Thursday, September 29, 2016

Can We Rejoice In a Fallen World?

Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always.  Again I will say, rejoice!

     Have you been dealing with an illness?  Have you been dealing with a loss of a loved one?  A loss of a job or a home?  Has your spouse had an affair and there is an impending divorce?  What about all the violence in this world with shootings and bombings, terrorist attacks, racial tension?  How about our recent presidential campaign?  Is this all disturbing and discouraging to you?  I know it is to me at times, if I'm not focusing on the One that matters.  The question is, can we rejoice even in the midst of all this chaos?  The Apostle Paul says to rejoice when?  When all is good?  No.  Rejoice always!  But you ask, how?  Not in our own strength, but Jesus' strength (Philippians 4:13).  Focusing on Jesus, and knowing He is in control, and His plans for you life is good, is something to rejoice in.  Always!  In verse 6 of Philippians 4, it says to pray and bring our supplications to God.  If you are going through a trial, rejoice, pray, then rejoice again! 

     I have been struggling with an illness since 1998, and in the past 5 years, I have really had struggles with it.  Pain, trouble walking, numbness and tingling, among other things have given me limits on what I can do.  I have cried and been discouraged, but when I wake up, almost every morning, I rejoice and thank Him for another day.  There are times when I don't feel up to rejoicing, but I do thank Him.  I'm only human.  James 1:2-4 says to count it all joy when you go through trials, because it produces patience.  We grow in Christ as we go through trials and we continue to rejoice anyways.  I have gone through other trials in my life where I thought I was in hell.  I rejoice now, because I came through it.  I didn't have Jesus in my life then, but now that I do, I rejoice because if I hadn't gone through it, I wouldn't know Jesus.  Jesus set in motion, before we were born, what we go through, in order to draw us to Him.  Where are you in your life?  Can, or will you rejoice, in spite of the circumstances in the life around you?  Can you give up yourself, and give in to Christ?

     In conclusion, rejoicing always is praise to God for all He has done in your life.  In Philippians, Paul was in prison and was being persecuted for his faith, but he still rejoiced.  He knew his reward and that was enough for him to rejoice.  Life's circumstances don't matter in the grand scheme of things.  It takes faith to rejoice when we cannot see the outcome.  This is what Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen".  We hope, then we rejoice.  We can worry about ISIS, we can worry about who will be the next president, or shootings and terrorism.  We can worry about our health or our losses, as painful as they are, or we can have faith, trust, and rejoice in the midst of life's chaos.  What is your choice today?

Like I have said previously, I hope to blog more consistently, and I hope you will follow my blog.  May you rejoice always!

In His Joy,



Monday, September 12, 2016

Are You My Sheep?

It has been about a year since my last blog.  I hope to keep up on it more, as I can.

Matthew 25:31-36
"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on His left.  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'"

     Have we been the King's sheep?  As Christians, what have we done for the kingdom of God?  How many of us have walked by a homeless person and just ignored him, thinking the worst, when in fact, he is just like us, a creation of God.  They may be begging and they may smell bad, or even seem "dangerous" because of a mental illness, but have we offered them food or drink?  Have we shared what we have in abundance, with those who have nothing?  Jesus said if we do feed and give drink to them, we do it to Him.  We were all hungry and thirsty before we met Jesus, and someone fed us with the Word of God.  We were given drink from the Fountain of Life.  We were once like those who we now ignore.

     How are we with those who need a place to stay?  A stranger?  Are we willing to take a risk and house them or find a place for them?  Are we willing to clothe them with something of our own?  How often do we treasure our things, unwilling to let them go to a person in need?  Christians are to be generous with what they have, because in reality, God provided for them.  At one time we had no home and we were naked, and someone led us to Jesus and our home became heaven, and we became clothed in righteousness.  Jesus calls His sheep to do the same.  If we are unwilling, then we are mere goats, and not of His fold.

     How busy are we that we cannot take time to visit those who are sick?  Or how self-righteous are we that we are too good to visit those in prison?  The sick need us to reassure them of hope and the imprisoned need us for the same.  We were once sick and imprisoned by our sin and someone came to our rescue and gave us hope, and Jesus took our sin upon Himself and freed us from the bondage of sin.  We are called to help those in need.  Can we visit those who are sick, and visit those in prison, and put ourselves aside in doing so?  Jesus calls us to do to those because in doing so, would be doing it to Him.

     Jesus said to the goats in verse 41, "Depart from Me", because they did not feed, give drink, take in a stranger or clothe him, visit the sick or those in prison.  Those who do not do these will have no part in His kingdom.  Are we willing to humble ourselves and meet with these people and help them, or sit on our lofty thrones of pride and selfishness and miss out on what God intended for us to have?  If you have or have not done it to the least of His brethren, you have or have not done it to Him.  Which are you, sheep or goats?

Blessings to all that follow and read this.  I pray that my blog has, and will continue to be a blessing to you.