With much of society a disappointment, young people have begun to search for answers on their own. Everywhere I travel, I find young people who are asking: What is truth? Who says so? What is right and what is wrong? Is there a final authority? Yes! There is an authority! There is a moral law! It has been exemplified in a real Person. There is a genuine Hero in whom you can believe, who will never let you down. His name is Jesus Christ. He was born into a world as jumbled and riddled with injustice as yours, but He changed it by changing people.
Prayer for the day
You, Lord Jesus, are the Supreme Authority; and my soul praises You!
It seems that the most popular people are the most influential people, yet so many of them fall from their high positions taking those they’ve influenced down with them. Why can’t average God-fearing people make a greater impact in the world?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
The Scripture teaches that popularity with the world means death. Satan’s most effective tool is conformity and compromise. He is aware that one man standing in the midst of a secular people can move them in the direction of God, or away from Him. From compromise to deceit is a small step.
God’s people are called to live for Him without compromise. It matters not whether they have high or lowly positions. We are to be faithful to God’s Word no matter where we find ourselves. We are to renounce the evil influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil. There can be no parleying, bargaining, compromise, or hesitation. “Follow the instructions of the Lord … do not compromise with evil” (Psalm 119:1, 3, NLT).
The Bible gives many examples of people who rose to high positions because of their faithfulness to God. Joseph was a faithful shepherd boy. He remained faithful when he was falsely accused and thrown in prison, but became prime minister in Egypt. Daniel was captured and enslaved, but rose to be a ruler over Babylon. But others fell from high positions because they turned their backs on God, like King Saul.
One of Satan’s most effective ways of blocking God’s work is to convince us God cannot use us to make an impact for Christ. But it isn’t true. The place God has each individual is where He wants to use us to influence others for His glory, and this is the key: that we do all for the glory of Christ.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
Have you surrendered your life to Christ? Pray now.
JULY 12, 2019
“Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus — the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served …” John 12:1-2a (NLT)
Since we were young, there’s a part of me that’s always wanted to be like her. She’s smart and silly, easygoing but grounded. She connects easily with people. Ask our circle of girlfriends, and they will each tell you Binu is her closest friend.
Me? I’m more on the introverted side with forced extroverted moments. I’m pretty sure the word “easygoing” has never been used to describe me.
Growing up with a sister can stir up many comparisons. There’s a pair of sisters found in Scripture who dealt with that, too: Mary and Martha.
Maybe you know the story:
Martha invites Jesus over.
Martha starts working.
Mary starts sitting.
Martha starts complaining that Mary isn’t helping …
Martha was the distracted, busy one. Mary was the one who chose the “better” thing, as Jesus said. He commended Mary, but He called out Martha.
I’ll be honest — I can relate way more to Martha. Anyone else?
Let’s fast forward a bit. It’s a similar scene — Jesus comes over again. What will Martha do this time?
“Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus — the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance” (John 12:1-3, NLT).
Oh, come on Martha! Didn’t you learn anything the last time?
This is a well-known passage because of what Mary did. Jesus said her act of worship would be told for generations to come. Then, there’s poor Martha, just being the same old Martha.
Or was she?
Something had changed. This time, she wasn’t complaining. In fact, the word served in the original New Testament Greek means, “caring for the needs of others as the Lord guides in an active, practical way” (emphasis added).
During Jesus’ first visit, Martha was distracted because she was focused on her sister. This time, Martha was focused on Jesus. She was caring for Him in a way she was designed to do.
Both sisters had this opportunity to be with Jesus just days before His crucifixion. It may have been in different ways, but they both served Him.
All of us Marthas need Mary moments (and likewise, many Marys could use some more Martha), but that doesn’t mean we have to deny how God made us. I can spend a lot of time wishing I was like someone else and working hard to be that particular way. However, there is so much freedom in knowing that God knew me before He formed me … and He kept me this way regardless.
He knew that messy closets would drive me crazy, and file folders, bins and baskets would make me happy. He also knew I’d be a bit serious and intense, but it all could be used to serve Him in my own unique way.
“You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something” (Psalm 139:15 MSG).
How has God wired you? Strive for growth, but embrace who He made you to be. The world needs Marys and Marthas, you and me.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for how You have uniquely created me. I believe You designed every part of me for a purpose. Help me to use it all for Your glory and serve You with joy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
1 Corinthians 12:4, “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all.” (NLT)
1 Corinthians 12:18, “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (NIV)