Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. Matthew 6:31-32 Free from the love of money And free from the fear of loss Free from the fear of all others may say Is peace found at the foot of the cross For He calls us with all of our hearts to believe And trust from the depths of our soul In His promise to always be right where we are The greatest story that’s ever been told! Where sinners like me find acceptance In God’s family of orphans and tramps And the love of a Savior who shed blood for me Says’ “I love you no matter the cost!” And the morning shines bright with His presence And His promise is better than gold For He calls us with all of our hearts to believe The greatest story that’s ever been told! The Greatest Story That's Ever Been Told by Peter Caligiuri copyright 2021 all rights reserved
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3 KJV
I always loved owning a pick-up truck, but that blessing brings with it the fringe benefit of being asked to help every time one of your friends moves. So on a chilly winter day, as I was stacking as many boxes, bags and other assorted things into my truck as possible I wondered again why non-truck owners assume that pick-ups are capable of hauling living room sets, refrigerators and washing machines all in the same load. By the third trip I was just hoping we were on the last run when we got around to some final boxes. To her credit, our friend Susan, had already transported her dog, a couple of cats and a fish tank in her car. But along with her last boxes were two large cages with her parrots. “Can they ride up front with you?” Susan asked me as I started carrying out the first.
“I don’t know, I think there is only room for one.” I wearily answered. So after plopping bird #1 on the passenger seat and buckling him in, I proceed to wedge bird #2 in between boxes in back and covering him carefully with a blanket. “He’ll be fine! ” I assured her with an unconvincing smile. Ten miles down the road I was hoping my words of comfort would be true as the temperature of Northeastern Pennsylvania in December is a bit lower than their native Brazil. Parrot #1 who rode up front dozed off in the warm cab and napped most the way to his new home. But as I pulled in front of Susan’s new place I was just hoping that Parrot #2 was still alive. As quickly as I could I jumped out, unlashed his cage, and gently carried him into the house. When we pulled back the blanket, thankfully we discovered that our parrot was fine, but cringing in silence, fearfully looking around, wondering what the heck just happened!
Those feathered friends reminded me of my own journey with Jesus. Unlike myself, Jesus has plenty of room for me to ride up front in his cab. If I choose, I can journey close by His side, can listen to His voice, and leave the driving to Him. But for all kinds of different reasons there are times when I decide to ride in the back. I am still in the same truck headed in the same destination, but on those trips I am missing the joy of traveling close to Jesus. I don’t need to be trembling at every sound and frozen in fear till the moment God pulls back the blanket in heaven. He has room up front for everyone who knows Him as Lord and Savior, which is why He said, “Don’t let your heart be troubled.” He has given us all the privilege of asking, “Father, I believe in you and love you with all my heart. Can I ride with You today?” He is delighted to carry every one of us, up front and close by His side!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NKJV
My dad was a quiet, yet amazing guy. I learned lessons from my him about finances, faithfulness and keeping a humorous humility about ourselves in the face of difficult circumstances. But what I remember most of all the things he taught me was how to trust in the strength of the Lord.
In the last week of his life as he lay in the ICU unit, dad didn’t complain much. Instead he seemed most concerned that I understand how to handle the affairs of his home and if I was getting enough rest at night. During that time he often asked to hear the New Testament or Psalms read aloud, and most of all he loved quoting the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” He did not repeat those words with desperation through gritted teeth but with a calm confidence that his Good Shepherd had come to lead him on the last mile of his pathway on earth.
In fact, this verse is a favorite of many of us as we face challenges. Maybe we are starting a new job, wondering where the money will come from to pay the bills or are about to take a final exam. Interestingly, the Apostle Paul gives us these words, not as a skill he was good at, but as a lesson he had learned after experiencing a laundry list of crazy circumstances. He looked back and remembered his successes as well as failures. He talked about his hunger pains from when the cupboard was bare, as well as the wonderful home cooked meals at the homes of friends. But more than any one kind of challenge Paul faced, he shows us that trusting in Christ is something he learned to do and that we can too.
The key is remembering that overcoming whatever we face is in Christ. Got temptations? Then we need to remember that we are crucified with Christ. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about Him. Are we in the middle of confusion, and the pressure of unrelenting demands? Then we must bring to mind that we are buried with him in baptism. Nobody bothered Christ once the stone was rolled over the face of the tomb. He rested in perfect peace – though not for long! Are we crossing a storm tossed sea that is about to sink our boat? Then we can joyfully recall that just as we are crucified and buried with Jesus, so we are also raised with Him. Going forward is no longer just about our power – it’s about His. What are the “All things” that you face today? God’s got this! He’s not just in control on the outside of our situations, He is at work on the inside of us as well and will help us finish the job He gave us to do. Then we will be able to say with my dad,” It really is true! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”