“Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me into a level country and into the land of uprightness.” Psalm 143:10
There is a cartoon circulating on Facebook that shows two pictures, one is a straight line and the caption says “what we would like our life to be like”, the other picture is a line with ups and downs and perils in between, the caption says “what our life is really like.”
It’s interesting to me that we say we want a straight or level line for our life to travel on – no drama, no problems, no unforeseen tragedies – but what do we do to bring the drama, problems and tragedies. Admittedly sometimes those events happen and we’ve just been travelling along minding our own business, but I challenge you to check next time any “bumpy” events take place to review what your involvement was in it. Even if you didn’t do anything to cause the event to take place, what was your reaction? Did you freak out, breakdown, throw a pity party? That can cause more drama if you stop and think about it.
Take today’s verse to heart, ask God to “teach you to do His will”, how does He want you to react to this bump in the road? Are you leaving it in His hands or trying to handle it yourself? If “He is your God” then the answer is easy. Then ask Him to “let Your good Spirit lead me into a level country and into the land of uprightness”, that’s what He wants you to have. So even if your life gets bumpy, it can feel like the straight line when it’s in His hands.
“Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You.” Psalm 143:8 Amplified
So here we are, Jesus has risen, spring has sprung, all things are new, the air is cool, blooms abound, and all that is green comes back to life.
Let’s start off this spring season with the joy that Jesus is in our heart and ready to guide us through the days to come. The verse today is one I discovered recently, and now I start each day with it. I recite it outloud seeking God’s guidance and giving the devil warning that I’ve turned my day over to God.
We know that the heat of summer will soon come upon us, especially in the south, so we must prepare ourselves for the heat of conflict and trials as well. Everything seems wonderful in the spring and like a new believer we’re ready to conquer the world, nothing will stop us. Unfortunately our enemy doesn’t see it that way, in fact the more we try to conquer, as the bible says we can, the more the devil tries harder to defeat us. Take Peter for example, he walked with Jesus and told Him he would die for Him, but when the trial came he denied Him three times. That wasn’t the end of Peter though, he became one of the great pillars of the church.
Don’t get discouraged by trials for they will come, be encouraged with God’s word, write it on your heart, speak it out loud, and meditate on it daily. We have victory in Jesus!
“And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread including the Lord’s Supper, and prayers.” Acts 2:42
And so it begins, the church. The verse preceding the one above states that after Peter preached, 3,000 souls were added that day. So from the 12 grew 3,000, and the church continues to grow today.
It always amazes me when I think about all that the church has been through and yet it still survives and thrives, even after 2,000 years. That’s what has me convinced that Jesus Is Who He said He Is.
Are you convinced?
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did. If they should be all recorded one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25 Amplified
In the fourth gospel, by John, we find the final words written about Jesus while He was here on earth. There are several stories in the 56 verses detailing His risen state. Each story has something significant to say.
In the initial discoveries of His body gone from the tomb the men left, but Mary remained weeping for Jesus. Outside the tomb He had a conversation with her (I like that He talked to a woman first). Then He visited the disciples twice at their meeting place. Thomas wasn’t there the first time so He returned so Thomas could see Him. He gave a blessing to me and all believers when He said “blessed are those who have never seen me and yet have believed.” Finally, He visited them while they were fishing and He specifically talked to Peter asking him three times if he loved Him. Most believe this was Jesus way of letting Peter know that He still loved Peter even after he had denied Him three times.
My favorite part of all of this is the verse quoted today. It speaks volumes about the volumes that could be written about our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“And they were continually in the temple celebrating with praises and blessing and extolling God.” Luke 24:53
The books of Luke and John record the longest descriptions of Jesus resurrection and meeting with His disciples. The verse today is the closing verse on Luke’s description.
Jesus appeared several times to the disciples, He also ate with them, showed them His hands and feet, and told them to touch Him to see that He was real and alive.
Verse 45 states “then He thoroughly opened up their minds to understand the scriptures”. He instructed them to tell all nations about repentance and forgiveness, that they were witnesses of those things. He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the power sent from God. As He invoked a blessing on them, He was lifted up to heaven. They worshipped Him and returned to Jerusalem to wait for the promise.
The verse today states they were continually celebrating. No matter what’s going on in your life today, you can be in continual celebration as a believer, because you have eternal life. On one appointed day your earthly trapping will be gone and you will be with Him in paradise forever. Hallelujah!!!!
“And He said unto them, Go into all the world and preach and publish openly the good news to every creature, of the whole human race.” Mark 16:15
Here in Mark we see the Lord say the same thing as He did yesterday in Matthew. He told His disciples to go, to everyone.
Ever hear the expression – actions speak louder than words? Let your actions today reflect the risen Saviour.
“Jesus approached and breaking the silence said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go then and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you, and behold I am with you all the days to the very close and consummation of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
What did Jesus say to His followers after His resurrection? That’s what we are looking at, today we start in Matthew.
The first thing He says to do is to go. Now we “go” all day, most from home to work and back. While we are at work we are “going” as we meet and interact with other people. I don’t believe Jesus meant for us to be missionaries to a foreign country, I believe we are all missionaries to the people we meet every day. We also “go” home at the end of the day and there are people there too.
So are we to preach to all the people we meet, telling them about Jesus? Yes, if the opportunity affords itself, we should tell people that Jesus died so that they might have eternal life. First though, we need to BE Jesus to them. BE loving, BE kind, BE caring, BE a listener. Jesus said to “teach people to observe everything that I have commanded you”. What did Jesus command us to do? Didn’t He say that the two greatest commandments were – to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. What’s the best way to teach someone to be loving? By example. The easiest way I’ve found to be loving to someone unlovable is to do it as if it were Jesus. He told us that when we feed or cloth someone that we have done it unto Him.
He also said, I am with you all the days. He will give you the ability to go, you must be willing to obey.