"But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty-thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?" (Jonah 4:11 - NIV)
In our town there has always been a man with long hair, appears unkempt, sits on the side of the curb quite often in different spots throughout the day wearing his green army jacket, seems to keep to himself, yet has that far away look in his eyes that says that he could possibly be a few fries short of a happy meal, or simply emotionally conquered by events of the past. I have often wondered if he is homeless and prayed for him. I have often driven by with the kids in the car and felt the tug in my spirit to hand him a sandwich or a heavy winter coat. I never did. Another time, while driving past last summer, I noted that he had a haircut and a shave. He cleaned up nice, he did. I thought about stopping and asking him to church with us one Sunday. But, I never did. Winter is coming once again, and I wonder about the homeless man that I've observed from a distance.
My husband came home a while back and shared that a man who lived in a tent on the edge of town had died. (My heart sank, was this my homeless man?) I could see the sadness in my husband's eyes. He and a man he works with used to take turns buying the homeless man a sandwich and a hot cup of joe at a local diner by the railroad tracks here in town, they brought him a thermal blanket, and gave him a winter coat. I sat, tears streaming down my face, in admiration for the men who helped...and in remorse before God, for not doing as His Holy Spirit had lead me. It was too late. There was no excuse. I blew it and I knew it. To this day, I still wonder if someone ever shared the free gift salvation with that homeless man. I will not get another chance to help or to share the love of Christ with him. I just cringe thinking about what God is going to say to me, come Judgment Day, because of it. There is nothing I can say in my defense.
Much to my surprise, I passed ‘my' homeless man that I thought had died. I couldn't believe my eyes! I immediately took the next turn to go back to find him. I had another chance - and I wasn't going to blow it this time! Impatiently, I stopped at a cross walk waiting for folks to cross. I saw a big city bus pull up to the curb at the end of the green, blocking my view of the man. The bus pulled away, I searched frantically. He was gone. He must have gotten on the bus, or walked away. I missed my chance, but I knew there was hope! I prayed for God to bring someone to share the saving sacrifice of Jesus with this man.
Did you ever hear the expression, "You can run but, you can't hide?" All I have to say is thank God for that big ole' fish that He sent to swallow Jonah for those 3 days and nights! God did what it took to get Jonah where He wanted him to be. What a great example God gave us with Jonah! I thank God that I had a second chance with ‘my' homeless man...but now, I can't help but wonder about the man who used to live in the tent. Did he know Jesus?
God's Word is for everyone, there are no exceptions. Those who are called to serve God are to carry out His works and preach God's message and His truth to everyone - no matter how unpopular or hard it may be. If we, as Christians, simply proclaim what we know about Jesus...I bet we'd be surprised at just how many are willing to listen!
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son.He sent out his slaves to summon those invited to the banquet, but they didn’t want to come.Again, he sent out other slaves, and said, ‘Tell those who are invited: Look, I’ve prepared my dinner; my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready.Come to the wedding banquet.’
“But they paid no attention and went away, one to his own farm, and another to his business.And the others seized his slaves, treated them outrageously and killed them.The king was enraged, so he sent out his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned down their city.
“Then he told his slaves, ‘The banquet is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.Therefore, go to where the roads exit the city and invite everyone you find to the banquet.’So those slaves went out on the roads and gathered everyone they found, both evil and good.The wedding banquet was filled with guests. But when the king came in to view the guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed for a wedding.So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’The man was speechless.
“Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him up hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
In this parable, many things can be found, but let’s look at the cast of our parable.The king in this parable is God the Father, while his son is Christ Jesus.The slaves of the king in this parable are Christians.The public invited to the banquet is theworld’s population, and the man that was not dressed for the wedding represents the unsaved.
So, God has prepared a wedding banquet for Christ, which will take place during the end times.The people invited to the banquet represent Christians that have become too busy for God.They have accepted the invitation, but when God calls on them, they refuse to be available.Some in the parable go so far as to torture and even kill the servants of God who are summoning them!Therefore, God sends out His troops (angels) to destroy those that have martyred his true servants, and destroy their city.Soon after, God opens the invitation to the banquet to the general public.However, as the king viewed the guests, he noticed one that was improperly dressed.So he had the man thrown into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.The guest improperly dressed was not covered with proper wedding clothes, which represent the righteousness of Christ.All of the other guests were covered with the righteousness that comes through Christ’s atoning blood.
So how do we apply this to our lives?In two ways:
1)Be available!If you have accepted the free gift of Christ and given your life for His sake, be ready to accept the call at any moment!God will only attempt to use you for so long before moving on to someone who is willing to do His work.
2)If you have not yet received the gift of salvation from God, it’s not too late!God sent His son Christ to die for your sin on the cross, and He wants you to attend the wedding banquet properly dressed!The gift of eternal life in the presence of our gracious and loving God is still available!Accept it before it is too late, and you are cast out like the improperly dressed wedding guest!We here at GospeLines are more than willing to help if you need us!Feel free to contact us and we will explain more how you may be saved!
Remember:“For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
S.I.C. Ryan McCammon
Amen and Amen!
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, May 25, 2011
"No Glory in Pain"
My youngest son grimaced as the anesthesiologist probed deeply into his flesh in search of a vein. The nervous pre-surgery laughter we had enjoyed moments before now turned to coping with the needle being placed in his hand. Our conversation centered on the painful struggle for the five previous weeks, when walking became a challenge because of the torn cartilage in his knee. We decided upon this surgery because there is no glory in pain.
Mary watched as Jesus suffered the agony of the cross. We do not celebrate our Lord's pain. Joy comes on the morning of the third day, not from the physical suffering itself, but from the reason for the suffering: everlasting hope!
Sometimes our spiritual growth has a painful price, but it also has a reward.The battles we wage against sin grow us into a mature Christian warrior who has learned to overcome through conflict.Perseverance hurts but it builds endurance for the things which lie ahead of us.Ask the person who lost the use of her legs through a horrific accident and fought her way back to stand once again; then walk a step at a time, until she could once again lead a normal life.
Embrace your pain; learn from it…fight through those times when Satan tempts you to quit the battle.The glory comes later.Jesus said that the last days would not be easy for us; the hurt we experience now is to be expected.Embrace it…and know that tomorrow will bring healing and victory.“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”Luke 21:28
GospeLines Prayer:Father, help me to be patient thru the struggle, so that I may experience the awesome reward you are preparing for me. Amen and amen.
"Then the kingdom of heaven will be like 10 virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom.Five of them were foolish and five were sensible.When the foolish took their lamps, they didn't take oil with them.But the sensible ones took oil in their flasks with their lamps.Since the groom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
"In the middle of the night there was a shout: 'Here's the groom! Come out to meet him.'
"Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.But the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, 'Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.'
"The sensible ones answered, 'No, there won't be enough for us and for you. Go instead to those who sell, and buy oil for yourselves.'
"When they had gone to buy some, the groom arrived. Then those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut.
"Later the rest of the virgins also came and said, 'Master, master, open up for us!'
"But he replied, ' I assure you: I do not know you!'
"Therefore be alert, because you don't know either the day or the hour.”
This parable is another warning of being prepared for the Second Coming of Christ.In this parable, there were ten virgins waiting for a groom to arrive, much as the Church of today waits for Christ.However, five of the virgins were foolish and did not bring extra oil with them, so when the groom was delayed, they were not prepared to meet him.While the five were out buying more oil, the groom arrived and took the five sensible virgins with him and closed the door.This represents those who are prepared when Christ returns being received to Him, while others foolishly scramble to get into the kingdom.However, those who are not prepared while not be allowed into the kingdom, and Christ will tell them, “I assure you: I do not know you!”What a sad time it will be for those who are not prepared for the return of Christ our King!
“He who has an ear should listen!”
GospeLines Prayer: “Father, make us alert to the return of Your Son.Remind us to carry extra oil for our lamps, so that we may not be caught off guard when He returns to claim us.Be with us until that glorious day of triumph, Lord. In Your name, Amen.”
Emily was a fourth grader in Seattle when she sent a message to the world. “This letter is part of our science project to study and learn about people in distant lands,” she wrote. “Please send the date and location of the bottle with your address. I will send you my picture and tell you when and where the bottle was placed in the ocean. Your friend, Emily Huang.”
Twenty-one years later, Merle Brandell found her letter along the Bering Sea in a tiny Alaskan fishing village, Nelson Lagoon. How the plastic bottle traveled 1,735 miles remains a mystery. Because of Pacific Ocean currents it would have headed south, then westward with the Equatorial Current. Over 21 years, that bottle could have made numerous trips circling the Pacific, traveling more than 200,000 miles before reaching its destination.
We have a message to share that carries a huge promise. How far must we go to deliver that word? One of the stanza’s in a hymn written in the 1800’s talks about our mission and its importance to the world.
“We’ve a message to give to the nations, That the Lord who reigns up above Has sent us His Son to save us, And show us that God is love, And show us that God is love.”
Our message is timeless. How long shall we preach it? God said to Isaiah, “Go and tell this people.” Then Isaiah asked, “For how long O Lord?” And he answered, “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged.” Isaiah 6:11.
Just before the Resurrection, Jesus commissioned His followers to be obedient to the task. We have come to know those words as the Great Commission. Why is it great?
1.It is great because it is authoritative; it comes from the throne of God.
2.It is great because it is all-inclusive. ALL disciples are charged to evangelize ALL the nations.
3.It is great because it is empowering. We are to speak in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
4.It is great because He promises to be with us “always, to the very end of the age.”
No matter how the currents of change influence society, God’s Word is unchanged; the tides of indifference may ebb and flow, but Jesus is with us always.
When we are tempted to quit because the journey seems unending, or we become discouraged because our message never gets through, remember that our role is to remain faithful to the mission. We have a message of promise for the whole world. God will provide the right audience at just the right time. He is in control.