I’d been on a wild goose chase! I have been doing some genealogical research on Anita’s side of her family and found a family photograph of her g-g-g-grandparents. How rewarding! But, after posting cropped images to the individual software I use, I observed that her g-g-grandfather wasn’t in the family picture. So I checked that family out in the 1870 & 1860 censuses and he wasn’t with this family in any census. I had the wrong family!
So, browsing through the census records, I finally found what I thought was the correct family in 1860, but I had to prove it by finding that family together again 10-years later (1870), but the son was living with another family at that time. Further research proved that the boy’s father was killed in the Civil War in 1863. The father had the same name as the wrong guy whose picture I had found. So now I begin rebuilding the family tree from that point back.
People sometimes get on wild goose chases with their beliefs. Satan is the great counterfeiter. Whatever is true about God, Satan skews the truth just enough. By the time we get done following the false lead, we’re way out in left field. I’ve seen it over the years with many Christians who God wanted to use greatly, but ended up mad at everybody and pouting on Sundays in their own homes, instead of helping build His church. Don’t get lost. Stay connected!
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘These people say, ‘The time has not yet come for the Lord’s house to be built.’ Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin’?” (Haggai 1:2-4).
Here’s a case where God’s people were making decisions that were contrary to the Lord’s will. They were putting their own personal comforts (paneled houses) ahead of God’s house. God’s house was a public testimony of their commitment to God. The House of God being “a ruin” wasn’t a good testimony. It was a demonstration of their ruined relationship with this God.
This thought came to my mind as I was thinking about our Restroom Remodel project at church. Are some of us waiting for someone else to pay for it because we’re paying too much for our comfortable homes. Where is our testimony?
Anyway, I’m thankful that we are now 75% of the way to meeting our goals for fixing up that little corner of God’s House as a testimony to His grace. That’s good news!
Lazarus was dead. Friends and family had gathered to bury the body and grieve His death. His sisters, Mary and Martha, were pleased to see Jesus had arrived to join the wake. After Jesus grieved with them a bit, He demanded in a loud voice that Lazarus come out of the grave.
“The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Take off the grave clothes and let him go’” (John 11:44).
Can you imagine the reaction of the people when Lazarus came wobbling out of the grave, completely tied up like a mummy? I expect that was quite a stir. Jesus’s first command to them was to untie him and let him go free. When a sinner comes to Christ, the first responsibility we as Christians have is to untie them and set them free, not bind them up with a set of rules.
Jesus passed on a sense of responsibility to these people who had just witnessed a miracle. We who have not yet die need to be setting new Christians free. Go help someone get free!
“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.’ As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were destroyed…After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another” (2 Chronicles 20:21-23).
Here was an alliance of three kingdoms against God’s people. The Israelites formed an army and sent the choir out front to sing praises to God. They did more than sing, they were doing spiritual warfare. As they sang, the three allied armies became entangled in their own disputes and turned on one another. They won the battle by singing praises to God.
Now, why do you think that story is recorded in the Bible? It is so that we will learn how to win our own battles. The secret is praise and worship of our God (Before we start the battle). What song can you sing today that will set your enemy to flight?
I have an old United Methodist hymnal in my office. Sometimes I get it out and read through it in my devotional time. Today I was reminded of this old Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) song:
“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”
Sometimes we need to remember what our story really is. I fondly reflect back on the time the Lord arrested me in my lonely apartment and forgave my sin. But, the cares of this world soon bound me up again, and I was too weak to stand for Jesus.
So the Lord visited me again 9 months later and filled me with His Spirit. That’s the day that my story really began to take shape. Christ has been my story ever since. What’s your story?
Jesus had just made some amazing predictions of what would transpire in the last days in Luke 21. To emphasize the value of these predictions, Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Luke 21:33). I wonder if “My words” is referring to this prophecy, or if He was referring to everything He said when on the earth. We could interpret it either way.
But, if we believe that Jesus’s words were life-giving in nature, then we can interpret it that everything He said has life. I believe everything He said may not be referring to you or I in our current situation. However, I also believe there is life in those words for each of us. So, words He spoke back then can explode with life to us today as the Spirit interprets them.
Therefore, I believe the life principles His words give are effective life words today. I read the red looking between the lines, and in context, to receive hope from my Savior. And He rarely lets me down. Spend a couple of minutes today reading something from the gospels and see how His ancient words speak life to your problems today.
Jesus had an encounter with a demon-possessed man in a synagogue. He ordered the demon out and the man was delivered. It apparently was a dramatic deliverance because of what followed next:
“All the people were amazed and said to each other, ‘What is this teaching? With authority and power He gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!’ And the news about Him spread throughout the surrounding area” (Luke 4:36-37).
Notice that the thing that captured people’s amazement was the mystery behind this Jesus. No one ever figured out the answers to these questions. People are still asking the same questions about Him.
The disciples asked a similar question when Jesus calmed the storm: “What manner of man is this, that the winds and waves obey Him?”
The mystery of Jesus can never be resolved because He is beyond finding out. He will always remain a mystery. And we will continue to search Him out, learning one little aspect of Him at a time (at a time of God’s choosing).