Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.
Matthew 25:13-14 ESV
One day all of us will take a journey. We will finish our final 24 hours on this planet and go to stand before the Lord. On an earthly journey there are some things we need to do to get ready. We might need to draw money from the bank, pack our suitcases and fill up the car with gas. In our preparations whether we know it or not we are making two decisions: what will we take with us and what will we leave behind.
In the same way we need to prepare for our heavenly departure. Jesus told us to be watchful because we cannot know the day of His return. For some that will be the day He splits the skies and descends from the clouds and for others it will be the moment in God’s calendar when we depart to be with Him. Whichever way we meet Him there are some things we must do today to get ready.
First into your suitcase be sure to pack faith. Faith is God’s first gift and – Without faith it is impossible to please Him… Hebrews 11:6 But to travel with your faith you will discover that fear is taking up so much space inside your bag that one must be left behind.
Next we must be sure to find a place for hope. Hope is the gift that God gives us after faith and it gives us strength to keep going through all the weary miles of life. But to find room for hope we have to allow God to unpack our shame and leave it at the foot of the cross. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts … Romans 5:5
Last always remember to never leave love behind. The entire reason for our journey is not because God needs more servants to get stuff done in heaven, but because He wants children on whom He can lavish His amazing love forever! So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love 1 Corinthians 13:13
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
Jesus isn’t sitting on His throne hoping for a nice flowery formal prayer. If you have just a small faith in a big God don’t be afraid to pray. Jesus is waiting at for us at His throne of grace. Our God is big enough to move any mountain with faith smaller than a tiny seed!
I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears Psalm 34:4
God knows and He hears is our Immanuel, but He is also something more, He is “Moshia” Our Deliverer. Jesus not only goes with us through our problems, He is able to deliver, which can be translated as Save or Heal as well.
Imagine you have a high fever and a terrible cough. You go to your family doctor whom you trust and who has taken care of you for years. He takes x-rays, listens to your chest and takes your blood pressure. Then he clears his throat and says, “Well you definitely have a severe case of pneumonia. If it isn’t treated this week you could die, but the bad news is I have no antibiotics left to give you In fact there has been such a run on anti-biotics this year that the entire supply is depleted and you will just have to go home to die! I wish I could help. I would like to help but I can’t!”
You might laugh and say, “That never happens!” There is always someone who can help!” But as certain as we are in small problems that we do understand, we also need to believe that no matter what we face; Jesus is “Moshia” He is our deliverer. He not only knows our problem. He not only cares about our problem. Jesus holds the waves and wind of our storms under his command. Jesus is king over every King. Jesus is the forgiver of every sin. Jesus is the healer of every disease (whether we pick up our prescription here or in heaven)! Jesus knows about not just some of our problems, not just some of our hurts and not just some of our fears. Jesus knows them all. Jesus is “Moshia” who delivers us from ALL our fears!
Some years ago when we visited Brazil I was overwhelmed with our first breakfast. Neither eggs and bacon, nor cereal and toast was set out. Instead our hosts put fresh fruit, hot coffee, Brazilian cheese and best of all,delicious smelling fresh bread on the table! I was reminded of my mother’s bread baking, with its aroma wafting out our back kitchen door. It didn’t take long for me and all my buddies to show up in the kitchen angelically begging for a small piece. In my imagination I remembered warm bread with butter melting down into its cracks and crevices!
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. John 6:35
When Jesus was here on earth it was in some way as if God had left open the window and anyone near enough could sense the fragrance of heaven. Fresh bread means not only that its aroma draws people to come but that it is not ‘day old’ bread. When Jesus said “I am the bread of heaven”, He also meant, He had come to meet our needs today. He knows exactly what we are facing right at this moment and if we will receive His words then they will speak to our struggles. Those words caused Mary to sit at his feet and for soldiers to return to their officers empty-handed saying “No man ever spoke like this man!” His hands cleansed a leper whom no one would touch and His voice calmed waves lapping into the boat. His prayer raised a dead child and His death caused a hardened centurion to believe. Whatever need, whatever injury, whatever struggle we are facing right at this moment, Jesus whispers in the depth of our souls, “I am the Bread of Life!”
Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” John 1:50
Believing connects us first to knowing that He knows our hearts. This only recorded conversation between Nathanael and Jesus in the Bible is intriguing both because of its smallness and its bigness. Nathanael was astonished to discover that Jesus knew one of the smallest details of His day. That smallest detail led to the biggest decision of his life!
In the movie “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen, the elf named Judy says, “Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing!” That is one of the best descriptions of the miracle of faith in a believer’s life. At the moment that we believe we begin to see who Jesus for who He truly is. As we begin to see Him as He truly is then we begin to follow where He leads. When we follow where Jesus is leading, then we discover that He is going to some astonishing places!
Be prepared for astonishing places along the way as you follow Jesus. Buckle your seat belts and hold on tight. He has promised to show us greater things, if we only believe!
Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” John 1:38-39a
Jesus had a way of dealing with new followers which was a lot different than ours. He didn’t say, “Come and do” or “Come and give.” In fact Jesus began the conversation with a question, “What do you want?”
Whether at the door of the church or alone on a mountain trail, God asks us every morning, “What do you want?” Am I following just because someone told me to or do I really want to for myself? His test is not about our ability to serve Him but our desire to know Him.
When we go looking for Jesus we will find Him. He knows us but He waits for us to long to know Him. Then Jesus extends the invitation, “Come and see!” Jesus wants us to get to know Him because He isn’t afraid of what we will find. Every day is an opportunity for a new discovery of His character, His will and His heart. Maybe you have received an invitation that says: RSVP. That stands for the French “Répondez s’il vous plait” – “Respond if you please. “We have received an invitation to come to know Jesus. Jesus waits to see if we will respond. Do we really want to know where He lives? He calls out, “Come and see!”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 14:24
During a recent snow storm our friend’s son told his dad that since God had sent the snow then he would just wait for God to take it away. In the morning I sent the father this short message, “Let your son know that I waited a few hours for God, but finally I had to shovel the snow myself!”
Jesus cannot be hurried or pressed into doing our part. The father in Mark’s gospel story had done all he knew to do. He had asked everyone he could think of for help. Now at last he stood before Jesus and pleaded for help for his son. But Jesus was not concerned only about the problem that this man could see. Jesus was at work, beneath the surface. He tenderly pressed this dad till he touched on the core issue of his struggle. He was willing to sacrifice. He was willing to humbly ask for help. Could he now be brave enough to believe?
It seems almost hard-hearted of Jesus to push this person to his limit, but Jesus saw something within him that he didn’t even know he had. He had faith! Listen closely to his prayer, “I believe! Help my unbelief!” That is a prayer God always answers!
First we believe, and then He gladly helps us with our unbelief. Drawing out this father’s faith is the great miracle. When the miracle of faith drawn out to action in our lives is accomplished there is nothing that God cannot do!
“All things are possible, only believe!” Mark 14:23b