John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
After the other day's blog, I felt I needed to write a little differently today!
Yes, God is a God of love...and judgment. I want to focus on His love. His love has always been what He has wanted to share with the world. The promises in the Bible are for all those who truly seek Him. His love brings peace.
Yes, the way of the Lord is narrow and there are few who take this road. But oh, the blessings one misses when they do not follow Jesus. Just knowing that He is the One who has provided us with the opportunity for eternal life... That is the greatest gift He could give...and the greatest gift we could receive.
I know many think there is nothing after death; that life on earth is all there is. But this is a lie. We might even think that there is no hell, that hell is what we live on earth...and then we enter our sweet, eternal reward. That's a lie also.
I believed these things once! But then I met Jesus and my life changed. I learned what is truth...and just. I learned more about Him through His Word, through church, through reading and study. But it's those promises of His that keep me coming back. Specific words He's given to me that I can hang on to when things get dicey.
He has promised me things that are not specifically written in the Bible. But it's my understanding of His Word that helps me believe these words are true. And believe me, I cling to these words. I praise God for the love He shows. I praise Him that He never lets go and when needed, rebukes because He loves me, like a Father should.
I praise Him for opening my heart, ears, eyes and knowledge to the things about Him. This is all available to anyone who is interested.
We will see some dismal days ahead. And although we see things happening in this world that we do not like and can momentarily be struck with, Why, God? we are reminded of the peace He provides and will provide. He provides a hope in all these things, a way out...the Way out. Whatever we might encounter, He has promised His strength in those times. His strength because ours could very easily fail.
Lord, thank You for how You watch over Your children. Thank You that You try so hard to reach others who do not know You, that You keep putting people or things in paths that they might see You. Thank You it does not have to do with religion but relationship because You are available to all denominations, all peoples, all nations. You died for ALL. If only getting beyond religiosity was so easy that they might see You for who You are.
It seems a dauntless task for everyone to be reached. I pray for those who hesitate and say they don't need You. I pray for hearts to be softened, ears to hear, eyes to see. You are all around if we would just stop and take the time to listen and look.
If people would humble themselves. That's the biggest thing. Humility is not a weakness; in God's eyes it is a strength, because then He can step in and do some wonderful things. We can't even imagine the things He could do with our lives if we would let Him. Completely give of ourselves to Him. Carry our crosses daily. It would not be a chore if we didn't struggle so much. He knows what we need. Our earthly needs, or wants, will come and go, abound or diminish, be lost and eventually replaced with the next greatest thing we think we need. God never changes. When we receive what we truly need (His love and salvation) and we cling to that one great thing, we are satisfied for life.
Praise God He doesn't leave us where we were. As our pastor says frequently, we must be grateful for what He has taken us from and to where He has delivered us...or something like that! Our lives are not secure until we are secure in Christ.
Easter is upon us soon. His death was the start of life. It was necessary. He knew what He was to do. He didn't begrudge His Father for this. He did it because He loved us.
HE died for you. He DIED for you. He died FOR you. He died for YOU.
Isn't this Someone you want to be close to? He says He calls us our friend (John 15:15). He's a friend that sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)...if we decide we want this Friend.
But don't get me wrong, we cannot look at Him as just a friend. He has to be viewed reverently. He's not someone you would pat on that back and tell jokes to, although we know He has a sense of humor. He is to be taken seriously. He is to be admired, adored, loved, looked up to, worshiped. He is not to be taken for granted. I was just talking with a friend this morning and we can sometimes forget that we can thank Him even for the most trivial things as well as the biggest things. He wants to be part of every thing in our lives. From finding a lost article to a meal prepared tastefully to knowing we've been saved from an accident. It's not "luck." It's God's grace.
Jesus Christ can be the Lord and Savior of anyone's life. One just has to be open to receive Him. Call Him, call on Him, invite Him, praise Him, worship Him. He will do some amazing things.
Yes, He can pronounce judgment on us. Because He loves us so much. It's all about turning to or back to the Lord, seeking Him in difficult times, but better to seek Him before the troubling times. Let Him give you the love and peace today so that you are armed with this when the time comes.
Matthew 11:28 - Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.