1 John 3:16 "For God So Loved The World"
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
These are probably the most well-known Words of our Lord Jesus Christ. They have doubtless led many to the saving knowledge of Jesus. As we enter the Easter season, I want us to look at some of the sayings of Christ. It is hard to choose only one verse to be our theme verse. Everything Jesus said has such great meaning and all the scriptures are equally important. He is the Word. John begins his gospel, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) And John ends his gospel, "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen." (John 21:25) Please join us, as we look at some of the Words of Jesus, who is from everlasting to everlasting, giving Salvation to all who will believe.
2 Jesus At Twelve Years Old
"And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Luke 2:49
These are the earliest recorded words we have of Jesus as a young boy, twelve years old. His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. As they journeyed back home, they noticed that Jesus was not with them. "But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing." (Luke 2:44-48) Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple. Verse 50 tells us that they "understood not the saying which he spake unto them." It was probably customary in those days for the sons to grow up and learn their father's business. Joseph may have thought Jesus would become a carpenter, but Jesus knew that He came to do the will of His Heavenly Father. And while He knew He came to do His Father's will, He still returned to Nazareth "and was subject unto them."
3 Presidents' Day
"Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, ... Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he said unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." Matthew 22:15-21
This day has been set aside to honor two American Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. This country was founded on religious principals. I am thankful that our current President is not afraid to stand firm in his Christian beliefs. We need to pray for our leaders and give them respect. We can read what Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;" (I Timothy 2:1-3) As you take time today to honor those Presidents of the past, spend some time in prayer for our present leaders and remember the Words of our Lord, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
4 "Man Shall Not Live By Bread Alone"
"Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:1-4
After the baptism of Jesus, He was tempted in the wilderness. We read in the book of Hebrews that Jesus "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." What did Christ do when He was tempted? He answered with the Word of God. When the devil tempted Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple, "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." (Matthew 4:7) And once again in verse 10, "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." We know that the devil will tempt us. These Words of our Lord should be an example to us. Hide the Word in your heart so that you can stand true and not fall to temptation. When you feel tempted, start quoting scripture. We are no match to the temptation of the devil, but God can help us overcome temptation when we trust in Him. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:13)
5 "Blessed Are The Pure In Heart: For They Shall See God"
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:3-9
We are so blessed. Just look around you at all the Lord has done for you. He left His heavenly home to come down to a world that hated and rejected Him. He saved us and keeps us. He supplies our needs and gives us many of our wants. When we mourn, He is our comfort. When we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we are filled. When we are merciful to others, God is merciful to us. He is also there when the world turns against us. His Word continues, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." (Matthew 5:10-12) When we get saved, that doesn't mean everything will go our way and the world will love us. But, we have joy that the world doesn't understand. Take time today to think about how much God has blessed you, and give Him thanks.
6 Let Your Light Shine
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Jesus often used simple objects around Him to teach the people. He said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neighter do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." (Matthew 5:14 & 15) He used this object lesson to teach us to let our light shine. We should live our lives in a way that reflects the Light of Christ. John 8:12 tells us, "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." In the same way that the moon reflects the light of the sun so that all the world may see, we are supposed to reflect the Light of the Son, so that the world may see. Are you letting your light shine for Christ? Can others see The Light in you?
7 "Love Your Enemies"
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" Matthew 5:43 & 44
I started high school at a new school many years ago. I didn't know anyone and was very shy, so I took my Bible to school and read during my free time. There was one girl who really enjoyed making fun of me. I was surprised at how much scripture she knew, but she would ask me unusual questions, just testing my knowledge and patience. As I was reading one day, I came across these verses. I took one of my notebooks and wrote this verse across the back, "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." Only a couple days passed and she asked, "What do you think about Matthew 5:44?" Instead of the reaction she seemed to be expecting, I showed her the verse on my notebook. Many years have passed since those days. I have prayed for her often through the years, and even now God sometimes brings her name to mind. It is hard when people make fun of you or say cruel things about your beliefs, but try to pray for them. Jesus tells us to love our enemies. It is especially hard when those you once called friends turn against you. Turn to Jesus. He is "a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Proverbs 18:24)
8 "Consider The Lilies"
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?... for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:25-33
We live in a world of convenience today. We have large grocery stores where we can go for food and drink. We have fast-food restaurants where we can get a meal in a hurry, and fancy restaurants where we can sit down and enjoy elaborate meals at a slower pace. We also have clothing stores and department stores, and even Good Will stores where we can buy clothes to wear. If we think back to when Jesus said these words, it was a lot harder. The people had to raise their own food. They had to shear their sheep and weave flax for clothing. Life was hard. It was probably hard to find food during the winter months and during times of famine. Jesus told his followers not to worry about food, drink, and clothes because God knew they needed these things. What do we worry about today? We enjoy the modern conveniences we have been blessed with, but we still may have periods of time when we worry. It seems as though we bring in barely enough money to cover the monthly bills. If we have sickness and need extra money for doctor bills, it always seems to come just in time. When the car breaks down and we have repair bills, God always supplies.
There are people today who don't know where their next meal is coming from, and there are also people who only have the clothes they are wearing. We need to pray for them and reach out to help them. Many of our missionaries left all they had to follow God's guidance into other countries. Pray for those who may be in need. Give of your abundance when God blesses you. And don't worry when the unexpected comes up and you don't know how you will make it until payday. Jesus tells us, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
9 Jesus Teaches Us To Pray
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen." Matthew 6:7-13
Luke 11:1 tells us that one of the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. First, Jesus teaches us not to pray to be seen, but to pray to God. It is a great comfort to me to know that I can pray anywhere, anytime. I can pray when I'm weary and I can pray when I feel blessed. I can pray with my church family and I can pray when I am alone. Next, Jesus teaches us to acknowledge the holiness of God and to accept His will. Then He tells us to ask for our daily bread, to ask for forgiveness as we forgive others, and to ask Him to help us overcome temptation. And finally, once again, we are to acknowledge the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of our great God. Have you taken time to pray today?
10 "Ask, And It Shall Be Given You"
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Matthew 7:7-11
This scripture tells me that God wants to give us good things just as a father wants to give his children good things. In the previous chapter we learn that we should not use vain repetition because God knows what we need even before we ask. But in these verses we are encouraged to pray. We can also read in James 4:2 & 3, "...yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts." I think one of the first things we should ask God for is wisdom. James also tells us, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." (James 1:5 -7) So not only should we not ask for things to consume in our lusts, but it is also important that we ask in faith. Have you asked God for wisdom? I want to leave you today with one more verse..."Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." (Proverbs 4:7)
11 The Plant Lady
"Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest." John 4:35
There is a lady who comes to my office once a week to water the plants and cut away all the dead leaves. She was usually quiet as she moved from office to office, plant to plant. A few months ago God told me to witness to her. Since she came early in the week I asked her about her weekend and she naturally asked me about mine, so I told her I had a good weekend and mentioned going to church. The next time I saw her God once again told me to witness to her. I asked her about her Thanksgiving, and she asked me about mine and I told her God had really blessed me. When she came through after Christmas I told her how God had really been good to us. Each time I saw her, God told me to tell her about salvation. Just before Valentine's Day I gave her a small packet of candy and a card I had printed which read, "God is Love... Visit our Web Site to read more about God's Love. http://Devotions.homestead.com Happy Valentine's Day" I prayed that God would use it to speak to her. I kept telling myself that one day I would get around to telling her about salvation. Because I only knew her as "The Plant Lady", I didn't notice her obituary in the paper. I prayed for the right words each time she came in, but I never asked her if she really knew my loving Savior. I kept promising the Lord that the next time, I would tell her more about salvation. She came every week, and if I was not at my desk one week when she came by, I would be there the next time. Yes, I have been at my desk, but she has not. I never knew, that when I handed her that small Valentine, it would be the last time I would ever see her. There are people all around us who don't know our Lord. They may never go to church to hear the message of salvation. It is up to us to tell them about God's love. If God puts a message in your heart to speak to someone, don't wait until it is too late, like I did.
12 The Golden Rule
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12
Way, way back in elementary school we were taught the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That is what the Lord is telling us in this verse. If you want others to be patient with you, then you should be patient with them. If you want your co-workers and classmates to respect you, then you must show respect to them. This chapter begins, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Matthew 7:1-2) It works both ways. We should be kind and good to others, just as we would want them to be to us. And we should not judge others, or we will be judged likewise. We can learn the Golden Rule as children, but we are never too old to follow it.
13 Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me." John 14:1
There are many things today that trouble our lives. The newspaper and television news keep us informed of all the problems and hatred in our world today. We face disease, sickness, and death in our families and among our friends. But Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled". A belief in God and in our Lord Jesus Christ can be comforting in our troubled world. In this same chapter Jesus said, "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:16-18) When we trust in the Lord for our salvation, He gives us another Comforter, The Holy Spirit. He lives in our hearts and guides us in our daily walk.
14 "In My Father's House"
"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2 & 3
I have been amazed by the size of all the houses being built in our area. Before my grandmother died she said that people used to have a small house on a hundred acres of land, and now they build a large house on a little plot of ground. These houses are being built as a status symbol. There are some neighborhoods that have houses which look like mansions. Well I know that I will never live in a place like that here on earth. But Jesus said that there are many mansions in His Father's house. He is preparing us a place to live throughout eternity. We can read about some of the beauties of heaven in the book of Revelations. The part of this verse that comforts me is the last part, "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." Jesus wants us to be with Him. We all experience times when we feel all alone, and we think all our friends have forgotten us. But Jesus is coming back to get His children and take them home to be with Him forever.
15 "Come Unto Me... And I Will Give You Rest"
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30
We have come to the end of another week. I always look forward to the weekends. It is good to have a couple days off to rest. My job is not hard, physical labor, but it is tiring and mentally challenging. I like having the weekends to spend with my family and church. Jesus gives us an invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Do you feel heavy laden today? Do you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? Let Jesus help you carry that burden. If two oxen were yoked together, it would be natural for the largest and strongest ox to carry the greatest load. Jesus is offering to let us come under His yoke and He will help carry our load. He yoke is easy and the burden is light when we let God carry it for us. Take your burdens to the Lord and find rest for your soul.
16 "Where Two Or Three Are Gathered"
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Matthew 18:20
This is a wonderful promise. Today is Sunday, and we can enjoy going to church and meeting with other Christians. We can sing and learn from God's Word. Most of all, we can gather together and worship our Lord. We don't have to belong to a large congregation, or meet together in a beautiful new building. Jesus said, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." We try to invite people to our churches and sometimes we may get discouraged when we don't see our numbers increase. But, isn't it good that Jesus will meet with us each time we gather together to worship Him. We should be faithful to the house of God.
17 The Compassion Of Christ
"Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, "I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat; and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way." Matthew 15:32
Jesus had compassion on the multitude and fed them with just a few loaves of bread and fishes. Just as Christ had compassion for the people those many years ago, He loves and cares for us today. We need to trust Him and exercise our faith. He gave His life for us. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:31-32) God cares for me and God cares for you. He has never failed to provide our needs. We can find comfort and peace in His Word.
18 "One Thing Is Needful"
"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42
I spent many years praying that God would lead us to the right house. We have five children and as they got larger, the space we had got smaller. When we felt led to the right house, we prayed that God would use our home for His glory. And we have enjoyed opening up our home to many people over the past ten years. But I must confess. Sometimes, just before our guests are scheduled to arrive, I become "careful and troubled about many things." I become "hyper" as I try to finish up the last minute details on the meal, and make sure everything is clean. It is good for us to open up our homes, our lives, and our hearts to others. It is good to be a servant. But there are times when we need to sit at the feet of our Lord and learn from His Word.
19 "Well Done Thou Good And Faithful Servant"
"After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." Matthew 25:19-21
What are you doing with your talents? Jesus told about three servants. Each was given talents "according to his several ability". I know that the talents in this scripture refers to money, but we can apply it to our natural talents, and whatever God places in our hands. The first two servants used their talents and gained more. Jesus said to them, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord." The third servant hid his talent, and it was taken away from him and given to the first servant. What are you doing with your talents? I know some people who seem to have all the talent. I think God has blessed them in giving them more talent because they continue to use what they have for God's glory. Use everything you have for the Lord. I hope that one day when I stand before God He will say to me, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
20 Giving To The Lord
"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasure: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living." Mark 12:41-44
We talked about giving of ourselves and using our talents for the glory of God. We also need to give our tithes to the Lord. If you have an abundance to give, don't make a show of it. We read the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:1-4, "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly." Don't lift yourself up because you have more to give. Or, you may feel like you are more like this poor widow, and you have nothing of value to offer the Lord. But He knows your heart. Give what you can to God, and let Him use it for His glory and honor.
21 The Wise Man Builds His House Upon The Rock
"Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." Matthew 7:24-27
Jesus used simple illustrations to teach valuable lessons. I have seen pictures of houses washed away in the recent floods in California. During great storms it is not uncommon for houses along the beach, built on the sand, to be washed away. But Jesus also had a deeper meaning. David said, "He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God." (Psalms 62:6-7) We also read in Ephesians 2:19-22, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Have you built your life on a solid foundation? Storms come into all our lives. If you have faith in the Lord, and your hope and trust is in Him, you can stand. But if your life has been built around riches, or your job, or fame, you could lose all that tomorrow. God's Word is eternal.
22 "Thy Sins Are Forgiven"
"And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace" Luke 7:48-50
Who can forgive sins? - Only our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we enter the Easter season, let's take time to really think about the cost. Jesus left His home in heaven and came to earth to give His life, by a cruel, horrible death. Romans 3:23 tells us, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" and Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Jesus paid the price, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Romans 8:3 & 4) We can't be saved by following the Ten Commandments or keeping the law. "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all."
How can we be saved? - It is as easy as A, B, C.
A - Admit you are a sinner... We have already seen that "all have sinned"
B - Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ... "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)
C - Confess... "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10)
Who can be saved? - "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
Have your sins been forgiven? - Don't let this Easter season pass by without knowing and believing that Christ came, died and rose again to save you from spending an eternity in hell.
23 Why Do You Seek Jesus?
"Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed." John 6:26-27
Why do you seek Jesus? The day after Jesus fed the five thousand, many of the people sought after Him. Jesus knew their heart and told them they only sought Him because they ate of the bread. Jesus knows our motives. If we go to church on Sunday just to see our friends, or because we have new clothes to wear, Jesus knows our heart. We should seek Him and worship Him. In our Christmas story we read how the Wise Men followed His star and sought to worship Him. Now, as we near Easter, let us also seek Him and worship Him with all our heart and soul.
24 "The Way, The Truth, And The Life"
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
These are very important words of our Lord. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life:" and many people accept this. But there are some who don't accept the rest of the verse as Jesus said, "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." People want to believe that as long as they believe in a god, and as long as their good outweighs their bad, they will be ok. They do not want to hear that Jesus is the only way of salvation. A few chapters over we read, "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." (John 17:1-3) Jesus is the only way to the only true God. There is no other way to be saved.
25 As Ye Have Done It Unto One Of These
"For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:35-40
What would it have been like to have been living on earth during Bible times? We surely would have opened our home to the prophets. We would have given clothes to those in need. Or would we? Do we give to those in need today? Jesus said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." God has blessed us abundantly. We need to share His blessing with others. Look around you and see what you can do for others. Give of yourself to make someone's life a little easier. You'll be glad you did.
26 "Watch And Pray"
"And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."" Matthew 26:37-41
Jesus went with His disciples to Gethsemane and said to them, "Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder." (Matthew 26:36) Then in verse 37 He took Peter, James, and John with Him to pray. But in verse 39 Jesus "went a little farther." I believe that, as Christians, we sometimes sit where we are, while others labor and pray. Then there are times when we may go a little farther with the Lord. But if we want to live a victorious Christian life, we need to go even farther with the Lord and "watch and pray". Jesus knew all that was about to take place. He knew of the pain and suffering He would have to endure. He spent time in prayer with God the Father. We don't know what we may face each new day. But as we watch and pray we can say with Paul, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13)
27 "I Am With You Alway"
"... lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Matthew 28:20
As my son was coming home his left front tire blew-out. He lost control and hit the car in front of him. All escaped injury and although his jeep is probably beyond repair, our insurance should cover the damage to the other vehicle. But, better than insurance, is the assurance that God was with him. We are all going to face obstacles and experience blow-outs on our road of life. Things happen that we can't control. Sickness and major illness touch all our lives. We can lose our jobs, lose our friends, and some lose all they have in major catastrophes. In times like these, we need to trust in the one and only true God who is in complete control. Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection and spoke these words to them, "lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Do you have this promise and assurance that He is your Savior? It is good to have insurance for those unexpected problems. But it is even better to have assurance that He is with you always.
28 "He That Hath An Ear, Let Him Hear"
"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" Revelation 3:22
I was part of a three hour conference call at work today to correct some problems we were having with some software. The call began something like this..."Well, somebody didn't listen when we told you to put that information in your computer." I don't think I have heard anything like that since I was in elementary school. And, actually the information had been put in three or four times but was not saving. In the seven letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation Jesus ended each letter with these words... "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." He is telling us to listen. I have heard preachers say that the last letter is a message to the church today. Let's listen to what the Spirit may be saying to our church. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Revelation 3:15-22) Do you hear His voice? Is he standing outside your door, or have you invited Him into your life, your heart, your church? Listen.
29 The Scriptures Were Fulfilled
"And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smoth off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?" Matthew 26:50-54
I want us to look first at the words of Jesus to Judas Iscariot, "Friend, wherefore art thou come?" Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him and yet He called him "Friend". We can't understand this great love of our Savior. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Next, let's notice that Jesus would not let his disciples fight for Him. He healed the ear of Malchus after Peter cut it off with his sword. (John 18:10 & Luke 22:51) Jesus knew that He was to suffer and die. I like John 13:3, during the last Passover, "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God." Jesus was not surprised by the events that followed. He could have called for the angels to save Him, but He freely gave His life to give us life eternal. "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep... No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." (John 10:11 & 18) And the last thing I want us to notice is that not only did Jesus know He was going to die, but He knew from the beginning of time why He came to the world. He came and fulfilled the scriptures. The first promise of a Savior is in Genesis 3:14 & 15, "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
30 "Father, Forgive Them"
"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God." Luke 23:33-35
In preparation for the Easter season, we have been looking at the Words of Jesus. Now we have come to the sayings from the cross. Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Even in His death He prayed for those causing Him pain. He was doing as He taught others to do. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" (Matthew 5:44) He prayed for others. And He died to save others. He could have called more than twelve legions of angels but He chose to save us instead. (Matthew 26:53) "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10) Have you been forgiven? "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
31 "My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?"
"Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Matthew 27:45 & 46
These words that Jesus spoke from the cross can also be found in Psalm 22, as written by David. The Psalm contains several references that were fulfilled when Christ died on the cross. "All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him... They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me." (Psalm 22:7, 13-19) These references of the crucifixion are followed with glory and praise just as the resurrection. "Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel... My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation... they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." (Psalm 22:23, 25-27) "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:8-11)
32 "To Day Shalt Thou Be With Me In Paradise"
"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst." Luke 23:39-45
Jesus was crucified between two malefactors. John said "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14). He dwelt among men, and died among men. But He was, and forever shall be God. Even in His death He had power to save the lost. The veil of the temple was torn giving us access to the throne of grace. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16) Have you cried out to the Lord for salvation? There were two men crucified with the Lord, one cried out to Him and received this promise. Don't wait until it's too late to pray. Fall down at His throne of grace and find mercy.
33 "Behold thy son! Behold thy mother!"
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." John 19:25-27
I always liked the verse in Luke 2:19 when the shepherds came after the birth of Jesus. "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." A few verses later they met Simeon in the temple. "Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word; For mine eyes have seen thy salvation. Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (Luke 2:28-35) Mary pondered and marvelled at those things she saw and heard about her child. Now, years later, she witnesses His cruel death on a cross. Surely, she felt as if a sword pierced through her soul. In His own pain and suffering, Jesus wanted to make sure His mother was taken care of. He made the arrangements for John to take care of his mother. We can't comprehend the depths of His great love.
34 "I Thirst"
"After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth." John 19:28 & 29
As a man, Jesus said, "I thirst." As God, He said, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:13 & 14) What are you thirsting for? In Matthew 5:6 we read, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Do you have a hunger and thirsting in your soul? Fame and fortune won't satisfy. It may give you pleasure for a season, but it won't satisfy that deep hunger. Drugs and alcohol or a promiscuous lifestyle won't satisfy. Nothing can fill that thirsting in your soul except for the water of life. Once you have drunk from the living fountain, you can say like the woman at the well, "Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?" (John 4:29)
35 "Father, Into Thy Hands I Commend My Spirit"
"And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man." Luke 23:46 & 47
Jesus said in John 10:17 & 18, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." As we have seen before, Jesus gave His life to save lost sinners. "He gave up the ghost." We read of the last Passover, "Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;" (John 13:3) He knew that He would return to God. As we also read in Hebrews 10:12, "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;" He came from the Father, and He returned to the Father. As we try to live as Christians should, day by day, it will help us if we also think on these thoughts. Our Christian life begins by accepting the Lord God as our Savior. We have the promise that we will go to heaven in the end. We are just "strangers and pilgrims on the earth." (Hebrews 11:13) "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:1-3)
36 "It Is Finished"
"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30
Just before Jesus said these words on the cross, He prayed in the presence of His disciples after the last supper. "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." (John 17:1-4) Jesus finished the work He was given to do. Are you doing the work of the Father? One day we will all stand before our God and Savior. Our life on earth will be ended. The Apostle Paul asked the believers in Galatia, "Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?" (Galatians 5:7) Don't let anyone or anything hinder you from finishing. Paul also told Timothy, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (II Timothy 4:7 & 8) Be faithful to the end... finish your course.
37 Easter Sunday
"But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seeketh thou? She, supposing him to be the gardner, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master." John 20:11-16
Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early and when she saw that the stone was rolled away she went to get Peter and John. Peter and John went and also saw the empty tomb and went back home, but Mary stayed there. She did not know who Jesus was until He called her by name. Jesus said in John 10:14, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." Jesus knows us by name and we know Him and follow Him. "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice." (John 10:4) You may know all about the Easter story. Jesus came from heaven and gave His life on a cross and rose again on the third day. He paid the debt for our sins so that we could live. Just knowing the story of Easter is not enough. Have you trusted in Him to save you? Ask Him to save you now, before it is too late. John said, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those books, according to their works... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:12 & 15) Make sure your name is written in God's book of life.
38 God's Family
"Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her." John 20:17 & 18
These verses follow the scripture above. When Jesus came and died and rose again He made a way for us to be in the family of God. Look at the words He spoke, "but go to my brethren, ... I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God." Early in His ministry He called the disciples his brethren. "While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him. Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." It is all because of God's amazing love. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (I John 3:1 & 2) We can't comprehend such love... God's amazing love.
39 "Peace Be Unto You"
"And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures," Luke 24:36-45
Jesus appeared in their midst and the disciples were afraid. Well, we probably would be too. But He said, "Peace be unto you." This reminds me of another time when there was a great storm and the disciples were afraid. Jesus was asleep on the ship and the disciples said, "Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" (Mark 4:38-40) Are you fearful? We live in a troubled world. Storms are all around us. But Jesus asked, "Why are ye troubled?" Only Jesus can give you true peace and understanding. Turn to Jesus in your times of trouble. Pray for the peace that only Christ can give and trust in Him. Say with David, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalm 56:3)
40 "Beginning At Jerusalem"
"And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things." Luke 24:46 & 47
Our verses begin where we left off yesterday. After Jesus assured the disciples that He was Christ and had risen from the dead like He said, He sent them out to preach to all nations. But notice those three words, "beginning at Jerusalem." Jesus wants us to be witnesses to the world, and we are to start at home. I am sorry to say that I often pass up opportunities to witness to others around me. We need to pray for boldness to tell others about our loving Savior. In Acts 1:8 Jesus said, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Again, they are told to begin at home, and then carry the gospel throughout all the earth. Support the missionaries, who have given all they have to carry God's Word to foreign fields. Support them with your prayers and money. But also be witnesses to those around you. Begin at home, and carry God's Word with you daily. Pray that God will give you boldness and fill you with the power of the Holy Ghost. Remember that someone prayed for you and told you about Jesus. Don't you want to tell others?
41 "Feed My Lambs"
"So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep." John 21:15-17
Twenty five to thirty years ago our youth group at church went through a season of revival. We met an hour before our Sunday evening worship service and our youth leader taught us from the Word of God. Jimmy Walker would teach us on Sunday, and throughout the week we carried the gospel message to others. Several young men were called to preach and we visited nursing homes, a detention center, camp meetings, revival meetings, and held tent meetings, cottage prayer meetings, and youth rallies. We even sang on street corners as the young preachers spread God's message to those passing by. I just had a chance to visit many of those old friends as we gathered for Jimmy's funeral. I thought of this verse as I thought back on his life. Jesus told Simon Peter to, "Feed my lambs." In looking back, I see how important that is. Jimmy took time to feed the lambs. We were all young and zealous for God's work, and needed guidance and direction. He was always there to listen to our problems and pray with us. I know of six of those lambs who now have their own flocks to feed as they pastor churches. If God is calling you to work in a leadership position, don't overlook the little lambs. Young people and young Christians need to be fed and grounded in the Word of God. Feed the sheep, and make sure you also feed the lambs.
42 Wars And Rumors Of Wars
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." Matthew 24:6-8
We live in troubled times. My daughter was asked to write an essay for school on how to solve the problems in the Middle East, and end the fighting. Jesus told His disciples of "wars and rumours of wars" and went on to tell them about the great tribulation in this same chapter of Matthew. We can also read about the end of time in the prophetic books of Isaiah, Daniel, and Revelation. I don't understand everything that the Bible says about the end of time, but I do know that I serve "The Prince of Peace". "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6 & 7) I know the King of Kings, and He is my Lord and Savior. I don't have to worry about the end of time, because I am on the winning side. "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." (Revelation 12:7-10)
43 "Surely I Come Quickly"
"And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city... And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely... He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." (portions of Revelation 22:12 - 21
These are the last recorded words of our Lord in the last verses, of the last chapter of the last book. During the past six weeks we have looked at the Words of Jesus. I have not tried to add anything to His Words because His Word is perfect and complete. I have only tried to bring to remembrance some of the things Jesus said to comfort, exhort, and to teach us. We know that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) He is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last." He is coming again. Are you listening to His Word? Are you looking for His coming? "Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."