21 I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends. 22 For soon I must go down that road from which I will never return. — Job 16:21,22 NLT Here and in other verses in this book, it is as if Job gets a glimpse of the future and the plan that God has in place to redeem fallen man. Job realizes that it is useless for a man to argue with God. We need a mediator and God had a plan in place to provide one for us. We are certainly free to state our case in any situation. When we are speaking to God, we should always be as honest as both Job and David. They were not afraid to pour out their disappointments to God. They did not blame God. However, just as we do, they questioned why God allowed certain things to happen in the life of His children. But when we do this, we must realize that we are in the presence of the Almighty God. We can be bold but at the same time, we must be humble and ready to accept His answers. God listens carefully, but He does not negotiate. In the end, we, like Job and David, must come to the conclusion that God is God and He truly knows what is best for us. We all must go through the valleys and the dark nights. But the key thing for us to remember is that we are going through, we are not going to be there forever. For every valley, there are two mountains and for every dark night, there is light on both sides. As the McKameys sing, “the God on the mountain is still God in the valley and the God of the daytime is still God in the night”. Do not be discouraged nor dismayed, our God will never leave us alone and He will never forsake us.
“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
We might think it strange that the woman is concerned about where is the proper place to worship, but in her time and situation, it was a very important issue. Under the law, there were specific feasts and celebrations that could only be carried out in Jerusalem. She wanted to know how this would affect her worship. So, if we wanted to update this issue to now, we might ask Jesus, “How is this going to affect my lifestyle?” Jesus answers her question by introducing a whole new concept. The time is coming and it is actually here now that you will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, He sent us the Holy Spirit, Now that we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, we can worship God anywhere and anytime. This is true for individual worship. The answer for corporate worship is a little more complicated. 24 Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming.—Hebrews 10:24,25 (NCV)
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. — Mark 11:23, 24 NLT
These are two well-known and often quoted verses from the Bible. Of course, we know the basic principle of God answering prayer is true. But, can we just randomly pick a mountain, ask God to cast it into the sea and watch it immediately happen? Of course not. We might not like the mountain where it is but there might be a million other people who love it and perhaps even God Himself might like the mountain where it is. If God has told us to pray that prayer about a specific problem, then that mountain will be moved. But the important thing for us to notice and remember with these two verses is the fact that they are the meat between two slices of bread.
We can’t just have the meat, we have to eat the whole sandwich. Look at the principle in verse 22:
22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God.”
There is a requirement that God has laid out for us before we ask Him to move the mountain. And then verse 24 gives us another requirement that we must fulfill before we ask God for anything:
25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.
And there are some veggies that need to be eaten as well, Have we determined that what we are asking for aligns with all the Scriptures, not just our favorite ones? If we have met the requirements for God to answer our prayer — believing (being completely convinced that it will happen), forgiveness and alignment with His will, then the mountain will move.
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” 21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”—John 4:19-24 (NLT)
We might think it strange that the woman asks this question, but in her time and situation, it was a very important question. Under the law, there were specific feasts and celebrations that could only be carried out in Jerusalem. She wanted to know how this would affect her worship. So, if we wanted to update this question to now, we might ask Jesus, “How is this going to affect my lifestyle?” Jesus answers her question by introducing a whole new concept. The time is coming and it is actually here now that you will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. After Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, He sent us the Holy Spirit, Now that we have the Holy Spirit abiding in us, we can worship God anywhere and anytime. This is true for individual worship. The answer for corporate worship is a little more complicated. 24 Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing, but you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the day coming.—Hebrews 10:24,25 (NCV)
16 “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. 17 “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— 18 for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!” —John 4:16-18 (NLT)
Jesus makes a statement that leads to this woman speaking the truth about her situation. When we encounter Jesus, we are brought immediately to the point of truth. Jesus knows the truth about each of us. There is never a chance encounter with Jesus. Each one is planned to bring us face to face with the truth about ourselves. To receive salvation, each of us must admit that we have sinned and need forgiveness. Just as this woman realized that Jesus was more than a mere stranger, we must realize that Jesus is different from anyone we have ever encountered. Every meeting with Jesus requires us to make a decision. When a non-believer meets Jesus, their decision will leave them one step closer to hell or take them all the way to heaven.
5 And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
6 For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
7 As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? 8 If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.—Hebrews 12:5-8 (NLT)
We must understand that God disciplines us because He loves us. Just as we discipline our children for their benefit. If we don’t discipline our children then they grow up to be disobedient. An undisciplined lifestyle brings trouble and chaos to their lives as well as ours. The problem is that our human discipline is imperfect and doesn’t always bring about the desired results. Sometimes that is true because proper discipline takes a lot of time and must be reinforced over and over. As humans we sometimes fail at this, But God is not restricted by time and He loves us perfectly, so His discipline is perfect. He is patient and continues to discipline until we get it right. As Joyce Meyer says; “You can choose to obey or you can go around the mountain one more time.” No matter how God chooses to discipline us or how often, we can be assured that is the proper amount and the right kind. It will bring about the desired results. God is “the author and the finisher” of our faith. And He won’t stop until we are a finished product. That doesn’t mean that we will reach perfection here on earth but it does mean that we must stay on the path to spiritual maturity.
Colossians 1:6-8 (NLT) 6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. 7 You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. 8 He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.
Spread the Word, that is one of the themes of the New Testament. We are all familiar with the song “Go tell it on the mountain”. That is our duty as Christians to obey God and join in His work to expand His Kingdom here on earth. It is the underlying reason for this blog. As an anonymous person once wrote: “The Gospel has come to you because it is on its way to someone else.” Jesus said “go and make disciples”. Now we can go to the keyboard and send the message around the world in a matter of minutes. Love is the glue that holds us together in the family of God. Be a sticky Christian like Epaphras and bring a harvest to the Kingdom with you. We don’t want to meet Jesus with empty hands after all He has done and continues to do for us.