Devotionals by Dr. James MacDonald

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It Isn’t Over

When Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4, esv).

It’s not hard to imagine the desperation of these two biblical sisters, Mary and Martha, who sent a messenger to Jesus, communicating to Him the dire condition of their brother Lazarus. It’s now or never, Lord! You need to get here. One of your best friends is dying!

They knew what they were seeing, feeling, and what everyone around them was saying. The combination of all these things created the filter through which they were processing reality. Lazarus was dying. And then Lazarus was dead. And Jesus, for whatever odd reason, “when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was” (John 11:6), rather than beating it down to Bethany as fast as He could get there.

It was over.

Everything was over.

Right? Wrong. Because nothing is over until Jesus says it’s over.

You probably know what happened with Lazarus—how Jesus, arriving four days after the man’s body had been wrapped in a linen shroud and laid in a tomb, told someone to take away the stone from the cave-like opening. Then He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43, nasb). A dead man came to life that day on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

But do you believe dead things can still come to life, even now, in the place where you live? Because nothing is over till Jesus says it’s over—regardless of what you see, feel, or what everyone is telling you.

I’m in a loveless marriage. I’ve tried everything. It’s over. No, I’ve seen God break through. I’ve seen hearts humbled. I’ve seen things turn completely around. It wasn’t over . . . because Jesus said it wasn’t over.

I’ve made horrible financial decisions. I’m losing everything. It’s over.No, I’ve seen what can happen when people in desperate straits make Christ the head of their finances. I’ve seen it come down to the last minute. But it wasn’t over . . . because Jesus said it wasn’t over.

The illness that Lazarus faced was not going to “end in death,” Jesus said. “No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it” (John 11:5, niv). He didn’t say that Lazarus wasn’t going to die. He just said that in the end, Lazarus wouldn’t be dead. This ordeal that His friends and family were enduring was infused with a higher purpose that would result in God receiving maximum glory.

So hold in your hands today the lifeless remains of whatever situation in your life you’ve concluded is over—something in your family, job, health, or something that keeps hounding you from your past. You know what it is. And you may have convinced yourself that it’s never getting any better.

But not everything that dies ends in death.

It’s not over until Jesus says it’s over. And He never gets over resurrecting things that can bring Him the glory due His name.


  • What situation have you given up on, without clear indication that Jesus has said it’s over?
  • What truth from God’s Word can you meditate on today to reinforce in your heart that God is good, in control, and able to resurrect whatever He chooses?

Lord, please birth in me an increased level of faith, and help me see the situations in my life through Your eyes and Your authority rather than my own. I believe that through relationship with You, I can resist limiting my vision to what’s right in front of me. Thank You that I’m not relegated merely to what I can see and feel, or what others are saying, or even what I’m thinking. I choose to base my reality on what You’ve said, knowing that You will be faithful to Your promises. You can do anything, Lord. I surrender my situation to Your sovereignty and goodness, trusting that You cando anything and that You willdo what’s best. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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You don’t have to live trapped in your circumstances or give up on the idea that things can change for the better. Instead . . . you can combine your faith with your actions. Today, you can make the choice to do your part and believe that God will do His.

If you want your life to be different, it’s time to make choices that lead to different places. If you feel the weight of making bad decisions . . . if you fear that nothing can turn your life around . . . if you’re ready to make choices that bring help and hope to you and those you love . . . get these resources, open your Bible, and allow God to guide you and speak to you. Today can be your turning point. 

—James MacDonald

Request the 30 Days to Better Choices book from Pastor James MacDonald for your gift of any amount to the ministry of Walk in the Word.

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About Walk in the Word

Walk in the Word...Igniting passion in the people of God through the proclamation of truth.

About Dr. James MacDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min. Phoenix Seminary) is married to his high school sweetheart, Kathy, and both are from Ontario, Canada. He is the father of three grown children, two daughters-in-law, a son-in-law, and grandfather to five amazing grandsons. James has committed his life and ministry to the unapologetic proclamation of God’s Word. In 1988, along with a small group of ministry partners, James and Kathy planted Harvest Bible Chapel ( which now has more than 13,000 people meeting at seven locations across Chicagoland each weekend.

Walk in the Word, a Bible-teaching television and radio broadcast ministry (, was established in 1997. The radio program reaches more than three million people daily, and the television audience extends around the world. In 2002, through James’ leadership and by God’s grace, the church-planting ministry Harvest Bible Fellowship ( was founded and has established more than 100 churches across North America and around the world. James’ vision is for God to use Harvest Bible Fellowship to plant 1,000 churches by 2020.

James’ extensive ministry also includes a training center for pastors, a year-round camp, a center for biblical counseling, a disaster-recovery organization, and a Christian school—all used to reach more people with the life-changing message of the gospel.

James is the author of several books including Vertical Church, Authentic, Lord Change My Attitude, When Life is Hard, Always True, Come Home, and most recently, Act Like Men.

Find out more about James and his ministries at:
@pastorjamesmacdonald on Instagram
@jamesmacdonald on Twitter
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Contact Walk in the Word with Dr. James MacDonald

Mailing Address
Walk in the Word
P.O. Box 5368
Elgin, IL 60121