May 22 – For Whose Praise?
Scripture: 1 Samuel 10:1-12:25 /John 12:37-13:17 / Psalm 66:1-12
What does it take to convince people that they need a Savior and Jesus is the only one who can redeem them? Will Miracles, Divine Manifestations or Supernatural Encounters work? Jesus did miraculous signs in the presence of the Jewish nation yet there were some who still did not believe.
The “religious” had difficulties believing because their eyes were blinded and hearts were hardened. This was God’s response due to their lack of faith. Because they doubted, God blinded their perspective and because they rejected The Truth, God hardened their understanding. (Jn:12:40)
Yet, in the midst of the doubt, there were “many” leaders who believed. (42) This looked like an opportunity for a divine harvest but it became a graveyard of souls. Why…because those who believed, refused to confess their faith in Christ. They feared the persecution of Jewish leadership and excommunication from the synagogue. But their greatest fault was they loved the praises of men more than the praise of God. (43)
I find there are those in our world who “believe” in Jesus but do not “confess” their sin or “live” for Christ. Their worldly image and status is more important than following their faith. They live to impress the world, not The Lord. It is easy to get caught up in the hype and glories of man. We have a deep need to belong, to be accepted and respected. When we feel we have achieved men’s praises, there is instant satisfaction and a sense of great worth!
Whereas, it is difficult at times to recognize God’s pleasure in us and we are often blinded to His rewards. But never forget, the praises of men greatly fail in comparison to God’s favor. Christ promises not only an abundant life, He promises eternal life! Look around… He is behind, beside and ahead of us. His grace sustains us, His love surrounds us and His presence overwhelms us.
Listen closely, He will speak to us and give direction, strength and hope. I live to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.” Meanwhile, He reveals Himself everyday to us as we live this life according to His purpose and glory. Like the song of old… “Take this whole world, but give me Jesus!”
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!