Lazarus and his sisters were dear friends of Jesus. Mary and Martha sent a messenger to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick. The messenger and the disciples must have been very surprised at what Jesus said when he heard the message. “This sickness will not end in death, it is for the glory of God”. How could sickness be for the glory of God? They, like us today, look at things from the human standpoint. Why should a friend of Jesus, the Great Physician, or a child of God have to suffer? A better question might be, “Why don’t wretched sinners like us have to suffer more than we do now?” Sin came into the world when man disobeyed God and it will remain in the world until Jesus comes back to establish His Kingdom here on earth. Until that time of restoration comes, we remain under the curse of sin. God gets glory by overcoming the curse of sin. While Jesus was here on earth, He overcame the curse of sin one act at a time. Yes, Jesus could have just spoken a word right where He was when He heard the message or He could have left immediately and gone to Lazarus. He chose not to do either of those things, but waited for 2 days before He left to go to Lazarus. God’s timing is not our timing and His answer is not always what we want to hear, but they are always exactly what is necessary to bring glory to Himself.
8 The Lord says, “My thoughts are not like your thoughts. Your ways are not like my ways. 9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts–Jeremiah 55:8, 9 (NCV) Now we aren’t able to see and understand these things, but one day we will know and understand.
12 It is the same with us. Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only a part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.—1 Cor. 13:12 (NCV)
Until then, we can be comforted with God’s promises and the many gifts He gives each day,
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.— Hebrews 13:1-3 NIV
Keep on loving each other! Some of us have a real problem expressing our affections in words and actions. We may have to overcome some hurts from the past before we are willing to open up to other people. It helps if we realize that all of us need love. If God had not loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, we would never have been able to experience the joy of loving others. So, let us show others the love and kindness of our God by showing our concern for them. We can do this by praying for others, starting at home and praying for our families Then for our brothers and sisters in Christ,especially those who are being persecuted daily and imprisoned. Then we need to pray for those that are persecuting and killing our brothers and sisters. Though we sometimes forget it, Jesus died for them as well. Being able to pray for our enemies is hard to do, but we must, if we are going to be obedient to Jesus. Above all, we must continue to love one another.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.—- Colossians 3:12-14 NIV
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor.13:13
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Each morning when we get up, we should take time to thank God for His mercies and faithfulness. The fact that God does not deal with us as we deserve because of our sins is reason enough to spend each day rejoicing and giving Him praise. We deserve death and an eternity in hell, but God has chosen to forgive us, redeem us and bless us. Spend today giving God the glory, blessing, and honor that He so richly deserves and when the evening comes, you will discover that you have had a joyful day. Focus on Jesus and your day will be a blessing to you and to those around you. Every day, from now until Christmas, practice showing mercy to those you meet and pray that it becomes a year round habit. We can have that “Christmas feeling” year round, if we meditate on the love of Jesus, store it in our hearts and release a little bit of it everyday.
If we have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, we will always show the love that we have for others. We must always put Jesus first, then others next. The only way the world will know that we love Jesus is if we show that love to them and to each other. Jesus loved us to the point of laying down His life for us, even while we were still sinners. How much of your life are you willing to lay down to witness to your neighbors? Laying down our lives for others is about more than just taking time to talk to them, it is also about living a Holy life before them. Jesus has commanded us and He has also given us the power to speak words of life to those that He puts in our paths. But they won’t listen to us, if our walk doesn’t reflect our talk. As the saying goes, people don’t care what we know until they know that we care. Let each of us show how much we care by showing compassion in every situation.
27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.
28 If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.” — Proverbs 3:27, 28 NLT
Have you ever had this happen to you? You are in a public place and you see someone and suddenly you have this strange notion that you should speak to them. You don’t know this person, you may or may not have seen them somewhere before. You think about speaking but you turn and walk away. But minutes later, you come face to face with this same person and you feel that nudge to speak to them. Looking at them, you can discern no particular need, but the urge to speak to them lingers. No, I just don’t have time to engage anyone in conversation right now or he/she probably doesn’t have time or doesn’t want to be bothered is what we think. So, we turn and we walk away. If this should happen to you today or at anytime in the future, let me encourage you to just stop and simply say “Hello, how are you doing today?” and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit from that point on. You might well be surprised at the blessing both of you will receive from that simple start. We have to understand that the command to “go and make disciples” is a constant command and Jesus would not have told us to “go and make” if He wasn’t going to give each of us an opportunity to do just that. Going and making disciples starts with our next encounter with any person. Just follow the example of Jesus who “went about doing good”.
God is so good and merciful. He gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent and return to worshipping Him and Him alone. He had blessed all of Israel with forty years of peace and wealth beyond measure. Yet, here they were, back to worshipping idols. God had split the kingdom into Israel, the northern kingdom and Judah, the southern kingdom because of the iniquities of the people. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon was the king of the southern kingdom and reigned in Judah from Jerusalem. For a while, he was faithful to God, but then, he returned to idol worship and God sent Shishak and the Egyptian army to destroy Judah. After Shishak had taken the fortified towns in Judah, he advanced on Jerusalem. The king and the leaders of the people in Jerusalem humbled themselves so God did not allow Shishak to destroy Jerusalem, but He did allow Shishak to take all the wealth from Jerusalem and made the inhabitants his servants. God saw that there were still some good things in the land of Judah, so He relented. We need to pray that God will see that there are still some good things in our country and not destroy us yet. We need to pray that we and our leaders will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the one true and Almighty God. We have had our warnings, let us pray fervently that God continues to show His great mercy and compassion on this nation.
1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!–1 Cor. 6: 1-6 NIV
Can you imagine what it would be like to attend a congregation where everyone agreed to take their complaints against each other to the congregation and accept their decision? Wouldn’t this be a good example for the world to see? Paul says we should be able to judge the trivial things ourselves. Anything short of salvation is trivial. Why do we ask the world to judge between us? Is it ego, greed, or revenge? Since we have access to heavenly wisdom, who could be wiser in judging than God’s children? We are all one family, the family of God. For us to ask the world to settle our disputes is somewhat like hanging out the family’s dirty laundry. The world is probably never going to recommend that we just forgive each other and move along since they look on humility and meekness with scorn. But that is exactly what the Holy Spirit recommends for members of the body. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.—Eph. 4:31,32 NIV