How many times have you heard it said, “If we ask it in His name, He will do it. . . . ” Well, maybe. That depends what we ask, but there are some other things it is dependent upon too.
Notice, in verse 12 above, Jesus said, “If you believe on me, the works that I do, you will be able to do also — and greater works as well — because I go to My Father in Heaven.” So, He is explaining to them the importance of believing He is God’s Son and of doing good works, just as He did.
Then, in verse 13, He tells us to ask all in His name and He will do it that the Father in heaven might be glorified. He is NOT telling us we can ask for a million dollars and He will give it. He is telling us, “If you believe in me and want to carry on the works I do, ask Me and I will do it for you — these things I have done and more will be done for you — if you ask it in My name.” So, we must be wanting to emulate Christ and His life here on this earth in order to be able to ask of Him and receive. Our requests should be for something He did or would have done. Then, He will do it for us.
Verse 14 stresses the importance of asking all in His name. By saying it a second time, He is telling us, “If you have faith in me, ask and you shall receive.” Then He follows these statements with the qualifier in verse 15. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Don’t pick and choose the ones you like and discard those you don’t care for. Do all that He commanded; then, He will know you love Him. If you meet this requirement, you can ask in His name, and He will do as you ask. Because, if we love Him and keep His commandments, our heart will be in the right place. So, we will not ask for things we should not want.
Do you love Him enough to keep His commandments? If you do, then He will do for you — when you ask it in His name. Finally, when I pray, I say — ‘If it be Thy will. . . .’ — as He did when asking the Father in heaven to allow His cup to pass from him ‘if the Father willed it.”
“And He went a little further 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.'”
Matthew 26:39 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Then I complete my request by letting Him know I believe:
In His “Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented a series of “Blessed are . . . ” statements which modern-day theologians reference as “The Beatitudes.” The problem with grouping them together is it tends to discourage the study of each statement individually. If we look at them as separate indicators of desirable characteristics in those who follow Christ, they take on much more meaning.
With the indicator noted above in Matthew 5:6, Christ emphasized the importance of “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” as personal descriptors of a devoted Christian. He also noted: those seeking righteousness to this extent will be filled. In other words, if a follower truly hungers and thirsts for righteousness, time and energy will be spent trying to emulate the example Christ gave us when He was on earth, since everything He did was done in a manner well-pleasing unto God. We see this in Matthew 3, verses 16 and 17:
16 — “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, low, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him.”
17 — “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'”
Matthew 3:16-17 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Thus, one must first “hunger and thirst after righteousness” in order to be filled. This hungering and thirsting will increase our “searching of the scriptures” which will allow God to “fill our desire for righteousness.” The more we learn from the scriptures, the more we understand of what God wants from those of us who follow Jesus’ commandments.
As newborn Christians, we are to “desire the sincere milk of the word, that we may grow” in likeness to Christ. This growth is how we are filled with God’s righteousness.
1 — “Wherefore, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,”
2 — “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:”
1 Peter 2:1-2 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Peter goes on to say that those who believe and follow Jesus are “the chosen ones;” thus, they shall be filled with righteousness if it is searched and applied. He goes to great lengths in this chapter to describe the differences between those who believe and those who do not believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:”
1 Peter 2:9 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In searching the scriptures, if we hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness, we will learn how emulating Christ’s actions and attitudes, while He was on earth, will satiate us and increase those behaviors in us. Thus, we “shall be filled,” and we shall become more like Christ as we continue to grow and live for Him.
Jesus Christ is the perfect example of God’s righteousness.
Photo Above:by permission from Benjamin South @facebook.com.
If we wish to center ourselves upon God and His Son, Jesus Christ, we must remove our minds from the concerns of daily living and focus upon those things which are eternal. We cannot focus upon material or relationship concerns and focus upon those things eternal at the same time. It is necessary that we remove our minds from the here and now in order that we might focus on the eternal order of things. What is happening in my earthly life at any given time must be secondary to that which is happening in my eternal focus.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told those in attendance:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:33—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
If I am focused upon what I will eat, or what I will wear, I cannot truly focus upon God and His righteousness. However, if I am truly focused upon God and His righteousness, He provides what I will eat and what I will wear. Centering my thoughts and my life upon Him and His Son takes me away from my worries over daily concerns and places Him in charge of those things.
This does not mean there will be nothing for me to do in order to arrive at those needs. It means, if I am focused upon Him, I prioritize my actions so they are in line with his directives. He will guide me to His desires for my life, if I allow it.
When I open myself to God’s guidance, oftentimes I “just happen upon” the very thing I am needing or pondering. How does this happen? By freeing my mind from worry and daily strife, I am able to follow in His footsteps. I am living my life in a manner pleasing unto Him, and He places answers to my questions and needs in my path, if I am searching in His righteousness.
5 — “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.”
6 — “Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
7 — “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
8 — “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
9 — “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”
10 — “But I rejoiced in the Lord Greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.”
11 — “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”
Philippians 4:5-11—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In his epistle to the Philippians, Paul is telling them how to center themselves upon God, His Son, and all things eternal. He implores them to worry and fret over nothing, but in all things to give thanks in prayer and supplication. When they practiced this in their daily lives, he told them, they would have a peace beyond their understanding because their hearts and minds would be in Christ Jesus.
If I focus upon doing, thinking, and saying those things that will be pleasing unto God and Christ Jesus, I will have no cause for concern about what the day may require. All things, will fall into place when my focus is “eternity with God and His Son.” I must stress, however, I must do the deeds He would have me to do in order for this to occur. If I am a homemaker, I must do those things necessary to ensure my home runs smoothly. If I am employed outside the home, I must do those things required of me upon that job. If I am a public servant, I must do those things needed to meet the needs of the public. Whatever my lot in life, I must be actively pursuing the needs of that lot. I cannot sit idly by, doing nothing, for things to fall into place. This is not what God’s righteousness is about. God cares for us, when we free Him up to do so. We free Him up to do so by doing the things needed here on earth–but our minds and hearts should ever be in tune to Him and Christ Jesus.
11 — “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
12 — “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
13 — “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,”
14 — “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
15 — “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”
16 — “Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
17 — “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.”
Philippians 3:11-17—Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Paul says in these verses, he has not yet attained the resurrection unto Christ, but is constantly reaching for that goal in thought, in mind, in action, and in purpose. He acknowledges that he has done things in the past for which most people would cast him to the devil and never allow him to enter heaven. But he must forget about those things. Christ has “apprehended him” to serve God in every endeavor. He has been forgiven those sinful acts and is commanded to set an example for others to follow. Thus, he reaches for those things which Christ holds in heaven for him, and he presses onward toward that mark–“the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” He then turns to the recipients of his epistle and reminds them to join with him in being thus minded. When he refers to “as many as be perfect,” he is not meaning without fault. The word “perfect” here means “mature.” So, if we are mature in Christ, and our minds are focused amiss, he tells us, “God shall reveal even this unto you.”
I was in conversation with my brother a while back when he stated, “Sometimes God tells us what He wants us to know through the mouths of those with whom we are speaking.” I wholeheartedly agree. Sometimes, in our daily conversations, we will “hear” exactly what God wants us to “hear.” The question is, “Are we listening?” This is where our “focus” comes into play. If my mind is where it should be as a Christian, if it is focused on doing, thinking, saying, and purposing according to God’s righteous guidance, I will be shown. Sometimes, I will be shown through something I “read.” Sometimes, I may be on an errand out and about when I am guided to where I will “see” what God wants to happen in my life. “Am I watching?“
My part in “pressing toward the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” is to be “tuned in” to God and Christ Jesus. Then I can know God’s will and receive the “peace that passeth understanding.” This is how I know I am “centered on eternity.”
Where is your “center” today? Is it on earthly matters and concerns, or is it wrapped around God, His Son, and their will for you? May He heap blessings upon you in untold number when you “focus” upon Him and His righteousness–when you are “centered on eternity.”
We tend to not give much thought to God’s character traits, His personal strengths, even His weaknesses. Perhaps we should take a few days to look at these aspects of God and Jesus. We might, then, understand the two of them a bit more.
A few of the words that come to mind when I think of God are compassion, strength, godliness, cleanliness, love, honour, devotion, and fortitude. While each of these are important–and we will look in depth at each–I think the word “fortitude” describes so many facets of both God the Father and God the Son.
When God created Adam and Eve, He placed them in the Garden of Eden in which He had planted every good and beautiful tree and trees with fruit for them to eat. He formed a river which ran out of Eden by which He watered the garden.
8 — “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed.”
9 — “And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
10 — “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted and became into four heads.”
Genesis 2:8-10–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.'”
Genesis 2:18–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
21 — “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;”
22 — “And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man.”
23 — “And Adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.'”
24 — “‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.'”
25 — “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”
Genesis 2:21-25–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
How difficult it must have been for God when Adam and Eve committed the first sin–eating of the forbidden fruit. He had provided much good food for their consumption. Yet, they gave in to temptation and ate the fruit of the one tree from which He had forbidden them to eat. How heartbroken He must have been when He went to the garden for their daily walk together and could not find them.
7 — “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.”
8 — “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.”
9 — “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where art thou?‘”
10 — “And he said, ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'”
11 — “And He said, ‘Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'”
12 — “And the man said, ‘The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'”
13 — “And the Lord God said unto the woman, ‘What is this that thou hast done?‘ And the woman said, ‘The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'”
14 — “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:'”
15 — “‘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.'”
16 — “Unto the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'”
17 — “And unto Adam He said, ‘Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it:’ cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'”
18 — “‘Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'”
19 — “‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'”
20 — “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.”
21 — “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins and clothed them.”
22 — “And the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever.'”
23 — “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken.”
24 — “So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubim and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
Genesis 3:7-24–“Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)“
Much like we as parents must deal with disobedient children, God had to deal with a disobedient creation. Then, each pointed the finger of blame toward another before admitting personal guilt as well. The man and woman who were made after His own image, were cast from the garden due to their disobedient acts.
When God entered the garden looking for Adam and Eve and was unable to find them, He knew something was amiss. How many of us, as parents, would have similar hunches upon being unable to find our children? When He called for them, and Adam responded with fear due to them being ashamed because they were naked, God knew of their disobedience already. Putting a disobedient child out to fend for him-/her- self is one of the most difficult tasks a parent must face. The fact that God had to walk in these shoes first with His own creation tells us it is due to the child’s choices these steps had to be taken. Adam and Eve chose to disobey God; so, He had to put them out of their beautiful garden He created just for them. From that day forth, they were to fend for themselves. Pain, sweat, and death would be served as punishment for their disobedience.
This took “fortitude” for God to take this stand with Adam and Eve. In this one sequence of events, we can see the strength, the courage, the bravery it took for God to stand up to Adam and Eve with a love that did not cast them away from Him–rather it cast them out of the luxurious life He had created for them.
Thus, when you are tempted to ask, “How can a loving God be so cruel as to punish us when we have done wrong?” remember, it was Adam and Eve who punished you. As their seed, we reaped the consequences of their actions along with them. This is why we now have the New Testament plan of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord–God’s Son. This is why we have full freedom to choose to be a recipient of this salvation, or we can choose to ignore it and experience life separate and apart from God. It is not God who punishes us! It is our choice; therefore, it is “we” who punish ourselves.
16 — “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.”
17 — “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.”
18 — “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
19 — “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
John 3:16-19–“Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)”
The hand that made this earth was a very intelligent hand. The land masses consist of soil, rocks, ores, and minerals–most of which are essential to man’s life on earth. In the beginning when God performed His handiwork, this land was “without form and void.” The water, according to Genesis 1:2, was dark and deep.
“The earth was without form and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Genesis 1:2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
As the sun shines upon the water–whether the ocean or the rain–evaporation rises into the atmosphere. Then it comes back to the earth in the form of dew, rain, sleet, hail, or snow. This allows for a constant recycling of moisture. God planned all of this so you and I might live in relative comfort upon this earth. According to Morris and Woolfenden (2018), vegetation inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. This is done during the daytime as a part of photosynthesis. The plant uses water in combination with the carbon dioxide to complete photosynthesis. Oxygen is a by-product of this process. Thus, we humans are supplied with the oxygen needed to live here on earth (Stancil, 2019). No one person could have thought of all the necessary components to create our functional universe. In my opinion, whether or not science believes it, science itself is daily proving the Holy Bible to be true.
At this point I feel I must ask: Why is Creationism not given equal time in our science texts alongside the Big Bang Theory — Darwinism — Evolution? Maybe because it makes far more sense; it just requires a little bit of faith. There are some major components missing from those theories. For example, what caused the Big Bang? Where did the components that created the Big Bang come from? How did the Big Bang create conditions conducive to life and to evolution? From my point of view, current scientific explanations leave much to be explained and the answers to the queries I just put forth can never satisfy a truly curious mind.
What caused Evolution to begin, and then to continue? All conditions had to be just right for everything to happen at just the right time. My faith tells me Creationism is the most valid theory out there. God has planned the beginning of this universe, and He tells us the earth and all the elements will burn up with a fervent heat (2 Peter 3:10); so, he also knows how and why the earth will be destroyed.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
2 Peter 3:10 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
My faith assures me, God made all things. It is an event I did not see, but I read about it in Genesis chapter 1 of the Old Testament and in other scriptures throughout the Bible. So, I believe what I am told therein. Hebrews 11:1 says:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Hebrews 1:1 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
My evidence is before my eyes every waking moment. As I said earlier, I did not see God create this universe, but I am told of His handiwork in His Word. Since it exists and I am a part of it, His Word is sufficient to convince me. Thus, my substance is also found in God’s Word. Even today, science debates the life-giving element in our bodies.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
Genesis 2:7 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
According to the Holy Bible, God breathed life into Adam. Subsequently, He has breathed life into every living thing since then. So, according to God’s Word, our breath is the life-giving substance in our bodies. Science cannot explain it, but my faith says “God’s Word does explain it!”
The first five books of the Holy Bible: Old Testament–Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy–contain the “Law of Moses” which was inspired by God as Moses wrote it. The detail in this law would be impossible for one man to conjure. This says God is a very intelligent being.
1 — “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
2 — “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”
Genesis 1:1, 2 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version
David’s faith assured him God created the earth. He writes about it in the book of Psalms. In chapter 33, David tells us, God formed the heavens, He gathered the waters together as a heap and lays up the excess in storehouses. Could these storehouses be the underground rivers known as table-waters. These underground rivers are the sorce form whence water has traditionally been tapped for drinking, cooking, and other home uses. Today, much of the underground storehouses has been depleted. Now, cities need such large quantities of water that most resort to lakes and above-ground rivers to supply the needs demanded by those living within their limits. This water is then passed through water treatment plants to remove impurities and make it safe for human consumption. God has also provided other “storehouses” filled with crude oil, coal, iron, and a host of other ores, minerals, etc to be tapped in order to provide for our needs.
David went on to say the entire earth and everyone who is a part of this world should fear and stand in awe of God. The reason he gives is, “He spoke and it was done, He commanded, and it stood fast.” I know–personally, I stand in awe of what God has done, is doing, can do, and will do. I stand in awe of his knowledge and his power.
6 — “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.”
7 — “He gathers the waters of the sea together as an heap: He layeth up the depth in storehouses.”
8 — “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.”
9 — “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”
Psalms 33:6-9 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
We have seen evidence, in previous discussions, showing Jesus is the Word (mentioned in John 1:1-3). The Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word was/is God. Therefore, Jesus was a participant in the world’s creation. Then, He came to earth in fleshly form to die for my sins–and for your sins. Do you know anyone else who would die for your sins? I can assure you, I do not know anyone else who would die for my sins. But, Jesus did just that. He died for our sins that we might have an eternal home with Him in heaven.
1 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
2 — “The same was in the beginning with God.”
3 — “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”
John 1:1-3 — Holy Bible: New Testament, King James Version (KJV)
When things get rough in my life, I turn to God and Jesus. I tell them, in prayer, what is happening and describe the troubles I am having with the events taking place. I ask for their assistance, guidance, and protection. Then, my faith assures me they will respond in like manner–and they do! Just as David said in Psalms chapter 9, verses 9 and 10, the Lord is my refuge. I can always trust God and Jesus to be there when I need Them, and I know They will never forsake me.
9 — “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”
10 — “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.”
Psalms 9:9, 10 — Holy Bible, Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
In Psalms chapter 119, verse 105, David said:
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
Psalms 119:105 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
So, as we saw above, the first three verses of John, chapter 1, tell us Jesus is the Word of God, the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was God. Then the next verse, John 1:4, tells us He is also the “Light of men.”
“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
John 1:4 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
Are we beginning to see that Jesus coming to earth in fleshly form to die for our sins was already planned when “God” created this universe?
“And God said, ‘Let there be light:’ and there was light.”
Genesis 1:3 — Holy Bible: Old Testament, King James Version (KJV)
April showers may cause the creeks to rise
and oft produce stormy clouds in the skies.
The rain comes down, soaks into earth
giving surroundings brilliant rebirth.
Flowering trees, plants nigh to us
get into the act--glorious!
How does God know when to provide
a boost to spirits 'round the world.
Greening the trees and grass to mow.
planting the seeds in rows to hoe,
helping the victims of flooding--
we stay busy all through the Spring.
Re-cooping from Covid-19,
we rebuild lives somewhere between
where they once were and visions seen.
Watching the ripples as they grow
touching more lives than we can know.
We are oft engrossed in our world,
paying no heed to what is hurled
away toward others losing all
when storms and flooding come to call.
Some suffer--reeling in silence--
others will wail, seek recompense,
but some will look up, try to help
heal the pain of another's whelp--
knowing healing comes from giving
to those about who are grieving.
Always look outward and you'll see
the love you give comes back to thee
in many ways, but always free!
6 — “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
7 — “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
These are trying times. The coronavirus pandemic has been with us now for one year, and with the new variants cropping up around the globe, predictions of another year are being tossed around–even as new vaccines are being approved. The recent snowstorms, Uri and Viola, blanketed the lower forty-eight of the United States more completely than any in recorded history. Only three states escaped being covered completely. We know the world is sharing our experience with Covid-19 and its variants. We also know the weather over the past year has presented many trials and tribulations around the world. Our daily prayers include YOU along with people in the United States.
Economies are suffering with no definitive relief in sight, and the home fires seem to be dimming for many. It is during times like these, God can work in our hearts and bring us closer to Him–if we let Him. The scripture above, Philippians 4:6, tells us to “be anxious for nothing, . . . ” This may seem a difficult task when we are uncertain what the months ahead hold, but with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving we can tell God what we need, and He can lay upon us “His peace,” which “surpasses all understanding.” He “will guard you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The final phrase tells how God can fill us with peace during times like these. It says, “through Christ Jesus.” Thus, if we have put on Christ Jesus, we can be blessed with the peace that passeth understanding.
As a child, I remember singing a song in Summer Bible School and feeling my heart lifted from any sadness it might hold. The first verse of the song, “Down in My Heart” by George William Cooke, amplifies the “joy” we can hold inside if Jesus lives in our hearts. The second verse says, “I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.” Thus, if we love Jesus and He loves us, and if He lives in our hearts, with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving we can plea with God for this peace, and Jesus will provide it to us. In times of sadness, sorrow, and hardship, He will carry us–if we let Him.
My prayer today is that all will heed His calling and allow Him to provide the peace that passeth understanding in these trying times. I ask that He Bless YOU personally and guide you to this peace. Have a “peaceful” day! Stay well and Be safe!
A parent gives name to a newborn child
hoping for temperament low-key and mild.
Impossible to foresee the path trod,
they--two--prayerfully implore most high God:
Watch over and keep him on the right track;
when in smelting fire, please hold to his back.
Help him to learn the pathway he should choose
with plenty of room and nothing to lose
so long as he looks for the Lighted Path
and seeks to help others avoid God's wrath.
When he grows weary give lift to his wings,
replenish his strength, give voice as he sings.
Help him tune in to your heavenly voice;
as he ponders the way, then makes his choice
give mom and dad a vision to rejoice.
I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
The word “charity,” in the New King James Version (NKJV), is translated “love.” Thus, in this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians, the two words might be used interchangeably. Apparently, there were many issues concerning the Christians at Corinth. In chapter 13, Paul addresses the need for love to abound. He notes a number of achievements to be worked toward as Christians in Christ’s church; then he cautions that without “charity” or “love” none of these is worth anything in Christ’s church. Though one may attain a high level of honor, without love, that person is nothing in God’s eyes.
How often do we, today, teach the importance of “charity” or “love?” Love, or charity, should be a frequent topic of our Bible lessons. It takes extensive study on the topic to exhibit the love Christ had, and has, for His church.
Love is one character trait deserving of frequent address. Too often we “go through the motions” but they mean nothing to us. Verse 2 says:
“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”–I Corinthians 13:2–NKJV.
Though it is possible to have faith enough to accomplish any feat—with God’s help–if I have not ”charity” or “love,” faith profits me nothing.
Faith, hope, and love are the three most essential characteristics of a Christian. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17–NKJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1—NKJV) Faith is instilled by hearing, reading, and learning the word of God. It is important to follow hearing with study in order to learn the true meaning of the scripture presented. Paul told Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15–KJV). When we hear the Word, that hearing must be followed by our own private study to ensure we understand what is being said, when it was said, to whom, and about what. Thus, we learn the true meaning of the scripture uttered in our hearing.
The more we study God’s Word, the more it impresses upon us the need for love in our own character. Jesus said:
43 — “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,”
44 – “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;”
45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
46 – “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?”
47 – “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?”
The more we try to emulate Christ, the more love we will extend love to others. It is a tall order to “love our enemies and do good to them.” This tells us, if we have not love we are not emulating Christ—we are but pretenders. This pretense means nothing to God and will not ensure entry into heaven. We must grow as Christians if we are to hold the love for others that Jesus requires.
A new Christian has learned to love him-/herself enough to want to spend eternity with God and Christ. A mature Christian has grown in the emulation of Christ so that love is evident. Christ laid down His life to save us. How many of us would do the same?
14 – “Do all things without complaining and disputing,”
15 – “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”
16 – “holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
As Christians, our attitude toward daily life sets us apart from the world and from those who follow Satan. In Philippians Chapter 2, Paul tells us to “Do all things without complaining and disputing . . . .” An attitude of complaint works against our becoming emulators of Christ.
To be a Christian means to be “emulators of Christ.” In I Corinthians 11:1 (NKJV), Paul said, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Was Christ ever complaining about His mission as God’s Son here on earth. No, even in the throes of death, He merely asked God “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46 (NKJV) says, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘E’li, E’li, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ and the King James Version says ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ But He never complained.
When He prayed on the mount during the night preceding his arrest, Jesus asked for “His cup” to pass from Him adding, “but thy will, not mine be done.” Matthew 26:39 gives an account of this: “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’” With Christ as our Mediator with God, we are not expected to accept everything without questioning ‘why’, but we are asked to do even that without complaint or dispute. If we manage our attitude, we will be shown the ‘why’ of those things expected of us. However, even if we are not shown the ‘why’, we are still asked to do without complaint or dispute.
How many times do we catch ourselves complaining about our ‘due’ in life? Even complaining in thought can be destructive to a “Christ attitude.” It is imperative that we review our thoughts in a prayerful attitude, as Christ did daily, to prevent the attitude of those thoughts from spilling into our actual interactions with others. To attempt living our daily interactions without guidance from God and Christ is to make our souls vulnerable to Satan and his wiles.
“Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17 – KJV), Paul tells us. Jesus obviously prayed without ceasing. In studying His life, we often see Him retreating from the world to pray – often praying all night and into the next morning. In our studying of His life, we have already seen this to be true: “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:16 NKJV). If even He did so, why should we not do the same? To pray without ceasing does not necessarily mean on bended knee all of the time. If I am to emulate the life of Christ, all that I do must be done with a prayerful attitude. If I am engaging in some activity that challenges my ability to emulate Christ in His life here on earth, I should be uttering prayers for guidance “under my breath” the whole time. Thus, even in times of trial, we are open to God’s guidance. If we ever believe we have arrived at a place where we can achieve this without a prayerful attitude, we have just given our souls over to Satan who deceives us into believing we can do it on our own.
The events of this world today are presenting trying times, and many of us may soon be faced with choices as to whom we follow in life. Are we ready for such challenges? Can we do it alone? Indeed not! We can only meet these challenges with a prayerful attitude.
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