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.

What Jesus Didn't Forget

What Jesus Didn’t Forget

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope your Monday morning finds you resting and restoring after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world.

Here’s a verse from Matthew for you to think about today:

Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,
“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
(Matthew 9:2)

What Jesus Didn't Forget

The man was obviously paralyzed, yet Jesus didn’t speak first to his leg problem. Jesus spoke first to the man’s sin problem. After telling the man to take courage (be of good cheer), Jesus pronounced his sins as forgiven.

Here is something worth remembering as we do our work and proclaim God’s word: don’t forget their sin problem.

Sometimes we would rather not talk about sin. It seems old-fashioned and unpopular. It often seems that always being positive and pleasant is better rewarded. People don’t like being reminded of their sin.

Yet, we are servants of our Master, Jesus Christ – and He knew the importance of dealing with the sin problem. Jesus addressed the man’s greater problem. As bad as it is to be paralyzed, it is infinitely worse to be bound and lost in your sin.

The old Puritan commentator Matthew Poole saw six reasons why Jesus dealt with the man’s sin first. To paraphrase Poole’s reasons why the sin was dealt with first:

  • Because sin is the root from which all our evils come.
  • Because forgiveness is more important than bodily healing.
  • Because the most important thing Jesus came to do was to deal with sin.
  • Because when a man’s sins are forgiven, he comes into relationship with God.
  • Because God forgives sin in response to faith.
  • Because it began an important conversation with the religious leaders.

Dear friend serving the Lord, as you speak to others in your work for Him, don’t forget to address the problem of sin – and more importantly, God’s solution to the problem in Jesus Christ.

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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Born in Bethlehem

Born in Bethlehem

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Happy Monday! I don’t know what your weekend ministry was like, but I’m praying that today can be a day of refreshment and inspiration to you.

Here are a few thoughts leading up to Christmas from Micah 5:2:

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting.”

Born in Bethlehem

Bethlehem was well known as the hometown of David, Israel’s greatest king; yet it was never a great or influential city. It was truly little among the thousands of Israel. Yet God chose it as the birthplace of the Messiah, the Ruler in Israel.

This passage from Micah 5 was quoted by the chief priests and teachers of the law when Herod asked about the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 2:5-6).

Bethlehem means House of Bread. From eternity past (Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting), Jesus came to us as the Bread of Life (John 6:35). Micah’s prophetic voice declared that though Jesus came from Bethlehem, He did not begin there. His goings forth are from eternity past.

Knowing that Jesus’ goings forth are from of old, from everlasting shows us some important things:

– It shows us the glory of Jesus, that He is far more than merely a man.
– It shows us the love of Jesus, that He would leave the glory of heaven for us.
– It shows us the sympathy of Jesus, that He remains fully man and fully God.

– It shows us the nature of Jesus, that He would add humanity to His deity.

Dear servant of God, that glory, love, and sympathy bound up in the nature of Jesus are for you. It isn’t just for the people you serve in Jesus’ name! It’s for you, and you can’t give what you haven’t first received.

Let the glory of the eternal Jesus fill your soul – and then bless others from the overflow!

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

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What Makes One Great

What Makes One Great?

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

This Monday morning, it is an honor to write to you – a great one!

If you don’t think of yourself as great, think again and read Psalm 18:35:

You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
(Psalm 18:35)

David was the human author of the great Psalm 18, but the Holy Spirit so inspired and guided him that his words spoke not only of David himself, but of believers in general, and especially of Jesus Christ, David’s greater Son.

What Makes One Great

In an ultimate sense Jesus is One who received the shield of God’s salvation. He is the ultimate One held up by God’s right hand. Jesus is the greatest of all, and in a wonderful sense it was the Father’s gentleness that made Jesus great.

Though this was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus, in a lesser sense it was true of David the Psalmist, and also true of us. We can say that the gentleness of God makes every believer great also, more than they often consider.

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their royal birth; who has a greater claim to royal birth than the son or daughter of the King of Kings?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their election; what greater election is there than to be the elect of God?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their wealth; who has greater riches than the children and heirs of the God who owns all?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their victories; who has achieved greater victory than the one who is in unity with Jesus Christ, the greatest champion of all?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their influence; who has greater influence than the child of God who can move the hand of God with his faithful and righteous prayers?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their discoveries; who has discovered anything greater than the nature of the infinite and eternal God?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their history; who has a greater heritage than a member of the body of Christ as it spans through the ages and generations?

– In this world, some people are thought to be great because of their destiny; who has a more glorious and amazing destiny than the heirs of His glory, those who are His own inheritance?

I don’t know how your weekend of ministry was – but take comfort in the fact that God’s gentleness has made you great.

Blessings to you, great one, 

In Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Enduring Word Quick Navigation

Enduring Word Quick Navigation Plug-In

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

I hope God sustained and blessed you through another weekend of serving Him!

Instead of a scripture and short encouragement, today I have a special announcement that is directed to you who, directly or indirectly, have websites. It could be a personal website, a church website, or a ministry website.

If your website operates on a WordPress platform, I would like to offer you and your website visitors a special opportunity: a direct link to quickly access and navigate the Enduring Word Bible commentary online.

It works through plug-in that displays on your front page, or wherever else on your website you would like to place it.

Look for this box at https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/genesis-1/ and click where it says, “Quick Navigation” to see how it works.

Enduring Word Quick Navigation

To learn more about this free plugin and for easy installation information, click here

In a few weeks I’ll be back with my normal twice-monthly encouragement by email.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Wrong Kind of Unity

The Wrong Kind of Unity

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here’s a thought for your Monday morning, after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world. It’s from a strange event in the ministry of Jesus found in Matthew 8:34:

And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus.
And when they saw Him,
they begged Him to depart from their region.

Dangerous, demon-possessed men brought so much terror to a city that they took the tormented men and chained them up in a graveyard.

Wrong Kind of Unity

Those demons were no match for Jesus, and at His command the men were set free. The whole city responded – the whole city came out to meet Jesus! Surely, they came to thank Him and honor Him as Lord.

Here is the shock of Matthew 8:34: instead of thanking Jesus, they wanted him to go away. They begged Him to depart from their region.

The work of Jesus had unified the whole city, and they had all come out to meet with and to talk to Jesus; but it was not in a good way. They asked Jesus to leave, and He did.

When we minister in Jesus’ name, sometimes people will be against us. Sometimes it might even feel like everyone is against us!

In those seasons, humble yourself before God. Ask Him to search your heart, and speak to you of any wicked way in you (Psalm 139:23-24). Yet at the end of it all, if you are rejected for standing with Jesus – then stand with your Savior. He knows what you’re going through!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

The Preacher They Listened To

The Preacher They Listened To

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here’s a thought for your Monday morning, after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world. It’s a warning to the leaders of the Kingdom of Judah from Micah 3:12:

Therefore because of you
Zion shall be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem shall become heaps of ruins,
And the mountain of the temple
Like the bare hills of the forest.

Like most of the prophets, Micah fearlessly confronted the corruption of his time. He spoke to Judah’s judges, prophets, and princes. The ruling elite of Judah were not much better than the rulers of the apostate northern Kingdom of Israel, and they could expect similar judgment unless they repented.

The Preacher They Listened To

They needed to repent from a lot. Corruption had deeply set in, like bribery among the judges and greedy attitudes among the priests and the prophets. Despite this disgraceful state of things, they still made a pretense of trusting God. The leaders of Jerusalem had a false confidence in religious ritual and form. All the while, Jerusalem was destined for judgment unless they repented.

For anyone who has studied the prophets of the Old Testament, these lines run along familiar tracks. We see the bold expose of corruption and the fearless call to repentance. But at this point the lines of Micah’s ministry run in a different direction: they actually listened to him.

The great thing about the Prophet Micah was that he was listened to. Hosea was ignored, and so was Amos. They threw Jeremiah in jail for his prophetic message of coming judgment. In contrast, King Hezekiah and the leadership of Judah listened to the Prophet Micah.

Jeremiah 26:17-19 describes how even a hundred years later the impact of Micah was remembered. King Hezekiah heard God’s warning through Micah, and they repented.

We get used to the familiar pattern of people rejecting God’s word through His messengers, and then carelessly carrying on to their appointed judgment. Yet it doesn’t have to end that way. Sometimes the people of God really do listen and respond to the voice of the Spirit and turn back to God. When they do, they find God ready to welcome them back with open arms and His transforming grace. Sometimes it really works just like it should.

Take this to heart, even in seasons of discouragement. Sometimes our work for God and His people works just like it should. We appreciate this as preachers of God’s Word, but we also need to learn from it as people under God’s word: we can listen to the messengers God sends our way.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

reasons to believe

Reasons to Believe

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Here’s a thought for your Monday morning, after a weekend of serving God, His people, and a needy world. It’s a thought from Matthew 8:26:

But He said to them,
“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”
Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

It’s a great passage, isn’t it? Perhaps you have preached many times on this scene of Jesus rebuking wind and waves, and how He can calm our stormy seas.

reasons to believe

Allow me to take this passage and apply it to us as pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers. Focus on the question Jesus asked: Why are you fearful, O you of little faith? Jesus rebuked their fear and unbelief – not for waking Him up or for asking for help. We shouldn’t think that Jesus was in a bad mood from being awakened. He was troubled at their fear, because fear and unbelief go together.

In fact, Jesus dealt with His disciples before He dealt with the storm! Relatively speaking, the storm was easy to deal with. Attention needed to be given to the disciples first.

I think Jesus rebuked their fear because they actually had many reasons to have faith, even reasons for great faith.

– They had just seen Jesus do significant miracles, showing great power and authority.
– They had seen an example of great faith with the centurion who trusted Jesus to heal his servant.
– They had Jesus with them in the boat and they saw Jesus sleeping; His peace should have given them peace.

Friend, maybe you have some genuine reasons to be afraid. For the disciples, the storm and the threat from it were real.

Here’s the truth: whatever your reasons for fear, God has given you even greater reasons for faith. If you can’t think of any of those reasons, ask God to show you. Call a friend and tell them you are looking for more reasons and greater reasons to believe. The reasons are there – our part is to perceive them.

Go out and keep serving God, His people, and a needy world, knowing that you have great reasons to believe – no matter what the reasons for fear may be!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Labor Day - Jesus' Yoke

Labor Day

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Today (September 7, 2020) is “Labor Day” in the United States. Many workers in the US have a holiday, intended to honor the working men and women of the country.

No matter what country you live in, I’m writing this to you as a servant of Jesus Christ – someone who labors for the Lord’s work. With that in mind, look at these familiar words from Jesus:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For My yoke
is easy and My burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

Labor Day - Jesus' Yoke

Jesus directed His call to those who were burdened by their work, to all you who labor and are heavy laden. According to one commentator, labor implies the burdens we take upon ourselves, and heavy laden implies the burdens others put upon us.

To all those, Jesus gave this invitation: take My yoke upon you and learn from Me. When we take the yoke of Jesus, we find that it:

– Is easy and light as compared with the yoke of others.
– Is easy and light as long as I do not rebel against it.
– Has nothing to do with worries that are forbidden to us.
– Does not include the burdens we choose to add to it.

Taking the yoke of Jesus, you will find rest for your souls. This unmatchable gift – both powerful and profound – should be considered the birthright of those who come to Jesus and are His followers.

Jesus summarized this wonderful call with this assurance: My yoke is easy and My burden is light. The yoke is easy and the burden is light because He bears it with us. Borne alone, it might be unbearable; but with Jesus it can be easy and light.

There is still a yoke to bear and burden to carry. Yet with and in Jesus, they are easy and light. If your yoke is hard and your burden is heavy, ask yourself:

Is the yoke and burden of Jesus? Or, is it really from myself or other people?

Am I really letting Jesus bear the weight of this yoke with me?

Dear brother or sister, keep on plowing – just make sure you do it with the yoke of Jesus, and let Him bear the weight of the yoke with you.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

not glamorous

Not Glamorous

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Jesus gives us something to think about after a weekend of serving God and His people:

And Jesus said to him,
“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests,
but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
(Matthew 8:20)

A scribe came to Jesus and said he wanted to follow Him. “Scribe” means that he was an educated, professional man – something like an attorney today. Maybe he looked at the unimpressive and uneducated men who made up the 12 disciple and figured he would be the natural leader among them – an impressive addition to team Jesus.

not glamorous

Jesus responded to the scribe, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Jesus didn’t tell the man “No, you can’t follow Me.” But Jesus told him the truth, without painting a glamorized version of what it was like to follow Him.

There is often very little glamor and a fair amount of hardship in following Jesus and serving Him. I don’t think it is helpful to focus on the things we give up for the sake of Jesus and serving His people, but it is good to remember from time to time that it is normal. It doesn’t mean that we are failures or are doing it wrong.

Many pastors and Christian workers I know are exhausted. They have been giving their all in these strange times and have done so for a long time. If that’s you, please find a way to take some rest. In your time of resting (whether it is long or short), remember that a not-glamorous ministry is doing it just like Jesus did.

I’m sending this with a prayer for you and all who read this email!

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers

Whose Church?

Whose Church?

Dear Pastor, Preacher, or Bible Teacher –

Jesus gives us something to think about after a weekend of serving God and His people:

I will build My church,
and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
(Matthew 16:18b)

These words of Jesus give us the first use of the word church in the New Testament. It is the ancient Greek word ekklesia – a “called-out group.” Many people consider the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 as the “birthday” of the church, but Jesus certainly anticipated the eventually joining of Jewish and Gentile believers together in the one body, the church. The church would be made up of all those who truly trusted in the message just revealed to the disciples: that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Whose Church?

This statement of Jesus was a clear claim of ownership – He said, My church. Please note, the church belongs to Jesus. This was also a claim to deity – only God can say the church belongs to Him.

Taken together, the promise is wonderful:

– Jesus brings His people together in common: I will build.
– Jesus builds on a firm foundation: On this rock I will build.
– Jesus builds something that belongs to Him: My church.
– Jesus builds His people into a stronghold: the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Here is a comforting promise: the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. As dark as things seem sometime, we can trust the promise of Jesus that the forces of death and darkness can’t prevail against or conquer the church.

As you seek to serve Jesus, His people, and a needy world this week, keep it in mind: the church belongs to Jesus. Fundamentally, the church doesn’t belong to the pastor, to the elder or deacon board, or to the congregation. The church certainly doesn’t belong to the government or its leaders.

The church belongs to the One who purchased it with His own blood. Whatever we do for the sake of God’s church, let’s do it with boldness and trust in Him, and do it for His glory and recognition.

Blessings to You in Jesus’ Name – David Guzik

Click Here to Receive Email from David for Pastors, Preachers, and Bible Teachers