And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him. Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, (Matthew 5:1-2). By this time in Matthew, the word was getting around about this Man they would know as Jesus. Multitudes were attracted to Him, for…
But how should we express our gratitude to God? We can’t very well send Him flowers and a note of thanks. What, of course, comes to my mind, and probably yours as well is to praise Him in prayer, offering up our heart-felt gratitude before turning to our many petitions for healing and comfort.
As Joseph did, we can live our lives to His glory, learning, following, applying the examples of the faithful, and especially the example our Lord has given for us to follow! “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”(Romans 8:31-32). So, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, with His help, let us dig down deep, firmly root ourselves in the Lord, growing and developing and blooming where we are!
As a young Christian, I became very interested in the doctrines of the Church. I analyzed them enthusiastically. I studied Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and the other letters, looking for laws and procedures the Church should follow. But in all of this studying, somehow, I neglected to study God himself. I imagine others have made this…
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (i.e., “the gospels”) claim to be historical records of Jesus’ life, particularly his ministry. And in their accounts, they write that Jesus said and did all the things that Christians claim for him: that he said he was the Son of God, that he performed miracles, that he rose from the dead, that he said he is the only way to God. Monumental claims. But not the sort of things one can be expected to believe without evidence.
All of us have special people who have made a great impact on our lives. For many of us, Marvin Ingle was such a one. This summer, he went to his reward, but he lives in our hearts until we meet again. Marvin was a pillar in the Lord’s church, serving as an elder, then as an evangelist in Iowa and Indiana. Countless people learned of the gospel through his teaching and were brought to the Lord.
What a challenge this must have been for patriotic Philippian citizens who had spilled their blood for the glory of Rome, or who sat at dinner tables with empty chairs where fathers or sons or husbands should be, or who grew up with the pageantry and pride of the national festivals. How might one feel if he had fought valiantly for Rome in the past, but in the present, he must decide, “Shall I serve Caesar or Christ?” Imagine how natural feelings of patriotism, fraternity, and national identity might complicate matters when the local magistrate took notice of the Christian assembly and applied passive or aggressive pressure. If you were a Christian and a Roman citizen of Philippi, you might well feel your allegiance torn in two.
From the standpoint of being on earth, we are equal. We are from the same ancestor, Noah. Noah came from Adam, who was created in the image of God. We have the same potential to be received by God. We have the same requirements for life in the body: air, water, food, clothing, and shelter. We have the same needs of the spirit: to be loved and to practice love. All have the same weakness of sinning and the same responsibility to repent. Within the scope of repentance, the same capacities exist: to evaluate our behavior by the standard God has set forth, regret, and turn to God for mercy.
We sing that “I can’t feel at home in this world anymore,” but I often do feel quite at home here. Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that by faith, Abraham forsook his earthly homeland and lived as a stranger and pilgrim while waiting for a better heavenly city. Would I do the same? Likewise, the Jews looked for Jesus to restore the earthly kingdom of Israel when he walked the earth (see Acts 1:6). It seemed that it even took the apostles a while to grasp that God was doing something much bigger and better.
If someone said, “no sweat,” we would probably understand the meaning to be, “this won’t be hard.” If someone said, “don’t sweat it,” we would probably take the meaning as, “don’t be afraid or anxious.” Sweat correlates with difficulty, hard work, stress, and anxiety. The Bible specifically mentions sweat three times.