20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy.
From desperation to delight, a part of the journey that most, if not all, of us must go through on our way to heaven. It’s that part of the journey we would like to skip, but God doesn’t allow any shortcuts. It is in those times that we learn where our true allegiance is. The disciples had been on a mountain top experience while they were walking with Jesus, but now they were in the valley. But as the McKameys sing’ “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley”. At this point in time, the disciples didn’t have the luxury of looking at the cross from the resurrection side. Those three days would seem like a lifetime to them. Jesus knew this and encouraged them to be faithful. Ask the Father in my name and He will fill you with joy, the fullest, possible joy.
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.–Romans 15:13 (NASB)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
23 The son of the slave wife was born in a human attempt to bring about the fulfillment of God’s promise. But the son of the freeborn wife was born as God’s own fulfillment of his promise. — Galatians 4:23 NLT
God had made a covenant promise to Abraham that he would become the Father of many nations. Abraham and Sarah were past child-bearing age and still Sarah had not conceived. It was at this point that they decided to take things into their own hands. Since the promise was to Abraham, he could Father a child by another woman. In this case, Sarah’s servant Hagar was chosen as the Mother. That decision has caused a lot of grief for a lot of people throughout the ages. Years later, Sarah conceived and bore a son. This son, Isaac, was the son God had promised. But because of the impatience of Abraham and Sarah, the war was on between the sons and it continues today. He will bring them about in His good timing. If we wait, we will reap the rich benefits of the fulfillment of His promise. If we try to fulfill His promise to us in our own way and in our own timing, the results will be nowhere near what God has planned for us. When God gives us a vision or a promise, we must be patient and allow Him to fulfill it in His way and His timing. Joseph spent years waiting for God to fulfill His promise, He suffered loss of family, false accusations and imprisonment before he was made second in command of Egypt, the most powerful nation in the world at that time. God doesn’t need our help to make His promises come true. He just needs us to be patient and obedient.
23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. — 1 John 3:23 NLT
Believe in Jesus and love one another. Simple to say, not so simple to do. How can we know that we truly believe in Jesus? Do we instantly change or do we suddenly feel different? Or is it a gradual change over the years? It is some of both, we are instantly saved the moment we believe. We may not feel any different but salvation is based on knowledge not on feelings or emotions although we may get emotional when it happens. Salvation is the foundation of Christianity, it is involved in our lifelong process of sanctification and it is the capstone of the completed temple God is building in our bodies. So, how do we know this process is taking place on a daily basis? Do we love others more or differently? Does the grief and sorrow of others affect us more than before? Is our outlook slowing changing from “what about me?” to “what can I do for Jesus and His Kingdom today?” Does it break our hearts to know that we have done or said something that hurt Jesus and His Kingdom? If the answer to all of these questions is “Yes”, then we can be sure that the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside of us accomplishing what God wants in our lives. If the answers are no or I’m not sure, then perhaps it would not hurt to take another look at the foundation and see if it is solid.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. — 2 Cor. 1:3 NLT
God, in His great love for us, wants to relieve us of all of our grief and distress. It is not His desire that we should suffer. No parent wants to see his or her child suffer. We want to reach out and comfort our children even when they may have caused their discomfort by a bad decision that they made. Love says help them, but Godly compassion says that there are times when they and we must endure those times of distress and grief so that we learn not to repeat our mistakes. As parents, we want to deliver our kids from the storm. The lesson that we need to learn and that we need to teach our children is that God doesn’t always need to deliver us from the storm, He is able to comfort us in the storm. Rough seas may come and destructive winds may blow but nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. When God doesn’t immediately deliver us from the storm we must seek His comfort in the storm. Then we will be able to pass that comfort, peace and joy on to those around us.
8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.–James 4:8-10 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
We need to make up our minds are we for the Lord or are we for the world. How long will we waver between two opinions? This was the recurring problem that the children of Israel had.
21 Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.–1 Kings 18:21 (NLT)
Since we know that God is God, we need to allow Him to be Lord of every part of our life. He will accept nothing less. We need to repent of our sins and God will restore us. God does not wink at sin and He doesn’t have a list that ranges from “little” sin to the “biggest” sin. He puts liars in the same category with thieves and murderers. We need to allow Him to “create in us a clean heart and renew a right Spirit within us”. Unconfessed sin in our lives breaks our relationship with God. We are still saved but until we repent, God is unable to bless us the way He longs to. We need to humble ourselves before Him and allow Him to cleanse us and revive us again.
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.–1 Peter 5:6 (NLT)