1. The Gospel Message
I just finished reading the book of Malachi and began reading the book of Matthew and the Lord brought these verses to my attention.
“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)
“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Matthew 3:1-3)
John the Baptist was a messenger sent from God to tell others about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Lord descended He left instructions to us to also give out the gospel message. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
We are beginning a new devotional theme on "Messengers For The Lord". You can read the introduction on the Home page. To raise our awareness of how other Christians had an influence in bringing us the gospel message I have listed some questions for us to think about today,
Who told you? What are the earliest memories you have of first hearing about the Lord? It may have been your parents or grandparents, Sunday school teacher, or someone you worked with. Who else along the way did the Lord use to share the gospel message?
When were you saved? What are some details about your personal salvation? You may have wept, or shouted for joy, but it is more than just an emotional experience. Has the Lord brought a change in your heart and life?
Who do you tell? How are you sharing the gospel message to help others come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?
If you don't have answers to any of these questions then maybe you need to talk to the Lord about your own salvation. Here are some of the verses from Romans that may help you understand more about salvation. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9 & 10) And that brings us back to our beginning verse above. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13) Jesus can save you today and give you eternal life in heaven.
3. Enoch Prophesied To An Ungodly People
"And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Genesis 5:24
As we begin our new devotionals on "Messengers For The Lord", I wanted to find the first instances of preachers or prophets in the Bible. It is possible that Adam was the first messenger for the Word of God. God told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree and then God made Eve. (Genesis 2:16-23) We do not know if God spoke to Eve with the command, or if Adam was God's messenger to tell Eve what God had said. We move on to chapter 5 where we have several generations listed. The men and women had become evil, but Enoch walked with God. The little book of Jude in the New Testament tells us that Enoch was a prophet and warned the people of God's judgment. "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage." (Jude 14-16) God is longsuffering and sends messengers to warn the wicked of judgment. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9) We don't read of any followers of Enoch, but Enoch kept walking with God, until God took him on to heaven. Tomorrow we will try to look at the next preacher, Enoch's great-grandson.
4. Are The Children In?
"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" II Peter 2:5
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." (Genesis 6:5-9) The world was wicked, but "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." God told Noah that He was going to destroy the earth with a flood and Noah preached, but the people did not listen. Noah, his three sons, and their wives were all that were saved on the ark. Noah's father lived 595 years after Noah was born, and had more sons and daughters, but Noah's brothers and sisters did not get on the ark. Noah's grandfather was Methuselah, the oldest man that ever lived, 969 years. He must have had many sons and daughters, but Noah's aunts, uncles, and cousins did not get on the ark. Noah preached while he built the ark, but they did not listen. "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (I Peter 3:20) "In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in." (Genesis 7:13-16) The rain began to fall. The people began to cry out. Noah and his family may have heard the screams from inside the ark. They may have recognized the voices of many who cried out for help. But it was too late. The Lord shut the door and it was too late. If you don't know the Lord as your personal Lord and Savior, please don't wait until it is too late to cry out for mercy. Mrs. Noah may have asked that day, "Are the children in?" Ask yourself that today, "Are the children in?" We need to do all we can to get the children in.
5. Idle Words
"But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matthew 12:36-37
I have been thinking about Messengers Of The Lord, and these two verses jumped out at me when I read them this morning. The Lord Jesus told the scribes and Pharisees and those listening to Him that we will be judged and give account of every idle word we speak. In the list of seven things that God hates, three have to do with our words. "These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." (Proverbs 6:16-18) We are also warned not to be busybodies, spreading gossip in I Timothy 5:13. "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." James had some very hard things to say about the tongue. "Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." (James 5:5-8) These verses teach us not to lie, or gossip, or boast in pride and we try to remember to control our tongue. But look at the Word of our Lord again. "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." We will give account of every idle word. Do you think that would be about 99% of our conversations? Are the songs we're singing idle words? Are the shows and movies we're watching idle words? Do we waste time with idle games and idle text messages? I need to post these verses up somewhere so I can be reminded to control my tongue. I can also ask the Lord to help me remember to be a Messenger for the Lord and not spend all my time with idle words.
6. "Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Say So"
"O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;" Psalm 107:1-2
God is good. He alone is worthy of our praise! Back in Bible times when a family lost their home in poverty, a relative could redeem it for them. The "near kinsman" would buy back their property and give them back their home. I was lost in sin. I had no hope and no means to get to heaven. Jesus came from His home in heaven to pay my sin debt through His cruel death on the cross. The only begotten Son of God, who knew no sin, took on my sin and died so that I might live. He took away the burden of sin and and said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) He brought me out of the darkness of sin and into the light. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) He gives me peace in the midst of storms, and comfort in my sorrow. He gave me eternal life, and supplies my every need. I will say with the Psalmist, "O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy." Praise the Lord! I'm redeemed!
7. A Joyful Noise
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations." Psalm 100:1-5
I like this little Psalm. Many times the world thinks of Christians as sad, misguided people who are miserable. That's not the type of Christian I want to be. We can give out the gospel message with joy and gladness. Do your friends see the joy of Christ living in you? Do you serve Him with gladness and singing? Do you praise Him with a thankful heart? The Lord is good! If someone looked at your life to decide if he or she wanted to be a Christian, what would the decision be? It probably happens more than you realize. As we talk about being a messenger for the Lord, we need to understand that our message comes through to others, whether we think about it or not. The message you live speaks louder than the message you give. God is still God no matter how bad our day may seem. Don't let the storms of this life cloud your message. "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice." (Philippians 4:4)
8. A Tinkling Cymbal
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." I Corinthians 13:1-13
We have finished our first week on "Messengers For The Lord". As I thought about the last few devotionals God brought this familiar chapter to my mind. He reminded me that our message, in fact everything we do, is nothing without love. If we want to be messengers for God, then we need to show the love of God in our lives. I recently heard it said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Those we try to witness to will not see the love of God in our message until they see the love of God shown in our lives. "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." (I John 4:7-11)
9. Paul, A Preacher To The Gentiles
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;" Ephesians 3:1-8
Today as we look at this familiar messenger of the Lord, I want us to notice something that set him apart from many of the other disciples of Christ. Paul became a preacher to the Gentiles. That has a special meaning to me because I was not born a child of Abraham, an Israelite of the Jewish people. We read in John 1:11 "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." Jesus was rejected by the Jews and God opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles. That means that I could be saved. I can receive the promises in the precious Word of God. I am an heir with Christ. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ." (Galatians 4:4-7) Paul preached the gospel message to the Gentiles, and I am thankful that God carried that message down through the ages by preachers until one day, I heard and believed. I am so thankful for a "whosoever" gospel message. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
10. Ezekiel, The Watchman
"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul" Ezekiel 3:17-21
God told Ezekiel that he was a watchman upon the tower and he was to warn the children of Israel to turn from their wickedness. The warning to Ezekiel is so strong that God repeats this message in chapter 33 and describes a watchman upon a tower who sees the sword come towards the city and does not warn the people. "So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 33:7-9) Jesus died on the cross and rose again the third day as He had said. After His resurrection He appeared to the disciples. Let's read His parting Words in Matthew 28:18-20. "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Just as Ezekiel was a messenger to the house of Israel, the Lord wants us to be messenger for Him. I don't want the blood of my family and friends on my hands at the judgment seat. As we tell a lost world about John 3:16, let's not neglect to tell them the next two verses. "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:17-18)
11. A Mother's And Grandmother's Faith
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." II Timothy 1:1-5
Paul is writing to his dear friend and son in the faith and he commends him for his faith. Timothy is a young man who learned faith from his grandmother and his mother. I am a mother of five children and now I am also a grandmother. One of my favorite verses is found in III John 1:4, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." I tried to saturate their lives with prayer and love as they grew up. As we talk about being messengers for the Lord, we can't neglect sharing the gospel message in our home. Just before Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, he told the disciples to be witnesses for Him in Jerusalem, then all Judaea and Samaria, then to the uttermost part of the earth. They were to begin at home. "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." (Acts 1:6-9) If we read a little more of Paul's letter to young Timothy we see that he learned the scriptures as a child. "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (II Timothy 3:15) We want to see our children succeed in life and we invest time and money to give them the best future possible. We need to make sure we are preparing them for eternity and invest time in teaching them God's Word. Let's be faithful parents and grandparents and help lead our children to Jesus.
12. Jonah Ran From God
"Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." Jonah 1:1-3
Last summer we taught the kids at church a brief Bible lesson from each book of the Bible. In my research, I learned something about Jonah which helped my understanding. The ruins of the ancient city were not found until the 1840's and many thought the story of Jonah was just a fable. I was amazed at the astrocities of the Ninevites on their enemies. The evil kings made carvings of their battles and bragged in their writings about the magnitude of casualties in their surge to rule the world. When God told Jonah to go preach against Nineveh, Jonah knew of their wickedness. Jonah may have feared being tortured for just entering into the city of his enemies. We teach this lesson to our children and we criticize Jonah and teach our children that we can't hide from God. In Jonah's mind, he had some valid reasons for not going to Neneveh. What reasons do we use for not being a messenger for the Lord? The Holy Spirit may nudge our heart to speak to our neighbor about the Lord, but we talk about everything else under the sun and still don't find the words to be a witness for the Lord. God may not be asking you to go around the world to a foreign country to take the gospel message to unbelievers. He may be asking you to tell your family that God loves them and Jesus died to save them. Jonah ran from God and was swallowed by a great fish. After three days and nights Jonah prayed and he did go to Nineveh and give them God's message. We also have a message for the lost. Let's not run from God.
13. Daniel's Righteousness Was A Message To Others
"And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse." Daniel 1:3-16
Daniel and his three friends were young boys taken into captivity to Babylon. Even though they were taken from their homeland, they stayed true to God. I like verse 8, "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself..." He made a pledge to himself to stand firm on his beliefs. He and his friends could have made all kinds of excuses; they were no longer in Jerusalem, they were in subjection to higher powers, they had to eat what was given to them. But, they decided to follow the laws of their God as they had always done and Melzar noticed. He proved them ten days and God awarded their faithfulness and courage and gave them health and wisdom. The Lord delivered the three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace in chapter 3 and delivered Daniel in the den of lions in chapter 6. (By the way, Daniel was an old man when he was thrown into the den of lions. Even in a strange land, Daniel continued to pray towards Jerusalem as he had been taught in the scriptures.) We can only speculate how much influence he had on the Babylonians. He was taken to learn the wisdom of the Chaldeans, but I believe in the process he taught them about his God and the promise of the Messiah. It is possible that the wise men who came to worship Baby Jesus learned of His coming from the teachings of Daniel those many years before. The way we live gives out a message of our Christian walk with God. What kind of message are we sending in the way we talk, the places we go, and the way we dress? Can others see the Light of Christ shining through our lives?
14. Isaiah Said, "Here Am I, Send Me"
"In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." Isaiah 6:1-8
This chapter begins, "In the year that king Uzziah died..." So, let's see what we can find out about Uzziah. "Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years in Jerusalem. His mother's name also was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did. And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper." (II Chronicles 26:3-5) Uzziah was king for 52 years, and he sought the Lord and prospered. Isaiah may have wondered what kind of king would take his place. How would the land be ruled? Then Isaiah saw the "Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up..." The seraphims cried "Holy, holy, holy..." When Isaiah saw the Lord in His holiness, he saw himself in his low estate. God cleansed him and asked "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then Isaiah said, "Here am I, send me." We don't know who will be our new President, and whether things will get better or worse, but we can recognize God as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When we see the Lord on His throne, in His holiness, we too will see our low estate. Hopefully we too will say to the Lord, "Here am I, send me." "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:35-38) Will you go? Can you say, "Here am I, send me"?
15. A Message "For Such A Time As This"
"And Mordecai told him of all that had happened unto him, and of the sum of the money that Haman had promised to pay to the king's treasuries for the Jews, to destroy them. Also he gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given at Shushan to destroy them, to shew it unto Esther, and to declare it unto her, and to charge her that she should go in unto the king, to make supplication unto him, and to make request before him for her people. And Hatach came and told Esther the words of Mordecai. Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days. And they told to Mordecai Esther's words. Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him." Esther 4:7-17
First a little background information in case you are not familiar with the book of Esther. Esther was a Jewish orphan brought up by her Uncle Mordecai. She became the queen to Ahasuerus in a beauty pageant of sorts, but she did not tell the people in Shushan the Palace that she was a Jew. Mordecai would not bow to Haman, so Haman had the king to make a decree that they could kill all the Jews on a certain day. Mordecai sent a message to Esther to go before the king and plead for the life of the Jews. Then we come to verse 14 which is one of my favorite verses. "For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Those last few words, "for such a time as this" have become a standard of hope that I can stand firmly on in troubled times. When problems arise and I am not sure which way to turn, God reminds me that He has brought me to that place, "for such a time as this." He shows me that maybe I can be a help to someone along the way who will go down the same troubled path that I went down. When I see someone else struggling, the Holy Spirit reminds me that maybe He placed me in that person's life, even if for a moment, "for such a time as this." When I hear a prayer request or see a person in need, I pray and do what I can, knowing that I was allowed the privilege to pray for that person because God showed me their need "for such a time as this." Esther knew her life was at risk when she went before the king unannounced, but she gained enough courage to speak up for her people, and saved the Jews from being destroyed. The next time you find yourself in an awkward or unusual situation, ask if God has brought you there "for such a time as this." Sometimes we only get one chance to be a witness to that certain person who crosses our path. We can all be Messengers For The Lord "for such a time as this."
16. I Am Saved By Grace - Testimony of Beverly K.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10
When I began this devotional series on "Messengers For The Lord", I asked some of my Christian friends to write their testimonies for me so that I could share those on this website. I am beginning the week with the story of my personal salvation. I was born in a Christian home and my parents always took me to church. The earliest memories I have of Bible stories are picture memories from when I was very young. There was a little hand-made red rocking chair at my grandmother's house that was bought for $1.00 for my mother when she was a baby. There was a feather pad in the chair and on the back was a cloth bag that held Bible story cards. I have fond memories of rocking in the chair and looking at the Bible story pictures as a little girl. I also remember my mom spreading out flannelgraph pictures on the kitchen table and teaching the story to my sisters and me as she prepared for her Sunday school lesson. When I was about 8 years old my grandfather, Moyer P. Beasley was preaching on the rich man and Lazarus and I started crying. My grandmother took me outside to find out what was wrong and I told her that I did not want to go to hell. The Holy Spirit convicted my heart that Sunday morning and showed me I was lost. I believed what the Bible said and prayed and God gave me peace that I would go to heaven. During the next few years I would sometimes lay in bed at night and cry and pray for my friends because I did not want them to go to hell. I thank the Lord for saving me at an early age. I am not perfect and I often make mistakes and have failures that I must confess to the Lord, but He is faithful to forgive me as we read in I John 1:9. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I feel very blessed that God allowed me to be brought up in a Christian home with parents who loved the Lord. When my Dad died of a heart attack several years ago, one of the things I missed most was hearing him pray. At the funeral home several people told me they loved to hear my Dad pray. It was even more special to me because I knew he knelt by his bed and prayed every night before he went to bed. Because of God's amazing gift of salvation, I know that when God calls me home, I will see Christ, and my Dad, and grandparents again.
17. Testimony of Ashley S.
"Who told me? I was raised in church all my life, so I had many questions about the Lord. My parents were always the first people to tell me about the Lord, and answer all of my questions. They would also incorporate Bible stories, Christian music, and simple television shows to bring me the gospel message."
"When was I saved? In Vacation Bible School at age five (in 2000). The Lord came to where I was and saved my poor, sinful soul."
"Who do I tell? As a student of a public high school, you see very wicked actions. However, God is with me day to day to lead, guide, and direct me in his will. I am also an active member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Through this club we help others come to gain knowledge of Jesus Christ."
18. Testimony of Marlena S.
"When I was a little girl, my grandpa was very, very sick. He had had several strokes that left him bedridden. I remember going to his house to visit quite often. Everytime I would go, I would climb up in the hospital bed that he was in. I loved to be with him. He would read to me out of the Bible and tell me stories. I remember him giving me a piece of old-fashioned candy when I would visit with him. After I turned five, my Grandpa Jester had a heart attack that killed him. I remember being so confused and had so many questions about where he was, why he had to die, etc. My mom told me that he was in a better place with Jesus and that he wasn't sick anymore. I still didn't understand exactly what she meant. I was heartbroken because I was very close to him and Grandpa Jester. He was the first family member that I remember losing."
"One Sunday during Sunday School, my teacher, Portia Bundy was teaching about the death and resurrection of Jesus. I remember getting upset and going to the bathroom crying. She came to check on me and all I could think of was grandpa. I remember asking her if grandpa was coming back like Jesus. She said that he would stay in heaven, but there was a way that I could know I would see him again someday. She told me how to ask the Lord in my heart in her classroom and I accepted Him right then and there. I will never forget that day!"
"Since that day, I have never regretted making that decision. Now, I have a husband, daughter and son who also have asked Jesus to save them, too. I am very blessed and thank God that I had a Sunday School teacher to show me how to be born again."
19. Testimony of Beth W.
"From the time I was born, I was taken to church. But my first memory is that my mother was my Sunday School teacher in the preschool class. I remember her teaching us to sing of God's love and "Jesus Loves Me, This I Know." Then I remember my 1st grade Sunday School teacher taught us the 23rd Psalm. I was thirteen when Preacher Marc Gold talked to me about being saved. But just before he talked to me I do remember God dealing with me about being saved. I wouldn't go up because I thought people would think I went up because I was wanting to be in the teen class. I went up during a revival in the spring, after the preacher had talked to me the week before. But God was not dealing with me; I went up to make others happy."
" In 1993, I was married and attending Oxford Memorial Baptist Church. A girl I went to school with got saved. She had made a profession at an earlier age, and she said God showed her she really was not saved. This got me to thinking, "How do you really know you are saved?" God started dealing with me and showing me I really was not saved. In December of 1995, one week before Christmas, about fourteen people got saved during the morning service. God dealt with me, but I did not go up. During Christmas I went with my Mom and Dad to Florida to visit with friends. I was worried that I would never make it back home and that I would die and go to hell. On January 31st, 1995, the choir was singing "Just Lean On Me." I went to the preacher and told him that I was lost and needed to be saved. We were attending Oxford Memorial Baptist Church and Preacher Neal Walker was our Pastor. He kept preaching about "Can you go to a time and place where the Lord made a change in your life?" And now I can say that I had a time and place where the Lord saved me. I could not wait until Monday morning to get to work and tell my friends that I had been saved."
20. Testimony of Haru B.
"I walked to church when I was a small child across a small stream of water and through the woods. I don't remember much about the church services until I was around 10 years old. Mother would turn the living room radio preaching up loud on Sunday morning so that she could hear it in the kitchen while she cooked breakfast. I awoke that Sunday to the preacher preaching about hell and I knew that I didn't want to go there when I died. That was the first time that I was under conviction and I prayed to God to forgive me of my sins and asked Jesus to save me. After that I went to the altar at church as a public confession. My Sunday School Teacher wrote me a letter of encouragement, which meant a lot to me as a 10 year old."
21. Testimony of Nora Lee C.
I want to thank the Lord for saving me and letting me know I was saved.
I had been doubting my salvation for a while. I had thought and believed I was saved when I went to the altar with a group of other young people when I was young. I thought I was saved for years. But I began to doubt my salvation. I really wanted to make sure I was saved. It really burdened me. But the Lord kept dealing with me. I thank Him for that. I thank God for His precious Word also. The Lord used His precious Word, the Bible, and His Holy Spirit to show me how to make sure I was saved. Like 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." and Acts 16:31 "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." John 1:12 really helped me. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:29) Isaiah 9:2 really helped me, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
Then Dr. J. Harold Smith came to High Point Baptist Campmeeting in 1984 and 1985 in August and preached the message: "God's Three Dead-Lines" and I went to the altar to pray to make sure I was saved. I had also been praying before that night about doubting my salvation. I prayed and asked Jesus to help me know I was saved and not doubt it. I asked Jesus if I had never been saved before, then I asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me and to forgive me of all my sins and let me know I was saved. I prayed and told Him I believe that His Blood He shed that day on the cross, I knew it was for me and that He arose from the grave for me. Dr. J. Harold Smith asked all of us who came to the altar to come up to the platform, and he asked us if we got saved and he asked if we knew we were saved now and I said "Yes". I haven't doubted my salvation since then.
I praise God for everytime He has dealt with me and He has opened my spiritual eyes more since then and the Lord is still helping me live for Him.
Praise the Lord! We have a merciful God!
To the unsaved person: you don't have to go to hell. But if you don't trust Jesus only as your salvation and be saved you will spend eternity in hell.
22. Testimony of Michael K.
"I was eight years old when I went down to the altar at Woodland Baptist Church. Preacher Zeno Groce talked to me there, and I believe it was there that I was saved. But I was so young at the time, that I really don't remember much about it. I was about sixteen years old when I heard a preacher say, "If you can't remember the exact time and place that you were saved, then you may not be saved at all." I understand now what the preacher meant: true conversion will bring about a change in your life. But as a teenager I began to really doubt my salvation. I spent many sleepless nights wrestling with the question of where I would go if I died. After talking to different friends, I got more and more confused. "
"Finally, Preacher A.F. Blackburn told me that I simply needed to trust the Lord for my salvation. He told me to make this claim: "If I go to hell, I'll go to hell trusting Jesus." That night the Lord gave me the peace that I needed. I now think I truly was saved at the age of eight, but I was a young child and could not fully understand, and I did not record the date anywhere. Whether that was the day I was saved, or whether I was saved at sixteen when I trusted my soul's salvation solely to the Lord, I now have "Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine."
23. Testimony of Saul of Tarsus, Paul
"Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus. And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there, Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him. And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:1-16
We first read of the conversion of Saul in Acts chapter 9. After Saul met the Lord he became a great messenger for the Lord. Paul was bound in chains and the soldiers actually rescued him from being killed by a mob of people. As he stood on the stairs he gave his testimony to the multitude. Paul suffered in many ways as a Christian, yet he was a great messenger for the Lord. The early Christians had a boldness that many of us lack today, yet they were men and women, just as we are. Let's follow their example and be messengers for the Lord.
24. Testimony of Jewel K.
My desire to come to know the Lord was first kindled at a prayer meeting in my home when I was just a young child. I knelt to pray, stood up to sing, "I'm a Child of the King" without realizing a thing about what I had just done other than it was something my cousin who knelt with me, said I should do. After that I went to the altar to ask the Lord to save me several other times as I was growing up but it was only because I had head knowledge that it was something I should do even though in my heart I hadn't fully comprehended that I was a sinner who deserved to go to hell, since I thought I was a good girl. Then after I got married and my first child was about a year old I went to a revival meeting at a different church with one of my Sisters. That night as strange as it may sound, the Lord used a fly to get my attention and caused me to focus on the words the preacher was saying, then Holy Ghost conviction got a hold on my heart and drew me to the altar where I confessed it was me, not my brother or my sister that was in need of the Lord. I believe the Lord saved me that night and I didn't get up off my knees with doubt in my heart that it was real like I had in the past. He lifted the burden of my sin off my heart and by the next day I had already begun to notice the change He had made in my life but as the days went by due to not being obedient to read Gods' Word and spending time in prayer, as I should, I didn't grow in the Lord; thus as temptation came into my life I didn't have the strength I needed to turn and flee from it, especially after my husband left me. Then one night at camp meeting when J. Harrold Smith was preaching on God's three deadlines I got under conviction of my sin but Satan knew how to get me to doubt my salvation by bringing up all the other times in my past how I had tried to be saved and wasn't, so I went to the altar thinking I needed to be saved again. Since I was standing there among others who claimed they just got saved although I thought some of them already were, again my faith grew weak and I just went along with them and said I did too. But as I think back over my past I am convinced it was the time before when I really got saved but I turned my back on God. I'm so thankful for the love, mercy and grace He extended to me by welcoming me back into His fold. He has since reminded me of how He was able to use simple things such as a fly and bee to speak to my heart thus I'm convinced He can use me when I act in obedience to do His will as a witness to others, so I try to be sensitive to His voice and share a tract or word of testimony with others when I get a chance. I believe, HALLELUJAH it won't be long before He comes back so we all need to be busy, first of all praying and reaching out to those around us who don't yet know Him as their personal Savior. I love Him because He first loved me.
25. You Don't Have To Be A Preacher To Be A Messenger For The Lord
"Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court. Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel." Amos 7:10-15
The little book of Amos begins, "The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither. Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:" (Amos 1:1-3) In verse 4 he begins with the punishment of Gaza. In verse 9, Tyrus and verse 11 Edom. In Chapter 2 he begins with the punishment of God on Moab and then in Amos 2:4 he tells of the punishment of Judah. The Israelites have probably enjoyed hearing of God's wrath against their enemies, but in Amos 2:6 he begins to speak of of the punishment to Israel. "Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;" In our verses above the priest tells Amos to go to Judah and not prophesy in Bethel any more, "it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court." He does not say that Bethel is the place of God's altar, as it was to Abraham and Jacob, but "it is the king's chapel". Oh, how far the children of Israel had gone from serving God. The priest called Amos a "seer" which was what they called prophets in those days and Amos told him he was not a prophet, nor a prophet's son, but a simple shepherd. We don't have to be preachers to be messengers for the Lord. God can use us to give out the gospel message, no matter what we are, as long as we are saved and living for the Lord.
26. Joshua's Last Message
"Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:14 & 15
Joshua walked with Moses and followed in his footsteps, as he led the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. I have often seen these words of Joshua printed on plaques, picture frames, and even a large beautiful pottery vase. We have often given young married couples something that bears these words, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." It is good to start out your marriage with a commitment to serve the Lord and let the Lord reign in your home. Joshua started out serving the Lord, as we read beginning in the book of Exodus, and kept on serving the Lord as we see in Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the book of Joshua. He was a servant and minister to Moses, as well as an army leader. He spent time in the Tabernacle alone with God, and was victorious in battles against the enemy. He stood alone with Caleb as they tried to encourage the people to enter the Promised Land and saw Moses break the Ten Commandments as he came down with him from Mount Sinai. He led the people around Jericho and watched God bring down the walls. Joshua was faithful in following God. Here in the last chapter of Joshua, we have his last charge to Israel. Joshua reminded the people of God's faithfulness in leading them since the days of Abraham. We are reminded of Joshua's faithfulness in his strong finish, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." In verse 29 the death of Joshua is recorded at 110 years old. Let's stay faithful to the Lord. We may not live to be 110, or be called to lead a multitude to follow God, but we can be faithful till the end and serve the Lord.
27. Testimony of Andrew L.
"I was born the son of a preacher, but still I needed salvation like everyone else. I was saved at the age of 4 in my bedroom after hearing my Dad preach a sermon on Heaven and Hell, but I spent years wondering if I was truly saved and was re-assured at the age of 16. For years the Lord dealt with my heart about sharing His Word, but I refused many tmes. Then on July 19th, 2007, after attending the evening service of the High Point Youth Jubilee, I surrendered my life to preach the Gospel of Christ. I, like many others, have had times where I drifted from God's pathway, but God was gracious enough to allow me to share His message with a lost and dying world. He has now given me the Godliest woman that I have ever known, to help share my burden and support me. Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me." "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;" (I Timothy 1:12)
28. Testimony of Susanna L.
"I was raised in a Christian home, and I have attended church my whole life. However, I was still born a lost sinner and was in need of salvation. At age 8, I came under conviction and asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart as my Lord and Savior. Ever since then, He has meant everything to me! God has blessed me in so many ways and has always been here for me, even when I strayed away from Him. I am so grateful for everything He has done for me, and I'm excited to see what God has in store for Andrew and me in the future. "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him." Psalm 28:7
29. Is Your Life A Living Testimony That You Have Been With Jesus?
"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13
I was reading in the book of Acts this week and I noticed this verse. For the past few weeks we have been talking about being messengers for the Lord. Peter and John were disciples of Jesus and they truly "had been with Jesus" as the people noticed. This verse made me stop and ask myself this question, "Is my life a living testimony that I have been with Jesus?" Many people say they are Christians, but you can't tell by the way they live and talk that they know the Lord. Do my friends know that I am a Christian? Can the people I pass day by day see the Light of Christ shine through my life? Being a messenger for the Lord goes beyond what we say. The life we live has a greater inpact on others than the message we tell. I have been trying to examine my life, what about you? Is your life a living testimony that you have been with Jesus?
30. Pastor Appreciation Month
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:13-17
This month is Pastor Appreciation month. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Lord for sending us our pastor. Our Preacher continually gives out the message of salvation for those who are lost and messages of hope to help Christians through these trying times. There are many preachers, pastors, missionaries, and evangelists, who are working to be messengers for the Lord. Let's put forth an extra effort this month to say, "Thank you" for their faithfulness to God's work.
31. Peter Carried The Message Of Salvation To The Gentiles
"There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee." Acts 10:1-22
My Bible reading this morning brought me to this tenth chapter in Acts and I know the story and have read this chapter many times. As I read these familiar verses the Holy Spirit began showing me the importance of this portion of the scriptures. The more I read in the chapter, the more the Lord blessed me and soon the tears filled my eyes so much that I could hardly see to finish my reading. I stopped and thanked the Lord for a little while and continued with my reading. God's promises of blessing were to Abraham and his seed, the Jewish people. Jesus came to give His life as prophesied by the Jewish prophets. But, as we read in John 1:11, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not" the Jews rejected the Lord. I was an unclean Gentile, lost and on my way to hell. The Lord showed Peter that He came to save the Gentiles, as well as the Jews. When Peter went back to Judaea the Christians rebuked him for going to the Gentiles. Peter explained his vision and all that had happened and the people rejoiced. "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (Acts 11:17-18) Praise the Lord! God has granted to us His great gift of salvation.
32. A Message Of Love
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
We are drawing to a close on our theme, "Messengers For The Lord". We have looked at some familiar messengers in the Bible and personal testimonies of dear Christian friends. For the rest of the week I hope to look at some of the messages we can give out to a lost and dying world. The first and dearest message is that "God is love." We read in I John 4:7-11, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die a cruel death to give His life to pay for our sin. Again in Romans 5:5-8 we read, "And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." God loved us when there was nothing in us to love. That's the greatest message we can proclaim. God loves you! Christ died for you! Many people in the world are hurting today. Many feel so alone and unloved. Let's give out the message that Jesus loves them. Just as the little song says,
"Jesus loves me, this I know.
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong.
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so."
33. A Message Of Hope
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1
I was driving home today and I passed one of those game rooms, or computerized gambling centers (which I thought were made illegal recently) and the sign said, "Try your luck." There seem to be cars parked there at all hours. How many people today throw away money everyday hoping they will win the lottery? I am glad to tell you that you don't have to trust your life to luck or put your hope in something that will probably never happen. The Lord can give you an eternal hope and life everlasting. I can say with the Psalmist, "For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth." (Psalms 71:5) I am glad that I can put all my hope and trust in a living God who loves me and cares for my soul. That is the faith that I live by. I don't have to "Try my luck." I can "Trust my Lord." "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:28-32) What more could we ask?
34. A Message Of Peace
"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
We can't escape all the troubles and trials of this world, because we live in this world. But even in the most trying times we can trust these precious words of our Lord. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Storms often come into our lives, but we can find peace in the midst of the storms. I like the story in Mark 4:35-41. "And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" The disciples were in the will of God when the storm came. It doesn't always mean that we are out of God's will when storms come into out lives. I also notice in verse 36 it tells us that there were other little ships out in that storm. The storm hit all the boats on the sea. We may ride through storms even when the Lord is in the boat with us, but praise the Lord, when He is in the boat, He can calm the storms. God gives us peace in the midst of the storms. I like the verse found in Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Trust in the Lord as your Savior and experience this peace that the world can't understand.
35. A Message Of Joy
"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:7-14
I am ending our theme of "Messengers For The Lord" with this message of joy. The cool days remind us that Christmas is drawing near. Our desire to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones may bring stress if our finances are limited. But, maybe if we concentrate on the Savior's gift of love and focus on showing love to each other, we can keep our joy through the holiday season. We will soon start practicing for our Christmas programs at church. We need to listen to the angel's words and keep joy in our hearts. "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Let's spread some joy this Christmas, There are many memories of the Christmas season that brought joy to my heart as a child, such as looking for the perfect Christmas tree with my Dad, cooking with my Mom, and wrapping presents for my family. I need to make sure I don't let these things I enjoyed become "duties" that bring pressure and rob me of my joy. Celebrate the birth of the Savior with joy. Let Christ bring joy to your heart and give out the gospel message.