We see images and signs posted all over asking for help. There are homeless men, women and children holding signs on the street corners. There are advertisements for particular causes. Breast Cancer Awareness. Human Trafficking. Pro-life. Organ Donation. So many signs. So many people in need of help, in need of hope.
When there was a large group of people in need of food, the disciples wanted to let them go to travel in search for food. They didn’t believe they could feed them so that was what they thought was in their best interest. But Jesus told them, “YOU FEED THEM.” He gave them this command because they had the power to help.
Sometimes we have the power to help, whether it is in a small way or a big way. If you feed one person, it’s a start. If you donate a bag of clothing, that’s a start. If you give a few extra dollars, that’s a start. There are moments when God does miracles and there are moments when God uses people to accomplish His miracles through them. He can use you. Simply ask Him to use you. It’s time to get those hands and feet moving.
“But Jesus said, ‘That isn’t necessary–you feed them.’” – Matthew 14:16 [NLT]
I love the story of the centurion. He understood, like all of us, that he was unworthy. We are all unworthy of what we receive through Christ. However, the centurion had faith. He asked Jesus to “just say the word.” He had faith that Jesus had the power and authority to heal from a distance.
Many of us do not spend much time in prayer, and when we do pray, there are times when the prayer seems like a simple recitation or a grocery list instead of a true outpouring of our heart. God wants the outpouring. He was the transparent. He wants the truth. He wants the relationship. He wants you to believe.
Do you believe that Jesus could just say the word and you would be healed? That Jesus could just say the word and there would be a door open? That Jesus could just say the word and the situation would change? We should pray expectantly. We should pray expecting an answer. But we cannot be expecting without believing. Do you believe? Pour out your heart to Him today.
“I am not even worthy to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.” – Luke 7:7 [NLT]
While walking Jesus saw a dead son being carried along with the mother of the son and a group who gathered with her. She was a widow. He was her only son. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through suffering yet another loss. As one would expect, she was crying.
Jesus saw her and the Bible says “his heart overflowed with compassion.” He told the widow not to cry. He raised her son. The passage said that Jesus gave him back to his mother. What once was lost she had again.
The Lord’s heart overflows with compassion for each of us. He loves each of us that much. There are moments when I am crying and I can feel this sudden peace. “Don’t cry.” I’m not alone. You’re not alone. His compassion overflows with such a great outpouring to each one of us, so much so that He, the only Son, died and rose again so that we too could rise again, that we can have new life.
“When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. ‘Don’t cry!’ he said.” – Luke 7:13 [NLT]
Life is not always easy. In fact life is usually not easy. Difficulty seems to find me. There’s always a challenge. There’s always a trial. There’s always something going on in a person’s life. That’s why there’s a quote that tells us to treat everyone nice because we don’t know what they are going through.
I’ve heard many times the question, “Where is YOUR God?” Where is God now? Why are things not easy for you since you accepted Christ? Why are you having these troubles—doesn’t your God care?
We are promised that the narrow road is difficult. It’s a difficult road and it does not make everything instantly smooth. Things don’t suddenly come easy. Mark 10 even tells us that yes, we will receive a hundred times as much as what we leave behind, but that comes “along with persecutions” (v. 30 NIV). The road is difficult but we are not alone. Christ is with us each step of the way. Keep moving forward on this difficult road. He is faithful.
“But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” – Matthew 7:14 [NLT]
John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River when the Pharisees and Sadducees approached. He called them a “brood of vipers” and commanded that they “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:7-8 NIV). This reminds me of what For King and Country sing, “Let my life be the proof, the proof of Your love.”
The question is when you look at your life from an outsiders vantage point, would there be proof? Are you living proof? The NLT version states it this way: “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” Proof requires an action. There’s something you must do to prove. The answer is there—by THE WAY you live. What should your life show? Repentance of your sins. Living for God.
There are many people who claim to be Christians but no one would see Christ or anything different about the person. If we are not to be of this world, there should be a difference. A person should be able to point to you and say, “Hey, there’s something different about that person. He’s not like most people. She’s not like the people I usually see.” Why? Because of the fruit. Because of the proof by the way you live. Today would someone look at you and say you are different? Would someone notice?
“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.” – Matthew 3:8 [NLT]
There are so many diets people are using to be healthy or to lose weight. Pastor Rick Warren has revealed the Daniel Plan. There are diets focused on carbohydrates. There are diets focused on point systems. There are gluten-free diets. The list goes on and on.
Jesus reminds us that we are not to live by eating only bread. This can be interpreted as food in general. Sometimes many of us are overly concerned with what we put in our mouths, yet we neglect what Scripture tells us. Yes, a healthy diet is important. I’m not going to say which diet is better than another. However, Jesus reminds us that what we each are to live by includes “every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
There’s a word that I don’t think is emphasized enough. Every. Every word. We often need reminding about this EVERY part. There are moments we get caught up with particular passages of the Bible and we neglect others. Every word. I believe that greatly highlights the need to be reading God’s Word daily. How else will we be able to put every word to heart? If you want to truly live, be intentional with your relationship with God. Start by opening up His Word each day. The best diet is the Every Word Diet.
“But Jesus told him, ‘No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. ‘’” – Matthew 4:4 [NLT]
A singleness of heart . An united heart. An undivided heart. A fixed heart. A heart for God. A single purpose. A tender, responsive heart. An obedient heart. A heart sensitive to God (ISV, GW, NLT, NIV).
God promised this heart to His people. For so long the people were divided. For so long they were sometimes following Him and other times following other gods. There was no true repentance because of their stony hearts.
God has given us the opportunity to be rid of our stony heart and have a heart that is sensitive to Him, a heart that brings us to our knees, that repents, that desires to do the will of God, and that seeks Him and Him alone. If you want God to change your heart and give you His Spirit, ask and be ready to receive.
“And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.” – Ezekiel 11:19 [NLT]
Many times we see the commands of the Bible as obligations, as rules that keep us from something that might be enjoyable. But when you actually look at the commands, you can see a loving Father who is trying to do what is best for His children. The Sabbath day was given to us as a gift of rest, not as an obligation. Yet some people find reasons not to accept this gift because something else is more appealing.
God gave us the Sabbath as a day to rest. God gave us the Sabbath day to remind us that He is the Lord. God gave us the Sabbath day as a beautiful gift. It is just that.
Many years ago I was working so much that I didn’t have a day of rest. It made for a bad life. Not only was I not living healthy, but I also was not able to spend the time I need to with God. Slowly I got back this gift from God. Today I can say I no longer work on the Sabbath. It is a day to rest for my family. We have family time. We read. We worship. We watch football or a movie. We enjoy what God has given us and we thank Him for this gift. Life is very different because of this gift of rest.
“And I gave them my Sabbath days of rest as a sign between them and me. It was to remind them that I am the LORD, who had set them apart to be holy.” – Ezekiel 20:12 [NLT]
I think Ebed-melech was someone I would love to have for a neighbor. The Lord rewarded him for trusting him. In Jeremiah 38, we read about how Jeremiah was tossed into a cistern. A lot of the time when we don’t like what we hear, we ignore or turn away. These people tossed Jeremiah into this cistern full of mud. But Ebed-melech spoke up.
Ebed-melech, who was a Cushite and also happened to be an official at the royal palace, approached the king and told him what they had done to the prophet. The king then told him to gather thirty men to lift Jeremiah out from the cistern. He didn’t simply gather the men and pull Jeremiah out from the cistern. He went and hunted for some old rags and old clothing to protect Jeremiah’s arms as he got hoisted up.
It took trust to approach the king about Jeremiah, especially since it was King Zedekiah who allowed the men to toss Jeremiah down in the first place (see Jeremiah 38:5). Just as Ebed-melech was rewarded with his life for trusting God, so you too can receive life, true eternal life, by trusting in Him.
“Because you trusted me, I will give you your life as a reward. I will rescue you and keep you safe. I, the LORD, have spoken!’” – Jeremiah 39:18 [NLT]
There are days when I am drained and just want to hide beneath the covers. There are days when my pain becomes so excruciating that for a moment I wish I could have my foot taken away. There are moments when I do not feel like doing much of anything. There are moments when it seems like I go from one trial to the next—like one continuing struggle. Things don’t always come easy. In fact, most things are a challenge. Most things are a fight. God never said everything was going to be easy.
Jeremiah wrote “yet I still dare to hope.” He remembered God’s faithfulness. He remembered God’s mercy. He boldly stated, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him.”
I still dare to hope. I know that “His mercies never cease.” I know that every day is another morning full of His mercy, His love, His faithfulness. Therefore I too will boast, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him.” There is no other hope but Jesus.
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’” – Lamentations 3:21-24 [NLT]