Monday, May 25, 2020

Going But Not Doing

While waiting for a bus to take me to the hotel at the end of the day, I watched as several of them passed by my waiting area. As they sped to their destination, there was a sign in each of them that read, “Out of Service.”

Jesus, when speaking about the responsibilities of His disciples said, “Look around you! Vast fields are ripening all everywhere we look, and are ready now for the harvest.”

Our Lord repeatedly addressed a pressing need in His day and a need that we, as His disciples, face today: There are many in front us, to the side of us, and even behind us that are waiting to be brought into the Kingdom of God. It is not that He is unconcerned about them or that they are not willing to listen to His offer of salvation. Rather, it is because we, His followers, are out of service.

Sometimes we excuse ourselves from being His witnesses and “harvesters” by saying that our family members and friends are not ready to believe. Jesus, however, made it very clear that we are surrounded by an opportunity to be involved in a constant and continual harvest waiting to be reaped. It’s not that there are no fields to be harvested. It’s that we cannot (or refuse?) to see them!

Each day we must remind ourselves that He will return and find us doing “something.” What will that “something” be? Will He find us involved in taking the Good News of the Gospel to those around us? When He appears will we be doing what He has called us to do or find us out of service? 

Prayer:  Lord, You have called us to labor with You in the “great harvest” by witnessing and winning the lost around us. Convict us of our lack of concern for “the harvest.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: John 4:34-38 But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Where's Happiness?

An unhappy skeptic said to Benjamin Franklin, “The Constitution is a mockery! Where’s the happiness that it guarantees?”

“My friend,” said Franklin, “it only guarantees the pursuit of happiness.” 

Our word for happiness can be misleading. The “root” hap means chance. Human happiness is dependent on the chances and the changes of life, the “things” that we consider to be the daily events or circumstances of life that come and go without warning.
On the other hand, consider the beatitudes given to us by Jesus. They are not about some hope for a future or blissful state in heaven. They are for the now which belongs to the Christian at this moment in our lives. The way the beatitudes are written assures the Christian of the power of God to change us and others, the joyous thrill of His presence, and the hope of life with Him.

The word blessed that is used in each of the beatitudes is a very special word. It describes a joy that has its secret within itself - a joy that is peaceful and untouchable and self-contained. It is a joy that is above and beyond and independent of all the circumstances of life. It is a joy that comes from God Himself. “No one,” said Jesus, “will take your joy from you!”

The world cannot take away the joy that comes from and through Christ. Walking daily with Him, and “doing” the beatitudes assures us of a joy that no one or nothing can disturb. 

Prayer:  Give us, our Heavenly Father, a peace that passes this world’s understanding, a joy that comes from Your presence, and hope that assures us of our home with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: Matthew 5:1-12 God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Decrease To Increase

A nearby church called a new pastor. He was well received and in a short time, the church began to grow. The attendance at Sunday school and worship services increased beyond expectations. Even the increased number of people at the prayer meeting surprised everyone.

“Congratulations on the way your church is responding to your leadership,” I said after being introduced to him. “What are you doing differently than other churches to see such growth?”

“I’m decreasing,” was his strange reply.

“Decreasing?” I asked with a question mark on my face.

“Yes,” came his quick reply. “It’s what John said about Jesus: ‘He will increase if I will decrease.’“ 
John’s willingness to decrease is an important first step in humility. Those of us who want to serve God with the gifts He has given us are always tempted to do what John did in reverse order: we want the attention and focus to be upon us and what we are doing when blessings occur and success arrives.

We must never forget that it is always about Him. If we want to see Him at work in our lives, we must do as John did so successfully: point to Him and make Him the “main attraction.” We must never put ourselves first. We must stand aside and let His Kingdom come!

Prayer:  Lord, it’s difficult to get out of the way and not want to be praised for what we do for You. We pray for hearts that are humble and lives that are surrendered to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: John 3:30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.