Never Too Busy

The apostles gathered around Jesus
and reported to him all they had done and taught.
Then, because so many people were coming and going
that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them,
“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.
But many who saw them leaving recognized them
and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd,
he had compassion on them,
because they were like sheep without a shepherd.
So he began teaching them many things.
Mark 6 30-34 (NASB)

Many years ago, when I was pastor of a church, I made an announcement to the church one Sunday that I and my family would be away on holiday for the next two weeks and if there was any need for pastoral help the need should be directed to my associate. One disgruntled member of the church spoke to me after the service and said that the devil never took holidays so why should I.

I had enough of this troublemaker’s nonsense, so I responded that I was unaware that the devil was my role model. By answering in this manner, I hoped that the man would benefit from how I had pointed out his foolish comment. Shortly after this sad encounter the man and his family left the church.

In Mark 6:1-6 we read of our Lord’s last visit to Nazareth. Then He sends the Twelve out to preach the Good News, heal the sick and cast out demons Mark 6:7-13. When the Twelve returned to report to the Master they continued to be so busy ministering that they did not have time to even eat. Hence the Teacher planned a retreat to a remote area to rest.

Alas, the crowds ran ahead and reached the secluded area ahead of Jesus and the Twelve. When the group landed the Good Shepherd had compassion on the crowd, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd. Instantly the Saviour began to minister to the persistent crowd of people.

The profound lesson we are to take from this scene is that our beloved Master is never too busy to attend to our needs!! Regardless of how busy the Good Shepherd may be or how long He has been listening to our prayers He will never take a vacation from those who persist with their petitions.

Take heart believer, your Beloved Redeemer is closer than you may think. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His love, His faithfulness, His tender care for all His loved ones, remains the same. You are as sure of His gentle care as though you were already safe in heaven. He is never too busy to pay attention to you any time, anywhere. So come to Him and come now.

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace;

Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven.

– A.M. Toplady

Share this message:

King Forever

“But the Lord sits as King forever;
He has established His throne for judgment…”
Psalm 9:7 (NASB)

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful,
for He cannot deny Himself.”
2 Timothy 2:13 (NASB)

I recall Wednesday, February 6, 1952, as though it was yesterday. I was in grade 5 and in the schoolyard when I heard the news that King George 6 had died. I was afraid that our country might fall apart. I wondered what would become of us.

My school teacher and my parents assured me I had no need for concern as the king’s daughter Princess Elizabeth would now be head of state as our new queen. So on June 2, 1952 at 5:00am my mother and I got up, turned on the kitchen radio and listened excitedly as the moment by moment description of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

All this to say that while monarchs come and go, the Lord our God is forever the King of the universe. Regardless of the way our lives shift and change by events beyond our control, one profound fact remains the same forever, God does not change. Yes, there are things God cannot do. He cannot do evil. He cannot go back on His promises. We are sure of our ties to our great God because He can never go back on His promises. He will never leave or forsake us.

Are you able to draw courage, patience, resolve, from knowing our God never changes? Do you find yourself growing in grace as you take your eyes off your problem today and fix your eyes on the Lord God Almighty? Take time to read Ephesians 1, Colossians 1, John 1 and other passages that lift up our great Saviour and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

I hear the words of love,
I gaze upon the blood,
I see the mighty sacrifice,
And I have peace with God.

‘Tis everlasting peace!
Sure as Jehovah’s Name;
‘Tis stable as His steadfast throne,
Forevermore the same.

The clouds may come and go
And storms may sweep my sky;
This blood-sealed friendship changes not;
The cross is ever nigh.

My love is oft-times low,
My joy still ebbs and flows;
But peace with Him remains the same;
No change Jehovah knows.

I change, He changes not,
The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting place,
His truth, not mine, the tie.

– Horatius Bonar

Share this message:

The Sorrowing Jesus

“Then Jesus came with them to a place
called Gethsemane, and told His disciples,
‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’
And He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with Him,
and began to be grieved and distressed.
Then He said to them,
‘My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death;
remain here and keep watch with Me.’”
Matthew 26:36-38 (NASB)

 

Because I am the only minister of the Lord Jesus in my family, I have been called on to lead in celebrations of marriage and lead in funerals of family members. Marriages are always a joyful time while funerals often are grievous times when great loss is acknowledged.

The most difficult funeral I ever conducted was for a teenager who died in a single car accident. At the cemetery I led the usual committal service. Then the parents took the flowers off their son’s casket and walked with me to the tiny grave of their other son and gently laid the flowers on the grave of the infant.

That funeral of the teenager caused my soul to grieve more than when I conducted the funerals of my much loved parents. The death of young people is one of life’s most tragic events and causes great grief.

Recently a former professor of mine phoned me to chat and assure me of his love and prayers for myself and my ministry. We have connected various times in the 56 years since I graduated from Seminary. Each time we chat the subject of the death of his beloved son comes up. The teenager was looking forward to medical school but his Saviour had other plans and the teen made an early journey home to heaven. My professor could speak of his loss without emotion but in the early years after his son died it was a different story.

However, we can never exceed or come close to experiencing the suffering our beloved Good Shepherd went through the day He gave His life for the sheep. I do not mean to belittle the heartache of anyone who has suffered great loss in life. While some of us have experienced greater pain than others we have not endured what our beloved Master did. So, when you come to Him in prayer today see into His heart and know He has paid an indescribable price to make you His. Be confident in the truth that He is more concerned to hear from you than you are to speak to Him. So, come to the suffering Saviour and come now.

There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all.

We may not know, we cannot tell,
What pains he had to bear,
But we believe it was for us
He hung and suffered there.

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin.
He only could unlock the gate
Of heav’n and let us in.

Oh, dearly, dearly has he loved!
And we must love him too,
And trust in his redeeming blood,
And try his works to do.

– Cecil Alexander

Share this message:

Neglected Duty?

“Benaiah… also went down into a pit
on a snowy day and killed a lion.”
1 Chronicles 11:22 (NIV)

Today we look at another fine person who was a great soldier in King David’s army. Several of his notable exploits are recorded in Scripture. He was famous for the work he did that others were there to witness. However, there is no record of people seeing the deed we read of in our verse. Apparently this was done in private.

The lion referred to was trapped in a pit. How it arrived is anyone’s guess. It was on a snowy day that Benaiah went down into the pit and slew the lion. Perhaps Benaiah thought that if the lion could be trapped in the pit then other people passing by the pit might slip into the hole as well. This could be the reason he descended into the jaws of death in order to prevent a possible disaster for some family.

Why did the man not reason that if the lion was trapped in the pit it would soon die of starvation and no one would come to harm? Why did he not reason that he might be killed himself and therefore should not descend into the pit? Could he not know that the snow in the pit might cause him to lose his footing and the lion might then win the fight?

There seemed many reasons for him to just leave the man-eating beast where it was and let it die of starvation. But from what we know of the man’s history, he was an intelligent and resourceful person. So if he decided he had to risk his own life to take the life of the lion it was an important task. There is no record of anyone with him so he could have passed by the danger and let things go. No one would have known anything different.

So we see that Benaiah did his duty regardless of no one knowing the difference. This is being faithful to your calling. It is one thing to behave the proper way when the eyes of the world are on you. It is something else to do what is right when no one would know.

Perhaps you have neglected a duty when no one was there to see you. You may have been the opposite of Benaiah. Many times people have confessed to me sins they did in secret and no one knew until the person told me.

Marital infidelity, cheating on an employer, reading pornography or a multitude of other things that can so easily come into our lives to cause us to neglect our duty to be holy and faithful in our actions in secret as well as in the public eye.

You might wonder how you could be a Christian and do what you did in secret. Behind closed doors the eleven apostles pledged to go with Jesus to the death if necessary (Matthew 26:35). Yet they forsook their beloved Master and fled. If such close followers of Jesus could run off in the darkness of Gethsemane (Mark 14:50), how about us? Are we any better?

If we are honest with ourselves, we all have done things in secret that would disgrace us if others knew. Jesus’ love for His people is not dependent on how faithful we are to our Christian duties. We may not have a faithful track record like Benaiah. Yet, we are still held close by Jesus. Go to Him today and confess whatever it is that you did in darkness. He will receive you, forgive the sin, and strengthen you against that temptation in the future.

Share this message:

What can an old person do?

“Now Barzillai was a very old man,
eighty years of age.”
2 Samuel 19:32 (NIV)

When I was an older teenager I recall some friends from high school stopping by my home one bright summer day. One of them drove a Ford and challenged me to race him with my Chevy. I took up the challenge and went to my car to go off for the drag race. My father, who had been standing near me and heard everything, told me not to accept the challenge.

I recall saying to my Dad, “You just don’t understand.” I then got into my car and went off to an agreed upon spot for the race. As I think back on that scene I recall my unspoken judgment on my Dad that he was old and simply did not realise how important it was to find out who had the faster car.

In my more mature years I recognize that my Dad understood too well, in fact he understood the situation much better than I did. He thought through the whole thing and realised that I might lose control of my car and do damage to it or myself. He knew that such a challenge could even be deadly.

Perhaps every generation feel that they are the wise people and wisdom will die with them (Job 12:2).

A person who became a great friend of king David was a man named Barzillai. Only a few verses in the Old Testament are dedicated to telling his story. David was being persecuted by his own son and was now in exile. This elderly man, Barzillia could no longer do the work of a soldier in armour, but he did what he could. He brought King David food and supplies.

Barzillai did not ask for anything in return, he simply gave what he had to the King’s support. King David offered to take Barzillai with him back to Jerusalem as a reward for his help but the old man declined. He did what he could and it was very gratefully received by King David. When David was back in power he rewarded the sons of Barzillai because of their father’s help in his time of need.

God used the elderly man to keep David alive so he might return to Jerusalem later and resume his rule of the nation. Although David was a mighty warrior he was humbled to receive assistance from a man who could no longer serve in the army.

Age should never be a barrier to service in the cause of the Lord. He is pleased to take what anyone has and use it to work out His sovereign plan for the world. If you are submissive to the Lord He is prepared to use you to do a variety of things to help others as they serve him in their unique way. Perhaps you could write cards of comfort to others, make a phone call to someone who is hurting, or speak kindly to someone who suffers, and we can all pray!

Never think that because you are older that life has passed you by. Or if you are younger never think lightly of the elderly among us.

“Rise in the presence of the aged,
show respect for the elderly and revere your God.”
Leviticus 19:32.

There is work for all of us. Let us be about our Master’s business.

Share this message: