Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Never Underestimate an Opportunity

…but he kept crying out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"  Mark 10:48b
We have been looking into the life of Blind Bartimaeus.  He is a blind beggar in the Bible from whom we can learn an important lesson about faith and rising above circumstances.  Today, Jesus is passing by on his very last journey, his journey to the cross.  What an opportunity!

Bartimaeus displayed penetrating insight into the person of Christ. He kept repeating “Jesus, Son of David”—“Jesus, Son of David,” a blatantly Messianic title. Though Bartimaeus was certainly no theologian, and probably did not understand much of the implications of what he was saying, he had come to an exalted conclusion about Christ. The crowd did not understand this label on Jesus.  Bartimaeus may have had no physical sight but his spiritual perception was 20/20.  Someone once bluntly asked blind and deaf Helen Keller, “Isn’t it terrible to be blind?” To which she responded, “Better to be blind and see with your heart, than to have two good eyes and see nothing.” So it was with blind Bartimaeus.
Bartimaeus had passionate persistence
Bartimaeus rejected the crowd’s control, shouting again and again, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Understanding something of who Jesus was, and his own personal need, he kept saying it over and over again, like a helpless infant.  Bartimaeus’ extreme sense of urgency is a mirror of what ought to be in our souls. In that cry were all of Bartimaeus’ future hopes and dreams; his whole life and destiny depended upon gaining a hearing with Jesus. He had heard of Jesus’ reputation; he was overjoyed that finally he could meet the Messiah. So he shouted out at the top of his lungs: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”  This is the meaning of Jesus’ words, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
He did not have a vague wish but a desperate need and a desire to get something done to meet it. He had a need and he knew the man nearby could meet it…Nothing was going to stop him.  This was opportunity!
There's an important truth that we must understand at this point: Opportunities only become opportunities when we embrace them as opportunities.
  • God may offer something to us; however, if we refuse to accept it, the opportunity will be missed.
  • An opportunity must be seized, grasped, accepted, taken. Bartimaeus accepted the opportunity that was presented by Jesus.
Many fail to realize that certain chances only come once.  Sometimes the longing never returns. Sometimes the faith is not strong enough to move us. Sometimes the devil causes us to “look before we leap” and destroys an act of faith.

Scripture to claim:
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.  Isaiah 50:10

Monday, November 28, 2016

Life Can Impair Us

Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road.
Mark 10:46
We all suffer from various limitations in our lives. They could be physical or financial. They could be emotional or spiritual. Possibly you have become hopeless about things that are impairing your life.  Addiction, anger, pride, financial problems, etc. We may have limitations, but by following the example of a man in the Bible called Blind Bartimaeus, we can rise above our limitations and be all that God will have us to be.

Bartimaeus was a man who had very little going for him. 
He was from Jericho, A Cursed City
Jericho became known as the accursed place because when Joshua captured Jericho he cursed it... Then Joshua made them take an oath at that time, saying, "Cursed before the LORD is the man who rises up and builds this city Jericho; with the loss of his firstborn he shall lay its foundation, and with the loss of his youngest son he shall set up its gates." (Joshua 6:26)
Joshua pronounces a curse on anyone who dares to reconstruct fortress Jericho - on anyone who rebuilds its walls, and raises its towers.
He was possibly the son of a troubled man
'Bar’ is a Greek prefix that means 'son of...' So he was the 'son of' Timaeus.  The root of 'Timaeus' means polluted, nasty, dirty, corrupt, filthy... So Bartimaeus means "the son of the bad man." Maybe you come from a messed up family and can identify with Bart.
He was blind 
We don't know that he had always been blind but Mark leads us to believe that Bartimaeus had been blind for some time.
He was a beggar
The place that he lived was cursed... His people were bad... He was blind... He was poor (other than that everything was fine.) All Bartimaeus could do was to sit along the roadside begging and hoping kindhearted travelers would spare him a few coins. Now, in all honesty, we would have to say that Bartimaeus' future looked gloomy. His life seemed hopeless. Bartimaeus was a man who was simply surviving.
The condition Jesus found him in was without hope that anything could or would change without a miracle in his life. 
A miracle did happen in his life.  The Prince of Peace himself paid this lowly beggar a visit and none other than the Great Physician healed him.
Now, what can we learn from Bartimaeus? We learn something of what it means to journey out of darkness and blindness into light and the gift of seeing.  Like Bartimaeus, we can rise above our limitations and be all that God will have us to be – with His help.

Scripture to Claim:

“I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”  (Isa 42:6-7)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Importance of the Word of God

Psalms 119:9-16
The Christian who determines to know the power of God in life soon discovers the importance of the Word of God in Living. The Word of God does more than just reveal God. It is the instrument of God in our life to accomplish His will. It is the source of Divine comfort, direction, wisdom, and power.
The effectiveness of the Word of God in our lives is directly related to our relationship to it.

I. The Importance of Listening to God's Word  v.9-10

A. With a sincere desire to hear from God  v.10a

For God’s Word to have in impact on our lives an open mind is needed as well as an open heart.

B. With a commitment to follow God's will  v.10b

Our sin nature makes us “wanderers”.

II. The Importance of Memorizing God's Word  v.11a

A. To have power over our sin nature  v.11b

God will use the INPUT to alter OUTPUT. 

B. To submit to Godly instruction  v.12

When the Word reaches the heart it creates a desire for learning.

C. To prepare for service and witness  v.13

You don't realize what you know until you start to share.

D. To value and rejoice in God’s wisdom  v.14

III. The Importance of Meditating on God's Word  v.15-16

A. To gain a respect for God's ways  v.15b

Receiving truth from another is not the same as DISCOVERING truth for yourself.

B. To naturally follow in joyful obedience v.16a

C. To never forget God’s design and desire  v.16b

In order to understand the Bible,
you must know the author.

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