It is Black Friday and many will be going shopping, looking for the great deals so many merchants are offering. When people are out shopping, I doubt very seriously they will see the folks who are destitute, homeless, and without much. These people seem invisible when so many are rushing around trying to buy toys and things for loved ones for Christmas. I would ask that if you see someone, who is destitute, won’t you stop and give them a helping hand? After all, it is the season of giving.
Destitute and “the least of these” remind me of the invalid lying down at the edge of the Pool of Bethesda. He couldn’t get into the waters when they were stirred up for healing, and he just laid there waiting for someone to have compassion on him to take him down into the pool.
Jesus came along and saw this poor sufferer lying in the crowd and Jesus had mercy and compassion on him. This invalid was neglected, overlooked, and forgotten in the great crowd of people by the pool, but Jesus saw him and went over to minister to him. Jesus pitied him, healed him, and sent him on his way.
JC Ryle stated it very well, “He was full of undeserved, unexpected, abounding love towards man. He delights in mercy (cf. Micah 7:18). He was far more ready to save than man is to be saved, far more ready to do good than man is to receive it” (Ryle 2020).
Were you aware that every sickness and sorrow is the voice of God speaking to us? Ryle wrote, “Happy are they who have an eye to see God’s hand and an ear to hear His voice in all that happens to them. Nothing in this world happens by chance. … As it is with sickness, so it is with recovery. Renewed health should send us back to our post in our world with a deeper hatred of sin, a more thoroughness watchfulness over our own ways and a more constant purpose of mind to live for God. Far too often the excitement and novelty of returning health tempt us to forget the vows and intentions of the sick room. There are spiritual dangers attending a recovery! Well would it be for us all after illness to engrave these words on our hearts: ‘Let me sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto me’” (Ryle 2020).
Illnesses will help to draw us closer to God, even if the illness is very serious and could have life threatening consequences. If people were to survive such an illness like Covid, a heart attack, or cancer; and they made promises to God to change their life and they repent on their sick bed, and then they start to recover, God was in the mix of their healing. Then when these people recover, they go back to their old ways. They continue in their sin. According to what Jesus told the sick man, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing happen to you” (cf. John 5:14).
How many of you know people who were very ill and they made promises and then recovered and went back to what they were doing before the illness? There is a great chance that the next illness will be much worse or something entirely different happens to them.
Read Psalm 119:67, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your Word.” David found that affliction brought him back from wandering away from God. God often uses distress and suffering in our lives to bring us back to Him. David goes on to write in Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” David’s afflictions brought him back to God.
Because of broken promises to God, are we making the most of His loving kindness or are we building up His wrath against us? Let’s look at Romans 2:5, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgement will be revealed.” We are to draw closer to Him, stay committed to Him once we are healed, and never go back to our old ways before repentance. Not only do we potentially face something worse happen to us, we will face God’s judgement and if one does not know Him as Lord and Savior, the final judgement is hell damnation.
There is hope today. Jesus came into the world to save it and not condemn it (cf. John 3:16-17). Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to our Heavenly Father except through Me.” The following are Scriptures pertaining to you coming to Jesus. Read them carefully and try to internalize them as to what they mean to you.
Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death (hell) but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.”
John 3: 3, “Jesus replied, ‘I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”
John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Romans 10:9-11, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, ‘No one who believes in Him will be put to shame.’”
2 Corinthians 5:15, “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”
Revelation 3:20, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him, and he with Me.”
John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish (go to hell), but have eternal life (Heaven). For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
If you would like to surrender your heart to Jesus and ask him into your life, then pray the simple prayer:
Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you came into the world to save it. I believe you died on the cross to save me of my sins. I believe that you rose from the grave on the third day. I ask you to come into my heart and forgive me from all the sins and trespasses I have ever committed. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my soul. I pray this in Jesus Name! Amen!
I hope and pray that you have invited Jesus into your heart. Reach out to me via Facebook if you would like to talk further about giving your life to Christ Jesus. My Facebook is @JosephTLee777 or Instagram @PastorJoeLee.
I pray that you will come to know the living Jesus and that this Christmas season will be most meaningful to you! May the Lord Bless you and keep you; may the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace (cf. Numbers 6:24-26).
JC Ryle Compiled by Robert Sheehan, Daily Readings (Welwyn Garden City, UK: EP Books, 2020) 24 February Evening.
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