What God Hath Cleansed

Today’s Passages – Acts 11 – 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 91 – 95Proverbs 19)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Joshua 1:8

Read the Evening and Morning devotions for today from the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Read a previous post from this passage – “The Beginning of the Journey

In the passage above, we read of Peter’s rehearsal of the events that took place in chapter ten, the first recorded conversion in the Book of Acts of a Gentile. Let me clarify that statement. Previously, in Acts eight, we read about a revival that took place in Samaria, which was populated by people who were of mixed Jewish / Gentile blood and had some connection to Judaism. We also saw the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch who was a Gentile by blood but was obviously a convert to Judaism because the passage tells us that when Phillip the evangelist finds him he was on his way back from Jerusalem where he was worshipping. The account given here in chapter eleven, however, is about a man, a Roman centurion, who was of Gentile blood and neither was he a Jewish proselyte. The Scripture tells, however, that he did have a fear of God (Acts 10:22).

There are a couple of things that I would like to pull from this passage.

1. Peter was very reluctant to speak to this Gentile because of some presupposed ideas of God’s attitude toward the Gentiles, which were wrong. God had to convince Peter three times through the illustration of eating the the unclean animals that it was OK for him to preach Christ to Cornelius. Peter was convinced that he was right and it took a lot for God to convince him otherwise. I wonder if there are things in our lives that we are sure that we are right about that maybe God wants us to change our minds about.

2. Even though God had convinced Peter that it was the will of God for Gentiles to be saved, there were still many within Peter’s circle of friends who were not happy about what Peter had done. Sometimes, it will take a while before other people recognize the will of God, but we must boldly stand against the crowd, if need be, and for what the Lord wants us to do.

3. When Peter and the other disciples envisioned the Kingdom and what Jesus was going to do, they did not see what had actually happened. The Romans were still in authority, the corrupt religious leaders were still in charge of Judaism, and now the door to salvation was opened to the Gentiles. This was not at all what the disciples expected (or wanted). Yet, God had other plans. Peter and the disciples had to abandon their ideas and accept God’s will. God has a will for your life as well, which may be radically different than what you want. Let me remind you that God’s ways are not only higher than our ways, they are also much better.

Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

Then Had The Churches Rest – The Saturday Morning Post

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)

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

Good morning. Saul was persecuting the churches, but then he met Jesus. After meeting Jesus, Saul boldly preached that Jesus was the Christ: the Saviour of the world. Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea, Galilee, and Samaria. Do you know why the world is in the condition it is in? Those in Islam don’t have Jesus, they have a moon god. The Hindus don’t have Jesus. They have, according to Wikipedia, 330 million gods. You have to worship over 900,000 per day to get them all in for the year. Buddhists are trying to be perfect, but only Jesus was perfect, and they don’t have Jesus. Tree-huggers worship creation, but not the Creator: they don’t have Jesus. The Atheist, the Communist, the Fascist, the Socialist, and the DNC don’t believe in God, but by their actions may worship the god of this world. They don’t have Jesus. The Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, he is Satan’s brother. As a matter of fact they believe there are sins you can commit that require your own blood to be shed in payment: their Jesus is a weak Jesus, not God Almighty. And the Catholic Jesus is still hangs on the cross, while the real Jesus is risen. There are many other religions around the world, and they all have one thing in common: they don’t have Jesus. Why don’t they have Jesus?

Because we have ignored the Great Commission that Jesus gave to us to get the gospel to a lost and dying world. The Apostle Paul wrote about the Gospel he preached…

The Gospel as simple as that. And if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (see 2Corintians 5:17). Simply, when you got saved you became a new creature: you should know, because you know what you were like before, and you yourself should know the change in you; others will notice and see as you grow in Christ. So you ARE WITNESSES of these things.

The church had dropped the ball on personal soul-winning may years ago. Godless evolution crept into our schools as churches argued what color the new carpet should be. Now children are searching for the truth, but are being pulled away into believing in false gods and their false religions. They need to hear the Truth, and Jesus is the Truth; and the only One who can give Life (because He is the Life), and the only Way to Heaven (because He is the Way).

The churches can have rest. Do you have wisdom?


Posted in Devotions by with no comments yet.

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.

Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

By Reason Of Him – The Saturday Morning Post

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)

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

Good morning. Did you ever wish to have that kind of testimony: the testimony of Lazarus? The chief priests wanted to kill Jesus, and Lazarus as well. Why? Because that by reason of him [Lazarus] many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus. The Bible says…

Before you got saved, you did not have Jesus: you didn’t have life: you were dead. But…

Did you hear?

Eternal death in Hell is passed away, we have a brand new life in Jesus. You see we are all sinners and destined to die…

The good news is…

In Isaiah, the Bible says about Christ…

God the Father loved us so much that He gave us Jesus…

God the Son loved us so much that He gladly went to the cross to die for our sins…

If you’ve never received Jesus as your own personal Saviour, the time is now to give your life to Him. He will use you as He used Lazarus to bring many new believers to Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ took on the hard part for us by shedding His precious blood to pay for our sins. He gave us the easy part…

Then tell someone. As the Scripture above says that you believe with your heart, then with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Tell others what Jesus did for you. Someday you may find that someone will say, by reason of you, I found Christ.


Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

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 studied 1st Peter on Sunday mornings a couple of years ago and gleaned much from that book on 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 had considered the possible reasons that God would allow a person or church to experience trials or suffering. We 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 as well as 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

Posted in Devotions by with 4 comments.

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 caused 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 the 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.

We have a man who was born blind attending our church. He is a great guy, and though he is blind, he is also extremely gifted by God. He can play the piano and organ beautifully, and he also has literally hundreds of Bible passages committed to memory. When people see this man, their attention may at first be drawn to his blindness, but eventually they cannot not miss the fact that God is using him in an awesome way. This man’s life glorifies the Lord greatly. God’s works are 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. 


Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

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!

Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

Pray – The Saturday Morning Post

Today’s Passages – Luke 21 – 22; (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 16 – 20; Proverbs 4)

Read the “1104 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. 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. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:39-46)

Good morning. Did you pray yet today. Twice in today’s passage Jesus warns His disciples to pray that they enter not into temptation. Jesus was concerned for His disciples. Not only that, He was concerned about His Father’s will being done. His prayer was answered: His Father sent an angel to strengthen Him. But He was still in an agony as He prayed, so much so that His sweat was like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Then He warned the sleeping disciples to rise and pray, lest they enter into temptation. Have you agonized in prayer? Has sweat, like great drops of blood, fallen from your head to the ground? Were you concerned about your friends? Anyway you look at it, we all need to pray. Maybe a friend is about to commit a terrible sin: God says pray…

“And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah. But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife. But Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation? Said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this. And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.” (Genesis 20:2-7)

“So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children.” (Genesis 20:17)

Praying for your friends will help you too…

“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job. And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:7-10)

Do you have a need? Bring it to the Lord in prayer…

“And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.” (1Samuel 1:1-17)

“And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD. For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” (1Samuel 1:26-28)

Are things not going well for you, and it feels like the whole world is against you, God says pray…

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2Chronicles 7:14)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1John 1:9)

Has something good happened to you? Has God blessed you? Start your praise and thanksgiving with prayer…

“And Mattaniah the son of Micha, the son of Zabdi, the son of Asaph, was the principal to begin the thanksgiving in prayer: and Bakbukiah the second among his brethren, and Abda the son of Shammua, the son of Galal, the son of Jeduthun.” (Nehemiah 11:17)

A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” (Psalm 100)

How is your soul winning? Need help? Pray…

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 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. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:31)

Pray for a friend in trouble…

“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.” (Acts 12:1-12)

By your individual prayers, or group prayers, we commune with God, asking Him for our needs, and the needs of others. If we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit helps us…

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

As God’s Word says in 1Thessalonians…

“Pray without ceasing.” (1Thessalonians 5:17)

And pray for others…

“Brethren, pray for us.” (1Thessalonians 5:25)


Posted in Devotions by with no comments yet.

Unprofitable Servants

Today’s Passages – Luke 17 – 18 (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 6 – 10; Proverbs 2)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm One Hundred Nineteen Verse One Hundred Five

Read previous posts from this passage – “Forbid Them Not”; “Attaboy;” and Where Are the Nine?”

“But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink?  Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:7-10)

In our text today we have what almost seems like a hodgepodge of principles, but upon careful examination, we see that they are all related. Jesus begins by declaring that “offences” are going to come (v. 1), especially as these disciples were about to enter that time of extreme persecution in the first century. People are going to do bad things at times. We are all sinners living in a very sinful world. It is just in their nature to sin against others. However, he warns that the people who commit those offences will be judged harshly (v. 2). The Bible is very clear that we are not to avenge ourselves (Romans 12:19), but rather are to leave all judgement to God who will, in His time, deal with those who oppress and persecute His children. Jesus then reminds these disciples that must be willing to forgive each other – repeatedly if needed. The disciples know that this will be difficult and ask the Lord to increase their faith (v. 5), so that they would be able to do this. Jesus states that if they had even a little bit of faith, they could do amazing and supernatural, impossible things.

In verse seven, it almost seems like Jesus is introducing a new topic, but I believe he is still referring to forgiveness. Forgiveness is Christianity 101. It is the foundational principle of Christian living, and we should not be expecting some great “Attaboy” for forgiving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus loves us and forgives all that we have done and continues to forgive all our current and future offences against Him; it is the least that we can do to forgive others (Matthew 18:21 – 35).

Christians ought not to be looking for special recognition for anything that do in service to the Lord. We are His servants. Yet, He has given all to redeem us. We are bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:2-; 7:23). Now, the Lord does reward us and even recognize us for our service, but we ought not be looking for recognition, we ought to be content with just being able to serve the One who loved us and died for our sins. Besides, if we only do just what is commanded, we are unprofitable. We ought to be cheerfully willing to go above and beyond just what was commanded of us.

By the way, we should not be looking for recognition by people either. Stop expecting a pat on the back every time you pick a piece of paper up off the floor or put a dollar in the offering box. You should not be looking for recognition by men.

“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

One final thought. Though we should not be looking for recognition from others for the good things that we do, we should try to recognize and appreciate the people who are serving us by serving the Lord. Our recognition should not be their motivation, but it is right for us to appreciate privately and publicly those who are doing right.

Posted in Devotions by with 1 comment.

We Need More Laborers

Today’s Passage – Luke 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 141 – 145; Proverbs 30)

Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 18:3 & 46

Read the “1030 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

“1 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. 3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. 5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. 6 And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. 7 And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. 8 And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: 9 And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” (Luke 10:1 – 9)

Here in the first part of chapter ten, Jesus is sending out seventy of His disciples to represent him in the many towns and villages in Judaea, Galillee, and even outside of the borders of Israel.

Note – Between Luke 9:62 and Luke 10:1, there are several events that take place that are not discussed by Luke. They are, however, given to us by John:

  1. Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:11 – 53)
  2. Woman Caught in Adultery (John 8:1 – 11)
  3. Light of the World Discourse Ending with a Debate with the Pharisees (John 8:12 – 59)
  4. Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind (John 9:1 – 41)
  5. Good Shepherd Discourse (John 10:1 – 21)

Though these are all very important events, to expedite our study in Luke, we will not discuss them now. In Luke’s account, we see:

The Commissioning of the Seventy (vs. 1 – 3)

  • Jesus chooses seventy disciples (v. 1).

An important point to make here is that Jesus had more disciples than just the twelve apostles. He obviously had spent a great deal of time with these men and had trained them sufficiently enough to send them out.

  • Jesus calls them to pray for labourers (v. 2; also Matthew 9:37 – 38)

Matthew records the same words used by Jesus in a slightly context:

“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 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. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

There are many people that need to be reached, but very few that are willing and able to reach them.

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.” (John 4:34-39)

We need to pray that the Lord will help us to be better labourers. We need to pray that God helps us to reach and train more laborers. The Lord seems to be telling us that the problem is not that people are not listening to His message of the gospel, it is that there are not enough laborers sharing that message. John’s Gospel tells us that the fields are already white and ready to be harvested. We need to be more faithful in sharing the message of Christ, and we need to do more in our churches to train, motivate, and provide opportunities for our members to do the same.

  • Jesus Cautions Them (v. 3)

Though there will be many people who will rejoice and receive the message of the disciples, there will also be many that will reject the message and will rile up others to reject the messengers.

The Conditions for Submission in a City (vs. 4 – 9)

  • The Care of Their Needs (vs. 4 – 8)

Here we see an urgency in the need for delivering the message. The disciples were not to worry about preparing for their journey. The underlying promise is that their needs will be met by the Lord through the people they minister to. They were not to get distracted by people along the way.

Practical Point – Oftentimes we get distracted from delivering the Lord’s message by well-meaning people along the way.

They were instructed to find someone within the city who would receive them, and remain there ministering to the city through the house that opened its doors to them.

  • The Disciples Commitment to the Places That Receive Them (v. 9)

They were to heal the people physically, as well as help the people eternally through the message of the kingdom of God. While the Lord may not use His ambassadors in exactly the same way today, we can still be used of God to share the message of Christ with the people in our communities.

Posted in Devotions, Thoughts from Luke by with 1 comment.
%d bloggers like this: