June 30, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO MAKE US WHOLE (part 3)

John 5:7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. 8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.

This man at the pool of Bethesda was DISABLED, and he was DESPERATE. I notice also, here in verse seven, that this man was DISAPPOINTED.

• 7 “Sir, I have no man”

May I ask you a question today? Have you ever been disappointed? Have you ever needed someone, only to be let down by the person you needed. I mean this man was not asking for something really complicated. He wasn’t asking anybody to figure out how to heal is disease. He wasn’t asking someone to come up with some medicine that would cure him. He wasn’t asking for someone to take care of him every day. He wasn’t asking for an individual to cook his food, dress him every day, and care for his every need. I mean, I would have understood if he had, because this man could barely do anything for himself. He wasn’t asking for a lifetime of sacrifice. He wasn’t asking for someone to take a month out of their life to help him. He was not requesting a week of care to be given him. He wasn’t even asking for something that would take a whole day, or even half a day. He just needed someone to help push him to the water. You could say he just needed a little push. Have you ever needed just a little push?

Time and again, this man had seen others get into the pool ahead of himself. Time and again, his dreams of a completely whole life were shattered. Time and again, he was forced to drag his broken body back to his old pallet and wait for yet another time of disappointment! Year after year, day after day, decade after decade. Thirty-eight years this has been going on and then Jesus has the nerve to show up and ask him this question in verse six:

• 5:6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?

Really, Jesus? Pardon me, but what an obvious, ridiculous question. Of course, this man wanted to be made whole. He wouldn’t have been there if he didn’t want to be made whole. He would not have laid there for thirty-eights years if he did not want to be made whole. Everything this man had tried, and everyone he had tried to trust, have all failed him. You and I meet people every day that just need a little nudge, a little push, a little word, a little comment, a little truth, a little smile, or just one person that cares. No matter what peace man tries to bring to his soul, it can only be found through the blood of Christ. Disappointed people need to find the way. Desperate, and disabled people need others to push them to the water, encourage them in their lives, and to lovingly give hope that comes straight from Jesus Christ. Let’s you and I do that today and start changing the world one person at a time.

June 29, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO MAKE US WHOLE (part 2)

John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath

We already discussed how this man at the pool of Bethesda was DISABLED.

Notice, secondly, that this man was DESPERATE. Seeing that this man was at the pool in the first place means that he desperately wanted to be healed of his infirmity. As you and I can imagine, when the angel would come and touch the waters, this man would have to try to drag his own body to get to that pool. Remember, this pool had five porches where people with all sorts of infirmities were waiting to jump into the pool as soon as the angel touch the waters. All of these people were just as desperate as he was. Imagine that pitiful scene as people would quickly rush, crawl, and jump to get into that pool. Then imagine with me if you would that man, at such a disadvantage and trying every time the angel would touch the waters to get to the pool, but he never made it in time.

I do not believe that every sinner wants or desires to go to hell. I can’t imagine anyone that would ever want to go to hell. I know there are a few crazy people out there, but the vast majority would not want to go to hell. They want healing. They do not want hell for their eternity. If people knew the truth, they would want to be right with God. In fact, most people you will ever give the gospel to would probably want to know for sure that they would go to heaven when they die. The problem is that most people are looking for a way different than Gods’ way. People seem willing to try any plan but Gods’ plan. People try religion, works, support groups, 12 step plans, etc. All of these can be placed ahead of salvation through Jesus Christ. Sadly, in man’s desperation, he often misses the truth of God’s word.

Man wants to fulfill his desires, and his flesh, but fails to make provision for his soul. The book of Mark describes it to us this way:

* Mark 8:36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

This man desired healing for his body, but what he did not realize is that he would receive healing for his soul which is far more important. What are you desperate for today? Healing for a temporary body or healing for your eternal soul?

June 28, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO MAKE US WHOLE (part 1)

John 5:8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. 9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.

This is the famous story of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. It was named that because there were five porches, or areas on the sides of the pool where people could sit. This particular place is where many people with different infirmities would come to lay and wait beside the pool. We are told in God’s word that an Angel would periodically come down and touch the waters of this pool. When that happened, the first person to get in the pool after that would be healed. Now I admit it sounds strange and a bit unbelievable, but I have learned that most things involved with the miracles of God are. This story is about one particular man, so let’s take a closer look.

The first thing we see about this man is that he was DISABLED. We don’t know all that was wrong with this man, but he had been what the Bible calls “impotent” for thirty-eight years. This simply means that this man could not do for himself. He had to be carried everywhere, beg for everything that he had, was helpless, and useless to everyone around him. He was what you could call ‘crippled’. This is such a picture of a sinner without Christ, and it is a picture of what you and I were before we met Christ. A lost individual cannot get to God on their own. They need someone to help them just like this man did. They are helpless in a spiritual sense. We were helpless, and in a sense, spiritually dead before we met Christ. This is how God’s Word describes it:

* Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

We were disabled, and we were “impotent” before we met Christ. I want to remind each of you that there are countless others around you every day that need somebody to help them. They need someone to help them get to the healing power of God. they have had this condition since the day they were born, just like you and I did. We are around them every day, and each of us have some in our family, and they need our help. I encourage you today to be mindful of the people that need your help to be truly healed. They need your help to get to the “pool”. They need you to lift them, and carry them, and help them, and show them Christ. Christ made us whole, and he can make them whole, but “how shall they hear without a preacher”?

June 27, 2018

 

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE THE GOD OF TRUTH

DUETERONOMY 32:1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. 2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: 3 Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. 4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

WHO WE SPEAK TO
Before we get into all of the truth given to us in these verses about the greatness and purity of God, we need to discuss this first verse. You and I should be constant proclaimers of the truth and wonder of our mighty God. “Give ear, O ye heavens” tells us that God needs to hear us praise Him. God needs to hear our verbal praise. God needs to hear how wonderful we think that God is. God needs to hear from us how desperate we are for His strength, and mercy, and grace. Then we are told, “hear, O earth”. It is important for us to testify to others about how awesome our God is. They might not understand or hear it if we do not tell them. Our public, verbal praise is important for others to hear, and it is important for God to hear it also.

WHAT WE SPEAK
THE WORD “doctrine” in verse two speaks of what we believe, what we are convinced of, and what we are committed to. We are told our Shapiro game of our beliefs should be PURE. The rain and the dew are fresh, and they are straight from heaven. It is clean, undamaged, and pure. Our “doctrine” should come straight from Heaven. God’s Word came from God and He created the heavens and the earth. So, our doctrine must come from God’s Word in order for it to be pure. Our doctrine should also be PROFITABLE. The “small rain upon the tender herb”, and the “showers on the grass” help the herb and grass to grow. It makes it fertile. That’s what our words should do, they should make others grow and be fruitful.

WHO WE SPEAK ABOUT
“I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God”. The Lord should be the center of everything we believe, everything we teach, and everything we publish. We are to “ascribe greatness” to our God. We should be letting everyone know how great our God is. We should stop letting everyone know how bad we have it, how tough life is, and how much we have given up serving God. People should hear how great God is, and our God should hear us tell people how great He is. Let’s be pure and profitable with what we say and share. I encourage you to publish the name of the Lord today and ascribe greatness to His name every time you talk with someone. God needs to hear that, and so do they.

June 26, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO BE OUR HELP

Psalm 94:17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.

I would like to take one last look at some verses in this chapter, because I believe that it will be an encouragement to you. We have discussed “chastening”, and “adversity”, and a few other things. I would like to draw it all together by noticing some wonderful principles in this passage that should strengthen your faith and confidence in the Lord, and His love for you. After you read this devotional, I encourage you to read this chapter if you have the time.

1. GOD DOES NOT FORSAKE US WHEN WE FAIL
* 12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy
law;
* 14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
Yes, we fail, yes, we mess up, and yes sometimes God needs to chasten us. But He has promised to never forget or forsake us when we fail. This means that we have a forgiving Father. It also means that we have a future inheritance.

2. GOD HELPS WHEN WE HURT
* 17 Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
Instead of doubting God because the trouble came, the author here depended on God through it.

3. GOD PICKS US UP WHEN WE FALL DOWN
WHAT MAKES ONE SLIP?
* 18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.
We see first that there was an “Unforeseen obstacle”. When a person slips, it is a surprise to them. It is not expected. Something unforeseen caused it. Sometimes in our life, unforeseen obstacles trip us up, make us fall, and set us back. When this happens, our Heavenly Father holds us up. What a blessing!

4. GOD GIVES COMFORT IN THE MIDST OF CONFUSION
* 19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
“The multitude of my thoughts within me”. Isn’t it great that when our mind is overwhelmed, our soul can be at ease.

5. GOD IS OUR DEFENSE WHEN WE ARE IN DANGER
* 21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn
the innocent blood.
* 22 But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
* 23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their
own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.
First, we see the believer dealing with “dishonest” people. Then we see the believer at an apparent “disadvantage”. But then we see the “defense” that God provides the believer. God is the “refuge”, God is the “revenge”, and we see God as the “restorer”. Just like weeds are cut off to allow a plant to grow, so our enemies will be cut off from us, so we can grow in the fullness of God. There is so much in this chapter. I encourage you to savor God’s word. Read it and re-read it. The more we are aware of what God says, the more we are aware that He is able.

June 25, 2018

I AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE:

TO GIVE REST IN ADVERSITY

Psalm 94:13 That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. 14 For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.

We have been discussing “adversity”. The Hebrew word for adversity in this verse means bad or evil, affliction, calamity, distress, grief, harm, heavy, hurt, misery, sorrow, and trouble. That certainly covers a number of things. It is interesting that just after mentioning that adversity will be in our life, God leads the author here to remind us that God will never cast us away, and He will never forsake His inheritance. It is because God certainly knows us. God knows how we feel about things. God knows our weaknesses. One thing that you and I tend to do, is to think that when adversity hits us, that God has forgotten or forsaken us. I guess it is a natural human tendency, this can cause major issues in our Christian life.

Here is how it normally happens in our life. Adversity comes into our life. When that happens, we struggle to stay strong, to stay encouraged, and to stay faithful. As we struggle, we begin to wear down and become frustrated. Remember, God has made rest available, but we often do not access it. As we wear down, we begin to question why these things have happened. As we begin to question, we begin to think some very untrue things about God. Satan will make sure of that. We begin to ask ourselves things like, ‘why would God do that?’, ‘why would God allow that?”, and the dreaded question, ‘If God really loved me, why would He have done this’. I guess we all have struggled with questions at times because we were frustrated. That is why God makes it clear here that He will never forget, and He will never forsake his children. That is what Satan will tell you but don’t believe it. That is what bitter, angry Christians will tell you, but do not believe them.

Even when you seem to see individuals thriving that are not serving God, are not in God’s house, and do not have Godly priorities in their life, do not let that discourage you. That is why God tells us in this verse that the pit will, “be digged for the wicked”. It may look to you and I like they have no problems, but their problems are really just beginning. When you get bitter and angry with God, and distance yourself from His will, you are digging a pit for yourself. In time, an individual like that will fall into it. This is what can happen when “days of adversity” come. All of us are just one difficult circumstance away from being bitter, angry, and distant with God. I encourage you today, don’t let that happen. Take advantage of the “rest” that God has provided, promised, and made possible. He is able to give rest in the midst of adversity.