As with this week’s previous posts, this one is from one of our recent mission volunteers. Jeremy is a friend and fellow laborer in the Gospel. This post will be up for the remainder of the Thanksgiving weekend. Come back when or if you can, contemplate a bit, and share.
We hope and pray you and your family have a very blessed celebration of Thanksgiving – filled with genuine gratitude.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Do you know how many months are dedicated to something? Obviously, October is breast cancer awareness month. November then swoops in with thankfulness and “No shave”. I believe “No shave November” is meant to remind us of prostate cancer and other men’s issues, not really sure as I make it a habit to only shave once a week whether I need it or not. January is stalking awareness month (lol), February is Black History and American Heart, June is one of my favorites: PTSD, Caribbean American, Hemiplegic Migraine, and LGBT Pride all get to share awareness (Sarcasm alert!!!).
With so much to be aware of, how does one find the time to be thankful? I am convinced this is why the same social media users, who are thankful in November, spend the rest of the time being spiteful in the other eleven months.
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I wonder if in Paul’s day they had “Persecuted for the Cause of Christ” awareness month. His words here are a resounding testament to what it is to really be in tune with God’s will for you life.
We spend all month being thankful on social media, only to brawl in out in the aisle of whatever chain store we can hit up first on Black Friday. January through October is spent taking to facebook in order to gripe and say things we’d never have the courage to say out loud. It all boils down to a matter of contentment. When we realize our identity is in Christ then, and only then, will true thanksgiving take place in our lives; furthermore it will become a lifestyle, not a month.
Journey Group Devotional, 11/6/15
39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone.
Two very important things jump out at me in these verses from John 11. First, Jesus pointed out to Martha that if we believe we will see the glory of God. Does that mean that if we don’t believe that the glory of God won’t happen?
No, not at all. Here’s the deal: the glory of God is going on all around us, but when we don’t believe we just don’t see it.
Jesus wanted to reveal the blessings to Martha and the others that He had in store, but logic kicked in. Martha said, “Jesus, he’s been dead four days, he stinks by now.” How many of us won’t trust Jesus with out stinking situations. Our marriages, our jobs, our finances. . . .? Logic says “I’m broke, so I can’t afford to give money to the church or to the poor.” Jesus says to us, “Trust Me in your dead situation; I have it under control.” Logic says, “My marriage is awful, I can’t be humble and love my husband today.” Jesus says, “Submit to him, show Me to him.”
Christ didn’t ask for a situation report or an autopsy. He asked for Martha to trust Him. He didn’t ask her what she thought about the situation. He merely asked for obedience to the will that He’d revealed (“Roll away the stone”). Why do we expect God to reveal anything else to us when we refuse to obey that which He has already revealed?
My second favorite part of this text is in the wording in verse 41. “So they. . . . ” Did you notice how Martha didn’t roll away the stone by herself? Jesus sometimes gives us challenging feats as Christians, but he also sends us help to live out his commands. It doesn’t say who helped Martha roll away the stone, only “they”. I choose to believe it was all the characters that were aforementioned: Mary, Martha, Jesus. . . . You see, Jesus gives us things to do that we are unable to do in our own strength. Then, He gives us the help to do them. That’s why Christianity in the context of community is so important. Part of that community is what we call a Journey Group. Whatever we call it, Jesus doesn’t mean for us to follow Him alone.
Journey Group Devotional, 10/21/15
I am the Good shepherd; I know My sheep and My sheep know Me—
In this passage of Scripture Jesus speaks twice of His relationship to the sheep. Two times He says, I am the Good Shepherd. Once He mentions how a thief might come to steal the life of the sheep. Then He alludes to His own death on a cross when He said, The Good shepherd will lay down His life for His sheep.
Jesus compareed the job of a hired hand to the one who really owns the sheep. He spoke of a shepherd having an intimate relationship with the sheep. Now, there is far too much in here for me to aptly address it all in my limited space, but I see two encouraging things that kind of stick out.
First: normally the death of the shepherd would mean certain disaster for the fold. In Jesus’ case, the death of the Shepherd is what gave the sheep life. You see, our Shepherd did indeed die, but after that He rose again. In doing this He conquered death, sin, hell, and the power of the thief to steal away the sheep.
Second: It’s important for us to see in this passage that our Shepherd knows the sheep and the sheep know the Shepherd. Have you ever heard that old hymnal, Standing on the Promises? How can we stand on the promises if we don’t know what they are? How can we know the Shepherd if we make no attempt to get to know Him?
There are only two ways to have true fellowship with the Shepherd: prayer, and the Bible. We must get into the Word, and the Word must get into to us. Every Journey Group member needs to be active in prayer and studying the Word. How are you doing? What can I do to help?
Journey Group Devotional – 8/20/15
In John 4, John shows us an incredible sign that Jesus is God. Jesus has power to conquer sickness and death! Let’s face it, He already has. Disciples need to grasp that truth. And discipleship is what a Journey Group is all about.
Cana and Capernum were only 22-miles apart. The text makes no clear assertion as to why the nobleman didn’t get home until the next day (notice in verse 52: yesterday). We don’t know if he was:
- Had official duties
- Stopped amidst all the stress for some much needed down time
Verse 50 proves he believed in the Lord’s promise. That said, there was no need for the nobleman to rush and try to intervene himself. Notice what happened when Jesus said, Go…
So the man believed the words that Jesus spoke and went his way.
How many times do we ask God for something, only to rush in with our own thoughts and agendas trying to do the work of God? Is our problem a:
- Lack of patience?
- Lack of faith?
Why do we hurry back home (so to speak) to check on our hopeless situation?
In this case we see that the nobleman has now trusted the promise of Christ, but also the person of Christ. The man obeyed Christ’s revealed will (Go your way), and then he was part of Jesus’ planned will (to heal the nobleman’s son).
Did you know we have equally clear instructions from Jesus? He has said to us, Go…
- Love your neighbor
- Make disciples
- Be my witnesses
How will we ever see His planned will when we are yet to obey His revealed will? Want to see His miraculous power in your life and in Willow Street? Based on John 4, we need to act like the nobleman:
Believe and Leave, expecting everything to be as Jesus has told us!
Abraham Goes to Egypt
Genesis 12 – Jeremy Wilson Preaching @ Willow Street Baptist Church – February 22, 2015
Abraham looked arrived in Canaan. He built an altar of worship. It was between Bethel and Hai (Ai). Bethel means House of God. Hai (Ai) means pile of rubble. We’ve all been there. And like Abraham we don’t always make the right choice. This message is an encouraging reminder of God’s great grace!