Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18 ESV)
“One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (Joh 9:25)
It’s one of those strange moments in Scripture – Jesus makes a pair of mud balls and places them over the empty eye sockets of a man who was born blind, telling him to go wash his face at the pool. The man does so and – bam! – he can see!
It is at this point that the story gets really bizarre.
The religious leaders become so agitated by this man’s excitement and his confession of faith in Jesus, that they ultimately toss him out of the Temple! How ironic — a blind man sees, and sighted men are blinded by their self-righteousness.
William Yeats said, “All empty souls tend to extreme opinion.”
Such were the religious leaders in Jesus’ day – empty, and extreme. And such are those who prefer religion over relationship with Christ in our own day.
Matthew Henry, the great Bible Commentator, wrote, “There is none so blind as those who will not see.”
It is uncanny how quickly religious minded people fall into the snare of their own opinions. An extraordinary miracle took place right before their very eyes, but they couldn’t see it because their minds were already made up about something completely different.
They were dead set against Jesus – and therefore nothing He did could possibly be legitimate. Rather than acknowledge the miracle, they excommunicated the man whom Jesus had healed.
When miracles come from mud balls we each may be faced with similar challenges – especially if our opinions are so set that we cannot see what the Lord is doing in spite of us.
Henry Ward Beecher described a highly opinionated religious opponent thus — “He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin and never seeing noble game.”
Don’t let religious opinions blind you to the miracles that come from mud balls. Otherwise, you just may be the one who ends up sitting in the dark.
From the daily devotional Rylisms
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
As we wrap up Valentine’s Day I thought some of you might be interested to know a little about the holiday that you might not know. Valentine’s Day is actually celebrated to honor two different men: a Roman priest and another bishop. I should also say that while a third man named Valentine also is some times mentioned, I’m leaving out all of the non-factual things and folks associated with the holiday. And since there’s nearly nothing known or recorded about “number three”, he gets left out, too.
Both of the actual Valentine men that the day is named after were martyred. There are many legends and traditions that go along with these men but they are basically just things and traditions men have come up with. The truth of the matter is that they both died out of love: their love for our Lord Jesus Christ. These men of the third century literally made themselves living sacrifices to Jesus.
I’m thankful that before the Valentine’s and the many other martyrs both before and since them that Christ chose to make Himself the perfect sacrifice for “whosoever”.
John 10:10 … I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.
Sunday evening I was honored and privileged to preach at one of our sister churches, Madison UBC. After studying and meditating over the last few days I had a good idea of what the message was to be. About an hour before it was time to get ready to leave I was greatly troubled, out of the blue, as they say, by today’s verse; the word “abundantly” and how Jesus meant it specifically troubled my mind. I did a quick study on the word and the verse and thought I was done, as my mind was at ease now. Boy, was I wrong! God’s message (notice how I phrased it this time) was to be centered around this thought and idea I soon learned. I feel led to share some of that message and thought with you here, too.
Jesus used the word abundantly here to refer to love and zeal for God: our lives should abound with love for Him, His people and His Word. Yes, some will have an abundance of “things” here in this life but we all can have the greatest abundance after while if we will have the abundant love for God now, serving Him with zeal from the heart. How to we get the abundant life? By living a surrendered life: totally yielded and surrendered to God.
This past Sunday night, the 24th, was my appointed Sunday evening to preach. The Lord had given me the text, John 2 on the first miracle, several days in advance so I had plenty of time to study. The message was on the old verses new covenants, and then the marriage that began His ministry and the one that will conclude it.
The content led me into some verses from the book of Revelation. If you’ve read some of my previous posts you know that this is not my strong point, so to speak. After the service I told one of my brothers that k had ventured into uncharted waters in that sermon. But the Lord lead me there so I went, not with great comfort but with confidence in Him.
Of course on the way home the devil began his rotten and devious work, telling me what a terrible job I’d done and that no one was able to make heads nor tails out of what I said, etc. Thankfully Monday God saw fit to provide me some encouragement through folks that had heard the message and received some thing from it.
As I reflected on this message and the texts that I was given to use I realized something: God had put me out there in those “uncharted waters” to stretch me and to grow me. I’m well aware that He has a purpose behind every thing He does. But I’m so glad that at times He lets us see a bit of that purpose, as a way of telling us “Child, I did that for you and here’s a little of why I did…”.
He is so very good, all the time!
John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
A farmer was showing his fine orchard to a friend who admired its neat and regular appearance. “But,” said the friend, pointing to a peculiarly shaped tree, “if that were my tree I’d root it up in order to preserve the uniformity of the orchard.” The farmer smiled and said that he was more interested in the fruit than in the form. “This tree,” he said, “has yielded me more fruit than any of those trees that conform to a more regular pattern.”
Sometimes Christian workers may become so accustomed to doing things in what they consider the traditional or time-honored way that they forget to evaluate its productiveness. We must remember that doing something because “that’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t necessarily make it the best way.
John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
To Whom Shall We Pray
A little lad in Central Africa had learned to read the New Testament in the mission school. Some time later the Roman Catholic fathers persuaded him be baptized into the Roman Church. They gave him a medal to wear, on which was a representation of the Virgin. “It will be easier for you to pray when you look at that,” they said, “and the mother of Jesus will pray to her Son for you.” Several months passed, and the boy returned to the evangelical mission. Asked the reason, he said, “I read in the Gospels that Mary lost Jesus when she was on a journey; so I thought, If she forgot her own little boy, she will surely forget me, so I am going to pray straight to Jesus.”
As in most things, when praying it’s best to go straight to the Source. Christ Jesus is our Source, our Mediator, and Great High Priest. Take it directly to Him.
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means
doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the
man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.”
– C.S. Lewis
These words from Lewis went along with a lot of the lesson and preaching I heard today, at least in my mind. There are so many roads and intersections out there today. It can be easy to get guided in the wrong direction, take a wrong turn, or get completely off course. False teaching and heresies abound as much or more today than at any time in history. And we have so much “political correctness” being shoved at us in the name of tolerance that more and more folks are getting turned down the wrong road. It’s true there are many roads that lead to one destination. But all of those “broad” roads lead to hell, not to Paradise.
PC it isn’t but the truth is this: There is only one way and that is through Christ Jesus. And thank God we have a map to lead us along the road: the Bible.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
New age author and self-help guru Louise L. Hay once said “I am one with the power and wisdom of the Universe. I have all that I need.” She believes that we are all responsible for our own realities. In part, I agree with her.
I, too, am “at one” with the Power and Wisdom of the Universe. But I know that I am not that Power and Wisdom; the Mighty and Living God is.
I also think we are responsible for our ultimate reality: Where we will spend eternity. God gave us the choice to serve and love Him or to turn our backs upon Him and serve the god of this world. If we choose the former, through and by Jesus Christ we can be reconciled to God and have Heaven as our home one day. Or we can choose the latter and end up with the justice we deserve: An eternity of suffering.
The Bible warns us against false teachers and heresies. Scripture warns us about following after our own ways and minds. And God’s Word clearly lays out the only way to Heaven is by placing our faith in Christ Jesus.
It’s up to each of us to choose: Will we follow after the wisdom of this world (which the Bible calls foolishness) or after the only Truth?
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.