“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
And He also spoke a parable to them: “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?
This verse is the greatest example of the true essence of the message of a disciple of Jesus Christ in all of the New Testament.
God’s first sovereign work of grace is summed up in the words, “…that they may receive forgiveness of sins….” When a person fails in his personal Christian life, it is usually because he has never received anything. The only sign that a person is saved is that he has received something from Jesus Christ. Our job as workers for God is to open people’s eyes so that they may turn themselves from darkness to light. But that is not salvation; it is conversion— only the effort of an awakened human being. I do not think it is too broad a statement to say that the majority of so-called Christians are like this. Their eyes are open, but they have received nothing. Conversion is not regeneration. This is a neglected fact in our preaching today. When a person is born again, he knows that it is because he has received something as a gift from Almighty God and not because of his own decision. People may make vows and promises, and may be determined to follow through, but none of this is salvation. Salvation means that we are brought to the place where we are able to receive something from God on the authority of Jesus Christ, namely, forgiveness of sins.
This is followed by God’s second mighty work of grace: “…an inheritance among those who are sanctified….” In sanctification, the one who has been born again deliberately gives up his right to himself to Jesus Christ, and identifies himself entirely with God’s ministry to others.
|January 10, 2018
Leaning on God
“The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)
As soon as he heard the gun, Derek ran as fast as his legs would carry him. A lifetime of hard work had come down to this moment.
It was the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, and Derek Redmond was Great Britain’s best hope for a medal in the 400-meter race. He started well, but at the 200-meter mark in the semifinal race, he suddenly collapsed in a heap on the ground, writhing in pain. As the other athletes passed him, leaving his hopes in their dust, Derek wrestled with the agony of a ripped hamstring.
Everything he’d worked for his entire life had ended. In an instant, his failure was final.
Derek wouldn’t win the race. He wouldn’t win an Olympic medal. It was over.
But as the other runners completed the race, Derek made a decision. He wouldn’t win, but he would finish.
Struggling to his feet, tears streaming down his face, Derek gripped his leg and began hobbling alone toward the finish line nearly 200 meters away. He took step after excruciating step, determined to finish what he had started all those years ago.
Slowly the crowd realized what was happening. A wave of cheers spread throughout the stadium, and by the hundreds, spectators rose to their feet. The announcers barely acknowledged the winner of the race, too choked up with emotion and focused on the greater story happening at 200-meters.
Then something even more incredible happened. There was a small commotion in the crowd. A man a little older (and a little grayer) than Derek pushed his way down to the railing. He jumped over the railing and on to the track, fighting past security guards and officials as he ran to his broken and beaten son. Derek’s father wrapped his arms around him in support and spoke words of love, hope and courage over him. You could see the relief wash over Derek’s face as he leaned on his father.
Together, they crossed the finish line.
Later, reporters swarmed the elder Mr. Redmond and asked what inspired him to push through the crowd, fight past security, and jump on to the track with his son. Mr. Redmond simply said, “I intended to go over the line with him. We started his career together; I think we should finish it together.”
It’s easy to believe the lie that we struggle alone. That somehow, in the midst of our failures, we can’t come close to the Father. That He’s distant and stands off at the finish line awaiting our triumphant victory.
But Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us of the truth: “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Friend, this is true no matter where we are on our journeys with God. No matter how many times we’ve tried to spend time with Him, pray, or read His Word consistently and felt as if we’ve failed. No matter how broken and beaten we feel, we are never alone.
No, our faithful Father is fighting to come alongside us in the journey. He’s pushing past all the discouragements and distractions. Speaking words of love, hope and courage over us. He wraps His arms around us and walks side-by-side with us.
He knows us, our biggest dreams, our secret hopes and our desperate prayers. God offers a daily invitation to lean on Him instead of stumbling through life on our own.
There is a story He wants to redeem in each of our lives, a race He wants to run with us. All we need to do is lean on Him. Morning by morning.
Heavenly Father, thank You for meeting us where we are. May we relentlessly lean into You each morning. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]
Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men. —Psalm 66:5
The word awesome is tossed around a lot these days. Talk about cars, movies, songs, or food—and somebody will say, “That’s awesome!”
But if we call earth-side stuff awesome and then call God awesome, we diminish how truly awesome He is. A friend of mine has a rule in her house—the word awesome is reserved only for God.
Trivializing God is no trivial matter. He is far more than a companion who will fit into our “buddy system” or a divine ATM responding to our impulses. Until we are stunned by the awesomeness of God, we will be way too impressed with ourselves and lose the joy of the privilege of belonging to an awesome God.
A look at the Psalms puts it all in perspective. One psalmist declares, “For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth” (Ps. 47:2). And another psalm commands: “Say to God, ‘How awesome are Your works!’ . . . Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing toward the sons of men” (Ps. 66:3,5).
What could be more awesome than the love that compelled Jesus to go to the cross for us? Put Him in His proper place as the only One who is truly awesome, and praise God for His awesome work in your life!
Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,
Which wert and art and evermore shalt be. —Heber
If you’re too impressed with yourself, take a closer look at God’s awesomeness.