I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark 2:17
City health workers in San Francisco are taking medical care to the streets to supply the homeless who are suffering from opioid addiction with medicine to treat their addiction. The program began in response to the rising number of homeless who are injecting. Customarily, doctors wait for patients to come to a clinic. By taking medical care to the afflicted instead, patients don’t have to overcome the challenges of transportation or needing to remember the appointment.
The health workers’ willingness to go to those in need of care reminds me of the way Jesus has come to us in our need. In His ministry, Jesus sought out those who the religious elite were quick to ignore: He ate with “sinners and tax collectors” (Mark 2:16). When asked why He would do that, Jesus replied, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (v. 17). He went on to say that His intention was to call sinners, not the righteous, into relationship with Him.
When we realize that we’re all “sick” and in need of a doctor (Romans 3:10), we can better appreciate Jesus’s willingness to eat with the “sinners and tax collectors”—us. In turn, like the health care workers in San Francisco, Jesus appointed us as His “street team” to take His saving message to others in need.
Reflect & Pray
How did Jesus seek you out? To whom can you take the medicine of Jesus?
Thank You, Jesus, for meeting me in my condition.
Though it is painful and unpleasant, God will at times use failure to get our attention. Nobody likes to fail, but when we aren’t listening, it can be an effective way for the Lord to get through to us.
Our failures are often accompanied by pride, which Scripture clearly and repeatedly says the Lord hates (Prov. 6:16-17; Prov. 8:13; Prov. 16:5). It can keep us from hearing His voice. And if that’s the case in your life, God knows exactly how to challenge your proud attitude—with a good dose of failure.
That’s what happened to Israel in Joshua 7. The new nation had just won a mighty victory in Jericho and, as a result, had become rather prideful. Considering themselves invulnerable after taking such a powerful city, they allowed a disobedient attitude to creep into their minds. The soldiers of Israel were certain that they could take the small town of Ai on their own, sending “only about two or three thousand men” (Josh. 7:3). But they were wrong. The Lord denied them this victory, and the few men of Ai drove them back in a humiliating defeat. God was determined to get Israel’s attention, and He did when “the hearts of the people melted and became as water” (Josh. 7:5).
God still speaks to us through failure. If it keeps us on His path, isn’t the setback worth it? In the future when unexpected failure occurs, try to be aware of your response. There’s no need to beat yourself up. Instead, admit your errors to God and seek His insight. Ask Him, “Lord, what are You trying to tell me in this?” and our heavenly Father will guide you. We can give thanks for God’s correction, knowing it comes from His great love for us.
“For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The gift spoken of in the previous verse is based on a transfer of authority from God, and we are exhorted to “stir up” that gift (2 Timothy 1:6) because God did not give us a “spirit of fear.” The word deilia stresses timidity or cowardice, not terror. The gift does not function well if we are too timid to use it.
The gift referred to is not power. That spiritual gift comes with dunamis—the innate ability to “do” the gift. Whatever the Holy Spirit has gifted us with upon our entrance into the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), that gift comes with the power necessary to implement and use it.
The gift also comes with love. Again, love is not the gift, it is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that comes with the gift. Were it not for the reflection in us of the unilateral and sacrificial love of our Redeemer, these supernatural gifts could well be misused, distorted, and abused for personal glory. Diotrephes misused his gift, failing to employ the spirit of love (3 John 1:9).
The unique Greek word sophronismos (sound mind) is a combination of the verbs “to save” and “to control.” Its basic meaning would be “safe control” or “wholesome control”—perhaps even “control that saves”—the perfect combination of abilities that empower the gift, the love that keeps the gift focused on others, and the “safety controls” to keep it from unwittingly doing damage.
“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). HMM III
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man.
In our time we have all kinds of status symbols in the Christian church—membership, attendance, pastoral staff, missionary offerings. But there is only one status symbol that should make a Christian congregation genuinely glad. That is to know that our Lord is present, walking in our midst!…
No matter the size of the assembly or its other attributes, our Lord wants it to be known by His presence in the midst. I would rather have His presence in the church than anything else in all the wide world….
The Christian church dares not settle for anything less than the illumination of the Holy Spirit and the presence of our divine Prophet, Priest and King in our midst. Let us never be led into the mistake that so many are making—sighing and saying, “Oh, if we only had bigger, wiser men in our pulpits! Oh, if we only had more important men in places of Christian leadership!” JIV059-060, 063
Lord, I pray that I might never deviate from that significant thought: “I would rather have His presence in the church than anything else in all the wide world.” Amen.
Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joy fullness.—Colossians 1:11.
Rejoice in Christ alway!
When earth looks heavenly bright,
When joy makes glad the livelong day,
And peace shuts in the night.
Rejoice, when care and woe
The fainting soul oppress,
When tears at wakeful midnight flow,
And morn brings heaviness.
A Great point is gained when we have learned not to struggle against the circumstances God has appointed for us.
H.L. Sidney Lear.
All mental discomfort comes from our minds being in divergence from God’s; when the two are agreed no warfare occurs, for they work together, and man’s mind accepts God’s rule, but reason tells us that disagreement must bring conflicts. He will have His way, and would have us accept all events with the knowledge that He is love, whatever and however contradictory those events may be to our comprehension of Him.
Charles George Gordon.
Something is wrong, when the Christian cannot rejoice in all the dear dispensations of his Father’s providence.
Isabella Campbell, 1825.
“His servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.” Rev. 22:3, 4
Three choice blessings will be ours in the glory land.
“His servants shall serve him.” No other lords shall oppress us, no other service shall distress us. We shall serve Jesus always, perfectly, without weariness, and without error. This is Heaven to a saint: in all things to serve the Lord Christ, and to be owned by Him as His servant is our soul’s high ambition for eternity.
“And they shall see his face.” This makes the service delightful: indeed, it is the present reward of service. We shall know our Lord, for we shall see Him as He is. To see the face of Jesus is the utmost favor that the most faithful servant of the Lord can ask. What more could Moses ask than — “Let me see thy face”?
“And his name shall be in their foreheads.” They gaze upon their Lord till His name is photographed upon their brows. They are acknowledged by Him, and they acknowledge Him. The secret mark of inward grace develops into the public sign-manual of confessed relationship.
O Lord, give us these three things in their beginnings here, that we may possess them in their fullness in thine own abode of bliss!