How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38)
WE REMEMBER that John Bunyan wrote “Pilgrim’s Progress” while he was locked up in the Bedford jail for twelve years because he was preaching without a license from the government. His thriving church dwindled and was boarded up. At length, the government relented, and he returned to preach in his church, although he spent much of his time in London.
IT WAS A DAY AND PLACE OF EXTREME POVERTY. By age 59 Bunyan was one of England's most famous writers. He carried out his pastoring duties and was nicknamed "Bishop Bunyan." In August 1688, he rode through heavy rain to reconcile a father and son, became ill, and died.
I DON'T KNOW WHO DREW THE PICTURE of the pitiful, starving kitten leaning on a man’s shoe, but the caption supposedly was written by John Bunyan. What was there about this man, Jesus, who has commanded the allegiance of so many millions of people over a period of two thousand years? Before His day of crucifixion, he preached like no other man before Him. But, Peter shows us a snapshot of Jesus that drew people to hear Him and to give their lives for Him.
IN OUR TEXT FOR TODAY, Peter mentions in one line: “who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” Here is one of those phrases (two phrases) that is powerful and commanding. One might question: “What is so unusual about a man going about doing good?” It is unusual in that few men were going about doing good. It is still true today that not many men go around “doing good.” Men go around doing what they must do to earn a dollar.
THE SECRET IN GOING ABOUT DOING GOOD is to do what God has enabled us to do for the people who need it the most. A lot of people were oppressed by the devil and Jesus had the power of God to deal with it. So, he did. This is a pattern of what we are to do as His disciples. Do what God has enabled you to do. Before Peter made the statement above, he had already said to a lame man: Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Acts 3:6)
THIS BRINGS TO MIND THE PRACTICE OF A DEACON at the Highland Park Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. The deacon owned a restaurant and when the restaurant was closed at the end of the day, he began his second job. He took the food that was left over and delivered it to a list of people in need. He was always by himself. He never told anyone about it. He was just observed doing it day after day.
HOW DO WE GO ABOUT DOING GOOD? Perhaps it would begin with a prayer at the beginning of the day, asking God to show us what we should do. We do not know who is going to cross our path, but God knows. I don’t own a restaurant, so I can’t do what the deacon did. This same man, Peter, also said: As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (1Peter 4:10)
A BLACK CROW CAN'T SING LIKE A NIGHTINGALE because God made him to caw-caw-caw! Don’t worry about what other people are doing that you cannot do. But, you have a gift of some kind that can be a blessing to someone in need. That’s just the way it works.
PAUL TOLD US ANOTHER PART OF GOING ABOUT DOING GOOD. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. (2Corinthians 8:12) We might do well to begin with a kind word. How are you doing with kind words these days? When we start our day, if we are in tune with going about doing good, we will recognize an opportunity. This is Bible. The organ won’t play, and the church bell won’t ring but the one who watches the sparrow that falls also watches His children to see if they’re behaving like His children.
JOSEPH SCRIVEN WAS ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED and the day before the wedding, his bride-to-be capsized on the lake and drowned. Joseph never married. He was a handyman who circulated in his community fixing things for people. When he died, someone found a folded paper in a draw with words in his handwriting. It was a poem: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Charles Converse wrote the music and sing it today as one of the most loved of gospel songs. Listen to Larry Ford sing it today. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JANUARY 18, 2018 – THURSDAY
A.M. Genesis 42-43 P.M. Matthew 13:33-58
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. (Psalm 41:1)
Song for Today:
What a Friend We Have in Jesus (3:37) (Larry Ford -Gaither Group)
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