Can I Get A Witness?

Good evening everyone. I hope each of you have had a great and enjoyed the Spring like weather with the warm temperatures. I told several people this week that it was hard to believe it is February with weather like this. I am not a real big fan of cold weather and it seems the older I get the harder it is to tolerate the cold temperatures. And I’m sure the blood thinner I take doesn’t help either. So this has been a blessing for me.

I’m sure you are wondering why I have titled the post as I have. I think by the time I finish tonight you will certainly understand why. As I have mentioned before, my good friend Bob Moore and I started a weekly Bible study about a year ago and we meet on Saturday mornings. It is open to anyone who would like to attend and we have anywhere from 6 to 15 each week depending on everyone’s schedule. We began last year in the gospel of John and have just now reached chapter 11. I believe it has been a blessing to everyone involved and I also believe that each one of us is growing in his faith. Most of us attend different churches and are involved in different types of ministry which sets the stage for the process of iron sharpening iron just like the Bible says. And God’s Word never fails. 

Last week we changed the venue somewhat and begin using our time to allow some members of the group to share their personal testimony and story with the group. We only have enough time each week for two guys to share and the time seems to fly. Last week we heard two great testimonies and each one was very different from the other. But the thing they each had in common was the fact that a wonderful change had been made in their life when they said yes to Jesus. And they have never been the same and continue to serve Him faithfully to this day. What a blessing that was last week and I thought it couldn’t get any better than that. But I was wrong.

Today we again heard testimonies from two more in the group and these guys have either never shared before or have shared very little. But that did not make any difference in the impact that they had on the rest of the group. Their stories were simple, but real and sincere. But even more that, they were very powerful. One man in this seventies and one man in his eighties shared what Jesus means to them and what God has done in their life. They moved all of us to tears because their testimonies were wrought with emotion and they just can’t get over it. And it is obvious that they have a great hunger for God’s Word and that is why they are a part of the group. Again, I was so blessed by them that I have been walking on clouds all day. I can’t wait to hear more personal stories next week. We already have two more guys who have volunteered to share and I know what a blessing it will be to all of us. God is so good!

I think you may be getting the picture of why the title. But let me add a little more to it. I remember a time when it wasn’t uncommon for a pastor to forego preaching a sermon and open up the floor to the congregation to share their hearts. Some would have a word of personal testimony of how they were saved or what God had done for them. Some would just want to praise Him. Others would share a burden on their heart and ask the folks there to pray for them. And some would just sit and soak it all in. However, it was always a spirit-filled time of unusual worship and praise and I truly believe everyone left there with their hearts full of blessings from the Lord. So what happened? Why does this not occur anymore? Have we got too sophisticated? Are we just looking for some kind of entertainment? Or have we just got too complacent? Whatever the reason, my prayer is that we would experience revival in our hearts and then see it bear fruit in our lives. I long for that day. Can I get a witness?  

“No-Name”; The Blind Man

This evening we are going to finish our series of “No-Names” by moving back to the New Testament. So far we have looked at three “no-names” in the Old Testament and two in the New Testament. With tonight’s post we will even the score and be reminded that these are but a few of the many in the Bible that their names were never given but they were used by God in some way, shape or fashion to carry out His plan. And most of the time doing so without being aware that they were playing such an important role. This continues in our story tonight found in the ninth chapter of John where we find the details of Jesus restoring the sight of a blind man. So let’s get on with the paraphrased version.

Jesus had just finished an encounter with the religious elite that didn’t end too well. They were quite arrogant about their father being Abraham and Jesus left nothing to the imagination when He said “Before Abraham was born, I am.” There was no doubt that He was stating the fact that He was God Incarnate and this made the Jews livid. They picked up rocks to throw at Him but He hid Himself and went out of the temple. This was certainly not from fear but from being aware that His appointed time to die was still ahead. Very shortly after that He saw the man who had been blind from birth and this is where our story begins.

During those days the Jews held to an unfounded interpretation of the scriptures that any person who was deformed or handicapped in any way was the recipient of God’s judgement for sin either they or their ancestors had committed. So this belief prompted His disciples to ask a simple question, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that caused him to be born blind?” Jesus responded with an unexpected answer. “Neither this man or his parents sinned but this happened so that the works of God could be displayed in him.” He then made clay from His own spittle and some dirt from the ground and applied it to the blind man’s eyes. He then told the man to go wash in the pool of Siloam and so the blind man did as he was instructed. In a short while the man returned and his sight had been restored.

This miracle caused quite a stir among the neighbors and they kept asking him what had happened to him. He kept repeating the story of his encounter with Jesus so they began to inquire where Jesus was. When he responded that he did not know they brought him to the Pharisees. The Pharisees began to ask him the same questions. What happened and where was Jesus. They were not believing that Jesus had done this for this man and became very concerned when the man called Jesus a prophet. They really thought that had Jesus this time because He had done this on the Sabbath. But to make sure, they began to question the man’s parents about what happened. They explained that the man had been born blind but they did not know how he was now able to see. Out of fear of the religious leaders they took the fifth and told them to talk to their son because he was of an accountable age.

At this point the Jews went to the man a second time and told him to give glory to God, not to Jesus, because He was a sinner. The blind man was so thankful for what had happened to him that he could not contain himself. His response to the Jews in verse 25 is one of the greatest testimonies in the Bible. “Whether He is a sinner, I don’t know. But one thing I do know. Though I was blind, now I see.” he stated. As they pressed the man further he didn’t hold back. He reminded them that this man had done something for him that none of them had done and they certainly couldn’t explain where He had come from. He even made the statement that Jesus had to be of God or He could not have done what He did. He put the religious, learned, pious elite in their place and they reacted by putting the man out of the temple.

If we follow the story all the way through, we will see that Jesus finds the man, confirms that He is God and the man believes. In other words, not only had the blind man been healed of his physical infirmity, but now He had been healed of his spiritual sickness of sin and made whole again. The Bible says He believed and worshipped Jesus. This is exactly what happens when one is saved.

This story reminds each of us that have been saved of how we were just like the blind man. We could not see, we had no hope and were on our way to a dreadful end. But jesus came by, Jesus had mercy on us, Jesus gave us spiritual eyes to see who He is and then, like the blind man, He healed us on the inside and made us one of His own. Oh, what a Savior! Oh Hallelujah! His heart was broken on Calvary. His hands were nailed scarred, His side was riven. He gave His life-blood for even me. I truly believe that this “no-name” blind man kept telling the story even though he had been put out of the temple. And who knows how many believed because of his testimony.

I think we should be reminded that we have only seen a glimpse of just a few people with unknown names in the Bible that God saved and used. But what about those countless others through the ages that have had the same encounter and experience and no one knows there names. But they are written in the Lamb’s book of Life and God certainly knows who they are. And I believe there are still many out there today that fit the bill. To God be the glory! 

 

“No-Name”; The Mother of Moses

As I mentioned in my short post last week, tonight we are returning to the Old Testament to find another  “No-Name” character that played a significant role in insuring that God’s plan for mankind remained intact and on schedule. We should be reminded that God’s timing is always perfect because He has put things in the order that He intends for them to occur. The “No-Name” we will share tonight is the woman chosen to be the mother of Moses. Our story is found in chapter 2 of Exodus and particularly in the first ten verses.

The background for our story starts with the death of Joseph and afterwards when a new king of Egypt came into power that did not know who Joseph was. The Israelites had greatly multiplied and this was causing great concern among the Egyptian rulers. So out of fear they made slaves of the Israelites and afflicted them with hard labor. The Egyptian king finally decreed that all male children that would be born to Jewish women were to be thrown into the Nile.

Our story then begins very simply. There was a man from the house of Levi who married a daughter of Levi. The woman conceived and bore a son. She saw that he was a very beautiful child and so she hid him for three months. When it got to the point where she could no longer hide him she constructed a wicker basket and made it water-tight using tar and pitch. She placed her son in the basket and hid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Obviously this was an attempt to protect the child and in hopes that he would be found and cared for by someone else.

We all are familiar with the story and know that the daughter of Pharoah discovered the basket while bathing in the Nile.  One of her maids retrieved the basket and when it was opened she saw the crying child and felt sorry for him. The child’s sister asked Pharoah’s daughter if she would like for her to find a Hebrew woman to nurse him and she agreed with that suggestion. So she brought the child’s mother to Pharoah’s daughter and she was instructed to take the child and nurse him and that she would be paid for her services. Over time the child grew and so the mother eventually brought him to Pharoah’s daughter. She then named him Moses because she drew him out of the water. From this point on we never see the mother of Moses mentioned again.

I might mention that the only thing we know about Moses’ father is that he came from the priestly tribe of Levi. There is no indication that he was involved in the early days of his childhood, unlike his mother. And certainly no mention of his name. On the other hand, we know from the story that his mother wanted to protect him and save his life if at all possible. And by God’s grace this happened. I might also point out that there is a possibility that both his mother and father had involvement with Moses as he grew into a young man. It certainly can’t be ruled out. But I would venture to guess that they had no idea how God would use Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.

Although there was no mention of her name, Moses’ mother serves to prove once again that God uses ordinary people to be a part of extraordinary things even when they don’t realize that it is happening. I’m convinced that it is ok to be a “No-Name” in God’s scheme of things. And as a reminder, it is all for His glory!

A Break In The “No-Name” Action

The hour is late. And I’m not fully prepared to share my thoughts on our “No-Name” that is next in the series. It has been a long day and a very busy weekend and not quite enough time to turn my thoughts into words. However, it has been a wonderful and fruitful weekend as you will see below.

Reassurance had the opportunity to minister to a group of fellow believers in a very small local church on Friday evening. As we shared it was very obvious that the Holy Spirit was present in our midst and what a great time of worship and fellowship with folks of like mind and in love with Jesus.

This morning was our weekly Bible study over at the hospital medical office building and what a joy it is to spend time with these brothers in Christ and sharing our hearts one with another. I believe we are beginning to really understand what it means to bear one another’s burdens. As we’ve journeyed through the book of John we have discovered more truths along the way that we have not seen before. I think I can speak for all of us that we have grown in our understanding and thus our walk with the Lord. I know for certain that I have. As a reminder, this bible study is open to anyone who would like to attend. We are going through the book of John verse by verse and have just completed chapter 11. Give me a call if you would like further details.

This evening Reassurance was blessed to have another opportunity to minister to other believers in a church north of Memphis. We were there as part of a benefit fundraiser for their youth group to be able to participate in summer camp this year. It was a great event and not only were we able to share encouragement through song we were also ministered to by others. We are learning that as we minister to others we actually are the ones being blessed. We thank God for the opportunities He is giving us to share our faith through our music and our prayer is that He gets all the glory for any and everything that is accomplished.

Next week we will share our next “No-Name” character as we move back to the Old Testament. God bless each of you and have a blessed day in the Lord tomorrow.