The Tyranny of the Urgent

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This week’s devotional is from John 11. It is the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, we read something very interesting that Jesus did in verses 3-6. Jesus was told that Lazarus was very sick. You would think that as soon as He heard this He would go to him immediately but instead, we read that Jesus remained where He was for two more days! Somehow Jesus lived with an ability to resist the tyranny of the urgent. It seemed urgent but Jesus knew it would be better if He waited two more days before He went. Then when He went He raised Lazarus from the dead! I wonder sometimes if we get so wrapped up doing things that we actually miss what God is doing. Timing is everything with God. We need to learn to move when He is moving. If we can learn to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit rather than the demands of our schedules we will be better at distinguishing the difference between the urgent and the important. Jesus eventually went, but it was in God’s time.  When we go in God’s time, things happen. How many of us would have dropped everything we were doing and rushed to our friend’s aid, without first checking with God?

The need itself is not the call. The call must come from God who knows our limitations and knows what is important. We need to check in with Him. Maybe this interruption is from God, maybe it is not. Maybe you should go, maybe you shouldn’t. Jesus knew that URGENCIES ARE NOT ALWAYS PRIORITIES. Many distractions, even if they are urgent are not always a priority. Jesus knew when to say NO. Others may not understand, but we are not seeking to please men, but the Father in heaven. What are some things that you are doing now that are helping you resist the tyranny of the urgent?

When Jesus doodled in the sand

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The week’s devotional is found in the Gospel of John 8:3-11. It is the story of the woman who was caught in adultery and brought before Jesus to be judged. Can you imagine this scene? Here is Jesus right in the middle of His sermon and then there is a commotion and the next thing He knows there is this woman standing before Him. Everyone is looking at Him and wondering what He was going to do!  Then we read that Jesus bent down and began writing in the sand. Many scholars and Bible teachers have proposed that what Jesus was writing in the sand, was a list of all the sins her accusers were guilty of. So when He said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone,” they were convicted and left her alone. I believe what happened here is that Jesus was caught off guard. Rather than making a quick judgement He stalled for time by doodling in the sand. I believe He was fervently praying, “Oh, Father, what should I do here?” Then the Holy Spirit gave Him that profound answer, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” This story teaches us so much, especially about God’s grace ruling over His judgement. You can be sure that this lady left deeply touched by God’s love and mercy. But what I also love about this story is the idea of waiting on the Holy Spirit when we are in difficult situations. Instead of being quick to give our opinions or doing things our way, why not take a little time and ‘doodle in the sand!”

 

The Scriptures are not enough

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This week’s devotional is from John 5:39-40, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you THINK you have eternal life, and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” He spoke these words to people who were very religious. These were people who read the Scriptures and studied them. Yet Jesus is saying that they were missing the entire purpose of the Scriptures. They thought they were saved or righteous because they knew the Scriptures and even sought to obey what they said. The Scriptures were given to us not to make us righteous but to lead us to Jesus. If we stop with just reading the Bible, if we make the knowledge of the Bible our goal we miss it completely. That is nothing but a religion. The Scriptures are important, not to give us a set of rules and regulations, but to lead us to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. They help us to recognize the voice of God and guide in our relationship with Him. Let the Scriptures do their work, when you read, stop for few minutes and talk to God about what you are reading. Then listen for His voice to speak to you. Jesus said you won’t find eternal life in the Scriptures but if you let them lead you to Him, He will give you eternal life.

You must be born again if you want to get to heaven

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This week’s reading is from the Gospel of John chapter 3:1-8. Nicodemus, who was a very religious and holy person, came to talk to Jesus. In that conversation, Jesus said to him, “Unless you are born again you will NOT get to heaven.” That shocked Nicodemus as it still shocks people today. If Nicodemus was not good enough to earn his way to heaven then who is? The Pharisees were very very good people. They strived to keep the Law of Moses. They prayed three times a day. They tithed from everything they earned. On a scale of 1 to 10 for righteous living, they scored a 10! But yet Jesus said that unless Nicodemus was born again, he was going to spend eternity in Hell! Make no mistake about this statement. It is a non-negotiable statement. It is an all-inclusive statement. This applies to everyone. Jesus was saying that no one is good enough to earn their way into heaven. The only way into heaven is through a new birth experience. Jesus explained what this meant in the later verses when He said in order to be born again a person has to believe in the Son of God as their Savior. He called this being “born of the spirit.” Are you sure of where you are going to spend eternity? Have you been born again?