Proclaiming Jesus, Preaching the Bible, Providing Hope!
The Pastor's Pocket
by Pastor Bruce Freeman
Practical, personal, powerful truths from God's Word with fresh and relevant content for today's generation, The Pastors' Pocket is a series of devotions written by Pastor Bruce Freeman with the intent of enriching your walk with the Lord during your quiet time.
Matthew 16:21, “From
that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go
unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and
scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”
From His birth to His
death, Jesus suffered. In the scripture verse for today, Christ is preparing His disciples
for the suffering. He was about to endure the final stages of His ministry on
earth. He describes how He will suffer, how He will die, and then be raised on
the third day. All of this was the Father’s plan for our redemption, our
salvation. For that plan to be carried out, Jesus had to enter the world. His
entrance came through a lowly manger in Bethlehem.
The sufferings of Christ
begin with His birth. Jesus left the glories of heaven and subjected Himself to
the limitations of time and space. He confined Himself to a body for the first
time. If baby Jesus bit His tongue, He experienced pain. He got thirsty for the
first time. He experienced hunger and let His mother know about it.
So, you see, the
suffering began at His birth and continued until His death. Why? Because it was
His destiny. Let’s take a moment this Christmas season and every day, to be
thankful and grateful, that Jesus loved us so much.
“Giving thanks always
for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” Ephesians
“In every thing give
thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I
Give thanks always? For
all things? Really? Yes.The Bible teaches
us to give thanks, to praise the Lord, to be grateful – always. This sounds
impossible, but it isn’t. God never requires something of us that is impossible
to do. Giving thanks always, requires trusting God, knowing that God is sovereign.
He is always in control, and He never makes mistakes. He either causes all
things in our lives or He allows them. We can be thankful for each event in our
lives, knowing that God is in the middle of it.
Everyone can give thanks
after a blessing comes their way. That’s not hard, and it doesn’t require much
faith. Have you learned to thank God before a blessing comes? That is evidence
you are trusting God and by faith, you are believing the blessing is coming.
Giving thanks always
means you praise God in the midst of a crisis. Believing something good is coming
your way. This is evidence of spiritual maturity and will require faith. You
must stand firm and resist the devil’s lies.
Read again the scripture
references given today. Now read the following scriptures of examples Jesus
gave us to follow: Matthew 11:25, John 6:11, John 6:23, John 11:41. In each
reference Jesus says, “Father, I thank thee.”
Today is Thanksgiving
Day observed here in America. Make sure you take time to say, “thank you Lord”,
no matter your circumstances. Whatever you may be facing. God is worthy to be
praised. Giving thanks always for all things, can be done. It is God’s will,
not just for today, but every day.
From my family to yours,
have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Our daughter was shopping
at a wholesale store recently and sent my wife this text, “Insane how packed it
is on Wednesday afternoon!” My wife’s reply to her was, “Tis the season”. The
busy shopping season has begun. It’s a great time of the year for retailers.
this season as Christians, we mustn’t venture out without asking the Holy
Spirit to fill us with patience and give us the strength to maintain a
This is a shopping season
when many people are searching for, hoping for, something that will satisfy a
craving, fulfill a longing, or give them a thrill. For some it will be a party,
alcohol, a new car, new clothes, a new boyfriend/girlfriend perhaps. For some,
their happiness comes from a sale at the mall, and their many purchases. It’s a
season when many are looking for a “high” which turns out to be only temporary.
Friend, there is a “high”
you cannot buy. It’s righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans
14:17). It’s not something temporal but something that is eternal and lasting.
It comes to us as a gift when we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior. It gets
sweeter as the days go by. It’s a God thing that stays with you. The ultimate
experience, the greatest joy, and it provides maximum satisfaction. God loves
us and will lift us higher and higher the deeper we go with Him.
This shopping season don’t
search for a temporary “high”. Discover something that lasts, something that is
When I think of a
military veteran, the word “service” comes to mind. Those in the military serve their country to
keep us safe. We all owe a great debt of
gratitude to military veterans who loved their country enough to fight for it, and
even to die for it.
Despite the way military personnel are portrayed
in the liberal media, those who serve and have served are among our nation’s
Several years ago, Tom Brokaw wrote a book titled,
“The Greatest Generation”, in which he sought to provide evidence that it was
the World War II generation of men and women who sacrificed all for America’s
Freedoms. Those who made it back home, went to work, married, and had families.
They went on with their lives without complaining. They understood and believed
the concept of sacrifice. Whether you agree with Brokaw’s assessment, you must
admit that service and sacrifice go hand in hand.
May we all salute our veterans. Thank them for
their service. That’s the least we can do as a grateful nation pauses for
In Major League
Baseball, each team has a Bat Boy. They are most often young kids who retrieve
bats after a player has hit the ball and taken it to the dugout. They also retrieve other items, shin guards,
elbow pads, etc. These young boys have no name on their jersey and the cameras
almost never show them while they work during the game. They go unnoticed, but their
tasks are important. They are there to serve the players.
This past summer as I
was watching a game and as I really took notice of what the Bat Boy does, some
scriptures came to mind. Romans 12:10b, “in honour preferring one another;” Philippians
2:3b says, “in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”
Other scriptures I encourage you to read: I Peter 5:5 and Proverbs 3:34.
Someday in heaven
I think we will meet a lot of Christian people who, in a sense, were “Bat Boys”
for Jesus. They served others. We never knew their names. They were never in
the limelight. People who were the unknowns, but in humility, they faithfully
performed their tasks, and the cause of Christ went forward. They got the job
done and in heaven were exalted and recognized.
Let’s be willing to serve Christ, and in humility,
serve others. A day will come when Jesus says, “well done”. That alone should
motivate us to go about our daily tasks whether anyone knows our name or not.
Come on Bat Boys – there is work to do.
It’s that time of the year when the animals are
getting ready for winter. They make sure their nesting place is ready for
hibernation. They are gathering food or eating a lot of food now to sustain
them during the winter months.
In the mornings when we wake up, we get ready for
the day. When we are expecting visitors, we get ready for their arrival. The
airline industry works hard to make sure their planes are ready to fly.
Athletes warm up to get ready for competition.
Jesus tells us to get ready because He is coming. Are you ready for His return? We must be prepared,
for one day the Lord will surely come. How can you be sure you are ready for
that moment? (1) Make sure you are saved, born again. (2) Be serving Christ in
some capacity. (3) Make sure you are doing the will of God. (4) Be a worshipper.
Practice now praising the Lord because that is what you will do in heaven
Are you prepared for an encounter with the Lord
today? Have you positioned yourself to meet with a Holy God? As His people, we
must always be ready. “For in such an hour ye think not, The Son of man cometh”,
Matthew 24:44. Are YOU ready?
Some of life’s greatest disappointments stem from
someone we know and trust leaving a wound in our soul. All of us, at some time or another, have been
seriously disappointed in other people by their behavior, their attitude, their
words, or they responded to us in a way that we felt was inappropriate.
Knowing ahead of time that offences will come is a
hard lesson, but it must be learned.Someone said, “the best of men is a man at best”.We must accept the reality that every person
is a human being, subject to multiple failures and mistakes in their
relationship with others.If we are
prepared for disappointment, it will lessen the level of pain we feel, or at
least lessen the frustration and help us heal and overcome our attitude toward
Here are some things to consider:
(1) Your immediate family is a “classroom”. They
are often the last to understand what you’re all about. Don’t be surprised if
they misinterpret your passion for God.
(2) Disappointment in people makes us reach for
God (Psalm 73:28). It’s a built-in motivator.
We will never develop intimacy with God if we place all our hopes and
dreams in another human being.
(3) Disappointment is the tool God uses to break
our dependency on other people.
Remember; only God will never
disappoint. Put your faith and trust in Him.
We learn two ways, by mentors or mistakes. Think about that. We can be instructed, coached, motivated,
helped, or guided by someone with more wisdom, more knowledge, more skill, more
talent or more strength than we have ourselves. Or we can do things our own
way, in our own limited understanding, with our own limited skills or
resources. When we allow ourselves to be
mentored, we can avoid many mistakes.
Over many years of pastoring, I’ve watched people
make a lot of mistakes in their marriage, parenting, finances, and their
health. They made poor decisions because they refused to learn from someone who
could help them. Did they learn from
their mistakes? Probably so, but those are hard lessons that led to a lot of frustration
I have preached a lot of sermons through the years
that would have helped some people with problems they are facing, but they
never attended church to hear those sermons.
I’m amazed at people who say they can’t afford to buy an audio sermon
series or won’t buy a book written by someone with a lot of wisdom in a certain
area. Sadly, they will pay a lot
more for the mistakes they make by refusing to be mentored.
Moses mentored Joshua. Elijah mentored Elisha.
Naomi mentored Ruth. Timothy and Titus learned a lot from Paul. Who are you willing to learn from? Your
future is determined by who you are willing to listen to.
Have you ever been to the ocean and taken the time
to watch the waves crashing in on the shoreline? They just keep coming wave
after wave. The process never ceases. That to me is a picture of God’s grace.
His undeserved favor poured out upon our lives. Wave after wave, day by day,
minute by minute.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God spoke to the Apostle
Paul with these words, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Sufficient means,
always enough. Just like the waves of the ocean, God’s grace keeps coming. It
never runs out. It never ceases to flow into our lives, in our crisis moments, and
the dark seasons of our lives.
Thank God for the waves of His sufficient grace in