In life there are moments when we feel all alone. There are a variety of reasons why we experience this feeling. It could be because of betrayal, a terrible mistake, or a difference in moral living. Again, there are many reasons for this feeling.
Jesus was no stranger to this feeling of loneliness. It appears that our Lord was no exception to these same feelings of loneliness along with the overwhelming experiences of life. Notice some of the more profound statements found in Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
As we open up our Bibles to John 18 we notice that Jesus was betrayed, arrested, and accused falsely for things He did not do. We know that it is one of His apostles (Judas) who betrayed Him in 18:2. He is DENIED by one of those closest to Him (Peter) in John 18:15-18 and 25-27. He is questioned and ultimately REJECTED by the religious
Establishment in 19-24 and sent bound to Pilate. Pilate is the one person in the process who “finds no fault in Him” (John 19:4) and he is not even religious. However, Pilate does not do the right thing but rather SENTENCES Him to death. He is MOCKED and SCOURGED by the Roman soldiers in chapter 19:1-4. He is finally CRUCIFIED in 19:17-24.
There is no place as LONELY and cruel as the CROSS!! His experience at Calvary was unjust, horrible, embarrassing, and ultimately cruel!! This helps me to understand why Jesus is our perfect example and motivation for life (1 Peter 2:21).
Jesus was PREPARED before the experience at Calvary. He didn’t wait until that moment to try and figure it out or prepare Himself spiritually. Rather, He prayed in the garden and walked with the Father anticipating a horrible event. He was not overcome with fear but rather TRUSTED that His Father was bigger than any experience in this life. While He EXPERIENCED loneliness He was not overcome with it.
We must be reminded that we too will experience similar feelings, and tragedy but we are not to be overcome by them. Remember, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:17-19
Remember, when walking hand in hand with Jesus you are never alone!
We are living in uniquely difficult times. Our current experience is unlike any other that we have faced before. There are many challenges that we have overcome during this pandemic individually and collectively. One of the many challenges we continue to face is to remain committed to sincerely and reverently worship our great God.
Worship is essential to our relationship with God. It should be stated that while our location for worship has changed, the intent and desire of our heart should not change.
Worshipping virtually has been a blessing in many ways. The challenge is with the fact that we cannot physically be together. We were/are made for fellowship with God and with His family. In worship we experience these two great opportunities, being together with God and with His people.
As we worship God together, we must keep in mind that it must be offered in spirit and truth (John 4:24). In worship we must engage our hearts in sincere faith (Hebrews 11:6). We must offer a sacrifice of praise with thanksgiving in our hearts and on our lips (Hebrews 13:15) when we come together.
God desires that we worship Him because He alone is worthy of our praise. We need to understand that our eternal destiny depends on our worship of the one true and living God. He demands, seeks, and requests our worship because He alone deserves it, and because it is in our nature as Christians to worship Him and our eternal destiny depends on it.
Let’s anticipate worshipping God this Sunday!!
“Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth! Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” — Psalms 100:1-5
If you are like me then you have read post after post about what we need during this pandemic. In some ways I have been a little confused (I’ll explain the confusion in a moment).
It is true that this is certainly a time like no other. Being confined and not able to meet together has been a challenge for sure and this part is not normal since God created us to be together. Most of the inconvenience (not all) that has affected us has exposed how spoiled and selfish we are in this 21st lifestyle of ours. Not being able to eat out, go to our favorite sporting events, concerts, having to use rough toilet paper (I don’t know anyone who truly ran out) and wearing masks...Life has been absolutely miserable and I don’t know how we are going to survive!
It has definitely been tough for those who have not been able to visit loved ones in long term care, be by their side to comfort them during life threatening illnesses/surgeries, having private and secluded funeral services, job loss and big life moments put on hold (graduations, weddings, and jobs). In all seriousness this has challenged many and has been extremely difficult!!
This pandemic has thrust us to reevaluate priorities. We have had to reacquaint ourselves with our families, spend time around our tables, get to know our neighbors on the other side of our fences (and hopefully lead them to Christ) and open our Bibles at home and lead spiritually. The confusion about all of this is it shouldn’t be new to us but rather normal. This is what God has always desired for us.
Many of the posts I have read about what is needed during this time goes something like this...put your trust in God, get into the promises and protection found in the scriptures, pray for strength and encourage the body of Christ. Again, I’m left baffled because this suggests that we are not doing it and shame on us if we are not! Shouldn’t this be the focus of our lives every day, pandemic or not? If so, then we should have set the example from the beginning about how life with God does not change because He does not change.
Let’s continue (a reminder) to trust God’s plan, lead our families heavenward and pray like there is no tomorrow. This seems to be the apostle Paul’s plan when he was confined and not able to meet and it should be ours as well!
“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. ~ Colossians 1:9-12
I love you and shine bright ☀️
What kind of people attend the Fulshear church of Christ? Well...we have liberals, ultra conservatives, and some who are just plain ole weird. It’s true! Have you Heard the statement, “everyone’s crazy except for me and you and I’m not so sure about you.” This reminds me of the parable that Jesus told about the DRAGNET (Matthew 13:47-50) where they “gathered some from every kind.”
I would like to believe that I am Biblically balanced, walking straight down the middle of the Bible, and not turning to the right or left. However, the liberals would think that I am ultra conservative. And, the conservatives would think that I am too liberal. And the crazies, well...they just think that I am crazy!
It is true that we have all kinds of people in our fellowship at the Fulshear church of Christ. It is also true, that we must get along regardless of our personal views. Unity is the priority in Christ (Ephesians 4:1-4). Being Biblical is more important than being conservative or liberal! Labels are given to make us feel better about ourselves. Everyone tries to justify what they say, believe, and do regardless of where they fit in the spectrum.
Let’s do our best to just be Biblical! In matters of faith let’s remember that unity with Christ is essential. In matters of opinion we must remember that we need to extend liberty regardless of how uncomfortable we may feel. However, in all things love is the essential ingredient. The difference comes in understanding and knowing what is essential versus what is an opinion. It is also essential that we love in every way. Loving does not mean ignoring what is Biblical. Being Biblical does not give us a right to be unloving.
So what kind of people do you want to attend the Fulshear Church Of Christ? Remember, it takes all kinds but what is essential is that we never turn to the right or left but walk down the center of the Bible maintaining unity in Christ.
“Then Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak." (John 12:44-50)
This story about Shrek the Sheep has been floating around for a while. I think I first read about him on Facebook but the story of Shrek goes back several years. This is a great story. Here is the article that was circulated on Facebook:
This is Shrek the sheep. He became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone there to shear it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds. Most sheep have a fleece weighing just under ten pounds, with the exception usually reaching fifteen pounds, maximum. For six years, Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece. Simply because he was away from his shepherd.
This reminds me of John 10 when Jesus compares Himself to a shepherd, and His followers are His sheep. Maybe it’s a stretch, but I think Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to accumulate extra weight in this world - a weight we don’t have to bear.
When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty-pound fleece was finally removed - enough wool to make suits for 20 men! All it took was coming home to his shepherd.
I believe Christ can lift the burdens we carry, if only we stop hiding. He can shave off our ‘fleece,’ that is, our self-imposed burdens brought about by wandering from our Good Shepherd. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
What a beautiful lesson for each of us. I can’t wait until we are back together. Until then ... SHINE BRIGHT FAMILY!