Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation
I am not a mother and it is not Mother’s Day. It is Good Friday but I want to salute all women because the experience of giving birth to a child is nothing to be taken lightly. Child birth is usually an experience of excruciating pain and trouble for the woman. When Judah was beseiged and taunted by the King of Assyria, King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the Prophet Isaiah:
This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.Isaiah 37:3 New Living Translation
It was a day of trouble for Judah. The King of Assyria sent men to insult and disgrace Hezekiah and the entire nation of Judah. After experiencing trouble, insults and disgrace Hezekiah remembered child birth. he remembered the great trouble a woman experiences to give birth to a child, especially when that woman does not have the strength to push when it is time to push.
How is this relevant to Good Friday? Good Friday is the day we remember the suffering, the pain and the ultimate death of Jesus Christ on a wooden cross. Today is the day we remember how Jesus was insulted and disgraced. Today is the day we remember how the Son of God was treated like a criminal even though he was as innocent as a newborn baby.
However, Good Friday was not only a day of death. In the same way a woman has to experience pain to give birth to a child Jesus had to experience pain to give birth to something special.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.Isaiah 53:5 New Living Translation
On Good Friday salvation for all mankind was born
On Good Friday a new way into God’s presence was born
Without Good Friday there would be no Christians. Jesus experienced the trouble, insults and disgrace so that mankind could be healed. Jesus experienced the excruciating pain and suffering so that human beings could become children of God through faith.
The world is experiencing a time of trouble. To some this trouble seems to be never ending. Today I want to encourage us to remember what Jesus experienced at the hands of the Roman soldiers. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that enabled us to become who we are. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that made the way possible for us to become children of faith.
Jesus overcame that time of trouble. As a child of faith you can overcome this time of trouble also.
HAVE A BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY!
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 New Living Translation
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?Luke 17:15-17 New Living Translation
Today is Thanksgiving Day. This is the day where the United States of America focuses on giving thanks. This is the day where families and friends will sit down together and share a meal and give thanks for many things. The Bible records a ‘Thanksgiving Day’. On this day ten men who were suffering from the disease of leprosy went to Jesus and cried out:
Luke 17:13 New Living Translation
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
All ten of those men wanted Jesus to have mercy on them. All ten of those men wanted Jesus to heal them of their affliction. Jesus indeed had mercy on them and told them to “go show yourselves to the priests”. All ten of those men obeyed Jesus and while they were on their way to the priests they were healed of their leprosy. Jesus healed all ten of those men. When the men saw that they were healed nine of them continued on their way. When one man saw that he was healed he did something very interesting:
Luke 17:15-16 New Living Translation
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done.
Ten lepers were healed but only one returned to Jesus to say “Thanks”. That day was the day for those ten lepers to give thanks. That day was their ‘Thanksgiving Day’ but only ten percent of them recognized it. Many of us live busy lives but let us not be like the 90% who received a blessing from God but did not return to bless God. While we are traveling the road of life let us always remember that God is looking for us to be in the ten percent. The ten percent are those who stop and return to give God thanks for what He has done for them. The ten percent are those who appreciate the goodness and the mercy of God enough to give God thanks. Are You in the Ten Percent?
It is Thanksgiving Day but let every day be a day of thanksgiving to the One Who is good and Whose mercy endures forever.
Psalm 100:5 New Living Translation
For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
We usually talk about love in the month of February or on Valentine’s Day. That kind of love motivates persons to buy gifts for their loved ones. It motivates husbands (who have been romantically lazy for the last 11 months) to do something special for their wives. The season of love motivates persons to give love. However, when that season of love is over, the motivation to love seems to fade. The energy that persons had to show their love towards another seems to gradually deplete.
There is another season where human beings are motivated to love others:
It is the beginning of November but the Christmas bells have already begun to ring and the decorations are already out of their boxes. The Christmas menus are already being prepared and many persons are ready to spread Christmas Cheer. We know what motivates us in the Christmas Season but I am also thinking about this question:
What motivated God to send Jesus Christ to the earth?
The Bible says:
“No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless…” (Romans 3:10-12 NLT)
What motivated God to send His Son to an earth filled with evil and violence? What motivated God to send His Son to an earth filled with persons who would kill His Son? What motivated God to send His Son to an earth filled with persons who did not want to hear the Word of God? What motivated God to send His Son to an earth where persons would murder innocent people?
The Bible gives the answer:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)
Love caused God to look past our failures and the evil in this world and open the way of salvation for everyone on earth. Love overcame the evil of this world. Love overcame the evil in our hearts. This kind of love is powerful. This kind of love is more powerful than any earthly medicine. This kind of love is God’s love.
Let us remember this kind of love in every Season!
A book about the dietary food laws in the Bible. Are Christians bound by these laws? You are free to give a donation.
But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 NLT)
Are you living your best life? I am not referring to a good life. I am not referring to a life which is better than others. I am referring to a life which is the best. The best life is the highest standard of living that any human being could ever achieve. Many persons would declare that they have lived a ‘good’ life. Some would compare their lives to others and say that they are living a ‘better’ life but few would say that they have the ‘best’ life.
In the eyes of human beings the best life is a perfect life; a life where no mistakes were made, no difficulties were encountered and no persons were hurt. However, in the eyes of God the best life is the one which is centered around obedience to His Word. In the eyes of God the best life is the one where God’s plans and purposes are placed first. Let us look at the life of David. Those who have read about David in the Bible know that he did not live a perfect life. However, this is what God said about David:
…’I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts 13:22 NLT)
David was not a perfect man. He was not a perfect King. He was not a perfect father but his heart was perfect in the eyes of God. In other words, his heart desired God and His Word. David desired to please God at all times. Here is a secret of the overcoming life:
We please God when we obey His Word and when we obey God’s Word His blessings will come upon us.
The best life that anyone can live on earth is a life of living by “every word that comes from the mouth of God”. Before David died he told his son Solomon:
Observe the requirements of the LORD your God, and follow all his ways. Keep the decrees, commands, regulations, and laws written in the Law of Moses so that you will be successful in all you do and wherever you go. (1 Kings 2:3 NLT)
David taught his son how to live the best life in the eyes of God. Jesus taught us the same thing:
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. (Matthew 7:24-25 NLT)
The best life in the eyes of God is not the life where there are no obstacles, difficulties and failures. The best life in the eyes of God is the life which overcomes those obstacles, difficulties and failures by following the Word of God. It is God’s will for us to live our best life. It is God’s will for us to live an overcoming life. That is why He sent His Son Jesus to the earth:
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. (John 10:10 NLT)
IT IS TIME FOR US TO LIVE OUR BEST LIFE
In the beginning there was no life on earth. Then God spoke the Word of Life:
“Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. (Genesis 1:11 NLT)
On another day God said:
“Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:20-21 NLT)
God continued to speak the Word of Life until He was satisfied that everything He made was “very good”. It is now the 21st Century and certainly we can not say that everything is “very good”. There are famines, drought, and economic troubles in many countries. There is also sickness, pain and death. Many families are filled with broken relationships. Many people are depressed and oppressed. The earth does not look “good” but through the grace of God there is a great light in the midst of the darkness:
THE WORD OF LIFE
God is still speaking and He is speaking the Word of Life. When the nation of Israel was sick and dying:
He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. (Psalm 107:20 NLT)
God looked down at the earth and saw that the entire world was sick and dying and He sent His Word, Jesus Christ, to snatch us from the door of spiritual death:
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14 NLT)
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17 NLT)
When Jesus, the Word of Life, dwelt among men, the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled:
“the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” (Matt.4:16 NLT)
The Word of Life came to deliver the people from the shadow of death. The Word of Life is the Light that overcame the darkness. The Word of Life is the healing that overcomes sickness. The Word of Life is the joy that overcomes sadness. The Word of Life is the presence that overcomes loneliness. The Word of Life is the hope that overcomes despair and discouragement. In times of darkness remember what our Heavenly Father did in the beginning. He spoke the word of life. He said “Let there be light” and there was light:
THERE IS LIFE IN THE WORD OF GOD
The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. (John 6:63 NLT)
It is said that a drowning man will clutch at a straw. I like the Collins Dictionary definition of this idiom:
Sometimes we find ourselves drowning in the sea of life and immediately we clutch at the first thing we see even though it is the proverbial straw. A straw is not stable. A straw is light and can be blown away easily. There are some people who are drowning in loneliness and they hold onto the first person that comes their way. They place their trust in the first person that shows any interest in their life. As time goes by that lonely person recognizes that they were actually holding a straw.
They are some who are drowning in debt and they hold onto the first sign of hope that comes their way of paying off that debt. Maybe it was a ‘get rich quick’ scheme or some new investment deal with a high payout. In the end they find themselves in the same place or in an even worse position because they placed their hope in something which could not give them deliverance.
I know what it feels like to be drowning in debt but I also know what it feels like to be delivered from debt. In those moments when the issues of life are strangling us and burying us we need to know where our hope lies. We need to know where our deliverance will come from. The Bible records that Peter found himself sinking in the water in the midst of a storm. Even though he was faithfully walking towards Jesus he allowed the circumstances around him to disrupt his faith and he began to sink. Even though he did not have the faith to continue walking on the water; even though he was sinking in the water, he did not clutch at a straw. In that moment of despair Peter knew where his hope lied:
But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. (Matthew 14:30 NLT)
Peter shouted three words “Save me, Lord”. Peter knew his hope did not lie in the boat with the other disciples. He knew his hope was in Jesus. Jesus is our hope. He is not only our hope of eternal life. He is our hope of salvation in this life. Jesus is our hope in the darkness. He is our hope in the storm. He is our hope when we are depressed. He is our hope when we are stressed. When there is nothing in our life that we can hold onto and receive salvation, Jesus is always standing there waiting for us to call on Him for help.
The Bible also records that as soon as Peter shouted for Jesus to save him, Jesus “immediately reached out and grabbed him…” (Matthew 14:31 NLT). Jesus did not hesitate. Jesus saved Peter as soon as the words left Peter’s mouth.
We have a Saviour that is “always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1 NLT).
We have a Saviour that has promised: “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT)
We have a Saviour who said “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)
OUR HOPE LIES IN JESUS CHRIST!