Category Archives: Devos

Troubled Times! Who to believe? What to believe?

What are you going to believe about what might happen to you?  Some people encourage you and say everything is going to be ok – things are going to turn out good!  Others warn you to watch out because things are bad and you might have to deal with disaster, trouble, and adversaries.  You got friends – and you got enemies… Who to believe?  What to believe?

I just read a Psalm in the Bible this morning that is connected to just such an issue… Psalm 54 that is associated with a story found in 1 Samuel 23:15-29.

King Saul had it in for David and was pursuing him to capture and kill him.  Although he had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king David was running for his life – he had become a fugitive.  Jonathan, King Saul’s son, was David’s dear friend.  He came to David and encouraged him saying, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul, my father shall not find you!  You will be king over Israel!”  But the Zephites, among whom David was hiding, went to Saul and said, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh,” and offered to turn David over to them.

So the issue was… who was right?  Which side would win out?  What was going to happen to David?  How would it actually turn out?

Who should David believe?  What should David do?  Psalm 54 tells us what David actually did…

First of all, he poured out his heart to the Lord in prayer: He said, “Oh God, save me, by your name, and vindicate me by your might!  Oh God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth!”

Then he affirmed and confessed His trust in the Lord:  “Behold, God is my helper – the Lord is the upholder of my life!

Then in faith, he vowed to praise God when deliverance actually came!  He said “I will give thanks  to your name,  O Lord, for it is good!  For You have delivered me from EVERY trouble, and my eye will look in triumph on my enemies!” (From Psalm 54, a Miktam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave)

Hey, I think that’s a pretty good strategy when you’re not quite sure what is going to happen or how circumstances in your life will turn out!  Don’t you?

Very Bad News, and then Very Good News!!

This morning in my time of “coffee with the Lord” I encountered some VERY BAD NEWS in my Bible reading… (but also some very good news!)…

THE BAD NEWS

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD.  God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.  THEY HAVE ALL FALLEN AWAY; TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME CORRUPT; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NOT EVEN ONE!” (Psalm 53:1–3 ESV)

That’s God’s assessment of the human condition!  It’s troubling, but true!  We are all sinners (even the “best” of us).  Who says so?  God says so!

Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, echoed this assessment of the human condition and indictment in the New Testament… “ALL HAVE SINNED and fall short of the glory of God!” (Romans 3:23 ESV)

But in the very next verse the VERY GOOD NEWS

All can be “justified [made “right with God”] by His [God’s] grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ, whom God put forward as a propitiation [atoning sacrifice for sin] by His blood, to be received by faith!” (Romans 3:24-25 ESV)

And then the “bad news” and the “good news” in a single verse!

“The wages of sin is death [the “bad news”] but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord [the “good news]!” (Romans 6:23)

Praise God, I’ve responded with faith to the “good news”… Have you?  And I’m going to share the “good news” of what God has done for us through Christ Jesus with everyone I can!!!

Dealing with Disappointments in Ministry

Here’s one of those puzzling passages of Scripture… (and when you come across them it is best to take them at face value and just trust God with the details) – Mark 6:1-6

Let me set the scene… Jesus had come back to his “hometown” (Nazareth), where he was raised, where he played with friends, where he learned and plied a trade (carpentry) with His earthly “Dad,” where he studied Scripture in synagogue school.  His reputation as a powerful healer and teacher has gotten around.  It’s Sabbath, and the “home boy” has been invited to teach in the synagogue… big event! 

Wow, His teaching was powerful and profound!  And the stories of His healing power!  Where did He get all of this?  You would have thought He’d be the community celebrity – a hero!

But no… the Bible says, “They took offense at Him!”  They said, “How are such mighty works done by His hands?  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?  And are not His sisters here with us?”

Figure that!  And here’s the “kicker” … The powerful, profound teacher – the miracle worker – the Son of God, the Messiah, “Could do no mighty works there, except that he laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them… And He marveled because of their unbelief.”

There it is… Jesus, the Son of God – Messiah – Savior of the world, LIMITED by the unbelief and attitudes of those who heard Him – even those who were His “homefolks.”

I wonder how many times it has happened since then… God’s powerful healing, life-transforming, message and presence among “His people” limited by skepticism and unbelief! 

He must have been terribly disappointed!  But did He allow that to stop Him from ministry?  No!  Never!!

Next passage… “And He went about among the villages teaching.  And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave THEM authority over the unclean spirits! … So THEY WENT OUT and proclaimed that people should repent.  And THEY cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them!” (From Mark 6:6-13 ESV)

So this is what I jotted in the margin of my Bible this morning… “Never allow your disappointment in ministry to hinder the advancement of God’s Kingdom message and ministry!  Instead mobilize others to join you in sharing the Gospel and getting involved in ministry along with you!  Instead of being stifled by disappointments – move past them and enlist others in spreading the Gospel!”  That’s what Jesus did!

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