This week we’re looking at the life of Jesus. There’s one thing I’ve come to appreciate about looking at the life of our Savior. Life is uncertain. Things can change at a moments notice. One minute folks were praising Him, singing “Hosanna” to the King of kings and the next minute they’re flogging Him and leading Him to the gallows. Just like Jesus, we can experience sudden changes in health or finances, the unexpected death of a loved one, or abandonment by a good friend. Any one of these circumstances can bring us into a dark season. We may even find ourselves questioning God because we do not understand why the Lord has allowed the trial or lets the pain continue. One of my bible heroes is Joseph. Joseph probably experienced many of the same questions/concerns we have, but he managed to hold fast to his faith. Even as a slave in a foreign land, he experienced the blessing of God’s presence. And recognizing that the Lord was with him the entire time led those around him to acknowledge his allegiance to the Lord. One of the keys to walking through dark valleys—those times when life seems to be crumbling and the future’s looking grim—is to embrace the reality of the Lord’s presence with us. From the time we take Christ Jesus on in baptism, the Holy Spirit comes to live within us. God’s Holy Spirit seals us to God. As we walk in the light, just as Jesus is in the light, we have fellowship with God and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all unrighteousness. There is NO greater gift! Because of the indwelling Spirit, we’re never apart from God. No circumstance, suffering, or loss can separate us from Him or His love (Rom. 8:35, 38-39). Take a few minutes each day and reflect on Jesus’ promise to be with us always (Matt. 28:20). There is no greater hope, no greater promise and no greater comfort than embracing this truth!
Have a blessed day and remember the One who gave it to you!
I’m sure it’s crossed your mind. Aren’t you the least bit curious as to what Jesus looked like? I know I’ve thought about it more than once. What about his demeanor? I mean, was he just a “nice” person to hang around with or how did relate to others? We have a variety of pictures painted for us in scripture, don’t we? Controversy was a major part of our Savior’s life. Even from the outset we see a picture of Joseph trying to put Mary away privately because of Jesus being conceived by God’s Holy Spirit. And, what about the time Joseph and Mary had traveled a day’s journey and realized Jesus wasn’t among them only to return to the city to find him debating the scholars? He healed the sick on the Sabbath: taboo to devout Jews. Christians were accused of being cannibals because of what He said in John 6 in regard to eating his flesh and drinking his blood. He was accused of being a drunkard. His own family thought he was crazy and tried to take Him home during one part of His recorded ministry. If you want to follow Jesus there’s one thing you and I need to appreciate about Him…He wasn’t just a “nice” individual. One of the biggest changes I’ve noticed from how people reacted toward Jesus at one time and how they react to Him now: the religious people who surrounded Him as he walked the earth HATED him. If you are a student of the scriptures, however, you also see that sinners and tax collectors LOVED him. Today, the religious people claim to love Jesus yet the non-religious folks seem to be at odds with Him. Has Jesus changed? Did he all of a sudden become nice to religious people and mean to sinful people? I’m told in Hebrews 13: 8 that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. So what, or who has changed? Could it be that our understanding of who Jesus truly is has changed? Do we “as religious folk” present Jesus to be the same Savior who saved us from our sin? And, do we just try to be nice so they see Jesus? Piercing questions, I know…but ones I believe we should ask ourselves from time to time.
Have a blessed day, and remember the one who gave it to you!
What distresses you? What brings you to the point of inconsolable grief? When life impacts those of whom we love we have a tendency to take notice, don’t we? If there’s an instance affecting one of our children it’s natural for us to rise to the occasion of alleviating their distress. If a parent needs our aid, we’re quick to respond. When a spouse or a close friend or even brother or sister in Christ is in dire straits we (again) do whatever we can to render aid. What about when we see someone we love living a life that we know isn’t healthy for them? How do we react when a loved one makes a decision to live a life unworthy of the call they’ve received from God? Ezra, the prophet, returned home to Jerusalem and noticed his fellow Israelites intermarrying with those in surrounding regions. Ezra is incensed! This isn’t a race issue; this is a moral issue. Ezra knows that when the Jews allowed themselves to be unequally yoked by worshiping gods of the nations around them they would fall prey to God’s wrath once more. In his distress he rents his clothes, he pulls at his beard; he raises his head toward heaven and pleads with God to forgive his fellow man. To be sure coming to the aid in time of distress of those of whom we love is important. How important do we see their soul’s condition? Do we place their creature comforts above their eternal destination? Ours is a temporary dwelling on the earth. Remind yourself that when loving someone enough to care.
Have a blessed day and remember the One who gave it to you! Kevin
Kevin Lough is the minister at the Whitehall Church of Christ in Fairmont WV.