Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hope to Where There was None

     I was reading about the mission of Jesus Christ in Luke 4:18,19 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Jesus spoke these words in a synagogue in Nazareth, a place where he was brought up. These scriptures caught my eye because in just a couple of sentences it explained that Jesus Christ's mission while on Earth was to bring hope to all who had none.
     Jesus said he is to proclaim good news to the poor. Jesus Christ gave hope to those who were in need both materially and spiritually. He taught his disciples to be charitable. 1 John 3:17,18 "But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth." Jesus had these comforting words to say to all those poor souls who were troubled and worried. Mathew 11:28-30 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
     The poor have a quality that God highly admires. they are humble and receptive to his instruction. James 4:6 "....Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." That is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Those who are poor are looking to God for their help, their hope and salvation; and God has answered them through his son Jesus Christ.
     Jesus said he was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives. Before Christ we had no redemption, we were captives to our sin. Because we were captives to our sin that made us captives to death as well. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death,..." Jesus Christ paid for our sins by his death upon the cross. We were prisoners without hope for escape but he set us free and brought us hope for an eternal life in God's kingdom. Romans 6:22 "But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life." Romans 6:6-8 "We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him."
     Jesus said he was sent to give sight to the blind. Luke 7:22 "And he answered them, "Go and tell what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the good news preached to them." Jesus Christ not only made the physically blind to see but also the spiritually blind to see as well. John 8:12 "Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
     Jesus said he was to set at liberty those who are oppressed. Acts 10:38 "....He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him."
     Jesus Christ done what his Father asked him to do. He proclaim good news to the poor, liberty to the captives and recovering sight to the blind. He set at liberty those who are oppressed. He gave hope to those who had none. Jesus Christ freed us from sin and death and gave us hope to a eternal life in his Father's kingdom. It is good to know why Jesus Christ came to us. He came to gives us salvation and hope, a way to get back into paradise and God's favor. Through his words and sacrifice we are all given a hope for a better life in a better world.

Monday, April 18, 2016

From My Nothingness, I am still Something

     Today, I was thinking about my losses and failures throughout my life. Working hard to build something only to see it crumble to dust. Working hard to have good health only to be brought down by an illness. I somethings feel like I am working hard and not getting anywhere at all. But a curious thing happens during those hard times in my life, my faith grows and I feel closer to God than in the times when I have everything that I need. When I feel that I am nothing, something deep down inside me tells me I am still something.
     When I feel that everything has been stripped away from me, I still have one thing in my life, my faith. It never leaves me. It has been weaken on some occasions but it has never left me completely. It is like having the voice of God within you, telling you everything will be alright. The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10 "For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. for when I am weak, then I am strong."
     In my humility, my nothingness, I am stronger in my faith. I think sometimes this is why calamities happen in life to bring us back to God. I found that most people who believe that they have nothing, pray more and relied more on God's help. If the God of love saw his people with sin and abundance and not having one coin in heaven, would he not do something about that? He would not stand by and let them be asleep in sin and death. He would try to awaken them to their life's condition. Showing them there is more to life than having pride in one's material possessions. Mark 8:36 "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
     1 Timothy 6:7 "for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world." If we cannot take anything out of this world when we die, then what do we take with us? The answer is our inner self, our spirit. Matthew 12:36,37 "I tell you, on the day of judgement people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." We will all stand before God and be judged by not what we have but who we are on the inside. When I feel like I have nothing it makes me take a good hard look at myself to who I am. I have come to realize in these bad times in my life that who I really am is a child of God and I cannot be anything else. Trying to be something that I am not only brings me much emotional pain and trouble.
     From my nothingness, I am still something. The person, God created me to be. My inner self glorifies God and longs to be with him in his kingdom. This thinking maybe worthless to the world but it is everything to me. My core being, when in need it cries out to our Father in heaven. This is the truth, with him I feel complete without him I feel lost. Why, because I am his creation and my body, mind and spirit knows somehow this is true. When I am feeling that I am nothing, I can still feel the spirit of God standing beside telling me I am still something. Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."