Greetings Narrow Gate,
I would like to begin with a praise report. We went down to Cherry Grove, S.C. for the week. The hurricane followed us directly to the spot where we were staying. Monday evening around 11 pm the eye of the hurricane passed right over us (I watched from our balcony). Here's the praise, it was the left side of the eye wall. Wind gusts never rose above 50 mph. We were very fortunate, 3/4 of a mile north, where I believe the hurricane made actual landfall, the right side of the eye wall hit and made a mess (had to be 75 mph and up). We are thankful for God's grace, but also we understand that many were absolutely creamed by this hurricane. Please keep these folks in your prayers.
I pray that you are well. While we battle the virus, isolation, boredom, fear and a myriad of foes, I want to encourage each of you, remain true to the Lord. Do not let the fear mongering that is now occurring all over the world, to deter you from your relationship with Jesus Christ. Do not let the trials of this present age, distract you from your commitment to your personal faith in Jesus.
So many times over the years I have listened to seekers speak of how confusing the Bible is. How difficult to understand certain sections of the Bible may be. Hear me please, the Bible is not confusing. What is confusing is how we listen to the many ways that the world tries to twist the word of God into what it wants.
The teachings of Jesus in the book of John are a perfect example of Jesus speaking straight from the heart truth. The first six verses that I have been led to share today are from Jesus' lips. John 5:24-30, Phillips' translation,
"I solemnly assure you that the person who hears what I have to say and believes in the one who has sent me has eternal life. They do not have to face judgment; they have already passed from death into life. Yes, I assure you that a time is coming, in fact has already come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and when they have heard it they will live! For just as the Father has life in himself, so by the Father's gift the Son also has life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. No, do not be surprised--the time is coming when all those who are dead and buried will hear his voice and out they will come--those who have done right will rise again to life, but those who have done wrong will rise to face judgment."
Part of the human condition is that we tend to complicate matters that if left alone were simple to begin with. I believe that many people raise a false flag of confusion because they have a fear of truth. The truth of the Bible, the easy to understand truth of the Bible conflicts with what they have learned in the world. So, they play the card of confusion and do nothing to reconcile God's truth from his word within their hearts.
Don't do this. Meditate upon and let percolate the word of God in your heart. This is a teaching of Jesus, and a promise. If at first you can't believe it, don't reject it. Let it rest, allow the Holy Spirit of God to guide you to the truth. John 3:16-21,
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him should not be lost, but should have eternal life. You must understand that God has not sent his Son into the world to pass sentence upon it, but to save it--through him. Any person who believes in him is not judged at all. It is the one who will not believe who stands already condemned, because they will not believe in the character of God's only Son. This is the judgment--that light has entered the world and men and women have preferred darkness to light because their deeds are evil. Anybody who does wrong hates the light and keeps away from it, for fear their deeds may be exposed. But anybody who is living by the truth will come to the light to make it plain that all they have done has been done through God."
Let's not complicate the word of God. Our lives are complicated enough as it is. I pray you feel the peace in these words of Jesus. Jesus, our judge, is telling us that he did not come just to judge, but primarily, to free us, to save us. That's a pretty neat thing for our judge to tell us. Stay in the light.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC