When you are hurting, thank the Lord for His mercy and grace even when you don’t feel thankful. God loves each of us and we need to tell Him “Thank You!” for all that He does. Some people may ask, “What does God do for me?”; if you can get up and walk, He has blessed you with that ability. Everything that we can do each day is a gift from God. Whether it is getting up for a cup of coffee or getting up to go to work…or just being able to get up!
God created us to be His companion and He has given each of us a purpose in life which is to go out and tell others about Him. Some will believe and some won’t but God is still in control of it all. Take comfort in that.
Many times I have been asked to pray in church, even when I was a pastor and the facts about our Savior just overwhelmed me and I would choke up. Some people may have thought I was weak or just a “cry-baby” by doing this although none of them would admit it. But when you consider the pain and suffering that Jesus had to go through on the day He was crucified to pay for all of our sins…it is overwhelming. God loves each of us who will give our hearts to Him and repent of our old ways and His love is so overpowering until we can’t understand it.
Why would God send His Son to go through all of the suffering and pain as a man in order to pay our penalty for our sins? It’s because of His love for us and nothing else. Every time He disciplined the Jewish people in the Old Testament He was trying to get them to turn to Him for their provision and for His love to be poured out on them as blessings. Sometimes they recognized this and sometimes they didn’t so for a while they would follow Him or the person that He sent to bring them back into a relationship with Him. But as soon as that person died, they would turn back to the idols that they had rather than continue to follow God’s leading.
God has always been close to our little world and He has protected us from many dangers that we never know about. Can I prove this? Not really…unless you look at the surface of our moon and see how many hundreds of asteroid impacts have ended on its surface rather than hitting Earth. I would guess that there have been a few extinction-level impacts that were intercepted by the moon instead of impacting and setting our world back a few thousand years or more.
The love that God has for us, each of us, is so magnificent and deep until we cannot possibly understand or even comprehend it and it was because of that love that He came in the guise of Jesus to pay our debt so we wouldn’t have to. Just consider His love for each of us because He even knows how many hairs are on your head and mine! He knows when a bird falls from the sky because in the Bible Jesus said that “not even a sparrow falls without the Father knowing it”. If He cares enough to watch a small bird and know when they die, don’t you think that each of us is worth a little more than a little bird?
When you or I consider the deep and abiding love that God has for each of us, how can you not shed a tear or get choked up a bit? Not one of us deserves His love but He thinks that we do and He does care for us more than we could imagine or hope for. Give your life to Jesus and ask Him to come into your life and help you clean out your heart because your future depends on this decision. He has already paid for your past mistakes (sins) and for any future ones too, all you have to do is repent of them and ask Him to come into your life and make it useful for His Kingdom.
When you have given your heart and your life to Jesus, He gives His Life to you. You are a beneficiary of the Lamb of God and you have been adopted into God’s family. God loves each of us dearly, whether we love Him or believe in Him or not. The problem that many people have with God and His provision for them is that He knows exactly who among us will accept His provision and His salvation through Jesus and His sacrifice for them. He also knows who will not accept it. This upsets some people. Because they think that they might be in the group that won’t accept it, they choose not to and go on with their lives. The problem with this is that He knows but you do not and it is Satan who is telling you that you aren’t wanted by God so go back to your life like it was before.
You are wanted by God but it is still your decision to make. He doesn’t force or try to manipulate you into giving your heart to Jesus it must be a willing decision on your part. Satan knows this and that is why he tries his best to convince you to go back to your “old life”.
God provides us with every imagined good thing in our lives. Some of it is our stuff that we are able to have because of the gifts and abilities that He has blessed us with but most of these blessings are because of His love for us. The air that we breathe, the ground that we can walk on and the planet that we live on are all provided because of His love for us. I know that some scientists say that God didn’t have anything to do with our planet or the universe’s formation. It just happened because of the “big bang” and chance. Really? How many mountains have you ever seen form because a bomb was dropped and exploded? I haven’t seen any.
Things, like stars, planets and galaxies, do not form from gas and dust for no reason. Some of you may not want to hear or read that but it is true. There was and is a Designer in charge of all of the matter and “star stuff” that is present in our universe and His name is God!
We have been given far more than we deserve in the lives that we live, whether we live them for Jesus and His Kingdom or not. Our problem is that mankind has been in rebellion against God almost since the very beginning. We are like little children. We want it now and we want it our way, not the way that God wants us to do it. I pray that each of you who may read this will consider giving your heart to Jesus for your salvation. Then get into the Bible and read two books first afterwards. Read John and Romans. John because it will give you and good foundation in what Jesus’ teachings were and Romans because it goes into depth with those teachings and gives you a better understanding of why they are important to your Spiritual life in Christ.
This past week has been cold all over the United States. Why would I celebrate this cold and dangerous time in our country? Everything in our country can’t always be good and equitable for everyone. Life always has ups and downs. Good days and bad.
God loves each of us and offers us eternity with Him so why do people refuse His offer? We go through trials and trouble and problems with our bodies and at our jobs and even with our relationships. Sometimes we depend on God for our help with these things and sometimes we tell Him that we can handle it even when we know that we can’t. Oh, we may not actually tell Him that we will handle things but when we don’t seek His help with whatever it is then we are telling Him to His face that we can do it. He will let us try and usually we will fail. Then, if we have any conscience at all, we will seek His help to fix the mess that we have now.
After all of this ice and snow melts we will have really mushy yards and mine is already on its way to being that way. It is pretty when it falls and stays for a while but it is a pain and so muddy when it is melting and going away. That is another way of looking at our life with or without Jesus in it. I’m not saying that becoming a Christian will solve all of your problems immediately because it won’t. Satan will still attack you on many fronts and try to take your witness away or at least mess it up so that people who don’t really know you will just dismiss your witness as fake.
That is why when the ice storms and the hail and sleet come into your life as problems and pains and broken hearts, make sure that you turn to and lean on Jesus. He can strengthen you and give you the faith and ability to get through all of these problems. Some people will scoff at this but God does care about each of us and He will be near you in all of your problems IF you give your heart to Him and repent of your sins. Don’t expect Him to comfort you if you don’t belong to Him. That would be like expecting a total stranger to comfort you and take care of your needs. Some people might but not all.
God has always been close to humanity because of Israel and the Jewish people. He always has His attention on us and if you are a believer He knows you more intimately than anyone.
We hear a bit of wisdom from Jesus’ own words many times and we don’t even realize where it came from or who said it. It is mentioned in movies and in books. It is used for many purposes, good and bad. Yet it was meant as a way that Jesus was making a point to His enemies when they were trying to catch Him with a politically charged question. They asked Him, “Teacher, should we pay taxes to Caesar?” He then asked a question or two of His own. “Show me the coin. Whose likeness is this?” Of course it was Caesars likeness and Jesus knew this. Then He told them flatly: “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21).
Each of us owes a debt to Jesus and to God Himself that we could never pay and it concerns our salvation and the price that was paid for it. Even if you have never given your heart to Jesus or asked Him to cleanse you and make you a disciple of His, He paid the price for your sins. When you feel the touch of the Holy Spirit in your life and on your heart, it is Jesus Who is knocking on the door to your heart. You might tell me or someone else that God wouldn’t accept me because I’ve fought with that Spirit for a long time, so long in fact that I barely feel or hear it anymore. If you feel a nudge or a very slight touch from Him I pray that you will answer that call, that feeling, His touch the next time that you feel it.
God can use your talents for His Kingdom. Even if you feel that they don’t amount to much, God can change your direction and give you the ability to be His watchman or His prophet. He used many men in the past and He is still giving out abilities to those who will answer His call. We may not see miracles happen when we want them to but they will happen when the time is right and it fits His time. Jesus said that “faith the size of a mustard seed” can move mountains. God can give you more than that but your faith still has to be turned on by your belief in the Creator of the universe. Faith to move a mountain won’t lift a grain of sand if you don’t believe.
God has been in our past and He is here today. Watching and seeking anyone who will hear His Word and take it to heart and believe what is there in the Word, the Bible. Many people in government and in some other organizations work very hard trying to take any reference to the Bible out of public view. If they would realize that God loves them and seek to do what it says in the Bible…taking the good news to everyone who will believe, with the same passion that they use trying to get rid of it the whole world would have a revival of faith in the One True God of the Bible.
But…because of the time that we are living in at the end of the church age, there are so many false teachers who are preaching and teaching doctrine that sounds good and it may even have some references to the Bible in their doctrine, but it has been twisted out of context. Scripture has been used by thousands in this manner over the centuries. Taken as one verse and used as a doctrine or a rallying cry but when a verse is used like this its power is twisted and can be used to enslave people or to turn their beliefs toward something or someone who is not who they say they are.
I pray that everyone who is seeking to know Jesus will seek Him in His Word, Old and New Testament, because He is there and we carry His image within us even when we were sinners. We should all consider that fact and seek to be worthy of His image until the day that He comes to take the church home with Him.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was asking His Father if there was another way but then He said “nevertheless, not My will but Yours be done”. I know, it sounds as if I am giving a talk/sermon/post on giving your life to Jesus and in a way I am. But in our time, in the 21st century, giving your life to someone or for something means a lot more. Consider it this way: Jesus was living in the first century. He was a carpenter Who also happened to be the Savior of the world and the Son of God. His parents who raised Him were not rich in wealth. He wore very simple, home-spun cloth for His clothes. In our world today, His condition would be looked on as a man living in a very poor state of being.
God’s Word asks us to give our life to Him, surrendering everything that we have to have all of His riches in glory. We can’t imagine how Heaven is going to be. Even the prophets in the Old Testament and John the apostle didn’t have the words to describe what they saw in their visions of heaven. Any description that we can come up with today would fall very far from the reality that is there. Why do I go to such detail to tell about what we can’t describe? Because when we are asked to give our life and surrender everything to Jesus…are we able to truly give it all to Him?
For most people, the answer would be a very loud “NO!”. God cannot have my business or my family or my home! The reality from God’s perspective is that those things that we don’t want to give up are really His anyway, He is just blessing us with them while we are here. But, many of us don’t want to admit that what we see as our possessions are actually on loan from God, including our family.
Surrendering your life means far more than most of us consider but the giving of our life to Christ is necessary for our eternal home. Asking Him to take everything in your life is not telling God to take your family or your business or your home away from you. It means that you aren’t holding anything back! You aren’t telling him that “this box of goodies is mine but you can have the rest”. That is not how it works. God either has ALL of you and your life or He has nothing. Just as some people today believe either ALL of the Bible as God’s Word or they don’t believe any of it, you can’t pick and choose this part but not that one. It is the same with your life, you cannot choose to give Jesus part of your life and heart…He either has all of it or none.
Make the decision to give Him everything so that He can return the favor and the blessing to you.
Many people don’t feel this way at all. Even those who are rich with wealth that the world recognizes see their wealth as their right or as a tool to get more. If you are a believer in Jesus and you know that He is your Savior then you are more wealthy than this world can know. The world around us doesn’t recognize this type of wealth because it is not the kind that you can see. It is wealth in heaven above. It is our forgiveness and our promise of eternal life with God in His house.
God loves each of you even if you don’t believe in Him or His Son, Jesus. But beware…God loved Isaac but only one of his children did God place as the most favored. He said that “Jacob I loved but Esau I hated”. Today it’s not so simple, especially in our society. Everyone wants a new home and a new car now! Nobody wants to wait and save up some money for a down payment. This “microwave generation” wants everything right now regardless of how Mom and Dad did it. It’s the same with the way people view a relationship with Jesus. They want to be assured of a place in heaven and if they don’t feel like they can learn that at this church or from this pastor or denomination then they will go somewhere else.
Many are encouraged to join a church during a revival or some special event and some do but joining a church is not the same as gaining your salvation through the actions of the Holy Spirit. Some people get caught up in the singing or the emotions of the sermon and they “feel” led to make this decision tonight and it may be the Holy Spirit touching them. The problem that we have in churches today is that once they are on the rolls of membership, they are almost forgotten. Unless they are mentored at home or join in a youth group study or Sunday school regularly they will not learn how God wants them to live and be a part of His family.
The Scriptures that are referenced in the paragraphs above are good ones to learn from but unless youread and study them more than once the principles that they have to teach will not stick in your head or your heart. Listening to God is learned through reading His Word in order to know His voice and His ways of teaching. You can’t learn by osmosis from carrying a Bible to church, if you don’t read it then none of God’s wisdom will ever take root in your heart and your life.
The book of Proverbs is one of the greatest collections of wisdom in the world but very few people read it even once in their lifetime. They will read through a novel or a self-help book by someone who says they have the answers regardless of the length or the thickness of it. Proverbs is only thirty chapters long so reading one chapter a day takes about a month. Then go back and read it through again and pray about what you have read, asking God to show you which parts apply to your life and situation. Then…read it again. Usually after the third read your brain cells will realize that this is important stuff and we should remember this. You won’t have it memorized word for word but when problems come along, you will remember that you read about that somewhere recently.
Try reading God’s Word and asking Him to show you what you need to learn from it. He will answer you with more than you were expecting to learn.
Wherefore thou art great, O Lord God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
2 Samuel 7:22 KJV