Into our loneliness and the feeling of not belonging, the Bible says,”For God so

loved the world that he gave His only Son…(John 3:16). Almighty God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, the Creator of the whole universe, loves you and is interested in you as if you were the only person who ever lived. God says,”I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3)…(Billy Graham)……”Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm: for love is as strong as death, its jealously unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. (Song of Songs 8:6-7)

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

The Great Commission;  An often quoted verse in Christian circles and especially by  those on the mission field. But very often, verse 20, “..and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”….is overlooked and skipped over by believers in Jesus. So I decided to take a closer look at the meaning of the first half of verse 20, especially in light of the fact that there is so much controversy in the Church of what Jesus said, meant and really believed.

First of all we are “to teach”, i.e., to instruct, to impart the knowledge of, to tell, to let it be known, to show how….So, we are to teach what? Obedience to everything, yes, everything that Jesus command

ed us to do..

Obey: to comply with the commands of, to be ruled by, to submit to the direction or control of, ..And so what were Jesus’ commands?

Easy answer. Everything that God the Father said applies to Jesus. Because Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)….”Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9b)…

Therefore, take heed of the commandments in the Old Testament along with Jesus’ commands in the New Testament and obey both.. Jesus said ,” Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” ( the Law and the Prophets encompassed the entire Old Testament) .. So how did Jesus fulfill the teachings in the Old Testament? He completed the teachings by  His performance , God in the form of Man , sinless and Holy,,,showing us how to live in obedience to God the Father.

Jesus sacrificed on the cross so that we could have forgiveness for our sin…. Let us not take the grace of God, through the sacrifice of his Son Jesus, the Christ, as a license to sin. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery,” then neither do I condemn you,..Go now and leave your life of sin” ( John 8:11)

“To obey is better than sacrifice” (1Samuel 15:22b) …God honors His Word above everything…

“We know that we have come to know Him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know Him”, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in Him.” (1John 2:3-4)

“If we claim to be without sin, we decieve ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” ( 1John 1:8-9)

Sin is rampart in the Church.. My fellow believers, we worship a Holy God, a righteous God, who, by His nature cannot tolerate sin. Yes, we are flawed human beings and we sin, and make mistakes. But, we have a Heavenly Father who, by His grace and mercy will forgive us if we repent and ask for forgiveness. What is repentance?  Repentance is a state of being penitent, contrition for sin. Repentance is such sorrow for past conduct as produces a new life.  That means, moving in a different direction, moving away from the things that God says are sinful and displeasing to Him.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command” ….the words of Jesus (John 14:15)

“For this is what the high and lofty One says-He who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and lofty place, but also with him who has a contrite heart and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)
Contrite: broken-hearted for sin, deeply affected with grief and sorrow for sin, sincere penitence.

He lives with me in my sorrow and crushed spirit…weakened by the weight of sin and its effect on my life and that of my family.
His promises: He will ‘revive’ my spirit and my heart.
Revive: to recover new life or vigor, to be reanimated after depression, to recover from a state of neglect, oblivion, obscurity or depression, to bring again to life, to raise from depression or discouragement, to quicken, to refresh or renew in the mind or memory.

Oh, Almighty God, the High and Lofty One, Eternal Father who resides in heaven..You are in heaven but you are here with us, dwelling with us….By Your power and grace, have mercy on us.

Worship is part of man’s obligation to God; in fact it is also his highest privilege, but it must be done in a context of love for men.
” We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, I love God yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”(1John 4:19-21)
A man must examine his heart for the weed of hatred, and straighten out his relations with other men before his worship will be acceptable to God.

I was reading the book of Isaiah this morning and speaking of God, the prophet Isaiah said “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.”  (Isaiah 40:22) . So I thought, hmm… Back in the days of Christopher Columbus ..the great thinkers of the day all thought the world was flat….and Isaiah did most of his writing between 740BC and 681BC … The amazing Word of God – the Bible…truth and wisdom from the one and only true God – “The Holy One of Israel”!….

Jesus said:..”unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3) ……”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:14-15).

What does it mean to become like a little child? Little children are receptive, open, and trusting.

To be HUMBLE:  of unpretending character, not proud, arrogant, or assuming, lowly, modest, meek, submissive.

Lord, help me to throw off my pride and arrogance when I humble myself before your throne. Help me to become like a little child, innocent and open to receive all that you have for me. Amen.

To feel unloved and unwanted is a very bad thing..What is love? “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (John 3:16) ….let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”…..To love the lovable or the unlovable even when we don’t “feel” like it, is a good thing.

A fasinating dialogue between Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ at his trial before his crucifiction.

Matthew 18: 36-38 “Jesus said,”My kingdom is not of this world. ..my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!, said Pilate. Jesus answered,” You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me”

“What is truth?” Pilate asked……

Truth???

Truth: The state or quality of being true; conformity to fact or reality; purity from falsehood; a verified fact; genuineness.

Pontius Pilate: The Roman Governor of Judea from A.D. 26 to 36, whose official residence was in Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast. (In 1961 archaeologists working at Caesarea unearthed a stone contemporary with Pilate and inscribed with his name).    Pontius Pilate oversaw the Roman Trial of Jesus and ordered his execution. 

 Jesus answered:” I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well”…….(John 14:6-7)

Jesus…Truth….Reality…

 

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” (2Peter 1:16-19) ..

This was written by the Apostle, Simon Peter, before he was martyred during the reign of Nero. Written sometime between AD65 and 68. Peter was an eyewitness to the supernatural events in the life of Jesus. In this account, he heard the voice of God at the TRANSFIGURATION of Jesus Christ on the mountain.

TRANSFIGURATION: a change of form or figure; the supernatural change in the personal apperance of Jesus Christ on the mount.

This was a revelation of the glory of the Son of God. His appearance changed into his glorified state.(Matt.17:1-5}….”.there he was, transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

TO TRANSFIGURE: To change the outward form or appearance of…to give an elevated or glorified appearance to….

Peter was an eyewitness;

AN EYEWITNESS: One who sees a thing done; one who has ocular view of anything

Peter HEARD the voice of God from heaven…

TO HEAR:  to perceive by the auditory sense; to listen to..

What does Peter mean when the “MORNING STAR” rises in your hearts?

MORNING STAR: comes from the Daystar. meaning, .light-giving..

Jesus called himself the “bright Moning Star”…”I am the root and the offspring of David and the bright Morning Star: {Revelation 22:16b)

We would do well to heed the apostle Peter who has seen and heard from the living God……. an eyewitness……..for man is without excuse………

May Jesus, who brings us from darkness into the light dwell in our hearts until we meet him face to face.

“I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain”

 

Psalm 84:5-7a.. “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage(Godly path). As they pass through the Valley of Baca( hurt, grief, loss, weeping), they make it a place of springs ; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength,..(11-12) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”

What is God’s favor and honor? What are the good things of God?

Favor: A state of being looked on with goodwill or kindness; an act of grace or goodwill; a token of love….

Honor: Exalted rank or place, title or privilege, high estimation, distinction….

What about  those that suffer every day; where everything seems hopeless? Life on earth is a challenge due to sickness, abuse, poverty, tragedy, pain, suffering and sometimes there seems no solution, no end in sight. So why do some of us continue to suffer?( especially followers of Christ who dedicate their lives to Him and do his work faithfully.)

Could it be the favor, honor and “good things” referred here in Psalm 84 have nothing to do with earthly riches, health, bodily strength, or world success by man’s standard?

“Honors and riches, bodily strength are none of God’s good things”…..(Charles Spurgeon)

Worldly things come and go and eventually pass away.

The “good things” of God and his “favor” are chiefly:

1. God’s daily and constant Presence in our lives……..    “God has said, Never will I leave you nor forsake you.”(Hebrews 13: 5b)

“And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matt:28:20b)

“Where can I flee from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”(Psalm 139: 7-10)

2. God’s love…..

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39)

“The Lord appeared to us in the past saying:”I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness.”(Jeremiah 31:3)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”(John3:16)

3. God’s peace……. “And the peace of God that transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”(Phil: 4:7)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”(John 14:27)

4. The Joy of the indwelling Holy Spirit………”You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence”.(Acts 2:28)

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”(John 16:22)

5. God’s Patience with us…….”He(the Lord) is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”(2Peter 3:9b)

6.God’s Grace…..”My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2Cor:9)

7. The Promise..the expectation of Heaven and the glorious face of God revealed when He calls us Home…..

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2)

“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”(John 16:16)

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev: 21: 1-4)

Thank you God,  that  your “good things, favor and honor”are not temporary, but will last until eternity and sustain us through every trial, temptation and tragedy we may have to face while here on earth.

“I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain”

 

 

 

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