May 7, 2016
May 7, 2016
[Jesus] went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23
It was a busy morning in the church room where I was helping. Nearly a dozen little children were chattering and playing. There was so much activity that the room became warm and I propped the door open. One little boy saw this as his chance to escape so when he thought no one was looking, he tiptoed out the door. Hot on his trail, I wasn’t surprised that he was headed straight for his daddy’s arms.
The little boy did what we need to do when life becomes busy and overwhelming—he slipped away to be with his father. Jesus looked for opportunities to spend time with His heavenly Father in prayer. Some might say this was how He coped with the demands that depleted His human energy. According to the gospel of Matthew, Jesus was headed to a solitary place when a crowd of people followed Him. Noticing their needs, Jesus miraculously healed and fed them. After that, however, He “went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (v. 23).
Jesus repeatedly helped multitudes of people, yet He didn’t allow Himself to become haggard and hurried. He nurtured His connection with God through prayer. How is it with you? Will you take time alone with God to experience His strength and fulfillment?
Where are you finding greater fulfillment—in meeting the demands of life or in cultivating your relationship with your Creator?
When we draw near to God our minds are refreshed and our strength is renewed!
INSIGHT:The theme of rest is at the heart of the Jewish faith. For example, one of the central practices of Judaism is Shabbat (Sabbath rest). In the first century, however, many Jewish leaders were requiring extra faith practices so burdensome that Jesus openly challenged them regarding the damage they were doing to the lives of the people (see Matt. 23:2–4). The weighty tasks of religious duty had robbed people of the relational rest God desired. That may be why Jesus spoke some of the most comforting words of His public ministry: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (11:28).
2 Timothy 4:6-8
Our culture desperately tries to postpone death. Vitamins, exercise, and diet are ways we attempt to live as long as possible. Not that these things are bad! Motive, however, is key.
For instance, since our bodies are God’s temple (1 Cor. 3:16), we should take care of His dwelling. And since He has good works for us to do (Eph. 2:10), we should stay fit to complete His tasks.
On the other hand, prolonging life for fear of dying isn’t of God. Because Jesus died in our place, those who have faith in Him as Lord and Savior need not fear death. Once saved, we have assurance of a real place where we will live eternally in His presence. And according to Scripture, fear itself isn’t from God (2 Tim. 1:7). In fact, the apostle Paul assures us that far from being a dreadful change, physical death actually leads believers home to be with the Lord forever (2 Cor. 5:8).
God already knows the duration of each person’s life. With this in mind, how can we best prepare for what’s next? The first step is to receive Jesus as Savior through faith. Next, we should live a surrendered life and strive to walk according to His will. Furthermore, it is vital that believers fight the tendency to view this world as home. If we become too comfortable here and look for security and worth in earthly success, we won’t be able to maintain an eternal perspective.
It is an inescapable fact that our time on earth is temporary. It would be foolish not to prepare for something inevitable. How can you best live so that you are ready when God decides your life span is complete? (Psalm 139:16).
“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)
Christ has made each of us His ambassadors here on Earth. He is no longer here in the flesh, and so now He expects us to faithfully and effectively represent Him. As His ambassadors or representatives, He has given us two basic tasks to perform.
First of all, we are to spread the good news of salvation in such a way that unbelievers will be drawn to the light and out of their darkness. “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:18). To do this, an ambassador must live a life of conformity to His life and teachings. “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:15), adequately representing Him.
Secondly, we are to saturate ourselves totally with the knowledge of His will and His Word so that we will be enabled to encourage other Christians, strengthening them for their duties as ambassadors as well. “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), applying our attention to His directives. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
It has rightly been said that the only two things that will last for eternity are people and the Word of God. These things must occupy our attention if we are to be effective “ambassadors for Christ.” JDM
And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. —Revelation 5:13
One of the purest souls ever to live on this fallen planet was Nicholas Herman, that simplehearted Christian known throughout the world as Brother Lawrence….
Early in his life Brother Lawrence found Christ as his own Savior and Lord and entered into what he called “the unspeakable riches of God and of Jesus Christ.” He was a common cook but he learned to turn the modest service into a kind of worship….
He spent his long life walking in the presence of his Lord, and when he came to die there was no need for any particular change in his occupation. At the last hour someone asked him what was going on in his thoughts as death approached. He replied simply: “I am doing what I shall do through all eternity—blessing God, praising God, adoring God, giving Him the love of my whole heart. It is our one business, my brethren, to worship Him and love Him without thought of anything else.”
Lord, may I live now as I will for all of time, praising and adoring You with my whole heart. Amen.
Then cometh, the end, when he shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God… for he must
reign. (1 Corinthians 15:24-25)
Many people continue to live in daily fear that the world “is coming to an end.”
Only in the Scriptures do we have the description and prediction of the age-ending heavenly and earthly events when our Lord and Savior will be universally acknowledged as King of kings and Lord of lords.
God’s revelation makes it plain that in “that day” all will acclaim Him “victor!” Human society, generally, refuses to recognize God’s sovereignty or His plan for His redeemed people. But no human being or world government will have any control in that fiery day of judgment yet to come.
John’s vision of things to come tells us clearly and openly that at the appropriate time this world will be taken away from men and placed in the hands of the only Man who has the wisdom and authority to rightly govern.
That Man is the eternal Son of God, the worthy Lamb, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Christ appears as a Shepherd to his own sheep, not to others. As soon as he appears, his own sheep perceive him—they trust him, they are prepared to follow him; he knows them, and they know him— there is a mutual knowledge—there is a constant connection between them. Thus the one mark, the sure mark, the infallible mark of regeneration and adoption is a hearty faith in the appointed Redeemer. Reader, are you in doubt, are you uncertain whether you bear the secret mark of God’s children? Then let not an hour pass over your head till you have said, “Search me, O God, and know my heart.”