could we possibly turn to? There is no-one else.

I have been saved now for nearly twenty-two years; and in that time I have experienced many mountaintops. It is easy to praise God and exalt His name when I am on the mountaintop. However, I have also been in the valley, many times due to some bad decisions that I have made. In the valley it is not always so easy to praise the Lord. In fact it is not always easy to even see the Lord. There have been times that I have actually contemplated throwing in the towel, and turning my back on the Lord and His church. By the grace of God, He has kept me in, but I think what has always helped me was the fact that God would remind me that I really have no alternative. Who would I go to? What would I do? If I thought the valley I was in at the time was bad, I wondered how much worse life would be without the Lord. My faith in God, and the promises of His Word, would always keep me from quitting.

Praise the Lord for His grace! Let me encourage you: don’t run from the Lord – run to Him. He has the Words of eternal life!


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Living Water

Today’s Passages – John 4 – 5; Proverbs 7

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” – (John 4:13-14)

Several years ago I was preaching and teaching through the Gospel of John, and as I was preparing for the message from chapter four I came across a commentary written by a man named Arthur Pink. I was fascinated by what Pink wrote about this passage regarding how water is a type of salvation. Here is an excerpt from his book:

1. Water is a gift from God. It is something which man, despite all his boasted wisdom, is quite unable to create. For water we are absolutely dependent upon God. It is equally so with His salvation, of which water is here a figure. 2. Water is something which is indispensable to man. It is not a luxury, but a vital necessity. It is that without which man cannot live. It is equally so with God’s salvation—apart from it men are eternally lost. 3. Water is that which meets a universal need; it is not merely a local requirement, but a general one. All are in need of water. It is so with God’s salvation. It is not merely some particular class of people, who are more wicked than their fellows, for all who are outside of Christ are lost. 4. Water is that which first descends from the heavens. It is not a product of the earth, but comes down from above. So is it with salvation: it is “of the Lord.” 5. Water is a blessed boon: it cools the fevered brow, slakes the thirst, refreshes and satisfies. And so does the salvation which is to be found in Christ. 6. Water is something of which we never tire. Other things satiate us, but not so with water. It is equally true of God’s salvation to the heart of every one who has really received it. 7. Water is strangely and unevenly distributed by God. In some places there is an abundance; in others very little; in others none at all. It is so with God’s salvation. In some nations there are many who have been visited by the Dayspring from on high; in others there are few who have passed from death unto life; while in others there seem to be none at all. (Pink, Arthur – The Gospel of John, chapter 12)

I do not know if all of these thoughts were original to Mr. Pink, but I was fascinated by his observation. Let me be quick to point out, however, that we would certainly not agree with everything that Mr. Pink believed and taught, especially his hyper-calvinistic leanings; but I have been blessed countless times by some of the thoughts that he received from the Lord. We need to be good Bereans, and search the Scriptures ourselves in order to see whether the things that men are teaching us are true. But I am glad that I can glean some wisdom from men who have pondered these truths before me.

PS – I would like to ask you to consider another observation from chapters 3 and 4 of John’s Gospel. Notice the contrast between Nicodemus and this un-named woman:

1  Nicodemus is a ruler of the Jews. She is a despised, Samaritan woman.

2  Nicodemus comes to Jesus by night, perhaps because he feared being seen by his peers. Jesus comes to this Samaritan woman in the middle of the day.

3  Jesus is very pointed to the Pharisee, but He is very patient with the woman.

4  There is no indication that this proud Pharisee trusts Christ after this first encounter, though he did get saved later. The humble woman, however, saw her need and opened her heart to the Savior.

I love studying the Bible, don’t you? There are so many thoughts that we can pull from these passages. Perhaps you saw some things from the passage today that you would like to share with us. Leave a comment here so that others might be blessed with what God has given you.



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Just Do It

Listen to the audio from this morning’s message on this passage.

Today’s Passages – John 1 – 3; Proverbs 6

(Second Milers also read – Psalms 26 – 30; Memorize Psalm 100:4)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 89:1

Read “The best Advice I Ever Received” by Dr, Paul Chappell

This is just a short thought from the passage this morning. I plan on preaching this thought this morning at the church. I will post the audio and notes from the message this afternoon.

“His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” – (John 2:5)

Several years ago Nike developed an advertising campaign surrounding the phrase “Just Do It”. I don’t know if the phrase was original with them or not, but they made it very popular. The world is stilled filled with t-shirts and bumper stickers with the slogan on them.

As I was reading this morning’s passage and came to John 2:5, I thought about the phrase “Just Do It”. I got to thinking that this phrase kind of sums up the secret to the successful Christian life. We are to find out what God says and do it. Now before you fuss with me, I understand that salvation is a gift we receive, and not and not an action we do; but we do need to listen to what God says about salvation and then apply it personally to our lives. And then after we are saved, we are to find the will of God for our lives through the word of God, and obey it. God says that if we “just do it” we will have success and fulfillment in the Christian life.


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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl – Predestined For Heaven or Hell?

Today’s Reading: 1Chronicals 6, Proverbs 7, John 5-6

Today’s Passage: John 6:35-40

Good morning! Isn’t it great to be saved, to know your saved, and to know that you will spend all eternity in Heaven when you die or the rapture comes? My friend Gary Geiger, in his comment on my blog, asked me to pray for several men they talked with in the jail ministry. The one that caught my attention was a man named Luis. Gary wrote, “Pray for Luis who believes that his salvation is based on predestination and not by his choice.” Let’s take a closer look at the verse used for predestination: Romans 8:29-30: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” God knows everything: past, present, and future. He knows who will receive Christ and who will reject Christ for salvation. The ones God knew would receive Jesus as their Saviour, those He predestined to be like Jesus. Here is where the problem lies. Let me ask you, Luis, if you believe that God chose all who would be saved and all who would die and burn in Hell, why would He allow verses in His Holy Word like 2Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Or John 3:16-18: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Even John the Baptist, when he saw Jesus said, “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29).

Somewhere in your life, you need to have made a choice to receive Jesus as your Saviour. When God saw this, He predestined you to be conformed to the image of His Son, but you still had a choice. Look what Jesus said in John chapter 6…

Joh 6:35-40 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. [Some did not believe.]  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. [This is predestination. The Father will not give any to Jesus who God knew would reject His Son’s sacrifice on the cross for their salvation.] For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

God offers salvation to everyone. It is not anything we can pay for, or work to achieve (Eph. 2:8-9). We are all in the same boat: we are all sinners (Romans 3:10 & 23). And the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). And God made it so simple: “For whosoever [That’s anyone.] shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Peace. (2Peter 3:9)


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Do You Still Love Me?

Today’s Passage – John 20 – 21

He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. (John 21:17)

I apologize for completing this post from the Scriptures late, as I ran out of time yesterday morning. Sunday is obviously a very busy day for me, and I sometimes struggle getting everything done. I do want to share some thoughts from this passage of Scripture though.

I love this account of Peter being restored to service by the Lord. Let me make some observations:

I think it is very interesting that the Lord did the very same miracle here at Peter’s restoration that He did very early in His earthly ministry where He first called Peter to serve Him.(see Luke 5:1 – 9) Both times Peter was fishing, and was not really getting anywhere. The Lord called Peter away from His fishing business in Luke 5, and He is now reminding Peter that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance”. Jesus had not changed His mind about Peter, though Peter certainly was not sure about himself.

The second observation that I would like to make is that Peter was certainly changed through the experience of denying the Lord. Formerly, Peter boldly asserted his love for the Lord stating that he would die for Him. Now, after failing that test, he is no longer so sure of himself. He does not make the same bold claims that he had previously made.

The third observation that I would like to make is that the Lord is very patient with His servants. He knows our frame, that we are but dust. He knows that even though we may be willing in spirit, we are still weak in our flesh. Praise God for second chances. I can’t count the number of times that I have blown it, yet God never gives up on me.

Peter certainly did go on to feed the Lord’s lambs, and he did get many more opportunities to demonstrate his love for Jesus. After the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, Peter preached the first great “church age” revival with 3000 saved and baptized. He had a boldness now that did come from his flesh, but that flowed mightily through him from the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

How about you? Maybe God called you to do something for Him, and you have forsaken that call. Why not come back to the Lord humbly, and see if He won’t put you back in the game like He did with Peter.


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The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Reading: John 17-19

That The Scripture Might Be Fulfilled

Good morning. What a great way to start the morning with my favorite chapter from the Bible: John chapter 17. Jesus is praying to His Father before going to the cross. Jesus prayed for His disciples, and us: those who would believe through their testimony: their word. And there was only one who was lost: the son of perdition: Judas.  And the explanation is given as to why: that the Scripture might be fulfilled (vs12). The Scripture, God’s Word, should be one of the most cherished possessions in our lives. Chapter 17 is all God’s Word (yes, even the 13 words printed black in verse 1). Because God’s will is being done no matter what, we can trust the promises from the Scripture will come to pass: that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

1) The Father would be glorified through Jesus, that the Lord’s glory would be restored as it was before creation, and that we would glorify Jesus (vs 1-10).
Revelation 19:11-16 says, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
That the Scripture might be fulfilled.
2) Safety for believers (vs 11-16).
John 10:27-30 tells us this also, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”
We are protected so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
3) Jesus also prayed that we would be sanctified (made holy) through the Scriptures (verses 17-19). And in Hebrews 10:10 the Scriptures tell us that, “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Because of His sacrifice the Scriptures say we are sanctified.
I’m getting excited about this. Isn’t it great to know you’re saved and on your way to Heaven!
4) In verses 20 through 23, Jesus prays for the unity of those who believe, and that the world would believe. Revelation 7:9-12 gives us a glimpse into the future. John said, “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
And that’s only the tribulation saints, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
5) And I especially like verse 24 which tells us that one day we will see Jesus. Stephen saw Jesus just before he was stoned to death, Acts chapter 7:55-56 tell us, “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.
Face to face we shall behold Him that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.
6) And that brings us to verses 25 and 26. Jesus prayed that we would have the same love of the Father that He had. This is the sacrificial love, the agape’ love. Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This was Jesus going to the cross, paying the price for our sins, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. We are supposed to have the same love in us. We need to die too: die to self. If we can be a little bit humble, maybe bury our pride, we can easily forgive our brothers and sisters when they sin against us, or hurt us. We should be demonstrating the love of God to others so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Peace (John 14:27).


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Never Alone

Today’s Passage – John 14 – 16



Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (John 16:32)

The context of this passage of Scripture is the conversation Jesus had with His disciples after the Last Supper, and before the crucifixion. He has repeatedly told them that He was about to leave them; and He has also instructed them several times in these three chapters about the coming of the Comforter, the Holy Ghost of God. In verse thirty the disciples make a bold declaration of their faith, and in the verse above (32) Jesus tells them that when He is taken away for crucifixion the disciples will scatter, leaving Him alone. However, He tells them that He is not really alone, because the Father is always with Him. The Father will endure with Him the darkest time of His earthly life.

Have you ever felt that you were all alone and that nobody cared about what you were going through? God cares, and God shares your pain and sorrows with you. If you are a child of God, born again through faith in His Son, you have the Holy Ghost of God that Jesus told us about in these chapters in you and with you. He is there all the time. Have you talked to Him today? Have you acknowledged His presence? Have you yielded to His will? I think the reason why most of us feel so alone at times is because we have failed to fully appreciate and develop our relationship with the indwelling Spirit of God, which then causes us to become over-dependent upon the approval of men. Think about it. If we could learn to live daily with the realization of the presence of God in every aspect of our lives, why we be so concerned about what people think? Yet, we are constantly pushed and pulled by the whims of men.

One of the central truths of the Christian faith is the presence of the Holy Ghost of God in the life of every believer, all of the time. We must learn to cultivate that relationship until the reality of that presence becomes very real to us. Speak to the Holy Ghost constantly, acknowledging Him. Ask for His help in understanding the Scriptures. Ask for His guidance and direction with decisions you need to make in life. Look to Him for comfort before running to another human. It may seem weird at first, but as you put these things into practice, it will become more natural and He will become more real to you.


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Servant Leadership

Today’s Passage – John 12 & 13

If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14)

When I was in Bible College, I worked for Super One Foods, a supermarket chain that operated in the Ark-La-Tex area. They had a philosophy for management that was not common for many companies that I had been associated with before. They believed that the managers should work alongside of the employees, instead of just directing them. I was eventually promoted to a grocery department manager, which basically meant that I was the overseer of the night stockers. In order to get that position I had to demonstrate that I could stock as well or better than the other men on the night crew. Once I received the promotion, I still had to stock along with the crew as much as I could. There was nothing that I expected them to do that I was not willing to do myself.

Jesus taught and lived servant leadership. He did not separate Himself from His disciples, except when He was praying privately with His Father. He lived with them, ate with them, ministered with them; and most importantly, He served them. Here in this passage, He is washing their feet. It is interesting that none of the disciples thought about washing each other’s feet. The water was there, the towel was there, and the need was there; yet only the Lord had enough humility to get down on His knees and clean off the filth from the world that had accumulated on them.

I wonder, how many of God’s servants today are truly servants. Both words, minister and deacon, have as their primary meaning the idea of serving others. There are too many preachers out there that want to be ministered to, instead of ministering to others. Every once in a while I hear about  preachers that have a list of demands that must be met in order for him to come and minister to a church. The list might include first class flights, a certain brand of hotel, minimum amount of love offering, etc. Now I am certainly not opposed to giving “double honor” to the men that come to preach for us; but I can’t in my wildest imagination think that Jesus or Paul would have such a list of demands. We need to get back to serving people. All kinds of people: rich ones and poor ones; educated ones and ignorant ones; all cultures; all races; even the ones with very dirty feet.


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The Door

Today’s Passage – John 10 & 11

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:9 & 10)

Almost twenty-one years ago I walked through a door that radically changed the course of the rest of my life. I should back up a little and tell you that for some time prior to this I had been thinking about God and eternity. I know now that God was drawing me in. At any rate, for about a month I had been secretly listening to Christian radio in between deliveries as I drove my truck for my Dad’s candy business. I was certainly conscious and convicted about my sin, but I just wasn’t sure what to do about it. One of the preachers invited me to go through the Door, and I received the Lord Jesus as my Saviour. I had tried many other doors in life prior to going through this One, but none of them took me to the abundant life that this Door lead me to.

My life has never been the same since. Christ not only saved me and gave me eternal life with Him in Heaven when I die; but also provided a means for me to have an abundant life here on the earth; a life that is productive and fruitful. However, in order to maintain that abundant life, I need to keep going through the door, daily. Eternal life is a one time decision, but having an abundant life here on earth is decided every day. We must daily yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, submitting ourselves to God’s Word and  will for our lives. I have been saved for a long time now, but unfortunately I have not always practiced what I just preached to you. I have strayed away at times from God’s perfect plan, and during those times that abundant life eluded me. But I have tasted enough of the abundant life to have developed a strong desire for it, and when I do stray I quickly try to get back on track. No doubt there are many of you also that know what the abundant life feels like, yet you have somehow let it slip away from you. The solution is really simple, go back through the Door.


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Believe It – He’s The Great I AM

Today’s Passage – John 8 & 9

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)

I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. (John 8:18)

And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. (John 8:23)

I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:14)

This is one of my favorite passages of Scriptures in the entire Bible. I just love when Jesus tangles with the religious leaders. They never seem to get it. Here in this passage is really the bottom line of Christianity: you either believe that Jesus is God or you do not. The Pharisees certainly did not. They accused Him of being a Samaritan and “born of fornication”. They said He had a devil. They claimed that because He grew up in Galilee that He was disqualified. I guess they didn’t bother to check where He was born because if they did they would have found that His birthplace was Bethlehem. Everything in the Scriptures completely pointed to Jesus being the true Messiah.

The thing that really amazes me about this passage though are all of the I am statements made by the Lord in this dialogue. There is no doubt here that Jesus was making a bold declaration as to Who He is. He is God. Remember when Moses asked God His name in Exodus 3. God said to tell the people that “I AM THAT I AM hath sent [him]”. Jesus uses that little phrase, I am, at least a half a dozen times in this passage alone. The best being verse 58 where He attests that He pre-existed Abraham. That really “hair-lipped” the Pharisees. They took up stones to stone Him. Why? Because they knew that He was claiming to be God.

You can tell me that you do not believe the Bible, and I will accept that; but you cannot say that the Bible does not teach very plainly that Jesus is the Great I AM, that Jesus is God. And you cannot claim that Jesus did not claim deity for Himself. The record is crystal clear. You either believe it or you don’t. And until you put your faith in Jesus, the Great I AM, you will also remain in your sins.


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Don’t Quit!

Today’s Reading – John 5 & 6

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? (John 6:66 & 67)

This passage reminds us of the lack of commitment there exists in people that call themselves Christians. Jesus had a “Big Day” up on the mount, and after teaching the people He fed them; and there were possibly as many as twenty thousand in attendance. (The Bible only tells us about the 5000 men.) After being fed and seeing the other miraculous things that the Lord did, these people desired to follow Him. They finally find Him, but when they do He is teaching some strange doctrines. He is talking about “eating his flesh and drinking his blood”. Now we know that He was not advocating a literal cannibalistic act, but was referring to His people identifying with His broken body and shed blood on the cross. He was speaking of what was coming for Him,  letting His followers know that a cross was waiting for Him, and that persecution was waiting for the followers as well. The disciples didn’t understand or appreciate what Jesus had to say. They were OK with getting free meals, and they certainly liked to watch the miracles, but now the Lord was telling them that there was a lot more to true discipleship than the pleasant things that they had already witnessed. And they all left Him, save the twelve apostles. This was possibly the first recorded “church split”. Jesus went from twenty thousand down to twelve almost instantaneously.

I find that people today are much the same way. They enjoy the “bells and whistles”. They appreciate the popcorn, bubble gum, soft pretzels, water ice, and cotton candy that we give them. They love the entertainment and the giveaways of the big days; but when it comes down to bearing their own cross in real discipleship, for the most part, they bail out. I think that we who are leaders in the church need to be more honest with the people up front about what true discipleship entails. We tell them about all of the wonderful aspects of Christianity, and they truly are wonderful; but the truth is that living as a Christian should live here on this earth will come at a cost. It will not always be fun. They won’t all be big days. There will be persecution and there will be many heartaches and burdens. Maybe if we better prepared these would be disciples for the battles ahead, they would be better equipped to endure them.

I want to stay faithful to the Lord, until He takes me home to Heaven; but I have to be honest with you: I am scared sometimes. I have been tempted on more than one occasion to quit, and I have seen better men than me “go away”. Pray for me, and if I know who you are, I will pray for you. Don’t quit. Stay with the Lord. This world has nothing to offer you but heartache and pain. Don’t go away! We love you, and we need you; and try not to get discouraged when others that you love go away. As much as we try to prevent it from happening, the fact is that many will not remain faithful. I t is what it is. But don’t allow the casualties to discourage you and pull you out of the battle.


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