Daily Devotion

The Boat Sanctuary

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Psalms 3:3

I was studying for a lesson in Mark
4:35-41. You probably recall the story of sleeping Jesus in a boat with His
disciples and a storm came up suddenly and He calmed the storm with His
command.  So while doing some research on
the subject, I ran across an article that talked about cathedral architecture.
Just as I was going to click back because the search engine had pulled up
something I thought was totally unrelated, it caught my attention.  The article said that churches during the
middle ages were constructed with a rectangular sanctuary with a curved ceiling
to remind their worshippers of the fact, that first century Christians in
hiding had their churches under large boats. 
That the curved ceilings with the large columns represented the spars of
the boat, so it was an homage to those who had to resort to worship the Lord in
hiding for fear of persecution. Never saw that before!


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The Promise of Resurrection

John 3:13-25

Normally when I read this story of Jesus clearing the Temple with a whip I focus on Jesus clearing out the Temple. It certainly appeals to my American sense of being right. However, let’s look at the promise that Jesus left his followers to contemplate.
 

The real focus of this story is Jesus’ promise to rebuild
the Temple in 3 days. An impossibility that the Jews realized and were quick to
point out to Jesus. There is no way you can

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Leaning and Learning

Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The words of Jesus have always had an effect on people. Even the days before what is known of the printing of the Red Letter edition of the Bible (1899), the words of Jesus have been sought out for consideration, comfort, counsel, and even criticism.

In the passage printed, Jesus was speaking to persons from all walks of life who were in need. Yes, we should consider ourselves to be a people who are in dire straits and need. As I reflect, there are periods in our life where our needs are magnified.


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Jesus Wept

“Jesus wept.” John [11:35]


This is commonly referred to as the shortest verse in the bible. For such a small verse, it certainly holds a lot of weight. At this point in the gospel of John, Jesus has just learned of the death of one of His closest friends, Lazarus. Lazurus’ sister Mary and some of the other Jews come out to meet Jesus, weeping. Jesus takes notice of this and “is deeply moved” (John [11:33]). He then asks where Lazarus has been buried and is led to the tomb. Jesus, overcome with grief, weeps over the loss of His friend. 


The beautiful thing about this verse is that it points directly to the humanity of Christ: fully human, fully God. As humans, we have the innate ability to experience a multitude of emotions – love, joy, peace, fear, pain, anger, etc. – and some even simultaneously. I take comfort in knowing that God, through His son Jesus, meets us in our sorrow and pain to offer comfort and healing. As followers of Christ, we can act as an extension of this unconditional love by joining with others in their sorrow (or joy). 



What or Whom Do You See

Text: Luke 10:25-37

What or Whom Do You See

This is one of the best known stories that Jesus told; the
story of the Good Samaritan. It is definitely one of my favorite stories
because it helps us be reminded that Jesus does not see things from the same
viewpoint that you and I do. It also reminds me of Mister Rogers telling of how
his mother would remind him that in difficult times we are to look for those
who are doing good – the Good Samaritans.


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Respect

“Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged.” Leviticus 19:32
 
In 1991 my wife, Harriet, and I were appointed to be Southern Baptist missionaries to Nigeria. I was assigned to teach Bible classes at Baptist High School in Jos, a large northern city. I was also assigned to work with the school’s church planting program. In this program, led by the assistant principal Deacon Frama Abraham, the school asked for volunteers from among the student body to help plant and encourage churches in surrounding areas.
 
As a new teacher at Baptist High School, I was impressed with the level of respect the students gave me as a teacher. The students usually didn’t change rooms for classes. The teachers would rotate from class to class. When the students would see me coming across the campus, they would send one or two out to greet me and to take my books from me. They would then carry them into the classroom where they placed them on the lectern. The whole class would stand and say “Good morning, sir.” They would remain standing until I told them to sit down. At the end of class, they would sometimes stand and tell me goodbye as I left if I had not gone overtime and they weren’t rushed to prepare for whatever was next. Coming from about five years of teaching experience in the U.S., this was quite different.

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Work For Me Today

Matthew 21:28-32 ¶ But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard. 29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went. 30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not. 31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father?
 
This week I have been thinking on the passage referenced here and how our LORD taught with the method of parables. While doing so Jesus communicated so many kingdom principles of which we are still commonly practicing and participating in today. This principle God spoke into me began at an age of 20 in my life as I was thinking I was being obedient to all I knew HE had ever asked of me. At that point of active service in my home church, I was pretty satisfied that I had answered the call to serve and I was pleased with what self was doing. I was like the first son who originally said no but later he went.
 
“He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.”

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Fruitful and Sappy

“Psalm 92:14-15  They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
 
Having reached an age which by almost all opinions would be considered “old”, this verse is an encouragement to me.  That God is not finished with me yet.  I still have a job to do.  His call upon my life remains.

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Keeping the Faith

Text: Mark 5:24-34

Keeping the Faith

 

Do you ever experience circumstances that make you just want to talk to Jesus face to face or just to touch him? Sometimes I feel if I could just physically see and touch him, whatever my circumstance is at that particular time would just fade away. Maybe we just feel alone and feel that physical time with Jesus would be all we need.

This is exactly how the woman in this passage felt. She had been sick with some sort of disease that caused her continual bleeding for 12 years, and not a single doctor could give her any answers. She had suffered for so long, and since there weren’t any other options left, she felt that if she could just touch the hem of the cloak that Jesus was wearing, she would be healed. So that’s what she set out to do, and Jesus in fact healed her immediately. Her faith is so encouraging!


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Grace For All

July 21, 2020
 
Text: Luke 23:32-46
Grace For All
Here we read the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. I find this story to be one of my favorites because it teaches me many important things such as all people have a choice to make about eternity, that we can find hope in a lost and dying world, and that the plan of salvation is simple and for everyone.

As Jesus hung there on the cross to die, in the middle of two other men, he showed love and mercy even in his own suffering and pain. Jesus said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

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