28 While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I represent one you don’t know, and he is true. 29 I know him because I have come from him, and he sent me to you.” 30 Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. 31 Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?” 32 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were murmuring such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.–John 7:28-32 (NLT)
When it comes to the message of Jesus Christ, nothing in the message has changed and it never will. Apparently, the reactions and responses from the crowd haven’t changed much either. People see the same signs and hear the same words today. Just as it was then, there are some who believe and some who don’t believe. Not everyone that saw and heard Jesus believed, Not everyone that saw and heard Paul and the other apostles believed. Not everyone that hears the message from us is going to believe. However, just as Jesus, Paul and our other Christian ancestors never gave up, neither can we. They preached until the crowds persecuted and killed them. Not many of us will have to pay that price. 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.—Hebrews 12:1-4 (NLT)
The things we suffer here and now are nothing compared to what Jesus has prepared for us in eternity. Count it all joy!
1 One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. 2 He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. 3 Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there. 4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” 5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” 6 And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! 7 A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.–Luke 5:1-7 (NLT)
Most of us have jobs to go to on a regular basis and a car to drive to work and back home. If we are skilled laborers, we have a tool kit full of the tools we need to perform our job. Simon Peter was a fisherman by trade. He had been blessed with a boat and fishing nets to earn a living. Yet, on this night (and probably several others as well), he had been unsuccessful in netting any fish. But then (how often do the “but thens” come along in our lives, and we choose to ignore them?), Jesus asked to use Simon’s boat for His ministry. When Jesus was through teaching the crowd, He said to Simon: “go out where it is deeper and let down your nets”. Simon complained and objected, but then he let down his nets and caught a superabundance of fish. More than his boat could haul. What can we learn from this miracle? Think about the resources with which God has blessed each of us. Do you have a need in your life in some area? Pray about what resource you have that Jesus could use in His ministry and release that resource totally to Him. Remember the question that God asked Moses? What is that in your hand, Moses? Little or nothing can become much when we release it completely for God’s use. In faith, step out to where it is deeper, let go, and let God
-19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does.20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished.-John 5:19,20 (NLT)
Even though we verbalize the truth that Jesus was all man, do we really understand what that means? Jesus was as human as you and I are. He could do nothing in and of Himself. He had the Father’s authority to do what He saw the Father doing. So do we. We have access to the same power that Jesus had access to. Then why was Jesus more effective in His ministry than we are today? Jesus was the PERFECT man, we are not perfect. That imperfection keeps us from seeing and knowing God completely. Jesus said that the Father shows Him everything He does. But Jesus also tells us that there is at least one thing that only the Father knows and that is the end of time. So, Jesus was perfect but not omniscient. We are neither. But Jesus tell us in John 14:12 that “we will do greater things than these”. How could we do “greater” things than the miracles that Jesus did even raising the dead after 4 days? Surely the “greater” is quantitative, not qualitative.
4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.–Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT)
If we had no other reason to rejoice, we could always focus on the fact that Jesus is coming soon and we will spend an eternity with Him. That fact alone should keep us smiling. But, we have so many blessings in our lives everyday, we have every reason to keep the joy of the Lord in our hearts. Happiness is temporary and fleeting, but “the joy of the Lord” remains in our hearts and can not be taken from us. As we are reminded in Romans, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing means absolutely no thing, no body can take it from us. But it is our moment by moment decision to let the world know we have it. Show the world some joy today.
1 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT) 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. 6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Once, we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and our Lord, we are under the shelter of His wings. It is God’s power that keeps us in His hand. No matter how many times we fail and we all do fail, we are kept securely by His Spirit. God knows exactly where we are in our walk with Him. He allows us to be tested so that we know where we are. As Paul shared with us, we miss the mark but we press on toward the High Calling in Christ Jesus. In our weakest moments, God is with us and it is during these times that we are most likely to allow Him to mold us into His image. Just remember that nothing, absolutely nothing, in heaven or on earth can ever separate you from the love of God. We may fail God, but He cannot fail us. All of His promises are Yes and Amen! So praise God with hearts full of joy that no one can take you from Him or His joy from you!
Post for 9/17