DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-03-16
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: Acts 28:25-27
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)
BIBLE TEXT: 25 …. “The Holy Spirit stated it well when he spoke to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah:[l],[m]
26 ‘I send you to this people to say to them, “You will keep learning,[n] but not understanding. You will keep staring at truth but not perceiving it. 27 For your hearts are hard and insensitive to me—you must be hard of hearing! For you’ve closed your eyes so that you won’t be troubled by the truth, and you’ve covered your ears so that you won’t have to listen and be pierced by what I say. For then you would have to respond and repent, so that I could heal your hearts.”’
OBSERVATION: I believe it is interesting how we have been blessed to see, yet if asked what we observed, we cannot state anything of significance that we saw. We may have also been blessed with the ability to hear well, yet if asked to repeat something that was said, one might swear that we were never present under the sound of a particular speech. Although we will observe that Paul had to rehearse with his crowd, the same thing that the Holy Spirit prompted Isaiah to share with his crowd. Yet after years and years of preaching, teaching and sharing the Word of God, one might observe that still today we display the same challenges. Why is that? In the last words of our Scripture verses God said that He wished this was not the case, because He would like to heal our hearts. Would we not be quite different in our ways and successful in our methods,if God was able to get through to us?
APPLICATION: Isaiah was a prophet sent and directed by God. When he prophesied under the inspiration of God, the people listened. However there came a time when God recognized that some of the folk were just not listening. Paul came across this same phenomenon in his days of ministry, so he shared this with his Jewish listeners who were challenged to believe the Word of God. I found this extremely revealing, because still today our pastors can preach the same sermon in our churches, as it is quite apparent that we’re present in the service, but from the blank stares and lack of participation, it is obvious that we are miles away. Think about it: we have folk that attend church who hear the Word of God, but they are convinced that it is for the person behind them. Their ears are shut to the application of the Word to their personal lives. However the most hurtful thing to me, are the ones that just refuse to listen and believe. It saddens me deeply how God has to send a disaster to awaken the hardened hearts of some people. Our churches were filled for a few Sunday’s after 9-11 and after our major hurricanes in Florida, as folk found the need for God to protect them and help them through their personal problems. Then, as soon as they felt they had regained control, life went back to ‘normal’ for them. God is not trying to impose Himself on anyone, He just wants to heal us and give us the very best He has in store for us – His children. Isn’t that a good thing that we should always desire? Friends, God has blessed us with so much, yet we use these gifts to oppose the very One who has blessed us. We have great knowledge, yet we reason away on why we are blessed, or not blessed, instead of giving all praise to God. We have great eyesight, yet like the prophet Isaiah said, we screw our eyes shut to the things of God and therefore preclude His healing and amazing blessings on us. Our hearing is perfect, yet we allow Satan to interfere and tell us that the Word of God is intended for that neighbor of ours who is much worse than us. The very last phrase of the quote from Isaiah really touched me: we have shut out everything about God because we don’t want to deal with our Maker, yet if only we would change this, He would heal us! I believe this healing is one of not just our physical sickness, but also our disappointments, our brokenness, our loneliness, our defeats and ultimately, our sin. Friend, I serve a God just as I have described, and I would love to introduce you to Him. He will make your day brighter and so much more meaningful and purposeful. Please contact me if I can pray with you or help you in any way with this important decision. This could be the first of many days of joy in the security of my Lord! For those of you that know Him, please act like you do. Sing that song ‘Just a closer walk with thee’, then open the precious Word of God that He left just for us, and see what it is that He is ordering you to change or correct in your walk with Him. Open your eyes to the hurts and needs of those around you, and pray, pray, pray that God will intervene and heal His people today. They have tried the world and all it has to offer, but they are still lacking in so many ways. They need Jesus, my friend. I believe that one of His servants can help them redirect their lives today. Let it be you, dear follower of Christ!
PRAYER: Dear Lord, in spite of Your gracious hand upon Your people, and Your outstanding blessings poured out on us, yet You must be saddened by seeing us exclude You from our decision making, exclude Your active role in our lives when praise is directed towards us, and especially ignore You when You speak to us about the lost condition of our lives. I clearly got the picture in this scripture today, You want to heal us, yet we say ‘No thank You’. Father I thank You for softening my heart and giving me the boldness to accept You as my Lord and Savior back in 1976. I have many family and friends who are still hardened and refuse to make the necessary commitment to accept You as their Lord. Please humble them and soften their hardened hearts again today so that they may commit the rest of their lives to You and allow You full control, and ultimate healing of their sin problem. Dear God, there are important decisions we make every day, but none as important as the one that decides our eternal fate. May this become very evident to my lost relatives today is my sincere prayer, that I ask in the name of Your only Son, Jesus the Christ, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!