“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
John 14:1-4. (ESV Strong’s Bible)
There are times when doubts come into our lives. Jesus tells us that we don’t need to be troubled. He assures us that He has told us truth.
How do we know we can trust God’s word when the doubts come creeping in?
There are four reasons why we can have confidence that God will keep His promises…
1) His omnipotence… He is powerful enough to create everything.
2) His omniscience… He can never forget a promise He made to us.
3) His goodness… He will always do what is best for us, never disappointing us.
4) His faithfulness… God cannot lie.
If we live in doubt or fear we are insulting God.
There is a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. that says “I find the great things in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving; to reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it – but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
If we want to reach heaven we must do something. We cannot just remain still. We must take action.
Nothing grows if it remains stagnant.
Peter gives us a command in 2 Peter 3:18 to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus.
Earlier on the same book (2 Peter 1:5-8) he told us:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)
Today let’s pull up our anchors and set sail towards an eternity in heaven with God, our Father.
When driving down a mountain recently we decided to go a way we had never gone before in order to do a bit of exploring on the way to lunch. I turned on my map function in my cell phone and hit the button that tells me where I am now located. And it occurred to me that if anyone was tracking my phone, they would now know exactly where I am.
There are some people in our country who do not want the government to have any access to check these things out… Although supposedly the government only does it for someone they have suspicions of illegal behavior. But have these same people ever considered that God always knows exactly where they are, both physically and spiritually?
He is the ultimate Global Positioning System.
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there!If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you;the night is bright as the day,for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts;you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works;my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret,intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance;in your book were written, every one of them,the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them.
So then ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
Sometimes our families do not encourage and support us. There are those among us that when we made the decision to follow God we lost our friendship with our family. They don’t understand our goals now that we are a Christian.
God in His wisdom has provided us with a church family. We have a family that understands our goals, that want to help us get to heaven. But in order to avail ourselves of our church family we need to get to know them, see them, fellowship with them. We need to do more than just chat with them on Sunday morning. We need to avail ourselves of the blessing that is our church family that God has given us.
Our congregation has a board with the members’ name tags on it for easy access. Many jokes have been made about how we don’t know who we are until we put our names on our lapels. There is now a sign on the board that reads “Come Here to Find Yourself” and next to it the scripture from Mt 7:7 Seek and ye shall Find.
This has started me thinking that I really didn’t know who I was until I began to study God’s Word. God’s Word has told me where I come from, where I am going, what my goals should be, how I should live.
Without the Word I would be drifting through life with no real purpose, living a life that is vain.
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for “‘ In him we live and move and have our being ’; as even some of your own poets have said, “‘ For we are indeed his offspring. ’. Being then God ‘s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
Recently I posted a status update on my Facebook page requesting prayers for an upcoming surgery. I received almost 50 comments and many more ‘likes’. Many of the comments informing me that prayers would be sent to our Heavenly Father on my behalf were made from people many many miles from me, out of state, and even out of the country.
How wonderful and comforting to know that my church family had me in their thoughts!
While so many if us lead such busy lives it is nice to know we can send an email and check out photos on line. I know I rarely get to speak with my friends out of state, and even less with those that are out of country, that it is a blessing to know we can touch base via our computers and smart phones.
The technology that we live with today has blessed our lives in so many ways, but it has made me consider this past week if I have used it enough, am I making use if it in the right ways? Imagine what the apostles would have done with it!
Today I received a message from a friend that I have had since we were 12. She had seen a post of my 6th grade class picture another friend of hers had posted and forwarded it with the subject line ‘A Blast from the Past’. What a treat to see those familiar faces and to read the attached comments of those I knew back when.
Job’s friend, Zophar, did not understand the real reason that Job was suffering so he gave him bad advice. But he did say something interesting about memory, the passage of time, and being right with God in Job 11:16-18
You will forget your misery;
you will remember it as waters that have passed away.
And your life will be brighter than the noonday;
its darkness will be like the morning.
And you will feel secure, because there is hope;
you will look around and take your rest in security.
God has blessed me with a brain that is capable of remembering. Memories of people that I have known, that have meant something to me, memories that make me smile and some that even make me cry. Do I give thanks enough to God for that?
Imagine the scene… A van pulls up at hotel. One woman jumps out of the vehicle screaming a name. The woman being called likewise yells out a name and runs forward. The women meet halfway and embrace with enthusiastic hugs and greetings, and plans to meet up later.
It is obvious that these two women have an intimate relationship … They are family, or perhaps best friends.
On checking in, the hotel clerk mentioned the closeness between the two women.
“You met your family here?”
“We’re not related.”
“Oh. How long have you known each other?”
“You get to spend lots of time together then?”
“No. Just a matter of days during two events.”
“You must talk lots on the phone?”
“Phone. Have we ever…? I see some of what is going on in her life on Facebook, and the same for her with my life… When we bother to post.”
“You two appear to be the best of friends. … How do you know if you even like each other?”
“Well, we did chat over dinner once, and another conversation or two while driving somewhere… We have a couple things in common….”
“But… I don’t get it… Why are you two so close?”
“Oh, that’s easy. We are sisters in Christ. We have the same goals – getting our family, friends and acquaintances into heaven. We want the best for each other. We will pray for each other, even without being asked. Whether it is a message on Facebook, a text message or a real phone call, we are there for the other even if it cannot be physically. She knows I love her, and I know she loves me because we have that bond through Christ our Lord. She encourages me and I encourage her. Like Paul in Philippians 1:3-5 I can thank God for the work in the kingdom she does, and for the prayers she offers up on my behalf for the work I am trying to accomplish. I know that I will always be welcomed by her because we are sisters in Christ.”
But exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called today; lest
any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin: Heb 3:13
Sometimes the thing that really encourages someone is just taking her out for a cup of coffee or by giving her a quick call. Showing her that you want to know her better, to spend time with her, can give her the feeling that she is worthwhile to know. And since God made her and Jesus died for her, she does have value.
What is truly even more of an encouragement is inviting her into your home for a Bible study. The fact that you cared enough to welcome her into your home says a lot to her about the value you place on her soul. And you in turn are encouraged as you watch her learn and grow closer to our Savior.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Wherefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as also ye do.
Yesterday we hosted our annual ladies’ day event. This event is designed for sisters in Christ to come together to give praise to God, to learn more of God and to fellowship together. It is also a time to invite those ladies we come across in our daily lives that are missing the peace of God in their lives. I am so very happy to say that we had both sisters in Christ and visitors with us yesterday. What an encouragement it was.
Not even discussing the blessings I received from preparing one of the lessons, or the things I learned and was reminded of while listening to the other two lessons we were blessed to hear, I was blessed to enjoy time in fellowship with my sisters in Christ.
I think too often we forget how important our friendships are to others. A sister recently texted me thanking me for all I do for her. My husband asked “What do you do for her?” After humbly thinking about the little I do for her my reply was “I guess I encourage her.” And her thanks to me was her encouraging me right back.
We all need encouragement from time to time…
So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another. Romans 14:19