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A Little Walk With God

A daily devotional through the Bible narrated as if walking through the garden east of Eden with God. Scriptures come from a daily reading plan that take you through the Bible in one year, generally coming from The Voice. Our website is http://alittlewalkwithgod.com or http://richardagee.com
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Now displaying: March, 2018

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Thanks for listening.

Richard

Mar 26, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 27; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 183 through 189

This week we read about the unbelievable for too many people. It’s the thing that makes them pause and say, “It just can’t be true. It’s not possible. The story is just a story.”

What are we talking about? This week we read about the resurrection. We read the reaction of those closest to him who also recoiled at the thought that it was possible even after watching him do the impossible and them telling them it would happen. We watch Joseph and Nicodemus gently remove Jesus’ broken body from the cross and take it to Joseph’s newly finished tomb. We watch from afar as they race the clock before the sun sets to do some minimal burial preparation of Jesus’ body because nothing can be done on the Sabbath.

We hear of the disciples cowering in locked rooms discussing what they will do now that their king has died. The one they put their trust and hope in lies in a tomb. How could it happen? How could he be the One to rescue them if he is buried in a grave? What happened? Just a few days before, the crowds waved palm branches and cried out their Hosannas. Now he’s dead.

Then we see the Sanhedrin worry about these rebel disciples and the revolt that might arise if they steal Jesus’ body from the tomb and declare that he really did rise from the dead. We watch them plead with Caesar to put his seal and a guard on the tomb so no one would tamper with the body and continue the “farce” this teacher kept up.

We listen to the story of that first Easter morning when the angels meet the two Marys at the tomb and announce that their Messiah rose just as he said he would. We try to empathize with Mary Magdalene as she grieves and begs the “gardner” to tell her where he has taken her master’s body.

But the realization of what has happened begins to dawn on Jesus’ followers. Jesus calls Mary by name and she recognizes her risen Lord. She races back to tell the disciples the good news. Peter and John race to the empty tomb and find the linens collapsed on the bier. Those linens contain no body. The guards recovered from their faint race to tell the priests what happened. The Sanhedrin make up a story to protect the guard.

Two disciples walk toward Emmaus, puzzled by the events of the day, don’t recognized their master walking with them until they sit down to eat and he reveals himself to them. Have you ever wondered about that? I have. I think they were looking for a bloodied, crucified, disfigured man. The one they last saw hanging on the cross. Broken. Bruised. Bleeding. Flesh hanging in strips from the flogging he suffered. Instead they saw the risen Lord. Refreshed. Restored. Resurrected. Perfect. Except for the scars in his hands and side so he could later show Thomas.

Would I have reacted any different? Would I have thought Jesus anything other than a ghost when he suddenly appeared behind closed doors if I were one of the disciples that night? Would I have recognized a restored Jesus if he walked with me on the road to Emmaus? Would I have thought Jesus rose from the dead instead of being stolen by the gardner?

I sometimes we look at “doubting Thomas” and give him a hard time. I think I’d be a lot like him. It takes faith to believe in the impossible. Jesus told them some incredible things over the three years he was with them. He also told them some hard things. “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood to have any part in me.” How do you accept that in the culture you’ve lived in all your life?

If you live you lose your life, you must lose your life to gain it? How does that make sense when you hear it for the first time?

But there it is staring at you. The empty tomb. The reports of the disciples. The more than 500 people who saw him over the next 40 days. The fact that no matter how hard the religious leaders tried to squash the story, people kept it alive. Not just that, thousands upon thousands have been willing to die for this One person. No other figure in all history has changed the world the way this one man did.

All the things people through the centuries have tried to do to stop the message or discredit the story have only served to strengthen it. The risen Lord. The impossible story. It isn’t just a story. It truly is God’s story. His plan to bring us back into a face to face relationship with him. He is a holy God. So much higher in his thoughts and ways that the only way we could come near to him was for him to come to us and become the perfect sacrifice for us.

Hard to believe? So is the perfect balance of nature around us. So is the uniqueness of a snowflake. So is the diversity of humanity around our world. So is the warmth and light of the sun. So is the miracle of birth. All those things are impossible. So is it so impossible that God so loved us that he came to live among us in human flesh so that whoever believes in him will not perish but will live eternally with him?

Impossible? He tells us and shows us in his actions it is not. All things are possible with him. The empty tomb on the first Easter morning is just one more demonstration of the impossible to show us his love for us and his desperate desire to restore an intimate, personal, face to face relationship with each of us. All we have to do is believe.

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

Mar 19, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 26; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 186 through 192

The story is told of a major newspaper whose printing press went down in the middle of the night. The managers’ did their best with their maintenance crews to get the press operating but to no avail. Nothing worked. Finally, the owner called the man who had installed the press originally and worked at the printing press for years before retiring just a few months earlier.

“It’s the middle of the night. I’m retired. Can’t your people fix the thing?”

“We’re desperate. They’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work. Please come help us. I’ll pay you whatever you think it’s worth to get it back up.”

Reluctantly, the old maintenance engineer agreed and in a few minutes showed up at the plant. He walked into the printing press room. Took a slow walk around the press without touching a thing, just looking. The senior manager walked beside him.

“Can you get it running before our deadline? We have to get the morning run out in less than four hours. We don’t have much time. Why are you just walking around not doing anything. Can’t you hurry?”

The manager’s badgering didn’t change the old man’s speed or concentration. He just slowly walked around the press one more time. Again without laying a finger on the machines. Finally, he reached into his back pocket, pulled out a small wrench, reached inside the room sized press, and turned a single bolt about half a turn. Then, the old man walked over to the switches, started them up and the press ran like a dream.

“That will be $4,000,” the old man said.

“What? $4,000 to walk around the machine twice and turn one bolt? Are you crazy? That’s robbery,” the manager screamed at the old man.

The old man reached back into the machine and turned that same bolt a half turn in the other direction bringing the machine to a screeching halt. The manager was aghast. The manager quickly called his other maintenance men over.

“Which bolt did he turn? Hurry. Fix this thing. We have to get it going,” he screamed at his men.

Each in turn looking into the cavity in which the old man had worked his magic. There were dozens of bolts. All determined the tension on the rollers and one wrong turn on any of them meant hours of trying to reset the entire system.

“We can’t do it without tearing down the machine and resetting the system. We don’t know which one to turn. We’d have to set calipers on every one of them and we can’t get to them without breaking down the press. It will take us at least a day and a half to do it,” replied the most senior of the maintenance men. All the others nodded behind him.

The old man stood with his small wrench in his hand and his arms crossed over his chest. “Well,” he said. “You’re not paying for my time. You’re paying for my knowledge. Is it worth it?”

The manager went to the office and wrote out a check for $4,000.

That’s how Jesus is with us. We can try everything in the world to fix our brokenness, but it won’t work. I have nothing against therapists and use them for what they can do to help us heal in certain areas. But they can’t forgive our sins.

We can try to cover that darkness with good deeds, but in the still of the night, those good deeds don’t blanket the unforgiven sins that plague us. Good deeds can only make us feel good for the moment. They are never the end all because we cannot work our way to salvation.

We can try to buy our way past our guilt, but the things that money can buy never satisfies. It’s like Rockefeller said many years ago when he was asked, “How much money is enough?” His answer? “Just one more dollar.” Things cannot buy freedom from the smothering effects of the guilt of sin.

Jesus said it in John 8:23-24. Belief in him brings forgiveness of sins. Nothing else can do that. He is the way to eternal life. He is the light that shines into the darkest recesses of our soul so that the brokenness that burdens us can be brought to the surface for his healing. He is the answer to our every need. He is the one that brings joy when nothing else can. He is the author and finisher of our faith Paul tells us. The One who brings the finishing touch to the faith we talk about and hope to see become reality at the end of this life.

Like the expert that knows just which bolt to turn to make everything right, Jesus knows exactly what must be done in our life to make us right. He lived in human flesh to experience everything we experience to make it happen. He endured the Romans’ whip and the agony of the cross to make it happen. He died and lay in the cold, dark tomb to make it happen. He rose again to make it happen. He knows exactly what I need in my brokenness. He knows exactly what you need in your brokenness. He alone is able to forgive us of our sins.

Have you discovered his touch? Has he made that change in you? Do you know your sins are forgiven? You can. All you need to do is ask him, believe he will do it, then follow him. A pretty simple formula, don’t you think?

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

Mar 5, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com

Bible Reading Plan - www.Bible-Reading.com; The Story, Chapter 24; You Version Bible app Engaging God's Story Reading Plan Days 162 through 168

Jesus talked a lot about kingdoms. So I took it upon myself to just check out the largest and smallest kingdoms in the world. The largest is Russia with 17.1 million square kilometers of land mass. In fact, Russia is 7 million square kilometers bigger than its closest rival, Canada.

Now compare that 17.1 million square kilometers with the smallest country, the Vatican, which stands at a whopping 0.44 square kilometers. That’s less than 90 footfall fields. Just the fields, no sidelines or stands or parking lots, just the playing fields. The Vatican is less than two-thirds the size of Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

That is some disparity in the size of countries in case you didn’t notice. Or if you don’t want to count the Vatican as a country even though it is recognized as a sovereign nation of its own, we could look at the next smallest country, Monaco. Monaco is a whopping 2 square kilometers. So yeah it’s really big, almost three times the size of the Dallas/Fort Worth airport.

If you’ve ever gotten stuck in Dallas because of weather and walked around that place, you might be able to say you’ve walked the width and breadth of a whole kingdom and not be far from wrong.

Jesus wasn’t talking about one of these kingdom’s, though. Jesus went about the countryside staying on track with a pretty straight forward message about the kingdom. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent.

Notice he didn’t say the kingdom was coming soon. He didn’t say watch for it, the kingdom might be on its way. He didn’t way it’s close by. Jesus told the crowds, everyone who would listen. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Repent. God came to live right here with us.

Just like God walked in the middle of the garden with Adam and Eve. Just like God had Moses build the tabernacle right in the middle of the camp as the Israelites fled from Egypt. Just like God gave David and Solomon the plans for the temple and the Holy of Holies where his glory could be seen in the most heavily populated city in the nation. Just like he came in to live in human flesh. God came to live right smack dab in the middle of us. He wants to have an intimate, face-to-face relationship with us.

Jesus gave up heaven to live like us on this tiny little speck of rock in his grand universe so he could save us from our sins. He wanted to experience humanity so he could empathize with us. He wanted to be able to say to each of us, “I know what it’s like. I’ve been there.”

We cannot begin to imagine what Jesus gave up to come live with us. But he loved us so much that he did it. He loved us so much that he experienced every aspect of life that we face, yet came through it victorious. Obedient to the Father in every respect.

Russia is a huge country. It would take a lifetime and more to explore all of it. Even today there are unmapped parts of the country. Places where people have not placed their feet in some of the vast frozen wilderness in the northern parts of Russia. Then there is the Vatican. Every inch touched by thousands of pilgrims through the centuries. Priests and monks and nuns and visitors in the millions flock to the tiny country each year in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Pope, the head of the largest organized Christian denomination in the world.

But neither of these countries compares to the kingdom of which Jesus speaks. As big or rich or populated or well known or visited or isolated, no country on the planet is like the kingdom Jesus says is at hand.

Those around him hoped he spoke of a kingdom that would overthrow the Romans. The largest, most powerful nation to date. It spanned much of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Rome ruled with an iron fist. Caesar conquered all and all submitted to his rule. But Jesus spoke of the new kingdom. A kingdom not of this world. A kingdom that with one word from him would have rescued him from the pain and suffering he endured for us. A kingdom with an army of angels against which no power can stand ready to do his bidding.

God’s kingdom. His kingdom. The kingdom in which everyone who believes in him for the forgiveness of sin holds citizenship. Our kingdom. We share with him in that beautiful place called heaven. Jesus spoke of the kingdom at hand. Right where we are. Here. Now. Ready to be realized if we will open our hearts and minds to him.

Do I understand all of what he meant by his words? Not yet. I know his peace when others around me wonder at the peace I enjoy in the circumstances around me. I know his peace when the situation calls for chaos and anxiety and anguish. I know his peace when things go well and things don’t go so well. He told us he would leave his peace with us. And I can testify with first hand knowledge that his promise is true in my life. I also see that peace in the face of other Christian men and women around me that the world would say have every right to have responses very different than the peace they exude. But God’s peace, a byproduct of citizenship in his kingdom, can be with us now. In this chaotic and sinful world.

There is so much more about his kingdom we will not understand until Jesus returns and takes us there. He said he’s been building a house that will fit everyone who believes in him and he’ll come and take us to be with him when his father tells him it is time. Do I understand how that works or when that will be? Nope. No one does except the Father and him. That doesn’t mean we can’t believe, though. With all the computers chips and electronics surrounding the engine and transmission in my car, I no longer know how my car works, but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe it will run when I put turn the key in the ignition. Faith is faith. The eternal question is in whom do you put your faith? Will Jesus be your Lord and King or will you try to sit on the throne even though you really have so little control over your life.

Jesus’ message is simple. Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

You can be part of that kingdom. Just ask. Believe. Trust. That’s all faith is. Believing in something you cannot see. When you put your faith in him, you will not be sorry. You will begin to know the promises he made for those who trust in him. You will begin to see his handiwork as never before. You will begin to understand the story he laid out for us so that we can join with him again in the paradise he created for us. Death will be gone. Pain will be gone. Suffering will be gone. Evil will be gone. What will be left is the work and worship God created for us in the first place.

You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more about The Story and our part in it. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn’t, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.

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