Thursday, July 31, 2014

That Whoever Believes in Me

John 12:44-50

Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak."

What a mouthful! All this believing! Truth, wisdom, knowledge. Jesus, the Son of God, fully God, fully Man. The Word made flesh. Come to earth to reveal Himself to us that we may have life. A humble Man. A Man willing to submit to a higher Authority, God, His Father. Don't we sometimes struggle with this thing of submission? Um, yah!

I am reminded of what Peter said earlier in John: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." He submitted to Jesus and what He spoke. We too must take Jesus at His word. We are called to believe in Him, to believe that what He speaks will bring life, even if those words are difficult to hear.

Yet not His words, but the words of His Father. God's words to us! Like Adam received in the garden. Jesus came to this world to do His Father's will, and that included dying for all of us. Jesus asks us to believe in and do the Father's will as He did/does. He is our Heavenly Father, after all. I realize we haven't all had wonderful earthly fathers, but we have one in heaven Who wants us as His own, who loves us more than any earthly father can.

But we need to believe in He whom the Father sent. We need to believe that all His words are true and just, the words of encouragement and the words of judgment. There are always two sides to something. It is wrong to believe that He is only a God of love. If we find Jesus' hard words unpalatable, we reject His words, therefore reject Him, and ultimately God Himself. This is a very dangerous place to be. One cannot say they believe in God but not believe all He has to say, the easy words and the hard. We have to see that.

Jesus did not come to judge but He did come to save. If we do not believe, God the Father will be our judge. (And yet, Jesus is also God!) This is He Who created all things. Not sure I want to be on the wrong side of Him. But if we receive Jesus, believe what He says is true, abide in Him, listen to and heed His words, obey those words, we have the hope of an excellent future, salvation in Jesus Christ.

So He speaks! He speaks of everlasting life. He speaks that we may believe and have life. He speaks under one Authority, a life-giving God. God gave us life in this world, He desires we have spiritual life also, through His Son. That whoever believes in Him... In whom do you believe?

1John 5:10-11 - He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Praise of Men or Praise of God?

John 12:35-43

Then Jesus said to them, "A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light."

These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them. But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: "Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"

Therefore they could not believe because Isaiah said again: "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them."

These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him. Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Jesus said He was the Light of the world. When we receive Christ we see differently. We know and understand differently. We begin to realize the lies being spread and believed in this world. We realize that God, His Word, His Son all stand for the truth. When we know the truth it frees us...removes the heaviness in our lives, our hearts, and we are spiritually healed.

Jesus was trying so very hard to win over the Pharisees, spiritual leaders of the day. But they would not give in. It was their way or the highway! They were not going to change what they had always known. They had seen Jesus perform miracles but most of them always found an excuse not to believe. Stubbornness, hard hearts, a very strong desire to cling to what they had always believed, even the praise of men. This is what satisfied them...knowing that they were "leaders" in the community and people had to listen to them.

What happens in time is God's hardening of hearts to those who refuse to believe. He gives ample time for someone to turn...even as long as one's deathbed. Even on a deathbed some will shake their fist at God. Their hearts are so hardened, eyes so blind...and that spiritual healing does not occur. I personally would not want to shake my fist at the One who created me and holds my eternal future in His hand. And still, there are some who will purposely wait till the last minute to get in all they believe the world has to offer before submitting.

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. What can this world have to offer more than what Christ can offer? If all we do is search for that thing that satisfies and it never does, maybe it's time to look to Christ. If we try to fill our lives with the things in this world that seem fulfilling but never really do, maybe searching for Christ is the answer. Might the praise of men be more enticing? Or maybe they don't want, as the song states, "the things of the world to grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace." There's a strong pull in this world.

...[to those who are perishing] whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord... For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ... while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen [in the world] are temporary, but the things which are not seen [in Christ] are eternal. (2Corinthians 4:4-6,18)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The New Land

Genesis 12:1-3 - Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” 

I was dwelling on Israel this morning and all it is going through. One thought led to another until I was thinking about Abraham.

Abraham was told by God to leave his country for one which He would take him into. And by faith Abraham left his people with just his immediate family. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; (Hebrews 11:8-9)

Imagine if God asked you to pack up your belongings and travel to places He asked you to go, to leave friends, job, sometimes family...and embark on a journey that only by faith in God would lead you somewhere else. I wonder how many would go? More on this later.

Abraham left his country and people and went to the land of Canaan.
...So they came to the land of Canaan. Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” And there he built an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. (‭Genesis‬ ‭12‬:‭5-7)

This land of Israel was given to Abraham, who would become the father of many nations. Later, after Israel's disobedience toward God sent them into captivity in Egypt, Moses was used by God to again remove them from their captivity to their Promised Land. This land was the very same the descendants of Abraham came to. Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is across from Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land of Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali and the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, the South, and the plain of the Valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. Then the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have caused you to see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

Abraham's seed, the seed of Moses and others would in time make up the land, the nation, of Israel. If this land was promised so many years ago and if this little nation has survived these many years of enemies, I know the chances of its survival are very certain.

Israel will never be destroyed. It may appear to be in a dreadful place some day...soon...but it will never be destroyed, despite all the nations of the world still coming against her (which now also means the U.S.).

This little nation. Because it is God's nation, God's people. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. (2Corinthians 3:17) She will prevail in the end. She has been disobedient; when Christ came they did not believe. They have turned their backs on God all throughout history and although He loves them, judgment is upon them. In the last days, however, their eyes will be opened. They will see He whom they pierced. (Zechariah 12:10) They will repent and believe.

Let me take this one step further. This is like us. We can be descendants. God seeks us because He loves us. He longs that all people become part of His kingdom. God calls all of us in some way to become His children. We either receive it or reject it. We either obey or disobey. What God calls us to do is be like Abraham, Moses and others and leave what we know to come to His Promised Land, to share in the same inheritance. That sometimes means having to leave our families and friends and separate ourselves from the world. God becomes our God. And we are blessed by that obedience. It's not easy, but will be worth it in the end. Like Israel we survive because of God's protection against our enemies. But again, it's not always easy. But remember, we must take the first step to entering the land God has promised all those who listen for His voice and obediently trust where He will take us. And we must hold fast to the faith like Abraham, Moses and others.

Joshua 21:43-45 - So the LORD gave to Israel all the land of which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they took possession of it and dwelt in it. The LORD gave them rest all around, according to all that He had sworn to their fathers. And not a man of all their enemies stood against them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. Not a word failed of any good thing which the LORD had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hear the Voice?

Matthew 3:11 - I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

I just wanted to see how something from the Word would progress. I had no subject or plan. I decided to start in the New Testament for a subject. And the first scripture I read was Matthew 3:11. It was quite evident that the main point was the Holy Spirit. I wanted to see where this would take me. Where I thought I would go, I didn't!

The scripture above came from the voice of one crying in the wilderness, John the Baptist. He was crying out that a Messiah was coming soon. He was crying out that repentance for remission of sins among the people. He could only proclaim this but this Man who was to come would give even more.

John the Baptist...the first to begin to preach...about a Man he thought he didn't know. From this one man's obedience to do the will of the Father... ...the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness (Luke 3:2). How did that word come? Through the power of the Holy Spirit.

John the Baptist proclaimed the Christ. He did it by faith in God. He did it in obedience and in the power of the Holy Spirit, which had filled him before he was born. Referring to John: For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. (Luke 1:15) John didn't know it would be his own cousin! Later he would be directed by God. He became "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:3,5)

We need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. It guides us to truth. By what I see in this world, very little of God's Spirit exists. (Probably why we are told following Christ is a narrow road with few people on it.) We would not have the violence, hatred, anger, disagreements if it did. And the fact that anything related to God is met with opposition means people don't want to know truth. It amazes me that people can think if they don't believe in or commit themselves to God He will just go away and life will be fine. That ain't ever gonna happen. Let's move on...

Joel 2:28-29 - "And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall have visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." God is still using His Holy Spirit in the lives of people. When we come to Christ we are filled with His Spirit. Evidence is a change in our lifestyles. What once was so important has been replaced with what God deems important, like wanting to read the Bible, hearing God speak, learning what truth is, what sin is...and opting to believe what the Word says hands down. And Jesus tells us that we "shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Jesus came, as John has already shown us, to seek and save the lost. John preached repentance. Jesus offered forgiveness based on that repentance. He also offered eternal life, in Him. It's all about Him. That's why it is important, necessary, to understand whether one has a true knowledge of who Jesus is. He is not just Someone who died 2,000 years ago so all would have eternal life. That is false preaching. He came for all...but only for all who would receive Him. Remember, it's all about Him.

When one has received Him it is natural for one to want to share this Savior, what He has done for us, how He has changed us. It is our responsibility to share Christ with others...we are now His disciples. We are commanded by Christ, as the early disciples were, to: Go therefore and make disciples of all 
the nations... (Matthew 28:19)

We are to share the gospel, in love and truth and through what the power of the Holy Spirit has shown us. The truth is in the words of Christ. We are to show others Who He is, what He has done and what He has to offer. I know that not everyone will listen. I try to do my part. My wish is that all would understand where I come from. I have heard the truth. ...of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth... (Colossians 1:5-6) This word came to me and brought the hope and grace mentioned.

We already know that the truth of God's Word is being preached...and that even in our own country is  being despised...but it will continue at any cost. Jesus told us: And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)  And then the end will come...the more God's word is despised these days, the sooner He may return.

All I know is what I believe. The power of the Holy Spirit has given me this knowledge. Like John the Baptist cried out in the wilderness, we who know Christ are to cry out in the wilderness to the lost souls in this world. We can all have this power. John didn't know Jesus, his own cousin, was this Man. He just knew there was Someone coming. Well, people, He has come and He still lives. I have not met this Man face to face, but I know Him because my spirit has met His. And that is an amazing thing.

If you have not had this experience, heed the words of those crying out in the wilderness who tell the truth based on God's Word. They may be preparing your way to Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit you, too, might receive.

Romans 10:16-18 - ...For Isaiah says, "LORD, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed: Their sound has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.
Isaiah 40:8 - The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lifted Up

John 12:31-34

"Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." This He said signifying by what death He would die.

The people answered Him, "We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this Son of Man?

God brought His Son into this world because of its fallen state. Things have not changed; we are still in a fallen state. It will remain this way until Christ returns.

The purpose for Jesus' coming was to reveal Himself as the Savior of the world. While we remain fallen we are separated from God. This was not God's intention. Adam originally walked and talked with God for a time.

God's people, Israel, the Jews, waxed and waned in their trust in God. There were blessings and judgment. So it continues. God knew and prophesied throughout the Old Testament that One would come to reverse the effects of Adam and Eve's sin. Every book of the Old Testament had some mention of this Person! The books were written that they might know...that we might also know.

So how is it after all this time and the arrival according to Scripture of this Man, people still question? What does Son of Man even mean? While Jesus is God, when He came to earth He also became Son of Man...speaking of His humanity.

But Jesus tells us above that there will be a day when judgment will come. Judgment upon those who do not trust in Him, who do not look to Him as Savior. In the meantime the ruler of the world has a stranglehold on many that they should not believe. But there will also be a day when Jesus, who has overcome death and darkness, will defeat the enemy one last time.

Jesus is God and God never changes. In a magnificent supernatural occurrence, Jesus has been lifted up, both on the cross and to eternal life, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He has come to give those who seek Him the same eternal life. He said, "if I be lifted up..." And He was that He might become the Way, the bridge, to reconciliation with God. Many churches teach going to church, being a certain denomination, doing good works are what will save them. But the truth is, Christ did it all for us, that we could not boast in our own works. It's all about His work on the cross.

He was lifted up to redeem the fallen world that what Adam and Eve once had we could have again. Communion with God. Knowledge of Scripture. Wisdom for our daily living. True understanding of why Jesus had to be lifted up.

His being lifted up on the cross and to eternal life is just more proof that He was who He said He was. Son of Man who also was the Son of God. Who is this Son of Man to you? Do you know Him? Is He part of every day of your life? Have you acknowledged Him in the most intimate of yourself to Him?

John 3:14-16 - And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Voice

John 12:29-30

Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him." Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake."

A voice from heaven had previously proclaimed: "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again." (John 12:28) God was glorifying His Son...and He would do it again (in His death). Those who heard these words said it was a thunderous voice. When God speaks to our spirits while it may not be audible (though at times seems like it) it can seem thunderous. It can be like a very loud thought when scripture has suddenly been made clear or a command or word from God has been given. Or it can be quiet, too! That still small voice.

Jesus said the words that were spoken were for the hearing of the people. He wanted them to know it was for their sakes, as yet another confirmation of who He was. I am reminded of Moses and the Israelites about the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments. Those people heard God speak. It so frightened them they asked He not speak directly to them but through Moses. His presence might cause rumblings, thunder and smoke. Look:

Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. (Exodus 19:16-19)

Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, “You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.” (Exodus 20:18-20)

All this to say, we should not be afraid if we hear God speak to us. If He calls your name, do not shrink back from it. Hear and listen. He desires each of us as His own. If you hear His voice, consider it a privilege.

Remember Jonah. God called to Jonah commanding him to give a word to a people whom He wanted to save. After the command Jonah fled from Him! It's not good to flee from God. He continued to seek out Jonah (although He knew where he was) and tested him. Jonah had no rest until he relented. God may have been disappointed in Jonah but was not going to let him go. God may be calling you, too. He may keep it up. If you hear Him, do not be afraid and do not flee. Enter into His rest. Good will come of it. Only good can come of it.

Hebrews 4:6-7 - Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Be Established

2Thessalonians 2:15-17 - Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.

Oh that the people of this world would grasp the severity of what is happening around us. Little by little we are feeling/seeing the effects of a fallen world. Many continue to live without concern. It will bounce back, they say. I am glad I know where my help comes from.

We have been told that in the last days, just prior to Christ's return...perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2Timothy 3:1-5)

What does all this mean? That's quite the list. And not very complimentary at that. Life has been so good. So good we have turned our backs on God; reliance on God has diminished. Christianity has waned since around the 50's...about the time of the baby boomers. We as a nation prospered. We had need of nothing. Who needed God anymore? We now had all that made life easy. Ever notice, though, that when disaster strikes people call out to God? Ah, but when the dust settles, the fires are out, growth and life begin again and we also forget God again.

We cannot forget God. Ever. I recently saw an "inspirational" video clip about an empty pickle jar. A professor was demonstrating something. The jar was filled with golf balls till no more could fit. The class was asked if the jar was full. Yes, they said. He brought some pebbles and added them to the jar. They filled in the spaces between the golf balls. The students again were asked if the jar was full. Yes, they replied again. To shorten this story, sand and chocolate milk (or water, coffee!) were added to the jar. Now the jar was full. What was said next saddened me...this is how we are to look at life. The golf balls are the big things in our, children, friends; the gravel: job, house, car, etc; sand and water: small things. We were told to concentrate on the bigger things first with all the other things after. I get it, I do. Don't get so wrapped up in the small things of life. But being me, the first thing I noticed...where did God fit into any of this? No mention of God, despite this being an "inspirational" story. Shouldn't He be the very first thing?

Our world is self-reliant. Reliance is on family, friends, jobs, houses, cars, and all the insignificant things to bring us satisfaction and contentment. There is a failure to even consider that it is God who provides those things. No credit is given to Him. He does not even become a thought in many heads. Isn't that what God says is lovers of self? Lovers of the things that are unimportant in the grand scheme of life? Where is Jesus in a person's life?

I know this so goes against the grain of human thinking. I could even be accused at times of being like this. But I am aware and wish my life might more often reflect what is truly necessary...a relationship first with Christ; reliance on Him, acknowledgment of Him.

If any of us would lose all we had, what else is there? Can we say we are relying on His strength and guidance? We could well take a look at nature to see how God's hand is on all things. The Bible tells us that the sparrow is taken care of and it does little on its own to do it. God simply provides. If a sparrow is taken care of by our God, how much more would He take care of us...if we relied on Him?

Jesus is the light of the world. A well known song says this: The things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. If the things of this world are more important than Jesus...and yes, that includes family, possessions...we are, in one of God's words, lost. Other biblical words: blind, without hope, nothing, wicked, dead, an enemy of God.

Will this world recognize where we are heading? What will it take? Will eyes open? Or will what the devil would like to see, happen: anger replacing hopelessness? Depression arising? Self destruction replacing life?

Lord, what will it take? Oh that the people of this world would grasp the severity of what is happening around us. Oh that the people of this world would seek out the One who longs for them. The One who longs to sustain them. The One who brings hope in a very lost world.

I was unaware of these things once. But receiving Christ changed that. And now I have God's Word to remind me of His promises and guide me into all knowledge. It doesn't take a whole lot to understand this...

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2Timothy 3:14-17)

Thursday, July 17, 2014


John 12:20-28

Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, "Sir, we wish to see Jesus." Philip came and told Andrew and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. But Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified."

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say" 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."

I know one thing...God will be glorified. Even when many reject and despise Him, He will be glorified. How could He not? He created this world and all that is in it. He has made all things good. We are they who have brought wickedness and evil into the world because of His adversary the devil and his lies.

I want to see Jesus some day. I want to see Him glorified.

This parable is all about true life and death. We plant seeds in the ground in hopes of one day seeing a plant or flower. The grain of wheat must die in order to grow. Jesus was talking about an event in the near future...when He would have to die so that life would abound in the future. He died for us but He was made alive again. When we give our lives to Jesus, we also die that we might live. We surrender our earthly lives that we might have heavenly lives. Only Jesus made that possible.

We must be, like He, willing to die for this life. We must want to hate this life in this world to receive eternal life. Sounds backwards, dying to live, but it is true. We must be willing to serve Him in and with our lives.

Jesus was troubled at the thought of what He knew was about to take place but He  was willing to take upon Himself a greater burden than we have to face. Imagine all the sins of the world, past, present and future, laid heavily upon Him at the time of His death. The heaviness of any of our burdens can't compare. It's why He tells us to go to Him when we are weary and heavy laden...He has already gone through the trials and can sympathize, empathize, comfort and lift the burdens from us.

If we trust in Him to get us through the time of testing and trials, God will be glorified because of the testimony we will then have. God is glorified whenever anyone becomes saved by His grace. We cannot save ourselves. It is strictly by the hand of God...and He is glorified.

Jesus asked to be saved from His death, but He was still willing because of the unfathomable love He has for all of us. He doesn't just love the good people. No one is greater than another. He has enough love for each of us...and exactly the love we are in need of. His love heals. This healing brings life. By those stripes that were laid on His back we are healed...if we receive Him as Lord and Savior.

God was surely glorified in Jesus' death. He will be glorified each time another person chooses Christ. Glory to God.

John 3:14-16 - Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When You Least Expect It...What Just Happened...or...Serve the Lord!

Joshua 24:14-15 - “Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

When I accepted the invite to travel to Arkansas with a friend from church, only God could have known He'd show up 14 hours later to stir me up. But isn't that what God does? I couldn't come up with one title, as you can see!

When we arrived at the Union Road Assembly of God Church and listened as Pastor Terry Eddings preached his message on the above scripture, I could agree with all he said. I understood. Nothing spoken the time I was down there was new...just presented in new ways to encourage and settle my spirit.

He talked about drawing a line in the sand. I like the phrase in the scripture above, on the other side of the river or the land in which you dwell. When we come to Christ it is a decision we must make. We are on one side of a river and must cross over. Even when we cross that river and dwell in the land He has given us, we must continue to live in the world but not be part of it (Romans 12:2). Have we decided to follow Jesus or do we continue worshipping the things of the world?

If we have understood and received Christ we have crossed that river and now dwell in the land which God has for us. We will begin to see the evil spoken of above in the world. Christ must come first. And that was what Eddings was talking about. Why it affected me so I couldn't say. Why did it take a drive from Wisconsin to Arkansas for me to be so stirred? What I know is, it affected me in some way which will be revealed in God's time. I'm counting on it.

Three other preachers ministered to my spirit, encouraging and reminding of God's promises to His children. We were told we all go through seasons in our walk with God (David Owens). As he stated, God's promises are exhilarating but waiting can be excruciating. We are urged to continue in the Lord and not become discouraged. While others may see us as odd it's because we are, as God has said, peculiar people. We have made the decision for Christ, crossed the river and live in the land He has brought us to. And He will be with us every step of the way. When the promises have been fulfilled, well, what a glorious moment.

We have been saved by grace and nothing more (Tyler Owens). When we are determined to do more, say more, pray more, we try in our own strength. That's the law...never being able to fulfill it. But through Christ's death we have grace. All the sins of the world were placed on Him. He died once for all. Once...fulfilling the laws which could never be kept. When we receive Christ we receive His grace and mercy.

We will still go through struggles. But as two, if not all, of these men of God stated, He will never leave nor forsake those who have chosen to draw a line in the sand for God and who so want to share the gospel to a lost and dying world.

As Lee Shipp stated (paraphrased), Nothing profane is hidden anymore in the world. The devil thinks all these things are what the people need to satisfy them. But God says Jesus is all we need. We've seen just about all there is to see sinwise. All sin is acceptable today and this is leading us to destruction. These are signs of and we are in the last days and if the gospel isn't preached there will be many permanently lost without the grace of God in their lives. (But even that is becoming more difficult to do and will become even more difficult, as we can already see.)

Narrowing Lee Shipp's message down, it's not about the large churches, nor denominations. It's a people, not a building. The stones which are used to build a church are the addicts, prostitutes, murderers, homosexuals, thieves, etc. If only this message would be understood. These are what Christ built His church on...and He is the solid rock, the foundation. The glory of His house is Jesus Christ, not a pastor or priest. When we surrender all to Christ, we make a decision, walk away from the world's view of life into a life of righteousness that only comes through Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

I have been encouraged again in my walk with the Lord, His promises and even in blogging. On our way home we listened to other taped messages. One hit me like a was on what has God placed in my hand to use for His glory? I can say my number one thing is this blog. And I will no longer refer to it as MY blog. It is the tool He has given me and so it is through Him that I do this; it is His. My purpose is to point others to Christ, for His words of truth to be written. It is one way I serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:24 - And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!"

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gone After Him

John 12:17-19

Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, "You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!"

Testimony after testimony. Miracle after miracle. Sign after sign. These people were being changed...yet some remained hard hearted. There will come a time when people will see or hear what God has done, does and will do. He's the same today as yesterday and tomorrow. He never changes. His Word is ever true. He calls and urges all mankind to come to Him. We too will never accomplish anything worthwhile without Him.

He calls even those who have already received to come into deeper relationship with Him. We are never finished in our walk with Christ. We will never achieve perfection in our lives on earth. We will never know all we need to know about Christ. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (1Corinthians 13:10) The first step toward this perfection, however, is Christ.

Testimonies of people's changed lives; the miracle of His healing touch upon someone, which He can do; the signs and wonders of nature for good and as a means of opening eyes to what has been prophesied about His second coming and what will transpire in this world. These all point to Him. I am confident that some day more will realize these the days draw nearer. Yet, sadly, there will still be some who resist.

This is not doom and gloom. I look at what I see in this world more as doom and gloom because it ain't getting better! But Jesus gets us through all this. He is the Way. His truth can be found. Life in Him can be obtained. This is not to judge anyone. I have no right to judge...we are all sinners. Only He will judge in the end. We will all have to give an account to God some day. But we can all share in this way, truth and life. In Christ we are changed. ...if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:7)

I write occasionally about words, phrases or commands spoken more than once to show their importance. God has something very important to reveal to us about some day in the future for all of us. Hear these words:

I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. (Isaiah 45:23)
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God." (Romans 14:11)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

These Things Were Written

John 12-9-16

Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! The King of Israel!"

Then Jesus, when He found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: "Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt."

His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. 

The Word of God and Jesus the Word of God. It amazes me constantly that there is no separation between the two. "As it was written" so shall it be. The Word of God written and in the flesh that we might know Him.

Those who knew the written Word were so adamant about killing the Word. They had read and heard the words. And here He was and they wanted to kill Him. And now they wanted to get rid of  further evidence by killing Lazarus too. Did they not realize that the Word would never die? Hallelujah.

As was written in Zechariah 9:9, this humble Man who would be the King of the world, rode in on a donkey. This is the King of all those who believe in Him, listen to Him speak through His Word, obey and follow Him. It will be a sad day when those who have rejected Him realize their mistake. Perhaps then the Words He has spoken, too, will be remembered.

The Word is defined in Strong's Concordance as: a word, uttered by a living voice; the sayings of God; moral precepts given by God; doctrine, teaching; in John it is the essential Word of God, Jesus Christ, the personal wisdom and power in union with God. This word comes from a root word which means: to say, to speak, affirm, teach, exhort, advise, command, direct, point out, mean, to call by name, to call, to speak out. If God is eternal, so are His Words and so is the Word, Jesus. These things were written...that we might know.

Jesus is and has done all these definitions. He has been and is glorified. He calls each of us to believe what He says because what He says is true. He calls out that, like Lazarus, we might all be made alive in and through Christ. Shake off the grave clothes and hear Him speak. He is eternal; we can share in that eternal life through Him. We must not only receive the Word, written and in the flesh, but the Word must live within us, be written in our hearts. These things were written that we might believe. How well do you know Jesus?

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will no no means pass away. (Numbers 23:19, Psalm 119:89, Matthew 24:35)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Sweet Smelling Aroma

John 12:1-8

Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, who would betray Him, said, "Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.

But Jesus said, "Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always."

Like Mary did here, taking the time to sit at the feet of Jesus, when we take the same time in prayer and in the Word, I believe it is like the fragrance of this oil with which Mary anointed Jesus' feet. Our prayers and our devotion through reading and meditating on His Word are part of our sacrifice to God. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (Psalm 141:2) 

In the Old Testament sacrifices were made to God by the people for atonement for their sins. It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. (Leviticus 1:17) Jesus became our sacrifice in the same way. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:2)

In Genesis when the water from the flood subsided and brought the ark onto dry ground and the animals were lead out, Noah made a sacrifice to God of every clean animal and bird as a form of worship for God's goodness to him. And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. (Genesis 8:21)  When we allow Christ into our lives and we are obedient to the Lord and we offer up sacrifices of ourselves, I imagine a sweet, soothing aroma is also sent to Him.

Remember once Jesus kindly rebuked Martha for her agitation with Mary when Jesus came to eat with them? Martha was in the kitchen preparing the food, by herself, but Mary sat at Jesus' feet listening to Him. While serving is always a good thing, Jesus told Martha that what Mary chose to do was better. He always loves it when we spend time with Him.

Here we have Judas Iscariot who complained about what seemed a waste of valuable oil. Jesus rebuked him too because this same Mary sacrificed a valuable oil for her Lord. She understood true sacrifice. And the fragrance filled the house. Judas did not know how valuable Jesus was and did not know the value of devoting himself to Jesus. His primary concern? His love of money!

While serving and taking care of the poor, as Judas alluded to, is a good thing, we must not neglect our time with God. In fact, if we spend that time with Him diligently first, those deeds then become another sweet fragrance unto the Lord. It's always about seeking Him first. He will guide in our works. Asking for His daily guidance in our lives...

Mary chose again to sit at Jesus' feet. She loved to sit and listen to Him and worship Him. I think of the scripture that says Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6) There will be a day when He will no longer be able to be found so we are urged to seek Him now. Then one will have chosen the better part, the part that is a sweeter fragrance.

Worship of the Lord is a sweet smelling aroma: our time spent with Him, talking to Him, listening to Him speak to us through His Word.  It can also be in the fellowship of others on Sunday or any other time we spend with fellow believers who enjoy discussing God. When it's about Him it comes as a sweet aroma. I wonder when people say they feel a sweet, peaceful presence in a house if it isn't because of the devotion given to God in that place?

Luke 10:39,42 - And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at Jesus's feet and heard His thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.

Friday, July 4, 2014

That One Man Should Die

John 11:46-57

But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, "What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation."

And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish."

Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad. 

Then, from that day on, they plotted to put Him to death. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.

And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. Then they south Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, "What do you think--that He will not come to the feast?" 

Now both the chief priests and Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.

The Pharisees wanted Jesus dead. Imagine clergy plotting against a Man that their status quo would be salvaged. He was a threat to their way of doing religion because His ways were so unconventional. He was turning their religious ways upside down. What religious leader extended the meager resources of loaves of bread and fish, heal and raise someone from the dead and speak with such authority, even claim He was the Son of God, when they couldn't? They feared people would believe in Him. This threat needed to go.

Jesus still desires that everyone would believe in Him. It's His sole (soul) purpose. He still remains a threat. All the disunified's way over God's way. I had a brief chat yesterday with a young woman who said she believed, like I, that denominations just bring disunity, that there is only one authority, the Bible and Jesus Christ. I wish we could have talked more but circumstances didn't allow it.  I am thankful I belong to such a church.

Then Caiaphas the high priest actually spoke prophetic words regarding Jesus! That one man should die for the people to save their nation, their people. What's so amazing about God's Word are the levels of meaning which it has. While they talked only about the people and nation of Israel compared to the world around them, their enemies, and oppression they were under, it's the same for us. Our enemy is anything that goes against the a word of God. We are under the oppression of sin without Jesus.

In the grand scheme of things, we are no different than the Jews. We are mere people in this world. Not one person is ultimately better than another in God's eyes. We all start at the same place in life, sinners in need of salvation. And only one Man can do that. There is only one way. While the world says there are many ways, there is only one. While the world says we all worship the same God yet in different ways, it is not true. There is only one way. There is no compromise, which is why there is so much division; Jesus' way is too narrow.

Only one Man died for all. Only one Man. And here, in the pages of John, we are seeing Who that is. Caiaphas said that one man should die for the people that the whole of their nation should not perish. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Peter 3:9).

Jesus died for all mankind. He has been waiting for "all" to come to Him. He was the purpose all along.

1Peter 3:18 - For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just and the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

That They May Believe

John 11:41-46

Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me." 

Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth." And he who had died came bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go."

Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 

I'm sure no one could have known what was about to transpire. People were filled with grief for and comforting Martha and Mary. Jesus had been late in arriving. Lazarus was dead and buried four days already. If only He had gotten there sooner...

But it was the Father's will. It was His will to bring about an even greater understanding and belief that this Man who said He was the Son of God. They needed more proof. All part of the Father's will. That we all might believe.

What more proof do we need? Today Jesus still brings life. We are all covered in grave clothes until we are awakened to who this Man is. We walk with our hands and feet bound, and our heads wrapped that we might not see. But when Jesus becomes a true reality to us, those cloths are are loosed and we are set free. He asks us all to come forth. Free to see, to believe, to begin a new life, in Christ through Christ alone. And part of that purpose for our own freedom is that others may believe.

Jesus will not be a one time thing in my life. He is a forever blessing. If I believe what He says, I have been set free of my own grave clothes. I have been resurrected spiritually. And He longs to do this with each of us. Jesus says it better than I can:

John 8:36 - Therefore if the Son makes you free, you are free indeed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

If You Would Believe

John 11:30-40

Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him. Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, "She is going to the tomb to weep there." Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died."

Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, "Lord, come and see." 

Jesus wept. 

Then the Jews said, "See how He loved him!" And some of them said, "Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?" Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it.

Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?"

I'm stopping a hair short of the climax to this account. I'm sorry, but I'm welling up with tears. The question goes through my head: Did Jesus know that by delaying His visit there would be so much heartache? He only did the will of His Father and He must have had some inclination that Lazarus would have died before He arrived because He said in verse 4, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it. But was He expecting the emotion?

I have been slowly reading and taking in the words of John. Things pop out that I have previously missed because I've read too quickly or skimmed over because I know the event. I'd seen that Jesus wept, but somehow missed that He was so very grieved in His spirit.

He had to have known that He would be raising Lazarus from the dead...and wouldn't that have given Him a sense of relief and joy...but He couldn't bear the grief Martha and Mary went through...or even the fact that Lazarus was dead and He did not prevent it. But, oh, the glory of God would so soon be revealed.

Today I was saddened to tears when hearing about some difficulty someone I know, an unbeliever, is going through. And while we cannot ever surmise that this is the thing God will use to bring them to Himself, into right relationship with Him, the thought went through my mind. What surprised me most was that for a split second I, too, was saddened for an unbeliever like I've not felt before. I hate to admit that... It should happen more often. I hope it is not the last time because then I know God is doing something in me! Something good.

In verse 40 Jesus says, Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God? We just cannot underestimate the power and glory of God. How He can even take the most hardened heart and transform it and gloriously transform minds to the knowledge of Him. Tie this in with the difficulties I've seen people face lately. And to see the world in the turmoil it is in... It tells me that no matter what the circumstance, no matter who the person, God can be glorified in ways we cannot know. He can take a circumstance in one life and cause another life to change. And we cannot foresee this. And we don't know how He does it, but He does. And we don't need to know how! As Jesus has said, if you would believe...

I think about a time when I might also fall down at the feet of the Lord, but in absolute thankfulness because His glory has been seen. Praise the Lord! Oh, that we all would see the beauty and glory of God in our own lives.

Ephesians 1:17-21 - that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

THE Resurrection and Life

John 11:17-29

So when Jesus came, He found that he [Lazarus] had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 

Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world." And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, "The Teacher has come and is calling for you." As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.

Ah, the stage is still being set regarding Lazarus. Jesus still has a few words to say. He has arrived where Lazarus died. He continues to encourage Martha, who by all accounts truly believes in Him. She knows there will be a good end to her brother. She is just saddened that Jesus had not come sooner to heal him.

In Martha's eyes her brother is dead. But she knows that because Lazarus was a believer like she and Mary, they will be reunited on the last day. They understood to some degree the principle of eternal life. But she had no idea what was yet to happen.

Jesus was setting the stage.

We can have the same assurance as Mary and Martha that we and our loved ones will be reunited on the last day. As Jesus tells Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me shall never die." He asks us all, "Do you believe this?" He so wants us to believe. He has so shown us through His life, death and His own resurrection. So why is it still so difficult a concept?

We can do nothing to be assured of eternal life with God on our own. We must believe and receive Him. There's no other way. He is the only Way, Truth and Life. No one goes to the Father on the last day apart from Him. We must have the faith to believe in Him. Believe Him for everything in our lives. He must be the first and the last in our lives, not just Someone we worship one day a week...or not at all.

When life throws us difficulties, we must trust Him. We must rely on Him, seek Him for our strength and peace. If we don't we are relying on the little strength we have on our own which does not sustain.

When I see or hear people who do not have Christ struggle with life's situations and hear in their voices how difficult it is, how so unprepared they were for these times, I am saddened. We will all go through difficult times despite knowing the Lord, but there will still be an underlying peace. It's sad when others don't have this peace. Martha experienced this...sadness, yet peace.

Martha made sure Jesus knew that she was certain had He been there sooner He would have saved Lazarus. That was very clear. But she also knew though Lazarus had not survived that he, as we hear so often whether rightfully so or not, "he's in a better place." I'm sure Martha was a bit confused at this point why Jesus hadn't gotten there sooner. But there was a reason...

Here's an opposite view for us. Jesus is holding out for some people. Holding out that they might receive Him. That they might believe in HE has called us to do. Not that head knowledge that so many think will save them but the heart knowledge that sends them to their knees in repentance for their lives without Him. None of us are are good enough on our own to enter heaven. Again, Jesus says, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no other way. Only through Him will resurrection and eternal life be received.

Romans 10:8-11 - But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame."