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I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Revelation 3:18

How we perceive something affects our entire outlook on life. Years ago ‘magic eye’ pictures were very popular. These mosaic design pictures had hidden pictures among the dots or squares. Some people could see the message in the picture right away. Others had a hard time seeing the message, or couldn’t see the message at all. It is all a matter of perception.

Spiritual perception can work the same way. In Revelation John writes to the church in Laodicea. The church in Laodicea was well established. They had been doing the same things for years and had become very stable. The trouble is, sometimes stability leads to stagnancy and Laodicea had become stagnant. In today’s terms they may be referred to as being ‘politically correct’.

The Laodicean’s knew what they stood doctrinally. They believed all the right things. The problem was that tradition and leniency had seeped into the church so that it was really hard to tell the difference between traditional and doctrine. In a word, they were comfortable. Jesus didn’t call us to grow comfortable and stagnant. He called us to be vibrant, alive members of society. Like salt adds flavor and preservatives to food, the Christ follower is to be a positive change agent in their world.

Jesus issued some harsh words to the Laodicean’s about their spiritual perception. Perhaps the biggest concern was the fact that the people didn’t even realize how far they had strayed. Like the frog in boiling water they had become so accustomed to the gradual straying from God’s ways they didn’t realize how far they were from the truth. It was as though the people in the Laodicean church had cataracts. They no longer saw their mission and purpose clearly.

As a follower of Jesus Christ we need to constantly check our spiritual eyesight to make sure we are seeing life through Jesus’ eyes and not the eyes of tradition or denominational dogma. The best way to do that is to, first of all, go directly to the source. Spend time reading the Bible on a daily basis, not just reading books about the Bible.

Secondly, talk to God about your questions. Prayer is not just you talking and God listening. It’s voicing your concerns, needs, etc. and then meditating and giving God a chance, through His Holy Spirit, to direct your thoughts in the direction He wants you to go.

Lastly, build your life around a core group of believers that you can trust to tell you the truth, pray with you and encourage you through the tough times.

Jesus wanted to clear up the eyesight of the people in Laodicea because He knew that clear eyesight leads to clear direction. In the same way He wants each of us to see how we can best change the world around us.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I come to you today realizing that my view of you and of what you want me to be is in danger of being affected by society, tradition and denominational dogma. As David prayed, I ask that you would search me and see if there is anything in my life that is keeping me from being salt to those around me. Show me through your Word, prayer and fellow believers how I can be the vibrant person you want me to be. Amen.


“If you can?” said Jesus, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Mark 9:23

Mark tells the story of the man who brought his son to Jesus for healing from a terrible demon that would throw the boy into violent seizures. Sometimes the demon would try to kill the boy by trying to throw the boy into fire or water. The man was desperate for help.

When he found Jesus the father said to Him, “If you can do anything please help us.” Jesus responded by saying the verse for today, “If you can?” said Jesus, “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  The man responded by saying what each of us has no doubt felt in our lives. “I do believe…help me in my unbelief.”

It isn’t enough to simply believe. Had the man sat at home watching the boy convulse and say “I believe you will be healed’ nothing would have happened. Empty belief brings empty results. The boy was healed because of at least three things that the man did that each of us must do if we are to see God work in our lives.

First he didn’t simply believe. He believed in God. He sought out Jesus because he ‘knew’ from what he’d seen and heard that this man was a man of the Most High God. His belief was based on fact and on a power that could indeed heal his son.

Secondly, he put action to his belief. He sought out what God had for him rather than sitting at home and feeling sorry for himself and his boy. He pursued Jesus. Jesus tells us to “seek, and we shall find.”

Lastly, the man believed in himself. He believed that he was important enough to be heard. It wasn’t that he was worthy of being heard for any reason. Like the Roman commander said to Jesus, “I’m not worthy of you coming to my house…” The man believed in his ‘worth’ because of God’s love and mercy, not his own righteousness.

Believing involves believing God to be who He says He is, believing that if you seek Him, He will come to you, and believing that you are worthy of His working in your life because of Jesus and God’s unlimited mercy.

Don’t give up! Don’t let the enemy keep you from believing in God. Don’t listen to his lies about your worthlessness. When we believe as the man did, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father. There are so many times when I feel like the father in this story. I want to believe your promises but my fear, my circumstances, the guilt I have keep me from seeking after your blessing. Help me today with my belief. Show me the wonder of your mercy in my life. Amen.


Love the Lord your God with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:5-7

 

Learning how to ‘do life’ isn’t done in a vacuum. Who would feel comfortable with a surgeon who told you just before you enter the operating room that “I’ve never really seen a surgery or done one before. but I’ve read lots of books on it and watch Grey’s Anatomy on TV so I think we should be okay.”  

How comfortable would we be as airline passengers if the pilot came on and said, “Okay, now. This should be fun. As soon as I can figure out which button to push to turn the engines on I think we’ll be on our way. I’ve never flown a real plane before, but I had a radio controlled one as a kid. How hard can it be?”

None of us would go to surgery or fly a plane with the above mentioned situation. We are putting our very lives in their hands. We want to know that they will be fully equipped and experienced to handle every situation that may present itself. While not many of us will be pilots or surgeons, the experiences of our lives can have profound effects on those around us without us even being aware of it.

One of the reasons Jesus was such an effective teacher is that He used life experiences to teach eternal truths. It’s in the everyday events of life that we can show those around us the Christ-life. Too often we tend to separate our ‘real life’ with our ‘Christ-life’ but that isn’t reality. Jesus came to live among us to show us that the journey can be long and hard, but that with His power in us we can change our world.

Every situation doesn’t need to have an accompanying sermon or a lecture. As one person said, “Preach Jesus every day and when necessary, use words!” We can show others much more by how we react to situations than they will learn in an entire year of sermons and Bible Studies. The words  you speak, the attitudes you show, and the non-verbal signals you send can be used of God to show others His love.

Each of us has a story. We make mistakes and poor, or just plain stupid decisions. We hurt people. We break relationships. We acquire debt. Don’t dwell on the mistakes you have made in life. Use them as lessons learned; lessons that can be used to lift others up who are struggling, are discouraged or have fallen. The mistakes of our past can be used to help others learn how to walk.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I know life is a journey and I’ve taken many side trips and detours that have hurt me and others. Forgive me for the poor choices I’ve made, the people I’ve hurt and the relationships I’ve broken. Help me to use these lessons to lift those who need you. Help me to show them your love. Amen.


When you see the tassels, you will remember and obey all the commands of the LORD instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves, as you are prone to do. Numbers 15:39 (NLT)

After over 400 years in captivity and 40 years of wandering aimlessly in the wilderness, they were about to enter ‘The Promised Land’! The Lord God was giving His people final instructions before their long journey came to an end.

Of all the many lessons’ the Israelites had learned, the one God hoped they would remember the most is that God’s blessings are hindered by sin. After all, it was sin that forced God’s chosen people to take 40 years to complete what should have been an 11 day walk! It was doubt that caused them to turn back when those sent to ‘spy out the land’ gave them a bad report. It was a lack of trust that sent a bunch of snakes swarming into camp.

If they would walk by faith in God the people of Israel would experience peace and prosperity. They were God’s people. They were set aside by Him to be His chosen ones. He didn’t choose them because of their size, or their strength or their ability to obey. He chose them because He loved them.

In Numbers 15:37-41 the Lord gives His people instructions concerning the clothes they would wear. The garments of the Israelites were to have a fringe sewn on with tassels hanging from the fringe. These would serve two purposes. On the one hand it would be a public symbol that these people were God’s people. Secondly, the tassels would hopefully serve as a reminder to the Israelites that they were to follow God’s laws.

I like the phrasing of the New Living Translation: “instead of following your own desires and defiling yourselves as you are prone to do.”  The word prone means ‘to have a tendency or inclination to do’. The Father knew his children. He knew they would be distracted. He knew that the desires of the world would constantly pull them away. Even though He knew they would fail, and fail miserably, He remained faithful to His promises.

Our heavenly Father is the same today. He knows we will fail. He knows how hard it is four us to live without discouragement, hate, anger, worry, frustration, doubt, addictive tendencies, and the list goes on. But still He calls to us and begs us to come to Him for healing.

What a great and awesome God of love and mercy we serve.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me even though I’m so easily distracted by the world. Keep me in your arms. Empower me to follow your ways. Protect me from temptation and distraction. Help me to live as though there were tassels on my garments that would remind me to follow you and testify to others of your great love. Amen.


So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then, when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, he lived. Numbers 21:9 

The trip through the wilderness had gone on now for 40 years. The people were growing restless. They were tired of manna, tired of quail, tired of having to set up camp and tear down camp. The kids were restless, Grandma and Grandpa were crabby and it was hot! Now, to make matters worse the nation headed back towards the Red Sea! It seemed like they were just going in circles.

 Soon grumbling began. Where was this ‘promised land’ that God had given them? Did Moses really know where he was going and what he was doing? Wasn’t it easier in Egypt? At least they had homes and great Egyptian food!

 When God had heard enough of their complaining he sent snakes among the people. The snake bites killed many of the Israelites. When they realized what was happening the Israelites cried out to Moses for help. God instructed Moses to make a snake out of bronze and put it high on a pole. Anyone who looked to the snake was healed.

 For years afterwards the snake was an icon among the Israelites. It reminded them of God’s deliverance. Jesus speaks about Himself as being like that snake. Anyone who looked on the snake in the wilderness was healed. It didn’t matter who they were or what they had done. The past didn’t matter. The important thing is that they had faith to look to the snake. It was true for those close to the pole and those far away.

The same is true for us today. Our past doesn’t matter. It’s not about gifts and talents and money and all the other things that society tells us we must have to be successful. It’s about looking to Jesus. He alone can heal us from all that afflicts us.

 Are you wandering in the wilderness? Does the journey seem long and hard?  Do you feel you have wandered to far from God? Look to Jesus. He longs to heal you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. Just as the Israelites complained during their wilderness I confess that I’m tired of the wandering. Help me to look to you, to keep my eyes above the trials of life and believe you for deliverance. Amen

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