There are many moments in the course of our lives when we find it difficult to trust the Lord. Even after experiencing a wonderful miracle or incredible moving of God in our lives—when a trial follows, we may find trust a difficult issue. For some reason we seem to focus more on the things that we do not have, rather than the many blessings that God has already given to us.
As I write these words, my dear wife lays in a bed across from me in the Intensive Care unit of a hospital. Two months ago, she began to experience headaches and a loss of vision. An M.R.I., revealed that she has a craniopharyngioma; a tumor, about the size of a golf ball, inside the very center of her brain. The optic nerves of her eyes, as well as the Pituitary gland, have been compressed by the presence of this slow growing tumor—during her entire forty-eight years, until it has finally robbed her of all vitality of life. Two months previous to my wife’s awareness that she would require two intensive brain surgeries, I suffered a heart attack on a remote island in the Philippines. We had been working together for the past five years, to bring some relief to the poor of an forgotten people, who live in object poverty. Just after midnight on October 10, 2014, I awoke with a searing pain in the center of my back, left shoulder, and chest. I didn’t know at the time that I was having a heart attack. I had been working so hard that I believed my pain was caused by a torn muscle in my back. I did not receive any treatment for my heart attack for another three weeks. I should have died during the early weeks after this event, but I did not. A blood clot had formed in the lower part of my heart that doctors describe as a “Thrombosis.” Nearly one-third of my heart muscle had died during this attack. Shortly after arriving back in the United States for treatment in late November of 2014, we learned of my wife’s brain tumor. Continue reading “Though He Slay Me, Yet Will I Trust Him”
The New Testament gives us a strange view of Jesus as He is praying also for all those who are driving the nails into His hands and feet and tormenting Him while He is on the cross.
Luke 23:33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Since Jesus death and resurrection, it has been His continuing role to pray for all those who have placed their faith in Him as their Savior.
Paul described Jesus as our High Priest, who ever lives to make intercession for us. Jesus’ continuing ministry since His resurrection is to pray and intercede for those who have come to Him for salvation. A knowledge of these truths should be a great source of comfort, knowing that at this moment, Jesus is in heaven praying for each one of us.
Whatever it is that you may be going through in your life right now, Jesus is aware of your situation, and He is praying for you. If you are suffering and wondering why the Lord has not rescued you from your trouble, have you considered that He is praying for you?
It is a truth that is often displayed throughout the Bible, that the Lord is more interested in our character than our comfort. Just as any loving father will make the life of his child difficult sometimes to teach important principles and develop character, so also does our Father in heaven. God allows suffering in the lives of those who have come into a personal relationship with Him by Jesus Christ, for good intentions. Continue reading “The Lord is More Interested in Your Character Than Your Comfort”
For just one sin–Jesus had to die. It was not the entire culmination of all human sin and suffering which compelled Jesus to leave heaven and die for us. It was the suffering of one person, one sin–which drove Jesus to become a sacrifice that would remove the judgement of God.
Isaiah 53:8d …For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
1 John 2:1-2 …Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation (payment) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.
The plan of God has always been to remove the sins of the whole world. Known to God before the foundation of the world was the fall of Adam, which would result in the need for a Savior. In His wisdom, God planned for this contingency by the provision of His Son to redeem all creation back to His glorious ideal and perfection.
God will make this redemption possible by acts that originate and culminate with Himself. The burden for salvation resting upon God and His actions to save us, while the appropriation of salvation is contingent upon the decision of each individual person to hear and respond by faith.
Continue reading “For Just One Sin…”
When Jesus came to earth to inhabit the body of a man, it was for the purpose of becoming one of us, thereby qualifying Him to be the Savior of all people. Before Jesus offered His life, He counted the cost of the sacrifice that He was going to make. He knew ahead of time that it would involve the laying aside of many of His former rights and privileges as the God of the universe. All these things, He knew beforehand and He was willing to do, because He loves us all so very much.
For 33½ years, Jesus placed himself in total obedience to the Father on our behalf, as a man. It was necessary that He be tested in every area that all of us are tested. It was necessary that He would feel every pain and emotion which we all feel as human beings. We can have great confidence and comfort today in knowing that we have a Savior who understands us. He knows what it is like to be human and He is therefore able to help us in all our trials and difficulties.
If you have experienced difficult moments during your life, which caused you great despair and suffering, Jesus understands your pain. He is able to offer relief and comfort for your broken heart and tormented mind. If you have been tempted by sin and failed, Jesus understands—for He was tempted in all things, yet never sinned. He is able to exercise great compassion and tenderness towards us when we sin and fail over and over again. He does understand how you feel when the guilt and regrets of past mistakes take hold of your heart. Jesus will always show mercy and forgiveness to you when you come to Him humbly with your sin and are ready to repent and be forgiven. Even before the words are spoken: “I am sorry Lord,” He has already begun the healing process for your brokenness. Jesus will always receive you and is always ready to forgive you and set you back on a path of blessing, if you will only come to Him.
Jesus’ obedience to the Father allowed us to have the opportunity to be forgiven when we fail to be obedient. He marked out a path of righteousness for us to follow. He offers strength to the weary and guidance to the lost. His mercy is greater than all of your sins and His forgiveness stretches to the heavens.
It is a paradox of the Bible that the One who spoke the universe into existence would be willing to come to earth and lay down His life for us.
This character of Jesus as a servant sets Him apart from every other religious or spiritual leader. In Greek mythology, it is inconceivable that Zeus, Apollo, or any other Greek god would lower himself to be a servant of the beings they created. Jesus is described by the Bible as the Creator of all things; yet He came to earth and took the body of a man so that He could offer up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of all men. The humiliation, the mental and physical torture and unimaginable horrors that Jesus experienced while completing the process of our salvation, is beyond comprehension. Continue reading “That God Would Die For Us”
One of the most irresistible and attractive qualities of Jesus is His heartfelt compassion for the lost. When we examine the manner in which He speaks to people, even the most destitute and hopeless—find great compassionate and care. Every word that Jesus speaks—encourages those who hear Him. Like a soothing balm that comforts and heals, Jesus bring relief to the downcast and the brokenhearted.
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would display His intense compassion for people, with great tenderness.
This compassion is best illustrated by the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. As a result of her encounter with the Messiah, this dear woman’s life was transformed. After meeting Jesus she returned to her village and told everyone: Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?
It appears that there were many who were saved as a result of her testimony about Jesus. This was not, however, the chief reason why He came to the well. It was simply because Jesus cared that He visited a woman who needed hope and a new life.
Jesus did not die for the sins of the world so that He could gain a few good out of the many bad. He loved and died for everyone of us, even those He knew would never love Him nor thank Him for the sacrifice He has made. Jesus did not die for the world as a package deal. He died for each individual person, one at a time, loving each one of us with the same passion and intensity. Continue reading “An Appointment From Eternity: The Samaritan Woman at the Well”
Feeling overwhelmed by life? Tired of the demands of religion? Burdened by your own failures and inadequacies?
Jesus came to lighten your burdens and take away the useless and irrelevant parts of life. God has made knowing Him and having a relationship with Him–very simple. It is we who heap upon ourselves and others, great demands and priorities which God never intended. When we allow these things to crowd out a simple and joyful relationship with the Lord–we are robbed of our joy and lose sight of what is really important. Continue reading “Following Jesus is No Burden”
Isaiah the prophet wrote:
Isaiah 29:14 “ For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”
Paul echoed this truth, some 700 years later:
1 Corinthians 1:18-19 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
In this world, there are many people who have spent countless years building their academic resume into a plethora of achievements. The higher the degree, the greater the belief that religion and spiritual matters are but myth and mysticism. As knowledge increases, so does pride. As men and women gain secular notoriety, so also does their cynicism and skepticism towards the Bible, Christianity, and the concept that all men are in great need of redemption.
The Bible describes the wisdom of this world as foolishness. The more people learn of the world’s wisdom, the farther they gravitate away from the awareness that God exists, and the closer they move towards secular humanism as an established bias for all their theories and premises. Continue reading “Where True Wisdom Originates”
Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy and not sacrifice (Hosea 6:6). For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
On every occasion when a person came to Jesus with a great need, He always showed them mercy. We see this vividly illustrated with the woman caught in the act of adultery, in John 8:3-11. Though the law clearly called for her and the man to be stoned to death, Jesus drove away all her accusers and showed great mercy to her.
When the two blind men, in Matthew 9:27-30, asked Jesus for mercy, He touched their eyes and restored their sight.
Jesus constantly reminded the Scribes and the Pharisees that the heart of God’s law was mercy. Even when His own disciples broke the law of the Sabbath and harvested grain as they walked through a wheat field, Jesus did not condemn them, since their need for mercy was greater than the law.
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice…
Jesus never lowered the requirements of the Law of God, He showed us what its true purpose was. All of God’s law was designed to benefit man and be a blessing, not to prevent us from obtaining the necessities of our life. If you have a need, you can be confident that Jesus is able to meet that requirement. If you have sinned and feel that you cannot possibly be forgiven, Jesus will forgive you. The forgiveness that He offers is not a temporary relief from guilt but a total cleaning of the conscience and absolute peace for the soul. Continue reading “You Need Mercy, Not Condemnation”
In the example of the woman caught in the act of adultery, we see Jesus and His righteous judgement. Although the world found this woman worthy of death, Jesus looks beyond the sin, into the true heart of the matter. If God simply wanted to condemn people and send them to hell, we would observe this here, as Jesus certainly has the opportunity to condemn her according to the law.
Instead, we learn that the heart of God’s law is mercy. God is not willing that any person should perish, but that every person would have the opportunity to have all their sins removed forever. Continue reading “A Woman Caught in the Act of Adultery”