Category Archives: No Category Assigned

Devotional: ‘God Helps Us So That We Can Help Others’

Standard

In our study this week we have learned that God desires to give comfort to His people whenever they are hurting. Paul writes,

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. NKJV

How does God give us His comfort? Consider these three ways:

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘The God of All Comfort’

Standard

2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. NKJV

Paul used some unusual terms to describe God. He calls Him ‘the Father of mercies’ and ‘God of all comfort.’ Yesterday we examined the mercy of God. Today we will consider His comfort.

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘God is Rich in Mercy’  

Standard

It is reported that one out every four Americans struggle with some sort of depression. These are not individuals who are just a bit down on a rainy day, but people who fight a real battle with extended periods of despair or sadness. I have also read that depression affects not only adults but children as well. Nearly 2 million children are reported to struggle with some form of depression. Through the years there has been a debate over whether depression is spiritual or physical. Consider what the great preacher Charles Spurgeon wrote about it, “The troubled man experiences a good deal, not because he is a Christian, but because he is a man, a sickly man, a man inclined to melancholy.” Spurgeon believed that depression could be just as much physical as it was spiritual. Concerning his personal battle with depression he wrote, “I am the subject of depressions of spirit so fearful that I hope none of you ever get to such extremes of wretchedness as I go to.” Whether it’s depression or discouragement, we all experience times in our life when we need an extra amount of encouragement. That is why we’re going to dedicate this week to study about God’s help during our times of discouragement.

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘For I Am Not Come to Call the Righteous, But Sinners to Repentance’

Standard

Matthew 9:9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” NKJV

The title ‘Pharisee’ meant “separated ones.” The Pharisees believed that in order to be righteous, you must separate yourself as much as possible from anything or anyone that was sinful. Therefore, because of this, they could not understand why Jesus, who was supposed to be a righteous man, would associate with such sinful people.

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘Healer of Our Body and Soul’

Standard

Mark 2:1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. 3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.

5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” 6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” NKJV

Most of us read through the gospels and focus primarily on the miracles. Jesus gave sight to those who were blind. Jesus healed those who were sick. Jesus put strength into the limbs of those who were crippled. Jesus even raised the dead. I am sure that everyone who experienced one of Jesus’ miracles was ecstatic. I can’t imagine being blind or crippled and suddenly able to see or walk. But the miracles Jesus performed were about more than physical healing, they were signs that gave evidence to who He was and what He had come to do.

It’s interesting that Jesus forgave the man’s sins before He healed him. I would think that it would be in the reverse order. I would think that Jesus would go from the lesser to the greater, but instead, Jesus chose to go from the greater to the lesser. Why did Jesus do this?

We know that it was something supernatural for Jesus to heal the man. But the crowd didn’t know that for sure. What if the man’s healing was only a staged performance? What if Jesus had prearranged for the man to pretend to be paralyzed so that when he was supposedly healed, everyone would admire Jesus? We know that wasn’t the case, but those watching didn’t know it. If his healing was a fake, so would be his forgiveness. Jesus could say the man’s sins were forgiven, but how would anyone know that it was true? Because of this, Jesus began with the man’s forgiveness and then He healed him.  

6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” 

Notice again what the Bible says, “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’ Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” The supernatural miracle gave evidence to who Jesus was and what He had come to do.

Jesus worked from the greater to the lesser in order to demonstrate His authority to forgive. But He also worked from the greater to the lesser because the man’s spiritual healing was more important than his physical healing. Though Jesus restored the man’s physical health that day, it lasted at best for only a few years. Eventually, he grew old and died. But the healing of his soul has continued on into eternity. Won’t it be fun to talk with that man some day in heaven?

Until we meet again, God bless you brethren.

Devotional: ‘How to Overcome Fear’

Standard

Matthew 8:23 Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. 24 And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. 25 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” 26 But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. 27 So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” NKJV 

Who doesn’t become afraid whenever the waves are spilling over into their boat? Who doesn’t feel some anxiety whenever the doctor gives them bad news? Who isn’t tempted to worry when they are struggling financially? Who doesn’t feel some bit of fear when trouble comes their way? It is the one who puts their faith and trust in God.

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘Completely Committed’

Standard

Matthew 8:19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” NKJV

When news began to spread that there was a man called Jesus who could perform great miracles, many became excited. Some were excited over the possibility of being healed. Others were excited over the possibility that the Messiah had finally arrived. And still, others were excited about the opportunity for adventure.

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘Absolute Faith in His Absolute Power’  

Standard

Matthew 8:5 Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” NKJV

Jesus marveled at this man’s faith. “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!” Rarely did Jesus encounter someone who had such absolute faith in who He was or in His ability to help. Some would plead, “If You will…”, while others would say, “If You can…”, but rarely did Jesus find someone who believed beyond any shadow of a doubt that He possessed the power of God.

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘Facing the Challenges of Life’   

Standard

Life is full of challenges. For some people, the challenges are sometimes so big that they want to throw in the towel and quit. But before we let the battles in front of us defeat us, we should look back and remind ourselves of the battles God has already helped us win.

In 1 Samuel 17, we read of a battle between Israel and their enemies, the Philistines. The Philistines had a giant on their side named Goliath that stood over nine feet tall and who openly challenged someone for the army of Israel to fight him. “Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” (1 Samuel 17:8-10 NKJV) If you are familiar with the story, then you know that no one from Israel’s army accepted his challenge. But then the story changed.

Read the rest of this entry

Devotional: ‘Be Flexible’   

Standard

This week we have been studying about seeking God’s will for our life. Consider this story that occurred in the life of the Apostle Paul.

Acts 16:6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. 8 So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. NKJV

Read the rest of this entry