Daily Devotional for Saturday March 29, 2014
Jesus is Our Example
(Matthew 9:36, 20:28; 2 Corinthians 4:2, 6:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 5:14)
**ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, does God love [everyone], that is, every human being ever born? I don't believe He does. In a multitude of occasions, God has directed His chosen instrument to destroy (kill) many peoples, including men, women, children, infants, and even their animals. God Himself, by His own Hand has destroyed a multitude of people (i.e. The Flood). So, "if" he does in fact love every human being, that would have to mean He destroyed/killed many of those whom He actually loved. I cannot begin to fathom that He would do that.
ANSWER: YES! We are created in His image and He loves each one of us. Sadly, it was man's freewill CHOICE to rebel against God, and thus, man who was created to live forever in fellowship with God not only had that bond broken, but would now experience physical death as well. In the cases in the OT where God directed His people to kill all men, women, children, and living things, it was because those were people groups who chose to live in rebellion to God and did not seek peace, only the destruction of God's people. Same with Noah's flood, it was to PRESERVE His people. Acts of nature are a byproduct of man's sin which also destroyed the perfection his environment. God loved each of us SO MUCH, that He actually sent His Son to die for the sins of ALL mankind.
During my "Arabian desert" experience from 1990-1992 as God was re-working me, molding me into the man He wanted me to be, I was immersed in the study of God's Word for 12-16 hours every single day. I literally spent thousands of hours studying the life of Jesus in the Gospels, reading about His every move, paying close attention to how Jesus conducted His business. After all, He was the only one who lived this life perfectly. He is our example. He is the one we follow and are to pattern our lives after. The goal of every person who has accepted the Lord into their heart and life by faith is to become more like Him each day.
One area of Christ's life that I studied endlessly was how He ministered to others. If I was going to serve Him, minister in His name, I wanted to minister to people the way Jesus did. The first thing that stood out about the way Jesus ministered was that He loved people, He had great compassion for them. You can literally feel His love for people as He ministered to their needs, no matter what those needs were. The second thing that stood out to me was that Jesus cared enough about people to tell them the truth. Even when it was not what they wanted to hear, even if His words hurt their feelings, Jesus loved people enough to tell them the truth.
The last thing that stood out was how ACCESSIBLE Jesus was to the people. How could you seriously minister to someone's hurts and pains without having some interaction with that person? How could you effectively help someone through their struggles from a distance? Jesus got involved in people's lives! Yes, there were those times when He spoke to large crowds like when he gave the "Sermon on the Mount," but for the most part, Christ's earthly ministry was one on one or to small groups of people. Jesus understood that to effectively minister to people's needs, He had to be accessible to the people and he had to be involved in their lives. Sadly today, so much ministry is conducted "one way."
In the 22 years now since I have been in full-time ministry, I have always done my best to follow the example of Christ and make myself accessible and available to the people who I was reaching out to. Without a doubt the biggest hurdle to overcome in any sort of media ministry, whether it be on the Internet, TV, radio, or film, through music, or in books and magazines, is to be accessible and minister to the needs of each individual you are reaching. This has also become a big problem in the new "mega-churches" where you have thousands and thousands of people in the congregation. People need someone to minister to them when they are hurting and need counsel and prayer.
That is why the commitment was made day one when Liveprayer started nearly 15 years ago that every email for prayer would be responded to. That was not such a hard commitment to keep in the first days when there were only a few dozen, but as Liveprayer has grown and there are now over 40,000 prayer requests daily, and with the help of our team of over 700 retired pastors, we have worked hard to keep that commitment and make sure each email for prayer receives a personal response. To date, we have responded to over 100 million emails for prayer! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
TV is a very difficult medium to make interactive since it is designed for one-way communication. However, through our existing Internet infrastructure, we have been able through email to make the TV program VERY interactive and accessible to anyone who watches.
Yes, Liveprayer reaches over 2.4 million people daily through the Internet, yes, Liveprayer reaches over 200 thousand people 5 nights a week on the TV program, but we have done our very best to insure that any person we reach has a way of communicating with us and most important, that we can communicate BACK to them and minister to their individual needs. I never forget for a second that each person who receives the Daily Devotional, I never forget for a second that each person who watches the TV program is a unique and special person that Jesus loves and died for.
Out of the billions of people on this planet, it is no accident that God allowed them to read that message or watch that program, and as they reach out for help it is my responsibility to be there for them and make sure they know they are loved!!!
I love you and care about you so much. The one thing that I thank God for each day is for a new heart that truly loves and cares for people. There is no way that I could do what I do 7 days a week otherwise. I can honestly say that I have not always had such a heart, and even now am often selfish and need to work on being more loving and compassionate towards others. But deep down, God has given me a desire to help those who are hurting and facing the trials and tribulations we all go through during our brief journey through this life. I have no doubt that the number one job God has called me to do is to share His Truth and be there for those that are lost, hurting, and looking for answers and hope in their life.
That is why I am driven to reach more people every day through the Daily Devotional and the TV program. It doesn't equate to more money coming in as it would in a business. As a matter of fact it equates to more money going out since we have to pay to reach out to those we do and then bear the expenses to follow up and minister to them. However, there are billions of people living today without the hope of Christ. Billions of people hurting as they make their way through this life. It is my prayer daily for God to continue to give me the resources and ability to reach as many of those people as possible since I have the answer they are looking for, the hope they desire...JESUS CHRIST!
As impersonal as the Internet and TV can be, I will keep doing all I can to insure that Liveprayer is a very personal experience for each person we minister to. What has set this ministry apart from anyone else on the Internet or on TV is that we just don't minister to people "one way," but have made ourselves accessible so that those who are hurting, those who need God's touch in their life, know there is a place to come where they will be prayed for and receive a personal response to guide them, encourage them, and walk with them.
One reason why I still answer app. 200 emails at random every day is because I never want to lose sight of what I am here for, and that is to minister to the needs of the dear people we reach each day through the Internet and on TV. The day I am too busy to minister to someone who is hurting, too important to reach out to someone who needs Christ's love and hope, that is the day I need to leave the ministry and go do something else. God has called me to serve others, not have others serve me. I am grateful every day for God's grace and mercy in my life. He never gave up on me even though I turned my back on Him. I am honored that He allows me the privilege to serve Him, and try my best each day to bring honor and glory to His name through my life.
I am praying for you today my friend. Praying for God's blessings in your life and His strength as you faithfully follow Him. Please know that when you come to those rough places in life we all come to at times, I will be here for you. Never hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org any time I can help you in any way. God has blessed me with the privilege of sharing His Truth with you each day, to encourage you in your relationship with Him, and to be here to pray with you and for you in your time of need. Jesus ministered in a very personal way to the needs of those He reached. I will continue to do my best to follow His example.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,