This is the last day of the year. A day to catch up and a time to reflect on this past year. Are there sections of the Bible you’ve not read? Read them today. Meditate and think on what the Lord called you to do throughout this year, did you fall short on any of them? Is there something Jesus would have you accomplish next year? What goals do you have for yourself personally? What part do you believe God has for you to plan in advancing the gospel for next year? You do have a role to play, if you’re a Christian. How will you work to see more people come to know God through Jesus Christ? How will you bring more people to become part of your church? How will we make more and better disciples next year together? Will you be part of the process, or will you sit back and not participate? Are there any “inactive Christians?” Did you read the New Testament this month? Did you notice any people who were both faithful and unproductive for the kingdom? God has saved his people, for good works. What do you want God to use you to accomplish in the next 365 days? What would it take for you to do it? Get started today!
The end of the world will come one day, are you ready? Have you given your life to Jesus Christ, fully, really, with all your heart? Jesus Christ is the only one worthy to ratify the New Covenant, which he did by dying on the cross. He is the Lamb of God who paid our price, the penalty for our sins. In the end, the world who’ve rejected Jesus will face the punishment of sinfulness. With each seal broken on the scroll, God’s wrath will be poured out. Jesus has already absorbed this punishment, no one need to be affected by it, yet many will still reject the Lord. What a shame. God’s people are sealed and saved on the basis of their faith in Jesus, do you believe in him? All people, anyone, have the opportunity to be saved, if they will only reach out. God’s judgment is terrible, yet it is completely just. We have God’s word and we have the message of the church throughout the ages, trust in Jesus, he is the only way to salvation. Satan has been doing his work, trying to destroy the church and thwarting the mission of God… he won’t be successful. Satan uses the wicked rulers of the world for his own purposes, but don’t lose heart, he can’t win. When the Lord returns he will set everything right. People in this world will seem to get away with murder, they won’t. Religious leaders will seem to live high on the backs of others… they won’t be allowed to continue, they will fall. Stay the course. There will be rejoicing in heaven because of the victory of Jesus and those who remain faithful in the church. There’s a party coming, the marriage supper of the lamb, and you have an invitation, have you R.S.V.P.ed? Jesus is returning on a white house, not as a baby in a manger meek and mild, but as a conquering king returning to his land. Every one of us has the opportunity to choose to be on the wining side. We all can accept Jesus’ free gift of salvation, and we each choose how we will live today, tomorrow, next week, month, and year… follow Jesus.
We don’t have to defend ourselves, we have an advocate in heaven, Jesus. All we have to worry about is how to love the world around us, really love them, not simply make them feel good, like us, or leave us alone. We are to love the world, the people, but not the world’s culture or the things it purports to offer us. The things of the world are against Jesus. Be a child of God, not a child of the wickedness of the world. If we are, we’ll love one another, that’s the genuine mark of the believer. Don’t just believe whatever message sounds good, test what is said by God’s word. If it’s true, it will line up with what God has already said, and it will be loving. The Bible helps us to see the truth, because it is the truth, we have something to compare it to. Don’t imitate the evil of the world, but imitate the light of God’s word. Make sure we follow the actual word of God, not fake teachers or false prophets. Remain true to the Bible. Remain true to God, the living God, Jesus Christ. The one who has the sharp two-edged sword. Don’t abandon your first love, Jesus. Don’t fear what you have to endure, you’ll come out stronger on the other side. Don’t tolerate false teachers in the church. Don’t tolerate divisive wicked people who don’t advance the mission of the church who try to take charge, they are Jezebel. Wake up, and lead from your strengths. Remain patient, wait on the Lord, he’s worth it, because he is the Lord! He is “Holy holy holy!” and worthy of our praise. He’s the only one who matters.
Not only do you need to live up to what you say, you also need to be careful what you say. Nothing is harder to correct than something we’ve said that we wish we could get back. When we speak God’s words, we’re safe… when we say whatever pops into our heads, we’re on shaky ground. Our lives should be marked by heaven, not our own selfish desires. We are not ultimately in control of our lives. We can’t say for sure what tomorrow will be like. We make plans, we are good stewards of the time we are given, but we recognize that it is a gift. We can’t trust in our own riches or self-sufficiency, everything could change in an instant. Death, sickness, war, poverty… these can happen at any time. Healing, peace, riches… at any moment we could receive these blessings. Our job is to work for God’s kingdom and leave the results up to him. We patiently wait through suffering because we know our faith will be stronger on the other side. We pray, God answers. He doesn’t just give us what we want, but we have faith he always gives us what’s best. Jesus gives us hope. He has brought us salvation. Because of all he’s done for us, shouldn’t we live for him? Do our lives reflect his character or our own selfishness? Are we holy? We are meant to be. He is building something special, the church, his kingdom, and he is using us to do it. We are not meant to be individual super-humans who are above everyone else, we’re meant to be humble saved people who display God’s goodness in the world. We don’t stand up for our own individual rights, but we fight for the advancement of God’s agenda. At work, in our community, even in our own homes, it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. We’re willing to suffer anything as long as it makes God look good. We are interested with the Lord’s message of grace, and it’s for all people. We endure suffering so that all might see the gospel is real. This truth is so important, and we need constant reminding. We must keep on preaching to fellow believers and to the world. If we are genuine believers, we’ll remain faithful. There will always be those who claim to know Jesus, but their lives just don’t ring true, don’t follow them. Jesus will return one day. Judgment day will happen. Don’t find yourself on that day having followed a fake Jesus you’ve invented in your own mind, follow the God of the Bible through the only Jesus Christ. He is the word of life. Follow him by walking in the light, not hiding in the darkness. Are you following him? It’s your choice today.
There is only one way to communicate with God, though Jesus. He is the only one able to go before a perfect and holy God because he is without sin. He is our great high priest. In the past, there were all kinds of rituals and regulations for the people to show their faith in God. Killing animals and other sacrifices were able to make one temporarily able to speak to God, but this only lasted a short time. A priest would have to prepare himself for an extended period of time simply to go before God and ask forgiveness. Now, we have redemption through Jesus’ blood. He is the perfect sacrifice, not a temporary one, but a permanent solution to man’s problem, and not just for a few, but for everyone. That means anyone who accepts this sacrifice can take advantage of it’s benefits. We no longer need to worry about when the blood will run out, or how much sin our sacrifice covers. Jesus’ blood covers it all and forever. We receive it by faith, just as Abraham believed God, we believe in Jesus. He is the foundation of all of our faith and he is the one who does all the work. We need not feel exhausted because the burden is his, not ours. He will never pass away and he cannot be destroyed. We simply live out our lives as followers of Jesus, loving one another, functioning within the community of faith called the church, and doing the work of God’s mission on the earth. It is not easy, our faith will be regularly tested, but it’s only a tested faith that proves to be true. If we never faced any hardships, we’d never know if we really believed. It’s not enough to simply say you believe in Jesus, you have to actually believe. The only way to know that is if you end up living as through it’s true. If you say one thing, but do another, then you make yourself to be a lier. Worst of all, you’re lying to yourself. Just because you pray a prayer and say some words, that’s not what saves you. Faith saves you. Say the words, but mean them… how you live will reveal what you really believe.