Growing up I noticed something unusual. If I listen to a person talk, they will tell me who they are within 10 minutes. People would tell me intimate secrets without batting an eye. Why would people say all those things to me? Sometimes I did not want to hear all those things. But after I came to the Lord, I saw where all of this made sense. Still sometimes I do not want to hear all the things in a person’s life. Once people found out that I talk with God, they would come to me for prayer. Because Jesus is our counselor. Now a days, people do not even have to talk with me, and I see their hearts. Some people are so loud, that you can not hear anything else. Some people are so quiet, that I can not hear anything else. A person’s heart is who they are. When they walk up to you, if you listen with your heart, they will speak to you. You can not hide your heart. In Matthew 12, Jesus was talking to some pharisees about what they were saying. He told them to be careful what they say. Jesus said that we will be judged by the words that we speak. The reason is that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Jesus gave me a gift when I first started in the Lord. He said that my words will not fall to ground but will accomplish all that I say. I shut my mouth for a long time. My wife had to drag words out of me. Words are important and we should use them wisely. For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
What will you see when Jesus returns? There are so many pictures of Jesus that no one really knows what He looks like. People would tremble when they walked near Him and still do. When they would talk to Jesus, people would feel the love of God. The voice of God is love. Whenever He spoke, they said He spoke with authority. Jesus always played with the children. If anyone ask Jesus for healing, He always prayed and laid hands on them. He would not stop until all were prayed for. Jesus wept at the death of a friend. He had compassion on people. He never lost hope or faith that things will work out. What will you see when Jesus returns? The bible says that the only reason that we will see Jesus when He returns is because we will look just like Him. When we cook supper for a family who has lost a loved one, who do you see? When we take care of someone’s children so they can rest, who do you see? When we help our neighbor with food, who do you see? When you cry with someone or mourn with them, who do you see? When I came to the Lord, I wanted to see Him. I looked hard to see Jesus in this world. I began to see Jesus in the most unusual places. I saw Him in kind words spoken. I saw Him in tears shed. I saw Jesus in the compassion being shown to people. So, what will you see when Jesus returns?
There have been many movies, to varying degrees, about love. For most of them, what they really mean is lust stories. But a lust story does not have the same appeal as a love story. There are 3 distinct types of love I am talking about. The first is called Eros, which actually means lust. Then there is Philadelphia, which means brotherly love. Then there is Agape, which means the love of God. Eros or lust is to satisfy oneself or to be selfish. Philadelphia is to some extent to reach out to help another person, usually without too much effort. It still has a high degree of selfishness. When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Peter responded with I love you like a brother. It was not until Jesus died on the cross, that Peter figured out he loved Jesus like God love’s us. The love of God is an all-consuming love. It compels us to go between who we are to the point of being in harm’s way to help another person. And does not matter if we know the person or not. There is a story of a soldier, a medic, in Vietnam, who crawled through the mud of a rice patty to rescue 20 men wounded and under fire. He was compelled to rescue those men. He himself was wounded several times. He received the Medal of Honor. The love of God does earn us a reward, but not on earth and it may cost us our lives. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to love, as God loves, your neighbor.
John 15:12-14 “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
My family has served in the military since coming to this country. We served out of duty and honor and necessity. Everyone knows what a battleground is. It is not a place of preparation. The battleground is the execution of commands to preserve the integrity of the unit and to defeat the enemy. Sometimes the fighting is hand to hand, but most times it is long distance. Two of my sons served in war and still feel the effects from it. Waging war is a conscious effect on our part. We have to commit ourselves to the battle. When we choose to serve Christ, we choose to enter into battle. We do not fight against flesh and blood, but we battle against spiritual darkness. Since our enemy is invisible, we cannot see them with our eyes. But we can see them with our heart. And therein is the battleground. Our heart is our mind, will and intellect. Our mind is influenced by our five senses. They influence our body. As pressure comes against our body and mind is directly affected. If too much pressure comes against our body and mind will do one of two things. Our mind will fight against the pressure or oppression. Or our mind will give in and we lose ground. Which in turn affects our heart. And whosoever we serve, we become their servants. Whether or not, it is good or evil. This is why God commands us to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and are of good report. This is how God keeps our minds and hearts through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-8).
Waiting, what an interesting and archaic idea. In this age of instant gratification, why do people need to wait. Do you remember those Christmas days where we went through every present in the first hour? And our parents tried to get us interested in a certain toy or object. We received the gifts freely. We did not have to work or toil for them. By the end of the day, our interest in the gifts subsided. In high school, I worked and earned my own money. With that money, I purchased things. The most expensive item was a record player. It cost me three weeks of work. Today if you spent your money on an object that took you three weeks to earn, you would take care of it. Sometimes we have to wait for things that we want or need. It is not always fun or easy, but it is necessary. So, what am I saying? The more time spent in acquiring a thing, will correspond in our devotion to this object. Sometimes, people spend some time on acquiring an object, that they are discouraged about every possessing the thing. Losing faith or hope is not an unusual thing. Depending on the opposition to acquiring the object, will determine if we keep the faith.
This principle of keeping the faith works both in the physical and spiritual world. We have to have faith to please God. We must believe that He is and a rewarded of them that diligently seek Him. God says when you have done everything, prayed and pursued God, stand, therefore I say stand and believe. This means waiting on God to answer us. Isaiah wrote about this very subject over 3000 years ago.
Isaiah 40:31“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Have you figured out what you are going to do this year? The month of January is almost gone. Do you have a one-year plan, let alone a five-year plan? Are your plans coherent and logical? Are they just fantasy? Having a good plan requires a logical plan with a good output. You must think about what you are doing to be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I listened in on a conversation with two of my sons about what they were wanting to do this year and the next. They thought about where they are and what the outcome could be. With all that has happened in the past two years, our lives have changed. Some lives have changed for the better and some for the worst. Some people are too afraid to even thing about it. The definition of insanity is do the same thing and expecting a different result. Changes do not have to be drastic. They can be small enough to be doable and large enough to effect change. Most people focus on exercise in the month of January. It normally lasts a few days. But if you purpose in your heart to do a little at a time, you will accomplish your goal. When I played sports in school, conditioning of my body was the first thing. Because if I was not in shape to play the sport, I would get hurt. I was always smaller than most of the guys and did not like to play football like my brothers and cousins. I played tennis and ran track. I was not great, but it was something I could do. So, figure out what you can do and begin the process. If you what change, do something for 30 days. Then it will become a habit and much easier to continue. So, figure out what you want to do and begin today.
We have all prayed the Lord’s prayer. It is a good prayer when we do not know what to pray. But have you ever look at the words of the prayer. There is one line in the prayer that says, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. God’s will is what constructed this world. God’s will is what put man on this earth. God’s will is what drove Adam and Eve out of the garden because of there sin. God’s will called Noah and his sons and brought the flood on earth. God’s will called Abraham to be His family. God’s will called David to be king of Israel. God’s will brought Jesus to this earth to die for our sins. God’s will resurrected Jesus from the dead and placed Him on high. And it is God’s will that calls us home.
Explain to me why we are not suppose to follow God’s will all the way home? God’s will is the only thing that keeps us in this world. God’s will is what heals you when you are sick. God’s will provides everything we need in this world. God’s will is the only thing that stopping the devil from destroying us. As a believer following God’s will is what we are suppose to be doing. It is our way home.
There is a scripture in the book of James that says a person should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. It says because the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. We are made in the image and likeness of God. So, what happens when God gets angry? The Bible says it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God. Many people have suffered the wrath of God, whether individually or corporately. You read into Old Testament about nations that have fallen and think it does not happen anymore. I hate to burst your bubble, but God still brings judgement upon people and nations. In 1917, the Russian Empire fell because they had expelled the Jews out of Russia. Then in World War II, Germany was utterly destroyed because of what they did to the Jews and to the Christians. God’s word is true, 4000 years ago and today. And it is the same no matter what you believe. If what you believe does not line up with the Word of God, you are wrong. That is a tough nut to swallow. But it is the only way we as believers will make it back to heaven. And that is the point of Christianity, of being a believer. As you read the Word of the Lord, let Him show you the truth. Then all things are possible to them that believe.
We kiss the old year goodbye and kick it out of our memories. For some it was a perfectly horrible year. Many people died from the Covid epidemic, businesses were shut down and the American lifestyle was seriously curtailed. Now we have a new year to look forward to. It is the unknown that is scary. Not everybody is hopeful that this new year will be any better. It is unfortunate that people have such short memories. Over the past 50 years, this country has gone up and down so many times, you would think it was a yo-yo. It is true that the loss of so many businesses has change everything. But what of the future? Does new mean better? We as a people are not down for the count until we are died. If you are alive there is hope for the future. All the things that I have learned over the years are not gone. They are still inside my head and heart. I still have skills that I can apply to this world. And if I can apply my skills in this world, I can earn a living and be satisfied. Whether I have all the modern conveniences at my disposal or not. I learned long time ago, that my skills and knowledge will only get me so far. I needed help in my life. You see we are built to have an empty space in our heart that only one person can satisfy. We try to fill that emptiness with booze, sex, power, greed, and every known thing in this world. And guess what, it does not work at all. There is only one thing that will satisfy our lives and that is Jesus Himself. Once you have settled that question, then you can go on to the changes in your life. The New Year is inevitable. It comes around like clockwork. Now what are you going to do this year? Moan and groan about the changes in your life or look forward to a new year hopefully. It is all up to you to make that decision.
I want to wish and pray for you a blessed and Happy New Year.