Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recognizing Jesus - June 30, 2013

Acts 4:13 - Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

Luke's writing in Acts 4 says volumes about the past life of the disciples as well as their present relationship with the Lord. Conclusions had been drawn by the Pharisees that are really simple observations that a school child could have made (and probably did). Yet, these learned and so-called wise leaders of their religious order surmised with their earthly faculties that Peter and John had been with Jesus. Their sense of sight and understanding were certainly not impaired, but their spiritual discernment and judgment certainly was lacking. For if they truly knew who stood before them in the power of the Holy Spirit, they may have behaved differently. What they witnessed defied their Judaist upbringing and was diametric from anything they had known regarding true spirituality. They had seen it a few weeks earlier in a man they had sentenced to death, yet they were amazed at this Man's confidence and biblical understanding. However, that was not enough to change their heart toward Jesus, neither was it enough to turn their hearts by His disciples.

Have you ever recognized someone as having been with Jesus? They aren't difficult to spot. As the Pharisees witnessed, the hallmark of these folks is their immovable confidence in what they believe. How does confidence of this type manifest itself? Well, it starts in secret and spills out publicly. It oozes out of believers that truly believe their Lord and desire to spend time with Him. It comes by searching out His Word, and then living it to the best of their ability. It comes by living out the Great Commission and spreading the love of Jesus Christ to their communities, counties, states, countries, and finally to the world. Godly confidence is something that cannot be self-created but is a by-product of living and breathing the Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis.

Education means little when one is truly imbued with the Lord's presence to change their respective world. One might say that a seminary degree will help open doors that might not be opened otherwise. My opinion, in this regard, is that possibly these doors are better off left shut if that is the case. Countless men and women since the time of these "uneducated men" of the book of Acts have turned the world upside down for Jesus Christ. All it really takes is a desire to be with Jesus and He will do the rest. As Leonard Ravenhill stated in his book "Why Revival Tarries?", You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it. I dare say that in this regard, it is not the preacher or the youth minister or any other church officer that have license to set our respective communities on fire for God. Irrespective of title, the Lord Jesus is looking for individuals that have such a hunger to be with Him that they will set their families, their communities, their churches on fire with Holy Ghost power! It doesn't take a degree to fulfill God's Great Commission, but it does take a heart and a desire to spend time with Him as He opens His word in the heart of the desirous. Then, it takes the will to take it to the streets and give away what He has so graciously given.

Do you want to provoke amazement as the Pharisees experienced? They merely acknowledged the confidence of Peter and John, that they were uneducated but yet they recognized the Lord Jesus in them. Confidence in one's standing with the Lord only comes by getting into that secret place with Him -- to pour out one's heart and to pour over His word. Then, when we come out into the public light, there will be little to mistake any of us from having been with our Risen Lord. The dilemma for most of us is this -- we either don't believe that the Lord will give us this type relationship with Him or we are spiritually lazy to come to His Light, having been distracted by the light of our TVs (or any other distraction that you would care to mention). Do you want to start living a remarkable life? Then, start doing remarkable things ... TODAY ... that will eventually equate to a remarkable life. As previously stated it is really very simple, yet the Pharisees could not understand. We become what we spend our time with. As with those of the Sanhedrin that killed the Lord of Life and accused His disciples, they spent time with their own egos, priding themselves on their puffed up educations. Yet, they truly were empty, insecure followers of a dead Law. When they recognized their very opposites in Peter and John, they were taken aback. Are we sending those that we encounter throughout our respective lives into a state of amazement, or are we allowing them to continue to slumber in their sin? It is all our responsibility -- all of us who call ourselves Christians -- to be provoking amazement and wonder in those who would recognize the Risen Savior within our own lives.

Holy Father, recommit our hearts and lives to "spending time" with our Risen Lord. In time, may all who witness our behavior and testimony be amazed as they recognize our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ as He lives and moves and has His being within us. Give us a true spiritual education that we can then take to the world. In Jesus Christ's precious name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick


The Bare Soul Archives

"Recognizing Jesus" was originally published on September 28, 2008

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Prodigal Son - June 23, 2013


The following is part of a sermon I delivered at the Kansas City Rescue Mission on May 8, 2008. To listen to the entire message, click the following link or the one at the end of the sermon text.

I believe many of us in this room this evening can identify with the words of Jesus' parable. Let's face it – we're not high rollers if we ended up here tonight. I will wager that not one of us said, "I think I'll leave the comfort of my luxurious home and family to come down and spend a night at the mission. I need to come down and eat and sleep with 50 other guys because I am just getting quite sick of all this comfort and love that I’ve been accustomed to." The truth of the matter is this: Those of us who have spent night after night in missions are there out of necessity and not out of choice. For some of us, this is the “last house on the block”, because all have given up on us. We can relate to the prodigal as he hires himself out to the farmer at the time of famine because he has no other place to go. He is very much like some of you in this room tonight that have exhausted all of your resources. Some of you get monthly checks where you live "high on the hog" for the first few days of the month and then are like the prodigal and are forced to humiliate yourself by relying on missions for a meal and a covering over your head. Others have alienated every friend that you have in regular society because you have used them up like you have “used” throughout your lives with alcohol and drugs. And so, for whatever reason, here you sit once again because you don't have any other option but to rely on the mercy of Christian brothers and sisters that will reach out a hand. Of course there is another option. Every one here has the option of "coming to their senses" like the prodigal did. As I have a finger pointed out at you in the audience tonight, I have three fingers pointed back at myself. I too have sat where you sit. I have heard the appeal of God through someone who has stood where I am standing tonight. The only difference between you and me is that I made a choice to do things differently. This evening, we are going to see how to “do things differently” through the example of the prodigal.

You see, the prodigal was much like many of you when you were younger. Many of you were once part of society before giving yourselves over to alcohol and drugs and then finally to the streets. Back then, you could still give yourself to others and be part of your community because you weren't a total "Taker and User". However, drugs and alcohol kept taking from you every bit of selfless living that you once possessed. Addiction is a cruel taskmaster. It bleeds us of every bit of selfless living and makes us demand of ourselves and others to do what is best for "self". It made you a person where all you could think about was your next drink or drug. In so doing, you began using up those people around you where you ended up totally isolated. The "inheritance" of good morals and thinking of others, other than yourself, that your parents or others taught you had gone by the wayside. No longer did you care for anyone but yourself. The time had come where all your inheritance or all that you once had as a self-respecting person of the community had been spent up and now you had hired your self out to your own self destructive behavior. You are no longer your own master, but Satan and your own fleshly alcoholic and addictive nature now rules you. You have given yourself up to the streets just as the prodigal gave himself up to feed swine.

All of us have different “tops” before we hit our respective “bottoms. Some of us had everything at one time – families, good jobs, beautiful homes, fine cars. Others had some of this or maybe none of this. It doesn’t matter. We all had a “high point” in our respective lives before we started the plummet into selfishness, addiction, and sin. Sin is patient and waits for us and grabs hold of our lives at our most vulnerable point, dragging us down to a place of hopelessness. That’s where I was 16 years ago. Years before, I had experienced the streets and was probably closer to going back on the streets than I had been in a long time. Through years of binge drinking and living off of others, I had hit bottom. I had fallen from my own “high point” in life and had wasted the years of love and care that my family instilled in me. It was the beginning of my end.

We have all wandered away from God and man. Your case is just more evident than most, as it was in my case. Other than a brief encounter with God in 1976, my life was a continual running away to that “distant land” as it talks about in the reading. Sure, I had times when I could put together some sobriety, but there were more painful times when I had less than what I see many of you possess. There were times when everything I had was stolen because I was living on the streets and the clothes I wore were filthy. For me, the best thing to do was to keep moving from town to town and city to city, sleeping wherever I was offered a place to sleep. I stayed in several missions and Salvation Army locations throughout those years. Many times I huddled in a covered area in a vacant lot or any other place where I could be out of sight and out of the weather.

So what does it take to come to one's senses like the prodigal? As many of you know, it is not something you can automatically turn on just when you want it. It is not like saying, "Well, that was a pretty horrible experience living on the streets so now I think I will go back to what I had before and become a respectable person once again." If it was as easy as that, many of you would have gone back to respectability long ago. But what you have found is that you are trapped and do not have the will power or the understanding of how to return. I am going to challenge you tonight that very possible the prodigal did not know how to return either, but he made a crucial decision and started on that journey. The scripture states that "he came to his senses". This implies to me that he had not yet come to a place of total repentance, but yet he knew that he must start toward a different live. His senses were convincing him that he had made wrong decisions and now he must remedy his decisions. First of all, he was probably appalled that his clothes were rags. (As I look out in the audience tonight I see that most are dressed quite nice. I am always amazed about this country’s so called "poor". Our street people and poor dress nicer than most of the rest of the world.) Next, he felt the hunger in his stomach knowing that his father's servants were fed much better than what he was presently experiencing. And, lastly but probably even more important, he felt the utter loneliness of being isolated -- isolated from all his former life of family and friends. He was all alone because of the choices he had made and he began to understand this. It wasn't anything anyone did to him. He had a good upbringing as many of you did. Even those of you who did not, it doesn't matter. It was still your choice and the sooner you recognize that you are responsible for the choices you made in life the better. I don't care if your mother and father beat you with barbed wire every Sunday and rammed your heads into the refrigerator on Mondays, it was still you who made the choices that have brought you here tonight. Sure, you may be disadvantaged more than others, but that doesn't mean that God's hand was not there to pull you up if you but have asked and insisted that He do so.

Some of you here tonight would love to get free. You just don't think you know how. The key is to start on the journey back to the Father. Even as the prodigal did not necessarily have all that he wanted when he came to his senses, he knew that in order to get back a portion of what he had lost that he must start the journey back. The scripture says when the prodigal left that he went to a distant country to squander his wealth. The journey back to his father was undoubtedly tough. He had no food, no shelter, and it probably took weeks or months. However, he kept on going knowing that he had no other choice. Was it tough? Of course it was but the alternative was intolerable in the mind of the prodigal. Has the alternative of the streets become intolerable in your minds tonight? It had in mine that is why I can stand before you tonight as a recovering alcoholic of 16 years. When I put the plug in the jug it was just the beginning of my journey back. There are some here tonight that will always scoff at “returning to God”. There are some here who laugh behind the backs of those who have made a decision to enter the Christian Development Program here at KCRM and start the journey back. These are those who have not come to the end of themselves. Possibly, they never will. They will succumb to hopelessness and give themselves to the “swine” of their own circumstances because they don’t have the sense to do otherwise. However, some of you here tonight are on the brink of a decision. You feel yourself on the precipice of hopelessness and you don’t want to fall in, but you desperately want to start to a repentant life with the Lord. How do I start back? Well, like the prodigal you start by starting. You come to your senses and you first tell God that you are ready to start back. Then, you tell everyone in this room that you’re ready to start the journey back. Will it be easy? I guarantee it won’t. Will there be those that will help you? Undeniably! Paul stated in the book of Romans, “Where sin abounds, grace does abound all that much more!!” He is waiting for you tonight to first come to your senses. Understand that you have done a horrible job of steering your life up to this point and that you are ready to begin to have God steer your life back to a life centered on Jesus rather than self.

Lord Jesus, help those that are wanting a changed life to come to their senses tonight and make a decision for you. Let them know that You will be with them every step of the way as they start their journey back to the Father of Mercy. In Jesus name, amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Barefoot Rick



The Bare Soul Archives

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Nature of Things - June 16, 2013

II Peter 2:20-22 - For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire."

Through the years I have had several pets, including dogs. Some of these dogs were extremely smart and others, well, what they lacked in smarts they made up for in loyalty. Back in the 1980s, we owned a small farm in east-central Kansas. One of our dogs was a Golden Labrador Retriever named Princess. She was a loyal, good friend to the family, but she wasn’t the smartest animal on the premises. I raised a couple of hogs during our two years on the farm, and without a doubt, these barnyard animals were the smartest four-footed creatures on the homestead. The first one was an escape artist and learned how to open the gate of the pen to get out to choice grazing in the vegetable garden. The other hog had a sense of his impending doom when it was time for butchering. When I went to lead him up the chute into the bed of the pick-up, he wanted nothing to do with “taking a ride” to the slaughterhouse. After much prodding and goading, I finally got him loaded, but not before he had turned around and bitten me a couple of times to show his displeasure with the situation.

I nodded in agreement when I read a 1976 article from the New York Times regarding the intellect of barnyard animals, in particular pigs. The following is a short extract from the article:
The pig's intellect is clear and strong. What has been mistakenly called his "obstinacy" is only his intense individuality. ... Before blaming the pig for refusing to be dragged in a given direction by a string tied to his hind leg, his critics should ask themselves whether in like circumstances they too would not protest with equal shrillness against so indecent an outrage.
Those of us who are dog owners, or have been dog owners, undoubtedly love our pets. Whether they are smart or just loyal, they capture a piece of our hearts. While few of us can say that we have loved pigs, we can certainly understand that they are a smart animal that is prized in many cultures throughout the world for both their intellect and their food factor. Yet, it is somewhat unnerving to watch both these animals revert to what seems to us as totally unintelligent behavior. A dog after regurgitating their food will often turn around and consume it again! A pig, which seems so smart in other areas, will find the most grotesque slop heap filled with decaying vegetation, animal life, and feces and will roll around in it without a care! While it is easy to be horrified at such behaviors, we see similar actions taken by so--called believers everyday. Many will “make a decision” for Jesus Christ and then return to the very things that were despicable and degrading in their lives as if they didn’t have a care in the world to do otherwise! However, it doesn’t surprise those of us who know that we are not dealing with a behavior problem, but with a nature problem.

No matter how smart our four-footed friends might be, it is in their nature to do disgusting things that don’t make good sense to us. In the same way, we should not be surprised when we see a sinner sinning. It is the most natural thing for them to do! As a practicing alcoholic, the most natural thing for me to do was drink. Today, after many years of sobriety it is still a miracle that I am not drinking because that was then a part of my nature. The miracle today is that my nature has been exchanged with the divine nature of Jesus Christ who gives me the will and the way not to drink. Often, many get lost at this point and don’t understand that it’s not just about changing their behavior. It’s not good enough to stop drinking, to stop stealing, to stop lying, or even to stop sinning. We don’t have a sinning problem but a sin problem. Our very nature is corrupt and we need a replacement.

Many years ago, when I was still in my teens, I knew that I was in terrible need of something to fix me. That’s why I experimented and became hooked on drugs and alcohol early in life. When I tried to dig myself out of that mess, I tried different religions -- Christianity, Hinduism, Tantric Yoga, Transcendental Meditation to name a few. The problem was that I was trying to fix myself not knowing that Someone had already put the "fix" in for me and I was too blind to see. I didn’t realize that I was trying to reach heaven and bring it down to my experience on earth. Little did I know that God had already done so by bringing heaven to earth through His Son.

Years went by, as I battled my alcoholism and drug addiction. Desperately I was still tying to get better from the outside/in and couldn’t understand that I needed salvation from myself. On one occasion, I was just released from jail. I was a mess from the night before and I was on foot. Walking from the court and police station in a busy downtown area of St. Louis, I encountered a little old lady of probably 80 years. She looked at me, pointed her finger and said “There goes the chosen of God who desires to live in the filth of sin”. I was totally taken aback and convicted to the heart by her words. She didn’t say anything about “sins” but she did say that I wanted to continue living in sin. However, like a pig that returns to its wallowing and a dog to its vomit, it would still be years before I truly knew that Jesus Christ had become sin on my behalf and that I didn’t need to live this way.

For several years after, I would continue to “try” to do better. I would “decide” that I would follow the Lord and attempt to live the way He wanted me to live. However, it’s not good enough to make a decision for Jesus. Jesus doesn't want our decisions, but He wants everything we are -- our dope possessed bodies, our alcohol polluted souls, our angry hateful minds. He wants it all in order to replace it with His nature. Making a decision to follow Jesus without turning one’s life over to Him is about the same as saying you’re going to fly to the moon in a Cessna -- it’s not going to happen! It’s aerodynamically impossible to do so because it would break all the laws of physics. In the same way, it is impossible to “decide” to follow Jesus without a new heart that has replaced a heart of sin.

Paul the Apostle made a glorious statement giving us all hope in this regard. In II Corinthians 5:21 he states through the Holy Spirit that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." According to this verse, I no longer have to “try” to be good because Jesus Christ says I don’t have to be good. He tells me that He became sin FOR US in order that we might trade in our sinful nature for God’s nature. Then, and only then, will we truly have the power to change. Then, we can truly be right with God and be empowered by His righteousness. Then, can we truly be children of God!

None of us are exempt from failure no matter how much we might believe we are in control of our lives. Romans 3:23 tells us that “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. That one verse qualifies us all for hell and an eternity of separation from God. If this was the last word, then we would all be doomed. But God loved us, even while we were sinners He sent His Son to die for us becoming sin on our behalf. Three chapters later in the book of Romans, Paul writes with a synopsis of our predicament but with the glorious hope of our salvation. In Romans 6:23 he states: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

God does not expect any of us to become “better”. If we don’t know His Son and have not exchanged our sinful nature with His glorious nature, He only expects us to continue to fail -- to return to the wallowing in sin that befits our nature. There is always hope for us as long as we are alive and able to turn to Him. Ecclesiastes 9:4 states: "For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion." Friends, I would rather be a live dog that has the ability to exchange natures with the Living God and live again, rather than a prideful, dead lion that is regal only in its death with no hope to ever be anything else. We all have the opportunity to exchange lives of sinful repetition with the divine life that will qualify each and every one of us for a glorious eternity with our Maker!

Lord Jesus, thank you for becoming sin for us that we might become the righteous of God by the new nature You have given us. We give You our sin-soaked natures and accept Your free gift of life. May God be glorified for His wonderful gift to us. In Your precious Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick



The Bare Soul Archives

"The Nature of Things" was originally published on October 12, 2008

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Miracle of the Mundane - June 9, 2013

Matthew 13:58 - And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

Reading the Gospels, it is relatively easy to chide the disciples when they seem to have a lapse of faith that Jesus Christ could deliver on His miracles. It always baffled me to read Mark chapter 6 and the feeding of the five-thousand, and then later to read of the disciples lack of faith in Mark chapter 8 in feeding the four-thousand. I mean, after all, hadn't they learned anything by the feeding of the five-thousand? Or, was something otherwise happening that we have overlooked? The same can be said for Lazurus' resurrection from the dead in John the 11th chapter. Martha and Mary seemed unbelieving that Jesus could be speaking of bringing back their brother from the dead. Surely they had heard of Jairus' daughter whom He had raised from the dead, or the widow's son from Nain when he touched the coffin and the boy was given back to his mother alive. Did they have a lapse of memory? Or had they simply become too familiar with the Lord as their friend the healer and had forgotten that he was also the raiser of the dead? As we shall see, what is not said within the scriptures can often times be as powerful as what is.

To read the Gospels, one would think that it was a non-stop road show of signs and wonders -- that the disciples were constantly being brought into an awareness of Jesus' mighty power as He performed miracle after miracle. If that was the case, I believe we would have much different reactions from the disciples rather than disbelief such as Jesus' ability to feed the hungry or raise the dead. Just as important as the days of miracles were the days of the mundane. As I stated, I believe it is just as important what the Gospel writers don't tell us as to what they do. The scripture never mentions the lives of Peter, Andrew, James, and John when they toiled away in their mundane lives as fisherman. Even after they were called by the Lord, there is no mention of the days when it was just hour after hour of walking from city to city. And then, how about the times when the power for Jesus to heal was not readily present? You might say, "Well, Jesus would always heal if there were someone in need!" Don't be so sure. The scripture in Luke 5:17 states that the "the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing." This statement validates what is also not said which is that there were obviously times when the power of the Lord was NOT present to perform healing. My hunch is that it was more often than we are sometimes led to believe by the rapid pace of the Gospel's narratives.

While we may look with disbelief at the disciples unbelief, it is important to realize the juxtaposition of His miracles with the days of the mundane. The days are not mentioned when the disciples told Jesus to send the crowds away to buy food for themselves in the local environs. How else would they have had the the "chutzpah" (guts) to tell Jesus in Mark 6:36 to send the crowds away to buy themselves food? Obviously they had seen the scenario play out time after time where Jesus did not feed them. These were the days of the mundane -- hearing the parables and the teachings of Jesus and then just going their own way. Of utmost importance is that Jesus will not be put into that proverbial box of expected action. He is not a genie or a Santa Claus that can be expected to move and react to the masses whims. He is God Almighty and He operates both out of love and compassion but also out of faith of those around Him as He sees best in His infinite wisdom to move.

It is quite easy and presumptuous of us to believe that God will act on our behalf with miraculous rapidity if we will but only ask. Those of us who have been "sensualized" by the world look for the instant gratification of "non-stop" miraculous Christianity. Many of us who have been delivered from drugs or alcohol had been so conditioned by the instant relief and euphoria they offered. Once free, we had to learn how to go through life without needing the daily intoxication of what these substances could give us. In the same way, God does not want us to take His Son for granted, but to walk with Him whether our love for Him feels mundane or exhilarating. In the midst of Martha and Mary's friendship with Jesus, they forgot that not only was He their friend and healer but that He was also the One who raised the dead. Are we limiting God by not seeing Him as He truly is in the mundane days? Has He become merely a friend that is somewhat boring and "everyday" and we have been surprised when the miracle happens? The Lord wants us all to wait expectantly for Him. For only as we rejoice in the miracle of the mundane, then truly we will not be surprised when the signs and wonders in our respective lives appear.

Father, help us to serve you alone. Allow us not put our hope on the miraculous but let us keep our hope on You. The miracles will most certainly come, O Lord. And if we are rightly related to You, the extraordinary will be as miraculous as the ordinary. Keep us looking toward You whether our days are mundane or miraculous for You are certainly in both. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick



The Bare Soul Archives

"The Miracle of the Mundane" was originally published on August 5, 2008

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mighty Weak - June 2, 2013

Deuteronomy 32:36 - For the LORD will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone,

God's promises to His people always include stipulations that require a response and ultimately an action. In the instance of Deuteronomy 32:36, God promises to not only vindicate (or show Himself strong) on behalf of His people, but He also states that He will have compassion on His servants. The operative word in this verse determining God's timeline to bestow these marvelous gifts is when -- or rather "... when He sees that their strength is gone, ... ." While a simple acknowledgement of weakness is an important first step, God desires to SEE an abating of strength and a true resignation to rely on Him for all things.

Some of us may have heard the analogy of the drowning swimmer as he or she relates to the lost sinner. The following not only typifies the sinner as lost and dying but it also shows how the Lord Jesus through His Father desires to save us from ourselves:
Although there were dangerous rip tide signs posted, a lone swimmer was in peril of being swept out to sea. As he began to drown, he screamed for help. Onlookers watched as a life guard flew into action and swam out to the drowning man. The small crowd that had gathered on the beach were all dumbfounded as the life guard circled the man several times, watching as the man bobbed up and down in the waves. Finally, the life guard swooped him up from behind and began dragging the helpless man toward the beach. The life guard brought the man out of harms way, administered CPR, and turned him over to paramedics that took the recovering man to a local hospital for observation. Finally, someone in the small crowd asked the question they all wanted to know: "Why did you circle the man several times before rescuing him?" The life guard replied, "The man was much bigger than me. I needed him to exhaust himself of trying to save himself, otherwise he might have pulled both of us under". Only when he was spent, was I sure that we both could make it back safely".
To continue with this analogy, the majority of the world will continue to play it safe in the tranquil waters around the beach. Many will only venture in ankle or knee deep. They don't consider themselves "sinners" needing salvation. We see these folks around us everyday. Many of these folks go to church every Sunday, they pay tithes, and some may even sing in the choir. They judge themselves by others stating, "I'm a pretty good person that doesn't do a whole lot of wrong!". These are not the people that the Lord can easily help. They are self-sufficient and have relied on themselves for years and years. Then, there are others who, for whatever reason, venture out from the safe confines of the tranquil waters around the beach. Before long, they feel the currents of this world wooing them into deeper waters. Around them they see the playful waves of sin that entice them to continue out where there is more and more excitement. Soon, however, they find themselves overcome by the surf as it pounds down around them. The foam and the mist that was playfully enticing a few moments earlier has now become a force to be reckoned with as it covers their heads and draws on their bodies to carry them further and further out to sea.

Many of us can relate to this dire situation. When all seems lost, we are now at the place where God can truly save us. We are over our heads in sin and without the power to resolve our own rescue. Then, our Savior can truly have His way with us, for He SEES that we are spent and despairing of any salvation other than what He can afford us. Until we are in that most untenable situation, there is little He can do. For truly, God is calling to the weak, not to the strong. He desires a person, a church, and a people that have despaired of living by their own power and have relinquished all thoughts of their own salvation. The Lord Jesus Christ's greatest desire is to pull all of us on to that proverbial beach and resuscitate us, giving us life once again that we had lost hope of ever enjoying. He seeks to REVIVE His people, first as individuals and then as the Body of Christ to send us forth as witnesses of God's saving power from the Ocean of Despair. Have you been resuscitated and revived by the Lord Jesus Christ? Or are you one that has never seen your own need of rescue? May those of us who find ourselves in the throes of the Sea of Despair, may we cry out to Him who SEES when our strength is gone. For only then, can we truly be saved!

Lord Jesus, You are the hope of our salvation from the tempest of sin. For truly, when our strength is gone, we need Your salvation. Have mercy on us and bring us safely to Your Shore of Deliverance. For only when we are weak are we truly strengthened by the might of your loving arms to carry us safely home. In Your Precious Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick



The Bare Soul Archives

"Mighty Weak" was originally published on November 2, 2008