There is a devotional book that’s been around for years known as, “Streams In The Desert.” The title is taken from Isaiah 43:19 which reads, “I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
God was speaking to the people of Israel. They had disobeyed God and were punishing shed but God is telling them He isn’t finished with them…He will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
That phrase is metaphor to prove God’s strength. Think about it…”streams in the desert?” The desert is barren..dry…You don’t have streams in the desert…but God said He would make them.
That’s an illustration to us if God’s power. I don’t know what you are facing but the God who made streams in the desert wants to help you. I’m not saying God is going to take your problem away…He can if He desires…but He may just give us the strength to deal with it.
God is powerful…God is sovereign…God can make streams in the desert.
The late Dr. Hershel Hobbs told the story of a prominent judge in Dallas Texas who passed away. Because the judge was so well-known and respected, lots of flowers were sent to his funeral.
Following the funeral, a funeral home employee was loading the flowers on to a funeral home van to be taken to the cemetery for the burial service. A judge walked up and noticed how many flowers there were.
The judge said, “Judge so-and-so sure does have lots of flowers doesn’t he?”
The funeral home employee replied, “Yes sir but he’s been sowing the seeds for those flowers a long time.”
Every day we are sowing seeds. The Bible says we will reap what we have sown.
That phrase is a reference to the Bible and that it is absolute truth. Absolute truth means truth that is always right…regardless of the circumstances…regardless of the situation, it is absolute…always right.
But many people don’t believe in absolute truth. Instead, they believe in situation ethics which teaches that a given situation will determine how a decision is made. This is the opposite of absolute truth.
Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”
God’s word is absolute. It will never mislead us. Our world is more governed by situation ethics than absolute truth and it has led us into moral and ethical chaos.
But, someone may say, “the Bible is old. It’s out of date.” The Bible says that it is “…living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.”
God’s word is inspired. It is authoritative. I encourage you to build your life on God’s word, which is absolute truth.
What road are you on in life?
You may say, “Well, today, I’m going to get on I-75 and head to Atlanta. Or, I’m going to take highway 41 into Marietta.” But I’m not talking about literal, physical roads.
Jesus said there are two roads in life; the broad way and the straight and narrow. Jesus said the broad way is a way that leads to death while the straight and narrow leads to eternal life. The straight and narrow is also known as the Highway of Holiness. What is the Highway Of Holiness?
The prophet Isaiah refers to this highway. He writes, “And a great road will go through that once deserted land. It will be named the Highway of Holiness.” How does a person get on this highway? You get on the highway by trusting Christ as your Savior and then, you begin living for Jesus… you begin traveling the highway to holiness.
To travel this highway, you must first be broken. That comes from being convicted of your sins and repenting of your sins. Then, brokenness leads to humility. You humbly ask the Lord Jesus to come into your heart and be your Savior.
Once you ask Christ into your heart, you begin living for Jesus and your life is different than it was before because you are now living a Holy life. Not a judgmental life. Not a hypocritical life.. But a life marked by holiness.
This means our speech is changed. We don’t use profanity and when we slip up, it bothers us. This means our lifestyle is changed. We have no desire to be involved in something that is sinful. It bothers us when we sin because the Holy Spirit lives within us. Maybe our interests are changed. Maybe we are more interested in Bible study that we once were. We are now on the Highway of Holiness.
The Highway of Holiness has distractions and there are detours a person can take. But we need to avoid those and stay on the Highway because it leads to a a life of holiness.
So, today, are you on the Highway of Holiness? You may say, “Well, I was, but I slipped or I got distracted.”
I understand. That happens. But I encourage you today to get back on the Highway of Holiness. It leads to eternal life.
How is a man made right with God?
Is it through church attendance? Is it through living a good, moral life? Is it through giving?
No, none of those make us right with God. Paul dealt with this in Galations 5. Paul had heard that some of the people were still counting on circumcision as a means of being right with God. In the Old Testament, God had commanded Israel to be circumcised. This was a sign that they belonged to God.
But Paul said, “Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace” (Gal. 5:2-4).
But, when Jesus died on the cross, accepting Him as our Savior became the way to be right with God. Circumcision then, meant nothing.
The same is true today. We are made right with God by accepting Jesus as our Savior. That’s it. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the iife; no one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).
So, circumcision means nothing. Attending church, giving… reading your Bible all are good but they mean nothing if a person hasn’t received Christ as Savior. Don’t count on anything except a relationship with God making us right with God.
Today we will meet all kinds of people and there will be people of different nationalities. Some will be white. Others will be black. Others will be hispanic. Some will be middle-eastern. Some may be native Americans. And there may be others.
Everyone is different. Some may not speak much, if any English thus possibly making it a challenge to communicate with them. And, at times, sadly, there can be friction with the races that should not happen. But there is one thing that all these nationalities have in common; we are children of God.
In Galations 3:26-28, the apostle Paul said, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Notice the last sentence or two… Paul says, “there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female… for we are all one in Christ. Man has made divisions within the races but in God’s eyes, everyone is the same. There is no Jew or Gentile… there is no slave or free… there is no male or female… we are all one in Christ.
So today, if we are tempted to pre-judge someone because they are a different nationality from us, we need to stop. Every person, regardless of race, socio-economic status, education etc… is a child of God. Everyone is.
Are we all different? Yes
Do we think differently? Possibly.
But God made us all. We are all one in Christ Jesus.
Are you a people pleaser? Many of us will have to nod our heads and say, “Yes, I have a little of that in me.” Most people do.
As children, we want to please our parents. We want to hear them say that they are proud of us. As employees, we want to please our employers. As players or athletes, we want to please our coaches.
As I said earlier, most of us have some people pleasing in us. But people-pleasing becomes a problem if pleasing people becomes the driving force dominant issue in our lives. Maybe you can’t make a decision because you’re afraid the decision won’t please someone. Maybe there are things you do because you want to please someone. In those instances, being a people pleaser is not good.
In Galatians, the apostle Paul said that he was not a people pleaser. Paul wrote, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Gal. 1:10).
Think about what Paul said… “…if pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
You can’t be a people pleaser and also please God. Our goal should be to please God. And, as we please God, that will please the meaningful people in our lives. And for those who aren’t pleased, you don’t need them any way.
So, if you are a people pleaser, set that aside. Stop trying to please others. Stop making decisions just so someone will like you. Be yourself. Love God. Put God first. Please God and the rest will take care of itself.