Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation
I am not a mother and it is not Mother’s Day. It is Good Friday but I want to salute all women because the experience of giving birth to a child is nothing to be taken lightly. Child birth is usually an experience of excruciating pain and trouble for the woman. When Judah was beseiged and taunted by the King of Assyria, King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the Prophet Isaiah:
This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.Isaiah 37:3 New Living Translation
It was a day of trouble for Judah. The King of Assyria sent men to insult and disgrace Hezekiah and the entire nation of Judah. After experiencing trouble, insults and disgrace Hezekiah remembered child birth. he remembered the great trouble a woman experiences to give birth to a child, especially when that woman does not have the strength to push when it is time to push.
How is this relevant to Good Friday? Good Friday is the day we remember the suffering, the pain and the ultimate death of Jesus Christ on a wooden cross. Today is the day we remember how Jesus was insulted and disgraced. Today is the day we remember how the Son of God was treated like a criminal even though he was as innocent as a newborn baby.
However, Good Friday was not only a day of death. In the same way a woman has to experience pain to give birth to a child Jesus had to experience pain to give birth to something special.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.Isaiah 53:5 New Living Translation
On Good Friday salvation for all mankind was born
On Good Friday a new way into God’s presence was born
Without Good Friday there would be no Christians. Jesus experienced the trouble, insults and disgrace so that mankind could be healed. Jesus experienced the excruciating pain and suffering so that human beings could become children of God through faith.
The world is experiencing a time of trouble. To some this trouble seems to be never ending. Today I want to encourage us to remember what Jesus experienced at the hands of the Roman soldiers. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that enabled us to become who we are. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that made the way possible for us to become children of faith.
Jesus overcame that time of trouble. As a child of faith you can overcome this time of trouble also.
HAVE A BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY!
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!Isaiah 26:3 New Living Translation
The eye of the storm is:
The central part of a tropical cyclone, where winds are light, skies are generally clear… (www.encyclopedia.com)
The earth is currently experiencing a storm. Nations of the world are experiencing a storm. Communities are experiencing a storm. Families are experiencing a storm. This storm is not one of the usual tropical storms the earth experiences. This is a medical storm; a dangerous plague which has spread throughout the entire world. This storm is covid-19 or the coronavirus.
It is very sad and distressing to hear and see how the corona virus is wreaking havoc in the earth but I want us to remember one thing:
Even the most dangerous and deadly storms have an eye.
Even the most dangerous and deadly storms have a place where winds are light and the skies are clear. Even the most dangerous and deadly storms have a place where you can experience peace.
The Lord God promised to keep us in perfect peace if we keep our minds focused on Him. The mind that is focused on God is the mind that will experience the perfect peace of God. The person who fixes their eye on God and His Kingdom of Peace is the person who will remain in the eye of the storm.
Jesus was sleeping during a storm on the sea. He was having a peaceful sleep. His disciples were awake, panicking and fearing the worst. When the disciples woke Jesus His peace did not leave. Jesus simply calmed the storm and then asked His disciples:
Why are you so fearful? (Mark 4:40 King James Version)
The world is experiencing a storm and many nations are in the same boat. Many churches are in the same boat. Many Christians are in the same boat. However, let’s remember that Jesus is in the boat with us. Let’s remember that a promise of perfect peace is in the boat with us.
Let us awaken that wonderful promise of God and stay in the eye of the corona storm.
There are several storms recorded in the Bible. How did persons in the Bible make it through these storms? What caused the people of God to escape these storms unharmed? What did God say to His people and what did God do for His people during these storms?
As the storm of the corona virus continues to rage on the earth it is important for us to answer the above questions. The answers to those questions reveal keys which can help us to remain faithful to God and experience the blessings of God in this season.
Let’s take a look at those faith keys!
It is Christmas! No other season motivates persons like the Christmas season. The Christmas season motivates persons to shop more, to clean more and to give more. The Christmas season motivates persons to decorate their homes and properties with lights and Christmas-themed items. The Christmas season motivates families to spend more time with each other. The Christmas season motivates persons to show love towards each other.
The Christmas season is indeed a wonderful season. However, let us not forget that there would be no Christmas if there was no Christmas story. There would be no Christmas if God was not motivated to send His Son to live on the earth. There would be no Christmas if God was not motivated to chose the virgin Mary to carry His Son, Jesus Christ.
There would be no Christmas if Mary did not believe the message from the Angel Gabriel. There would be no Christmas if God did not motivate Joseph to take Mary as his wife even though he found out that she was pregnant before they were married. There would be no Christmas if Caesar Augustus was not motivated to declare that “a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire” (Luke 2:1 NLT). There would be no Christmas if Joseph was not motivated to travel to Bethlehem.
There would be no Christmas if Joseph and Mary were not motivated to use a stable as the place for Mary to give birth to Jesus. There would be no Christmas if the Angels were not motivated to announce the birth of Jesus to the Shepherds by singing:
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”Luke 2:14 NLT
There would be no Christmas if the Shepherds were not motivated to leave the field and go see Jesus. There would be no Christmas if the wise men were not motivated to follow the star to the place where Jesus was.
Let us think about it for a moment. The songs (Hark the Herald Angels Sing and others), the wise men and the star and the nativity scene. All of these things make Christmas special. All of these things motivate us during the Christmas season to celebrate Christ and to spread love and cheer. None of those things would be present without the Christmas story and there would be no Christmas story without the One Who put the story together.
What is your motivation? God was motivated by His great love for us to put the Christmas story together and God wants us to be motivated by that story to live an overcoming life of faith, hope and love.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
In the beginning God said:
Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened.Genesis 1:11 New Living Translation
God designed plants and trees to produce seeds which would produce other plants and trees. As human beings we expect an apple seed which is planted in the ground to grow into an apple tree. We expect the same result with other seeds. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.
God designed human beings to produce human beings which would produce other human beings. As human beings we expect children to grow into adults. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.
God also designed human beings to produce spiritual fruit which would cause them to grow spiritually. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce spiritual fruit. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce faith. Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Word of Salvation) produces salvation.
God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who believe in Christ. God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who grow into the image of Christ. God expects that result because that is the way He designed it. The Apostle Paul told the Church at Rome:
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.Romans 8:29 New Living Translation
Are you a Christian? Then your spiritual growth was designed by God. Your spiritual growth was designed by God from the beginning of the world. A stove is designed to produce a flame or heat which can cook food. A fridge is designed to keep things cold. God expects you to grow spiritually. God expects you to grow and grow until you become like Christ. This is the expected end that God has designed for all Christians.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version
For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.John 6:38 New Living Translation
What motivates you as a Christian? What motivates you to stay devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ? What motivates you to continue to follow God even in the midst of adversity?
We all need motivation at some point in time. We all need a desire to move forward; a desire to move forward which is present in the absence of strength; a desire to move forward which is present in the absence of encouragement. Motivation enables us to accomplish a task in spite of obstacles. Therefore, motivation is essential to living an overcoming life.
Motivation is essential to living an overcoming life!
Motivation was essential to the work of Christ in the earth. Jesus always had a reason for doing what He did:
- At 12 years old, He had a reason for being in the Temple even though His parents had left Jerusalem.
- At 30 years old he had a reason for going to John the Baptist to be baptised in water even though He had no sin.
What was Jesus’ Motivation?
Jesus was motivated by the Will of God. Jesus always wanted to do the will of God in every situation and in every season. When His parents asked Him why He had caused them to be searching all over Jerusalem for Him Jesus said:
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”Luke 2:49 New Living Translation
When John the Baptist asked Him why He was coming to him for baptism Jesus said:
“It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”Matthew 3:15 New Living Translation
Jesus always focused on doing the will of God. Jesus always wanted the will of God to be done in His life. Doing the will of God was always His reason for living. Motivation caused Jesus to live an overcoming life. God wants us to live an overcoming life but we need motivation. We need a reason to live an overcoming life. We need a reason to overcome obstacles. We need a reason to resist temptation. Jesus knew His motivation. As followers of Jesus we need to answer the question:
What is my Motivation?
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done. This man was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Didn’t I heal ten men? Where are the other nine?Luke 17:15-17 New Living Translation
Today is Thanksgiving Day. This is the day where the United States of America focuses on giving thanks. This is the day where families and friends will sit down together and share a meal and give thanks for many things. The Bible records a ‘Thanksgiving Day’. On this day ten men who were suffering from the disease of leprosy went to Jesus and cried out:
Luke 17:13 New Living Translation
“Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
All ten of those men wanted Jesus to have mercy on them. All ten of those men wanted Jesus to heal them of their affliction. Jesus indeed had mercy on them and told them to “go show yourselves to the priests”. All ten of those men obeyed Jesus and while they were on their way to the priests they were healed of their leprosy. Jesus healed all ten of those men. When the men saw that they were healed nine of them continued on their way. When one man saw that he was healed he did something very interesting:
Luke 17:15-16 New Living Translation
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, “Praise God!” He fell to the ground at Jesus’ feet, thanking him for what he had done.
Ten lepers were healed but only one returned to Jesus to say “Thanks”. That day was the day for those ten lepers to give thanks. That day was their ‘Thanksgiving Day’ but only ten percent of them recognized it. Many of us live busy lives but let us not be like the 90% who received a blessing from God but did not return to bless God. While we are traveling the road of life let us always remember that God is looking for us to be in the ten percent. The ten percent are those who stop and return to give God thanks for what He has done for them. The ten percent are those who appreciate the goodness and the mercy of God enough to give God thanks. Are You in the Ten Percent?
It is Thanksgiving Day but let every day be a day of thanksgiving to the One Who is good and Whose mercy endures forever.
Psalm 100:5 New Living Translation
For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
We usually talk about love in the month of February or on Valentine’s Day. That kind of love motivates persons to buy gifts for their loved ones. It motivates husbands (who have been romantically lazy for the last 11 months) to do something special for their wives. The season of love motivates persons to give love. However, when that season of love is over, the motivation to love seems to fade. The energy that persons had to show their love towards another seems to gradually deplete.
There is another season where human beings are motivated to love others:
It is the beginning of November but the Christmas bells have already begun to ring and the decorations are already out of their boxes. The Christmas menus are already being prepared and many persons are ready to spread Christmas Cheer. We know what motivates us in the Christmas Season but I am also thinking about this question:
What motivated God to send Jesus Christ to the earth?
The Bible says:
“No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless…” (Romans 3:10-12 NLT)
What motivated God to send His Son to an earth filled with evil and violence? What motivated God to send His Son to an earth filled with persons who would kill His Son? What motivated God to send His Son to an earth filled with persons who did not want to hear the Word of God? What motivated God to send His Son to an earth where persons would murder innocent people?
The Bible gives the answer:
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NLT)
Love caused God to look past our failures and the evil in this world and open the way of salvation for everyone on earth. Love overcame the evil of this world. Love overcame the evil in our hearts. This kind of love is powerful. This kind of love is more powerful than any earthly medicine. This kind of love is God’s love.
Let us remember this kind of love in every Season!