Waiting has never been one of my strong suits. My prayer is “God, give me patience, but hurry up!” Maybe you can relate. After seeing the risen Christ and being with Him for 40 days, it must have been difficult for the disciples to do what He told them just before they saw Him ascend into the heavens. He told them “that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from Me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.” Acts 1:4-5 (MSG)
The disciples must have lived between wonder and awe over those forty days after Jesus rose from the dead! Each one of the eleven post-resurrection appearances of Jesus solidified their faith and excitement over the anticipation of the coming Kingdom that Jesus promised. When would it happen? When would Israel reclaim their glory days and no longer live under the siege of Roman rule in their own land? When would Jesus reveal Himself to the world as the Messiah they knew Him to be?
“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” John 13:1 (NKJV) “He loved them to the end.” That’s boundless love! It was a love that lasts! A love that perseveres! A love that never quits! Unlike human love that often drifts with mood and circumstance, God’s love is constant.
Restoration is the goal of redemption. The Psalmist says, “He (God) restores my soul!” (Psalm 23:3) What sin has broken, grace restores. The process begins when we humbly admit our need for God and others. While we may be apt to admit our need for God, sometimes we are reluctant to admit our need for others in the process. Fear of embarrassment or shame often create barriers to finding the help and support we need. Help is available.
The psalmist reveals the tenderness of God’s compassion for us in Psalm 56:8. Consider His love for you in this verse. “You (God) keep track of all my sorrows. You (God) have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book.” There is never a sorrow wasted, never a tear discarded. God records them all! What profound love! What a comfort to know we have a God who cares so much!
If your Christian experience is anything like mine, you find yourself walking in a fog at times. You need clarity for decisions and direction. Even the great Apostle Paul who wrote so much of the New Testament said, “Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” 1 Cor. 13:12 (NLT) While heaven will offer perfect clarity, how do we find it until then?
Amos is one of my favorite characters in the Old Testament. He wasn’t a prophet or the son of a prophet. He wasn’t a priest. Without any special preparation, education or upbringing, Amos was a simple shepherd and fig picker. Yet, God called Amos to deliver a powerful message to His people. Why Amos? He lived in a time when the religious and political leaders had departed from God and were no longer communicating His Word or representing His character. They were corrupt. As go the leaders, so go the people. Both were drifting farther away from God.
Nothing will ignite your faith like a fresh encounter with God! Hearing God’s voice is essential to vital faith. God speaks today and longs for us to hear His voice. The clearest way I hear God’s voice is to engage Scripture on a daily basis. Jesus told us that God’s Word is truth!
Easter is the encore of heaven! It’s the triumph over evil, death and hell itself! No event in history can compare with the victory of the empty tomb! Because He lives, we too may live! Our sins can be forgiven! Our lives can be filled with hope and a power beyond ourselves to live victoriously! The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead presents a whole new challenge. How would we live our lives if we knew death was not the end?
Have you ever considered how you want to finish your life? Will you finish well? Will you have accomplished the purpose for which you were created? Will those closest to you know you loved them? From the cross, Jesus taught us how to finish well. His declaration would become a crowning word of triumph! Three words in English, one word in the Greek, Jesus would cry, “Tetelesthai” – It is finished! No single word ever uttered has so changed the history and destiny of mankind as this!