I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.
John 10:14 NLT
Category Archives: Jesus
Why do we pray before meals? Habit? Tradition? For the answer, click here:
When I read this eight years ago it changed my pre-meal perspective and consequently my prayer. Now instead of asking God to bless my food, I bless God, the provider of my food.
Volunteers in Phoenix, Maryland renovated the home of a terminally ill child where this note was found written on a scrap piece of drywall. It reminded me of a poem.
The Best Carpenter
Tools in the days gone by.
Building dreams of gold
A carpenter nailing my life.
His words are so bold.
They are built on wisdom.
The best carpenter can build you.
Let Him use His nails.
He’ll turn you into something new.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Yes Michaela, I think it is,” I answered as I took my grandaughter’s hand and ran toward the car. She must have heard her Dad (my oldest son) and I talking earlier about the expected cold front.
Before we entered the store, the wind was calm and the temperature was in the 70s. Ten minutes later, we stepped outside to a blast of wintry air and cold misty rain. The sudden chill sent us scurrying to our warm Toyota shelter.
Life’s climate can change suddenly too. One phone call delivering tragic news can cause our lives to go off course. The death of a loved one, a serious illness or a severed relationship can chill us with shock and disbelief. Yet in spite of life’s “front colds” our God is constant (Malachi 3:61). He doesn’t change.
So when I’m overwhelmed, I sprint to the one who’s steadfast and sure. I run to Jesus–my rock.
From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:2
Years ago Mom and I flew across the Atlantic to her homeland of Lancashire, England. While visiting, I discovered the Accrington ice cream vendor, an old man atop a yellow stagecoach-style wagon pulled by a horse.
Every afternoon I waited on the street and listened for the clip-clop. I hadn’t been around horses much. So when the wagon stopped in front of Auntie Ray’s house, I gave the man my tuppence then he turned to scoop my frozen treat. That’s when I studied his horse. Chestnut brown, black mane, black tail. There was just one thing I couldn’t see, no matter what angle I looked–his eyes. Blinders, leather squares attached to his bridle covered them. I figured they must be there to keep him looking straight ahead.
Last Sunday, as the congregation sang, O Magnify the Lord, I saw that horse again–blinders and all.
Mary, when you magnify something you make it big, so big it’s the only thing you see. Forget who’s around you . . . what’s going on at home, at work, and yes . . . even at church, and worship me.
Yes Lord. Blinders on.
I sang and worshipped. When my pastor preached, I absorbed the message. Then came the closing song and altar call. I bowed my head. Sometimes I’m the one in need of prayer. Other times, I’m compelled to pray for someone else.
Yes Lord. Blinders off.
Day after day he sat on the busiest thoroughfare he could find–the road outside of Jericho leading toward Jerusalem. Crowds meant revenue for the blind beggar and today the crowd was thick. The atmosphere intense. Then he heard that name. Turning his head he heard it again. Jesus . . . . Jesus.
He’s here. Jesus is here. This is my chance.
“Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!”
“Shhhh! Hush Bartimaeus!”
“Thou son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and turned towards him. “Bartimaeus, come here.”
And he, casting away his garment, rose and came to Jesus. Mark 10:50
Bartimaeus threw his garment, his security, his means of shade in the daytime and his blanket of warmth at night. Some scholars say blind beggars wore a certain type of outer cloak for identification so donors would know their disablity. If this is true, then Bartimaeus discarded his self-sufficiency, his tradition and his past when he cast his garment.
Oh to be like Bartimaeus–willing to lay everything aside! Willing to not let anything or anyone keep me from coming to Jesus.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole.
Not only were Bartimaeus’ physical eyes opened that day but his spiritual eyes were opened as well. After his miracle he could have gone in any direction, yet he chose to follow Jesus–the lifestyle changer.
And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
Mark 10: 52
The Story of Flash E. McManus and Sted E. Eddie
Last week we had a Kids Crusade. It was based on a Nascar theme and the highlight of each night was a race between Flash E. McManus and Sted E. Eddie. Flash thought he was all that. He thought he could take it easy and enjoy the adoration of his pit crew and fans. After all, he had earned the title Flash–not only for his speed, but for his style as well.
However, in the other lane was Sted E. Eddie. He wasn’t as flighty as Flash. He didn’t have a record of fast finishes but he had something that Flash didn’t have–sticktoitness. He took race car driving seriously. Even when the fans clapped and cheered, Eddie waved back to them, maintaining his solemn race day face.
The two competitors stepped into their cars. Their hands gripped the steering wheels. The crowd and engines roared. Their cars vibrated in their respective lanes. The starting flag signaled and they were off. Around and around they sped. After a couple of laps Flash thought he’d relax and sit a while. You see, he was Flash and he’d always won his races by a long shot. It wouldn’t hurt to get a drink, wave to the fans and share some laughs with his crew. “I’ve got it made,” he muttered.
Meanwhile, Sted E. Eddie stayed true to his name and continued the race. Just when Flash thought he could cinch another win, he jumped into his car, stomped on the gas and sped away to catch Eddie. But this time his clutch jammin’, foot slammin’ skills didn’t work. Sted E. Eddie was leading and Flash was in trouble. Sted E. Eddie saw his fellow racer lagging behind. He let Flash catch up to him and shouted, “Come on Flash, let’s cross the finish line together!” And they did.
Isn’t that what life’s race is all about?
Helping each other to the finish line?
He that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew 10:22b
Before the use of machinery, farmers used oxen or horses to pull a plow. If a plowman plows half-heartedly his rows will be shallow and crooked. His peers will scoff at his plowing skills. The soil will not be broken up and prepared as well as it could be to hold the seed. If seed is sown on poor ground–the result will be a poor crop. Therefore, a plowman must focus on the ground ahead of him and keep both hands on the plow to adjust the blade as it cuts through roots and clods of dirt. A plowman knows that once he starts, quitting is not an option because good soil will often reward him with a plentiful harvest.
Jesus compared a life of following him to that of a plowman. Just as a plowman can’t plow a deep, straight row while looking backwards, I can’t prepare the soil of my heart to receive the seed of His word if I’m looking back and hankering for the life I left behind. Also, quitting in the middle of plowing my heart, isn’t an option either. Oh, I may stop to rest. Catch my breath. I may even fall–but when I do I know I must get up again and . . . get back to plowing.
Ever hear a crowd erupt into applause? It sounds like a cascading waterfall or the voice of many waters (Revelation 19:6). That’s what John heard when he peered into heaven. So . . . if that’s what heaven is like–perhaps I should rehearse down here.
O clap your hands all ye people, shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Psalm 47:1