The religious leader asked Jesus: ” What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus answered with two commandments instead of one. Jesus said to love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. He went on to say that all the law hinged on these two commandments. God has put His light in us to light the world and dispel darkness. The way we let our light shine is to obey these two commandments. We must spend time with Jesus to get to know Him better so we can love Him better, Then, by loving our neighbors, we demonstrate the love of God in our lives. When we accepted Jesus, we became aliens to this world and citizens of heaven. As ambassadors of heaven, we represent Jesus. It is our duty to reconcile others to Christ by giving them the Good News. We want to wait for some big thing to do, but we shouldn’t wait for grand opportunities. Start by doing a good deed today and you will give life and light to someone. As the old song says:
Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do, Do not wait to shed your light afar, To the many duties ever near you now be true, Brighten the corner where you are.
Ina D. Ogdon, 1913“
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Trying to figure out what day Jesus is coming back is futile. He didn’t come back yesterday and so far, He hasn’t come back today. There are three things that we can know for sure. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not promised but we have this very moment. When Moses asked God, “Who shall I say sent me?” God said “I AM”. Not “I was” or not “I will be” but simply “I AM”. When God says “I AM”, our response should be a simple “YOU ARE”. When we reach that point of understanding that “HE IS” means that He is everything we need then and only then will we start to understand that “when He is coming back” should be of little or no concern to us. The important thing is that “HE IS” and He is coming back. Our concern is “to be” ready. God did not call us “human doers”, He called us “human beings” because He wanted us to understand that “being” is more important than doing. What we do, our external actions, are only a small part of who we are. Our words and our actions are a result of how we have spent our time up until now. Do they show that we have spent our time being in His presence? If so, we will be ready when He comes back.
Most Christians are very familiar with this passage of Scripture. We are probably more familiar with the version in Matthew 6. These passages are about how God will take care of us and all of our needs. We are warned not to be concerned about our needs for tomorrow. Rather, we are to be concerned with our thoughts and activities for today. In the above verse, God extends that promise to include not only our needs but the whole Kingdom of God. We assume that that is a promise for the future and it is. But, if we put this verse in the context of what Jesus is teaching the disciples and us, then it becomes a promise for now and later. Particularly, in the Matthew version, this teaching follows closely after Jesus has taught the disciples what we call “The Lord’s Prayer”. In that prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray,”Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth even as it is in heaven.” We are a part of the Kingdom of God that exists on earth now. Not in its perfect state, that will come later, nevertheless, it exists now and God wants us to enjoy the benefits of living in the Kingdom now and much more later. It gives God great joy when we accept His gifts and live lives that are full of joy and worry-free. When Jesus tells us not to worry and not to fear, His words are not just empty words, they carry the weight of the Resurrection Power of God behind them! They are more than a mere suggestion! They carry power that we can access to live worry-free!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
We all know that worrying does not change anything, yet we continue to be overly concerned about temporary things and situations. God has been faithful to bring us this far and no one can remove us from His hand. Worrying about the future only keeps us from enjoying today. Let the joy of the Lord abide in you and soon your worries will begin to disappear. I realize that sounds overly simplistic, but it really is true. Our attitude about today can be changed by changing our focus. Focus on Jesus and what He has done for us. Focus on what you have and be thankful rather than focusing on what you don’t have. If we trust God with eternal security for our souls, surely we can trust Him for this moment.
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me.29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.”30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. — John 8:28-30 NLT (Read John 8:12-30)
The Pharisees and the ruling class were still trying to find a way to be rid of Jesus. They were always trying to catch Jesus in some error or saying something that they could define as blasphemy. This would allow them to take Him to the Romans and ask for the death penalty. As Jesus taught the people, His words had again infuriated the Jewish leaders with His claim about who He was. In this passage, He not only tells them who He is, He also prophesies that He will die by being hung on a cross. He also refers to Himself as “I AM” in this translation. The same way God had always referred to Himself in the Old Testament. God and Jesus both referred to themselves in the present tense, never in the past and never in the future. We say God was, God is and God will always be. They just say “I AM”. They live in and refer to life in the present or the “now”. We should follow their example and live our lives the same way. As Mother Teresa once said: “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Though Jesus knew that He would die on a cross in a few days, He did not let that deter Him from doing what our Father had sent Him to do. We should not let regrets from yesterdays or worries and fears about tomorrow deter us from accomplishing God’s purpose and plan for us today.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NIV
God has made great promises to us if we will learn to lean on Him. We get so wrapped up in our work and making our own plans for the future, that we have no time left to enjoy today. We carry all this baggage with us all the time, physically, emotionally and spiritually. We say we trust God, yet, we worry when the bank account is low and we feel we have to have weeks worth of food stored in the house. Remember when Jesus sent the disciples out? He told them not to take anything with them, no food, no money, not even a change of clothes. I must ask myself, “would I be willing to start out on a trip like that?” Sadly, the answer is no. We are so concerned about things that we rarely ever get a good night’s rest. We worry about things over which we have no control and a lot of those things never happen anyway. The scriptures above are not meant to be just some “pie in the sky”, future event. They are for now. They are the way we should be living our lives today. We wear ourselves out trying to do God’s job. Just as the Israelis who refused to believe and were not allowed to enter in Canaan physically, we never reach a place to rest here on earth because of our unbelief.
16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. — Hebrews 3:16-19 NIV
When life seems more than we can bear, we have a place of quiet rest prepared for us, near to the heart of God. “Come unto me and I will give you rest”. Come now, don’t be like Pharaoh and spend another night with the frogs.
1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says,
‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. — 2 Cor. 6:1, 2 NIV
Now is the time! We are not promised the rest of today, much less tomorrow. As we go through our day, let’s take the time to look around.. As we look at each person God puts in our path, we should ask ourself this question: Should I speak to this person about Jesus? If we feel that little nudge from the Holy Spirit, don’t hesitate. Speak! Buts, what ifs, and all those negative thoughts come from the devil. There is no guarantee that they will accept what we are saying, never has been, never will be We are not responsible for the results of our witnessing. It is our duty to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is a guarantee that God’s word will do exactly what it is supposed to do.
10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:10, 11 NIV
We are sent to rescue the perishing. Sometimes that requires talking with them
20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. — James 5:20 NIV
18 For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”—Gal. 2:18-21 (NASB)
Paul continues his case against the law. There were three items in the Ark of the Covenant: 4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat;–Hebrews 9:4,5 (NASB)
Each of these items represented the rebellion of man against God. The manna reminds us that men had rejected God’s provision, men wanted more. Aaron’s rod reminds us that man had rejected God’s authority and the Tablets of the Ten Commandments remind us that men had rejected God’s standard of living, His Law. All of these were hidden under the mercy seat of the Ark. That mercy seat was a shadow of the Cross where Jesus died and put all of our sins and rebellion under His mercy and grace. Paul is saying that if we resurrect the law then we become transgressors. Jesus died to fulfill the law and put us under grace. If the law had been sufficient to redeem us then Jesus did die needlessly. But men have constantly rebelled against the law and against God. Man is incapable of obeying every part of the law, therefore we need a Savior. And, at just the right time, God sent His Son who died that we might be reconciled to Him. 2 For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.–2 Cor. 6:2 (NLT)
Under the law, man was separated from God, with no hope. But under grace, mercy and forgiveness is available to each of us. No matter what you have done or thought about doing, no matter where you are or where you have been, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart knocking, open up and let Him come in. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me–Rev. 3:20 (NASB)