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Devotionals

 

 

Devotionals written by Marilyn Daniels.

Check back every week for a new devotional. Also, feel free to contact Marilyn for prayer if you wish. www.marilyndaniels.net

 

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The Triumph of Mercy

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on November 10, 2019 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

James 2:8-13

 

Our Ladies are studying the book of James. We’ve probably read it many times, but there is still much to learn! A little phrase suddenly jumped out at me “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (2:13). First of all we need to understand what judgment looks like.

 

In our world today people are tweeting about their personal observations, so often from the bias of criticism, it seems. Is this the test of one’s intelligence, I wonder, to be able to discern the faults of others? How often are we acting out what Jesus warned about – looking at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s or sister’s eye, while ignoring the plank that limits the vision in our own (Matthew 7:4). Jesus recommended that we take time to remove the plank before we assume a helping relationship with our brother/sister (Matthew 7:5).

 

Sometimes we ignore the potential dangers God warned the Israelites about …the damage of giving false testimony about our neighbour (Deuteronomy 5:20), because we are so quick to pass sentence on another fellow human being. James reminds us that often anger is the basis of our condemnation, so we should pause to listen, before expressing our opinions (James 1:19). Have we forgotten the besetting sins of our own nature that make us so displeasing to God?... and yet He repeatedly forgives us. Can we, will we, pause to remember His mercy?

 

Here’s the thing – Jesus told the crowd assembled on the mount, that we will be judged with the same measure of mercy we deliver towards those who offend us (Matthew 7:2). James amplifies this thought:

“judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” (James 2:13). That follows the theme of the Lord’s prayer that so many of us know by heart, and repeat often: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12 KJV).

 

Do we really want God to forgive us in the same way as we have forgiven others? Even William Shakespeare got it right when he wrote the Merchant of Venice, reminding Shylock that mercy must be freely given - “The quality of mercy is not strained [forced]”. It must be genuine, real. God knows whether or not we are going through the motions, or if we mean what we say.

 

Often it is hard to forgive – it is a Divine gift in the moment. With God it is possible for mercy to triumph over judgment. Our judgment may or may not be perfectly correct. That is not the issue. The ability to lean on God to help us deliver His mercy to others is demonstrated by our desire, and His power, to forgive. This is the Divine triumphing in the lives of human beings!

 

Reflection:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We say we are followers of Jesus. He was so merciful to those who were accused! May we learn from His example. His love drew people to Himself! May our lives exemplify our appreciation for all men and women because they are made in the image of God. Search my heart and see if there is any wicked way in me , before I pronounce judgment on anyone else. Help me to remember Jesus’ words “He/she who is without sin cast the first stone”. May I live by His perfect example, which demonstrated Your love for everyone. May Your mercy out-weight the judgments I might make. Keep me from slandering others. Empower me, my Father, to triumph over evil. In Jesus’ name I pray.

The Dead Will Hear

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on November 3, 2019 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

John 6:24-29

 

Again we are privileged to listen in as Jesus is speaking to the crowds. We need to look at the context to understand what He means when He says “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God” (:25). First of all notice that He identifies Himself as the Son of God throughout this chapter. Nearly 20 times, Jesus refers to His special Father-Son relationship with God. Secondly He is talking about eternal life (:24). He uses the present tense to describe crossing from death to life.

 

Now, as so often John records, Jesus prefaces His message with “I tell you the truth….” (6:25). Only God is the essence of truth. Here on earth our truth is motivated so often by self-interest, but God’s is pure truth and this is what His only begotten Son will tell people then, and now.

 

Jesus says the time has come, in fact it is now – when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God. Who are the dead? Surely Jesus didn’t mean those buried in the ground. Of course not! He is talking about spiritually dead people. Paul spelled it out for the Ephesian church “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live” (2:1). That describes spiritual death in the midst of physical life, separation from God who cannot be in the presence of sin.

 

To further prove He is talking about spiritual life and death, Jesus clarified His Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him, should have eternal life…and I will raise him/her up in the last day” (6:40). Note that eternal life begins at the moment when a person puts their faith in God’s Holy Son! It is not something we wait to receive when we die. That eternal life is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13).

 

The Jews kept asking Jesus for a sign to prove His deity (6:30). One might wonder what they expected. After all He was known for His miracles, so much so that crowds followed Him (6:24). How many of those who followed Him then were still dead, looking for excitement because of this miracle-worker new in town? Curious? Wanting to be fed, healed, to be seen as good because they were allied with a Holy man? How many things motivate a human being’s loyalties? We know the crowd was fickle. After lauding Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, within a week they turned to shout “Crucify Him”! What caused their change of heart? They were dead spiritually. Those who were alive followed Christ to the tomb, grieving over His suffering and sacrifice.

 

It is a mystery how some folks go to church all their lives, but never hear the voice of the Son of God. We cannot judge another human heart, but Jesus knows, and the final judgment has been given to Him (5:22). Its never too late to hear, while physical life lasts. The thief on the cross was promised eternal life in Paradise that very day. How merciful is God to forgive at the eleventh hour, but oh what a waste of life in which one might have found such joy and peace through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

Reflection:

“Come Holy Spirit, dark is the hour.

We need Your filling your love and Your mighty power.

Move now among us, stir us today.

Come Holy Spirit – Revive Your church today!” John W. Peterson

Seeing Through Tinted Glass

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on October 27, 2019 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

1 Corinthians 13:8-12

 

Someone coined the phrase “looking at life through rose-tinted glasses”. This is described as an unduly idealistic, optimistic, sentimental, or wistful perspective on or about something. People looking through rose-tinted glasses only notice the good things about them, a view that is unrealistic. Its good to be positive in one’s outlook, but it is also important to be balanced.

 

The Apostle Paul was aware of mankind’s tendency to look through a glass darkly – a view through which our judgment is somewhat clouded. God gave Paul the reason why we do not see things clearly, which thankfully he recorded for our own understanding. In his first letter to the Corinthians church, Paul explains that our knowledge is only partial (:9). God who is omniscient, needs you and me to rely on His wisdom, knowledge and love. Sometimes we see in part because we don’t want to accept responsibility for things we do; as with the first people on earth, its easier to blame someone else than to accept the rebuke of a friend. “Rebuke a wise man and he will love you” (Proverbs 9:8).


It is common for us to see a poor reflection of ourselves in a mirror, rose-tinted or otherwise darkened by sin. James gives us some further insights on how to deal with this problem. When looking at oneself in a mirror there are two options. If we don’t like what we see, we can do something about it, or we can go into denial. The Holy Spirit gave James an important truth - humans have the tendency to immediately forget what they might recognize and work to improve (James 1:24). Is this wise?

 

God longs for us to be pure, when we claim to follow Jesus. His Word gives us the direction we need, clarifying His will for our lives. When we spend time studying the Bible we are freed, James goes on to say (1:25), and blessed by the liberty God gives to us, from the sin that so easily bests us. Once our spirits have soared into the heavenlies , let loose like a balloon floating up into the sky, who would return to the darkness of this world’s thinking and degrading behaviours?

 

Paul and James agree that maturity, gained through love and perseverance is the Christian’s goal…..mature in understanding God’s character, we grow to be more like Him…..mature in our understanding of what true love looks like – that amazing love of God which is more than compassionate, which is impossible without His unconditional love flowing through us.

 

Growing in our faith requires action on our part. He has given us the means to know Him….His Word, David said, saved him from sinning against God (Psalm 119:11). It wasn’t just reading it or hiding it in his heart, but by obeying God’s word, David was blessed. God in turn blesses us, wiping away the darkness that clouds our vision, as we persevere. Its hard to do God’s will, to be obedient but He stands ready to give us all the wisdom and knowledge required to do His will. He doesn’t leave us to flounder alone!

 

Reflection:

Will you accept responsibility for your own sins? How does God want you to deal with them?

Does your life and mine bring joy to the heart of God?

Have you been freed by the perfect law of God?

Do you understand what God requires of you in His perfect law? Its not complicated –

“If anyone considers himself/herself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his/her tongue, he/she

deceives themselves and his/her religion is worthless” (James 1:26)

Vive la Difference!

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on October 20, 2019 at 5:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Romans 12:3-16


Some time ago I was watching a TV series in which a young white woman attempted to seduce a handsome young black man using the phrase “Vive la Difference”. She wanted to “live in the moment” by celebrating those differences. In our world today there seems to be a growing acceptance of this philosophy. Counter-productively there is also less acceptance of those differences that might lend permanency to our relationships. Critical appraisals fracture friendships and marriages. How is it possible to live in a world so divided?

 

Recently I heard a young man parroting what he had likely heard someone else say negatively about the values of an older man. It caused me to wonder where we place our emphasis. Do we appreciate the strengths in our individual family and friends, or are we anxious to shape them into something else? Would we like them to be what someone else appears to be? What does the word of God tell us? Solomon gives us some suggestions. “A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17). “Wounds of a friend can be trusted” (Proverbs 27:6). How is this type of friendship possible?

 

Jesus Himself was known as the friend of tax collectors and sinners….both were groups of people who were totally unacceptable to the religious establishment (Pharisees) because they didn’t conform to their image of how people should live. Certainly they did not exemplify those values Jesus preached. So - what did He find so compelling that He would eat with them? Sharing meals demonstrated social acceptance, in that era.

 

Jesus’ philosophy of life was grounded on love. Love that always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres (1 Corinthians 13:7). What did His love protect? Those individual characteristics that are at the same time charming and disarming? His love covers a multitude of sins because underneath there is potential to be developed, by building a sense of hope. When the possibilities that God has given to us are recognized, even after failure, as was the case with the Samaritan woman (John 4), any person can be transformed by God! Persevering love and acceptance form the greatest catalyst for developing one’s potential.


High in the list of controversies popular today is the issue of racial discrimination. Surely we can see how God has made all peoples of the earth beautiful. Different? Yes! But isn’t that what lends harmony in music – the differences of each instrument! How boring it would be if the were all cellos or trumpets. It is the diversities that we celebrate as we examine our earth scientifically! It is unique ideas shared that bring progress to any movement.


In business, successful upper management recognizes the need for diversity within its leadership, as might a church within its leadership. The richness of diversity encourages growth. This is why Paul recommends the church takes advantage of the various gifts God has given to individuals (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). We need each other to create a network of encouragement and support.

 

Vive la Difference!

Reflection:

Do we have a friendly world view towards our fellowman?

Can we look beyond their fault to see their need? (Song by Dotty Rambo).

 

“Dear Lord. Help me to celebrate those differences within the Body of Christ that are so essential to a healthy body. Thank you for the beauty of all You have created! Let me rejoice in the vision that You have given to some very gifted people. May I be in tune with those who have learned to listen to Your still small voice saying “This is the way. Walk in it.” Bless me with the means to help those with hands held out, in service to these who are so needy. May my thoughts be pure and my heart loving as a peacemaker, representing Jesus Christ in this world. Guide my feet in paths of righteousness with a spirit of cooperation. Oh God give unity in the midst of the precious diversity You have created, I pray.”

Thy Kingdom Come

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on October 13, 2019 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Matthew 6:10


In the prayer we call “the Lord’s Prayer” which Jesus taught His disciples, He makes reference to the Kingdom of God….a kingdom that belongs to Him “Thy Kingdom” (Matthew 6:10). This little phrase carries great meaning for it recognizes not only God’s ownership but the glory that ownership bestows on His kingdom! Forever! This kingdom will never end, according to Luke 1:33.

 

Moses wrote some rather detailed instructions about God’s kingdom (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). Until Samuel died God was revered as the King of Israel but when he was old the Israelites asked Samuel to appoint a king over them. Clearly they wanted a visible leader. Knowing Samuel wouldn’t live forever, caused them concern.

 

Their request displeased Samuel who had leaned heavily on the Lord to lead this unpredictable nation. 1 Samuel 8:4-6. The Lord explained it to Samuel: “It is not you they have rejected; but they have rejected Me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:7).


Hundreds of years later Jesus taught His disciples to pray that God’s kingdom would come. During His life-time the nation was under Roman rule. They had a puppet king in Herod, who thought little of the careful instructions God had given to Moses. In actual fact those details were ignored as early as the reign of Solomon! Solomon was rich, with many horses. He also had many wives some of whom had come from foreign countries including Egypt, a nation specified by God as a danger to their spiritual well-being.

 

Comparing the kingdom of God in Samuel’s time with the kingdom Jesus taught His followers to pray for, we recognize a significant similarity - it is a spiritual kingdom, one that follows the leadership of the invisible King, God. Does Jesus want to take them back to the “good old days”? Of course not – those days were not without their challenges and disasters when people failed to follow God.

 

The angel, announcing the birth of Jesus to Mary, specified her baby would be king. “The Lord will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). With His birth the Kingdom came, but there is a present tense today, as well as future. John wrote of his revelation:

”Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ’ “ (Revelation 12:10).

 

Jesus was looking ahead. He had in mind the Kingship of God would be stabilized in the hearts of repentant and surrendered individuals through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God – a significant difference from the old ways. “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:33). His Kingdom began at the resurrection. Jesus told His disciples at the last supper He would not share a meal with them until they were in His Father’s Kingdom (Matthew 26:29) Note how that took place on the shores of Galilee after a post-resurrection fishing miracle (John 21:13).


Reflection:

What do you know about the Kingdom of God.

Where is the Kingdom of God?

What part in the Kingdom of God do you play?

Are you thankful to be a part of the Kingdom?

Grandma's Prayer

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on October 6, 2019 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Ephesians 1:9-11

Dear God: Thank you for my dear family! You have blessed us, and my cup of joy overflows! Thank you Father for the family history that has grounded us in the Word of God! The fact that prayer was essential as far back as the third and fourth generation truly makes us blessed! Now there are little ones with whom you have blessed our family – babes in the flesh as well as spiritual babies! May we be given the grace, courage and patience needed daily to shape them into maturity according to the Divine will of the Holy Spirit.

Father, you know we need discernment so that we might be pleasing to You – pure and blameless in Your sight, until Jesus returns. We bless You for giving us your Holy Word, a love letter as well as a guide for holy living. Thank you too, for giving us the Holy Spirit who indwells our hearts as our comforter, instructor and corrections officer. We have the confidence that the Holy Spirit will fill us with the fruit of righteousness when we submit to His leading. We know that when the water gets too deep and we don’t know how to pray, the Holy Spirit takes our hearts’ desires to Your heavenly throne where You discuss the situation and answer with the best of all possible solutions.

 

May our language, our attitudes and our character speak consistently to everyone of Jesus. May we be sensitive to when they are in pain. May we be encouragers, always instilling hope. May we model forgiveness, because You have forgiven us!


Within this family may His love form close bonds that tie us together as we hold hands through pain, sorrow and loss. May that love become evermore precious as we celebrate memories of laughter and growth, and our history as well as our dreams for the future. May that love be inclusive as You add to our family – babies born, lovely in-law relationships so much treasured, as well as through the adoption of friends. May Your love make us gentle, accepting and forgiving.

 

Thank you for special scriptures that light the way through darkness: “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Joshua 1:5). “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). Thank You that You protect us from evil!

 

Thank you Father for listening. Thank you for the privilege of prayer, talking with You our Sovereign Lord. Thank you for giving us only those answers that are for our ultimate good, born out of Your omniscience and perfect love. Thank You that Your answers are not limited by time and space, but as we pray for our grandchildren You will answer those prayers throughout their lifetime, when we are no longer here to pray. May the love of my children and grandchildren for Jesus, grow more and more as the years go by. We pray in the powerful name of our Lord Jesus who taught us to pray to our Father!


Reflection:

What might you like to pray for your children and grandchildren?

Were you blessed by family who believed in prayer, or how did God catch your attention?

Do you find comfort in talking with God? Why or why not?

Overwhelmed With Dread

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on September 29, 2019 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Psalm 14

 

Technology takes us around the world today to where we can view the detailed sufferings of humankind. Should war and famine, abuses arising from anger or hatred, political unrest and persecution become an immediate threat to us in North America, we ourselves might be overwhelmed by dread.

 

David wrote that the Lord looks down on the sons of men, from heaven. His vantage point may seem external, but the Bible also tells us that God knows the thoughts and intentions of each heart. This is what He finds: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) How hopeless does that sound? Yet God who created humans, blesses the man/woman who trusts in Him, making him/her as secure as a tree planted by the water (Jeremiah 17:7).

 

God does not want you or me to feel overwhelmed by dread. He assures us through the Apostle Paul, who wrote: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity [fear], but a spirit of power, of love and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). What causes us to dread something? The knowledge that our hearts are not right before God may be a contributing factor. We do have a conscience that informs our psyche, allowing us to be a peace in the midst of turmoil and even suffering, but also condemning us when we are wrong.


Some people think God searches our hearts to punish us for our evil thoughts and desires, but really God is looking for righteousness, those who are seeking fellowship with Himself (Psalm 14:2). When He sees that, God will go to any lengths to ensure such fellowship is vibrant, real through a relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord. We see illustrations of that in the lives of the Centurion and Lydia, recorded for us in the book of Acts.

 

Certainly God will punish evildoers, those who persecute His people. These folks never seem to learn. They just don’t get it! We see the problem occurring over centuries of time. The tendency of that heart which denies God, is to “do what is right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25 KJV).The evil is not confined to what they do, but stems from the notion that they are their own god. This is what ought to fill us with overwhelming dread.

 

In this Psalm David yearns for the establishment of God’s Messianic kingdom (:6-7). When Jesus returns to earth the powers of evil will be overwhelmed by the radiance of His glory! Every knee shall bow (Romans 14:11). What a glorious hope that overwhelms every dreaded thought!

 

Reflection:

Who is it that searches your heart and mine? (Jeremiah 17:10)

What is God’s attitude towards evil?

How far will God go to provide a way for you and me to escape evil? (1 Corinthians 10:13)

What frees you from a spirit of dread? 

This Sickness

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on September 22, 2019 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

John 11:1-14

 

Jesus wasn’t worried. He knew God had a plan. As always, God’s plan was perfect. Lazarus died. I asked myself - “How do I respond when bad things come into my life?” Quite naturally, Mary and Martha and their family friends grieved over the death of a beloved brother. They could not have hoped that Lazarus would be raised from the dead – nothing like that had ever happened like that before.


Meanwhile the disciples who were with Jesus were astonished at His reaction to the news that Lazarus was seriously ill! Here was this marvellous healer lingering where He was for 2 days (:5). They knew He loved Lazarus and Mary and Martha. He demonstrated time and again such compassion for people He didn’t know, in the face of physical suffering. Why did He delay?

 

“This sickness” Jesus told them, “will not end in death” (:4). But then on their way back to Bethany, Jesus revealed what they could not know. “Lazarus is dead” (:14). What a contradiction! Jesus did give them a clue, but did the disciples understand it? He told them up front that this sickness was for God’s glory. How could that possibly be if He didn’t heal Lazarus…..and now it was hopeless – Lazarus was dead.

 

By the time Jesus journeyed back to Judea Lazarus had been dead for 4 days. In a hot country the body quickly decomposes so when He wanted to go to the grave, Martha warned Jesus there would be a very bad odour (11:39).

 

What no one understood was the purpose of this disaster. What questions ran through the minds of the disciples as they travelled to Bethany? What expectations did Mary and Martha have when Jesus arrived? On the way to see the grieving family, Jesus told the disciples He was glad He was not there at the time of Lazarus’ death (:15). They probably attributed that to those common human feelings which come when we face pain. He did tell them He was going to wake Lazarus up – whatever did He mean? (:11)

 

Jesus also told those who followed Him that this was a test of faith….”that you may believe” (:15). Often a man of mystery, Jesus even today calls us to trust Him when we do not understand what God is doing. What happened to Lazarus demonstrated the glory of God much more than restoration from a sick bed (:41-44). What a glorious revelation of the power of God.


This account not only brought glory to God in the days of Jesus, but it encourages our belief today, does it now? Belief in God’s power, and ability to bring to fruition His plans, which, if we read this correctly is simply to make us aware of His magnificence in order to worship the One who is often beyond our finite understanding.

 

Reflection:

When you and I are faced with disaster, do we believe that God will bring glory to Himself through an unbelievable situation?

What situations do we face that seem to be hopeless, and how does our faith in God strengthen us?

Do we truly understand the God we say we worship?

Biblical Metaphors

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on September 15, 2019 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

John 14:6

 

A metaphor is an image which suggests similarities between two different ideas, without implying that they are identical. Scripture uses metaphors extensively as a way of illustration and teaching. Given the number of metaphors applied to Jesus Christ alone, there is a lot to learn! On the one hand He is the Shepherd – the good shepherd. On the other hand he is the Lamb – the lamb without blemish! There is no contradiction when these descriptions are given to illustrate a characteristic.

 

Jesus makes reference to Himself in a variety of different ways. He calls Himself the door, the vine, the light, the way, the shepherd, the life….. God the Father is described as the Potter, the Rock and so on.

 

When He describes Himself as the door, that might mean either a protection against evil, or a gateway into eternal life. I am the Vine refers to connecting man to the Father and His power. He is the "Rose of Sharon," the "Lily of the Valley," and the "Plant of Renown." He is a rock, a refuge, and a strong tower. He is referred to as the light of heaven and in Rev. 22:16, "the Bright and Morning Star."

There is purpose and hope in the illustration of the potter (Isaiah 64:8), who molds and shapes the clay into a perfect vessel, to be used by the master! WOW! The process is sometimes painful – there are tools involved that trim the clay, fire that hardens it against breaking, glaze that coats it to keep it pure.

 

Some metaphors are subjective (according to the way we perceive them to be). What does Jesus mean by “I am the life” (John 14:6)? Apparently life is something we must give away. “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39). What does this teach us about the eternal life Jesus promised His followers? Is it not something to be shared with others?

 

“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)! Mixed metaphors. He wants everyone to taste, to savour the riches of His grace! He meets each of us at our point of need as He lights the path before us with truth. We know this from John’s account: “I Am the way, the truth” (John 14:6)! Everyone is invited to partake of His light, because Jesus declares Himself to be the Light of the world! (John 8:12).


Reflection:


Now when we study the Word of God we must always finish by asking questions. What is this teaching me? How does this impact my faith? Does this create a spirit of praise in me? What must I share with others? .....or some other such queries.

 

For me these metaphors excite awe! The magnitude of God’s person is described metaphorically so our finite minds can take in the infinite. What a blessing that God teaches us with illustrations that expand our understanding! What an awesome God we serve!

Once I Was Blind

Posted by kmaxx@mts.net on September 8, 2019 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

John 9:13-25

 

In today’s scripture reading Jesus has just healed a blind man. The Pharisees found fault, as usual. After all, Jesus had healed this man on the Sabbath and keeping the regulations seemed to be more important than caring for a suffering human being. My uncle was totally blind for the last 30 years of his life. Fortunately he had a very positive temperament and enjoyed the memories of all he had seen during the first 65 years of his life, but I can just imagine how wonderful it would have been for him to have had his sight restored.

 

The man Jesus healed was born blind. He had no memories of flowers and sunsets. He had not even seen the faces of his parents! Jesus was not restoring his sight; He was giving him sight for the first time. Imagine how thrilling that would have been! Shut your eyes and listen to sounds that you can identify because you have sight. All the sounds with which this blind man was familiar would take on new meaning – bird songs, crickets, footsteps fast or slow, bubbling water. Now he could put faces and voices together! Would the Pharisees have denied him all this? Isn’t the love of Jesus something wonderful?!!

 

Jesus once called the Pharisees blind. Why? Read Matthew 23:13-19. He called them sons of hell (:15), blind fools (:17). Why was this so tragic? Because they were the spiritual leaders of that day….”blind guides” (:16, 24). Jesus referred to a spiritual blindness that was leading the nation away from God by putting too much emphasis on rules, and not enough on the spirit of those laws. This was indeed a woeful situation, individually and nationally.


This was one of Jesus’ most powerful sermons. “Brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (Matthew 23:33). Passionately Jesus grieved over Jerusalem in His concluding remarks. “How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (:37). Blind as their spiritual leaders, these unbelieving Jews were bound for hell. This was not God’s will for His chosen people.


Who are God’s chosen people? God promised Abraham He would bless the nations through him….and Jesus is that promised One. Gentiles too are blind, without Christ, but God loved the world enough to send His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him has eternal life” (John 3:16).


Jesus promises that those who recognize His deity saying “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” will see Him. Paul prayed that “the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance” (Ephesians 1:18). God is not willing that any should perish.

Reflection:

Spiritual vision gives us insight. When we see Jesus, our minds are enlightened by truth. This opens up a whole new world. Instead of being bogged down in the darkness of evil, we become children of light! …people who shed light into a world darkened by sin (1 Thessalonians 5:5). Praise the Lord!

Can you say with the man John writes about: “Once I was blind but now I can see” (John 9:25)?


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