Something About That Name

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth…

[PHILIPPIANS 2:10]

There’s just something about the name of Jesus. When the disciples healed in the name of Jesus, it was not their faith in healing that restored health; it was their faith in the name of Jesus. They simply claimed the promise Jesus had made to them: “Whatever you ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:13) Have you had the experience of asking in someone else’s name for what you could not receive on your name alone? It’s a humbling thing to say, “Mr. So-and-So suggested I call you,” or “Ms. What’s-Her-Name said you would have those tickets for me.” You ask and receive, not because you are worthy, but because you are asking in a name that is more powerful than your own.

The name of Jesus has amazing impact. You can go on television and talk about Christ, and no one gets upset. You can run ads that talk about the Messiah or the Lord, and never raise an eyebrow. You can say Redeemer, Savior, Master, Teacher or Friend, but call the name of Jesus, and watch what happens. By naming His name you are drawing a clear line, because there is no other name on earth by which men may be saved. There is power in His name.

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

And The Winner Is …

Thus the last shall be first, and the first last.

[MATTHEW 20:16]

We live in a day where first is first and last is last…and where it is deemed far better to be first. But Jesus taught that God’s scorecard is often a mirror image of our own. Why? Because He does not look only at the “bottom line,” He examines the heart. In the parable of the vineyard laborers, those who “signed on” at day’s end were paid just as much as those who worked a full day—a fact that angered many of the full-day workers. But God looks at each man’s heart, and judges accordingly.

A father had three sons, all of whom worked for a furrier. The father of these boys was a friend of the owner, and he was aware that all three boys had the same job, but were paid differently. When he casually asked the owner about the discrepancy, the man invited this dad to spend a day at his warehouse observing the three boys. When the father arrived, the owner picked up the phone and called the first son, who made about $100 a week. He said, “There’s a ship at the dock from Ontario with some hides on board; go down to the dock and see what they’ve got.” The son said he would check it out, and called back in three minutes. “I called down to the dock,” he said, “and they have 1500 seal pelts aboard.” The owner said thank you and called son number two, who made $200 a week. He made the same request: “There’s a ship from Ontario on the dock with some hides. Go take a look and let me know what they’ve got.” An hour later he reported in: “I checked on the ship and they have 1500 seal hides on board. They look good.” Again, the owner thanked the boy. Then he called son number three, who made $500 a week. Same instructions. Four hours passed, but at the end of that time, the third son had this to say: “I went down and looked at the pelts, and bought 500 seal for $5 apiece, then sold them for $7 to one of our customers. They also had 500 red fox pelts, which we don’t handle, but I know someone who does, and was able to sell them to him for a $4,000 profit. There were 39 minks on board, too. I know you like to examine those yourself, so I optioned them for an hour until you can take a look.” The president of the company said, “Thank you very much,” then looked at the father. “Do you understand now?” he asked him. “Yes,” the dad said, “I certainly do.” What kind of worker are you in the kingdom of God? Have you given him everything you have?

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

Christianity VS. Religion

He is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, but which became the very corner stone.

[ACTS 4:11]

The number-one enemy of Christianity today is religion, not unrepentant sinners. It was so from the very beginning. Jesus did not offend sinners…he offended the religious men of His day. He was the cornerstone rejected not by the passers-by, but by the builders themselves. In the person of Jesus, religion and Christianity tackled head-on.

How can you distinguish religion from authentic Christianity? Here are a few clues. First, religion loves ritual. Religion delights in the status quo. Change makes it uncomfortable. Religion is a commitment to a system of beliefs, attitudes and practices. Second, religion responds to challenge with intimidation. Challenge religion, and it will attempt to intimidate you into submission. What does an attorney do when he suspects that truth may not be on his side? He buys time, attacks procedure and assassinates character. Religion is defended the same way. What about Christianity? Well, Christianity loves the truth.

Aristotle defined the truth as “saying of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not.” In other words, truth has a standard, and is not relative. Also, Christianity responds to challenge with boldness. Why? Because knowing the truth and embracing it gives us courage. When religion and Christianity clash, what happens? Many times, people come to know Christ. When Peter and John were arrested for the first time, five thousand people were saved! Don’t be afraid when your faith is challenged by religion. When this happens, the stage is set for blessing, not for defeat.

~ Dr. Ed. Young ~

Evening Devotional

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and dust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

[MATTHEW 6:19]

It is God, James tells us, who is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Treasure, real treasure, comes from God alone. How is it, then, that we fail to receive that which He would give us? Often the problem is not that God is withholding, but that we are holding on.

There’s an old, bucolic story about a little boy who got his hand stuck in a delicate vase. It seems he reached into the vase to retrieve something, and then could not pull himself free without breaking it. Finally, he called out to his dad for help. They worked and struggled to ease his hand out, but to no avail. Seeing no alternative, the father made the inevitable decision: the vase must be broken. Just before he struck the fatal blow to this heirloom piece, the father asked his son to try to slip his hand out one more time. Crying now, the little boy ‘fessed up: “Dad, I’ll do it if you make me, but if I do, I’ll have to drop my dime.”

It’s an antique story about an antique vase, but it illustrates a very basic spiritual principle: The hand that is closed cannot receive the treasure that God wants to give. It’s just that simple.

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

Morning Devotional

Getting our Focus Right

I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it… 

[1 CORINTHIANS 3:2]

Some Christians spend all their time worrying about falling back into sin. They don’t move on and up to higher ground. They don’t grow. If you focus all your energy on trying not to fail instead of training to win, you will remain a baby in the faith.

Carl Wallenda was perhaps the most famous aerialist who ever lived. He was one of the “Flying Wallendas”—a family, high-wire act whose feats thrilled audiences worldwide. He wrote, “For me, to live is being on a tight rope. All the rest is waiting.” He said in 1968 that the key to tight rope walking was confidence. There was no room to think about failing. But in 1978, Carl Wallenda fell to his death from a high wire strung 75 feet in the air in San Juan, Puerto Rico. His wife said that three months prior to this most dangerous attempt, Carl talked frequently about falling. He checked the installation of the wire. He calculated the wind. He checked the guy wires that kept everything in place. “I believe Carl fell,” she said, “because he spent so much time preparing not to fall, instead of preparing to walk the rope.”

Do you spend all your time saying, “Boy, I don’t want to fall. I’m a Christian now, so I want to live a clean life?” If you do, you are setting yourself up for failure. Don’t focus on maintenance. Go for growth. Spend time in God’s Word. Seek to understand and apply the truth that you discover. Think about going on to higher ground—not merely protecting the ground you’ve already covered. In other words, grow up!

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

The Choice To Believe

“Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails… and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

[JOHN 20:25]

Thomas was the only disciple whose name became a synonym for a certain group of people. You don’t hear about “walking-on-water Peter’s” or “beloved John’s.” But everybody knows what it means to be a “doubting Thomas.” Thomas was the man who said “show me.” He needed to see for himself that the resurrected Christ was the real deal. Thomas saw Jesus die. He saw the blood and the flies. He smelled the stench of dying flesh and heard the Savior utter His last words. He was an eyewitness to it all, and then he disappeared.

On that first Easter, the rest of the disciples saw Him, but Thomas did not. They told him, but the picture of the crucifixion was still too fresh and real for him to believe that his Lord was alive again. “I’ll have to see it myself,” he said. “That’s the only way I’ll believe.” Eight days passed before Thomas saw Jesus for himself. But he didn’t have to touch His wounds. He took one look at Jesus, heard His voice, then fell at His feet saying, “My Lord and my God.” I know plenty of folks who are skeptical about the historicity of the resurrection. I’m grateful for doubting Thomas when I talk to them. “There was a guy who felt just like you do,” I say, “but he saw for himself, and believed.” They, like Thomas, face a choice. When confronted by the person of Jesus Christ, a man can either say “I believe,” or “I refuse to believe.” Jesus said, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

~ Dr. Ed Young ~

God’s Definition of True Greatness

But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”

[MATTHEW 20:22]

We all want to move to the top; we want to lead the band. “All of us,” said Carl Sandberg, “want to play Hamlet.” We long for the lead role in the drama of life, so we can be someone and count for something. From birth, we are little bundles of ego, who learn to say “I” before just about anything else. James and John, the biblical “sons of thunder,” wanted to be seated at Jesus’ right and left hands. They asked for places of honor, and they apparently weren’t too shy about doing so. But when they did, Jesus asked them a question: “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” They said they were. “Then you’ll drink my cup,” He told them, “and receive my baptism. But the seating arrangement is not mine to determine.”

True greatness is not about getting a great seat for the show…it’s about following Jesus Christ to the limits of this life and beyond. It’s about drinking His cup of suffering, and being baptized into His death. Greatness comes through service. Living comes through surrendering life. James was the first apostle to be martyred for his faith. He followed Jesus all the way, tasting the cup of suffering, carrying the cross, and ultimately dying for his loyalty to Christ. Do you want to be great? Think carefully before you answer….

~ Dr. Edwin Young ~