The Radius

Judges 13_23_24_The Radius

The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judges 13:24-25)

Like many young boys, I dreamed of having muscles upon muscles like Samson.  While that doesn’t work out for most of us, we are able to imitate Samson in more practical ways.  For example, in the passage above, we’re told that the Spirit of God stirred in Samson while he was a child in the town of Mahaneh Dan.

Never heard of the place?  Maybe knowing it’s near Zorah, Eshtaol, and Timnah helps?  No?  That’s actually the point.  The towns named in Samson’s story are all roughly two to eight miles from where he was born.  It appears he never traveled more than a few miles from his birthplace.  Yet what amazing things God did through Samson despite his limited travels.

God may call some of us to distant lands to serve Him.  But He doesn’t have to move us all around the world, all around the country, or even all around the state in order to use us greatly.  In fact, do you know where God is most likely to use you?  Right where you are!

Regardless of where He may move you tomorrow, God wants to use you where you are today! –Dave

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

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Stand Tall, Bend Low

John 13_3_5_Stand Tall Bend Low

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-5)

It’s a very familiar story; one that ends with Jesus telling His disciples (and us) to go and do likewise (v.17).  But the truth is, we have trouble doing likewise.  It’s humbling to stoop and serve others in any fashion, not to mention scrubbing their grubby feet!

I wonder if that’s why John began the way he did.  Before recording what Jesus DID, John tells us what Jesus KNEW.  Namely, Jesus understood He had come from the Father and was soon returning to Him.  And during His time on earth, Jesus remembered His position in the Father.  In that secure knowledge of who He was, who He belonged to, and where He was going, Jesus stood tall enough to kneel at His disciples’ feet.

Friends, only when we truly know our position in Christ will we follow His example.  Knowing our real identity is found in the Lord allows us to humble ourselves in service to others.  Knowing our true home is above allows us to live in ways this world won’t understand.  Remembering we will experience exaltation in heaven enables us to empty ourselves today.

Stand tall in the knowledge of Whose you are and where you’re going – then bend low to serve others! –Dave

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

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Accepted to Accept

Sunday_Romans 15_7_Accepted to Accept

Want to bring praise and glory to God? Accept others as He has accepted you.

(To receive free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

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Profound Mysteries

Romans 11_34_Profound Mysteries2

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:34)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior (the father of the former Supreme Court Justice), was a physician.  In his day, ether was the best anesthetic available, and Holmes used it often on his patients.  In order to better understand how his patients felt while under the influence of ether, Holmes had a dose administered to himself.

As he drifted off, he was struck by what he thought to be a profound thought.  In fact, he believed he had been given the key to all the mysteries of the universe!  However, when he awoke, he couldn’t remember what it was!  Knowing this insight was critical to all mankind, Holmes arranged to be put under again, but this time with a stenographer present to record any words he may mumble while going under.

Sure enough, as Holmes drifted off, the same insight came to him and he began to mutter.  Upon awakening, he eagerly asked the stenographer to read what he had said.  This is what she read:

The entire universe is permeated with a strong odor of turpentine!

So much for the hidden key to all the mysteries of the universe!

We laugh, yet we do long to know answers to great mysteries.  Among other things, we want to understand how God created the universe, how He sustains it, and when He’s coming back.  However, if God were to try to explain, our understanding wouldn’t be much better than Holmes’ profound discovery above.

God often doesn’t explain His ways.  And as much as it may pain us, He is under no obligation to do so.  So instead of trying to figure everything out, rest easy knowing He’s got all things under control! –Dave

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

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Many Acts, One Fruit

Galatians 5_19_23_Many Acts One Fruit

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity…fits of rage, selfish ambition…drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Most commentators understand Paul to be saying that those who are in the habit of doing the things above are not the kind of individuals who will inherit heaven (i.e., they’re unbelievers).  The various ways in which people can sin are endless.  That’s why Paul begins with “acts” of the flesh (plural) and ends with the catch-all phrase “and the like.”  The list isn’t intended to be all-inclusive.

But, when he shifts gears from the flesh to the Spirit, something interesting occurs.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (vv. 22-23)

You likely noticed that instead of multiple acts, Paul now focuses on a singular fruit.  This fruit has one root, the Holy Spirit.  The indwelling presence of God’s Spirit produces one unifying fruit in nine great flavors!  Yet because there is but one Spirit, the fruit He produces should be found in all believers, binding us together.  We can’t dismiss any of the qualities by saying for example, “That’s just not me.  I’m not a patient person.”  You’re right – it’s not you…none of it is you.  None of it’s me either.  But it is the Spirit.

Just as an apple doesn’t grow without its skin, meat, core, seeds and juice, Christians don’t grow without all nine of the qualities listed above.  Yes, some characteristics may lag behind others, but they should all be present and increasing among God’s children.

One last thought.  The endless sins mentioned above are all self-centered.  Fruit, on the other hand, is nourishing and life-giving.  No wonder it can only come from God’s hand.

What we choose to feed is generally what will grow.  Do you see the fruit of the Spirit growing in your life? –Dave

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

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Keep Your Seat

1 Cor 1_12_Keep Your Seats

Henry Ward Beecher was considered one of the greatest orators of the mid-to-late 1800’s, and large crowds loved to hear him speak.

On one occasion, Beecher had arranged for a visiting preacher (his own brother) to substitute for him.  As the other Beecher stepped to the pulpit, several disappointed congregants began to move toward the exits.  Observing the scene, Henry stood and loudly announced, “All who have come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church.  All who have come to worship God keep your seats!”

Now, it’s okay to have a favorite preacher.  And, I understand looking forward to hearing them each week.  However, as someone who occasionally substitutes for popular preachers, I understand this situation.  It’s tough to fill big shoes.  Some pastors have even refused to announce a planned absence because they know some congregants won’t bother to attend in their absence.

Which raises some legitimate questions – Why do we attend a worship service?  Is it to hear from a man (as gifted as he may be)?  Or do we go to worship the One True God, knowing that His Word will speak to us regardless of who the human instrument may be?

We have our favorites, and it’s been that way from the beginning.  Paul once wrote:

One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 1:12)

Let’s follow Christ and not form camps around people.  Remember, God’s Spirit will speak through His Word regardless of who is behind the pulpit! –Dave

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

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Able Together

 

Ecc 4_12_Able Together

Jimmy Durante, a great entertainer from years ago, was once asked to participate in a show for World War II veterans.  His schedule was packed, but he told organizers he would do a short monologue if he could immediately leave for his next appointment.  The organizers readily agreed and Durante was booked. 

When Jimmy took the stage, however, something changed.  He went through the short skit as planned, but he didn’t leave.  The applause grew louder and louder, and Durante stayed and stayed.  Before long, fifteen minutes had passed. Then twenty, then thirty.  

Why do you think he stayed on stage?  Perhaps like me, you thought that once the spotlight came on and the crowd began to cheer, he just couldn’t tear himself away.  But, let’s read on… 

Finally Durante took his final bow.  Backstage, someone asked, “I thought you had to go after a few minutes?  What happened?”  Jimmy answered, “I did have to go, but I can show you the reason I stayed.  You can see for yourself if you’ll look down on the front row.” 

There, sitting side-by-side, were two veterans who had each lost an arm in the war.  One had lost his right arm and the other his left arm.  But together they were able to clap – and that’s exactly what they were doing!  The more they clapped, the longer Durante wanted to stay. 

Pretty amazing picture isn’t it?  Two “imperfect, incomplete” people accomplishing together what they couldn’t do alone.  Friends, there’s a reason God’s Word tells us: 

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12) 

We’re not meant to do this Christian life alone.  We need one another, and we can accomplish more by working together.  With whom can you clap hands? –Dave  

(To receive these free daily devotions via email, subscribe at:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/blogs—daily-devotions.html. For more information about the ministry, or to order the devotional books, visit:  http://www.theteachableheart.com/books.html).

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