They come upon me rather suddenly, sneaking up on me when I least expect them, these happy, yet sad memories of you. They sneak to the corners of my mouth, turning it up into a smile, yet they sneak into my eyes and roll down my cheeks. They often send a warm feeling and yet a pang of longing into my heart, these many memories of you.
You were always there for me, from the time I was born, all the way through my youth – countless times as I reached different milestones, and even more times just because you cared. When over 1,000 miles lay between us, you would faithfully call on the telephone, and send cards and letters my way. You always took the opportunity to visit when you could, and gave from a heart of generosity on my birthday, on holidays, and even “just because.”
Your tender heart hurt when I was hurting and laughed when I was laughing. Your arms were always open for a hug. You always looked for ways to show kindness and love, and your daily prayers and quiet strength demonstrated your beautiful faith. And speaking of beauty, your gentle, soft face always made me smile, yet you focused much more on your eternally lasting beauty – the beauty within your heart.
Matthew 5:10-16 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for God reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under peoples’ feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father Who is in heaven.”
– As the “light of the world,” are you letting others see the truth found in Christ? Why be a light if you don’t shine it?
– As the “salt of the earth,” are you making people thirsty for God? Are you making people long for more of God?
“Salty believers” should:
- Spread the excellencies of God, Who called us into the light – they don’t “keep their salt in the salt shaker.”
- Shine light on the truth and keep their zest for God.
- Stand out as different from the world in which they live – they are a public testimony through their faith and in their good works that glorify their Father in heaven.
- Transform, change, and effect the world for Christ.
- Aren’t always welcomed by the “religious” people in their church.
- Are often not welcomed by governing/political figures.
- Should seek to continue pleasing God, no matter the cost, without hiding their light.
– This post was inspired by a sermon, given by Pastor Joseph A. Franks IV in Simpsonville, SC on October 25, 2015.
“He has spoken to us by His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, and through Whom He made the universe.” – Hebrews 1:2
God foretold the coming of Jesus long before He was born on this earth. God gave Jesus a human lineage made up of many “sinners turned saints,” and Jesus was miraculously both fully God and fully man while here on earth in His physical body, which was “conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary” (The Apostles’ Creed). Jesus is heir through the earthly line of King David and is the heir of ALL things through God the Father. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.” (Revelation 22:16)
We also, who are sons and daughters of God are heirs with Christ! “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:7) “Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.” (Romans 8:17) “So that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:7)
“He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” – Matthew 28:6
The following passage is a bit longer than some I usually quote, but it’s so important and so concisely gives the resurrection account, while allowing us to feel the excitement of the disciples over Jesus’ resurrection from death. “The chief priests and our rulers handed Him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified Him; but we had hoped that He was the One Who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find His body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said He was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.” (Luke 24:20-24)
Because of the resurrection power of Jesus Christ, we can be confident that He can also raise us from eternal death to eternal life in Him. “But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He Who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of His Spirit Who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11) Let us live in the VICTORY of our risen Savior, Jesus!
Steve Eager writes a lot of his own music for our local church body. He sang this one on Sunday, and it really stood out to me with all the current persecution of believers in the world today. I just did a quick little piece of crayon art inspired by the song this afternoon.
To hear the music he has uploaded online, go to his YouTube channel: Steve Eager Music.
“God will never leave you empty. If something is taken away, He will replace it with something better. If He denies your request in a certain area, it is because He wishes to give you what is best. If He asks you to put something down, it is so you can pick up something greater. God is the great Giver. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.” – Roy Lessin (*quote, not Scripture)
Jesus – and the salvation that comes only through Him – is the gift of God. “But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and His gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:15) We must recognise this in order to experience the mercy and grace He alone can provide.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman that her response to Him would have been much different if she had realised Who He was. “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and Who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have aided Him and He would have given you living water.’ ” (John 4:10)
God’s gift to His called, His elect, His chosen people, is irresistible to the heart impacted by the work of the Holy Spirit. “So if God gave them the same gift He gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?” (Acts 11:17)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)