VIDEO The Difference: The Blind Man of Jericho

So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. Luke 18:37

Pastor Oswald Smith wrote a moving hymn about the difference Jesus made on people’s lives as He passed by. Take the blind man of Jericho, for example. Smith wrote: “One sat alone beside the highway begging, / His eyes were blind, the light he could not see; / He clutched his rags and shivered in the shadows, / Then Jesus came and bade his darkness flee.”

That story is told in Luke 18, which introduces us to a blind man along the roadside who begged for a living. He heard a commotion and asked what was happening. “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by,” someone told him. The man cried out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (verse 38) Our Lord stopped and asked the man, “What do you want Me to do for you?” (verse 41)The man asked for his sight, and Jesus healed him. What did the man do with his new eyesight? “And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God” (verse 43).

Jesus of Nazareth is passing by. Let Him make a difference in your life.

He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory, for all is changed when Jesus comes to stay. Oswald Smith


A Blind Beggar Receives Saving Sight (Luke 18:35-43)

Narrow Door Cafe

Make every effort to enter through the narrow door. Luke 13:24

Croissants, dumplings, pork curry, and all sorts of scrumptious food await those who find and enter the Narrow Door Cafe. Located in the Taiwanese city of Tainan, this cafe is literally a hole in the wall. Its entrance is barely forty centimeters wide (less than sixteen inches)—just enough for the average person to squeeze his way through! Yet, despite the challenge, this unique cafe has attracted large crowds.

Will this be true of the narrow door described in Luke 13:22–30? Someone asked Jesus, “Are only a few people going to be saved?” (v. 23). In reply, Jesus challenged the person to “make every effort to enter through the narrow door” to God’s kingdom (v. 24). He was essentially asking, “Will the saved include you?” Jesus used this analogy to urge the Jews not to be presumptuous. Many of them believed they’d be included in God’s kingdom because they were Abraham’s descendants or because they kept the law. But Jesus challenged them to respond to Him before “the owner of the house . . . closes the door” (v. 25). 

Neither our family background nor our deeds can make us right with God. Only faith in Jesus can save us from sin and death (Ephesians 2:8–9; Titus 3:5–7). The door is narrow, but it’s wide open to all who will put their faith in Jesus. He’s inviting us today to seize the opportunity to enter through the narrow door to His kingdom.

By:  Poh Fang Chia

Reflect & Pray

How can you have confidence you’ll enter through the narrow door and be assured of eternal life with Jesus? Why is this decision so important?

Jesus, thank You for inviting me into Your kingdom. I believe You came to die for me and You rose from the grave. Come into my life and be my Savior.

Life’s Passing Storms

No storm in life will last forever, and when it passes, we can thank the Lord for His rescue and constant watchfulness

Psalm 107:23-32

Everyone experiences storms in life—occasions that bring pain, suffering, or loss. And it’s in these turbulent times that all sorts of questions come to mind: Where is God? Why has this happened? Was it something I did? Did God cause it, and if so, why? When we find ourselves in tumultuous situations, the safest place to go for answers is God’s Word.

The literal storm described in today’s passage provides insight about the Lord’s role in the various upheavals that come our way. According to verse 25, God was responsible for this storm because He was the one who raised the winds and waves that frightened the sailors.   

Turbulent times encourage us to do what those sailors did—in their misery and helplessness, they cried out for God’s help. He then rescued them from their distress by calming the storm and guiding them to a safe haven. In response, they thanked the Lord for His lovingkindness and wondrous deliverance and praised Him publicly.

No storm lasts forever, and there’s nothing like the sense of relief that comes once violent weather is past. Let’s remember to respond like those grateful sailors when the time comes, and until then to endure with our eyes on the Lord. 

The Builder of the House

“He who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” (Hebrews 3:3-4)

Perhaps the single greatest category of evidence for supernatural creation is in the nature of the creation itself, which everywhere shows such intricate design that it could not have come about by random chance. Consider the earth: Its size, mass, distance from the sun and moon, rotational wobble, chemical makeup, etc., are critical within very narrow limits. Any significant deviation in any of these or other characteristics would make life impossible.

But inorganic molecules, planets, and galaxies are simpler by several orders of magnitude than even the tiniest living organism. The marvelous genetic code that regulates life, growth, and reproduction is so unthinkably complex, so obviously designed, that it would take a “willingly…ignorant” (2 Peter 3:5) mind to conclude a naturalistic origin for it. Life at every stage and at every level of investigation shows symmetry in its order, purpose in its function, and interdependence between its parts; all of these are clear marks of design by an intelligent designer.

The evidence speaks so eloquently that even “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20) if they choose not to believe and therefore to merit and face His wrath (v. 18).

“All things were created by him, and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Mankind can take no pride in it nor rebellious solace in the idea of naturalistic origin, for “thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). JDM

Add Up the Columns

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have…everlasting life. —Romans 6:22

God calls us into the joys and reality of eternal life. He calls us into purity of life and spirit, so that we may acceptably walk with Him. He calls us into a life of service and usefulness that brings glory to Himself as our God. He calls us into the sweetest fellowship possible on this earth—the fellowship of the family of God!

I hope I never hear any Christian bragging even a little bit about what he or she gave up and how much it cost him or her to answer the call of God. Anything that we were or any abilities that we possessed were as nothing compared to what God has called us into as His believing children.

Why is it so difficult in our churches for us to be honest about our lives and our condition as sinners alienated from God? We did not give up anything when God in His love and mercy called us unto Himself and into the blessings of grace and forgiveness and peace. JAF049

Counting is not the language of poetry or sentiment but of cold, unerring calculation. It adds up the columns thus: sorrow, temptation, difficulty, opposition, depression, desertion, danger, discouragement…but at the bottom of the column God’s presence, God’s will, God’s joy, God’s promise, God’s recompense. ISS093

How Problems Occur

If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink!—John 7:37

In my opinion, the biggest single preventative to us having feet like “hinds’ feet” is a stubborn commitment to independence. This reflects itself in the lives of every one of us—even those who have been on the Way for several decades. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, who were designed to experience fulfillment by being dependent on God, decided to act independently of Him. Sin can be summed up as a “Declaration of Independence”—an attempt to do for ourselves what only God can do for us.

What happened in the garden of Eden is duplicated millions of times daily, not only in the lives of unbelievers but in the lives of Christians also—Christians who use self-centered strategies to satisfy the deep thirst that is in their heart for God. Almost every spiritual or psychological problem has at its roots this condition—the person is failing in some way to let God satisfy his deep inner thirst.

This might sound simplistic to some, but after many years of experience working in the field of counseling, I am convinced that this is what underlies such conditions as anorexia, sexual perversions, worry, hostility, depression, homosexuality, and so on. You see, if we are not conscious that God is meeting the deep thirst we have for Him on the inside of our being, then the inner emptiness will move us in one of two directions—to fill the emptiness in any way we can or to withdraw and protect ourselves from the possibility of any further pain.

Prayer

Father, I see yet again that until and unless my deep thirst for You is being quenched, I am in deep trouble and vulnerable to all kinds of problems. I simply must get this issue straightened out. Help me, dear Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Mt 5:1-6; Jn 4:1-42

What was the message of Jesus to the woman?

How was this reinforced through the Sermon on the Mount?

Rejoicing in God’s Word

Your words were found, and I ate them.

Your words became a delight to me

and the joy of my heart.—Jeremiah 15:16

If you were to receive a note from the leader of your country or someone famous, you would probably save it as a keepsake. How much more precious is a message from almighty God!

Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are beyond our control. This was the case for Mary and Martha as they were grieving the death of their brother Lazarus. At these times a word from Jesus can bring much rejoicing (John 11:41–45). Other times when Jesus speaks, His words bring correction. “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23) and “O you of little faith” (Matt. 14:31) do not seem to bring joy. Yet Jeremiah said that God’s word brought him joy.

It is overwhelming to consider that holy, almighty God would speak directly to us! What a privilege that He would care enough to challenge our destructive thoughts or practices. No matter whether His words are praising us or chastising us, we ought to consider it joy to receive life-changing words from our Master!

Every time we prepare to worship the Lord, we ought to do so with anticipation that almighty God may have something to say to us. Whenever we open our Bibles, we should expect that God has something to tell us in our time with Him. We ought to be far more concerned with what God will say to us during our prayer times than with what we intend to tell Him.

When you receive a word from your Lord, whether it be of praise or of correction, consider it joy that almighty God would speak to you.