It’s interesting that when God speaks about us in Scripture, we often don’t feel like the person He’s talking about. He speaks about us as if we’re already the completed person He’s making us into. For instance, He says that you are His masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things He planned for you long ago (Ephesians 2:10). Is that how you see yourself?
In the wake of COVID-19, we have yet another pandemic. It’s the pandemic of loneliness. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Miami, there has been an alarming increase in loneliness in the past year. I saw a similar statement on the evening news recently.
While the pandemic of loneliness is disturbing, it is a critical moment in history for the church. Loneliness provides a wonderful opportunity for the body of Christ to rise up and demonstrate love tangibly.
I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. (Psalm 13:5)
If faith is the beating heart of a Christian’s spiritual anatomy, then praise is the healthy pulse. When faith looks back upon God’s wondrous deeds of redemption, we cannot help but praise. We praise him for parting the Red Sea with a word. We praise him for felling giants with a shepherd’s sling. We praise him for sending his Son to suffer and die. We praise him for raising Christ from the grave.
Do you sometimes find it difficult to believe that you have total forgiveness for your sins in Jesus Christ? Intellectually you believe it, but how about deep within your heart?
Imagine yourself in the crowd as this story takes place as recorded in the Book of Luke:
Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven!”
Have you ever noticed that sometimes living worried or living guilty has become the norm for you? You’ve done it for so many years that you’ve gotten used to it. We’ve gone around feeling as though we don’t measure up, we don’t deserve to be blessed, we’ve made too many mistakes. We’ve let that recording play so long that we’ve accepted it. Or maybe we grew up feeling inferior, feeling less than. Thoughts have always told us that we’re not that talented, we’re not attractive, we don’t have a good personality. We didn’t know any better, so we believed those lies. Now our mind is cluttered with doubts, confusion, hurts, offenses, and frustrations. The good news is, this is your day for an intervention. It’s time to clear out the clutter that’s limiting your life. God is not going to force you to do it. This is a choice you have to make.
The words Jesus spoke in John 14:27 help us experience moments of peace, moments where peace is freely given. John 14:27 states “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.”
In this passage we find Jesus speaking with his disciples before His crucifixion. We can only try to imagine the fear, doubt, and worry they must have been feeling. The last three years of their lives had been spent walking with this man. They had witnessed miracles and seen firsthand the saving grace of God. Now, Jesus was leaving them. They were going to be all alone, surrounded by people who hated Jesus.
Set aside, for a moment, the day’s pressing tasks. Hush, if you can, the hopes and desires that rushed upon you the moment you awoke. Step away from the morning’s burdens. Forget what the hours ahead may hold.
Now, Christian, remember: You are going to heaven. Very soon, even any moment, you will be hastened away from all you’ve known here to take an eternal holiday. You will wake up to find your lungs filled with the air of “a better country” (Hebrews 11:16). Your sorrows and sighs will be out of sight (Isaiah 51:11). You will see Jesus face-to-face (Philippians 1:23). And with him you will be home (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Can one conversation change the course of a life?
Think about a conversation you’ve had that made a long-lasting impact on you. Maybe it opened your eyes to a new way of living, allowing you to let go of old, destructive habits. This is exactly what happened to one marginalized woman from Samaria.
In John 4, Jesus has a life-changing conversation with a Samaritan woman who is gathering water from a well. While this interaction may look like a coincidence, it was part of a plan for her redemption.
Nothing is more amazing or significant than the power displayed at the Resurrection. This is what separates our faith from any other on earth. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins on the cross. He lived a perfect and sinless life and gave it as a sacrifice for your sins and mine. And when all hope seemed to be gone He miraculously came to life again. What this means is:
When we accept Him as our Lord and Savior we are completely forgiven … for anything … for everything … forever!
Anyone familiar with Jesus’ ministry in the New Testament knows that he didn’t withhold his power to heal. In fact, the many miracles he publicly performed were proof of his promise to overcome.
On his own excruciating journey to resurrection, he suffered all forms of affliction—similar to those he healed for others. He was outcast, made lame, bleeding, and was even taken (for a time) by death.
But because we know Jesus is God made flesh, we can hear him speaking to us from the very beginning, as far back as Exodus 15 where he is referred to as Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals.