Her name was Rachel Scott. She was a student at Columbine High School the day that two students opened fire in the school. Rachel was a verbal witness to her faith and wrote in her diary that she had lost all her friends at school because she had begun to walk her talk. Even though the people she tried to influence turned away from her she wouldn’t give in. She said that she was not going to apologize for speaking the name of Jesus even if she lost all her friends. On that fateful day one of the gunman confronted her and asked if she still believed in God. She looked him in the eye and said “yes, I still believe”. The young man then asked her why, but before she could speak he opened fire on Rachel and killed her.
Rachel Scott was not ashamed to speak up for the God she loved and believed in. Her testimony has been shared around the world and multitudes have come to Christ and believers have been encouraged by her faith. The words in her diary written exactly one year before her death speak of her unashamed testimony: “I am not going to hide the light that God has put into me. If I have to sacrifice everything, I will”.
The apostle Paul had a similar testimony that is recorded in Romans 1:16. He said: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek”. This verse is a challenge put out to the whole family of God. That gospel message of Jesus Christ dying to pay for our sins is something that we should never be ashamed of. We should never be ashamed to speak up for His gospel, stand up for His cause, and to show up for His service.
Being a committed unashamed believer is beginning to be more unpopular in our day. We may have to pay a price for speaking out for our Lord and the truths of His Word. Will we take our stand with Paul and Rachel Scott? Will we boldly proclaim: I am not ashamed?
Have you taken time to consider how much our daily lives have changed in the past few decades? We have experienced changes in transportation, communication, medicine, higher education, technology and the list goes on. We have gone from sending letters to sending texts and tweets. Instead of seeing telephone poles we see cell towers dotting our landscape. Kids playtime has become digital instead of physical. We can take college classes, shop for a pizza, and even date someone online without ever leaving our room.
There are times I get nostalgic and long for a slower and simpler age, don’t you? But change is inevitable and there is no way we can go back to the way things used to be. However, I am very thankful that in this world of constant flux there is one thing that will never change; and that is Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in Heb. 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”. Also the book of Revelation tells us: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). Our Lord is the one constant in a world of change. He will never get outdated. He will never become obsolete and He will never be traded in for a new and improved model. With all of the improvements that have been developed by the intelligence of man there is one thing that he has not been able to improve on: himself. Man is broke on the inside and hopelessly lost. He still needs a Savior to redeem him from his sins and Jesus is that Savior. He needs a constant friend to give him hope and help in life and Jesus is that Friend. Mankind still needs someone who will usher him into the presence of God for all of eternity and only Jesus can do that.
No matter how much the world around us may change we still have a changeless Christ for a changing world.
Babies are wonderful! When my own babies came into the world I would hold them in my arms and observe how fragile those little hands were. I would see those tiny fingers wrap around my own little finger. When Jesus came into the world his hands also were tiny. But have you ever considered how powerful those tiny hands were.
The Bible tells us that they were the hands of the Creator. “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Col. 1:16). Everything was created by and for Jesus. What amazing power in those hands.
As we think of the tiny hands of the baby in the manger we also realize that they would be the hands of a carpenter. Working with wood His hands would become rough and callused as He worked with Joseph. I am awed that our Lord of All Creation chose to put on the apron of a carpenter.
Those tiny hands were also the hands of a miracle worker. Jesus went around Galilee and Judea healing blind eyes, restoring lame legs, opening deaf ears and restoring demonized lives. The touch of those hands changed everything for those He met.
Tiny hands in the manger reaching up from the hay are also the hands of a Savior. The Bible tells us that those hands were pierced. They would be nailed to a cruel Roman cross. Yet the precious blood which flowed from those hands would provide salvation for a lost world. (1 Pet. 1:18,19). To those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus, those nail pierced hands can give us eternal life.
I have also learned that Jesus hands are the hands of a friend. He lifts me up when I fall. He leads me in the right path. And I know that I can’t even walk without Him holding my hand.
Tiny hands of a creator, carpenter, healer, Savior, and friend; be sure to place your hands in the hands of Jesus.
Arriving to church to prepare for the Sunday morning services, I heard an owl in the early pre-dawn mist. Sitting in my car I looked around to try to find where he had chosen to perch. I finally spied him sitting on the church steeple calling out his “who…who… who”, in the darkness. This large great horned owl boldly sang out his owl-song to anyone who chose to listen. I was so honored that he had chosen our church steeple to proclaim his message.
At the end of the book of Revelation God has a final message for anyone willing to listen. As He closes His revelation to man He offers us a haunting challenge much like my friend the owl. Revelation 22:17 also contains a “who”. It boldly tells us: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely”. God calls out to “whosoever will” to take the water of life. This is our Lord’s offer of salvation to anyone who will believe in His Son Jesus Christ and accept Him as Lord and Savior.
The owl chose our church steeple as his pulpit to call out his message. What a challenge to those of us who are followers of Christ. Jesus has entrusted the message of His gospel to the church. What a privilege, yet what a responsibility. The good news of the gospel is only good news if it reaches those outside the family. We need to be constantly thinking of ways to get this saving gospel to those who are outside of the 4 walls of the church. By building bridges to our unchurched friends we then speak to them about the Savior. We should use every opportunity to invite folks to venues where the gospel is proclaimed. The church needs to use new technologies to reach out to the lost as well.
That owl chose our steeple to call out his message. Jesus has chosen His church to proclaim His gospel to whosoever will.
As I was leaving the McDonalds restaurant I talked to an employee who had brought her lunch outside to enjoy the beauty of the day. She placed her lunch on one of the tables and walked away briefly. As soon as she left I saw a grackle quickly fly to the table and stick his beak into her French fry bag and steal himself a fry. Just as he was about to return to the scene of the crime I shooed him away from the employee’s meal. I stayed at my post and stood guard until the McDonalds worker came back.
I marveled how slick that bird had become in developing the skill to steal fries from outdoor diners. Have you ever wondered how slick the devil has developed the ability to steal our joy from us? Our Lord promised to give us His joy. He said in John 15:11: “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full”. Our joy comes from our connection to and our abiding in Christ. We have a full supply of His joy as we continue to walk with our Lord. However the joy thief, the devil can steal away our joy. He does it by causing us to walk away and focus our attention elsewhere. We take our eyes off of our Lord and become overwhelmed with outward circumstances, difficult people, painful trials, and busy distractions. When our head is turned we find our joy is missing. We need to keep our eyes wide open and focused on our Lord. Hebrews 12:2 challenges us: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God”.
I noticed that the McDonalds I visited posted signs at their outside dining tables that read: “don’t feed the birds”. Jesus has given His followers a full supply of His joy. Don’t let the devil steal it away.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation