22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. – 1 Cor. 12:22 NLT
Some of us feel that others are better qualified to do the work that God has gifted us to do. There may be others who are better educated and better speakers than we are in the body and they might be able to do a “better” job from a human viewpoint. But there is no one who can be as effective as the person that God has called to do the job. Our churches, the body of Christ, are decreasing because we, the “called” are unwilling to tithe our time as well as our finances. The only way that we can show God and those around us that we truly love the Lord is to step up and do our part. Our part might be to mourn and pray because the body is suffering. If that is your calling, then do it with fervency and passion. Be an Epaphras.
12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. — Col. 4:12 NIV
Then when victory comes, and it will. we can all rejoice together as one body!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.–Romans 12:15 NIV
It appears that most of us do a decent job of mourning with others in times of the loss of life of a loved one. We support them with cards, meals and our presence at the home or other places. We even do a fair job of supporting those who lose their homes or jobs. But, how do we score in rejoicing with others? Are we as diligent in being available to celebrate the joyous times in their life? We get good scores on weddings and if it is close family, we do okay on birthdays. But, if you are like me, (and I hope that you aren’t), I can’t tell you a single date of a wedding anniversary of anyone in my family or any of my friends. In today’s society, maybe the divorce rate would be lower if we made a big deal of wedding anniversaries. When was the last time we sent a card or email congratulating someone on their new job or new home?
Or the most important time of all, when have we sent a note, card or email welcoming someone to the family of God? Maybe we could make a huge deal out of celebrating our second birthday by giving gifts to others. If we don’t remember the date, we could just pick one and celebrate that date every year. I definitely need to work on rejoicing with others, maybe we all need to give it some thought. If we rejoiced more, perhaps. others would want what we have.–The joy of the Lord.10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”–Nehemiah 8:10 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
33 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. — Mark 15:33 NLT
3 I dress the skies in darkness, covering them with clothes of mourning.” — Isaiah 50:3 NLT
At noon on Friday, the sun was hidden as nature mourned the approaching death of our Lord and Savior. At three o’clock on Friday afternoon, the Light of the world was extinguished. It was a time of deep darkness and mourning for all of nature and the followers of Jesus. It seemed that satan and his demons had won a great victory. At three o’clock, the natural light reappeared. Could this have been a sign that the Spiritual light would also reappear, that all was not as it seemed to be? A heaviness lay over the people and the land. Friday night, all day Saturday and Saturday night was a time of grieving and wondering. Could they have been wrong about this man, Jesus? Was He not really the Messiah? A time of fear, could they be the next to die? For a moment, imagine that you are one of the disciples at that very time. Look at the situation through their eyes, not knowing the final outcome of this event. Take the time to imagine the scene on the cross and mourn the death of your teacher and closest friend. His promise that He would always be with them must have seemed pretty hollow about then. Would your faith have carried you through this event? What would your reaction have been? Would you have been able to remember and believe all the promises at this particular point? Would you still beilieve that He would arise after three days? Now, back to the present. Will our faith carry us through what God has in store for us now? When temptation stares us in the face, will we give in? Knowing the whole story, how will we respond to the times of darkness and mourning in our lives? Will we remember that there is hope? Will we remember that “joy comes in the morning”?
6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. — James 4:6-9 NIV
The Old Testament law was given to show man that he could not live up to the perfection required for redemption. Man could not and cannot do anything to save himself. Those living in that time who thought they were doing a good enough job to satisfy God’s requirements for redemption were caught up in prideful thinking. They became so full of pride that they actually added laws to the ones God had already given. We can only assume that they thought they were improving the situation, when, in fact, they were putting burdens on the people. So, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who was full of grace and mercy.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. — John 1:14 NIV
We are saved by grace through faith and Jesus wants to continue to give us grace upon grace.
16 For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. — John 1:16 NASB
It is this continued gift of grace that allows us to overcome the flesh and submit oursleves to God. Without it, we would be like the religious leaders of ancient times and become so full of pride that we would be useless in spreading the word of God. There is nothing in this world that is worthy of praise when it is compared to the joy and the hope that we have through Jesus Christ.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” — 1 Cor. 1:30, 31 NIV
If anything or anyone in this world brings us greater joy, pleasure and happiness than knowing Jesus, then we are double-minded. We should mourn and wail while asking God to forgive us and bring our focus back on Him and Him alone.
1 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;
God is waiting to show you the way.
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;-Isaiah 61:1,2 (NRSV)
This prophecy about Jesus was repeated by Jesus Himself in Luke 4, As He taught in the synagogue, He read from the scroll and explained to those listening that He was the fulfillment of this prophecy. Not only was he sent to bring the Good News to us, He was the Good News in the flesh. As we are told in John 1, ” the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. This is the time of year that we celebrate the coming of that Good News. While this is a season of great joy for most of us, it is also a season of great sadness for those that have not accepted the Good News. Proclaim the Good News to them and help them to understand that Jesus has come to bind up the brokenhearted, to free the captives and to comfort those that mourn. We are to follow His example and do the same things. Let others know that with Jesus, there is “joy unspeakable and full of grace”. Let them know that although we/they may be physically separated from our/their earthly family, we/they are never alone.