I am a lay speaker with the United Methodist Church, where I serve Christ and others. My mission as a disciple of Jesus is to share the Gospel with all who will listen. To help others to learn how much Jesus truly loves them, because he does. He came into this world to died on a cross for all sinners, and he is the bridge between us and God, so that we will never be seperate from the love of God our creator.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4
Jesus us God, with all the attributes of Deity. But He is also the Son of Man, who feels our pains and sorrows. Isaiah 53:3 reminds us, “He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief and familiar with pain. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried, it was our sorrows that weighed him down”
He not only carried your sin, he also carried your sorrow. We’re told in Psalm 46:8, “You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle. You have recorded every one in your book.
Many years ago the Romans believed that when a loved one dies, you need to keep your tears in a bottle. So they would store the tears in little containers. We all have a tear bottle, however it is not here on earth, it is in heaven.I am not sure who collects them because God has already said he would do that. So why does God keep our tears in a bottle? Because he sees and cares about everyone of them. He takes note of our every tear. He hears our every sigh. And the Bible says that a day is coming when God will wipe away all of the tears from all of our years.
The doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follows him because they know his voice. John 10:3-4
As you get to know your Shepherd, you will come to realize that when He calls you, it is always worth obeying. When he says something, it is for your benefit. If God says “Go this way,” it’s because he has given green pastures and still waters for you. If God says, “Stop! Don’t do that,” it’s because he is trying to protect you from potential danger, possibly something that is even life-threatening.
The fact that God speaks to us is clear throughout the pages of Scripture. To some, like Moses, God spoke audibly. To others, like the prophet Elijah, he spoke quietly on at least one occasion.
Often we look for the big events, the earth shaking circumstances in which God speaks. And many times he is speaking to us, but it is in a still, small voice. We should try turning off the television, the computers, and even our cell phones and just listen. With all the noise in our world, with all the information that bombards us, we can hear all those voices but miss the most important voice of all. Maybe one reason we don’t hear God is because we never stop and listen. We should heed the words of Psalm 46:10 which states “Be Still, and know that I am God.”
Once we have heard the voice of God, we need to follow. Jesus said, “The sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” (John 10:4) The word follow means to deliberately decide to comply with instruction. It is a deliberate choice for sheep to follow the shepherd. We need to deliberately decide to follow our Shepherd, to do what He tells us to do.
When God Almighty speaks to you in that still small voice, will you listen? Will you follow Him?
Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? Esther 4:14
The book of Esther contains a wonderful and dramatic story of a beautiful, young Jewish woman named Esther who actually won a beauty contest and, as a result, was made the queen of the kingdom. She was taken into the place of the king, where she could enjoy the finest food, wear the most beautiful clothing, and have numerous servants at her bidding. She was living in the lap of luxury.
But there was a wicked man named Haman working for the king. He hated the Jewish people, and devised a wicked plot to exterminate all the Jews living in the kingdom. Haman was going about his business, seeing to it that his plan would come to pass. Esther had an uncle named Mordecai who was concerned that his niece was in a place where she could influence the king to turn away from Haman’s horrible plan, yet she was afraid to act. So Mordecai sent this message to Esther:
Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:13-14)
So Esther went to the king and appealed to him, and Haman’s wicked plot was averted. Who knows that God has not put you where you are right now for such a time as this? In whatever situation you find yourself seize the moment. Do what you can. That’s what Esther boldly did.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when you herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, and out of the land of slavery Deuteronomy 8:10-14
As they were (finally) poised to enter the Promised Land, God warned the Israelites that the real danger to their lives had just begun. Prior to this point, Israel had wandered in a desolate wilderness for forty years,completely dependent on God for everything. Every day they would step outside their tents, and there would be manna waiting for them, just like the morning paper. God gave them fresh water to drink, a cloud to guide and shade by day, and a pillar of fire to light their camp by night. Yes, wilderness living came with plenty of hardships. But those very difficulties compelled them to look to the Lord every day, depending on Him for everything.
But then He brought them to the brink of the Promised Land, and they could look across the Jordan and see lush green hills, rippling fields of wheat, flowing rivers, and trees loaded with fruit. They could hardly wait to get in! But God was saying. “Be careful! Watch out, or you’ll get fat and sassy and forget about him.”Then your troubles will really begin.
We’ve all experienced it, when our lives are hit with uncertainty, danger, or pain, we fall to our knees and cry out to God. God can use adversity to bring is closer to Him, which is actually where we all experience the greatest blessings of life.
C.S.Lewis wrote, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains, it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
The psalmist said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word, it was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” ( Psalm 119:67,71)
Lord, Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:21
Martha was never one to hold her tongue. You always knew where you stood with this lady! “Lord,” she said, if You would have been here, my brother would not had died.” Lazarus was the brother of Martha and Mary from the Gospel of John. To say it another way, “Where were you anyway, Jesus. Maybe you’ve said something during or after a crisis in your own life. Lord, where were You when my parents, divorced? Lord, where were You when we got the diagnosis of cancer? Lord, where were You when our marriage fell apart? Lord, where were You when I lost my job? Lord, where were You when my child became chronically ill? Lord, where were You when someone I loved so much died and left me?
Please notice Jesus didn’t reprove Martha for what she said. It isn’t wrong to tell God exactly how you feel. I think we sometimes get the idea that it’s irreverent or sinful to express our real fears or the doubts of our hearts to God. When we read the psalms, we learn there were many times when David and the other psalmists really, let their hair down with God. They cried out to Him and emptied the contents of their hearts in his presence.
I have done this many times. In my pain, I will cry out to God. Sometimes the reality that my daughter is chronically ill and most times is in so much pain, simply crushes my own heart. Then I remember the words of Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord,plans not to harm you, but give you a hope and a future, I remember God is in control and he knows her pain all to well, and my pain to see her this way. This is why it is so important to me to continue to stay in His word, reading and meditating on it daily.
My prayers, however, are wide open and honest. I pour out my heart before God, describing my pain to Him. But I also remind myself of God’s truth. And that is what prayer is.
God wants us to cry out to Him. He invites us to pour out our hearts before Him, David writes, “Trust in him at all times, you people, pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8)
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith, be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
There will come times in all of our lives when we will be tested in our faith. There will be times when what we believe will be challenged. There will be temptations to do the wrong things.
We might ask ourselves. Will I be able to stand strong spiritually when this happens? That is entirely up to you. It isn’t up to God. It is upon to you. God wants you to stand, but he will not force you to stand. He will give you all the resources you need. He will give you the power to resist. He will give you a way out. But you have to cooperate. There are some things only God can do. And there are some things only you can do.
Only God can forgive sin. But only you can fall into sin. Only God can give you the power to change your life. But you need to be willing to have your life changed. You need to cooperate with him. He is not going to force you to resist what is evil. You have to be willing to resist it on your own, then take hold of the resources that he gives you. You decided today whether or not you will fall tomorrow. The stand you make today will determine what kind of stand you make tomorrow.
When you are building a house, the most important time is not when you lay carpet or paint, it’s when you lay the foundation. If you don’t do that well, then all of your decorative additions will be for nothing. You have to get the foundation right. Therefore, you determine today what kind of situation you will be in tomorrow.
And we know that in all things God works for good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Without a doubt Romans 8:28 is one of the greatest verses in the Bible. It is one that is claimed quite often by believers, especially during times of hardship. And so it should be.
But let’s make sure we meet criteria of this verse. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to his purpose. Do you love God? Are you called according to His purpose? Romans 8:28 does not apply to you if this isn’t true of you.
There are many times in our lives when things seem to be falling apart, when they don’t make any sense. Some people will say, It is the fickle finger of fate, whatever will be. The future is not for us to see. True, the future is not ours to see. But the Christian can be confident that God is in control and has a master plan for his or her life. We can know that we serve a sovereign God who is good. As we know that we may not know what our future holds, but we know who holds the future.
The word used here for good does not necessarily mean that the event in and of itself is good, but that it’s long term effect will be useful and helpful. It is hard for us to imagine certain things working for good. The Bible isn’t saying tragedy is good. Rather, it is saying that God can take a horrible thing and make good come as a result of it.