Accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior is not an act based on emotions, It is based on faith and the knowledge of God’s grace and mercy. But the result of that decision can bring an emotional release. We don’t have to cry or jump for joy at that moment but sooner or later, we should feel the joy that salvation brings. There could be tears of sorrow and tears of joy. Sorrow because we realize how we have shared in the persecution of our Savior and joy because we realize that He loved us enough to die for us even while we were sinners. As we learn more about God’s plan of salvation and how He draws us to Him, there should be times that the joy causes us to overflow. As we mature in our walk with Him, our desire to spend time with Him alone should grow deeper. There is joy in group worship and we need to be a part of that. But to really get to know and love our Lord and Savior, it takes time alone with Him, It is in those special times alone with Him that you can really access the joy and peace that He promised each of us. When we really love someone, we want to spend time alone with them. We long for those private moments when we are totally centered on each other and nothing interrupts. Doesn’t Jesus, the great lover of our souls, deserve a few moments like that with us every day?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
As Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples, they found it easier to understand the things He was telling them. Now they understood and believed that Jesus was the
Son of God. Now Jesus tells them that each one of them will abandon Him in His time of suffering. But He assures them that He will not be alone, even when they all leave Him. Jesus explains to them that they will have trials and sorrows in this world, but they can still have peace because He has overcome the world. We will have our times of trials as well. But we have someone now that the disciples didn’t have until later. When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came to take His place. The Holy Spirit is not another god, He is the same God in a different form to perform a different function. We should not fear the trials and temptations that will come our way, because we have someone inside us who is more powerful than anything in the world. 4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.—1 John 4:4 (NLT)
How can we be called “over-comers” and “more than conquerors”, if we never have any problems to overcome or battles to win?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The last few days before the crucifixion of Jesus must have been very perplexing to the disciples. They had expected that Jesus might set up an earthly kingdom. Instead, He keeps talking about leaving and they won’t know where He is going and they can’t come with Him now. What could Jesus possibly mean that they would not see Him for “a little while” and then they would see Him? What could He mean by saying they couldn’t come now, but they would come to Him later. Jesus could have been referring to two events. “A little while” could be the 3 days He will be in the grave. But since God is not bound by the way we measure time and since He said that He was “going to the Father”, the little while could be from then until the Holy Spirit arrived at Pentecost. Either way, it was a disturbing and sad time for them. A time that we will never have to endure. Since God has sent the Holy Spirit to indwell each of us that accepts Jesus as our Savior, we will never be without Him. We will never be alone. I am reminded of the old hymn “Have Faith in God”
Have faith in God when your pathway is lonely.
He sees and knows all the way you have trod;
Never alone are the least of His children;
Have faith in God, have faith in God.”
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
After Elijah had eaten and then eaten some more, he ran for forty days and forty nights. That was sure some powerful carbos God fed him. His journey took him to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God. This was the mountain on which God had given Moses the tablets of the Ten Commandments. God speaks to Elijah and asks him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” I imagine Elijah might have been wondering the same thing. Elijah answers by registering his complaint about being the only prophet left in Israel. God instructs Elijah to stand before Him on the mountain. Then, God sends a mighty windstorm, an earthquake and a fire, but God was not in any of those things. When we are wallowing in self-pity, it takes a lot to shake us up and get our attention. After God got Elijah’s attention, He spoke to in a gentle whisper. No yelling, no screaming, no rebuke, just a gentle whisper. Then, God reassures Elijah that he is not alone, there are at least 7000 other prophets that God has kept from bowing their knee to Baal. No matter the situation, God is always so gracious to us and reassures us that eveything is okay. He is God everywhere and all the time! We are never alone and we are never given more than we can bear. Yet, we still fail, moan and complain and God comes to us wherever we are, wraps His arms of love around us and comforts us.
6 But when they arrived at the threshing floor of Nacon, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah reached out his hand and steadied the Ark of God.7 Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God. — 2 Samuel 6:6,7 NLT
When we read these verses, it seems that God was mighty harsh on Uzzah for trying to do the right thing and steady the Ark so that it would not fall. But when God instructed Moses to build the Ark, he also gave Moses specific instructions on how to build it and who could carry it. David and the Israelites were aware of this. 1 Chron, 15:11-15 First of all, David was wrong in letting anyone but the Levites carry the Ark and the Levites were supposed to carry it on their shoulders with the poles that were stuck through the rings on the side of the Ark. The Ark should never have been on a cart. If the Ark had not been on the cart, then Uzzah would not have been tempted to sin. When we decide to somethng to honor God, we must saturate it in prayer and be sure that we are doing it God’s way and in His timing. There is only one letter difference in “good” things and “God” things. The letter “o’, but oh!, what a difference that can make in our efforts ending in a success or a failure. When God says there is only one way to do something, then we must pay heed and not accept or condone anything less. When Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except through me.”, He was completely truthful and serious. There is no other way; not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Rev. Moon, not Mother Earth, and definituely not ourselves. In a world of chaos and uncertainty, there is a Solid Rock that never changes or moves. Place your faith in and your feet on that Solid Rock and refuse to be moved. Don’t doubt, don’t dapple, don’t touch anything else. He is the same God yesterday, today and He will be the same God tomorrow and He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us. Let us make that same promise to Him.
5 It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.6 You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people. — Deut. 9:5, 6 NLT
It is very easy for us to read the account of the journey from Egypt to Canaan and criticize the children of Israel for all their stubbornness and lack of faith. God chose them, called them out of Egypt, provided for them and kept them safe by His own arm and great power. Their response was to moan and groan about the things they didn’t have instead of being thankful for what God was doing for them. Had it not have been for the prayers of Moses, God would have compeletely destroyed these people and started over with just the family of Moses. God reminds them that it is not because of any goodness in them that He has allowed them to come this far. It is because of the wickedness of the people that live in Canaan and the oath He has sworn to Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Let us look at our lives today. How often do we, who live in the lap of luxury compared to ninety percent of the world, moan, groan and complain? How often do we consider what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we do have? Let us honestly and truthfully consider our thoughts and how we spend our time and resources. Are we not just as stubborn and rebellious as these people were? If Jesus came to our house today, would He feel welcomed by what He sees or would He wonder if we even knew Him? If Jesus walked with us everyday, is there anything in our lifestyle that we would change? If the answer is “Yes”, then let’s not be stubborn, let’s change it today because Jesus is walking with us everywhere we go.
20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” — Matt. 28:20 NLT
7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” — Mark 16:7 NKJV
Peter had boasted to Jesus that he would never deny Him. He was adamant that he would stand by Jesus no matter the situation or the cost.
35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same. — Matt. 26:35 NIV (Emphasis mine)
We sometimes overlook the fact that they all ran away that night in the garden. Where the others went, we aren’t told, but John was with Jesus and Peter followed at a distance. We. like Peter, often think that we are stronger in our faith than we really are. If we tell Jesus we will do this or that, He will most often give us the opportunity to do exactly that. And, if we try to accomplish whatever “that” is in our own power, we, too, will fail. Peter denied Chirst with his actions and his words. Most of the time, we deny Chirst with our inaction and lack of words. Whether we deny Him passively or actively, it is still denial. When I fail to speak to someone about their eternal destiny when the Holy Spirit urges me to do so, I have denied Jesus. And when the Spirit brings conviction, my heart is broken and I repent with remorse and bitter tears. But the conviction is not punishment or isolation from God, it is discipline and an invitation to come back to God. When those times come that I fail to speak out and I feel like Peter must have felt that night, I read this verse and put my name there instead of Peter’s. I make it personal and read it ; “go tell His people –and Wally– that He is still going before us and we will see Him”. Then I know that I am forgiven and Jesus wants to hold me and comfort me. My tears of remorse become tears of joy! My sadness becomes praise to the One who will never exclude me. Such wonderful, glorious, amazing grace and love encourages me to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”. I am still on the team, Jesus has chosen me and I want to shout “Me, too!” He has chosen “Me, too”!
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds — Hebrews 10:19-24 NIV
God did not promise us that the way would always be smooth. In fact, Jesus told us just the opposite that we will have troubles in this world. He also told us that in Him we could have peace in the middle of all the troubles.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 NIV
We have our God living inside of us to assure us that we can never be alone, He is always with us. God is faithful to fulfill every promise He has ever made. As Christians, we have a hope that no other belief system has. All the other so called gods and leaders are dead. Our God is a living God who has eyes to see, hears to ear and hands to touch and heal. Even more than that, He has a heart overflowing with love for His children. Because He has this incomprehensible love for us, He watches over us constantly. He speaks to us and carries us through the hard times. He doesn’t always deliver us from trouble as quickly as we would like but, He always delivers. Don’t talk to God today, talk with Him. After you have praised and prayed, listen for His words to you. He wants to hold you, love you and shelter you under His wings.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday. — Psalm 91:4-6 NIV
10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11 We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. 12 We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. — Hebrews 6:10-12 NIV
Accepting Jesus as our Savior is the first step on a journey from here to heaven. We know our destination and we know that our arrival has been secured by the blood of Jesus. The huge difference in this trip and one that we might plan to take here on earth is that we don’t know the specifics of the route. Generally, we know that it is ever onward and upward, but what does that entail on a minute by minute basis? We are facing a great unknown and we must take every step by faith.
17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” — Romans 1:17 NIV
So we must study the gospel to know the way. There is no earthly GPS that is going to lead us to heaven. But, God, in His great mercy and love for us installed a guide within us when we accepted His Son as our Savior. We must learn to listen to the Guide to stay on the path. The way will not always be smooth and level. It can get rocky and there will be valleys and mountains. Just remember that every valley has two mountains and we travel from mountain to mountain not knowing what is over the next one. The important thing to KNOW is that we are never alone and if we get lost on the journey, the great Shepherd will leave the flock, come find us and carry us back to the straight and narrow path.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.— Proverbs 3:5, 6 NIV