“Let me walk on the water, too!” Simon Peter yelled out to the Master as
Jesus walked across the lake toward the frightened and bewildered disciples.
I have wondered why the Lord didn’t tell Simon to stay in the boat where it was safe. Instead, He invited him over the side of the boat, right into the stormy seas. What do you think the disciples were doing while Simon stuck his impetuous neck out and tried the impossible? They were probably standing at the side of the boat “encouraging” him - “Simon, get back in this boat before you drown!”
GospeLines Prayer:Dear God, I may not ever have enough faith to try the impossible. If not, at least help me to be an encourager to those with Simon-like faith. Amen and amen.
Scores of our favorite Bible stories have found their way into the hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike.The Good Samaritan parable is one which stands as having universal renown.It transcends the boundaries of race, culture, religion, ethnicity and economics.
Jesus said that a traveler, probably Jewish, was attacked by a gang of thieves on his way to Jericho.Left to die on the side of the road, a priest and Levite, two religious leaders of the day, passed him by.With hope fading, a Samaritan man approached.Years of prejudice against citizens of Samaria would lead us to expect that he, too, would ignore the situation.Instead, he stepped down into the ditch, tended the broken body of a man who despised him, and made arrangements for his care and recuperation.
One theologian stated it like this:
The robbers said, “What is yours is mine and I will take it.”
The priest and Levite said, “What is mine is mine and I will keep it.”
The Samaritan said, “What is mine is yours and you may have it.”
All this was in response to the question, “Who is my neighbor?”
GospeLines Prayer:God of all creation, deliver me from mistreating people who are not just like me.Expand my understanding of neighborhood to include everyone, even those whom the world would attack and religion would disdain.Amen and amen.
“I’m bored!” announced my thirteen year old son loudly.We were only 7 hours into our 14 hour trip to Disney World.It was time for Dad to do something that would make things more entertaining.
So we played all the car games I had played when I was a kid in less than an hour, and Danny didn’t care about reading a book.With all the wisdom I could muster, I said “Project yourself into the future.Think about how much fun you will have tomorrow at Disney World.All the rides, the Disney characters you will see... Epcot Center!”
That didn’t work.So we were miserable for the next six hours.
Why is it so difficult to project into the future and be satisfied NOW because we anticipate the rewards that will come later?Many Christians have the same problem today.Why are so many Christians bored?Why are they behaving in such a boring manner?Why are churches so dull, behaving as though we have little to celebrate?
We aren’t satisfied with the here-and-now because we haven’t fully appreciated the reward that is going to be ours in the future!
Our world has spoiled us to thinking we have to be entertained and we’ve lost a lot of our ability to find fulfillment without some spectacular external stimulus.That unfulfilled need carries over to the church as well.In some places, worship has become a “production” in order to entice our entertainment addicted society to attend the services.And just when we think we’ve got it right, another church finds a new wrinkle that is just a little more glamorous than what we are doing so we rush to produce something else that is more exciting than our competitor.
Beloved, star-studded worship services aren’t going to solve the problem.Lloyd Ogilvie said in his book, Ask Him Anything, “The cutting edge of the gospel has been dulled with impersonal preaching and teaching.People’s deepest needs are unmet and what’s said and done is often irrelevant to the real issues of living in the real world.The great wonder is that we put up with it.”
In a message preached at Times Square Church, New York City, David
Wilkerson said, “In thousands of churches there is never any mention of sin, the Cross, sacrifice, judgment or hell.Godly watchmen aren’t allowed to speak, and there is no stirring of hearts.Instead, the whole focus is on success, with every sermon designed to make people feel good…
Think about all the prosperity preaching in the church today… This self-serving, get-rich gospel and the competitive church system that promotes it are now under the Ichabod anathema.It’s all cursed and dead, and soon we’ll see God do what He said He would do to Israel: 'I will make this house like Shiloh.'He’s going to cut down the money tree, and a great spoiling will follow.
All the hireling shepherds are going to face bankruptcy, and overnight their massive church programs will be gone.”
To the godly Christians seeking an authentic word from the Bible, church has become boring!There is something we can do about that.When a thirteen year old is bored while on a 14 hour car trip, I want to shout, “Grow up!”That same advice could be a part of the menu today!Think about this:
The reason for our boredom is that we bypass our real needs.Faith becomes dull when we do not allow Christ to indwell every fiber of our existence.
We have lost our excitement about spiritual things because we have forgotten to listen to what God is telling us.The mind that is alive to new Truth from God’s Word everyday won’t need any more excitement than that.
A bored Christian is usually not involved in deep fellowship with other believers.Ogilvie said, “Dullness is a sure sign that we are trying to go it alone.”
Faith becomes boring when we stop communicating to others about the love of the Lord.
Ask God to abide in you! Invite Him to take an inventory of every aspect of your life and give Him first place.Then you will become the exciting Christian God has called you to be!Amen and amen.
“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.”(2nd Chronicles 7:14)
How many times have you read this verse?Have you ever noticed that God wasn’t talking to all people, but only to His people?God was telling us that if we, the children of God, will call on Him, He will heal our entire nation!Look at this scripture again and think about the full meaning of His words.
“If My people (nation, persons, country-men, kinsman, kindred – The children of God – Those who are citizens of the Kingdom of God),who are called (named, invited, bidden) by my name (Those who have accepted God as their Lord and Savior), will humble themselves (Admit that without God, they are nothing and hopelessly lost) and pray and seek my face (Confess and ask for the gift of the Holy Spirit) and turn from their wicked ways (Repent of their sins),then will I hear from heaven (Answer their prayers) and will forgive their sin and will heal (cure, repair) their land (earth, country, world, nation).”
Friends, God has placed the responsibility for the survival of our nation (and our world) squarely on the shoulders of His people – you and me – Everyone who calls Jesus their Lord.
He has told us that we will have trouble in this world; but, that He has overcome the world. (John 16:33)Jesus told us that through our efforts alone we cannot be saved, but “with God, all things are possible." (Matthew 19:25-27)
Pray and seek God’s help for our nation and for the world.The souls of over 6 billion people are at risk and our Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. (Matthew 18:13-15)
“…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father,but byMe.”
(Author’s Note: This is a story from the unpublished autobiography of my great-great grandfather, Richard O. Watkins.)
Shortly after being licensed to preach in September, 1838, Watkins was assigned by the Texas Presbytery as a circuit-riding preacher and evangelist.His territory was inhabited by scalping parties of hostile tribes of Indians.It became too dangerous to continue the ministry alone, so he joined the Texas Rangers, traveling with them and preaching to groups of men, women and children wherever he could.The services were held secretly, with armed men guarding against sudden attacks.
One evening a courier brought news that their Colonel needed support in a fort sixty miles away.The danger was too great to leave the women and children without protection, so the captain called for a volunteer to dispatch a message that help would not come.It was a dark night, not a star, and the path was dim.In some places there was no path at all.Should the volunteer fail to find his way, danger would be imminent at daylight if he did not go the proper direction.But twenty miles in the right direction, and he would be in comparative safety.
Watkins volunteered for the dangerous mission and took with him James H. Sparks.They set out and it soon proved that they could not follow the path, dark as it was, and had only the direction of a slight wind to steer them.When the wind ceased, they had nothing to guide them.At last they came upon a place both recognized as being twenty miles in the right direction.
Relieved at their good fortune, they rejoiced and cheerfully pressed on without fear.Suddenly, while traveling over hilly ground they found themselves within twenty yards of an Indian fire which was just built up.The Indians evidently heard them and hid in the ravine.
Watkins writes, “They, in whisper, decided the boldest course was best, and at the top of their voice sang out upon the stillness of the night, ‘Charge, charge!’ as though their whole company had been there.Suiting the action to the word they dashed right up to the fire, as the Indians went every way to escape.They went by the fire at full speed, made the trip in safety, received the thanks of the Colonel and won much praise from their company.”
When our pathway seems dimly lit, and we face the danger of losing our direction, that is when we trust in the boldness of our Heavenly Father.
Racing toward the light is not always the easiest way, but it is the only way.When we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit our enemies will flee.“Charge, charge!”
GospeLines Prayer:Father, when the way seems darkest, point me in the direction of the Light, and bind my enemies so I will find eternal safety in You.Amen and amen.