“Life, Liberty…and the pursuit of Happiness…”
Wow – it’s hard to believe we’re in the year 2020! If you know me at all, you know that I’m weird in certain ways and 2020 evokes a couple of quick thoughts. First of all, a little superficial rhyme, I told my son the other day (from a Spiritual perspective of course) “Good and plenty in twenty, twenty.”
He rolled his eyes.
The other little thought was more of a prayer, “Lord, grant me 2020 vision from a Spiritual perspective.” I pray that I’d keep my eyes on Jesus all year long. This is what the author of Hebrews told us to do. We read in Hebrews 12:2, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The Greek word translated “looking” (aphorao) literally means to “turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something else.” In this case, someone else – we are to turn away from all others, and fix our eyes on Jesus…that “2020” vision sure helps when things get tough.
According to this passage, Jesus endured the cross because He never lost sight of the joy that was before Him. What do you think that “joy” was? I believe that joy was reconciliation with the Father, and the salvation of the church. He was able to “see” you and me, free and forgiven, in heaven – with Him, forever. If we look to Jesus, we’ll find that in one one sense, He’s looking to us.
Friend, I pray that 2020 is a Happy New Year for you, but you know as well as I do that it will have its unfair share of challenges and heartaches. May we remember, the only way we’ll make it through with a smile on our face, or better yet, joy in our hearts, is if our Spiritual vision is 2020 – if we keep our eyes on Jesus.
Here are just a handful of highlights…pulled from a million different things God was doing on this trip. No exaggeration, it was amazing in so many ways! Somewhere between 95-98% of the youth responded to the testimony and Gospel invitation from Ryan Ries to receive Christ – people were saved on the streets, in schools, in churches, outreach – it was very ACTive – praying it all sparks a revival (I know it did in my heart). And then on top of that, how cool it was to hang out with all these guys!
Here’s a brief video, to give you a glimpse of what it was like, when we almost lost our translator, Hector Martinez in my recent trip with the Whosoevers to Colombia. I was laughing so hard – I cried! Don’t worry, he wasn’t hurt too bad, and when Ryan Ries shared his testimony and the Gospel, at least 95% of the kids went forward to give their lives to God – it was so awesome!
1 Chronicles 22:5b, “So David made abundant preparations before his death.”
I know it sounds a bit morbid, but the truth is, we must always be ready to die. Over 151,000 people die every day, and unless we experience the rapture – – one of these days we too will be part of that 151,000!
We must always be ready and guard ourselves from the thought that it won’t happen to me, because it can happen to any of us, anytime (James 4:14).
I was reading a chart on the odds of a person dying based on age and gender – I found it fascinating. If you’d like to check out the odds, I’ve provided a link below, but keep in mind that odds are not gods, and the one living God has already circled the day of our departure on His calendar ‘cuz we all have an appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27).
Question: What will we leave behind and what are we looking forward to?
David is a great example for us in the way he made “abundant preparations before his death” (let’s take some time to ponder that concept).
You probably know the story, how David had it in his heart to build a temple for God – but he wasn’t allowed to because he’d been a man of war. God chose David’s son Solomon instead – but David didn’t get bitter, he got better and did all that he could to help his son and the nation of Israel to have a place where they could honor the Lord, David invested into their spiritual lives. What about us, what are we leaving behind for both family and flock?
And what are we looking forward to – Heaven or Hell? With or without God? (see Revelation 20:11-15). Not everyone goes to heaven, only those who are prepared by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. David was a true believer, he was ready to die, he knew he was going to heaven (Psalm 23:6)…how about us?
So…beloved, buy life insurance, settle those differences with loved ones, say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done. Leave godly things behind and look forward to God ahead – ‘cuz at the end of the day, it’s not until we’re ready to die, that we’re actually ready to live.
Your brother in Christ,
Odds of Dying – Link
Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
By the time we reach Genesis 12 in the Old Testament God has covered the first 2,000 years of human history. He’s covered the fundamental topics such as creation, marriage and family, the fall, the flood, the Tower of Babel which was man’s attempt to reach God on His own (Babylon is symbolic of man’s religion), and therefore God used different languages to scatter the human race throughout the face of the earth.
We now come to the lineage of Abraham – the Jews. Abram (his original name) is first mentioned in Genesis 11:26 and interestingly enough the rest of the Old Testament will virtually focus on this man and his descendants. You might wonder why? Is it because He loves them more than He does the rest of the world? No, that’s not the reason. Although they ARE a chosen people to be a sign and sent to the rest of the world, the truth is God loves everyone equally. We read in Galatians 3:28,“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That passage teaches us that although there are distinctions, there are no spiritual advantages, it doesn’t matter if you’re Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.
So…why is the Bible (especially the Old Testament) all about the rise and fall of Israel? And the simple answer is because it was through the Jews that Jesus would come. Our passage for today is Genesis 12:3,“I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God chose and preserved the Jews because it was through them that Jesus would come who would be a blessing to all the families of the earth.
I pray you would enjoy your journey through the OT, that you would have a special place in your heart for the Jews and Israel, and most of all, that you would know, love, and be blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Love you! Your brother in Christ,
2018 was a tough year for us, but it was a “Good Year,” because God is able to take “all things…” and work them out for good (Romans 8:28). This study touches on that truth and how we should glean from 2018 and look forward with great faith to the New Year.