“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Luke 12:40
Whether you are a Christian or not we tend to assume that we have a long wait. I’m only five. I have 90 more years, right? Nobody thinks about maybe dying early. We are not promised another breath, we just expect it. Whether you die at birth or you live to be 100 we will all face the end one day. Do we need to be perfect? No, but how we live on earth will make a great difference. If you believe in Christ and have accepted him into your heart you have been forgiven for past sins. God knows you are not perfect and whether or not you want to, you will sin. When you realize you have sinned just come to God and tell him you are sorry. Clear the air and continue to seek his help. We can get very distracted in life’s concerns and problems but it is so important to your peace and full life to never stop seeking God and his advice. He is our focal point. I remember when I was pregnant going to childbirth classes. Like they could teach you to have a baby. Wasn’t that just instinct? Well when the pain consumes you, you have to focus on something so hard that it will get you through the next contraction. That is just like life, sometimes you just need to get through the next few hours. Focus on the solid foundation of Jesus. He loves you and will never leave you or forsake you. Remember how he willingly sacrificed his life so you could live a full and abundant life. To be assured of eternal life with him in heaven. We need to keep his commandments and to love others. But we can get busy with life and our needs and wants and lose our focus. If I said STOP right now, this very minute, and think about your relationship with the King of kings and Lord of lords. Are you ready for his return? Where will you spend eternity? Forever and ever. It will happen suddenly. It may take thousands of years to get here but will you grow cold waiting or anxiously be expecting him. I remember as a kid waiting for my grand parents or cousins to visit. Oh, I would get so excited and everything had to be perfect. I would keep asking, when will they be here? How much more excited should we be to see Jesus. We need to live every day just like it might be our last. Because one day it will be.
“In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy one of Israel.“. Isaiah 10:21
“So to, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. Romans 11:5
Only a remnant will make it to heaven. But what is a remnant? It is only a fragment or a scrap, small parts, little unused bits. The chosen few who made the Lord their everything. People like to say that the Lord is loving and would never do anything like send someone to hell. Well he doesn’t but he will allow you your choice. If you don’t want him in your life he will give you your wishes. He doesn’t want to but he loves you. If you always preferred to do your desires and his ways were not what you desired then you have made your choice. There will be no sin in heaven and no sinners. It just wouldn’t be heaven then would it. There will be people who have done terribly horrific things in their lives but have simply asked the loving God of the universe to forgive them for their mistakes, when they realized they were wrong, and he did. They will be made perfect by his loving grace and mercy. A simple request but seldom made by billions on earth. Oh, there will still be millions in heaven but not the billions in hell. Heaven will be full of those that truly gave their hearts truly to their God. It is not by works that you get to heaven. But those that are going to heaven will do the works that their father did. You will know them by their love and their actions. It’s all about their heart. The reason you probably thought Christian’s were hypocritical was that those you knew were probably not really Christians, and they will be with you in hell. Thinking that God would surely let everyone in. Those that loved the things of this earth more than him. You chose the desires of your hearts. So he gave you what you chose, are you happy?
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalms 197:1
God is good and he has given us everything we need for an abundant and victorious life. That doesn’t mean that our life will always be perfect. No, he has assured us that we will have troubles of many kinds. Just recently I have seen so many new and different problems pop up. First it was Covid-19 and it’s problems of dying, masks, isolation and vaccines. Then when that seemed to die down there was political unrest. Cancer and new diseases are hitting us hard. Satan is out to destroy like never before. Wars and rumors of wars. Natural disasters like flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes like never before. What is this world coming to? Well through it all God is still in control and he is still good. He hasn’t given up on us. His grace and mercies are there every morning with the strength and the help we will need for that day. Things can easily overcome us to where things feel like we are out of control. It doesn’t do any good to worry about the future or dwell on the past. We need to live in the moment because that is where God is working to help us. Am I loving and serving God? Spending time with him in prayer and reading his word? Then he will take care of everything else. There is nothing I can do to change things. Life is what it is. The most important thing you can do is live your life loving others and have a good grateful attitude and know that God is working everything for your good.
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 5:3
What is righteousness? Morally right. Well God is always morally right. It is taking God at his word.and believing him. Believe what he says he will do. His promises are true and we can count on them every time. When he tells you to do something, even when it might not make sense to our finite minds, God is faithful and always right. He has never steered me wrong. He loves you and will always do what is best for you. Following his commands and doing the right and loving things even when it’s not easy. God will always help you to do the right thing. When you step out to do the right thing you will always have free will to do as you please. Our world is full of wickedness because people choose to do their will, not God’s will. Satan wants to destroy everyone because God made us and loves us. You may have troubles but God will lead you through them as you trust and listen to him. We have the troubles usually because we listened to Satan and he convinced us to do what we want. If we pray unceasingly God will show just what to do to get out of troubles. The more time you spend with him the more his presence leads you to the right path. We can want to do the right things all we want but we need his help to do the right things. None of us are righteous, no not one. Only God can make us righteous. Nobody say’s, “I think today I will have fun sinning.” It just happens because it is our natural nature. Sometimes bad things happen but they can really be used for good by God. Look how Joseph was able to save thousands of people from perishing because he knew the drought was coming. His family had tried to get rid of him but it put him in the right place at the right time. My stroke saved my life, even if my body is broken and far from perfect my mind and spirit are more alive now than ever. I am more alive and at peace but I was living a destructive life before the stroke. God will use evil every day to cause good. To see him turn evil into good just makes me praise him more from day to day. I love to see God’s Glory. He will also give us peace right in the middle of our storms. It makes no sense but I can remain calm during turbulent times. The situation doesn’t even have to change. It’s just amazing. Yep, God is just amazing!
“he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name sake.” Psalm 23:3
Oh how wonderful is my good shepherd. I can be just as simple as a sheep and not worry about things because the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords loves me. Just the way I am right now. He leads me in the right way that is best for me because he cares so much about my life. He does know more than I do and he will never steer me in the wrong direction. He knows that the world needs him and he is willing to use a simple sheep to show this world his love. As he guides me I will be more and more like him and my light will shine bright in a dark world to change others. This will bring God glory and that is why I’m alive. “News Flash”, I’m not here to please only myself. I am here on a mission for God. My only responsibility is to work with him. To pray, talk to God, and always to get to know him better and better. Read his words so I know the truth and strengthen my mind. To worship him and praise him for all he has done for me and given to me. To attend church regularly and fellowship with other Christians, so we can lift each other up and encourage them to obey his commands. The hard part is up to him. But he has given me everything I will need to do it all. His spirit lives inside of me and gives me the wisdom and strength to do it and he never gives up on me or gets tired of my mistakes. Each morning he has endless grace and mercy for the new day ahead. Children can be quite challenging and frustrating at times but I am his child and he will never stop loving me. He will keep loving me all the way home to living with him forever. That’s how much he cares.
“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! We’re I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I am awake, I am still with you.” Psalms 139:17-18 NIV
God delights in us, his love for us will never fail. He made us on purpose for greatness and he thinks about us continually. When you have someone like that on your side you have hope. This is a difficult life we live. We need someone who loves us unconditionally that will always be there for us. Even though we won’t always be there for ourselves. We are not perfect like God. We can get mad at ourselves, put ourselves down and even lie to ourselves. God will not. You can not be happy until you know this unconditional love that God gives. I see so much anger and complaining from people. People can be very selfish thinking first and foremost about themselves. They even expect others to fulfill them. of course they cannot and that angers them even more. There is something inside of us from the time we are born that is searching for unconditional love. Even if we find that for a time with a loved one, the day will come when they let you down and you realize they aren’t perfect. Someone can love you but it’s not their job to make you happy. Only a perfect God can do that. And he wants to do that. But we do have to come to him first. Until you are finally loved unconditionally by God, following him, doing his will, his way, can you be truly happy. Until you are it’s going to be hard to get along with others, who are like yourself, imperfect. I am a happy person and care very much about my interactions with others. I always try to be pleasant and helpful to others. But I wasn’t always that way. Things could easily bother me and upset me. I knew God all my life but I didn’t really know him. I made it real personal in 2013 when I began searching for the Lord with my whole heart. The more I read of God’s word and just spent time talking to him the more I got to know him and how much he loved me. For the last year I have been reading a devotional called, “Letters From God” by Ivan Tait. I love this book because it tells me so many thoughts God has for me that are empowering. Knowing how God sees you and all he has for you can fill you. The more love I get from God, the more love I can give to others. When you love God and yourself, you can’t help but love others. God says to love others as you love yourself. But what if you can’t love yourself? Until you are unconditionally loved you can’t. You will be trying to earn that love and nobody but God gives it.
Do you know just how much God loves you?
“and provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3
Why Lord do you cause us to suffer? This is not a perfect world. We don’t always get what we want. But we do get what God knows is best. His ways are so much beyond our own. He can take the worst situations and turn them around if we just trust him and let him work. The hardest thing had to be when his very own son willingly let himself be crucified for our trespasses. When sin entered the world God knew that he could fix things that were broken. Jesus had been with God from the beginning and he would have to be willing to become a man like us. Giving up his rights as the chosen prince. God loved and respected his precious son. He even declared that to the world. Even Jesus lost his living father to death and his cousin was be headed. His very good friend died and it grieved him to see the sisters suffering even though he knew it was only temporary. I know when I had my stroke so many people came to the hospital to check on me when they heard about my stroke. I wasn’t really coherent but I knew they were there. I’ve known women who tried for years to successfully have a child. Even Hannah cried out to God in bitter grief wanting a child of her own. Her son was very important and took time but she still gave him back to God. I know a woman who had a baby that weighed only one pound. It did not look good but he hung on. My stroke actually saved my life because a destructive behavior that was not good for me had taken over my life and the stroke woke me up when I almost died. Things can hurt but we need to trust God. We need to stop looking backwards but to the future. It is impossible to not grieve when someone you love dies. But will you let God make you better through it or bitter. It’s up to you. God will give you the strength to grow better if you just ask. He can turn things around if you let him.
“Very truly I tell you. Whoever hears my word and believes he who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24
When we hear the truth our ears are opened and there is a stirring inside of us. The more we hear, the more we seek, and the more we believe. When we believe in our hearts we know that Jesus is the son of the only true God and we want more. When we accept Jesus into our hearts and confess all of our sins, giving them to him, we are saved. We transfer from death to life. Life eternal, forever. But real life begins at that very moment. We don’t have to wait to die and go to heaven. God wants us to enjoy life now. We may be young Christian babies, just like when a mother becomes pregnant, there is a life growing. Just as alive as if it walked down the street. We were alive because of God and we mattered to him. We just didn’t know the creator until he came to live inside of us. Once we know of him we need to get to know him and his character. Read his words and promises, and spend time talking to him about everything. Just enjoy his presence. That is why attending a good church is important, because you will hear more about him and being around others who love him also is pleasant and encouraging. All of these things will make life richer. Look around you because he is everywhere. From the rising of the sun of a bright new day to the laughter of a young child , you can see his love all around you. The more I trust him and his ways, the more I do what he says and live like he lived. The more I come alive. We were not meant to hear and just walk away, forgetting what we heard. The more I hear, the more I want to hear because it brings such peace. Obedience brings so many rewards and peace can never be sweeter than when you are walking out your faith. You will become bolder and realize just how precious his words can be. I have started memorizing more of the words I read because I can speak them back to myself whenever I need them for encouragement and strength. During the day when problems pop up his word comes out of my heart. At one time I thought I knew God but I was never around him or thinking about him and I did whatever I wanted. Well that led to destruction and my near death after my stroke. That woke me up. I had to know what life really was and boy I have found it. Praise God!
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.” Romans 15:5
We are to live as Jesus lived if his spirit lives within us and we are his. To be a Christian you are to be changed. We need to be dying to our old ways every day. If we are not keeping his commands then do we really know him? It is not possible to do any of it without him. He gives us the strength we need every day to do all we are called to do. Endurance and encouragement are given to us so we can in turn pass them on to others. But it is very important to first encourage yourself by praying, read Gods word, meditating on it, singing praises and meeting together with other believers for church and fellowship. We need to encourage each other and pray for each other. To encourage each of to produce much fruit in their lives. The fruit we need to be showing is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self control. What would Jesus do? He would show patience and compassion. Think of serving others first no matter what their needs might be. If someone is angry and difficult then they are probably hurting and need your help and compassion now very much. Ask them how you can help and if you can pray for them. Those that live around you should know with out a doubt that you are different. The average person in this world thinks first about themselves and their needs. We should be the special people God created us to be. Shine the light of God that is in you everywhere you go and brighten this very dark world.
“The Lord, The Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin.” Exodus 34:6-7
“Who is God like you, who pardons sin and forgives transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.” Micah 7:18
This is from God’s own words not from second hand information. He wants you to know him and his character. He can not lie because it is not in his perfect nature. His promises, vows, and statements can always be counted on and what he says he will do, he does do. Even if it seems impossible to our human minds. His ways are far above our ways and very unique and different with each of his unique and different children. The first thing he is, is compassionate. He cares about everything that is important to his creation. Because he wants the very best for everyone and everything. He even notices when a single sparrow dies. His grace is new every day. We don’t deserve anything but he gives good things to everyone every day. Not just to those who love him but the sun shines also on the wicked. It takes a lot to make him angry. The Israelites were a great example. They kept screwing up and doing the same things that he had told them not to do, but he kept forgiving them over and over. But when he promises punishment he follows through. He promises curses to those who do not obey. But he will forgive you if you ask. He says he delights to show mercy. That means he wants you to ask for forgiveness and to believe that he will give it. It doesn’t matter how bad your sin was, he gives all a brand new start. Forgetting your sins though they may be many. He has so much love that we will never understand and he will never promise something that he won’t do. He can always be counted on. He created everyone on purpose and he has a purpose for everyone’s life. He loves you and you matter to him. There is nothing you could ever do that he can’t forgive. Even as he hung on that cross to make it possible for you to be forgiven, he forgave those that sought his death. Everything that was made from galaxies to elaborate single cells were well thought out in detail. For everyone to enjoy.