July 20

Today's Bible Readings
     Judges 3
     Acts 7
     Mark 2
''And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this'!''  (Mark 2: 12)
            Wouldn't it be wonderful if our churches and our lives were so characterized by the power of God that those around us would constantly be brought to say, ''We never saw anything like this." That was the constant atmosphere in the life and ministry of Jesus.
            Has it ever occurred to you why there were so many more healingsduring the ministry of Jesus and the early church than is characteristic of the modem church? One of the reasons is set forth by our Lord in verses 9 and 10 of Acts 7, Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven you”or to say, “Arise, take up your bed and walk”, that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins.
            Jesus wanted them to know that there was no greater miracle than the forgiveness of sin, and this power to heal only illustrated the power to forgive sin. But what an incredible event Jesus used to set forth this truth. Here is a man with an impossible problem, but he had a dream, an obsession, a desire, to be made well. He was most likely a quadriplegic and he could not get to Jesus unless someone helped him. He called upon his friends - it was necessary to have at least four of them to carry him, and they discovered the house was full where Jesus taught. It would have been so easy now to say, ''This is impossible, we'll turn back." But these were determined people - they uncovered the roof and let this crippled man down at the very feet of Jesus. The Scripture tells us that when Jesus saw their faith, he first said to the crippled man, ''Son, your sins are forgiven you." He then read the mind of the Scribes, and said, ''I 'm about to do something that will prove to you that I have the power to forgive sins." He then gave the healing that convinced them that He, indeed, had the power that He claimed.
Now it is not true to say that Jesus will give physical healing to everyone who asks for it. Physical healing is given by the sovereign will of God to some and to others it is withheld. But He does, indeed, give forgiveness to all those who seek it by faith in Him. The greatest miracle you will ever see is when a soul is transformed from darkness to light, from sin to the Savior, from Hell to Heaven.
            The Republic of Tunisiain Africa has approximately 10 million people. In earlier centuries, the Christian church was widespread, but now the country is almost 100% Muslim. Less than 1% of the population is Christian. It is sad to report that a century of missionary involvement produced little fruit. Now we need to pray that the emptiness of religious posturing, spiritual apathy and materialism might be exposed and replaced with a spiritual hunger for Jesus. It is during times of renewed interest that spiritual leaders must be trained for this critical time. Pray that the centuries old barriers of the Gospel might be demolished through continued intercession and that these first-fruits that are now evident might become a great harvest of souls.
''A man who has no enemies is no good.  You cannot move without producing friction."
Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.