Dashed Hopes

“And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, . . . and Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and thronged him. And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, . . . came in the press behind, and touched his garment.” (Mark 5:22-27)

As serious a trial as the situation was with his daughter’s health, Jairus was about to be tested even more deeply.

At first it would seem that the deathly state of his little princess was in itself the most pressing matter. She was, as the text points out, breathing her last. This drove the distraught father out of the house, even at such a critical moment. And though he was a man of position and wealth, this did not keep him from taking extreme measures. There, in the street, in view of everyone, this ruler of the synagogue fell before Jesus’ feet and begged for his attention.

Out the window went any air of superiority he might have cultivated as an important leader in the community. While normally he might have maintained some degree of public dignity, not today. Not this time. His daughter was dying.

Imagine his delight when the gracious Savior looked him in the eyes and matched his painful gaze with sincere concern. Immediately the Lord moved towards the house and hope began to glow on Jairus’ face. The word spread like wildfire and soon there was a growing flock of neighbors walking with them.

But along the way a sick lady crossed their path. Actually, she didn’t really want to be seen. Attracting attention was the farthest thing from her mind. Teacher and father were being followed by a throng of excited people and she had no intention of creating a scene. Rather, she tried her best to be inconspicuous.

However, the Master would have nothing of it, and kindly exposed her faith as an example for everybody. Of course, this all took precious time . . . and Jairus saw the servant approach with a dreadful look on his face. Jesus had taken too long! His daughter had died.

How impossible it is to measure the pain! A few minutes before, everything was hope and excitement and anticipation. His prayer was being answered and the horrible enemy of his family would be forced to retreat just as its victim was within reach.

But then this woman had erupted on the stage and the compassionate Lord had stopped the event. He turned slowly, and in His kind and thorough way, addressed the lady, the disciples, and the crowd. Everyone was thrilled with the results! Everyone, except a certain daddy. His hopes had just been dashed.

Now, I know the end of the story. It turned out well. Jesus had not been distracted for even a second, nor was His plan ever in danger. As with Joseph and the Egyptian butler many centuries before, the Lord had allowed hopes to be raised and then demolished . . . but just for a while.

Yet have I learned this lesson of trust? Am I able to watch my expectations get smashed and still believe? Is my confidence in Christ solid enough to weather this kind of disappointment? And can I rest in peace no matter what the final outcome is?

Dear Father, how easy to understand the facts without embracing them in “real” life. Help my unbelief. Amen.

Ugly Memories

“And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.” (Matthew 26:75)

You might find part of the following reading a bit unpleasant; hopefully, it will also be healthy.

Think about what you consider to be the weakest, lowest, most humiliating spiritual moment of your life. It was likely a private one, and although it might have included a physical and public expression, the real source of the sin was in your mind. If today you are walking with the Lord, the mere recollection of the terrible facts probably causes you to blush.

Now imagine that God decided to publish the dirty details of that awful moment in four global periodicals. Oh yes, He also chose the writers. They were four of your closest friends, and each one consulted you before the publication went out, just to make sure they had all the facts straight.

This is more or less what happened to Simon Peter.

Now like many of us, he was in the habit of sticking his foot in his mouth. So if someone wanted to hurt him there were several choice options to choose from. But of all of them, there was one scene I’m sure he would dearly have wished eliminated from the record. It happened on a cold night, by a fire, in Jerusalem, just a little before dawn. There he blatantly and cowardly scorned the dearest, most wonderful Person he had ever known. If only those few minutes could have been clipped from history’s timeline, but they weren’t.

The Lord had a number of important reasons for exposing Peter’s wound to the future generations of the world. One was surely for the Apostle’s own immediate good, so that he could write humbly, yet boldly, of the proper way to receive the grace of God.

Another was undoubtedly for us. His denial story is a wakeup call for every one of us . . . for is there anyone who cannot sympathize with this tough Galilean fisherman? When we read of his bitter weeping, does our trembling soul not whisper, “Lord, I have done the same.”?

God so kindly buries most of the stumbles we make after coming to the Cross. But we would do well to remain very meek, very careful, very broken in our attitudes. Perhaps we should respectfully study the steps that led to Peter’s fall and pray for grace to avoid them. We could ask God to guard us from claiming superior faith among our peers. We could beg for wisdom to watch and pray like He ordered in the garden. We could seek patience to look to Jesus instead of lashing out at the mob that rises up against Him.

Yes, the memory was a dark spot on Peter’s mind. But the Lord let him write two epistles in which both the content and attitude reveal a man who wanted others to learn from his ugly story.

“…and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”

Dear Father, I have often failed You as deeply as Peter, but You have covered much of it from human eyes. I thank You for that grace and ask for the virtue to honor You in every remaining day of my life. Amen.

From Night to Light

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to Jesus by night . . . and there came also Nicodemus, which at first came to Jesus by night.” (John 3:1-2; 19:39)

Three windows are all the Holy Spirit gives us to understand His work in the heart of Nicodemus, that intriguing man who visited the Savior by night. Curiously enough, the trio of accounts are in the same Gospel, the one written by fisherman John.

We find the first in chapter three, so famous for its sixteenth verse. Here the influential teacher of Israel is introduced to us as he made his initial, secretive, nighttime visit. No specific reason is given for why he chose to approach Jesus after dark, but quite clearly he did not want to be seen. Whether that was out of pure fear, professional discretion, or simple practicality will remain a mystery until we get to heaven.

The scene closes after a lengthy answer by the Lord, in which He draws special attention to the striking Old Testament story of the bronze serpent. We have no recorded response of Nicodemus, but this prophetic illustration must have made a huge impression on him.

In chapter seven a second window opens, this time into a larger setting. A furious group of Pharisees and priests are scolding some of their officers who failed to haul in Jesus as ordered. As they ridiculed the men for being swayed by the Lord’s words, the whole bunch is stunned by a voice that spoke up in Christ’s defense. It was Nicodemus.Again the passage closes with no comment by the teacher.

The third and final window swings open in chapter nineteen, and this time we see things happening in the broad daylight of a crucifixion scene. As the Lord is being lowered from the cross, a rich member of the Sanhedrin steps forward. This man has been in the shadows for a long time, afraid to identify himself with Jesus. But now, setting aside his fears, Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for the crucified body. As he goes to get the body, he is joined by another wealthy Jew −  Nicodemus!

Though it is impossible to enter his mind for the exact thoughts, the implication is that they were triggered by the “lifting up” of the Savior. For many months he had remembered, watched, hesitated . . . but when he saw Christ raised high on the cross, the light of understanding pierced his soul.

This was what Jesus had told him would happen, back when they had had their private conversation. He was the One to look at! He was the One to believe in! He was the Savior Who loved the world!

Nicodemus’ story can remind us all of an important truth as we sow the Gospel in tough hearts. God is not necessarily in a hurry like we usually are and can be working in a soul when we have no inkling of progress.

As His Spirit softens the mind and cracks its brittle arguments, the sinner is being guided to a specific crossroads. When it dawns on him that Jesus was crucified in his place, all the previous intellectual obstacles can be vaporized in a second.

And God alone will be glorified.

Dear Father, You are always doing way more than I realize, and Your calendar is perfect. Help me be faithful in sowing and confident in Your Spirit’s work.

Are You Living in the House of Bread or the House of Bitterness? (Ruth 1:1-22 )

Making good or bad decisions is a daily adventure in the ministry. Since we are in the ministry, certainly we will always make good and biblical decisions! Why do we make bad decisions when we have and know God’s Word? It must be that we would rather live by sight than by faith. It must be that we are tempted to live by feelings and circumstances rather than by faith. Elimelech and Naomi made a very bad and fatal decision by leaving God’s people in Bethlehem because of the adversity of a famine. Not only did they leave the “House of Bread,” but they intentionally went from God’s people into enemy territory to satisfy a physical need. Elimelech and his sons did not survive the bad decision that he and Naomi had made. It is interesting that the only one who survived this critical decision was Naomi. She and her husband left the house of bread full, and she later returned to Bethlehem empty, living in the house of bitterness.

Please be careful and prayerful when making decisions concerning adversity. Running from adversity is not normally a great decision. I am sure Elimelech and Naomi felt they were not being fed properly in the house of bread because of the famine. What biblical sense did it make to go into enemy territory for relief? Running from adversity is the evidence of unbelief that God can help you and lead you through that particular problem. Running from adversity is not a good decision! Running into enemy territory is not a good decision! Running from adversity can be a fatal decision! Elimelech and Naomi ran from their home with God’s people, and Naomi ran into a funeral home three times in the land of their enemy. Please be careful when making decisions because of adversity.

Please be careful about your relationships with others because of bad decisions and adversity. While in the land of the enemy, Naomi’s sons married two young ladies. Because of a bad decision by Elimelech and Naomi, two young ladies’ lives were changed by their decision. With all the men dead, Naomi made a good decision to go back home, but a bad decision by telling Ruth and Orpah not to go with her. She told them to return home to their families and gods. Do not isolate yourself from others because of bad decisions. Do not push them away from God and back to their false gods. Sadly, Orpah returned to her false gods. Decisions you make can have eternal consequences for others. Ruth loved Naomi unconditionally. Naomi, because of bitterness, shame, and maybe even pride, attempted to push Ruth away. Although unknown to Naomi at the time, God had given Ruth to her as a gift to help her through her adversity of grief and bitterness. Do not push people away! One may be the very person to help you overcome your difficulties.

Please be careful when bad decisions and consequences make you bitter. Bitterness changes your personality. When she returned home, people were not sure if she was Naomi. They said, “Is this Naomi?” Bitterness changes your identity. Naomi wanted to be called “Mara.” She claimed God ruined her life. Just as Naomi said, “I am Mara,” maybe you would identify with her in a similar way. I am Depressed. I am Failing. I am Fed Up. I am Quitting. I am Self-Serving. I am Burned Out. By the way, you know your new identity just as Naomi did. Bitterness changes your outlook on life. The soul running from God is always empty of the good graces of God. Notice, she left full even in the face of adversity and came back completely empty of God’s blessing. She said, “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty.” Naomi’s bitterness blinded her to the fact that God was going to bless her even in spite of bad decisions. Ruth was used of God in a mighty way, and Naomi was blessed because of it. Ruth’s good decision to not leave Naomi was the means of God blessing Ruth. Her decision also restored His good graces to Naomi.

Are you making good or bad decisions? Are you contemplating a bad decision? Be careful to make decisions according to God’s Word, and you will make good decisions. Continue to make them according to circumstances or feelings, and you will constantly make wrong decisions. Make biblical decisions! If you have made wrong decisions in the past and are suffering the consequences, get back to God quickly. Let Him begin afresh to mold you into His will.

Wall Repairers

“And next unto them the Tekoites repaired; but their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord. . . . After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall unto the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.” (Nehemiah 3:5, 20)

Nehemiah had recently arrived in Jerusalem from Persia, with a burden on his heart and a building permit in his hand. One night when most were asleep, he toured the ground where 140 years earlier the majestic walls of Zion had been. What he saw confirmed the awful report his brother Hananiah had brought to him at the Shushan palace. The situation in the city was pathetic.

So, the next day he gathered the discouraged leaders and laid out his ambitious plan, backed up with that royal permission: Let’s rebuild the walls!

And the people rallied to the challenge.

The men rolled up their sleeves, organized their families, and started removing the rubble in front of them. It did not matter where their skills lay. Priests picked up hammers, goldsmiths grabbed for picks, and Levites found shovels. Perfumers made their way to the ruins and even merchants closed their shops to work. One district leader even got his daughters to pitch in!

There was excitement in the air. After all, this was Jerusalem they were repairing, the city of David, the jewel of the earth!

Chapter three of Nehemiah identifies over forty separate job sites, all linked together to form a belt of protection around the city. Everyone worked eagerly on their section, spurred on by the contagious enthusiasm and energetic words of their dynamic leader. Well . . . almost.

Two notable exceptions break the general rule in the crowd of faithful builders.

First, there was a group from Tekoa making repairs, whose nobles were irresponsible and insubordinate. Not willing to follow orders from anyone, they loafed on the job while the other sites advanced rapidly.

Then there was a man named Baruch, whose work made you stop and look again. He built earnestly and efficiently, with such a spirit of excellence that Nehemiah singled him out as an example. His section carried the mark of a believer giving his very best for God.

This work list is representative of most Christian ministries.

There are always the faithful many, who do the job well. You can count on them. They are constant and dependable, and few projects are ever done without their contribution.

Then there are the slouchers, who criticize and scoff at the ones working. They refuse to apply themselves and are invariably a liability rather than an asset.

Finally, here and there, you find a Baruch. He represents the ones who continually exceed what you expect. If you hope for three they bring you five. If you ask for a mile, they give you two. If you look for a good job, they unveil a masterpiece.

A passage like this prompts a few serious questions. So, what kind of wall builder am I? Am I in the throng of the faithful? Am I one of those who lets others do the work? Or am I one who surpasses expectations and delivers only my very best?

Of one thing I can be sure. God also keeps lists.

Dear Father, help me tackle my tasks with the mind of Baruch, one that is grateful to You and happy for the privilege of even being at the wall. Amen.

Stacking Trophies

“Joab the son of Zeruiah began to number, but he finished not, because there fell wrath for it against Israel; neither was the number put in the account of the chronicles of king David.” (1 Chronicles 27:24)

A fine line divides counting blessings from stacking trophies, and apparently David crossed it. Surely his normal habit was to excitedly number the good things God had done for him! We have many records of those joyful praises in the books of Samuel, Chronicles, and Psalms. But one particular day a dart dipped in pride pierced his thoughts and he began to consider his greatness apart from the Lord. His orders to Joab were laced with this poison and resulted in the unsheathing of a heavenly sword that killed 70,000 men.

The full record of this infamous census is in 2 Samuel 24, where we are forced to focus on the grave danger that lies in the shadow of success.

Whether it be in the ministry, in business, in studies, or even in family accomplishments, we are never far from displaying the blessings of God on shelves of personal merit. Tragically, the subtle shift in emphasis, the crossing of that line, can take place in very pious settings. We can share prayer requests in such a way that the good we have done is highlighted. We can write a letter containing gratitude to God but typed by a heart that is a bit too smug. Others may not detect the pride, but the LORD sees it immediately, and He will resist us.

Let’s guard our hearts with a suspicious eye so we do not fall into this trophy trap. When we count our blessings, let’s do so with motives as pure as a glass of spring water from the Pyrenees mountains. May our desire be to lift high the wonderful Name of Him Who is the Rewarder of the faithful.

Yes, it is good to count the blessings of our gracious God, but let’s not stack them up in a way that puts our name in line for glory.

Survey Trip Report from the Solomon Islands

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Recently John O’Malley returned from a visit to the Solomon Islands. He was accompanied by a young man named Michael Deatrick. Michael Deatrick is a rising senior at Ambassador Baptist College.

Early on in Brother Deatrick’s academic experience, he sought out Brother O’Malley to share his calling to the Solomon Islands. God called Brother Deatrick to the Solomon Islands while he was a counsellor at a summer camp. A missionary shared a presentation to the junior age campers about places in the world that needed a missionary. On the last day of camp, the missionary spoke of the Solomon Islands. It was then God called Michael to go to the Solomon Islands.

Last year, Brother Deatrick spoke to Brother O’Malley about taking a survey trip to the Solomons. Plans were made that Brother Deatrick, his Pastor, and Brother O’Malley would go and see the field of Brother Deatrick’s calling.

The Solomon Islands are found 7,700 miles from the USA. Nine hundred and ninety-two islands make up this archipelago, spreading across 11,000 square miles of the ocean. The population of these islands is over 500,000 people. Throughout the Solomons, you will hear 70 languages spoken by 11 different people groups. Over half the nation’s population is under 24 years of age.

Those who study history will remember the strategic battles and tragic loss of life on the Solomon Islands during World War II.

The spiritual history of the Islands is a story woven with threads of Divine Providence. Each weave of God’s hand demonstrates how God mobilized people at the right moment to be in the right place to reach Solomon Islanders with the Gospel.

The first spiritual marker in the history of the Solomon Islands begins with a lady named Florence Young. In the late 1870’s, Florence became burdened for the lost Melanesian men on her brother’s plantation in Australia. She led many Islanders to Christ. It was the desire of Florence to see these men return to the Solomon Islands and evangelize their own people.

God opened a door for Florence Young to serve in China along with Hudson Taylor. She served there for six years, until the onset of the Boxer Rebellion. Florence returned to her first work in Australia on her brother’s plantation. While back in Australia, she received a letter from one of the Solomon Islanders she had won to Christ. His name was Peter Ambuofa.

When Peter left Australia, he had returned to Malaita, his home island in the Solomon Islands. He soon began evangelizing those who thirsted for Living Water. Peter Ambuofa’s evangelistic work needed help, so he wrote Florence Young to request assistance. Peter wrote on a piece of burlap sack this message: “Come, help me. Peter Ambuofa.” He handed the note to a worker headed to Australia that Peter knew would meet Florence Young.

God used Peter’s letter to encourage Florence to go to Malaita. God also used George Muller, who was visiting Australia at this same time, to encourage Florence Young to go to help the Malaitans. Muller told Florence Young he would help her.

Although it has been more than a hundred years since God sent the first wave of missionaries to the Solomon Islands, God is preparing His next worker to go to the Solomon Islands.

Dr. Tim Meyer, an American missionary to Australia, has made 18 trips to the Solomons from his church planting ministry in Queensland. His church has started a work on Guadalcanal in Honiara. Brother Meyer will assist Brother Deatrick in Malaita with contacts and advice. Brother Meyer also came to help Brother Deatrick on his survey trip.

There is a work that must be done on Malaita. The churches originally begun as a result of Florence Young’s effort still exist today. Sadly, the influences of modernism, untrained leaders, charismatic theology, and other cultural influences have marred the integrity of their doctrine and practice.

Just two days before Brother Deatrick left Malaita, something took place that captured the very essence of the need for Brother Deatrick to return to the Solomon Islands. In a village outside of Auki, a Muslim group endeared themselves to the Christians. They began to preach a message that Christianity was false. They preached that Christianity was filled with liars and hypocrites. The villagers then burned down their own village church in support of Islam.

The lack of Bible preaching and teaching in the villages, and the lack of trained men who know the Word of God, make vulnerable the Solomon Islanders to Islam, Charismatics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and any others who seek to lead people astray.

Please pray for Brother Deatrick as he graduates from Ambassador Baptist College, completes the application process with WWNTBM, begins deputation, and gets married. Should you wish to encourage Brother Deatrick, his email address is mdeatrick@me.com.

Micael DeatrickPastor Dan Deatrick and his son, Michael Deatrick


Family Fellowship Week Messages

Our theme for Family Fellowship Week was “For God So Loved The World.” Truly, there is no clearer defining statement in missions. God’s love declares our message, defines our mission, and dictates our mandate. As you review some notes from these messages, we trust that you will be encouraged as you are reminded of the love of God for mankind.

How to Love the World

The Bible shows us Love’s Example (Jn. 3:16); Love’s Expectation (Jn. 20:21); Love’s Empowering (Rom. 5:5); and Love’s Effort (I Cor. 13). How do we love others? We must be patient with people. We are expected to emulate the Lord, and no one is so patient as He is. We must be kind. This entails being courteous, good, and helpful; actively seeking the good will of others; and being willing to give of yourself. This demands effort and action on our part, but does not depend on the actions of the one receiving our kindness. We must not be jealous. Do not build your ministry by trying to outdo others. God works in your life and meets your need. We must not be proud. Combat pride by loving the Lord, loving others, and considering others valuable in the eyes of the Lord. Jealousy is wanting what others have; bragging is trying to make them want what you have. Both are results of pride. Bragging is the motion, but pride is the motive.  Arrogance is big headed, while love is big hearted.  –  Gene Krachenfels

God Loves the World, and the ‘Whosoevers’

We are told that God loves the world (Jn. 3:16), yet we are commanded not to love the world (I Jn. 2:15.)  In studying Scripture, we find that the world is never used in a good fashion.  God’s love is for a condemned world.  When we try to love the world, we do so for all the wrong reasons.  The only way that we can truly love the world is for us to allow God to love the world through us. We must look for opportunities for God’s love to shine through us to the vile, ugly sinners of the world. God loves not only the world as a whole, but specifically the  ‘whosoevers,’ or the small section of those in the world who will choose to believe on Him.  We must allow His love to flow through us, so that unbelievers will see His Light, and be drawn to His Love, thereby becoming one of the ‘whosoevers’ who believe on Him, and receive everlasting life.  –  Fred Daniel Jr.

My God So Loved

This God who loves the world is my God. All of the attributes of God found throughout the Bible are found in the message of John 3:16. His love does not take away from His justice. He loves even though He is sovereign. He loves even though He is omniscient and knows that men will reject His love. There is nobody higher, more powerful, or more knowledgeable, yet He still loves. He so loved that He gave. The extent of His love is universal in scope. The only limit to His love is the limit of those who refuse to believe on Him and accept the love that He freely offers. His love for us is beyond comprehension, and complete. It is our responsibility to accept it.  –  James Bailey

What Manner of Love

God’s love is a personal love. He draws us to Himself and adopts us into His family. (I Jn. 3:1-3) God’s love is an everlasting love.  He does not give up on us when we sin, but continues to draw us to Himself, even when we have left our first love. (Jer. 31:3) God’s love is universal. (Jn. 3:16) God’s love is encompassing. He brings us to a certain place, and puts His banner over us. (Song of Solomon 2:4) God’s love is measureless. We are rooted in Him, and bear fruit from Him. What the roots soak up is what hangs from the branches. We cannot put our roots into soiled ground and expect to bear good fruit.  We must be rooted in love. (Eph. 3:17-19)  –  Russell Bell

God’s Love Through Time

Each of us has been placed on the earth in God’s perfect time, to show forth His love to this generation. We must endeavor to love those around us. In past time, God loved the fallen creation. He loved enough to create human beings who He already knew would sin, and created them anyway even though He knew it meant He would have to give His Son to die for them. He loved the faithless. He chose Israel and continued to love them, though they continually complained in the midst of His deliverance. He loved enough to list the faith as well as the failures of Old Testament saints, to give us an example. Yet on this side of the cross, in Hebrews 11, there is no mention of their failures; only of their faith. In the present time, God loves the church. He has given His Word to wash us and cleanse us, so that we can manifest His love. God is preparing a place for us, so that in the future, He can take those He loves to live with Him for eternity.  –  Tim Daniel 

Thirsty People

“The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. . . Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. . . And many more believed because of his own word;” (John 4:15,30,41)

There were a lot of thirsty people near Jacob’s well that day.

First was the Lord Jesus, who had been walking for several hours. He was tired, hot, and ready for a drink of cool water. Presumably, the disciples were just as eager to relieve their dry throats. The woman of Samaria, who came out for water in the heat of the day, was undoubtedly thirsty too.

But all of this thirst was merely physical. There was in the region a much more significant thirst. Just a stone’s throw away was a whole city full of men who were waiting for and hoping to see the Messiah.  Their thirst was spiritual.

Our Master was fully aware of this when, early that morning, he made the odd decision to head north, straight through Samaritan country. If He did so without warning, I can imagine the questioning glances that shot back and forth between the disciples. That was disgraceful territory, full of the descendants of compromisers and pagans. Yet, the Lord moved out with a determined step and with some unspoken purpose in mind.

As the twelve went into a town to buy food, the Savior sat and waited for the lonely, discouraged woman who was due at the well near mid-day. When she appeared, He requested a drink, which immediately provoked a conversation concerning ancient animosities between Jews and Samaritans.
However, the wise Master soon steered the conversation to more important matters, and within minutes had laid bare her horrible thirst.

For years, she had been searching for love and acceptance and peace.Five different times she had joined herself in marriage to men whom she expected would bring her true happiness. Finally, drained of any expectations of marital bliss, she junked the wedding and simply started living with the sixth one. Only that didn’t help either. Her life remained dry, miserable, and dead. In the barren soil of that heart, the Man of God now planted a seed of hope.

She hastily left her water pot and rushed back to the city. She knew a bunch of thirsty men in town; men who were slaves to sin, but still convinced of the need to worship the coming Messiah. They just had to meet this Stranger!

And so, the Lord knocked on their door, through the words of a wretched lady. She was nobody special. She was just a worldly, cynical woman of Sicar.  But when faced with her sin, she was honest and humble about it. Because of her testimony, three days later Jesus left behind a crowd whose terrible thirst of soul He had quenched.

How many times do we march right past the wells along our path without taking any interest in the individuals who, underneath the shiny surface of a modern look, are parched and thirsty for answers?

Dear Father, often I have been silent about You both in actions and speech. For many around me, I may be the closest one in Your family they will ever meet. Please help me reach out to boldly show them that You are the true God, and that You came to die for their redemption.  Amen.

Completely Honest

“But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.” (Daniel 2:30)

Why in the world would Daniel say a thing like that?

Here he was, about to reveal to Nebuch- adnezzar his supposedly forgotten dream and its meaning. This man was at the pinnacle of human power, so much so that even Daniel called him the king of kings later on in the passage. The young prophet held in his mind the key to saving his own neck, as well as those of every other wise man in the empire. He also was the possessor of an interpretation the king was willing to exchange for a fortune. So, a candid and unflattering statement like this one is not what we would expect.

A more normal attitude would have been to approach the royal throne with the secret excitement of having a priceless bit of news. What an opportunity to launch himself into prominence! To exploit the situation for personal gain was certainly what most of his peers would have done.

Sure, there was a certain amount of risk involved. Nebuchadnezzar was no one to play around with. He could be extravagantly generous when happy. But, he also had a royally unpredictable temper, capable of exploding with demonically cruel vengeance at the slightest disappointment. It is doubtful anyone was ever very comfortable in his presence. Unless, that is, you were someone like Daniel.

Although he may well have rehearsed his words as he walked towards the palace, his speech conveyed a striking sense of peace and tranquility. It was not a trembling, cowering wimp that informed the king that he could call off the execution squad and quit searching for answers.

Oh, he was respectful and courteous. But, he was also so totally confident in God’s control of the situation that he could be amazingly frank. To Nebuchadnezzar’s surprise, and ours as well, he shared his completely honest opinion of himself.

Even though he had the treasured information, he considered himself to be nobody special. He was simply the fortunate servant of Israel’s God; a privileged spokesman, yes, but just another man.

This level of integrity is rare, even among believers. While we may not go around looking for ways to crown ourselves with fame or notoriety, if the chance happens to land in front of us, we do not hesitate to take advantage of it.

What a pleasure it is to meet a believer who really does not care who or how many people know him or think highly of him, but whose only concern is that God receive all the glory possible. This Christian will not be trying to hide anything about himself, nor displaying any of his accomplishments, nor coloring the facts for his own benefit. Like Daniel, he is totally content in the reality of who he is and Who God is.

Dear Father, guard me from any craving for personal recognition or honor. Remind me often that any good thing I have is an undeserved gift.  Make me so fully confident in You that in any place, and before any person, I can be completely honest about myself.