40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ — Matt. 25:40 NLT
If we all followed these instructions, our world would be a much better and happier place. We need to treat everyone with respect and love, particularly those that are less fortunate than we are. If each of us practiced this and handed down a tradition of helping to our children, God would be much more pleased with our lifestyles. Jesus said that not feeding the hungry, not clothing the naked, not giving drink to the thirsty, not visiting the sick and in prison, was the same as not doing it for Him. The only way that we can show love and kindness to Jesus is to show love and kindness to those around us.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. 9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” — Joshua 1: 8,9 NLT
In verse one of this chapter, we read “the Lord spoke to Joshua”. So the instructions for Joshua to study the Books of the Old Testament that Moses had written came straight from the mouth of the Lord. The Lord says that “only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do”. God gives us the same intructions about studying the whole Bible.
15 Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.. — 2 Timothy 2:15 NLT
The King James version says “study to show yourself approved unto God”. How much time do we spend in meditating on God’s Word? How often do we go out into the world unprepared because of a lack of studying the Book of Instruction that God has given to us? Is it any wonder that we are so often defeated when we haven’t given God time to speak to us before we enter the fray? How often do we go naked into the battle instead of being dressed in the whole armor of God? Is it any wonder that we walk so trepidly when God has commanded us to be “strong and courageous”? Our courage and our successes come after we have read and meditated on His Word, not before or in the absence of allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us and to explain God’s word to us. God has not changed, so, yes, He still speaks to us today. He speaks to us through His Word, through His people and yes, He speaks to us directly if we will be still and listen. Jesus said “my sheep know my voice” (John 10:25-30). To know someone’s voice, it would be necessary, at some point, to have actually heard that voice speak.
1 Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. 2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. 3 If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important. — Galatians 6:1-3 NLT
Yesterday, I wrote about witnessing by spending time with sinners. We are called to do just that, but in doing so, we need to use wisdom and discernment. Being saved and filled with the Holy Spirit does not keep us from making bad decisions. If we have weaknesses of the flesh, we need to avoid those situations where we would be needlessly tempted. We don’t put ourselves in harm’s way unless we are sure that we have been called to do that. Just as it would be foolish to step into the street in front of a speeding truck to try to prove that God always protects us, it is foolish for us to put ourselves in dangerous situations if God has not called us to do so. Not many of us are David Wilkersons (The Cross and the Switchblade) who can successfully face the dangers of the worst parts of New York City to witness to gang members. Nevertheless, we all have a calling to witness to those around us. The mission field starts in the home and goes outward from there. We do not want to be like the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19) who ended up battered and naked. We must use discernment in where, when and to whom we witness, but that is never to be used as an excuse not to witness. We may not be sure of all of God’s will for each of our lives but there are two things we can be sure of in this journey with Jesus. We are to make disciples as we go, we all have our marching orders to do that. We are supposed to restore the fallen as well, but do so circumspectly avoiding the very appearance of evil.
19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 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. 28:19,20 NLT
24 So for the second time they called in the man who had been blind and told him, “Give glory to God by telling the truth, because we know Jesus is a sinner.” 25 “I don’t know whether he is a sinner,” the man replied. “But I know this: I was blind, and now I can see!” 26 “But what did he do?” they asked. “How did he heal you?” 27″Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28 Then they cursed him and said, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know God spoke to Moses, but as for this man, we don’t know anything about him.”—John 9:24-29 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Isn’t it strange how confused we get when we don’t know the truth? In verse 24, the Pharisees say “….we know Jesus is a sinner”, then in verse 29, they admit that they know nothing about Jesus. They don’t know the truth, yet they have just instructed this man to “give glory to God by telling the truth.” The man says that he doesn’t know whether or not Jesus is a sinner but he does know for sure that he was blind and now he can see. That was the truth.
When someone attacks our prejudices or a belief that we are not really sure is correct, we very often become angry. This is why the Pharisees were so angry. They stood to lose a lot if the people accepted the truth about Jesus. This could cost them their position and their livelihood. Still today, people become angry at the mention of the name of Jesus. A relationship with anyone requires that we be accountable. In today’s society, people do not want to be held accountable for their beliefs or their actions. It isn’t any fun to face our faults and realize that we need a change in our lives. But that is exactly what we need to do and that is what happens when we meet Jesus. He knows all about us and when we are confronted with the “real” us, sometimes it isn’t very pretty.
12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.—Hebrews 4:12, 13 (NLT)
27 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!”30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. 31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.–Matt. 27:27-31 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
God’s heart must have been broken to see His Son treated with such disrespect and cruelty. As we read these verses, our hearts break and a burning anger starts to well up inside of us. How could they treat our Lord and Savior in such a manner as this? But, then, as we meditate on these verses, we must ask ourselves this question: How can we treat our Lord and Savior this way? When we show ingratitude, we are spitting in God’s face. When we taunt and mock others for any reason, we are taunting and mocking God’s creation and thus we are mocking God. When we see needy people and it is in our power to help them and we don’t, we are leaving Jesus naked. We would be showing less cruelty to beat someone with a stick than to destroy them with our words. When we verbally or physically abuse others, we are placing a crown of thorns on the head of Jesus. How can I treat my Savior like this?
13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. 14 So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.–Hebrews 4:13-16 (NLT)
God is waiting to show you the way.
God knows our hearts and our innermost thoughts. His Spirit searches our heart and minds to reveal any sinfulness or sinful thoughts that we might have. He reveals that anger we have been harboring and we have to deal with it. God wants us to be totally committed to Him. He will not accept being the #1 God in the race, He wants to be the only God and there is no race. He can ask this of us because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. He understands that we will fail. If we could accomplish this on our own, then Jesus died in vain. But He has made a way for us by allowing us to come into the throne room and ask His forgiveness. He is always faithful to forgive us and help us when we repent and return to Him. He is ALWAYS
there to help when we need Him and especially when we need Him the most.