If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5 KJV https://bible.com/bible/1/jas.1.5.KJV
In Genesis 22 God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, his firstborn son of his old age. Why? Many people, pastors included, preach that it was a test of Abraham’s faith and it was but there is another reason. The firstborn belongs to God, of animals and men, if the firstborn is not redeemed by another sacrifice then they must die. Now, today the sacrifice could be service to others or service to God. My mother prayed to God that my life would be used by Him when I was a baby. She told me that she dedicated me to God when I was born. When she told me this many years ago, I didn’t want to know what it meant and I didn’t really care because I was angry about the way that my parents were in court fighting over child support.
It took many years for me to realize what she was saying, but since I became a pastor I have learned what the phrase “first fruits” really means. In Abraham’s case, Isaac had not been redeemed by the sacrifice of an animal so when Isaac got old enough, he was around twenty years old at the time, God asked Abraham to sacrifice him on the mountain. I’m sure that didn’t make Abraham very happy. In fact, he likely did not sleep much during the night prior to the trip.
But his faith shows up even before they make it to the mountain. When he and Isaac leave the servants with the donkeys or camels that they were riding, he told them that “I and the boy will go to the mountain yonder and worship and we will come again unto you”. Abraham had the faith to believe that if God allowed him to sacrifice his son of promise, then God would raise him to fulfill the promise that He had made about Isaac and his descendants. Because God had made that promise and He would have to raise Isaac from the dead if that promise was real!
The promise was real but God didn’t have to raise Isaac from the ashes of sacrifice, He provided a substitute for Isaac just as God provided a substitute for our sins in His firstborn Son, Jesus. Many of the Old Testament saints and prophets looked forward to His coming and they saw Him and rejoiced. Have you come to know Jesus as your Savior and Sacrifice for all of your sins? All that we have to do is have enough faith in God and in Jesus as our Savior believing that He gave His life as a ransom for each of you. He redeemed you just as the ram in the thicket redeemed Isaac many years ago.
Give your life and your heart to Jesus because your life needs to be redeemed. If you don’t then your life, your eternity will be in hell with Satan and the rest of the people who rejected Jesus as their Savior. That is the only sin that leads to an eternity outside the presence of God.
There’s more hope for a confessed sinner than there is for a conceited believer. Whoa!
Why? Because of pride. Now, wait a minute. Why should I think about pride?
Pride is the root of every sin and every decision which causes us to try to be more than we can be. Pride causes us to try to do it ourselves and not seek God’s help until we really have to.
A confessed sinner has come to the point where he or she knows that they have sinned and they’re ready to ask for God’s forgiveness. A believer who is conceited has allowed his pride in his “salvation” or even in the fancy church that he belongs to, to cloud his view of his sins.
Why would a person who is saved be so prideful? It could be because they only think they are saved. Pride is the original root of all sins. That’s why Christians should endeavor to stay humble. Don’t ever think or believe that you are more important to God than anyone else! God loves each of us and He cares for each of us far more deeply than we can understand. We are not just “animals” that He placed here! God formed Adam with His hands and then blew the Breath of Life into him so he would become a man with a soul.
The truth found in God’s Word is the truth that our world, and everyone in it, needs to hear. Whether they will understand it and take it to heart enough to seek their Savior is another thought entirely. God knows who will and who won’t accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and one day soon He will send the angels to blow His Trumpet and call His Bride, the church, home. The bad thing about that day will be those who thought they were saved but weren’t. Especially if it happens on a morning that church services are going on.
Do Not Worry
25Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30Wherefore, if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Why do we worry about stuff today? We see so much violence and hatred on the news and it causes us to worry about our lives and our children. But…why should we worry? God has the world in His hands and He is in control. Our worry and being anxious doesn’t change anything and we can’t make a significant dent in any of the so-called “news” stories on our own. So, hand your cares over to God and lean on Him for your comfort.
God has told us through Jesus Christ during His ministry that worrying about tomorrow won’t change anything. We should handle what is going on in our day, today because tomorrow isn’t here yet. Your life and mine can only exist in today’s time. Yesterday is over with and tomorrow hasn’t come yet. I know we are all anxious because of this disease which suddenly came upon the world and the economic downturn which happened because of it. Now we have hate and bigotry in the streets which is being shown on the news daily and that has added to our anxiety.
We are living in the last days before the Tribulation begins. How soon that will come about no one knows except God Himself and we will find out when He says for the angels to come and get His bride. You can decide to believe His Word or not but since He doesn’t lie then I believe Him. The thing which we have to remember is that we can’t do anything to bring it on sooner or to influence the outcome in any meaningful way. God is in control and no matter what we do, He will accomplish what He has determined to do.
The only useful thing that any of us, as believers, can do is to study His Word and pray that everything goes according to His plan. Of course, it always works according to His plan because He is God! Thinking about some crazy terrorist or some “alien” encounter which might upset God’s plan is not productive because He knows about them and He will use them, regardless of who “them” is.
Be useful to God’s Kingdom so that He will find you working for Him when He comes. Then you may hear those words, “Well done my good and faithful servant, come into your inheritance and the joy of your Lord.”
That is my reward, I hope, and maybe yours too. Seek to please Him more than men because in eternity it is God’s favor that you should seek through the blood of Jesus.
Many times we look around and see all of the things which happen to those who serve God and try to be His servants, some people think that it is not worth it for the trouble. Why does this trouble come upon us when we are trying to do the work of the Lord? Mainly it is because of the prophecies of Jesus, Who said: “you shall have trouble in this world, but take heart I have overcome the world“.
We do have trials and trouble in this world because of the ruler of this world. Satan doesn’t bother those who haven’t given their hearts to Jesus but those who are following Him, he brings trouble to them. Sometimes it is trouble for our hurt and at times it may be for testing us and our faith. See that you follow Jesus in life so that others might see your perseverance in Jesus and become saved through Him because of your witness.
Many Christians don’t desire to “witness” to those around them but I have to ask in this instance, “Are you truly saved?”!! If Jesus has not made a change in your life such that you would shout from the roof that He is your Savior, then you may need to check your heart by God’s Word and make sure of your salvation. I know that many people think that they can’t tell others about their salvation. If you don’t feel that your salvation is a gift worthy of telling others about it then what did you seek salvation for?
Jesus willingly gave His life and His blood for your sins and for everyone’s sins in the world and He was raised on the third day after this to be our Lamb of sacrifice and our payment for our sins. If the blood of the Son of God is not precious to you then you don’t belong to Him. God extends His love to all who believe in Jesus for salvation if we will give our life to Him daily in our service to God’s Kingdom.
1 I have told you these things so that you will not fall away. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues. In fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. 3 They will do these things because they have not known the Father or Me. 4 But I have told you these things so that when their hour comes, you will remember that I told you about them. I did not tell you these things from the beginning, because I was with you.
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
(Joel 2:28-32; John 14:15-26; Acts 2:1-13; Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7)
5 Now, however, I am going to Him who sent Me; yet none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?’ 6 Instead, your hearts are filled with sorrow because I have told you these things. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.
8 And when He comes, He will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 in regard to sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see Me; 11 and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world has been condemned.
12 I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. 13 However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. 15 Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you.
16 In a little while you will see Me no more, and then after a little while you will see Me.”
Grief to Joy
17 Then some of His disciples asked one another, “Why is He telling us, ‘In a little while you will not see Me, and then after a little while you will see Me’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “Why is He saying, ‘a little while’? We do not understand what He is saying.”
19 Aware that they wanted to question Him, Jesus said to them, “Are you asking one another why I said, ‘In a little while you will not see Me, and then after a little while you will see Me’? 20 Truly, truly, I tell you, you will weep and wail while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
Ask and You will Receive
23 In that day you will no longer ask Me anything. Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.
25 I have spoken these things to you in figures of speech. A time is coming when I will no longer speak to you this way, but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in My name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 For the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came from God.b 28 I came from the Father and entered the world. In turn, I will leave the world and go to the Father.”
29 His disciples said, “See, now You are speaking plainly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we understand that You know all things and that You have no need for anyone to question You. Because of this, we believe that You came from God.”
31 “Do you finally believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “Look, an hour is coming and has already come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and you will leave Me all alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. 33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”
Life is such that it is at times hard and easy too. On the days when it is hard, we wish that our time would be over soon. On the days when it is easy and we have no worries, we wish that it would continue that way until Jesus comes. So…what should we do in this life of ease and hard work and hard living?
In all things good or bad, easy or hard, wealth or lack of money, we are to give thanks to God and praise Him for the blessings which we have. Some days it may be hard to find those blessings. Some days we may not feel like we are being blessed at all, but if you are a Christian you should live your days in communion with God…daily. Not drinking wine and eating crackers, I mean prayerfully walking with God and reading God’s Word. Learning from your Creator and your Redeemer because He is a lot smarter than you are!
God gives each of us a measure of faith when we come to know Him as our Savior and Lord. Sometimes we feel as if the measure was a little short but that is what we have so we have to use what we have. Does it make it easier to live the Christian life in a world which is against your faith and mine? Not really but we need to keep walking with Him by faith and living our lives with our eyes on the prize of eternity. This world and all of the “stuff” in it like the houses and the cars and the boats and the fancy hunting rifles and four-wheelers and things…all of this is going away one day and none of it will matter.
Your life and what you have done with the talents which God has given you to bless others with and to show His grace and mercy to the rest of the world is all that really matters in the end. Why is that? Because it is only those accomplishments which you have done for Him and through His blessings in your life which will go with you into eternity. Your money and your home and anything else of this world will stay here when you are either taken up or after you die.
So, is life easy or hard today? For some of us it could be an easy day and for some, it may be a hard day. Life goes on in the world and in each community at the same pace and for the same reasons which it was yesterday and which it will be following tomorrow.
Can we make a difference in the world today? Only by following Jesus and listening to His voice and His wisdom. Yes, we can make a difference in our lives and in the lives of other people by giving them the wisdom which God has gifted to us through His Word and by showing them Who Jesus is and by helping them to see why they need Him. Expressing His love in the world each and every day can make a big difference in the world and in the lives of those around us.
So, will you take Jesus with you to work and to school or wherever you go today so that someone will see Him in your actions and in your life? Because for many people in the world, you and your witness may be the only time that they are exposed to Jesus. So make sure that their first impression of Him is a good one so they will recognize that it is Jesus which is a part of your life and that they have benefitted from Him being present in their world today.