The OT prophets had it pretty rough. They faced rebuke and persecution from all sides, especially when their message was the total opposite of what the people wanted to hear. So where did this boldness come from? How were these mild-mannered, many times even timid men able to stand before Kings and High Priests proclaiming God’s Word? It was the Holy Spirit within, enabling them to go boldly into battle for the Lord. Are you brave enough to pray the prayer the Apostles did in Acts 4:29? ” Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak Your Word with great boldness.” Boldness empowered by the Holy Spirit will change your perception. For you’ll no longer have your limited vision, but God’s.
Anytime sacrificial giving is mentioned, people get real antsy. It’s not that we don’t want to give to Kingdom work…it’s just that we’re selfish. Now you’re probably thinking I’m talking about money…No, I’m not! I’m talking about something far more valuable to you than money…it’s your time. We’ll happily give to charitable organizations, relief funds, and soup kitchens…but ask us to volunteer our time and that’s a different story. It says in II Corinthians 8:12, “For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” God wants you, not your money…He wants you to volunteer rather than just donate to the cause…He wants you to give sacrificially of your most valuable resource…yourself.
Job couldn’t understand what had happened to him…he had just lost all his children and his livelihood. Yet here, he acknowledges God’s total sovereignty. We also will go through tragic times…times when we shake our head in utter bewilderment at the senseless acts we see and hear about. So we need to be reminded here that our Lord’s power has not diminished…His authority and supremacy has not waned in light of the increasing evilness in the world. God’s rule is still absolute…His dominion still remains established and true. We may not be able to understand…but we can echo Job’s words, “May the name of the Lord be praised.”
People have really good excuses why they don’t want anything to do with God. “Religion is only for the weak that need a crutch.” “I’ll get right with God when I get old and about to die…you know, like Fire Insurance…something you have just incase.” “I don’t believe any of that mumbo-jumbo Jesus garbage.” So when you’re confronted by this, what is the best answer? The Truth. You don’t need to defend God…He’s perfectly capable of defending Himself, thank you. You state the Truth in love, but neither do you water down the Truth to make it more palatable for all. The Truth is, if you forsake God, He’ll reject you…forever.
We find the disciples hunkered down, doors locked, fearing what might happen to them…when suddenly Jesus shows up! And during this short interaction these frightened men went from fainthearted to fearless. So what was it? It was the 3 “P”s. First it says that Jesus came and stood among them and showed them His hands and side. His presence was undisputable to them now…the Resurrection beyond doubt. Next was Jesus’s greeting, “Peace be with you!” This type of peace supersedes anything we can imagine…it is brought about by God’s infinite mercy, granting deliverance and freedom from all distresses. Finally, Jesus breathed on them and they received the power of the Holy Spirit. His presence, peace and power turned a rag-tag group of men into a force to be reckoned with.
So what exactly is “the Way” and holiness mean to you? Is it being committed to the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind? Is it a way of life that exemplifies Godly actions and behaviors? The Way is a Highway…a road less traveled by most, but a life-long journey for the upright.
So many times we foolishly think we can somehow “help God”. We look at the situation and feel we have more insight and intelligence than our Heavenly Father does over the matter…but our “help” usually just messes it up more. Relinquishing some thing or one to God doesn’t mean you’re giving up and walking away…it simply means you’re stepping aside and allowing God to work in ways you never would be able to. Surrendering and laying at the foot of the Cross a loved one can be the scariest thing you’ll ever do. But until you do this and fully give that person to God – you’re just in the way and the Lord can’t work. You may think you love that person immensely…but remember, God loves them even more.