Monday, January 31, 2022

The Voice

There is a lot of competition for your attention.  Many voices across all media types are vying to get you to listen to them and believe their message. The burning question is, “Who will you listen to?”


John 10:4

“…and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.”


Things to think about:

·    John 10:5 – “But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”   

·       In 2021, a record $780B was spent worldwide on advertising.  That is a lot of money!

·       What are these strangers trying to tell you?

o   You don’t have enough, you need more

o   You deserve more

o   Live for the moment

o   Look at out for #1

o   You can be significant

·       What is their communication style?

o   Loud

o   Crude

o   Appeals to our most base desires

§  At the end of it all, you must pay

·       Jesus’s voice and message are different

o   His communication style

§   Meek and gentle (which is different than being fearful or timid)

o   He is enough

§  Phil. 4:19 - And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

o   He is enough

§  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.

o   Live for eternity

§  Matthew 6:19-21 - “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

o   Live for others

§  Phil. 2:3-4 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

o   Our significance is found in Him

§  1 John 3:1 - See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. 

Do you hear His voice?  Are you listening?


Monday, January 24, 2022

Seeing With New Eyes


I love the story found in John 9 about Jesus healing the man who had been born blind.  This common man’s life was marked by a disability and begging. After an encounter with the living God, he demonstrated three of the greatest traits of a Christ-follower: Belief, Courage, and Humility. We’ll contrast those with people in his path who modeled Doubt, Fear, and Pride.


John 9:27 – “Do you want to be His disciples too?”


Things to think about:

·       The story begins with Jesus being asked, “Who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?”

o   Jesus replies it was neither, it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

o   Sometimes things happen in our lives that aren’t anybody’s fault, but instead they serve to provide a platform for God to work in our lives for the benefit of ourselves and others.

o   Can you think of a time in your life when you wouldn’t have chosen the circumstances, but the Lord did a God-sized work?


·       After Jesus had healed the man, he went back home and the neighbors were astonished, wondering if this was in fact the man they knew as being blind.

o   Some thought it was him, but others weren’t so sure.  But he assured them it was in fact himself who had been healed by Jesus.   

·       Then he was brought before the Pharisees who didn’t believe this could have come from God

o   It happened on the Sabbath so the “healing” must have been done by a sinner

o   But some had a flicker of belief, “then how can a sinner perform such signs”

o   Have you ever shared what God has done in your life only to be met with skepticism?


·       So, the Pharisees sent for his parents to verify his identity and the fact that he was born blind.

o   They did confirm his identity and his being born blind.  But as to how he can now see, they were afraid of the religious authorities and deflected the question to their adult son.

o   Social pressures can be very heavy when we value the approval of man.

·       Then, the Pharisees called the formerly blind man back and grilled him a second time.

o   “What did he do to you?  How did he open your eyes?”

o   Here is one of my favorite Bible verses, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

o   They insulted him and said, “You are his disciple. We are disciples of Moses and we know God spoke to Moses.  As for this man, we don’t even know where he comes from!”

o   The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

§  This is a classic trap of being focused on the lesser issue to the exclusion of the most important thing.

Pride / Humility that leads to Belief

·       The Pharisees scolded him saying, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

·       He then ran into Jesus who asked him if he wanted to believe in the Son of Man

o   “Who is he sir? Tell me so I can believe in Him”

o   Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

·       Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

o   Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”

§  Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

May the Lord heal any spiritual blindness we have so that we can lead others who want to be his disciples too.

Monday, January 10, 2022

A Good Name


The pursuit of riches and power is a story as old as time itself. We all know the sordid tales of men like Bernie Madoff, Jeffrey Epstein, and Ken Lay (of Enron fame).  At one time, each of them had fabulous wealth, graced the covers of magazines, and were the envy of many.  But now that the truth is out, their legacy is one of scandals, lies, and worse.   


Proverbs 22:1

A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Things to think about:

·       Who else comes to mind as someone who for a time had the world by the tail only to be outed as a fraud?

·       Money and power are strong magnets for our time and attention.  

o   At their core, they give the illusion of control.  The more control we feel we have, the more we can feel like we oversee people, circumstances, even the future.

o   Doesn't this sound a little bit like having godlike qualities?

·       1 Timothy 6:9-10

o   Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

o   Proverbs 10:7 - Good people will be remembered as a blessing,but evil people will soon be forgotten.

·       Our text says there is something far greater to be aspired to, and that is a good name and the esteem of others.

o   The shininess of gold and silver reflects back on us

o   The reflection of a good name goes to our Father who has given us His wisdom and Spirit to live godly lives

o   1 Cor. 15:10 – “But by the grace of God I am what I am…”

·       What steps can we take to get this good name?

o   Proverbs 3:3-4 - Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

o   Love and faithfulness, these are the keys

§  It says we should never let them leave us and to bind them around our neck and write them on the tablets of our hearts

§  It seems that these are things that must become a permanent part of who we are and that if not handled with diligent, daily care can be lost

o   How do we make love and faithfulness indelibly etched into our lives?

§  Avoidance of sin

§  Devotion to the Word

§  Prayer

§  Praise

§  Loving others as we love ourselves

·       Naked we came into this world and naked we shall depart it.  Our good name is our lasting legacy. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

When it Rains it...


As we head into the teeth of winter, rain and snow are regular features of the forecast.  I don’t know about you, but that usually doesn’t bring a smile to my face!  But, as I was reading in the Book of Isaiah, it has given me a new perspective on how God thinks about water falling from the sky.


Isaiah 55:10-11

As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.


Things to think about:

·       Whenever I think about elements of nature that don’t suit my fancy, I’m always convicted by the realization that God, in His infinite wisdom, deemed it useful for His purposes.

o   It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dry. It’s His creation, my oh my!

o   OK, that was really lame but seriously, who am I to criticize the Creator???

·       Clearly, the rain and snow have a crucial role in irrigating the Earth.  

o   In our verse, it says they do not return to Heaven without first accomplishing their purpose to “water the earth and make it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater.”

·       There is a cyclical process He architected.  That is incredible to think about by itself:  Vital to His grand design was the process of precipitation, irrigation, and evaporation that all work in harmony

o   Without this process, there would be no food!

·       There are two primary beneficiaries – the sower and the eater

o   Sometimes we are the ones who sow the seed of His Word

o   At other times, we are the ones who get nourished by the hands of those who sowed beforehand

o   Can you think of a time when either God gave you the right words to say or perhaps when you heard just what you needed at that moment?

·       We are told that God’s Word does not return empty

o   That is amazingly comforting to know.  It’s not the quality of the sower but of the seed itself

o   Even when it feels like the world has closed its ears

·       Like the rain and snow, we are here for a season and then will go to our home in Heaven

o   May it be said of each of us that we achieved the purpose for which God sent us!

The next time you see the rain or snow, just think about our passage today.  It is a powerful visual reminder God has given us of the nourishing power of His Word.