Thoughts and encouragement from David Guzik for pastors, preachers, Bible teachers, and all those who serve God, His people, and a needy world in Jesus’ name.

Two or Three

Two or Three

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope your weekend was blessed, and if God gave you the opportunity to teach or preach His Word, I hope it was both enjoyable and effective!

Today I want to remind you of some familiar words from Jesus:

For where two or three are
gathered together in My name,
I am there in the midst of them.
(Matthew 18:20)

This wonderful, encouraging statement from Jesus comes in the context of speaking about order and even correction among God’s people (Matthew 18:15-18). It’s as if Jesus said, “When God’s people are gathered in community, I am among them, and My presence grants the authority to confront and correct.”

Two or Three

Yet, the distinctive way Jesus said this gives us a lot to think about. Let’s think about the first part of Matthew 18:20: Where two or three are gathered. With these words Jesus here indicated that meetings of His people – indeed, meetings full of power and authority connected to heaven – do not need to be large gatherings. Those gatherings can be of two or three of His followers at a time. 

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that Jesus is more present among the many than He is among the few. There is usually a greater sense of excitement and anticipation when more people gather. It’s easy for a small gathering to seem unimpressive. But Jesus doesn’t think so. He says, “Two or three are plenty enough for Me to be there.”

Think of what this means:

• This shows us that large numbers are not essential for Jesus to be present.
• This shows us that the status of the people is not essential for Jesus to be present.
• This shows us that the particular place is not essential for Jesus to be present.
• This shows us that the particular time is not essential for Jesus to be present.
• This shows us that the particular form the meeting should take is not essential for Jesus to be present.

Now, I must say, I would rather reach more people with God’s message than less people. It’s wonderful when God gives us the opportunity to preach or teach the Bible to many people. But remember that Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered.” He doesn’t despise the small meeting, and neither should we. If Jesus graces a small meeting with His presence, then it isn’t a small meeting at all. Nothing is small or insignificant when the King of Kings attends.

If you reach many people with God’s Word, be thankful for it. If you reach few, be thankful for those two or three or however many. Most of all, be thankful that you teach and preach in the presence of Jesus. That’s enough for any of us!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Famine for the Word

Famine Relief

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

How was your weekend? If God gave you the opportunity to preach or teach His Word, I pray that it was effective and that you were able to enjoy being God’s messenger.

Today I want to share a passage with you from Amos 8:11:

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the LORD.”

Famine for the Word

We all know what a famine is, and we see the pictures from time to time, Heart rending pictures of thousands of people suffering under the tragedy of famine. In such desperate times, the world often mobilizes to bring food to these troubled regions, and sometimes a disaster is prevented from becoming a catastrophe.

The Prophet Amos reminds us that there is another kind of famine: I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. Notice carefully the nature of this famine. It was not about a lack of God’s Word, but it was a famine…of hearing the words of the LORD.

It isn’t that God’s Word wasn’t available, but that it was not listened to. It was not a case of God withholding His revelation; but of people being in such a state that they did not want to hear it.

As a pastor, preacher, or Bible teacher, I trust that you are doing what you can to faithfully bring God’s message. Yet, maybe you are discouraged because (at least sometimes) there seems to be a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.

If that is you, take heart. Even some of God’s best messengers knew what this was like! Make it a matter of prayer, asking God to really work in those who hear you, so they can truly feed on the Word of God. Pray that they would welcome the Word, just as it says in 1 Thessalonians 2:13.

Do your best to give good spiritual food, and then pray: “LORD, send famine relief!”

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Contend for the Faith

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope you had a blessed weekend of serving Jesus, His people, and a needy world. For some of you, it was an exhilarating time; for others, there were more than a few discouragements. Whether it was an easy or a difficult ministry weekend for you, I pray God will bless, refresh, and empower to keep going and growing in serving the Lord.

Here’s something on my heart this day, a hopefully brief word from Jude 1:3:

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.

88

There’s a lot to be observed in this verse but let me get to the point: Jude is the letter that didn’t want to be written. It seems that he wanted to write something much more encouraging and positive. But the urgency of the moment made him say, “I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

So, here’s my word for you, dear pastor, preacher, or Bible teacher:

– You may not wantto contend earnestly for the faith.
– You may not liketo contend earnestly for the faith.
– You may not feel capableto contend earnestly for the faith.

Still, it is something that we have to do. If you would rather not contend earnestly for the faith, you’re in good company – at first, Jude didn’t want to either.

Dear pastor, preacher, or Bible teacher – please, contend earnestly for the faith. Do it with love and do it with wisdom but by all means do it!

Stand strong in God’s truth.

Blessings in Jesus,

David Guzik

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Promises to the Servant

Promises to the Servant

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house. (Isaiah 42:6-7)

This wonderful passage is a prophecy about the Messiah, and were beautifully fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In them, we see that God the Father says to the Servant, God the Son: “I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand.” Specifically, this is a promise from the LORD to the Servant – Jesus Christ. What encouragement Jesus must have received from passages like this when He faced difficult and trying times during His earthly ministry!

Promises to the Servant

The Father promised the Son that He called You in righteousness. It was as if the Father said to the Servant Son, “Because there was nothing unholy or unrighteous in My calling, You can be confident that the calling will be fulfilled.”

The Father promised the Son that He will hold Your hand. The Father said to the Servant Son, “I am with You always, to love and guide You. I will never leave You. I am holding Your hand all the time!”

The Father promised the Son I will keep You. The Father said to the Servant Son, “You will not get lost or left behind. I am always there to watch over You and keep You.”

The Father promised the Son to give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles. The Father said to the Servant Son, “You will fulfill the purpose I have called You to. You will bring salvation, not only to Your people, but also to those afar off, who seem beyond salvation.”

The Father promised the Son to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison; so it was as if the Father said to the Servant Son, “I will use You to do miraculous works of restoration and healing, both physically and spiritually. You will be used to bring sight and freedom to many.”

What glorious promises, each fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus! But please consider this: by extension, these promises also belong to us. Jesus prayed, As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world (John 17:18)We are sent as servants into the world even as Jesus, the perfect Servant was sent. Therefore, we can receive these same promises as belonging to us.

So, consider it:
– God promises you a calling
– To hold your hand and to keep you
– To use you to bring salvation to others
– To use you to bring sight and freedom to others.

As the Father sent the Son, so the Son sends us – as servants of God.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Henrietta Mears

The Decision of Henrietta Mears

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

This last week I taught at a family camp at Forest Home in the mountains of Southern California. It was a great time, and I’m happy to return there for another family camp in 2020. Forest Home has a notable founder, the late Henrietta Mears.

Henrietta Mears

A lot could be said about this remarkable woman of God, but today I just want to give you something I found on the last page of a Bible belonging to the late Dr. J. Edwin Orr (who also had a fascinating connection to Forest Home). On that last page, was written the following:

Henrietta C. Mears
Personal Dedication to Christ
Regarding her first Sunday School Class

I will win the personal allegiance
of every one of my class
to the Lord Jesus Christ;
I will walk; I will write; I will pray.

I will remain close to them
until they are established;
I will associate with them in fellowship;
I will make myself available to them always;
I will see that they are committed to some definite task.

I will put the Cross back into my Christianity,
and I will pray as I have never prayed before
for a new vision of God.

I will spend and be spent in this battle,
and will not seek rest or ease;
I will seek fellowship with the Man of Sorrows
as He walks through this stricken world.

And I Will Not Fail.

Obviously, none of this can be done except by the Spirit of God (Zechariah 4:6) – I’m sure Henrietta Mears understood that. I just hope you are inspired by her determination and dedication to the cause of influencing others for Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Still Chosen

Still Chosen, Still Called


Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope your weekend was blessed in the service of God, His people, and a needy world! Here’s a thought for the start of this week from Isaiah 14:1:

For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob,
and will still choose Israel,
and settle them in their own land.
The strangers will be joined with them,
and they will cling to the house of Jacob. 
(Isaiah 14:1)

Still Chosen

Sometimes God’s work is gloomy work, and many of God’s prophets have labored in gloomy times. God told Isaiah to tell the people of God that the mighty Babylonian Empire would crush them as an act of God’s judgment – not a cheerful message! Yet, God gave hope in the midst of gloom, and the gloom of Isaiah 13 turns into the hope of Isaiah 14, where it says: For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will still choose Israel.

Did you notice those four words? “Will still choose Israel.” Sometimes we feel that we know God chose us, but if He had to choose again, He would change His choice! He chose you for salvation and will still choose you. God chose you for ministry and will still choose you.

God’s love hasn’t changed since the days of Isaiah. He would still choose you. Sometimes sin, defeat, and discouragement make us think that God is almost “stuck” with us now and would choose differently if He could. That isn’t the case. His love towards you remains the same. He loved you all along, knowing how you would fail Him – but God’s love to you is based in who He is, not in who you are. Rest assured: He will still choose you.

Remember the great promise of Romans 11:29: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” It’s true that there may be seasons when we step back to strengthen our discipleship or character, but the fundaments gifts and calling of God are not taken back.

He chose you, and He still chooses you. Take some rest in that today!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Light affliction

Our Light Affliction


Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

After your weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world – could you please take a moment to read and consider this deep thought from 2 Corinthians 4:17?

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Light affliction

Years ago I read about an unemployed man in Tokyo who created a job for himself. He dressed in protective padding and let people on the streets of Tokyo wear boxing gloves and beat him for three minutes. He made $10 a turn and said, “I enjoy being used as a punching bag, it’s… another way to experience life. I want to continue as long as my body holds up.”

As we serve God, sometimes we feel like a punching bag. We don’t seek this out, and when we face the bumps and bruises of ministry, we want them to heal as quickly as possible. Paul bore many afflictions (2 Corinthians 6:45), and probably didn’t enjoy them. Yet he saw value in them, and estimated them to be light afflictions.

How can we see our affliction as light when it seems so heavy?

Our affliction is light compared to what others are suffering. No matter how bad we have it, there are many others who suffer worse.

Our affliction is light compared to what we deserve. We often don’t like to think about it, but haven’t we sinned against God again and again? Jesus learned through what He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Perhaps God wants to use a season of affliction to teach me something.

Our affliction is light compared to what Jesus suffered for us. There is simply no comparison between what we are going through and all Jesus suffered spiritually, emotionally, and physically – and all for us, not for Himself.

Our affliction is light compared to the blessings we enjoy. We often ask, “why do I deserve this?” But that question applies to our times of blessing, which are actually far greater than our afflictions.

Our affliction is light compared to the sustaining power of God’s grace. He can and does strengthen us, as we humbly receive His help, no matter how He brings it to us.

Our affliction is light compared to the glory it leads to. God has eternal glories to work in us through our present affliction – including the bumps and bruises the belong to ministry. Those eternal glories are a greater prize than anything we can see on earth.

Your afflictions are real. Yet comparatively, they are light. Rest in Him, rest in that today.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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is it right

Is It Right?


Then the LORD said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I pray that as this comes to you on a Monday or a Tuesday after a weekend of ministry, that you are being refreshed and recharged by God. In whatever way you served God, His people, or a needy world this week, God saw what you did and how it honored Him.

is it right

There is a lot I could say about what God said to Jonah with this question. The context of it all in the book of Jonah makes it even more fascinating. But I know you are busy and hopefully will have some opportunity to rest and recharge today, so I won’t take much of your time with this.

God asked Jonah, is it right for you to be angry? God likes to ask questions, and it’s a great study to find out all the questions God asks of man throughout the Bible. God teaches through His questions, and He wanted to teach Jonah. Jonah felt justified in his anger, but God wanted him to see that not right for him to be angry.

What might God ask you today?

Is it right for you to be discouraged?
Is it right for you to be jealous?
Is it right for you be proud?
Is it right for you to be bitter?
Is it right for you to be unforgiving?

I might feel I have a reason to hold on to all of these things, and maybe more. When I think of how great God is, and how marvelous His plan is, and how good it is for me to die to self even when it is difficult, I see that it isn’t right for me to hold on to any of those things.

Dear brother or sister, don’t let the work of God in you and through you be hindered by holding on to something that isn’t right.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Shepherd with sheep

People God Calls


I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said to me, “Go, prophesy to My people Israel.” (Amos 7:14-15)

Amos was not a graduate of the school of the prophets. He was more familiar with the plow than with the pulpit. He knew more about seeds and sowing than seeing into the future.

Shepherd with sheep

It seems that Amos was simply doing his job as a farmer when one day it happened: “Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock.” It was because Amos was an honorable sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit that God made him an honorable prophet. Like many others in the Bible, God called Amos as he faithfully performed his present calling. The call came to:

Rachel watering sheep
Moses and David tending sheep
Joshua helping Moses
Gideon threshing wheat
Ruth gathering grain
Elisha serving Elijah
Peter catching fish
Matthew collecting taxes

The life of Amos was not useless as a farmer before he was a prophet. The world needs sheepbreeders, farmers, mechanics, doctors, technicians, insurance salesmen and everything else. To serve God and others honorably in these professions is just as honorable as serving Him as a prophet.

But we see God had a purpose in specifically calling a man like Amos. He wanted to show the greatness of the ministry was in the God who inspires it, not in the man or woman used in ministry. When Amos spoke people didn’t say, “He must have been top of his class at the school of the prophets.” Instead they said, “God is really saying something through that farmer.”

God had another purpose in calling Amos. With so many allusions and illustrations from the world of agriculture, Amos spoke as a farmer and God used it. Every person really called to speak forth for God has a manner and style of their own. Though God speaks through them all, they still do not lose not their individuality or unique character. We might say that the breath which causes the music is the same, but no two instruments give forth precisely the same sound. Amos was a unique instrument and God breathed through him in a special way.

Dear pastor, preacher, or Bible teacher – you are a unique individual. You are singular in what you are by birth, training, life experience and anointing. God can and will use you according to your special calling. It may be in a way noticed or unnoticed by others, but that is unimportant – as long as your calling is noticed in heaven. Just make sure you answer every time God calls!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Crowning Kings

Ready for a Crown


Blessed is the man who endures temptation;
for when he has been approved,
he will receive the crown of life
which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
(James 1:12)

Happy Monday! If you served God, His people, or a needy world this last weekend in Jesus’ name, I pray today God will find several ways to recharge and refresh you.

We love the Beatitudes – those wonderful sayings of Jesus in Matthew 5 about those who are blessed. Yet the New Testament gives us a few more beatitudes beyond the Sermon on the Mount. Here, God pronounces a blessing on the one who endures temptation.

Crowning Kings

I think there are several kinds of temptation that are common to pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers. We are tempted to discouragement and tempted to pride. We tempted to self-reliance and to carelessness. We are tempted to make an idol out of the ministry or to lose heart with it.

Friend, please know – as you endure these temptations, God promises the crown of life to you. It’s worth it to keep going, to keep trusting in Jesus, and to keep receiving His strength.

Enduring through temptation, there is a promise for us: The crown of life which the Lord has promised. With this, James reminds us that it really is worth it to endure under the temptations we face.

The idea of our coming crown is amazing – almost more than we can take in. Spurgeon said this about our coming crown: “O you dear Christian people that live in poverty and obscurity, I have a reverence for your heads which are already anointed with grace, for your heads that are yet to be crowned with glory. You run – often run better than the greatest and most observed of your fellow Christians; and you shall not miss your reward. There is a crown laid up, not only for Paul, but ‘for all them that love our Lord’s appearing.’”

I don’t know what temptations face you on a Monday following a weekend serving God. Whatever they are, be encouraged. Endure through them. Look forward to the promised crown.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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