The movie “Hacksaw Ridge,” was about Desmond Doss; a young man who was a conscientious objector. He was willing to serve in W.W.II as a medic but, he would not carry a gun. Because of his stance, he experienced much ridicule. But in one scene, Doss personally rescued 75 men. Afterwards, one of his soldier brothers told him; “I judged you and I was wrong. I have never been so wrong in all my life.”
“I judged you and I was wrong…”
Have you ever judged someone? If you are human you have… and since all of us are human, we have judged someone. We meet people and at times, we can immediately “size them up,” so to speak and we pre-judge them.
In I Samuel 16:7, Saul has been sent to the home of Jesse to find the man the Lord has selected as King of Israel. Saul looks at Eliab, one of Jesse’s sons and immediately thinks he must be the one God had chosen. But God says to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them… People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Sam. 16:7).
We’ve all been guilty of that at some point… judging someone based on their appearance. But as the Lord told Samuel, “the Lord doesn’t see things the way we see them…”
We need to stop judging. And I’m speaking to myself as much as to anyone else. We don’t know a person’s heart. We shouldn’t judge by the color of their skin… we shouldn’t judge by how they are dressed… or any other way. As the Lord said to Samuel, “..People judge by the outward appearance… but the Lord looks at the heart.”
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
The Beatles had a song entitled, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” That’s true for all of us. At times in life, we all need help. In Psalms 107, the Bible talks about four different times when people needed help and they cried out to God and God helped them.
The Psalmist says “Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless… they nearly died… until they cried out, “Lord, help!” and they were rescued. Another time people were “Hungry and thirsty, they nearly died… “Lord, help!” they cried and they were rescued.
Psalms 121:1 says, “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth.”
Whatever you are facing today, God will help. That doesn’t mean our problems go away instantaneously but God will give us strength.
This poem has meant a lot to me recently;
“God hath not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all the way through.
God hath not promised sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, Strength without pain.
But God hath promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love.”
Life is tough. We get knocked down and we get back up. Then, we get knocked down again. Because life is tough, most of us need help at times. It may be our parents or grandparents or a close friend or a boss. But at some point, most of us need help.
It may be financial help. Or, maybe someone teaches us our craft or, someone gives us some good advice or maybe someone gets us out of a problem.
Israel had been helped by God. If it were not for God, they would still be slaves in Egypt. They were free because God had delivered them from Egypt. God had helped them.
So, in I Samuel 7:12, Samuel took a stone and set it between Mispah and shen and named it “Ebenezer… saying ‘Thus far has the Lord helped us.'”
I love that verse… In the hymn, “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing” there is a line that reads, “Here I raise mine Ebenezer, daily I’m constrained to be.” The word “Ebenezer” means “stone of help.”
Everyone of us can lay a “stone of help” because we have all been helped by the Lord.
So, today, everyone of us can lay a stone of help. We can all lay a stone of help to the Lord… some of us can lay one to our parents… our grandparents… maybe a friend. But the most important person we lay a stone of help to remember is the Lord.
Today, raise your Ebenezer… raise your stone of help. It’s a reminder of all God has done for us.
“Judgment day” is a phrase most are familiar with. We may be a little fuzzy on what, exactly is going to happen “judgment day” but, we are familiar with the idea. Someone may speak of the “battle of armageddon.” They may not be sure what’s going to happen but they know it’s the final battle that will take place at the end of time.
So, the world is moving toward a day of judgment. So, are we ready?
A Pastor was new in town and he was out doing some witnessing. He saw a man and asked him if he was ready for the judgment day?
The man replied, “When is it?”
The Pastor said, “Well, it could be today or tomorrow or the next day.”
The man said, “Please don’t tell my wife ’cause she will want to go all three days!”
That guy didn’t quite understand judgment day.
Well, there is a day of judgment coming and the most important question for all of us, “are we ready?”
Jesus said in John 5, “An hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life those who committed evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (28-29).
Someone may say, “Ok, what do I need to do to be ready?”
You need to make certain that you know Jesus as your Savior and you need to live for Christ.
Has there been a time when you gave our heart to Jesus? Has there been a time when you repented of your sins and asked Jesus to forgive you? If you have, then you are saved. But are you living for Christ?
So, are you ready for the judgment day? It’s coming and we must be prepared.
“Do you wish to get well?”
Sounds like a somewhat ridiculous question, doesn’t it?
But it’s not.
That’s what Jesus asked the man who was lying at the Pool of Bethesda.
The man had been lame since birth. He laid around the pool of Bethesda hoping to get in when the waters stirred in order that he could be healed. But, because he was lame, he was never able to move quick enough to get in.
So, Jesus asked the man, “Do you want to get well?”
The man replied that “Yes, he wished to get well.”
So, the Bible says Jesus healed him.
There are lots of people who have various kinds of sickness who do not wish to get well. Now, you might think, “Well, that’s ridiculous. Why would someone WANT to remain ill?”
Some may be sick with an addiction. Getting well for them, means stopping the use of drugs or alcohol and they cannot fathom life without those drugs. So, they remain sick. They reason that “everyone has a problem of some sort and there’s is an addiction.” So, they remain sick.
Some may be sick spiritually. They are unsaved. They have heard the gospel but, becoming a Christian means changing the way they are living and they don’t want to do that. So, they remain sick.
Some are sick physically. But, they wish to remain sick because maybe, being sick brings them some attention that they love.
Some are sick emotionally. They have lots of issues they need to work through but doing that requires telling someone about their problems and they aren’t willing to do that. So, they just remain sick.
Maybe someone reading this is sick and maybe you can identify with one of the applications I made. Jesus wants to make you well. But you have to turn your life over to Him. He is more than able and willing to help you. If you are willing to let Him help you.
So, do you wish to get well?
The choice is yours.
“Lord, give me a sign, please.”
Have you ever said that?
Very likely you have.
I’ve said it.
When we are trying to make decisions, especially if it’s something that is going to be a challenge, we may pray to the Lord and say something like, “Father, I want to do your will. Lord if you want me to do this… give me some kind of sign.”
But, we shouldn’t have to have a sign from God for everything. In John 4, the Bible tells of a time when a royal official, a man who had a son who was sick at Capernaum, came to Jesus and asked Him to heal His Son. Jesus said, “Unless you people see signs and wonders you simply will not believe” (John 4:48).
Think about that verse… “unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe..” We have a tendency to be the same today.
For example, maybe there is something God has put on your heart to do. It’s going to require some commitment and maybe a little sacrifice. So, you may pray to God, “Lord, if you want me to do this… please do this.” God can do it… God can do whatever He wants but, does He need to do it in order for us to simply be obedient. Friend, if God has put something on your heart to do, you need to do it. You don’t need a sign from God.
There are things that God’s word tells us we need to do. We need to witness. We need to pray. We need to serve. We need to resolve conflict between ourselves and someone else if there is bitterness between us. We don’t need a sign from God to do any of those things. God’s word tells us to do it.
In the Old Testament, there is a great story about this. There was a man named Gideon whom God sent an angel to appear to. God wanted Gideon to lead His people into battle. Now, keep in mind… God has sent an angel.. Angels don’t appear every day. But that wasn’t enough for Gideon. Gideon needed a sign.
He took a fleece of wool and said, “Lord, if you really want me to do this… make the ground around the fleece wet tonight and leave the fleece dry.”
Gideon woke up the next day and sure enough, the ground is wet but the fleece of wool is dry. Ok, so Gideon has his sign, right?
Nope.. Gideon wants another sign
So, he prays, “Ok, Lord… would you now reverse it? Make the fleece of wool wet and the ground around it dry.” Gideon gets up and sure enough, fleece of wool is wet and the ground is dry. So, Gideon has been given a sign and he leads Israel into battle.
God may be speaking to you about doing something. Maybe God is telling you to begin tithing. Maybe serving… Maybe it’s a commitment to some type ministry.
This is the simplest way I can sum I know how to sum it up; We don’t have to have a sign to obedient to what God has already told us to do in His word.
Today, stop looking for a sign.. If God has spoken to you, do what God has told you to do!
Have you ever thought your life was too messed up… too soiled for even Jesus to clean up? Some may feel that way. Maybe we made some mistakes… did some things that embarrass us now, as we think about them and the devil can make us think we are absolutely useless… maybe even unforgivable.
Well, that’s not true. None of us… I repeat, none of us are unforgivable. Maybe you did make some mistakes… maybe you did mess up but, that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t love you.
In John 4, Jesus has a conversation with a woman from Samaria. The Jews despised the Samaritans so, the very fact that Jesus was talking with a Samaritan woman was in and of itself almost a miracle. This lady was living with a man outside of marriage and, she had been previously married several times. She had a very checkered past. Yet, she finds herself getting water and talking with a Jewish man who knows everything about her.
Now get the picture… Jesus Christ… the Messiah… Savior of the world… is talking with a woman who has been married five times and is currently living with a man. I dare say some Christians and maybe some Pastors would be hesitant to talk with such a woman today… after all, she had quite a reputation. But Jesus is speaking to her. Jesus loves her. Jesus tells her she can receive “living water that will give her eternal life.”
So, the woman with the checkered past is told by Jesus, He wants to forgive her and give her meaning in life. The offer is the same for us. None of us have messed up so bad, that Jesus doesn’t love us. He will forgive us… He will put us on our feet. He loves us.