now is the timeYesterday was the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere. It’s called solstice. The summer solstice will be the longest day. In the Antarctic polar circle, yesterday was the only day of the year in which there was no light, only a 24-hour period of darkness.

Whether the day is short or long, there is always time to do what we need to do.

We must perform the deeds of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime. Night is coming when no one can work.
John 9:4 NET

On the day Jesus said this, he cured a man blind from birth. He used the moment to teach several truths. Here, the Lord speaks figuratively.

“Day” indicates the span of our life, opportunity, the possibility of the moment. “Night” means death, the loss of possibility, the failure to act when the chance appears.

Nobody can turn back the clock. The lost opportunity can never be recalled. We must do God’s will while we still have life. That means today. The “day” of today. The “day” of now.

Thus will we give glory to God taking action today, doing his works while there is time.

 

Influence of writingsby J. Randal Matheny © 2011

If no one else remembers me,
Not friends nor even family,
When I am gone and laid to rest,
And having done my worst and best,

May some small child, a curious boy,
On setting aside his favorite toy,
Seek out a word that might inspire,
And find a poem of mine to admire.

If but for a moment he delights
In thoughts of mine to fuel his flights,
To turn the mind benevolent,
Though dead and gone, I’ll be content.

_oO¥Oo_

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gospel solution

Part of the process of problem-solving is identifying the nature of the problem. If the identification of the problem is wrong, the proposed solution won’t work.

Those who say that God will save those people who have never heard the gospel make the gospel the problem. What condemns is not the failure to hear, but human sin.

Thus I told you that you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.
John 8:24 NET

Jesus said that people will die in their sins. This means that sin is the problem of human beings. Without remission (removal) or forgiveness of sins, there is no salvation, and no one will receive eternal life.

Jesus is not the problem, but the solution.

As such, it behooves every Christian to speak to all about the Lord Jesus and how to believe in him.

 

by J. Randal Matheny © 2011

courage to risk

The eagle soared against the bluest sky,
He rode the winds, which carried his sharpened cry,
With outstretched wings, he dipped and rose with ease,
A master musician playing the slightest breeze.

Below, the poultry scratched the dirt for corn,
For grub and seeds, on ground well beaten and worn,
To chickens such flight seemed risky and extreme,
They never dared to lift their eyes and dream.

_oO¥Oo_

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ignorance dividesFrom ignorance is born division. The ignorant person thinks he knows and often swears he’s right. He doesn’t seek to know, doesn’t want to be informed, but shouts ever louder his wrong conclusions.

So there was a division in the crowd because of Jesus.
John 7.43 NET

Jesus disappointed many for not fitting messianic expectations. Because of his demands of discipleship, many quit following him. In this moment, however, many among the people were mistaken about him because they did not seek to know about him. They concluded that he was born in Galilee rather than Bethlehem. And the Scriptures prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, as a descendent of David.

Today as well, the most strident voices in religion sound out from ignorant people who spout wrong information about Jesus as if it were solid truth.

Better to hear Jesus speak about himself.

Open your Bible today to remove ignorance and reply with the truth.

The division will continue, but at least you’ll be on the side that God approves of.

 

good placeImagine for a moment that you arrive in a place that offers you all your favorite foods, a bed just right for your rest, a pillow just as you like it, your favorite grooming products, the kind of books you read, your favorite TV channel, your favorite films. Everything just as you like it. You’d say that someone who knew you very well had prepared that place just for you.

God saw all that he had made – and it was very good! There was evening, and there was morning, the sixth day.
Genesis 1:31 NET

With the above argument, the British atheist, Anthony Flew, became convinced of the existence of a supreme Being who created the world for humans. Everything exactly as he wanted and needed.

In the world exists a moral quality of goodness, which calls us to recognize and respond to the Creator of this place prepared especially for us.

 

what others thinkWhat kind of reputation do you have? What do others say about you? Even if they speak well of you, that doesn’t mean they understand your life of obedience nor the God you serve. See what the officials of King Ben-Hadad of Syria said about Israel’s King Ahab:

His advisers said to him, “Look, we have heard that the kings of the Israelite dynasty are kind. Allow us to put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and surrender to the king of Israel. Maybe he will spare our lives.”
2 Kings 20:31 NET

Ahab spared Ben-Hadad’s life. Except that the Lord had ordered he be killed. Was Ahab more just, more merciful, than God? Certainly not! In this case, God gave the victory to Israel over Syria and commanded that the enemy king be destroyed.

Because of his disobedience, the Lord said that Ahab would die in Ben-Hadad’s place (verse 42).

The Syrians understood nothing about God. They said he was god of the mountains, but not of the plains. Nor did they understand God’s people. King Ahab’s reputation of being kind earned him no advantage.

Better to be known as someone who obeys God in everything than to have a reputation of being merciful and kind. Don’t you think?

Merciful Father, may I care more about your opinion of me, than my reputation in the midst of people of the world.

• A preacher appealed on Facebook to help a church buy a building on the main street of the town. Good cause, no doubt. His argument, however, was dubious: He said that once the church had a building it would be viable. This was a preacher talking. Shame on him! He ought to know better than that. Or we’re not reading the same New Testament.

• This preacher betrayed what many really think about church buildings. It’s a fact. Most Americans think the church is not viable without a building. This mindset is one of the great evils of our time, for it’s nothing but materialism in religious garb. Moving on …

• Our sister in Christ, Socorro, lost her baby Wednesday, in her second month of pregnancy. She avoided air travel a couple of weeks ago when her father died, from advice that airlines discourage pregnant women from flying in their first months of pregnancy. So she missed her dad’s funeral. She seems to be taking it well, but pray she and her husband may accept this in good spirit.

• It’s in the low 70s out today, very nice in the sunshine. We rolled the windows down on the car coming home a while ago and enjoyed the wind in our hair. Some of us, even at our age, can still do that, ya know?

• Read this verse coupled with the devotional thought published here earlier today, from the same chapter: “Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone” (John 6:15 NET). Jesus didn’t have to stop and consider the pros and cons, because he knew what kind of ministry he had. No one could force his hand, so when they would try, he withdraws. Times are when we might need to do the same, for the sake of kingdom of God.

We spend so much time, like a fish out of water flopping around without results, trying to decide what to do with our life. No plan, no notion, no purpose, we lose time and energy on things that don’t matter, because we lack focus.

Now Jesus said this to test him, for he knew what he was going to do.
John 6:6 NET

Jesus came to this world with a purpose well established in mind. In this same chapter, Jesus declares several times to the multitude why he came down from heaven to earth: to give his life, so that people could come to the Father and be raised on the last day.

Like Jesus, we can also know very well what we are going to do. Because we have his purpose, the Father’s vision, the Spirit’s power.

This knowledge of what we are going to do will permit us to work with others, as Jesus did with Philip, to test him, and with so many others.

Jesus knew his mission in life.

Do you?

 

We mark the great passages of life with solemn ceremonies or happy celebrations. Birthdays, high school and college graduations, weddings, wedding anniversaries, promotions, retirements. These are important moments that deserve to be noted and celebrated. A passage of life that ought to happen to all, however, is experienced by few, and this because people refuse it.

I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life.
John 5.24 NET

The people of this world do not even recognize that a passage exists from death to life. They call death-dealing practices enjoying life. They think that immorality and perversity mean possessing life. They are dead in their sins.

Jesus guaranteed the passage and the bridge. Life is knowing the Father, receiving from him the new birth into the divine family.

The bridge is faith, a word which captures the whole human response to the Creator’s goodness. It includes repentance and immersion in water as the dividing line between darkness and light, death and life, between condemnation and cleansing from sin (see Acts 2:38).

Faith means assuming the Lordship of Christ, the paternity of the eternal Father, the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

Faith means confessing total dependence upon God, fulfilling the divine project on earth, putting oneself at the disposal of the Lord every minute of the day.

Faith starts and ends by hearing the word of Christ.

Passing a test, graduating from college will not, in the end, make much difference. Celebrations, weddings, promotions are things indifferent in themselves. But not passing from death to life brings eternal suffering, inexistinguishable regret.

Have you passed over from death to life?