The Lesson at the Garden of Gethsemane

There are some great lessons to learn from the time Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and just before he was arrested.

We find the story of Jesus in the Garden in Mark 14:32-42 and Luke: 39-46 and Matthew 26: 36_46. So we know with some confidence where this time was in the life of Jesus, we know that it was just before Jesus was arrested in the garden. After the arrest, Jesus would be taken away and brutally beaten, whipped and crucified for us. Taking on the punishment for our sins and allowing us to be saved through Jesus.

Lets look at Mark 14 first. “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

Wait a minute. Did you catch that? Here is Jesus, the Son of God, who fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, performs countless miracles and so much more. Yet, right now, in the garden, knowing what was to come, he was genuinely frighten at what he knows is going to happen to him. He is basically saying to three of his closest disciples. “Guys I am scared to death, please stay with me I don’t want to be alone.”

How can Jesus be scared to death? Let’s read on.

“And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.

What a minute. This sounds like the way I pray. Repeating the same prayer in case God did not hear it the first time. As I read this part in Mark, I can’t help but wonder why would Jesus be so scared and go back three times to repeat the same prayer. Which to me said, I would do this if it is your will God, but is there any chance this could pass and not have to happen?

And then it just struck me, what was happening here. The powerful lesson we can take from this part of Jesus’s life.

God was letting Jesus experience ALL of being human? Yes Jesus is God. He created us. He has counted the hairs on our head. He knows us better than we know ourselves but knowing and actually experiencing can be two different things. We know fire burns but how many of us stuck our finger in a fire and felt the burn. For those of you, like myself, who just had to stick your finger in the fire of a candle to see how much it can burn, you can really understand how much it hurts. Knowing is not the same as experiencing something.

Now lets read Luke 22:43 -46 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

This scripture tells us two things. One God will be there to help you and strengthen you in tough times. It may not be an angel coming from heaven and appearing to you to comfort you but He will be there to comfort you.  The second powerful lesson, this scripture shows us is that Jesus was fully submitting himself to God completely to the point that he allowed himself to become human in every respect, so he could experience the actual emotions of being humans. To experience being so scared to death that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground,

Let’s think about that. We know in Romans 8 vs 34 that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us. So when we are confused, or fearful and we pray to God for help, not once, but multiple times in a row, let this lesson reassure you that Jesus is at the right hand of God saying, “I now how that feels, I have been there. I was that scared” as he intercedes.

What a wonderful and generous Savior we have in Jesus. He experienced so much sorrow and pain unto death for us. Not just to save us but so that when he is interceding for us, he has empathy because he lived it too.

This should not just translate to his intercession for us, it should translate to every thought and prayer we have, that Jesus had to deal with it also. That we can talk with him about every issue in our lives and have total confidence that his answer is “I know. I understand.”

If you noticed I said “when we talk with him.”  Talking is praying.  We do not have to pray in some set fashion we can just simply talk with our Lord and it is praying.  I encourage you in your pray time to just have a simple conversation with our Lord.  Tell Him really how you feel.  He does understand and more importantly that Bible tells us in he knows what we are thinking so why not just said it.  Here are three scriptures that say this.

Psalms 139:4 – Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
Isaiah 65:24 – Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.
Matthew 6:8 – Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Simply put if you are thinking something and praying something else that you think God wants to hear then you are telling him you don’t trust him.

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God Really Does Know What He is Doing

I believe that God did things or affected things in the past not just to teach the people of that time. He also knew it would teach us also.

Much of the story of Moses and the Israelites leaving Egypt is filled with examples of God leading them in the right direction but for this study, I want to cover Chapters 13 and 14 in Exodus. This starts where the Pharaoh lets the Israelites leave Egypt.

I think we need to lay down a little of the back story, as they say in the movies, to see why they are able to leave Egypt and the mindset of Moses, the Israelites and the Pharaoh.

We start in Exodus 7 where God tells Moses and Aaron to tell the Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave Egypt. I say Moses and Aaron because when God told Moses to talk to the Pharaoh he said to God that he had faltering lips and did not speak well so God told Moses that Aaron would speak for him.

This is the first important lesson we are to learn. When God wants you to do something and you have the will but not the way, he will find a way to help you to accomplish the task. I am sure many of your have a future you believe God is moving you toward. But you feel you don’t have the education, the skills or the confidence to do it. God will give you a way.

If you are at a point where you feel led by God but fell you do not have the ability, let me give you a few words to help with this. MOVE and just do it. Start moving towards that future. As we go further in the lesson the word MOVE will become much more clearer.

Back to Moses and Aaron. They spoke to Pharaoh and told him to let the Israelites leave Egypt. The Pharaoh refused so God did a bit of convincing to get the Pharaoh to release the Israelites.

It took 10 plagues upon Egypt to final make the Pharaoh let them go. Most of us know them. They are listed from Exodus Chapters 7 to 10:

  1. Water turned to blood. The Pharaoh’s magician also replicated this. Which brings up another subject and sermon of how the Devil can sometimes manipulate things to make him look like he can work the same miracles as God
  2. The plaque of the Frogs – Pharaoh’s magicians also replicated this, but it was the last one they could replicate. Which show the Devil is not God and he can only imitate him to a point.
  3. The plague of the gnats and lice.
  4. The plague of flies
  5. The plague against livestock
  6. The plague of boils
  7. The plague of hail
  8. The plague of locusts
  9. The plague of darkness
  10. The death of the firstborn

Throughout many of the plagues the Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go but then changed his mind. It was not until the firstborn in every Egyptian family died, including Pharaoh’s son, that he was left so broken he let the Israelites go. This takes up to Exodus 13:17-18. “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.”

Here comes our second main lesson. Lets look at all that happen from this verse.

Pharaoh knew the way out of Egypt. He knew the shortest route out of Egypt was through the Philistines and most likely that is where the Israelites would go. I believe God has shown me, in this verse, that this was part of the Pharaoh’s plan to have the Israelites slaughtered by the Philistines or in fear run from the Philistines and back to Egypt where the Pharaoh would either slaughter them or enslave them again.

Before we go one with this story I think it is important to look at who the Philistines were to see just how bad of a decision it would have been for the Israelites to go the shorter route. The Philistines were an aggressive, warmongering people who occupied a part of southwest Palestine between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. They were known for their innovative use of iron, which was superior to the bronze used by the Israelites for weapons and implements  The “road through the Philistine country” refers to a route later known as one of three major trade routes in ancient Israel. And later on in David’s time we will see him as a teenager take on the giant Goliath who was a Philistine. So it is correct to say they were a warring nation that would not appreciate or take lightly to the Israelites coming through their land. The Israelites would have been defenseless against the mighty power and weapons of the Philistines.

Let’s go back to verse 17 – 18 we tells us that perhaps the Israelites knew they would run into problems on that route. After all the last line in this verse says “The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.” So they must of expected to encounter some trouble. But they did not know the Philistines, the Israelites had been in captivity in Egypt for 400 years so they were not aware of what they thought was going to be some trouble would actually be a slaughter. Their slaughter.

But you see God knew them better than they knew themselves just like he knows us better than ourselves. He did not take them through the Philistine country. He took them a safer way because…. NOW LISTEN TO THIS IT IS IMPORTANT… at this time in their lives, God knew they would not fight or could not defend themselves, with the meager weapons they had, but out of fear they would change their minds and return back to Egypt.

Are you hearing this? God knew they needed to be more prepared for battles then they were at this point in their journey. Wow I just am overwhelmed at how much God really does know what he doing.

We read this in Chapter 14 verse 1, “Then the Lord said to Moses, tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hadiroth, between Migdo and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.

Let’s think about that. God, knowing that the path they were on, and for that matter, the path we are on, which looks like the perfect shorter path for our walk in Christ or where we think God is leading us. And of course we are positive that we are equipped with the proper armor for that path. But God may know that the path we were going to take was not only the wrong path but taking that path, at this moment in our salavation, could cause us to go back to where we were before being saved. Held in our own captivity in a life without Jesus in it, a slave again to our sinful life.

I can surely remember the times I have thought “God what are you doing? Everything was going perfect, I’m armed with the Armor of God, and I’m ready. Why did you close that door? Do you feel you are armed, ready to go, can’t understand why God is delaying it, or slamming a big door in front of you? Or you seemed to have stepped back several steps instead of going forward in your journey. Is this making sense?

Let’s read on in verse 6, Pharaoh found out the Israelites were fleeing another direction and his heart was hardened so he took his army and went after them. Now this wasn’t just Pharaoh and his elite soldiers. It says in Exodus, he took his Army, 600 of the best chariots along with all of the chariots in Egypt with officers over all of them.” Now I suspect that was one large army.

Let’s read from Exodus 14: 10-18 – As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

We may think, after all those plagues, after all God did to get them here, how could these people have so little faith? Yes they have seen God move but now they were standing there watching this huge army of Egyptians in chariots coming down after them and the Red Sea behind them. The huge dust cloud created by over 600 plus chariots must have struck such fear into the Israelites.

Try to put yourself in their shoes. You have seen God move mighty in your life but some very serious situation happens like a major illness, loss of job and your faith seems to waiver and you are there saying God why did this happen? God where are you? Or what was the point of taking me this far, if I am going to just die here between my own type of Red Sea and may own type of Egyptian army.

Now as we read on, I want you all to close your eyes and try to picture the sights and sounds that are going on at that very moment. Israelites are panicking. They are screaming, running everywhere, yelling at Moses and most likely at God too. The Egyptians are rolling toward them, you can hear the thunder of the chariots, and the heavy breathing of the horses; the ground is trembling beneath your feet. And you look behind and there are waves crashing on the shore, the power and size of the Red Sea looks terrifying. Can you see it in your mind, can you hear it. Phew. Stress or what?

Then Moses shouts out over the noise, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

I can see this. At that moment, Moses has given them some hope. They begin to calm down and they all look to him for the next move. So what happens next, does Moses yell follow me and start heading toward the Red Sea. Nope. I believe he must have just stood there for that moment because the next verse shows the Lord saying to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to MOVE on.”

I just absolutely love that line. It is so God being God and so, us humans being humans. Here Moses just got finished telling the Israelites not to be afraid, to stand firm and you will see the Lord deliver you today and the Egyptians will be destroyed. Then why is God basically saying to him “Hey why are you looking to me. You know what to do. Tell them to MOVE.

It is because God know our thoughts, and I believe that while Moses was saying that to the Israelites, he was thinking in his head, “Okay I am saying this but God I don’t know where to go, or what to do. In his head he was crying out to God, Please, HELP?” I know I would have.

But God is so gracious. God fills in the blank spaces.

This is our third major lesson. God filled in the blank spaces. He will do that for those we seek him even in the mist of what looks like certain disaster. He did it for Moses and he WILL do it for you.

God tells Moses. “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

Now I don’t want to pick on just how little faith the Israelites had at this time but I am trying to relate this story to our lives and how many times even though God is leading us, we doubt him and we still are fearful. But lets look at what has transpired.

Let me explain. In Exodus 13: 21- 22 it says – “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Did you get that? Day and night God was leading them on the right path. He was visible to them, each and every day and night, either as a pillar of cloud or a pillar of fire.

Come on now, one would think that after the 10 plagues and the Israelites being lead by the Lord both day and night with a very visible sign, that their faith would be rock solid how could they not know God is leading them and if God is leading them why are they not trusting him.

How many of us, if we had those same visible signs leading us in the right path would trust God that we were on the right path even when situations became so dire that we are fearing for our very lives? Would you? Would I? I would like to think so but maybe not.

So what can we take with us from this story? I would like to believe that reading these accounts in the Bible, would remind us in all situations to be able to be still and trust God. To be able to say, Lord I am not sure what is happening, but I trust that you are leading me the right way and to have confidence in our faith in God.

What is confidence? The origin of the word confidence is the Latin and means (to trust, to have faith in). Hence the original meaning of confidence is literally “to have trust or have faith in an object or person”. The word “trust” itself is based on faith in an object or a thing to be true. So the common element at the heart of confidence is “faith in something being true”.

In our case, faith that God does know what he is doing. And that he has a plan for us, again a plan, not to harm us, a plan to prosper us and give us hope for the future.

We need to let that truth get into our spirit, our soul and our minds. I want for every Christian to learn this powerful truth. I do not want us to fail to learn this lesson like the Israelites failed to learn this lesson.  Yes the Israelites, after God delivered them out of Egypt, after they witness the 10 plaques, after He led them by day with a Pillar of Cloud and by night with a Pillar of Fire, fter He opened up the Red Sea so they could all walk across it and then it swallowed up the Pharaoh and his soldiers. They still did not fully learn the lesson.

Why can I say they did not learn this lesson?

Because for 40 years after all of these mighty moves of God, they wandered around the desert, demanding things their way, ignoring what Moses has to say, listening to everyone but God. Basically telling God, thanks for getting us this far, but we’ve got it from here.

Let me explain it a different way. The Israelites ended up doing it the hard way instead of God’s way. The distance from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan was about 240 miles.   At a 20-minute mile, which is a good walk and walking 8 hours each day that would be 24 miles in a day, so in theory there could have walked to the Land of Canaan in 10 days. And since it says the Lord went ahead as a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire at night, this tells me they walked both day and night, and most likely walk more than even 8 hours. So it would be safe to say, taking days of rest that they would have walked those 240 miles easily in one month.

Yet it took them 40 years to walk what could have taken less than a month. Is that saying anything to you? I know to me it is saying I do not want to spend 40 years trying to get to where God wants me to be, JUST because I think I know better than God in how to get there. So you see.

God really does know what he is doing so let’s let him lead the way.

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Yes Jesus Loves Me

My son is 4 ½ years old and every night at bedtime, for the past two years, I sing to him Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and then we sing Yes Jesus Loves Me. The song Yes Jesus Loves me is such a simple truth. “Yes Jesus Loves Me because the Bible tells me so.” So simple that sometimes we do not give it the credit or better-said attention it deserves.   But more importantly, if the Bible tells us Jesus loves us why do we still sometimes not believe that? Why are there days where we truly believe Jesus and God do not love us?

For many of us there is an internal thought process that is like a meter telling us, based on what we have done or are doing, how much we feel God loves us.

Does this sound familiar, allowing one’s judgment of one’s behavior to dictate how much God loves us. We then use it to put us down and convince ourselves that were not worthy of God’s love. Sometimes, we can actually take it so far as to equate God not loving us to whether we “feel” we are saved.

It can be that easy when you let your mind take control and judge what you did wrong. And then let it tell you how much God loves you? And if you believe God doesn’t love you, how can you believe anyone else can love you including yourself?

Would you like to stop this bad habit? Are you ready to take the song as literal Gospel truth? Yes Jesus Loves Me because the Bible tells me so. Well let’s go to the Bible. Let’s all read Ephesians 3 vs 16-19 and let it sink into your heart, mind and soul.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

That one line “may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” is so spot on.   Your “inner being” is your heart, mind and soul. That is where you need to let the confident assurance that God loves you be residings.

What you do, what you say, what you think cannot effect how much God loves you.

I once read a great truth. “Nothing that you do or DON’T do can separate you from the Lord’s presence.” Often times, it is the “don’t do” that we can use, more effectively, against ourselves than what we did wrong.

Let that sink in for a moment. Nothing that we don’t do can separate us from the Lord’s presence. Often times, we can understand or accept that if we did something wrong or not Christ like, that we are forgiven. But when we don’t do something, THAT is when the thoughts can really take hold. We did not pray this morning or we did not pray long enough. I did not stay awake reading my Bible. Why don’t I smile at church? Everyone else is smiling. Why don’t I _______? We can all finish that sentence several times over.

Let’s read Romans 8 38-39. Read it out loud if you are in a place you can. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creations, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The line” nor anything else in all creation” includes EVERYONE OF US and what we think and what we do and don’t do.

I pray for all of you that this scripture, being rooted and established in love, sink into to you. And let the unsurpassable knowledge that, God wants you to fill your inner being and turn off permanently all negative meters in your head.

Amen! Praise God, his mercy endures forever

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Dependency is Not a Bad Thing

For many of us being dependent on someone else goes against our thinking. For some independent thinkers, as I was and still can be, it seems to go against our very existence.

Many of us strive for independence in one way or another. As toddlers, you first start wanting to do it your way. When you graduate from high school, most young men and women declare their independence by going off to college or moving to a place of their own.

Even in your job you tend to strive for a bit of independence. Even working for a major corporation with all its standards and practices, you do little things that carve out room for your need to feel independent.

But what if I told you that being dependent, I mean completely dependent, will actually free you more than whatever you think being an independent person could ever do for you. It will liberate you.

How so? By being 110% completely dependent on God and our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe Proverbs 3 vs 5-6 says it best.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”

There are many great sermons in that one quote.

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart
  • Lean not on your own understanding
  • All your ways acknowledge him
  • He will make your paths straight.

But, for today, lets concentrate on dependency on the Lord giving you freedom because that is what will happen and God’s word promises it. You will see.

Let’s start breaking down this quote. Lets look at “He will make your paths straight”.

For all of us that believe, being an independent thinking, was the best way to go, you can attest to some of the “less than straight paths” you have taken one time or another.

I was such an independent thinker. My mantra or better-put inspiration was a poem called “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Many of you know the poem; it is basically about a traveller coming up to two paths diverging in the woods. He looked down the one and it was well worn, implying many people had taken that path. He looked down the other trail, and it was barely used, brush still covering part of the trail. He pondered going both ways. But, as the poem implies, the traveller was an independent thinker, he chose the road less traveled as it says in the poem.

That was my mantra. I would say that all the time. I would proudly and with conviction quote the last two lines in the poem. “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Of course to me I was saying I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference in making my life better. But was that really true?

About 5 or 6 years ago, I began to question that self-imposed truth. I took the road less travel but am I the better for it? As I look back at all I lived through. All the roadblocks, all the crooked paths I took, and boy did I take a lot of crooked paths, I realized that doing the independent thing and making my own roads, was NOT the best thing and I was NOT better for it.

After a one step forward 20 steps back type of life, just the thought of the Lord making my path straight was truly liberating. So I said I’m in for it. Sign me up Lord. I’m all in. Please Lord make my path straight, I am worn out of trying to always do it my way.

Do any of your feel that way or is it just me? Weary of feeling like I was wasting my time correcting all the mistake and poor decisions I made.

Now I have a new way of thinking, a better way to guide my life. A simple, straightforward and less complicated prayer, “Lord you lead and I will follow.”

In the Bible, Jesus said in John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” In fact throughout all of John, Chapter 10, Jesus talks about him being the Shepherd and we being the sheep.

Let me tell you a little bit about herding sheep. When working with sheep, they become very familiar with their shepherds voice. They learn to trust that voice and will follow the shepherd anyway. If a stranger tries to command the sheep, they ignore it or will more often runs away from that person because then know he is not their Shepherd and they do not trust him. As it says in John 10 vs 3 – “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” Did you hear that? He knows your name and he calls to you by your name. That is something for all to remember in times of trouble, especially when we get intimidated by the awesomeness of who God is.

But how  do I hear God’s voice? How do I hear Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior and Shepherd’s voice so I can make sure I follow him? How do I know it is him leading me through his spirit and not just my thoughts, which may not be his thoughts or his ways for that moment? Well you here his voice in his Word, in Prayer, having your alone time with the Lord and letting his Holy Spirit speak to you.

Maybe it is just me, by there are times when I think about all that happens in one day or even one minute of our lives and how many Christians are praying to God every second throughout the world that I think, how can he hear my prayers and guide just me. And doubt can enter my mind. That is when holding to the truth that my Lord knows my name will eliminate that doubt and my dependency on God is taken to a higher level. But perhaps the word dependency is not as accurate when discussing this subject as the word trust. Trust, now there is a word that can conjure up all sorts of feeling.

So are we talking about the famous trust exercise of one person standing behind another and the person in front, with arms out falls back, trusting that the other person will catch them. Yes that is a big test of trusting someone but what is the worse that can happen with that test. You either find out the person will catch you or they don’t and falling might hurt a little bit and you will be embarrassed but that is all.

Trusting God with everything is so very different and can be scary especially if you are not sure you are hearing or being lead by him. In life, trusting him for things that can be life altering Trusting him when you or your loved one is very sick. Trusting him when your marriage needs help. Trusting him when you are trying to make major decisions. Sometimes trusting for your very life.

Again Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight”

How do you really know you are trusting God. Two Words. DON’T WORRY.

There is no better way to show your trust in God and our Lord Jesus Christ, then to give him your cares and fears and then just freely, with peace, trust that he has your back. A good practice that I do is when I am at that point where I am freaking out in fear, I just whisper, “Jesus, help me.” And then I know it has been given over to him and that I have put my trust in him that at that very moment is trying to lead me.

Luke 12:22 says “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or about your body, what you will wear.

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Are you ready to give it a try in your life? Are you ready to just say “Jesus, help me. I trust you”

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Walking in the Light

“Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my” Psalms 119:105

Jesus tells us in 1 John 1:5-7. “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; In him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”

There are three key phrases in this scripture. Light, Darkness and Fellowship. Lets looks at the first two, since according to 1 John 1:5-7 we either walk in one or the other.

Have you ever been in a room or outside at night where it was so dark you literally could not see the next few feet in front of your path. Sara and I have a trip to Alaska that we take with another family. We stay in these small A-frame cabins that are located throughout the Southern portion of Alaska, which basically is a rainforest, very thick with trees. These A-Frames were built years ago for the forestry service to stay at when they are out testing or measuring the animal and fish populations. They have no electricity, they are heated either by heating oil, that you must bring or a wood stove that you are expected to cut from larger logs that are stored at the camp. No cells phones work, and there is no running water. And of course out houses.

Most of these cabins are accessible by a 30 to 45 minutes flight via floatplane and most are on a lake.

At night, the only light within a 45-mile radius is by flashlight or propane lights lamps we bring. And they all have an outhouse that is 50 to 100 feet or so away from the cabin. So at night if I needed to go out or if Sara went, I went out with her since bears live in this area also, black and brown bear. By the way, when it comes to bears my wife has a life saving philosophy. All I have to do is run faster than Gary.

When you go out at night, without that light, you can’t see two feet in front of you. Especially on a day when it is cloudy which being a rain forest is often. And the paths around the cabin and up to the outhouse are not smooth paved walkways, they are dirt or mud and with most steps you are walking or tripping on a root from the many trees. You could fall every step if you could not see the roots.

Often, while waiting on the trail for Sara I would stand there and turn off my flashlight just to see how dark it is. With the light out, it is a blanket of darkness. You cannot see anywhere you look. And I assure you that no matter which way I thought was the right direction to go, I would either walk into a tree, trip on a root, and if I was stubborn enough to try this journey in darkness for a extended period, I would end up failing down a ravine or worse failing into the very cold lake.

This is the way we all walk in spiritual darkness. And often times, through stubbornness and belief that we know the best path for our lives we continue walking in spiritual darkness and eventually find our own roots to trip on, trees to walk into and ravines and lakes to fall into or stumbling upon a bear out looking for food.

I often wonder why we are like this? Why I am like this? Why do I choose to go my own way even if I am walking in total spiritual darkness when there is an answer in God’s Word?

Lets again turn to Psalms 119:105. “Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path.”

Let’s go back to the Alaska wilderness where I am standing in the darkness with my flashlight off. It is a uncomfortable feeling and a bit unnerving that I cannot see anything or know where to walk or what may be coming down this path towards me at that very moment. But as soon as I turn the flashlight back on, everything comes back into focus. I can see where I am again, I can walk where I need to go and see the path I need to go down.

Psalms 119:105 could easily read as “your word is a flashlight or light to my feet so I can see what I need to avoid stepping on or tripping on when I am walking and it is a flashlight for my path, so I can see the proper direction that I need to be moving forward so I am walking in God’s plan and purpose.”

We need this special time that we alone spend with God, and his Word and in prayer. It is life giving and life sustaining.

I can still remember what I first turned to Jesus. It was when I was at college, living on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood, CA where I felt empty inside. I was surrounded by all manner of things I never really saw before. I knew I needed something but was not sure what it was. Yet this feeling just kept speaking to me, “I need to read the Bible.” Every time I was at my lowest, that thought kept returning. “I need to read the Bible.”

I was raised a Christian but was far from it at this time in my life. I never thought about Jesus, I never prayed. I never talking with other Christians or at that time did I even know any Christians. I was numbly walking through life. I believe at this time in my life God, in his loving mercy and through his Holy Spirit, was the one who put this strong desire to find a Bible and start reading it.

And I did start reading the Bible. And spiritually it was like having a cool glass of water. You all know that feeling. You have been working or playing for a while and forgot to drink anything and you finally have a glass of cool water and you can feel it quenching your thirst and bringing your body back to a better place. God’s Word began to renew my soul and put my life on the right path and through the years has shown me the path I need to be on.

I know that some of you are thirsting for something more than you have right now. You have been longing for something and as you are hearing this, you are sensing that “This is it, this is what I have been wanting.” That is the Holy Spirit, showing you the way. Showing a path for you.

I urge you today, to following this feeling inside. Begin reading the Bible; add prayer to your life. Join a church so you can have fellowship with other Christians. Begin to walk in the light. And for those of you who have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, the first step is asking Jesus into your life. Asking him to be your Lord and Savior. Accept that he died on the cross for you. Please don’t wait another moment!

And for those of you who are Christians, you might think that because you are a Christian you automatically walk in the light of the truth but often times that is the farthest from the true. In 1 John 2 vs 9, it reads, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness.”

God’s word says that if we are envious of the good things others have, if we let anger, lust, greed, judging rule our mind. If we boast of the goods things we have, we are walking in darkness. And most of the time when we walk in the darkness, we end up in places that can lead us completely away from God. And if we are not careful, we can lose our way home.

But if we walk in the light and anything that could lead us the wrong way comes onto our path, we will see it for what it is a divisive trick of the enemy to keep us from knowing God in the full light. A lie to keep us from strengthen our relationship with God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and to be lead by God’s Holy Spirit.

Let’s pray that God continue to show us the path he has for us and that we will all become beacons, that the light of Christ will shine in us and from us to help encourages and build up others in their walk with the Lord

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