Persecutor, Preacher, and Prisoner

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Today’s Passages – Acts 9 – 10 (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 86 – 90; Proverbs 18)

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

Read the “1118 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read  previous posts from this passage – “They’re All Precious In His Sight” & “The Beauty Of Salvation

“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. … Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” (Acts 8:1, 4)

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2)

“And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. … And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 9:3-5, 17)

As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2)

“Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum [in present day Greece], I [Paul] have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Romans 15:19)

“And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” (Acts 23:11)

Please read carefully again the series of verses above as they progress in time in the Book of Acts. In Acts 8:1 & 4, we see Saul, a lost Pharisee who was a passionate enemy of anybody who was a follower of Christ. The context of these verses was the stoning of Steven, which was authorized by Saul. Verse 4 states something very interesting, however. As the persecution that was caused by Saul and others increased in both frequency and intensity, the disciples of Christ were forced to run away from the persecutors. As they ran, however, they took the Gospel of Christ with them, and preached the Word all along the way. So the end result of the persecution was the gospel going forth to new places.

Notice next, in Acts 9:1 – 2, that Saul the persecutor is still at it, “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord”. Something miraculous happens in verses 3 and following, however: Paul meets Jesus, the One he was so passionately persecuting. Jesus saves him!

In chapter 13 we learn that Saul has grown tremendously as a disciple of Christ, and is being greatly used in his home church in Antioch. The Holy Ghost separates him and his friend Barnabas, and commissions him to take the gospel into Asia.

The Book of Romans tells us that Saul (now called Paul) took the gospel all the way to Illyricum, in western Macedonia (present day Greece – just opposite the sea from Italy).

Acts 23 – 28 takes us on Paul’s Journey as a prisoner all the way to Rome.

My point is that Paul was used of God all throughout his life, even before he was saved. The persecution that Paul brought was used of God to scatter believers everywhere, taking the Word of God with them. Then later, after his conversion, Paul purposely took the Word of God into all the known regions of the world; and then finally, even as a prisoner, Paul was used of God to testify of Christ as far as Rome. Isn’t it amazing that Paul, whether he was a persecutor, preacher, or prisoner advanced the cause of Christ. Paul’s life was a perfect picture of all things working together for good.

Just a thought here, but possibly there are some circumstances in your life right right now that are very unpleasant, may seem to be “bad”, but I bet God will use them also to glorify Himself, advance His kingdom, and maybe even make you into a better disciple.


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Say Cheeeeeeese!

people-smiling

Today’s Passages – Acts 7 – 8 (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 81 – 85; Proverbs 17)

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

Read the “1117 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “Divine Appointments

“And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:59 & 60)

The world is taking a picture of our lives every day; but what image are they getting. When people look at me do they see me, or do they see Christ. As Christians, we are supposed to be pictures of Christ to this godless world. We are to show them Christ through our lives and testimonies. When people see us they are supposed to get a glimpse of what Jesus would be like if He were here in the flesh personally. In our passage today, we see a man who demonstrated Christ to his generation. He lived like Christ, and he died like Christ.

1  Stephen was fearless in his preaching. He knew that the crowd that he was witnessing to had already killed the Lord, and they had already beaten and imprisoned Peter and John. He knew that he was risking his life by saying the things that he said, yet he preached the truth.

2  Stephen was faithful in his passing. He had his eyes on the Lord right up until he died. He was not thinking about his circumstances, he was looking straight into the eyes of the Lord. And the Lord was standing at the right hand of the Father, waiting to receive Stephen. What a way to go.

3  He was forgiving to his persecutors.  Perhaps this is the most striking picture of Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, He said, “Forgive them Father”. Here Stephen says virtually the same thing. He says, “Lay not this sin to their charge”.

There was a young man named Saul in the crowd that day that got a good look at the picture that Stephen was portraying that day. Saul would get another look at the Lord, first hand, later on; but I contend to you that he had already seen the Lord through the testimony of Stephen.

What do people see in our lives? Do they see Jesus or do they see us? We need to peel back the layers of our own desires and personalities, and allow Christ to live through us. This world desperately needs to see the real Jesus. There have certainly been many impersonators out there; but through our surrendered lives, we can show the world Christ.


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Ye Cannot Overthrow It

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Today’s Passages – Acts 4 – 6 (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 76 – 80; Proverbs 16)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 4:7 & 8

“But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” – (Acts 5:39)

“And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” – (Acts 5:40-42)

“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” – (Exodus 1:12)

Persecution has a strange way of producing the opposite outcome the what was intended by those that are doing the persecuting. In our text, Peter and John are preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ until they are arrested by the religious leaders and put in prison. They are released the next day, but only after they are threatened. They go right back to preaching, because they believed that God’s command to preach superseded any human law. They are again arrested, but are miraculously removed from prison by the Angel of the Lord, only to go back out and preach again. The religious leaders don’t know what to do about these trouble makers, so they arrest them again; and they release them again, but this time before they are released, they are beaten. We can see that things are certainly starting to heat up for the apostles. In chapter 7 we will see that things will heat up even more, when Stephen is put to death for preaching the gospel.

You would think that with all of this punishment being handed out to the Christians that the preaching would be curtailed; but the opposite is actually true. The more they were persecuted, the more they preached. In fact, when persecution really heats up in Jerusalem (Acts 8), the people are scattered throughout all Judea and Samaria preaching the gospel. And the more they preached, the more people got saved.

It is the same way in the world we live in today. Christianity is thriving in some of the most unlikely places. Did you know that it is estimated that the actual number of Christians in communist China is said to be more than the number of Christians in Europe and America combined; and most of the churches in China are operating illegally, underground. Many Christians have been imprisoned in China for their faith; yet the Christians keep coming.

Now let’s consider America. We have freedom and prosperity here; but it seems that we are spiritually dying in most places. Maybe the churches in America would benefit from a little persecution. Does that sound strange to you? Don’t misunderstand. I am not wishing or asking for persecution; but I am willing to ask the Lord to do whatever is necessary to wake the churches in America up, even if it includes some persecution.


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To Be Continued

to be continued

Today’s Passages – Acts 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 71 – 75; Proverbs 15)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – 1 John 3:1

Read a previous post from this passage – “He Was Down, But He Got Back Up

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. To Be  – (Acts 2:41-42)

While reading this morning, I noticed the word, “continued” in Acts 2:42. I did a little research and discovered the words “continue”, or “continued” are found 12 times in the Book of Acts. The Christian life is all about continuing. In fact, I would go as far to say that the secret to being successful in your walk with the Lord is to just continue. Don’t go back; don’t quit; just keep going.

In verse 42, we learn that this new group of believers in Jerusalem continued in:

1  The Apostles Doctrine – It is so important that we keep growing in our knowledge of Bible doctrine. We never arrive at a place in the Christian life where we know all that there is to know. So many Christians are weak today, and so many of our church are misguided, because they have not placed an emphasis on Bible doctrine.

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” – (2 Timothy 2:15)

2  Fellowship – This new church gathered together often to edify and encourage each other. Living for the Lord in this wicked world can be very difficult at times, to say the least. We need to have a place where we can go where we are around people of like, precious faith: people who are going the same direction that we are going.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – (Hebrews 10:24-25)

3  Breaking of Bread – I could be wrong about this, but I believe that the phrase “breaking of bread” has to do with more than eating meals together, though I am sure that ecause they fellowshipped often, they also would frequently share meals together. However, I believe that this phrase is speaking primarily about this church’s observance of the Lord’s Supper. I believe the early believers regularly remembered the body and blood of the Lord.

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” – (1 Corinthians 11:26)

4  Prayers – This church faced incredible persecution from both the religious officials of Israel, and also from the Roman government. They needed to be a praying church. They needed to pray fervently for each other.

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – (James 5:16)

Living for the Lord is not always easy and sometimes it can even be discouraging, but we need to keep going; keep moving forward. The sun will rise again in the morning and someday it truly will be worth it all. Hang in there. Take it one day at a time, and if you have already quit, get back up and get back in the game.


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In Complete Control

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.

3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” (John 18:3-6)

Sometimes when we reflect upon the arrest and crucifixion of the Lord we mistakenly think that He was a victim of circumstances that were completely out His control. However, every event surrounding His death was ordered by Him. He did not cause sinful men to act as they did toward him, but he did allow them to do what He knew what was already in their hearts, and He controlled every aspect of their actions to the extent that everything that happened to Him was exactly as He planned. He stated in Matthew’s gospel that He could have called down twelve legions of angels and put a stop to the whole thing, but that was not what He had planned (Matthew 26:53).

In the text above, we see the band of soldiers (σπεῖρα – speira – a tenth of a legion or 600 men) falling to the ground after Jesus spoke three words: “I am he.” Interestingly, in the Greek the word “he” is understood, but is not stated. It literally says, “I am”  (Ἐγώ εἰμι). This phrase is very important for us to understand. It is recorded often in the Gospel of John, and is a direct reference to His deity. When Moses asked the Lord at the burning bush what His name was, God said: “I AM” ((Exodus 3:13 – 14). Someone once described “I am” as pertaining to God in “the eternal present tense.” God is not “I was” or “I will be,” but always, “I AM.” He dwells outside of time. 

In John’s Gospel we see this phrase many times. Here are some of them.

  • “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.” (John 6:35)
  • “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 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)
  • “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
  • “Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. (John 10:7)
  • I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)
  • “Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:36)
  • “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:” (John 11:25)
  • “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)
  • I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1)

Notice also that Jesus commands his captors to let his disciples go. The word, “let” (ἄφετε from ἀφίημι – aphiēmi) is in the imperative mood, which “expresses a command to the hearer to perform a certain action by the order and authority of the one commanding” (BLB). We know that this order was completely obeyed as all of the disciples retained their freedom. Even Peter, who took a sword and attacked one of the soldier was permitted to leave without any punishment. Jesus was calling the shots.

Not to belabor the point, but I also noticed in chapter nineteen that Jesus was even in control of the exact timing of His death. The soldiers came to break His legs so that Jesus would die more quickly, but when they arrived on the scene, they had discovered that he was already dead. Just to be sure, one of them took a spear and pierced His side, These events were in direct fulfillment of what was prophesied regarding Him in the Old Testament (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20; Psalm 22:16; Zechariah 12:10). Consider also the following verses:

“14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” (John 10:14-18)

“Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12:27)

Nobody took Jesus’ life away from Him, He freely gave it. He came to die. He “set [his] face like a flint” to the Cross (Isaiah 50:7). He was doing exactly what He willed to do, and He did it for you and me.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

He was in complete control of His circumstances the entire time. He is also in complete control of all of your circumstances. You need not fear what men can do to you; just fear God and yield to His will for your life.


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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 would 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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We Would See Jesus

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 – 55Proverbs 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,” “Servant Leadership,” and “Mad About the Money.

“And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” (John 12:20-21)

In our passage today we read about the Triumphal Entry of the Lord Jesus, just a few days prior to His crucifixion. At this point Jesus has many admirers; some of the people were crying out: “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13). Of course, we know that the vast majority of these folks will be crying, “Crucify him,” in just a few days (John 19:6; 15). The Pharisees were also there on that day, watching Jesus carefully, and looking for an opportunity to get rid of him.

Among the people that were there in Jerusalem for the Passover were “Greeks” who apparently were converts to Judaism because they were there “to worship.” They were observing the events that were taking place and desired to learn a little bit more about Jesus who was the center of all the attention. They came to Philip and “desired him,” meaning they begged him to let them see Jesus. Philip was perhaps unsure about bringing these Gentiles to Jesus so he checked with Andrew. Together, however, they decide to tell the Master. Though we cannot be sure specifically what happens to these Greeks, it seems that Jesus may have been referring to people like them when he said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:32). The “all men” in this verse certainly applies to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Jesus also previously told his disciples: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) This, too, is likely a reference to Gentiles. In His Great Commission, He commanded that “all nations” (ἔθνος – ethnos) be taught, baptized, and discipled (Matthew 28:18 – 19). I for one am very glad that Jesus did not exclude us Gentiles.

The point of my thought this morning is that there are people out there in our world that desire to know Jesus. They may not be people who we would expect to be interested, and they may not be the people who we normally would hang around with, but they are the very people who Jesus died for, and who he came “to seek and to save” (Luke 19:10). We need to be like Philip and Andrew who were willing to take a risk to bring  these folks to Christ. By the way, Philip and Andrew both were known for pointing people to Christ. Philip told Nathanael about Jesus (John 1:45 – 48), and Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus (John 1:40 – 42). Who have you introduced to Jesus? Who have I brought to Jesus lately? In these perilous last days, we need to get out of our comfort zones and look for people who are looking for Jesus. 

See the handwritten notes from this passage – John 12 – 20 – 21


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Great Joy and Great Glory Sometimes Come from Great Suffering

Today’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”

“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. … 45 Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.” (John 11:4, 45 KJV)

Our church has been studying 1st Peter on Sunday mornings for a couple of months now, and we have been paying close attention to the subject of suffering. The believers in Peter’s day were going through much tribulation because of their identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. In that study of 1st Peter we have considered the possible reasons that God would allow a person or church to experience trials or suffering. We have concluded that there are three reasons that stand out: the glory of God; the furtherance of the gospel or edification of believers (others are watching); and the instruction or correction of the person (or people) suffering. In the account of the sickness, death, and resurrection of Lazarus here in John 11, we see all three.

In the story of Lazarus several thoughts come to mind. Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. However, Jesus allowed the people He loved dearly to suffer. Lazarus was sick unto death and Jesus did not go to heal him. Lazarus suffered through his sickness, and though his sisters were not ill themselves, they suffered along with him because they loved him dearly. They also had to endure the suffering of grief for four long days while they mourned for their brother after he had died. By the way, we sometimes forget that none of these folks knew what Jesus was going to do. In their minds, Lazarus was gone forever. Even Jesus suffered somewhat. He “wept;” he “groaned in the spirit,” which is very interesting because He knew that Lazarus’ death was only temporary. Perhaps, He wept because He knew that He was removing Lazarus from the place of comfort that he was then in (after he died and went to Paradise), and was bringing him back into a sin-cursed, Christ-rejecting world.

We can see from this account that the suffering of Lazarus and his sisters accomplished all three of the purposes mentioned above:

  1. Christ was glorified in that Mary and Martha, though struggling, maintained their testimony of faith in Christ. He was also glorified because of the fact that the many folks who were present had the chance to witness a great miracle, and Christ was magnified in their eyes.
  2. The believers present were also edified and strengthened in their faith, and many unbelievers believed as a result of what they saw and heard.
  3. Mary, Martha, and all of the people present learned a great lesson about trusting in God. Though their suffering was not a consequence of some action on their part, they were corrected in their thinking nonetheless.

How about you? What is your attitude regarding the suffering that God has allowed to come your way? We need to learn to accept the fact that the God who we love and serve also loves us. He is well aware of what we are enduring, and He is working in us, and in those around us, through our trials. We need to believe that God truly will “work all things together for good” in our lives (Romans 8:28), and trust that the suffering that we may go through today will produce a greater joy sometime in the future. We simply need to trust Him.

See the handwritten notes from this passage – John 11 – 4


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Who Did Sin?

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 – 45Proverbs 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

“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:2-3)

In John 9, we have the familiar account of Jesus healing the man who was born blind. Jesus disciples inquired as to why this man was born blind. Often in Bible times, human suffering was attributed to some type of sin. They must have reasoned that since the man was born with the condition, it must have been caused by the sin of his parents. It has to be somebody’s fault, right? You may recall the Old Testament story of Job. Job’s friends thought the same thing about all of his problems. “It must be your fault Job! You must have done something to cause it.” Jesus refutes this argument and states that in this case, the man’s blindness was not caused by any particular sin, but rather that this blind man’s condition and subsequent healing would be used to glorify God. 

This story does bring up some interesting questions regarding human suffering. Did God create it? And, if He is a loving and powerful God, why would He allow it to continue? The disciples in John 9 thought that this man’s suffering was specifically caused as the result of a particular person’s sin. Though Jesus corrects their logic regarding this particular case of blindness, He does not here address the subject of the root causes of human suffering in general. The fact is that human suffering  is cause by sin. The curse of sin upon the world is behind all of the pain and misery that we are experiencing. Had sin not came into the world, there would be no disease or death. The wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23a) We live in a sin cursed world, and the evidences of the decay are everywhere. And, to complicate matters further, man continues to make more sinful choices that adds to problem and accelerates the decline. So, in answer to the question: who did sin? The answer is “Adam,” but the answer is also “me.” I didn’t cause all of the problems with the sinful world around me, but unfortunately, I have at times, contributed to it because of my own sinful actions.However, even in the midst of a sin-cursed world, God can be greatly glorified, and his marvelous works will be manifested for the world to see.

For many years, we had a man who was born blind attending our church. He was a great guy, and though he was blind, he was also extremely gifted. He could play the piano and organ beautifully, and he also had literally hundreds of Bible passages committed to memory. When people saw this man, their attention may at first have been drawn to his blindness, but eventually they could not miss the fact that God was using him in an awesome way. This man’s life glorified the Lord greatly. God’s works were made manifest in his life. 

You and I can do the same thing in this imperfect and sometimes painful world that we live in. Don’t let the results of sin keep you from finding ways to manifest God’s grace and glory. We can glorify God and show the world his amazing and supernatural grace even through our times of suffering. 


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To Whom Shall I Go?

To-whom-shall-we-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 – 40; Proverbs 8)

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

Read the “1108 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“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 many years and in that time I have experienced many mountaintops. It is easy to praise God and exalt His name when things are going very well. 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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