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About Arthur Jackson

In the fall of 2016, after twenty-eight years of pastoral ministry in the Chicago area, Arthur and his wife, Shirley, relocated to Kansas City, Kansas, where Arthur was born and raised. In addition to being a contributor to Our Daily Bread, Arthur serves as the Midwest region urban director for PastorServe (a ministry that cares for pastors) and as a director for Neopolis Network (a global church-planting ministry based in Chicago).

Our Armor in Christ

By |2024-07-06T02:33:10-04:00July 6th, 2024|

Pastor Bailey’s newfound friend shared with him the story of his abuse and addiction. Though the young man was a believer in Jesus, because of his exposure to sexual abuse and pornography at an early age, he was plagued with a problem that was bigger than he was. And in his desperation, he reached out for help.

As Christ-followers, we wage war with unseen forces of evil (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). But we’ve been given weapons to fight our spiritual battles. They aren’t the weapons of the world, however. On the contrary, we’ve been given “divine power to demolish strongholds” (v. 4). What does that mean? “Strongholds” are well-built, secure places. Our God-given arms include “weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense” (6:7 nlt). Ephesians 6:13-18 expands the list of things that help protect us: the Scriptures, faith, salvation, prayer, and the support of other believers. When faced with forces bigger and stronger than us, appropriating these munitions can make the difference between standing and stumbling.

God also uses counselors and other professionals to help those who struggle with forces too big to tackle alone. The good news is that in and through Jesus, we needn’t surrender when we struggle. We have the armor of God!

Use Me

By |2024-06-21T02:33:10-04:00June 21st, 2024|

The restless soul is never satisfied with wealth and success. A deceased country music icon could testify to this truth. He had nearly forty of his albums appear on Billboard's country-music top ten charts and just as many number one singles. But he also had multiple marriages and spent time in prison. Even with all his achievements, he once lamented: "There’s a restlessness in my soul that I've never conquered, not with motion, marriages or meaning. . . . It's still there to a degree. And it will be till the day I die." Sadly, he could have found rest in his soul before his life ended.

Jesus invites all those, like this musician, who have become weary from toiling in sin and its consequences to come to him personally: “Come to me,” He says (Matthew 11:28). When we receive salvation in Jesus, He will take the burdens from us and “give [us] rest.” The only requirements are to believe in Him and then to learn from Him how to live the abundant life He provides (John 10:10). Taking on the yoke of Jesus’ discipleship results in our finding “rest for [our] souls” (Matthew 11:29).

When we come to Jesus, He doesn’t abbreviate our accountability to God. He gives peace to our restless souls by providing us a new and less burdensome way to live in Him. He gives us true rest.

Dilemmas and Deeper Faith

By |2024-06-14T02:33:17-04:00June 14th, 2024|

During a Saturday morning Bible study, a father was perplexed because his beloved, wayward daughter had returned to the city, but he was uncomfortable with her in his home because of her behavior. Another attendee was not well in her body. The physical and medicinal effects of long-term disease and aging had taken their toll. Numerous visits to numerous doctors had yielded minimal progress. She was discouraged. By divine design, Mark chapter 5 was the Bible passage they studied that day. And when the study was over, hope and joy were palpable.

In Mark 5:23, Jairus, a father with a sick child, exclaimed, “My little daughter is dying.” On His way to visit the girl, Jesus healed an unnamed woman of her long-term health issue, saying, “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (v. 34). Jairus and the woman, compelled by faith in Jesus, sought Him out and they weren’t disappointed. But in both cases, prior to meeting Jesus, things had progressed from “bad to worse” before getting better.

Life’s dilemmas don’t discriminate. Regardless of gender or age, race or class, we all face situations that perplex us and send us searching for answers. Rather than allowing challenges to keep us from Jesus, let’s strive to have them stir us to deeper faith in the One who feels it when we touch Him (v. 30) and who can make us well.

The Triumph of Faith

By |2024-05-04T02:33:15-04:00May 4th, 2024|

A routine wellness check for little Calvin revealed a few unexpected spots on his body. During the visit, he was given some shots, and the injection spot was covered with a bandage. At home, when the time came to remove the small adhesive covering, Calvin whimpered with four-year-old fear. Seeking to console his son, his father said, “Calvin, you know I’d never do anything to hurt you.” His father wanted his son to trust him more than fearing the removal of the bandage.

Four-year-olds aren’t the only ones who grow faint in the face of discomfort. Surgeries, separation from loved ones, mental or psychological challenges—and more—prompt our fears, sighs, cries, and groans.

One of David’s fear-filled moments was when he found himself in Philistine territory while fleeing a jealous King Saul. When he was recognized, he was anxious about what might happen to him (see 1 Samuel 21:10-11): “David . . . was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath” (v. 12). Reflecting on this uncomfortable situation, David wrote, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. . . . In God I trust and am not afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4).

What shall we do when life’s discomforts stir up our fears? We can gaze into the face of our heavenly Father, who’s always there to help us.

God Is My Helper

By |2024-04-25T02:33:05-04:00April 25th, 2024|

My friend Raleigh is sprinting toward his eighty-fifth birthday! Since my first conversation with him more than thirty-five years ago, he’s been a source of inspiration. When he recently mentioned that since retiring, he’d completed a book manuscript and started another ministry initiative—I was intrigued but not surprised.  

At eighty-five, Caleb in the Bible wasn’t ready to stop either. His faith and devotion to God had sustained him through decades of wilderness living and wars to secure the inheritance God had promised Israel. He said, “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then” (Joshua 14:11). By what means would he conquer? Caleb declared that by “the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said” (v. 12).

Regardless of age, stage in life, or circumstances, God will help all who wholeheartedly trust Him. In Jesus, our Savior who helps us, God was made visible. The gospels inspire faith in God through what we see in Christ. He demonstrated God’s care and compassion for all who looked to Him for help. As the writer of Hebrews acknowledged, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid” (Hebrews 13:6). Young or old, weak or strong, bound or free, sprinting or limping—what’s keeping us from asking for His help today?

Choices Matter

By |2024-04-17T02:33:11-04:00April 17th, 2024|

Pastor Damian’s schedule included hospital visits to two people nearing death who’d chosen two different life paths. In one hospital was a woman beloved by her family. Her selfless public service had endeared her to many. Other believers in Jesus had gathered around her, and worship, prayer, and hope filled the room. In another hospital the relative of a member of Pastor Damian’s church was also dying. His hardened heart had led to a hard life, and his disheveled family lived in the wake of his poor decisions and misdeeds. The differences in the two atmospheres reflected the contrasts in how each had lived.

Those who fail to consider where they’re headed in life often find themselves stuck in uncomfortable, undesirable, lonely places. Proverbs 14:12 notes that “there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Young or old, sick or well, wealthy or impoverished—it’s not too late to reexamine our path. Where will it lead? Does it honor God? Does it help or disrupt others? Is it the best path for a believer in Jesus?

Choices do matter. And the God of heaven will help us make the best choices as we turn to Him through His Son, Jesus, who said, “Come to me, . . . and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Doing Good for God

By |2024-03-06T01:33:06-05:00March 6th, 2024|

Though he didn’t normally carry money with him, Patrick sensed God was leading him to tuck a five-dollar bill in his pocket before leaving home. During the lunch hour at the school where he worked, he understood how God may have prepared him to meet an urgent need. In the midst of the lunchroom buzz, he heard these words: “Scotty (a child in need) needs $5 to put on his account so he can eat lunch for the rest of the week.” Imagine the emotions Patrick experienced as he gave his money to help Scotty!

In Titus, Paul reminded believers in Jesus that they weren’t saved “because of righteous things [they] had done” (Titus 3:5), but they should “be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good” (v. 8; see v. 14). Life can be full, extremely busy, and hectic. Attending to our own well-being can be overwhelming. Yet, as believers in Jesus, we’re to be “good-works ready.” Rather than being overwhelmed by what we don’t have and can’t do, let’s think about what we do have and can do as God helps us. In doing so, we get to help others at the point of their needs, and God is honored. “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Ripe for God’s Restoration

By |2024-01-07T01:33:31-05:00January 7th, 2024|

The pictures coming from a friend’s text stream were stunning! Photos of a surprise gift for his wife revealed a restored 1965 Ford Mustang: brilliant, dark blue exterior; sparkling chrome rims; reupholstered black interior; and a motor to match the other upgrades. There were also “before” pictures of the same vehicle—a dull, worn, unimpressive yellow version. While it may be difficult to envision, it’s likely that when the vehicle rolled off the assembly line in 1964, it was also an eye-catcher. But time, wear and tear, and other factors had made it ripe for restoration.

Ripe for restoration! Such was the condition of God’s people in Psalm 80 and thus the repeated prayer: “Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved” (vv. 3, 7, 19). Though their history had included rescue from Egypt and being planted in a land of plenty (vv. 8–11), the good times had come and gone. Because of rebellion, they were experiencing the hand of God’s judgment (vv. 12–13). Thus, their plea: “Return to us, God Almighty! Look down from heaven and see!” (v. 14).

Do you ever feel dull, distant, disconnected from God? Is joyful soul-satisfaction missing? Is it because alignment with Jesus and His purposes is missing? God hears our prayers for restoration (v. 1). What’s keeping you from asking?

Troubled Souls, Honest Prayers

By |2023-12-30T01:33:07-05:00December 30th, 2023|

Three days before a bomb blast rocked his home in January 1957, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had an encounter that marked him for the rest of his life. After receiving a threatening phone call, King found himself pondering an exit strategy from the civil rights movement. Then prayers emerged from his soul. “I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But now I am afraid. I have nothing left. I’ve come to the point where I can't face it alone.” After his prayer, there came quiet assurance. King noted, “Almost at once my fears began to go. My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything.”

In John 12, Jesus acknowledged, “My soul is troubled” (v. 27). He was transparently honest about His internal disposition; still He was God-centered in His prayer. “Father, glorify your name!” (v. 28). Jesus’ prayer was one of surrender to God’s will.

How human it is for us to feel the pangs of fear and discomfort when we find ourselves with the option of honoring God or not; when wisdom requires making hard decisions about relationships, habits, or other patterns (good or bad). No matter what we’re faced with, as we pray boldly to God, He’ll give us the strength to overcome our fear and discomfort and do what brings glory to Him—for our good and the good of others.

Tell of God’s Goodness

By |2023-11-16T01:33:08-05:00November 16th, 2023|

Testimony time was the segment in our church service when people shared how God had been at work in their lives. Auntie—or Sister Langford as she was known by others in our church family—was known for packing lots of praise into her testimonies. On the occasions when she shared her personal conversion story, one could expect her to take up a good bit of the service. Her heart gushed with praise to God who had graciously changed her life!

Similarly, the testimony of the writer of Psalm 66 is packed with praise as he testifies about what God had done for His people. “Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!” (v. 5). His deeds included miraculous rescue (v. 6), preservation (v. 9), and testing and discipline that resulted in His people being brought to a better place (vv. 10–12). While there are God-experiences that we have in common with other believers in Jesus, there are also things unique to our individual journeys. Have there been times in your life when God has particularly made Himself known to you? Those are worth sharing with others who need to hear how He's worked in your life. “Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me” (v. 16).

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