CSR Daily Devotion

I have to apologize for the last few days of this Daily Devotion (DD). I was coming off three overnights and every morning as I sat down to prepare these messages to post, I was dozing off and just doing all I could to copy-and-paste the content and share some music. Well, yesterday’s post was a message I had been waiting for since I began this blog, to get to the day when I mention the story of the invalid at the pools from John chapter 5 and be able to share Pastor Steven Furtick‘s message “Trust Me, I’m Trying.” If you did not listen to that message from yesterday, click the link above and get caught up, because today I am sharing an even more powerful new word from Pastor Furtick that came out of Elevation Church this past weekend.

Pastor Furtick delivers what he promises to be a series talking about the way God is using this crisis to bring the world to a new normal. His message touches a lot of the points I made in the book Common Sense Reborn. Weeks ago, when COVID was beginning it’s march across America, I proposed the question of where this virus came from. Was it something created by some strange Virology University out of Wuhan, China, and accidentally released into the world? That is the comforting theory because it gives us a common enemy to blame. Was this the devil’s creation to make us question God’s power and importance? This is also an easy scapecoat because it let’s us blame our eternal enemy. Or is this God, creating a new virus to wake the world up and help us realize how mixed up our priorities have become? This last narrative is part of Pastor Furtick’s message, that God is using this current climate we are all trapped in to wake this nation up, and help us realize what is truly important. If that is the case, which I do believe is part of the story we are living in, I hope that Pastor Furtick is right and Americans will change their priorities. But I don’t personally think the nation has gotten to that point yet. We have citizen’s marching to the capitols of the states they live in with AR-15’s because they are mad they can’t get a haircut at a barbershop. I see dozens and dozens of people still congregating in parks and playing basketball when I drive through the city I work in, and they wonder why the virus is still spreading throughout their communities. We have people in this country, that have been blessed and protected only be the grace of God, question if this virus is real or not because they personally have not seen it in their lives, yet they dismiss the countless reports from healthcare workers on the front lines. So I hope that America emerges from this as a changed nation, but I don’t see it yet. All I see is a nation still trapped by the same distractions. A nation that has just been grounded to their homes for just over a month. A nation that is still focused on wasting their time on mindless garbage, spending all this extra opportunity binge watching more shows on streaming services while their Bibles continue to sit undisturbed. We still need revival, we still need Christian warriors to stand strong to spread the truth of Jesus’ love and grace. If the nation reopens within the next week or two, as state governments are already discussing to do, caving into the foolish cries of an ignorant population, then we will emerge from this crisis with nothing learned except that we need to stock up on toilet paper. Do not let this time pass without letting it change you permanently. And the change needs to be a spiritual reckoning. Catch up on your Bible plans, finish the good work started long ago. Your moment of greatest opportunity is about to end.

April 21

35Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.  36But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.  37All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.  38For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.  39And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.  40For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”(John 6:35-40)

While all the Gospels are unique in their own way, each written from a different author, therefore a different point of view, what I like to focus on in John’s Gospel are the miracles he covers and some of the specific conversations only found in his writings.  I referenced when Jesus states to the woman at the well last week saying “I am he,” in regards to Jesus being the expected Messiah. And last week I said Jesus uses the “I am” connotation several more times in John’s recollection of His ministry. Here we see Jesus saying He is “the bread of life.”  Faith in Jesus is enough to feed your soul’s hunger. Obviously, Jesus is not speaking in literal terms. We all need sustenance to survive. While the Word of God is enough to feed our souls, it is not enough to survive off of alone. Moving past the first line, there is a lot of encouraging scripture to unpack.  Jesus tells the Jewish crowd all those who come to Him, He will never “drive away.” And that despite followers of Jesus losing their lives, Jesus will raise them all to have eternal life at the last day. These verses do bring up questions as to whether when we die, do we go straight to Heaven (assuming we lived good lives, bringing many to know Jesus); or are we in some sort of sleep or limbo until Jesus returns on the “last day?”  I do not have the answer to that question, but, in reality, it is a question we do not need the answer to. What we need to focus on is the life we do live, to make sure we set our lives up for success in the afterlife, not for success in this life. Jesus gives us specific instruction on how to achieve that in passages such as this. Come to Jesus all you weary and broken, He will give you rest.

Reading plan:  John 17:13-26

Deeper reading plan:  1 Chronicles 16, 17, 18

Prayer and meditation:  Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones.  Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet.  And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much.

Fitness challenge:  Sprint day. We’re up  to 8×200 meter sprints.  It’s a lot, but push through and you’ll feel great after.

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