2Cor 5 What if you knew that today or tomorrow you would be meeting God face to face? A precious friend whose elderly father is nearing his step into eternity waits for that last breath. As the friend waits, she recalls his life as a pastor and his work amongst the lost. She recalls his life as he taught her the scriptures she holds in her heart and shares with others. In this, we have this promise God has given to us. Ps 116:15 KJV tells us that “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”
Paul also shared that we might be comforted. We now live in an earthly house, but one day that house will close, and it will be by God’s timing. Until then, know this truth: we have a heavenly home already prepared for us. “Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God” [2 Cor 5:5] We who are left here groan in our earthly house, but we too one day will see the glorious Christ waiting for us on the shore of the celestial city.
Victory is but a word, but victory in Jesus is a lifestyle.
Mark 1; Luke 3; Matthew 3 The Traits of a True Servant of God
The prophets Isaiah and Malachi prophesied that God would open the windows of heaven and pour out a blessing to his people in due season. John the Baptist was that blessing that came in the form of the true servant, humble and announcing that the kingdom of God/Heaven was now before the people and the nation. He challenged the status quo, challenged the hearts to repent of what Malachi called the false righteousness of works, and challenged the religious establishment. He knew he was not the Messiah and proclaimed as such to the religious leaders when asked. He pricked the hearts and many yielded to the message of the gospel. He obeyed the Law and yet challenged men to listen to the heart of God.
The mark of a faithful and true servant is that they do not take center stage, usurping the main speaker. John was that chosen one who offered to do the work of the ministry serving expecting nothing in return but God’s blessing. Jesus summarized his work and life: “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” [Matt 11:11] “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” [Matt 11:15]
Jeremiah 51 Who is this God who is master over all? The Lord of Hosts is His Name. Jeremiah reminds us that God is the author of creation. God is God, and there is none beside Him. He creates; He designs. He is the master over all, stop and praise Him.
Many today in Afghanistan and Haiti are struggling to make sense of all carnage and devastation. The photographers reveal to us what it looks like, but we have not experienced any of this, and in this time frame, we seek to try to make sense of it all. Into this rises Daniel from the grave to remind us that as believers, no matter what circumstance is before us, we can be faithful because we know the God of the universe, and nothing is unknown to Him. “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, … nothing is too difficult for You…O great and powerful God, whose name is the LORD Almighty,” [Jer 32:17-18] “By his power made the earth. By his wisdom, he is the one who fixed the world in place; by his understanding, he spread out the heaven and all idolaters will prove to be stupid and ignorant.” [Jer 51:17-19]
When you feel adrift and can’t make heads or tails of what is going on in the world, know this truth: God is sovereign, He is both Creator and Sustainer and He is in control of all that is happening. We can trust Him.
One of God’s names is Jehovah Jireh–the God who provides no matter whether big or little, whether food or wisdom. As the Israelites leader, Moses had a mighty task not only had to lead them but guide them as God gave direction. Maybe you, too, have an enormous task just like Moses. You are overwhelmed and do not which way to turn. It is then that Isaiah’s counsel is wise: You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left,” Sometimes that word comes in the form of a prophecy “Do not treat prophecies with contempt.” [1 Thess 5:20] Perhaps it might come in the counsel of one who is wise as Jethro to Moses. It may not be in an earthquake or a mighty wind, but the still small voice just like Elijah heard. God is listening to His children; He hears your cry. God provides what we need when we come to Him humbly.
Today you may be among the many who are seeking help. Remember to come humbly before God, and He will hear your cry and answer from heaven through avenues we may least suspect. Keep your eyes on Him and your ear open to hear His voice. “The prayer of an oppressed man, as he grows faint and pours out his lament before the Lord. O Lord, hear my prayer! Pay attention to my cry for help!” [Ps 102:1]
Job 28 James succinctly addresses wisdom and remarks that there are two avenues: earthly and heavenly. One is demonic, and the other is godly. James further notes that we have godly wisdom through our good conduct and works done in gentleness. On the other side of the coin is earthly, natural, and demonic wisdom, and then describes it as jealous, selfish, disorderly, and full of evil practices. The contrast is clear; the wisdom from above is peaceable, gentle, accommodating, merciful, impartial, and true.
Job had no Bible, preachers, prophets, or the indwelling Holy Spirit, yet he understood what men today do not comprehend: ‘The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ [Job 28:28] Thus, the truth that Paul expounds proves that even without all of the outside intervention: through the “creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.” [Rom 1:20]
Which wisdom do you have? May you be encouraged to know that as Job wondered, you may also, but, even in his wondering, he still trusted God and had godly wisdom. You can be as well.
Job 14-16 Job asks the age-old question: “man dies and is powerless, he expires – and where is he?” and “if a man dies, will he live again?” Job struggled, but Jesus gave the answer: I am the way to the afterlife; believe in me.
It seems that all religions/faiths believe in some form of afterlife, but the real question is what Job asked: “will he live again?” The resurrection of Jesus proves that there is life after death. Jesus spoke of the reality of our destiny in [Luke 16:19-31]. Two men, Lazarus, and the rich man die. Jesus pulls back the curtain into eternity to show us that our destiny is sealed while we are alive.
Our witness to that truth is Jesus Christ, who “died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures and that he appeared.” [1Cor 15:3-7] He appeared to not just Peter but to the many that went forth to tell the world: yes, there is life after death.
From Jesus, we can know that yes, we will live again. The question all need to ask is: where will you and I spend eternity? The two thieves on the cross and the story Jesus told in [Luke 16; Luke 23:39-42] tell us that man must choose NOW for once death comes, there is no return ticket to this earthly life.
What will you choose?
Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life.” [Jn 10:40 and Jn 5:24].
How often do we yearn for heaven? Christmas brings that focal point front and center as we yearn to be with our Lord on His birthday so we can sing in the heavenly choir. Just as Paul told Titus, the reason God has left you behind is to do the ministry work because there are churches without leaders and churches without mentors. Titus submitted to Paul’s direction in this regard. The churches were young and needed wisdom and a mentor of integrity. Titus was the man of the hour.
God has left each of us behind to be a mentor to someone in need. Imagine if Titus had not stepped into the role for which God prepared him? Imagine what happens if we refuse to step into the role God has prepared for us? Stop and think about this; what might have happened on Crete if Titus said I was too busy or not knowledgeable enough or too young or too old? Titus gave no excuses; he willingly submitted to the task Paul left to him even though he was alone. How often do we have excuses that we use not to do the work that God has clearly given to us, such as I cannot teach; I cannot witness. How often do we say that we are not prepared to do the work?
Paul encouraged Titus to step up and be the man of the hour. Will you take the challenge too?