What does it take to survive today? Life can be harsh, unforgiving, and even down right cruel. Unfortunately, so can people. What do you try to do to survive? Does it work? Has life disappointed you? Have people? Is any of this let down caused by you, and your actions? Would you admit it, or are you one of those where it is always someone else’s fault?
Being raised in church I have heard the right things said many times, but you know what, they are true words even to this day. That a life lived with Jesus Christ is so much more than a life lived without Him. Yes it takes faith, hope and love. Faith that there is hope that there is one who truly loves. Jesus is that one who truly loves you and me. He is our hope that there is a better life coming, and to get us started in believing this He provides each of us a measure of faith. This is how you survive life.
Isn’t it funny how you can read the bible several different times and each time see something new? I think that may have something to do with who you are and what you are going through at that time. Well recently in the following scriptures one word stuck out to me:
1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (KJV)
When I was young people used to joke that in verse 16 “the dead in Christ” was referring to the Baptist, but it’s not! The portion of scripture that made me start thinking in particularly is verse 17 where it states, “Then we which are alive and remain”. I know this scripture is really just referring to those that are still alive and “remain” on earth, but what if we looked at this word “remain” a little differently.
What if this word “remain” really meant still living for God? So this verse would say, “Then we which are alive and still living for God shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
Living for God has always been hard, because it calls us to living a life that is opposite of our very nature. It is easier to just be our natural self, especially when we see all of the evil and hatred around us. Living for God can cause us to get weary. Some get so disgruntled with not having what so many others have that they give up hope and fall away from living for God to living for themselves. That is why living for God takes God Himself helping us, encouraging us, and strengthening us.
Jesus is for sure coming back to call us home. I pray that you will still be alive and “remain” in Him. Our struggle is only for a moment compared to eternity of peace, joy and love with the Lord who loves us more than anything. With the Lord who actually died for us. When Jesus comes back may He find humans remain!
I have been doing my reading of the bible from the book of Isaiah in the Old Testament (The Message version). What a good book loaded with adventure, wisdom, and even humor. In chapter 44, Isaiah writes about idols.
Isa 44:9 All those who make no-god idols…and what they work so hard at making is nothing. Their little puppet-gods see nothing and know nothing–they’re total embarrassments! Isa 44:10 Who would bother making gods that can’t do anything, that can’t “god”? Isa 44:11 Watch all the no-god worshipers hide their faces in shame. Watch the no-god makers slink off humiliated when their idols fail them. Get them out here in the open. Make them face God-reality. Isa 44:13 The woodworker draws up plans for his no-god, traces it on a block of wood. He shapes it with chisels and planes into human shape–a beautiful woman, a handsome man, ready to be placed in a chapel. Isa 44:14 He first cuts down a cedar, or maybe picks out a pine or oak, and lets it grow strong in the forest, nourished by the rain. Isa 44:15 Then it can serve a double purpose: Part he uses as firewood for keeping warm and baking bread; from the other part he makes a god that he worships–carves it into a god shape and prays before it. Isa 44:16 With half he makes a fire to warm himself and barbecue his supper. He eats his fill and sits back satisfied with his stomach full and his feet warmed by the fire: “Ah, this is the life.” Isa 44:17 And he still has half left for a god, made to his personal design–a handy, convenient no-god to worship whenever so inclined. Whenever the need strikes him he prays to it, “Save me. You’re my god.” Isa 44:18 Pretty stupid, wouldn’t you say? Don’t they have eyes in their heads? Are their brains working at all? Isa 44:19 Doesn’t it occur to them to say, “Half of this tree I used for firewood: I baked bread, roasted meat, and enjoyed a good meal. And now I’ve used the rest to make an abominable no-god. Here I am praying to a stick of wood!” Isa 44:20 This lover of emptiness, of nothing, is so out of touch with reality, so far gone, that he can’t even look at what he’s doing, can’t even look at the no-god stick of wood in his hand and say, “This is crazy.”
We don’t see too many people making physical idols these days, well some religions still do, but in our time most put “things” before the one true God. Things like careers, power, money, fame, relationships, etc. Praying, hoping and trusting that these things will bring them happiness, but they don’t. Give up your hope in these “things” and begin to pray to the God who sees you, knows you, and loves you. Then act like you believe and trust in Him. Give Him time to work in your life. Doing so is not crazy!
“New”. What a short, but powerful little word. We all love something “new”. A “new” house, a “new” car, “new” clothes, or even a “new” relationship (friend or otherwise). When things are “new” they look better, feel better, and perhaps even smell better.
This month we have a “new” year. It’s clean, fresh, it feels good. Another chance to start over, do more, do better, get it right. Like a clean slate. But the reality is unless you make a conscious effort to purposely try harder, do things different, it doesn’t take long for the “new” to get dirty. The new house will need cleaning, and the car will need washing, or the clothes. And that new friend? Well, they will turn out to be like the others have been for the most part. Then you say to yourself, “It’s just another car, another house, another friend, or just another year. No big deal.”
So how do we make this year different? We really cannot help ourselves. Will power? That’s great, but my name isn’t “Will”! If I really want this year to be different, more, better, then I must turn to the one who can empower me to achieve any desires, goals, or resolutions. Jesus is the one who strengthens me, not just for today, or this month, or while the year is new, but all year. Even if I get a little dirt on the year it’s not over, but He cleanses me by forgiving me when I ask, and makes things “new” again.
Here is to New!