Crossing From Death to Life

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24 NIV

Before the children of Israel left Egypt, they stood on one side of the Red Sea, but as they were leaving, they crossed over to the other side. Forty years later when they came near to the border of the Promised Land, they stood on the East bank of the Jordan, but when God parted the water, of the river, they crossed over to the Western side. Throughout History we see people who have crossed over to begin new lives. Martin Luther left the Roman Catholic system on the premise that faith alone, not the church would give him eternal life.  One hundred and fifty years later, the Pilgrims, crossed the Atlantic, to what was called, “The New World”, for the freedom to worship God according to their own conscience. In the same way, Jesus has called anyone who believes in Him to cross over to eternal life. “But what does that mean? How can I cross over?” you ask. Jesus tells us that the answer is to simply believe His words more than ours. Crossing over will mean letting go of Egypt, to follow God through the wilderness, then leaving the wilderness behind to enter the Promised land. There is no crossing over, without a leaving behind. But we do not need to be afraid, because the same God who parted the Red Sea and the Jordan River, is standing before us today with an invitation to believe. Jesus is stretching out His hand and saying, “You don’t need a map of the wilderness, to get to the Promised Land, you only need to follow me. He is also calling you and me this morning. “Don’t be afraid. Trust my word. Take my hand. Leave everything in this world behind and together, let’s cross over to eternal life!”

Lessons Learned in The Alzheimer’s World

With Alzheimer’s awareness walks scheduled in a few weeks I wanted to share some hope with those who have loved ones in the struggling with memory loss. One thing I have noticed from having spent some twenty plus years bringing music in to those places is the pain and heartache of family members.

The residents often no longer realize what is happening to them but their family’s hopelessness becomes so great that they visit only rarely and then go home feeling guilty. “What’s the use?” they ask when Mom or Dad no longer remember their name.

Here are some words of hope which John Wesley once said, “Do all the good you can With all the means you can In all the ways you can”

“Do all the good you can” but do NOT worry about what you can’t do. That is God’s work alone. If you can get them to smile you have already moved a small mountain!

“By all the means you can” You know your loved better than anyone. Think of the simplest pleasure you could give them. A chocolate bar or a coffee from their favorite diner may be the best medication they will receive all day!

“In all the ways you can” You have your own emotional and physical limits. If you can give only 1 or 2 days a week to visiting God knows. God asks us each to give our all but your all doesn’t mean neglecting the rest of your family or yourself. Jesus multiplied 5 loaves and 2 fish to feed 5,000. He will use what we can give and make it be enough to meet your loved one’s needs. God bless you as you do your best in this time of their life.

Alzheimer’s awareness events are in October and November. If you would like to participate there may be a walk near you. In our area, West Pasco County Florida is holding theirs on October 19th and Tampa on November 2nd. If you cannot walk or donate please remember to pray. God bless you. Remember God never asks us to give what we do not have but He does love a cheerful giver!

The Great Investment

And said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. Matthew 26:15 NKJV

The Dow Jones measures the value of  the biggest companies in our economy and some of us invest there. But there are others called commodity traders who make their money by buying something now that they believe will have a higher value later.

As Christians we are a kind of eternal commodity trader. We have chosen to invest in Jesus No one is forced to be a believer. We must decide to put our trust in Him.

Sadly one of those closest to Jesus chose differently. Even after having observed Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead; forgiving sinners and feeding the hungry Judas still remained focused on himself. He still wanted to know what was in it for him.

Being greedy like Judas means choosing to see value differently than God does. God sees people as His best investment. But when we yield to greed it means we have chosen short term gain as our only reward.

How wonderful it is that God is the opposite of greedy! He never sees us as objects to be used or abused. When it would have been far more convenient for Jesus to remain safely in heaven He came to earth. When a comfortable retirement in some quiet place teaching willing disciples seemed appealing Jesus went to the cross. He stood still when we would have run. He refused rescue when we would have begged for help. He forgave His crucifiers when revenge would have been justified. He did all these things because He chose to love. Love has a high investment cost; but it also has an amazing reward. Jesus believed we were worth the cost of His own life.

The wonderful news is that He can be our reward and He is worth infinitely more than anything else in this universe! Living in love will mean choosing to see people as God does. His Grace gives us the privilege to buy in to the heavenly commodity exchange for free. All we need to do is sign the contract because our shares are already set aside in heaven. You will never beat the great return on investment God offers you this morning by grace. The market is already open. What will you choose to buy in to today?