This week’s reading is from Mathew chapter 26. In verse 39 we find Jesus praying in the Garden. He was greatly troubled, knowing what was about to happen. He did not want to go through with the horrible crucifixion that was awaiting Him. He was praying to His Father, “If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless, not as I will but as You will.” This was the moment of decision for Jesus. Was He going to go through with this or was He going to do what He wanted to do?
I believe at some time in everyone’s life we all come to a place like this. We are challenged to let go of the control of our lives and surrender our wills to the will of God. This is never an easy thing to do, especially the older we get. We like to be in control of our lives and make our own decisions. But there will come a time when we have to decide who is going to be the boss or the Lord of our lives. Jesus was struggling, as we all will, but He finally came to the right decision, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
It may not be the easy road that we are called to walk, but if God is calling us to surrender it is always the better road to walk. Have you surrendered your life to Him yet? If not, why not? If so how has it been?
This week’s reading is from Matt 24:37-39. Jesus said in the last days it would be like it was in Noah’s day; people just kept doing their own thing right up until the flood came. What happened to all the other godly people in Noah’s day? Somehow they ‘missed the boat.’ It is possible to get so out of touch with God that you don’t know what is going on and what God is doing! It is possible that God’s Holy Spirit was speaking to them, surely Noah preached to them. Yet they were too caught up in the ways of the world. They didn’t think judgment was really going to come. They didn’t think they were that bad! People tend to ignore the reality of judgment. This is true in almost every age. It was true in Noah’s day; it is true in our day. In Noah’s day people were breaking the laws of God’s, and did not even consider the possibility that the Lord would punish them for their disobedience.
Even as the culmination of history approaches, when Jesus Christ will return to earth, people will still go on living in rebellion against God, giving no thought to the consequences of their sin. Certainly we see this in our day. Many people want nothing to do with God, they never go to church, and never read the Bible. They don’t hesitate to violate God’s laws, and some even claim the Ten Commandments and the Bible are outdated and irrelevant. Most never seem to consider the possibility that God will punish them for their behavior. The moral decay in our society is obvious. Living together before marriage, divorce and homosexuality has become so common that many folks no longer think it is wrong anymore. Honesty, simply telling the truth is becoming a lost virtue. Many young people seem to be unable to distinguish between right and wrong. A big reason for this type of epidemic of immorality is that people ignore the reality of God’s judgment. They were breaking every one of God’s commands, but did not even consider the possibility that the Lord would punish them for their disobedience. Many folks are uncomfortable with the topic of God’s judgment and even the concept of hell. They prefer a nice, loving God, who is always trying to help everyone. But God will punish evil. That is an important part of His character. Exodus 34:6,7 “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished.” What are you doing to make sure you don’t miss the boat?
This week’s reading is from Matthew 23:9, Jesus said, “Call no man your father.” I believe that Jesus was referring to the fact that no human father could ever meet all the needs of his children. When I became a father I determined I was going to be the best father I could be. On a scale of 1-10, I wanted to at least be a 9½, but I have come to the realization that I have not been able to meet all of my children’s needs. I have often failed them. I made mistakes with them and I have hurt them. They will need to deal with the fact that some of their needs are still unmet. My hope is that instead of being mad at me for not being the perfect father, they will come to the realization that ONLY the Father in heaven is able to truly meet their needs. They will need to release me and accept me for who I am.
Some people never come to this realization and they are still calling their earthly father, “Father” wanting him to meet their unmet needs. Until they let go and look to God to meet their needs they will live frustrated and unhappy lives. God is the ultimate Father. He is the true Godfather. He knows what we need and is capable of meeting those needs. He left us a great example of what kind of Father He is, by the way He related to His Son, Jesus, while He was on the earth. At Jesus baptism God the Father spoke out of heaven, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased.” Even Jesus needed a little encouragement from His Father and so do we. When Jesus went up into the mountain and was transfigured, His Father spoke again. “This is my Son, listen to Him.” Jesus’ Father knew how to encourage and bless His Son. Only God our Father truly knows what we need and when we need it.
My dad was a great father. I never saw him drunk, or heard him curse. He always provided for us, his twelve children! I always felt safe, yet he was far from the perfect father. He made mistakes and there were times as I was growing up that I was mad at him for not meeting all my needs. I am so grateful that God opened my eyes to see my father as a fellow human being who was doing his best. It was only when I came to the realization that there was only one who could ever meet those inner needs that I had and allowed God to become my heavenly Father, that I was able to let go of my demands that my father meet all my needs. There are so many people who are still mad at their fathers, because he did not meet all their needs, or not even very many. Well, Jesus has something to say to you, today, “Call no man your father.” Let your earthly father go and look to your Godfather in heaven to meet those inner most needs of love and acceptance. “Who’s your daddy?”
This week’s reading is from Matthew 22:35-40. When Jesus was asked the question, what is the most important command, He answered, “Love God and love neighbor as yourself.” Jesus’ simple, clear answer to this question is a powerful statement about what God really values. The number one lesson that a person should get from the Bible, Jesus is saying, is simply this: “Nothing is more important than relationships!” This is the summary of the entire Bible! By choosing these two commands as the most important of all of the OT commands, Jesus tells us how deeply He values relationships. Notice that Jesus actually gives TWO commands but says they are really ONE command, because to God, loving God and loving our neighbor is one thing! They cannot be separated. You can’t do one and then NOT do the other.
From the beginning of the Bible to the end, the same message is preached; nothing is more important than relationships. We are told “in the beginning,” God created you for relationship. He made you to relate to Him. Then we read the story of how even though Adam had relationship with God he had no other human to have relationship and God said it was not good, meaning Adam was lonely, so God created Eve. If a person lives their life and misses out on relationships, they will be missing the CORE reason for which God put us on this planet. In the end, nothing is more important, because nothing will last longer than relationships. Your relationships with God and others will last all the way into eternity. The main reason that Jesus came to this earth was to offer an opportunity for all people to establish a relationship with God, which had been broken by sin. This relationship with God would also strengthen all your relationships with others. Relationships are the number one priority to God. Jesus came to show us how to enjoy a new way of relating to God and to others. Why do you think that so many people, even religious people, miss this? Why do we let things get in the way of building healthy relationships?