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].
Our world is spinning and people are wandering and wondering. They wonder about tomorrow and the next day and the next, but we who know the God of the universe do not need to wonder. For the believer the future does lie before us but we need not fear for God holds the future and He holds us in the palm of His hand: “Look, I have inscribed yourname on my palms.” [Isa 49:16] “For I know what I haveplanned for you,’ says the Lord.” I haveplans to prosper you, not to harm you. I haveplans to give youa future filled with hope.”[ Jer 29:11]
Zechariah and Mary faced a future written in eternity past. One would become a father to John the Baptist, the voice in the wilderness. One would become the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is not the author of confusion but of order. His timing is perfect and he holds the key to our future. He is the God of impossibilities. Zacharias’ future lay before him but he needed or desired confirmation. Mary’s future lay before her and she submitted willingly. When God comes with a word regarding your future how do you respond? Are you like Zacharias needing a sign or like Mary willingly submitting to whatever God has planned because you believe “The steps of a person are ordained by the Lord” [Pro 20:24]
Romans 1 to 4: The gas gauge in our cars registers full or empty. It is our reminder that fuel is needed for our car to work properly and we trust or have faith that those gauges are accurate. Faith is the key to being stranded or not.
In Hebrews chapter 11, Abraham is listed as a man of faith. His faith in the eternal God led him to leave his homeland and seek the land that God promised him. It was his faith that endeared him to God in some of the hardest times he would ever have to face. Over and over, he could echo these words: “Now faith is being sure of what [I] hope for, being convinced of what [I] do not see.” [Heb 11:1] Peter adds; we have not seen God, but we have chosen to love Him. [1Peter 1:8] We choose to love God because “his invisible attributes and his divine nature are visible through creation.” [Rom1:20] Yet…
Some say it may be for you but not for me. However, all are without excuse. We stand condemned and in need of God’s saving grace. His lovingkindness leads us to understand that we all are sinners in His sight; all need His cleansing grace. That was/is the reason God sent Jesus. That is why Paul could say, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes.” [Rom 1:16]
How is your faith gauge today? Does it register full, or are you running on empty?
Luke 1 to 3 The people of Israel waited four hundred years to hear from God and his prophets, but He had been silent. Now in a flash of a moment, God chooses a Gentile author to reveal that He is still at work.
First, God sends an angel to tell Zachariah that he will be a father soon to one who will be like Elijah the Prophet to turn the children’s hearts. Then God sends the angel Gabriel to a peasant girl named Mary with the news that she was to be the mother of His earthly son, the Son of the Most High God, and God will give him the throne of His father, David.
Hearing the angel’s pronouncement, Zacharias responded with, “How can I be sure of this?” Mary asked, “How will this be since I have not been intimate with a man.” Because Zechariah doubted he would be silent until the birth of John. Mary would submit but walk the road before her village as an unwed woman. Her courage came from the angel’s words: “nothing will be impossible with God.”
How often do we stand amazed and wonder how I can be sure? Could it be that we need to assess if we are more like Zachariah or Mary? Remember this truth: “The steps of a person are ordained by the Lord” [Pro 20:24]
Matt 8 to 10 One question Jesus asked those who came seeking healing: Do you believe I can do this? They and we may respond with an affirmative, but it is the action behind our answer that proves whether we believe or not.
Jesus asked the leper: Do you believe I can do this, but even without an answer, Jesus responded with instant healing. How great is His mercy! Then the centurion came and sought healing, but responded that Jesus’ healing powers were so powerful that He could heal without even seeing the afflicted one. What great faith! Seeing his daughter die, the synagogue leader came and asked Jesus to lay his hand on her and restore her to life. Why would he take that step unless he believed in His power? While a storm raged, the fearful disciples woke Jesus up and heard him ask: “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?”
Jesus tested all of these with one question: Do you believe I can do this? Is our faith in Jesus so strong that we believe with a word, in his presence or not? We say we believe, but our actions prove whether we are just answering or responding in faith.
Daniel 1 to 3 In our study of Ezekiel, we were challenged to live righteously in an unrighteous world. Ezekiel persevered for over 25 yrs. Daniel will do the same for over 70 +/- yrs. Both were models of what it means to be faithful and steadfast in challenging circumstances. Whereas Ezekiel faced his alone, Daniel had three friends to walk with him. All four were nobles or part of the upper class in Jerusalem, yet in Babylon, Ezekiel lived in a refugee camp by the river. Daniel and his three friends lived in somewhat luxurious quarters in the King’s palace. All were used by God to show the other captives and the wicked King that there is only one God, Yahweh.
God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to take the ripe and full-fleshed figs in the first wave and the treasures of the Temple. [see Jer 24] He would protect them by placing the captives in quarantine and the Temple treasures in his god’s treasury. There they would lay protected until the 70 yr. captivity drew to a conclusion.
God allowed all of them to face tests to prove to the Judahites, the King, and us, that God alone is supreme. Daniel and his three friends would face the test of purity vs. defilement and faithfulness vs. unfaithfulness. God blessed them and allowed them to live and work in ungodly environments where they became role models of righteousness.
Today we live and move in a world that is more and more ungodly. We will be presented with tests to prove to others that God is God.
Ezekiel 22 – 24 If you are an enthusiast of old English movies, you know that servants obey without question. Ezekiel is known as the servant who obeys whether he understands or not. Are we? The Lord graciously prepared Ezekiel to be a sign to the exiles through his response to his wife’s untimely death. God told him, “I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you with a jolt, but you must not mourn or weep or shed tears.” And it happened just as the Lord had said. In the evening, his wife died, and Ezekiel did just as the Lord commanded. Ezekiel did not question: “why, Lord?”
“The death of Ezekiel’s wife prefigured the loss of the temple, which was “the delight of [the Jews’] eyes.” God strove to make His intent clear so that the people would have no excuse. Despite the hardship in the loss of Ezekiel’s wife and Temple, all would be for Israel’s good (vv. 19–27). Through the trouble, the people would come to know that He is the Lord.” (Ligonier ministries)Li
Like the English servants, Ezekiel obeyed and did not mourn, and the exiles as well were not to mourn the tragic news of the loss of their Temple. Ezekiel trusted God’s purpose even as he experienced this tragedy.
How about us? Do we trust God enough to be obedient even when we don’t understand all of the reasons behind His request?
Jeremiah 37 -39 Novels and mysteries have cliff hanger episodes to keep us riveted to the plot. Jeremiah’s book is no different, and chapter by chapter, we are privy to the plans of the villains and heroes. The villains don’t believe Jeremiah the prophet, and so plot to keep the cowardly vacillating king, Zedekiah, from surrendering.
Zedekiah vacillates between keeping Jeremiah safe and yielding to the villains—even after hearing Jeremiah tell him the best option. In the middle of this, Jeremiah’s fateful mistake leads to him being caught and hidden in a covered muddy cistern. While the villains are busy slapping each other on the back for getting rid of Jeremiah, Ebed Melech, a court servant, is busy convincing Zedekiah to let him free Jeremiah out of the cistern. Zedekiah for once wisely listens and allows Ebed to free Jeremiah.
Ebed Melech is the courageous man of the hour.
Through this entire chapter, we have God’s eyes to see who would be true to Him. It turns out that it wasn’t an Israelite but a courageous Ethiopian who becomes Jeremiah’s savior. In his humility, he never asks for a reward but God saw and spared him when the Babylonians took Jerusalem.
You never know when God will use you to be the person of the hour, but this one thing you can be certain of:
Isaiah 49 Of all the disciples, only John remained at the cross and witnessed the death of Jesus. In the evening, Jesus came and stood before them, but Thomas was absent. He had said I will not believe unless I can put my hands in the holes where the nails penetrated. Jesus lovingly came and offered Thomas that witness, and he responded, “My Lord and my God.”
One of the many questions men ask is: Can I be sure of my salvation? Am I eternally secure, or can I lose my salvation? “Scripture clearly affirms the fact we are protected by the power of God through faith. Faith brings us into a grace relationship with God as a gift of God through the merit of His beloved Son. We are saved by His record, not ours.” [H. Keathley III]
Although we haven’t had the privilege of visually seeing the holes as Thomas did, we do have the Prophet Isaiah’s and the Apostle John’s words: “I [God] have inscribed your name on my palms.” [Is 49:16] Jesus said: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” [John 10:29] Each time you close your hands to shield your palms, picture yourself securely enfolded in his.
Today as you wash your hands, fold your hands in prayer, or go about your daily duties, stop and look at your hands and picture your name inscribed on His.
Isaiah 46 Never fear my precious senior saints; God has it all taken care of. He promises that He will carry us from birth to the grave. He has made us just as the psalmist said in [Ps 139:15] “my bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret and sewed together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence”
Remember this wise counsel from the pen of the psalmist: The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing. [Psalm 92:14]
No matter where you are on life’s continuum, know this truth: there will never come a time when you don’t need to depend upon God and there will never come a time when He is in need of being cared for by us for He is the true, eternal and holy God. “I am God and there is none like me.” Job described him as unchangeable and so He is. “But he is unchangeable, and who can change him? Whatever he has desired, he does.” [Job 23:13]