For The Sake Of The People Standing Here
Pastor Joshua Humpa
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a person come back to life from the dead. I’ve seen toys resurrected with fresh batteries, old appliances restored with some tinkering, and my sense kick up after four shots of espresso, but never a person. What do you think the response in the room would be at the next funeral you attended if the person in the casket sat up, climbed out, and then greeted everyone? I can imagine there would be smattering of terror, glee, sobbing, terror, and a lot of people splashing their face with cold water.
It’s not that common in our circles to see people raised to life from the dead. When Jesus was on Earth, the creator of all life, it’s recorded that He resurrected 4 people from the dead including Himself. John, who was one of Jesus’ best friends, wrote that Jesus’ motivation for raising Lazarus from the dead was for the sake of the people standing around Him to prove that He was the Son of God. I’m almost certain there were skeptics in the crowd that day, but the majority I’m sure had increased faith that Jesus was who He said He was.
One of the things that Jesus said before ascending into Heaven was that His followers (us) would be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit to see even more marvelous miracles take place that were bigger and more astounding than what Jesus did. It’s hard for me to believe that sometimes because Jesus is God in a human body and how could I, sinful, prideful, selfish, human Josh ever be used more than Jesus was to do the supernatural? The reason is, to bring glory to Jesus! Not to boost my name or my wallet, but so that those who see it will know who sent me, just like Jesus prayed. Today, Jesus wants to use you to do the supernatural. We can very easily coast into the natural - that’s normal. But being filled with the Holy Spirit means making choices to let the super natural take place so that people can be lead to Jesus’ love. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is living in you - so what are you going to do with that power today?
Let Your Light Shine
Have you ever been in a completely dark room? Complete darkness makes it impossible to see, but once a light is brought into the space, the darkness is pushed back. We can start to see things around us. Even if it’s a small amount of light, like a match, or flashlight, darkness is still overcome by the light. Light is greater than darkness.
In John 9, we see a miraculous story of Jesus healing a blind man from birth. Jesus uses a combination of dirt, His spit, and ultimately His power, to bring sight to the blind man. Jesus brought light to this man’s dark world! When the disciples saw the blind man, they wanted to know why he was born blind. They thought for sure it was because of sin…either his own sins or the sins of his parents. However, Jesus clarifies, this man’s blindness was not because of his or his parents’ sins. Jesus states in John 9:3, “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”
If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you have a before and after story. If you were once walking in darkness and have now seen the light, you have a story to share. Your story needs to be told, so the power of God can be seen. Your story is just as incredible as the one we see in John 9. You were walking in darkness and now you see! Tell other’s what God has done for you. God may be using your story to help push back the darkness in someone else’s life.
Saul's Jealous Eye
Pastor Stephanie Humpa
1 Samuel 18:5-19:24
Verse of the day:
“So from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David. The very next day a tormenting spirit from God overwhelmed Saul, and he began to rave in his house like a madman…” (1 Samuel 18:9-10)
Saul struggled with insecurity. All throughout his story we see instances of his insecurity popping up and motivating him to make bad decisions. This account from his life is no different. Saul and David were on their way back after a successfully defeating the Philistines. It was an exciting day for the people of Israel and they were celebrating as the troops made their way home. The women sang and danced in the streets to greet them. They sang, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands!” This didn’t sit well with Saul. This made him very insecure and very jealous. The Bible says that after this moment Saul always looked at David through the lens of being jealous. It’s no coincidence that the next day this tormenting spirit overwhelms him.
Jealously clouds our vision. It robs us of our joy and causes bitterness to take its place. Jealousy causes us to begin to rot from the inside out. Proverbs 14:30 says, “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.”
If you find yourself struggling with jealousy here are a few practical steps to overcome it.
1. Choose not to compete. You are fearfully and wonderfully made by God. (Psalm 139:14) When you feel insecurity or jealousy welling up within you choose to stop competing with that person in your mind. God has created you with immense value, gifts and talents. He wants you to be the best you that you can be and not competing to be like someone else.
2. Be thankful for what you have. Be thankful for your opportunities, your finances, your friends, your family, your appearance, your gifts and talents. Everything good that you have is from God. (James 1:17) When we are thankful for what we have we are less focused on what we don’t have or what someone else has.
3. Pray blessings over others. (Numbers 6:24-26) When you feel yourself becoming jealous of someone else one of the best ways to weed this out is by praying blessings over them. Pray that God would bless them, that God would use them, that good things would happen to them. Praying changes our attitude.
4. Rejoice in others’ success. When we choose to not compete and we choose to pray blessings over others it makes it a lot easier to rejoice when they are blessed. It is good for the heart to rejoice in other’s successes.
Obedience > Sacrifice
1 SAMUEL 15:1-16:23
Verse of the day:
22 But Samuel replied,
“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
your burnt offerings and sacrifices
or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
1 Samuel 15:22 (NLT)
When Israel came out of Egypt and passed through the wilderness, the Amalekites attacked them. In 1 Samuel 15 God decides that now is the proper time to punish the Amalekites for this act and He will use King Saul to carry out this sanction.
1 Samuel 15:1-3 says…
One day Samuel said to Saul, “It was the Lord who told me to anoint you as king of his people, Israel. Now listen to this message from the Lord! 2 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. 3 Now go and completely destroy[a] the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”
Notice that everyone and everything was to be destroyed. So what did Saul do?
1 Samuel 15:7-9 says…
7 Then Saul slaughtered the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, east of Egypt. 8 He captured Agag, the Amalekite king, but completely destroyed everyone else. 9 Saul and his men spared Agag’s life and kept the best of the sheep and goats, the cattle, the fat calves, and the lambs—everything, in fact, that appealed to them. They destroyed only what was worthless or of poor quality.
Saul partially obeyed. Saul kept the best of the animals and claimed his intent was to offer them as a sacrifice to God. Saul thought he came up with a better plan and in doing so he learned an important lesson: God wants our total obedience.
Partial obedience is actually disobedience, and God just isn’t that impressed when we try to compensate for our disobedience with sacrifice. When we don’t fully obey it shows that we are lacking trust in God and that we’re more interested in pleasing ourselves or others instead of God.
When God asks us to obey He always has our best interests at heart. No one has better plans than God so the results of obedience will always be far greater than the outcomes of sacrifice.
A Content Heart
It seems like everywhere I look these days; I see yet another advertisement for the newest health care trend. It could be an exercise regimen or a meal plan or a diet supplement, but all of them have the same thing in common. They all claim that they are able to give you the best version of you.
Now that might sound really appealing to some and taking care of your physical body is very important. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, so it is our responsibility to care for them. But the nugget that is key from today’s Proverb is this; we will find a healthy body when our hearts find peace. So, in a world of competition and “keeping up with the Jones’”, how do we achieve that?
Philippians 4:6-9 provides us with a great recipe for finding peace in our lives. In verse 6, Paul writes not to worry, but instead to pray. See when we worry about things, we are looking inward, but when we pray, we are looking upward. It’s a directional change in our thought-life, which is directly related to the condition of our heart. In verse 8, Paul says, ‘Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” And he wraps it all up in verse 9, when he says that when we’ve done all these things, God’s peace will be with us.
There it is; the secret to health. Not a 30-day meal plan or workout routine. The peace of God. It still takes intentionality, just like all the worldly fitness plans do. Thinking God’s way doesn’t always come naturally or easily, but I think you will find that God’s peace will provide you with the long-term benefits that you’re looking for and give you the best version of you.
In the New Living Translation, Jesus asked a startling question of the official who was facing a desperate situation. The official’s son was very sick, and he had just asked Jesus to heal him. Jesus wanted to know if the performance of miracles and signs was the only way the official would believe in him as Messiah. It seemed like the official ducked the question altogether when he told Jesus his son was in danger of dying. Yet, both Jesus and the official already knew the answer to Jesus’ original question before it was asked. Verse 47 tells us that the official went to ask Jesus to heal his son the moment he knew he was in town. This means that the official had prior knowledge of Jesus. The official likely had heard of or perhaps even witnessed a previous miracle Jesus performed. He would not have approached Jesus if he didn’t believe he had the power to heal his son or if he thought he would be turned away. That’s why it’s not surprising that the official believed Jesus when he was told his son would live. In fact, the faith of the official and his entire household grew because of the miracle Jesus performed.
How would you respond to Jesus if he had asked you the same question he asked the official? Perhaps you too need a miracle in your life and you know enough about Jesus to know he has the power to help. Yet, our belief in Christ shouldn’t be conditional to whether he answers our prayers the way we desire. If it were, we would always need another sign from God to keep believing. Our belief is based on what Christ has already done on the cross to pay for our sins and make away for us to enter heaven through his sacrifice. Thus, our belief in Christ is not conditional to his performance of miracles in our lives, but rather we pray to him because he already performed the ultimate miracle in resurrecting from death. We can have confidence that he will never turn us away when we approach him with our needs. We don’t know how Jesus will answer our prayers, but like the official, our belief will grow as we continue to walk with him.
Shout For Joy
Verse of the day:
“1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. 5 For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5 )
Worship is so simple. It’s not a list of things we have to do or places we have to go. It’s turning our thoughts to God. Notice that the words of the psalm are not complicated, the psalmist is reciting facts about God and our hearts can’t help but be filled with joy. This is how it should be! We praise Him because of who He is…He is our Lord, the Creator, and Shepherd!
As believers, we have lots of reasons to “shout for joy to the Lord.” Take a moment and think about God’s goodness to you. Think about Jesus on Mount Calvary. Think about all His mighty deeds that He has done for you. Think about all the ways He’s shown His kindness toward you. You know what you’re doing when thinking about these things? You’re worshiping Him!
“Shout for joy to the LORD… worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs” and lift your praise to the One who is worthy of all praise!
April 26 Readings:
Verse of the Day:
Judges 6: 14-16
“Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you! But Lord, Gideon replied, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family! The lord said to him, I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
This is one of the most relatable chapters I’ve come across when it comes to faith. God lays out a series of instructions to Gideon on how to rescue Israel from the Midianites, and through every step, Gideon seems like he wants to be obedient… but also wants just a little more assurance that he’s not going to fall flat on his face. That immediately speaks to my heart on two different points when looking at this story from two perspectives.
The first perspective of course would be Gideon. I think so many of us could substitute our name into this story and not bat an eye. I think of the number of times I’ve felt a prompting to share my faith with a friend, or invite someone to church, or do something I’m uncomfortable with, and needed an extra assurance from God that I’d be okay. I know one I’ve done before when feeling like God is telling me to invite someone to church, is that I’ve “made a deal” with God saying that if they bring up a religious topic, I’ll use that as my opening. There are times that God has indulged my fears and given me that extra assurance, and there are times I’ve let an opportunity fall because I had too much fear to speak out.
The other really interesting perspective of this story is God. From a human perspective, it would be easy for him to find Gideon’s hesitation annoying and move on to another person to carry out his instructions. But God doesn’t do that. He shows incredible patience, understanding, and grace to Gideon even though he was continually questioned at every step of the way. When we put these two perspectives together, we see an incredible story of God making up the difference in Gideon’s weaknesses. We see that even though he didn’t do it at the speed he should, Gideon wanted to be obedient, and that God honored that despite the hesitation. When we are in God’s will, he isn’t going to let us fail, and even if we could sometimes be obedient a little faster, we can trust that he will make the difference.