Our Lord is great. He is bigger than any problem or struggle you have. He is the One who catches you, not permitting those who belong to Him to slip and fall. This old hymn of the church says it all, “WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS.”
Remember the Lord hears you calling out to Him. He hears you when you cry out, and anyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS
Written By Joseph M. Scriven In 1855
Copyright Status Is Public Domain
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful,
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.
Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear;
May we ever, Lord, be bringing
All to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright, unclouded,
There will be no need for prayer—
Rapture, praise, and endless worship
Will be our sweet portion there.
“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” -Matthew 11:28-30NLT
Our standing before God matters. Either we are hot or we are cold. If we’re lukewarm, God will spit us out of His mouth. The Word of God states, inRevelation 3:15-16(BSB), “I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of My mouth!”
Have you ever had a lukewarm drink? It’s not pleasant. It tastes horrible, and like a lukewarm drink was the Church of Laodicea in the mouth of God. The Church of Laodicea was made up of nominal believers. They were self-satisfied and self-reliant, hardened in heart, and didn’t stand up for anything. They were so content with their possessions, having all they wanted, they did not realize they were spiritually bankrupt as we are shown in Revelation 3:17(NLT), where Jesus said to the Church, “And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked,” (Revelation 3:17NLT).
This is not a position any of us want to be in before God.
REFLECTION:“So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference,” (Revelation 3:18-19NLT).This is the counsel of Jesus Christ to the Church of Laodicea, but it is very much for you today. The purpose of the Lord’s discipline is to turn you back to Him, the only one in whom salvation can be found. If you are finding yourself lukewarm in your devotion to God, then draw close to Him through repentance and confession. Don’t wait. Be washed and cleansed through the reading and study of His Word. Consecrate yourself to Him in both service and worship, and answer His call to you. Let Him restore you. “‘Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches,'” (Revelation 3:20-22NLT).
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, salvation is found in no other. Only You are able to restore and make a person whole. Father, I’m sorry for compromising Your Word and for being indifferent to the things of God. I’m sorry for relying on my own self-sufficiency. Father, I ask You to forgive me, and wash me clean. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, O God, and restore me as only You can do. Father, I give myself fully to You, to live for You and to honor You. May I seek out Your ways, and may I always stand for the Truth of Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Linda A. Knowles
“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him.'” -John 14:23(BSB)
Jesus is the Savior, and if we truly love Him, we will obey Him. He is our LORD and our GOD. We are never to treat His sacrifice frivolously as Christ is the only means of salvation provided for us, and never take His mercy and grace for granted. He came here to earth as GOD in the flesh and dwelt among us. He is able to empathize with our weakness for He was tempted in every way yet He was perfect. His power is made perfect in weakness, and His grace is more than sufficient, and He is with you always, and HE is your strength.
“Then Jesus told her, ‘I Am the Messiah!'” (John 4:26 NLT)
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15 KJV)
“Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” (John 20:28 ESV)
“Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” (Romans 9:5 NLT)
“Then he said, ‘I tell you the truth, you will all see heaven open and the angels of God going up and down on the Son of Man, the one who is the stairway between heaven and earth.'” (John 1:51 NLT)
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2 ESV)
“The one practicing sin is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this reason the Son of God was revealed, so that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8 BLB)
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 KJV)
“This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 NLT)
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB)
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Matthew 28:20 KJV)
“The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (Exodus 15:2 ESV)
“He safeguards the steps of his faithful ones, but wicked people are silenced in darkness because humans cannot succeed by their own strength.” (1 Samuel 2:9 GW)
In Christ, we find rest, a place of quietness, where we can commune with Him.
Christ gave an invitation and command when He said “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
There is no one like Jesus. He is the First and the Last (Revelation 1:17), the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13), the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13), The Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20), The Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Peter 2:4), theAncient of Days (Daniel 7:9, 7:22; Psalm 90:2, Revelation 1:14-15), Redeemer (Luke 1:68, Colossians 1:13-14), Savior (Luke 1:47, Ephesians 1:7), Friend (John 15:15). Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20, 1 Peter 2:6), Deliverer (1 Timothy 2:3), and is the One Who Calms the Seas (Mark 4:35-41), the One Who Can Be Fully Trusted (Luke 12:22-28). He is the Living Word (John 1:14), the Faithful and True Witness (Revelation 3:14), and is King of kings, Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16); He is the Great I Am (John 8:58). He is Emmanuel God With Us (Matthew 1:23), Mighty God (John 20:28), Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6), and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6); He is All in All (John 4:24, 6:35; 1 Corinthians 8:6, 15:28).
His perfect love expels all fear (1 John 4:18) because He has not given us a spirit of fear but of love and of power and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). Christ bears our sorrows (1 Peter 2:24), our illnesses (Matthew 8:17), and our problems (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7). He takes joy with us when we experience good times (Zephaniah 3:17). He is our Cleft in the Rock when trouble comes (1 Kings 19:9-18, Psalm 91:1).
Christ was the perfect sacrifice (1 John 2:2), the Lamb of God who was slain at Calvary (John 1:29), risen from the dead (Luke 24:1-12, 1 Corinthians 15:20). He is Victorious… (1 Corinthians 15:57), conquered Death (Romans 6:9, Hebrews 2:14)), Hell (Revelation 6:8), and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54-55), and HE IS ALIVE (Luke 24:5)! He is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), The Living One (Revelation 2:8), and He Who holds the keys of hell and death (Revelation 1:18).
How can we not praise Him? He is our Burden Bearer (Matthew 11:28-30), Yokebreaker (John 8:34-36), and is the Giver of Joy (Romans 5:1-5). He is our Guide, our Hope (Titus 2:13), our Blessed Assurance (1 John 5:13). Because He is the Truth, He sets us free (John 8:31-32). Shouldn’t the fruit of our lips be praise and thanksgiving to Him?He is the One Who Reigns on High (1 Timothy 6:16, Revelation 11:15), sits at the Right Hand of the Father (Mark 16:19, Luke 22:69), and has given us all we need to sustain us (2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Peter 1:3).
Sing out in praise and glorify His name. The Lord has done much for us, and He is worthy of all glory, all honor, and all praise; And He, The Lord, is our banner, and His banner over us is love.
“He entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus. He was a chief tax collector and was rich.And he was seeking to see who Jesus was, but on account of the crowd he could not, because he was small in stature. So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.’ So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, ‘He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’ And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.'” (Luke 19:1-10)
Zacchaeus wanted to see Jesus, and he did whatever he had to in order to see Jesus. In his case, he ran ahead and climbed a tree because Jesus was soon to pass by that way. Jesus took notice of Zacchaeus and his heart because Jesus knew the heart of man.
WHY DID JESUS WANT TO GO TO ZACCHAEUS’ HOME?
“Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:23-25)
No one had to tell Jesus what the heart of men was like. He knew their thoughts and their ways. While no one else sees the heart of another, Jesus did and still does. Our Savior didn’t need to be told, and even in Jeremiah, the prophet noted what the heart of man is like: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” BUT Jesus knew Zacchaeus’ heart, and Jesus called out to Zacchaeus who was in the tree. Zacchaeus HEARD JESUS CALL HIS NAME, PROMPTLY OBEYED JESUS, QUICKLY CAME DOWN FROM THE TREE and RECEIVED JESUS JOYFULLY because Jesus was coming to his house. Zacchaeus wanted to hear what Jesus had to say and responded to Jesus’ message. Note these words of the passage, “So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.”Zacchaeus RECEIVED Jesus joyfully. Because the message of Jesus made a difference in Zacchaeus’ life, we can see the result of Zacchaeus’ changed life and his repentance. It took an act of genuine repentance on Zacchaeus’ part. Zacchaeus not only received Jesus, he also turned from his wicked ways, made restitution giving back more than he took in cheating people, and had a change of thinking. In that act of repentance and in the act of Zacchaeus changing his wicked ways, Jesus brought salvation to Zacchaeus and his household. The evidence of Zacchaeus being saved was demonstrated. How you live before God matters.
Claiming to have a relationship with Christ is more than words. Having a relationship with Christ means daily communing with Him, and loving Christ means obeying His commands, being faithful and loyal to Him no matter what the cost. Having a relationship with Christ means having a heart of contrition and repentance, receiving Jesus and His message, turning from your wicked ways, and changing the way you think so that your thoughts are aligned with God’s thoughts. Having a relationship with Christ is about laying down your will and your ways and walking in the ways of God, following the example Christ has set for you. Having a relationship with Christ means laying down your life for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, concerning yourself with mercy and justice and faithfulness, and walking humbly before Him. Saying you follow Christ without your life matching your words means nothing.
While you have breath there is a chance for repentance, changing your ways, and changing the way you think. Take an example from Zacchaeus and his attitude before Jesus. Zacchaeus didn’t just speak words of contrition. His words of contrition were backed up by his actions, changing his ways and turning from his wickedness, gladly receiving the message of Christ.
“Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, ‘If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and for the gospel will save it. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in His Father’s glory with the holy angels.’” (Mark 8:34-38)
One day each individual will have to stand before the God the Creator of all things, and each will be called into account for every idle word spoken and every action taken. So what will you do with what you know about Jesus? Who do you say Jesus is? Will you accept or reject Him? What you do with Christ is a matter of spiritual life and death, and what you do with Christ will determine where you will spend life after death. Don’t miss out on eternity with God by rejecting the only means of salvation God provided through His Son Jesus Christ. Choose life with Christ. Living a life truly sold out in devotion to Christ is worth it.
NEVER apologize for obeying what God has told you to do (“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” -Galatians 1:10 and “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8).
Always take your complaints and problems to the Lord because He is the one who can guide your steps and give your soul rest (“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.'” -Matthew 11:28-30 and “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”).
Keep your mind fixed on the things of God because He keeps you in perfect peace (“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.” -Isaiah 26:3-4).
It doesn’t matter what any man or woman says about you, what matters is what God has to say about what you do and say, and it’s more important for you to know God (“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” -Isaiah 55:8-9 and “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” -Hosea 6:6).
WHAT MATTERS MOST is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14).
It was that moment I knew I would be standing alone, but I didn’t see where I had a choice if I wanted a deeper walk with the Lord, if I was to do the task He called me to do. So with every ounce of strength He gave to me, I stepped out in faith and obeyed. It was like jumping off a cliff, but when it was done, when it was finally done, I felt like I was able to breathe for the first time in a long time, and freedom came rushing in.
It didn’t matter if those around me understood what I was doing. The only thing that mattered was doing what God wanted me to do, what He told me to do, and simply following the leading of the Holy Spirit. It didn’t matter if the words I spoke would be received or not. I simply had to let go and let God, and then I had to get out of the way in full surrender and say, “It’s all yours, God. I did what you wanted. You take care of the rest, and I’ll stay out of the way.”
…because at the end of the day the only thing that matters is GOD’S APPROVAL, not man’s …because when all has been said and done, it is knowing and understanding GOD’S GRACE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH to sustain us …because His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts …because of what Christ did on the cross and because of His resurrection, we are able to live a life of victory.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” -Hebrews 12:1-2
You do NOT have to explain your relationship with God to anyone nor do you have to explain how God speaks to you. Just keep following God, leaning on Him, and relying on Him alone for strength. His grace is more than enough.
Whatever God has told you to do, just obey. Yes, it’s worth it all. It may not be easy and the road may be rocky, but it’s worth it all. What influences you? What is stopping you from obeying God? Who are you listening to? What are you allowing your eyes to take in? What do you have to lay down in order to have a deeper walk with God, for Him to take you where He wants to take you? What will you give up? Do you care more about the approval of God or the approval of man? Where does your heart lie?
“Jesus clearly understood the reason for His coming to earth and never allowed popularity, success, opposition, threats, or even dissention within His ranks to distract Him. He remained steadfastly focused on that mission, though not without due care for those around Him. He worked hard to make the truth plain. He often repeated the invitation to embrace the truth. But He never allowed the failure of others to pull Him off course.” -Charles R. Swindoll (Walk With Jesus: A Forty-Day Journey to the Cross and Beyond)
I am so thankful nothing stopped Jesus from completing His mission.
Where would you be without the love of Christ? Without the love of Christ, I do NOT even want to think of where I would be today. I am grateful Jesus has given us life, that He paid the ransom in full (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45), no longer bound to sin (Romans 8:12). And out of the abundance of thankful hearts, let us not forget to give all glory and praise to Him who has redeemed us (Hebrews 13:15), loving Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” -Hebrews 12:1-3
Nothing distracted Him from His mission, and so let us not get distracted but each of us should continue doing whatever task God has set before us to do. Do not look to the right or the left. Do not get caught up in the temporal. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, and with grateful hearts, press forward and do that which you have been called to do. The grace of God will sustain you. His love will uphold you, and His mercy will not fail you.
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” -Maya Angelou
When we give of ourselves to help those around us, we demonstrate the love of Christ; and in the Gospels, when we see our Savior being moved with compassion, we also should be moved with compassion as we follow His example and help those around us.
May we always remember to be His hands extended.
Much love to you all,
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” -Luke 6:38
“For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” -Hebrews 6:10
“And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.” -Hebrews 13:16