“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!”
Now also when I am old and grayheaded O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation,
Your power to everyone who is to come.
Psalm 71:18 NKJV
Our opinions about old age change when we begin experiencing the aches and pains that usually come along with the passing of years. Our previous criticisms of mannerisms or styles of older folks, begin to sound hollow now that we are one of them! We value our friends and family more and begin to treat them with care. God has taught us to have a tender touch with others now our hands are bruised by difficulties and worn out from serving. In today’s verse, the man who once slew Goliath, is no longer praying for victory in battle. Now, he asks to share with his children, grandchildren and neighbors, his relationship with God. The crown on his head, now sits on gray hair and the power he wields comes from faith. David prays to have the strength to share the wonderful message of how great God is and God answered it in the Twenty-third Psalm. Many assume that David wrote this Psalm as a teen-ager, but scholars tell us that he actually wrote it at the end of his life. In six short verses David teaches us that the Lord is our Shepherd, He leads us on His path and stays by our side through dark valleys. Then, when we are surrounded by enemies, God prepares a feast for us and invites us to His home forever. Now that’s a message I am so glad David shared! If we know Jesus, He also has a message for us to give. We only need to ask Him how.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:4-5 ESV
Just as a branch must continue to remain a part of a tree through all four seasons, so we must remain by faith in Christ. He calls us to continue believing in, trusting and relying on Him through Winters of difficulties, Springtimes of change, and long hot summers of hard work to come to the Fall harvest full of fruit. If you are feeling unworthy or like a failure in your walk with Jesus today, know that this fruitfulness that doesn’t depend on your successes, abilities or strengths. In fact, God takes great delight in our weakness, because it brings us to depend entirely on Jesus! He promises that if we remain in Him, then He will see to it that at the harvest time which He has chosen, that we will be filled with much fruit! Have a blessed Sunday all!