If you want to know about the depths of God’s love for you, look again at John chapter eleven. This story of Lazarus has haunted me for the past few weeks because it stresses the value Jesus places on human life.
Lazarus was very sick and Jesus got there too late to save him. Oh, how Jesus loved this family! Jesus didn’t want Lazarus to die. He agonized over their grief and mourning. Mary, the sister of Lazarus, wailed to the Lord, "If you had been here…." Jesus saw her weeping, and the others who had come with her were also weeping. The apostle John saw this poignant moment and recorded that Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. (John 11:33) When they led Him to the family burial place, it was more than even God-man could deal with emotionally. "Jesus wept!" As our Lord stepped up to the opening of the tomb his emotions showed again: "Jesus, once more (was) deeply moved."
Beloved, when you have reason to doubt that Jesus cares about you; when you wonder if it matters whether you live or die; when you feel as though your prayers do not reach beyond the sound of your own voice, listen to the pain in Jesus’ voice at Bethany! He went where he didn’t have to go. He could have spoken a word without taking the journey, and Lazarus would have been healed. He risked his life and the lives of the disciples by going to Bethany. Our Lord became personally and emotionally involved because he valued the life of one person, just as He values your life.
You are in this world because God uniquely and fabulously created you. He cares about your physical and spiritual well-being. Never doubt the integrity of your Creator, who has snatched you out of the jaws of hell, planted your feet upon holy ground, and guaranteed your security by offering the precious gift of His own Son. Jesus wants you alive, living and loving, going and growing, praising and praying, working and witnessing, until He comes again!
GospeLines Prayer:O, my Holy, Living God, who keeps me going when I want to give up; who heals my broken heart when others disappoint me; who showers me with comfort when my pain has outgrown my capacity to cope; and who carries me through the day when I cannot take another step on my own. I rejoice that you have overcome the mystery of death, yet I am overwhelmed that you care so much about how I live right now. Amen and amen.
For the past week or more, a large portion of the country has experienced temperatures above 100 degrees.With rainfall totals under anticipated levels, some counties have started rationing water due to the drought and certainly some fireworks shows will be canceled.This situation is risky – to life, pets and property.We need the means to stay cool during the heat wave and need plenty of water to stay hydrated.It’s a matter of survival!
Droughts come along in our lives form time-to-time.When we take our focus off God’s plan and purpose for us, we find there are many dry spells.I have been so overwhelmed in other areas of my life that I have suffered a drought – the writings seemingly had dried up.
But just like the blooming flowers on the cacti in the desert, I survive because God quenches my thirst.Nothing else is as satisfying and comforting as knowing I have nothing to fear.Hear His word in Jeremiah 17:7-8:
7-8"But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
the woman who sticks with God.
They're like trees replanted in Eden,
putting down roots near the rivers -
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
bearing fresh fruit every season."
GospeLines Prayer: Father, help me to hear Your voice and to live the purpose You have laid out before me.Even when my season seems barren, You’re working in the background on my behalf.You are truly my river of life!
Thank You, Lord.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Wednesday, July 08, 2009
“Then Jesus called the crowd to him, along with his followers. He said, ‘If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me. Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for me and for the Good News will have true life.’ “ Mark 8:34-35
The crowd stands there, jeering and deriding us to conform and find acceptance. If we yield to their enticement, the insinuation is that everything will be easier and better.
Hanging there on the cross between two criminals, Jesus looks through the blood and sweat stinging his eyes and calls us to be His followers. Instead of promising pleasure we are almost sure to experience more pain if we follow in His steps.
One says follow me and I will give you pleasure. God says I will give you everlasting life. The crowd offers immediate satisfaction. Jesus promises suffering. “Live it up and be happy,” cries the crowd. “Endure the pain of commitment and REALLY LIVE!” our Lord pleads.
GospeLines Prayer:Thank You, Father, for giving me the choice of eternal life. If my life is to be one of suffering in order to find true happiness, I would rather die a thousand deaths than to miss one moment with you in eternity! Amen and amen.
The horizontal and vertical lines in both pictures are straight!
Missouri has long been known as the “Show me” State.However, as these simple illustrations above demonstrate, “show me” may not be as conclusive as we sometimes think.If we can’t trust our own eyes, how can we be sure of anything?
In this world, that may be difficult because there are so many false teachers and false prophets who show great signs and wonders and deceive even the very wise (Matthew 24:24).However, if we stay rooted in Jesus, we can be at ease.He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)
Many who actually saw Jesus and the miracles He performed did not believe.The evidence provided by their own eyes was not enough."See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."(Romans & 1st Peter 2:6)Even then, it took faith to believe, not our own earthly sight (wisdom).
Don’t worry so much about understanding through your physical eyes; but, pray that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19)That power will give you true sight that you can trust for eternity.
"…we can face Him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world."
How do teenagers do it? As a high school student, I was playing football, working a part-time job, involved on the debate team, and still found time to sing in the church choir, which practiced on Wednesday nights after the prayer service. I made it a habit to arrive late, not because it was necessary to do so, but because it wasn't a priority for me.
Bill Hamilton, the Minister of Music, always started rehearsals on time and expected us to be in our places at the beginning, not five or ten minutes late.
After everyone had left one night, Bill approached me to ask the reason for my chronic tardiness. I had no excuse and told him so. Then he said something that has stuck with me all these years. "Anything worth doing is worth doing on time."
There were no threats, no intimidation, no anger... just a kind word of wisdom to a young man in his formative years.
As an adult, I am almost never late anyplace I go. In fact, I am usually early to everything, thanks to Bill Hamilton.
You never know when a kind word will be taken to heart by those around you. The wisdom of kindness is heard and remembered more readily than words of harshness. Too often the message is lost in the presentation, not in the importance of the thought expressed. How we address each other is just as important as the content of our conversation, and a word spoken in kindness has more impact than a point driven home with a hammer!
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."(Psalm 19:14)
GospeLines Prayer:Father, give me words which sound like they come from Your heart. Never let your message be lost because I have been insensitive in the way I speak to others. Thank You for teaching me to be on time to choir practice. Amen and amen.