Sunday, November 4, 2018

Desperate

Desperate


All of humanity lives in this broken, sinful world. The reality of evil, a cursed planet, and the depravity of man leads to much suffering. Unfortunately, many people find themselves in desperate situations. And sadly, when someone is drowning in pain, sorrow, disappointments, frustrations, feeling trapped, they may consider ending their life. And even more tragic is the fact that many times people do end their lives.

The Bible tells us of four people who directly asked God to end their life.

Moses
Overwhelmed
  • Numbers 11:14-15 I am not able to bear all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now—if I have found favor in Your sight—and do not let me see my wretchedness!”
    • Moses was overwhelmed by the responsibilities and disappointments that came with leading the rebellious Nation of Israel once they left Egypt and headed out for the Promised Land.
    • God provided a solution (seventy elders to help Moses bear these burdens (Numbers 11:16-30). And Moses persevered, continued to serve God, led the Nation of Israel, wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, and was present when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (Mark 9:2-4).

Elijah
Persecuted
  • 1 Kings 19:3-4 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. 4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”
    • Elijah was persecuted for confronting the evil King of Israel, Ahab, and destroying many prophets of false gods (which angered the wicked Queen of Israel, Jezebel).
    • God sent angels to minister to Elijah. God demonstrated his power to Elijah in a very strong wind, an earthquake and a fire. And then God spoke to Elijah in still small voice. God spoke to Elijah and gave him instructions. Elijah was obedient and was eventually taken up into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). Elijah was also present when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain.

Job
Grieving
  • Job 6:8-9 “Oh, that I might have my request, That God would grant me the thing that I long for! 9 That it would please God to crush me, That He would loose His hand and cut me off!
    • ‘loose His hand and cut me off’ means – reach out His hand and kill me.
    • Job was grieved by the loss of his children, possessions, standing in the community, support/encouragement from his friends, and not understanding how God was working in these situations.
    • God speaks to Job and enables him to see the foolishness of questioning His sovereign rule, almighty power, infinite wisdom and perfect plans. God instructs Job’s friend to go to Job and offer up burnt offerings. He also told them that Job will pray for them. God tremendously blessed Job’s latter days (Job 42).

Jonah
Resentful
  • Jonah 4:2-3 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
    • Jonah was resentful because God chose to be merciful to a great multitude of people that Jonah hated (the Ninevites). God spoke to Jonah through an unusual object lesson and revealed two things to him: 1. Although Jonah had heard directly from God and was saved from drowning by God, his priorities and understanding of God’s mercy were utterly deficient; 2. God has great compassion for those who are blinded by their sin. (Job 4).
    • Jonah’s call for repentance in Nineveh resulted in 120,000 souls turning from their sin and turning to God. And although Jonah is mentioned several times in the New Testament, we don’t know about his life after Nineveh.

The heartbreaking truth is,
Sometimes people end their lives.


The point of this devotion, as demonstrated in the Bible, is that anyone can become so desperate that they want to die. Those who love God are not immune to the horrific realities of desperation and/or depression.


Psalm 88:1-3
O Lord, God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
2 Let my prayer come before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.


Whoever you are, whatever circumstance you find yourself in, if you are desperate enough to consider ending your life – immediately reach out for help!

If you have access to a friend or family member who follows Jesus, or if you can talk with a Christian pastor, they should listen to you and help you find the help you need. They can also share with you the message of love and hope found only in Jesus. God loves you and has a plan for your life even if you can’t see past your current circumstances.

If you are not willing or able to talk with a Christian, find someone you trust and tell them what is going on. Let them help you find the resources you need to see and move beyond the issues and/or circumstances that have brought you to this desperate point in your life. There is hope!


Prayer

All-knowing Father, You know better that anyone about the desperation that exists in this world. Please Lord, make a way for anyone considering suicide to get the help they need. I pray in the name of Jesus that desperate people around the world will obtain eternal life in heaven with You through saving faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Truly His

Truly His


For a Christian, salvation is both an instantaneous reality and an ongoing process. When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are immediately and permanently reconciled to God, forgiven of all sins, made righteous in His sight, indwelled with His Holy Spirt, adopted into His family, and so much more. Yet, from the time of our salvation on, we also look forward to the ultimate fulfillment of our salvation: receiving our eternal bodies and being in heaven for all eternity with God, His holy angels, and the saints from all time.

If you are His, you are truly His. And if you are truly His, there are five distinct aspects of salvation that have been, are being, and will be revealed in your life. These truths are taught throughout God’s Holy Word, but I have chosen five specific verses from the writings of the Apostle John that clearly communicate these truths.

Salvation is revealed in the life of a Christian as:

Believing
  • John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    • In a gracious act of love, God the Father gives a person the faith to believe the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Christians know the truth about Jesus.
Receiving
  • 1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
    • Once God reveals the truth about Jesus to a person, that person must choose to surrender to that truth. Christians accept the precious gift of saving faith in Jesus.
Remaining
  • 2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
    • Every Christian falls short of God’s standards, gets discouraged, has doubts, experiences frustrations, etc. But a child of God will never permanently/definitively walk away from their Heavenly Father. Christians are in an enduring relationship with Jesus.
Emulating
  • 3 John 1:11 Beloved do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
    • The Word of God instructs a Christian about how and why they should become more and more like Jesus. The indwelling power and presence of the Holy Spirit enables them to do so. Christians obey Jesus – they obey the Word of God.
Inheriting
  • Revelation 21:27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
    • A born again believer in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with God. Christians are joint heirs with Jesus.

These five distinct truths blend perfectly into
one absolute truth in the life of a Christian.


Prayer

Loving Father, gracious King, I pray that the truth of Your Word presented in this devotion will encourage those who know you and draw to You anyone who does not. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.