Exactly one year ago today, October 26, 2004, I sent an e-mail to GospeLines that changed my life; I volunteered to become a Prayer Warrior.Just three short weeks later, on November 16th, our Founder and Editor, Tommy Harrison, send me an e-mail that was the beginning of a new chapter in my life - It started my new career as a Gospel Writer; and, more importantly, as an "active" (and I hope bold) voice for our Lord.
I have been a Christian for years (I was baptized in 1955 when I was in the 7th grade.)However, for most of that time, I was what you might call a "Closet Christian."I went to church regularly and knew the bible very well; but, I didn't tell anyone.I didn't even tell me!
I had lots of head knowledge, but very little heart knowledge.Jesus was someone I knew a lot about; but, I didn't really know Him.So, what could I say?I could tell anyone interested all kind of facts about scripture and the Lord; but, I couldn't share any intimate, personal experiences because, although they had happened, I was oblivious to them.God was working overtime in me, but I was still in the dark - I had nothing to share.
As the years went by, God's hands began to mould me into His kind of pottery.I met Jesus in a real and personal way and life began to look very different.Although now I really wanted to share my love for Jesus, I didn't know how.I thought, I'm an engineer, not a preacher... God had other ideas.
Fast forward one year and over 120 devotionals and it's October 26, 2005.As I sat at the keyboard tonight I was thinking about GospeLines and my "anniversary."I began to ask myself, what does "GospeLines" really mean?
The "Gospel" is about God's grace (Acts 20:24) and was promised in advance through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures. (Romans 1:1-3)The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (Romans 1:16)The resurrected Jesus Christ is the Gospel. (2nd Timothy 2:8)
The other part of our name, "Lines," refers to lines of printed words.So "GospeLines" is the Gospel of Jesus Christ proclaimed in writing.God has given me the means to take my light out from under the bushel and put it on a hill.Wow!I'm humbled (that He would choose me), frightened (by the responsibility), and thrilled (to share my relationship with Jesus with the world).Nonetheless, this isn't about me; it's about anyone who shares the Gospel of Jesus.It's about answering God's call to "feed His sheep."
Are you called?Are you answering?Remember, Paul said that he was not called to baptize,"...but to preach the Gospel - not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power"(1st Corinthians 1:17).Paul was not saying that baptism was not important.Of course, baptism is important (and commanded); but, Paul knew that making disciples and obeying Jesus' command to "preach the gospel to every creature" is part of the package (Matthew 28:19-20 & Mark 16:15).There cannot be one without the other.God has called us to preach His words - To feed His sheep.
"This age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the Glory of Christ, who is the image of God"(2nd Corinthians 4:4).Answer His call brothers and sisters; help spread the Gospel of Jesus to all the world so that they may see and be saved.That is what GospeLines means...
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
Tuesday: November 1, 2005
"The 3rd Day"
Have you ever noticed how many times the "3rd day" is mentioned in the Bible?The phrase is used 41 times in the NIV (48 in the KJV).Here are a few examples.
"This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD."(2nd Kings 20:5)
"...on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence." (Hosea 6:2)
"I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal."(Luke 13:32)
All through the Holy Scriptures, the "3rd day" has been significant.Of course, its greatest significance is as it applies to the resurrection of our Lord.
"God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen."(Acts 10:40)
All of eternity can be divided into three parts: past eternity - before creation; the present - from creation until Christ's return (our time); and, future eternity - after Christ's return.We also know that our salvation involves three periods: The time Jesus was on earth and gave us His commands; the time for our obedience to His commands, after His ascension, while he is with the Father (now); and, the time after His return when the world will be judged according to our obedience to His commands.In each of these examples, the 3rd period (3rd "day") refers to the return of Jesus.
The 3rd day!The day of decision; the day of commitment; the day prophesies are fulfilled!Is our "3rd day" close at hand?Perhaps it is time we heed these two very poignant Biblical references to the 3rd day.
"On the third day, Joseph said to them, 'Do this and you will live, for I fear God'"(Genesis 42:18) and"Prepare yourselves for the third day"(Exodus 19:15).
Jesus warned us that at "that time" many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.He also said that many false prophets will appear and deceive many people during "that time" and that because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.However, He also said that those who stand firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:10-13)
Whether it happens tomorrow or in 100 years, we are very close to the "3rd day."Wickedness is increasing daily and the love of many is growing cold.Are you standing firm?
"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 2:5
Wednesday: November 2, 2005
It's the beginning of the Holiday season and we could think of no better way to start this wonderful time of year than with...
"A Thanksgiving Psalm"
"I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart." (Psalm 138:1 - NLT)
The Thanksgiving holiday is a good time to focus on our blessings and declare our gratitude to God.
In 1621, following harvest, the pilgrims set aside a time of Thanksgiving to God. Much like we enjoy a day with family and friends, they celebrated with deer and turkey hunted by the men, and corn, beans, and pumpkins the women cooked. Even the children gathered nuts and berries from the woods.
Indians joined the Pilgrims for a three-day feast. The Indians listened as the Pilgrims read the Bible and raised special prayers of thanksgiving to God. It was a happy time of fellowship in what we would consider very sparse surroundings. God was pleased and received their words of thanks.
However, thanks must become a daily, hourly, even a minute by minute occasion in our lives. Thanksgiving is woven through the Psalms. Praise should be an integral part of our communication with our Heavenly Father. He is so pleased when we praise and thank Him for our material and spiritual blessings. We must always remember to thank Him for answered prayer. God's provision should never be taken for granted.
Would you, this Thanksgiving, tell our marvelous God, "I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart?"
Why are some blessed financially and others are not?Why are some healed and others suffer their affliction for years?Recently there was an excellent article by Ron entitled "Paul's Thorn" which addressed some of these issues.Some of the godliest people I know have been poor and others have been sick for more than twenty years.Yet their witness is remarkable!Does God dislike them?Is he angry with them and thus chooses not to grant them health and wealth?
Every time you suffer physically or financially, ask yourself, "What does God want me to learn from this?"It isn't necessary to be wealthy to serve the Lord!And good health does not always belong to every Christian. Any time you are in doubt about the desire of the Lord to heal you from sin or disease, remember what the Bible has to say about this.
Innocently nestled in the sixth chapter of Mark's gospel, verse 56, are these unforgettable words:"...And as many as touched Him were made well."
First, healing is not selective.Jesus does not sort out the easy diseases or respond to the desirable people.He cannot be criticized for sexual, racial, age, or religious bias.
Second, some show of faith is required on the part of those who are sick.God does not force healing upon us nor does He reward those who play games.We must be determined.
Third, the result of faithful touching is freedom from the disease and/or a wholeness from the fragmented life we had lived previously.Jesus is more ready to bless our touch than we are willing to reach out by faith and receive His blessing.
If you are one of those suffering saints that cringes every time you hear the "prosperity gospel" preached on television, remember this.Our Heavenly Father knows that poverty or wealth, sickness or health belongs to all of us indiscriminately.He has not selected you to suffer because He dislikes you, but it is because He trusts you with how you will live or die with it.Do you need biblical proof of this teaching?Look at Jesus, the Son of God, who suffered on the cross for our sins.
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, I reach out to you in my broken state, and beseech you to accept my touch of faith.Heal me of everything that hinders my walk with you."Amen and amen.
Tommy Harrison, DMin
Friday: November 4, 2005
"Failure Is Never Final"
It was my first year to teach, during the days when all the "dumb" kids were put in the same class together.As a rookie teacher, I was given the assignment of teaching remedial English.The school didn't call them dumb, but the children figured it out pretty quickly.Most of the students in that 8th grade English class were incapable of meeting minimum academic standards.Robert was different.Oh, his grades were low, but he was anything but incapable.And, he was willing to work hard and listen.
By the end of the first semester, I recommended that he be placed in the regular English class.On his last day in my class, his mother visited the school.She shared her joy and enthusiasm that her son was being "promoted."Tearfully, she told me that she had always known that Robert was capable but had never been given the opportunity.Because of absenteeism caused by personal illness, he had failed the first grade, and the system had labeled him as "dumb" for so long that he had begun to believe it himself.
Failure is never final.God has placed in His children the spirit of victory to overcome fear.He has enabled us to rise above our defeats, and see them as stepping stones to success.The apostle Paul warned us about the negative principles of this world:"These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings" (Col. 3:24).
GospeLines Prayer:"Father, give me strength to get up when I am knocked down.Teach me that You are able to overcome, even when I am NOT.Thank you that success is not measured by how often I fail, and that starting over is not a mark of weakness, but of wisdom."Amen and amen.