Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go. Then He said to them, 'The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.'” (Luke 10.1-2).
Some of the most beautiful vistas are made picturesque by the contrasts they contain. A brilliant moon against a black velvet sky, poverty in the midst of opulence, and superior intellect in a family of average Joe's, all of these stand out ( Click for more )
A shadow is real, but it is only a representation of something else (the substance). A shadow may reveal some things about the object it represents, but it does not reveal everything. By looking at a shadow I might be able to tell the approximate size of the individual casting it, but I could not tell the color of the eyes, or the breadth of the nose, or a thousand other details that only a face to face view would reveal. Shadows are spoken of in Scripture; today’s message will treat one of these shadows.
The Hebrews writer penned the following: “For the law, having ( Click for more )
Who is God? This question cannot be answered definitively and completely by any man. However, simply because we cannot understand all that He is does not mean that we cannot understand some of who He is. Today’s devotional will reveal a small part of who God is and how He yearns for His creatures to hear His voice. Today’s focus text is taken from a protracted prayer and confessional under the urging of Nehemiah. We learn much about God from this passage; read and consider!
“Therefore You delivered them [the nation of Israel] into the hand of their enemies, Who ( Click for more )
“So all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.” (Genesis 9.29).
There are ten generations from Adam to Noah. The vast majority of these ten generations are documented in Genesis 5 and conclude with the death of Noah as noted in today's focus text. Between Genesis 5 and the death of Noah in Genesis 9, the story of the flood is chronicled. In the ten generations that are mentioned in these passages, the phrase “and he died” is repeated again and again. In fact, “and he died” appears nine time in Genesis 5 and Genesis ( Click for more )
“And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.” (Genesis 9.28).
The passage just quoted is taken directly from the New King James version (1982) of the Bible. It also reads exactly the same in the King James Version of 1611, and the American Standard Version of 1901. Other versions may have the wording a bit different, but the substance is exactly the same. The bottom line of this biblical verse in each version is simply this: Noah continued to live for an additional three hundred and fifty (350) years after the end of the flood.
For some people, ( Click for more )
Sometimes things just don't add up. When we look at all the supposed facts, something is amiss and it causes us to reassess what we knew (or thought we knew). Today's message contains a passage in which an occasion similar to the above took place. Consider it carefully with me.
“So they [the Pharisees] again called the man who was blind, and said to him, ‘Give God the glory! We know that this Man [Jesus] is a sinner.’ He answered and said, ‘Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.’” (John ( Click for more )
Just read the following biblical passage.
“While He [Jesus] spoke these things to them, behold, a ruler came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.’ So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples. …When Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, ‘Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.’ And they ridiculed Him. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, ( Click for more )
God does not speak ambiguously; His voice is certain. When He issues commands for others to follow, He leaves no question as to the author of these commands. Today’s message deals with the issuance of an entire set of commands to the nation of Israel, a set of commands that was to last for years to come.
Our focus text reads: “And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people, and fire came out from before the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. ( Click for more )
Not everyone can be a headliner. Joram and Jehu, the primary players in today’s message, are certainly among the lesser known characters in the Old Testament. However, the lessons which we can learn from them are eternal lessons; we will visit one of these lessons today.
The nation of Israel was divided into two kingdoms following the death of Solomon. For that reason, it is common to refer to these two nations as Northern Israel and Southern Israel. Though coming from common ancestors, these two nations were constantly bickering and fighting among themselves. In today’s ( Click for more )
Almost a millennium after the fact, the children of Israel recounted the blessings they received while an extremely young nation. There were many, many things for which they should have been thankful and Nehemiah chapter nine summarizes many of those blessings. A particular blessings, one that is not well known, is the fact that for the duration of the wilderness wandering, the entire nation of Israel had no need for new clothes. Scripture states it this way: “Forty years You [God] sustained them in the wilderness; They lacked nothing; Their clothes did not wear out And their ( Click for more )
I am not a pacifist in the absolute sense. I believe that sometimes war is unavoidable and justifiable. One reason I believe this is the fact that actual evil exists in this world and man has the free will to choose between good and evil. In the Old Testament when God was leading the nation of Israel (a Theocracy prior to the era of the kings), He found it necessary to resort to acts of war and violence to achieve His purposes. Simply stated, if God could not avoid war while preserving man’s free will then neither can we.
This does not mean I am for war! I recently saw a ( Click for more )
Jesus knew the hearts of men; He knew the thoughts of men even before they articulated them. In short, Jesus knew anything He wanted to know. Why was that the case? Answer: Simply because Jesus was God in the flesh. Isaiah had prophesied seven centuries before the fact that the virgin born Son would be named Emanuel (Isaiah 7.14). Matthew, commenting on that prophecy, said that Emanuel means “God with us.” (see Matthew 1.23). Given these facts, consider this question: Why did Jesus tell His disciples to feed a huge multitude when they didn't even have enough food to feed ( Click for more )
“They brought him who formerly was blind to the Pharisees. Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, ‘He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.’ Therefore some of the Pharisees said, ‘This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?’ And there was a division among them." (John 9.13-16).
The previous paragraph is taken from one of the most ( Click for more )
Contrary to what some believe, I am not old enough to have personally known Job, the biblical character. However, I surely can identify with him. In fact, it is my absolute conviction that every human being who has lived to be accountable before God can identify with Job. His struggles, though perhaps more intense and sore, are our struggles. The times are different and “the names have been changed to protect the guilty,” but his struggles are our struggles.
After his pseudo-friends came to his side and began their berating tirades, Job was “forced” to ( Click for more )
“Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, 'Why do we and the Pharisees fast often but Your disciples do not fast?' And Jesus said to them, 'Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast. No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and the tear is made worse. Nor do they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But ( Click for more )
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5.22-23).
Just as surely as the works of the flesh are patently obvious for all to see, so is the fruit of the Spirit. One cannot miss the fact that where God's way is followed, the results are always positive and uplifting. Such things as joy and peace abound; love and goodness and kindness bloom profusely. A sharper contrast cannot be drawn than the contrast between the works of the flesh and the fruit ( Click for more )
"Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.. (Galatians 5.19-21).
A key word in the passage cited is the word evident. That which is evident is not hidden; it is, as we might say, patently obvious. One does not have ( Click for more )
"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5.16-18).
The primary lesson in this text has to do with the Law of Moses and the fact that it had ceased to exist as an authoritative system of religion; its purpose had been fulfilled and a better system had supplanted it. The Law had not failed! In point of fact, ( Click for more )
"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!" (Galatians 5.13-15). The key thought in this text is "through love serve one another." We will examine this phrase in this context.
The Christian religion is a religion of the heart; it literally cannot be forced or coerced! Religious ( Click for more )
Quoting a biblical proverb: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22.1). David had a “good name” but the adjective to describe Solomon’s name was yet to be determined. As today’s focus text (below) indicates, Solomon was at a crossroads in his life and in the life of Israel. His name and his legacy would be what he made it to be. God encouraged Solomon to walk as David walked, but the doing of it remained completely in Solomon’s hands.
“And the LORD said to him ( Click for more )
“Prejudice,” says the bigot, “is a great timesaver; it keeps me from having to gather the evidence before making judgments about people!” Today’s focus text contains a record of two groups of people. The first group drew conclusions about Jesus prior to examining the evidence. The second group also drew conclusions about Jesus but only after they had examined critical pieces of evidence. Think with me as we examine this historical account and determine to which of the two groups we belong.
“So He [Jesus] got into a boat, crossed over, and came ( Click for more )
“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus.” (Mark 9.2-4).
To be transfigured is to be changed. In fact, the Greek word which translates transfigured in this passage is the source word for our English word metamorphosis. A shortened form of this same word which is popular in our culture ( Click for more )
The apostles and ministers of our Lord were not without troubles in the first century. They had those who challenged their authority just as there are some who challenge the Bible, God's source of authority today. Today’s devotional consists of a passage from the apostle Paul in which he defended His apostleship and the authority that went with it. It has great merit in every generation.
"Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are ( Click for more )
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” (Romans 8.31-34).
Well, people were against Jesus, weren't they? After all, He was crucified by His political and religious enemies. Before ( Click for more )
“Then Jesus said to them, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.' As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.” (John 8.28-30).
Restating, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He…” Knowledge that Jesus is the Son of Man is prerequisite to pleasing the Father. That is not all there is to it, but this knowledge ( Click for more )
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