Every single day, we all need the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We all need to hear the Good News of Salvation only through Jesus Christ!
And perhaps the best news is that we are all children of the loving God, who calls us to trust and obey him so that we can live life abundantly. God wants to save us so that we can live life forever with him. God wants this for all of us.
In these devotions I try to write, we try to explore what this means to each of us, but especially for those people who experience poverty and hunger, also often oppressed, displaced, and vulnerable, those who somehow are on the fringes.
But living life on the fringes? Customarily living life sitting with a cup in your hand, on the roadside? That is not the way life is supposed to be. Instead, there should be “a customary – extraordinary” abundance and flourishing for all.
From the beginning, back in the Garden of Eden, that is the great vision of peace and flourishing God originally had for all of his creatures and all of his creation.
The Bible reminds us again and again God has great compassion for all who are poor and oppressed, marginalized, “forced” to the fringe and he acts on their behalf. God also wants his followers to love and serve these people in his name.
God places these people directly, decisively in our line of sight and of influence.
“Line of Sight,” meant to stir within us a sense of deep thought for them as we’re always decisively made aware by the Gospel of Jesus’ great compassion.
So, while we are wrangling with our abundance, let’s pray about how we can serve God by caring for people in tangible ways, from feeding, helping people to rebuild “their roadside lives, cities” to helping with long-term development.
As we do this, we’ll also be praying and thinking about God and his heart for those customarily on “the roadside,” revealed in Jesus Christ. And this will lead us into deeper discipleship, doing justice and loving mercy in Jesus’ name.
Mark 10:46-52Amplified Bible
Bartimaeus Receives His Sight
46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting beside the road [as was his custom]. 47 When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and say, “Jesus, [a]Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly rebuked him, telling him to keep still and be quiet; but he kept on shouting out all the more, “Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called the blind man, telling him, “Take courage, get up! He is calling for you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni (my Master), let me regain my sight.” 52 Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith [and confident trust in My power] has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Jesus on the road.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Today, I am drawn to these particular verses from Mark’s Gospel Narrative:
47 When Bartimaeus heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and say, “Jesus, [a]Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” 48 Many sternly rebuked him, telling him to keep still and be quiet; but he kept on shouting out all the more, “Son of David (Messiah), have mercy on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So, they called the blind man, telling him, “Take courage, get up! He is calling for you.”
Then almost immediately, I am reminded of these words from Apostle Paul:
1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 Amplified
11 For you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you just as a father does [in dealing with] his own children, [guiding you] 12 to live lives [of honor, moral courage, and personal integrity] worthy of the God who [saves you and] calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
There’s those familiar words live and walk that Scripture often uses to describe our journey in life with God.
Genesis chapters 1, 2 and 3, from the beginning, before their “apple rebellion,” God enjoyed creating access to Him, walking in the garden with Adam and Eve.
And guess what, Brothers and Sisters IN CHRIST?
Even today, He still greatly enjoys creating access, long walks, with us today.
A walk is simply how we live our lives every day, through practical daily actions.
An authentic believer lives the life of a servant, and lives at peace with other servants. Cowboy philosopher Will Rogers said it this way, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your talking parrot to the town gossip.”
These verses tell us that God calls us “into His own kingdom and glory.”
We are reminded throughout Scripture that
God calls us both from something and to something.
We are called from labor to rest in Matthew 11:28.
We are called away from death to life in 1 John 3:14.
We are called away from bondage to liberty in Galatians 5:13
and away from darkness to light in 1 Peter 2:9.
We are called away from “HINDERING” to “HELPING!” in Mark 10:48-49
Called away from “CROWD CONTROL” to “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus!” in these exact same two verses from the Gospel Narrative of Mark 10:48-49.
When did Authentic Christianity become all about “CROWD CONTROL?”
When did Authentic Discipleship become all about “BLOCKING ACCESS?”
I am sure Jesus’ Disciples heard the same words we still hear declared today:
Matthew 11:28-30Amplified Bible
28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.”
When did our Authentic Christianity become all about “CROWD CONTROL?”When did our Authentic Discipleship become all about “BLOCKING ACCESS?”
Isaiah 61:1-4Amplified Bible
Exaltation of the Afflicted
61 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed and commissioned me
To bring good news to the humble and afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up [the wounds of] the brokenhearted,
To proclaim release [from confinement and condemnation] to the [physical and spiritual] captives
And freedom to prisoners,
To proclaim [a]the favorable year of the Lord,
[b]And the day of vengeance and retribution of our God,
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant to those who mourn in Zion the following:
To give them a [c]turban instead of dust [on their heads, a sign of mourning],
The oil of joy instead of mourning,
The garment [expressive] of praise instead of a disheartened spirit.
So they will be called the trees of righteousness [strong and magnificent, distinguished for integrity, justice, and right standing with God],
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins,
They will raise up and restore the former desolations;
And they will renew the ruined cities,
The desolations (deserted settlements) of many generations.
So, I ask again,
When did our “customs and traditions” become all about Crowd Control?
When did “our customs and traditions” become all about Blocking Access?
Unbiased, Unadulterated, Unfettered, Unhindered Access to our Sanctuaries?
Unbiased, Unhindered Access to Authentic Worship of our Authentic God?
When did our Authentic Christianity become all about “CROWD CONTROL?”
When did our Authentic Discipleship become all about “BLOCKING ACCESS?”
When did “Turning our, other’s Eyes Upon Jesus'” become all about “CROWD CONTROL,” “BLOCKING ACCESS” by “Turning our Eyes Upon our Disputes?”
By turning our eyes, and everyone else’s eyes upon our disputes and divisions?
by turning our attentions, and our Authentic Callings away from “Bartimaeus?”
Forcefully communicating, yelling, our ‘Bartimaeus’ – “Stop Bothering Jesus!”
When did that “creep” into the Gospel of Good News to all of the Poor sitting on the roadside, become our over-riding, over-arching call to Authentic Ministry?
I remember Jesus himself fervently praying in the Garden on all our behalf’s:
John 17:13-21Amplified Bible
The Disciples in the World
13 But now I am coming to You; and I say these things [while I am still] in the world so that they may experience My joy made full and complete and perfect within them [filling their hearts with My delight]. 14 I have given to them Your word [the message You gave Me]; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world and do not belong to the world, just as I am not of the world and do not belong to it. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but that You keep them and protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. 18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world. 19 For their sake [a]I sanctify Myself [to do Your will], so that they also may be sanctified [set apart, dedicated, made holy] in [Your] truth.
20 “I do not pray for these alone [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for [all] those who [will ever] believe and trust in Me through their message, 21 that they all may be one; just as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe [without any doubt] that You sent Me.
Our God is constantly calling us to new, higher ground because our walk is never to become static but constantly dynamic and changing for the good.
How else will our legions of ‘Bartimaeus’ know we are Authentic Christians?
How else will our legions of ‘Bartimaeus’ know we are Authentic Disciples?
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Psalm 146 Amplified Bible
The Lord an Abundant Helper.
146 Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
While I live I will praise the Lord;
I will sing praises to my God as long as I live.
Do not trust in princes,
In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation (help).
When his spirit leaves him, he returns to the earth;
In that very day his thoughts and plans perish.
How blessed and graciously favored is he whose help is the God of Jacob (Israel),
Whose hope is in the Lord his God,
Who made heaven and earth,
The sea, and all that is in them,
Who keeps truth and is faithful forever,
Who executes justice for the oppressed,
Who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets free the prisoners.
The Lord opens the eyes of the blind;
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
The Lord loves the [a]righteous [the upright in heart].
The Lord protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow;
But He makes crooked the way of the wicked.
The Lord shall reign forever,
Your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)