We live in what I call the 3rd era of human-kind in God’s master plan.
In each era, God has found humans that were righteous in his eyes and worthy of eternal life.
The first era was before there was a covenant between God and mankind. Examples of those found worthy and righteous are Abraham, Job and Noah. There undoubtedly were countless more.
The second era was the era of the Mosaic law and the Old Covenant. Under this covenant, the Hebrews, later called Israelites and Jews, were selected to show the world the one and only true God. They were to show the attributes of God and obedience to his law.
They were to show the world what God expected of humans in worship, reverence and righteous living. In essence, they were to be the light of the world. Again, a countless number were found righteous in God’s eyes, as they observed the law that He gave to Moses and worshipped Him with their heart, soul and mind.
However, the Bible tells us they failed miserably as a whole, in showing the world who God was and what He wanted from humankind, often falling into idolatry themselves.
They were also to produce the Messiah, the true light of the world, from the lineage of David. Prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus Christ, the Son of God was born of Joseph and Mary of the lineage of David.
With the birth of Jesus, it is clear that the old covenant was not to be the final covenant in God’s master plan.
The final era is the era in which we live.
It is the era where humankind is under the New Covenant, ushered in by God manifesting himself in the flesh, in the form of Jesus Christ. The son of God, yet a man. The final covenant in God’s master plan.
We are not required to offer animal sacrifices or blood sacrifices. Jesus paid that price for us.
He became our substitute and through his blood we are cleansed of all our sin and unrighteousness.
After accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord, the only sacrifice God wants from us is our worship and service.
Romans 12:1-2 New English Translation
1 Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God[b]—which is your reasonable service. 2 Do not be conformed[c] to this present world,[d] but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve[e] what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
We are not to be in conformance with the ways of the world which are the ways of the devil.
We are to be transformed, with the daily renewing of our mind. Through prayer, worship, reading of God’s word, meditation and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So that we may know and do the will of God, which is good, well-pleasing and perfect.
If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior, or if you once did, but have since fallen away, there is no better time than now to invite him into your life, repenting of your sins and believing in His name. There truly is no lasting peace and contentment without Him.
Christians, as you travel in your spiritual growth journey, ask God to search your heart daily. Ask Him to renew your mind daily through prayer, worship, reading of His word, meditation and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Develop a “worshipful attitude” so that it becomes as much a part of your life as eating and breathing. Develop it to the point that you are in a “worshipful attitude” even when you do not realize it. Remember, it is our good and reasonable service to God.
We are only in public worship settings 2-3% of our time. God expects and wants our worship the remaining 97% of the time.
Again, it is our good and reasonable service to God. It is our sacrifice, lifted up to Him.
Always remember that as a Christian, we are being watched and I believe we will influence more people with our actions and how we live our daily lives, than with our words.
Don’t forget, words are cheap. Our actions and deeds are who we truly are.
Besides our sacrifice of worship, we are His ambassadors.
Jesus said we are the light of the world. As the Jews were originally the chosen people who were to show God to the world, we are now the chosen people who are to show Christ to the world.
The Church, made up of all believers and followers of Jesus, is now the chosen race; the new Israel; the chosen people who are to show the world the love of God and the story of Jesus.
We are a royal priesthood who can access God at any time, day or night.
We are a holy people, a people of God. We are children of God, who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
To help you on your spiritual growth journey and in being the “holy people of God and light of the world”, take time to note your favorite verses, stories or parables and start your very own mini-Bible.
Of course, the entire Bible is worthy of our study and meditation and we should read it cover to cover.
However, all of us will have different verses that impact us more than others. Write these verses down, commit them to memory and create your mini-Bible that you can refer to for your own benefit, or the benefit of others who might call upon you.
Upon completion I think you will find that your mini-Bible covers all the necessary aspects of Christianity, from salvation; faith; love; mercy; grace; heaven and characteristics of Christian living.
Be prayerful, thankful, mindful, worshipful and praiseful each and every day. Make it a habit. Live your life as the light of the world. Live your life as if someone is watching.
You will be glad you did and God will bless you richly.
As we conclude, let us all be mindful of the storms of life that come our way. God didn’t promise that as believers our life would be a “bed of roses.”
Quite the contrary, we suffer trials, tribulations and storms the same as the unbeliever.
The difference is that we have an anchor to keep us steady in the swirling water.
We have a lighthouse to see us safely through the storms.
Look closely at the following scripture and picture the storm that came upon the disciples as they were at sea;
Matthew 14:22-32 English Standard Version
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way[a] from the land,[b] beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night[c] he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So, Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind,[d] he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.
The disciples were in trouble. They were at sea and their boat was being beaten by the waves.
Jesus saw that his disciples were in a storm. Look closely at what Jesus did.
He went to them.
To show the disciples more of his power, He walked to them on the water. The point for us to imprint in our minds is that Jesus came to them in their time of need.
Remember how God metaphorically ran to the prodigal son who came home?
God metaphorically runs to all lost and wayward souls that pray the prayer of belief and repentance.
Likewise, in this scripture we see where Jesus goes to his disciples who are facing a storm.
What does this teach us about the storms of life that we face?
It tells us that whatever storm in life we face, Jesus will come to us.
Accept His help in faith and trust, knowing that whatever happens, Jesus will see you through it.
Peter who was questioning if it was truly Jesus, said “Lord, if it is you command me to come to you on the water.”
Jesus said “Come” and Peter got out of the boat and for a short time walked on the water.
Then what happened?
He got distracted. He lost his focus. He looked around and saw the crashing waves.
Fear overtook him and Peter began to sink.
Peter cried out “Lord save me” and Jesus took his hand and led him safely to the boat.
While doing so, Jesus rebuked Peter in a way saying “O you of little faith; why did you doubt?”
Notice that when Jesus and Peter got into the boat, the wind ceased. The sea was calm.
Jesus will come to us when we are facing a storm of life. In faith and trust we must accept that He has things under control.
We also must learn from Peter, not to lose our focus on Christ. We must not get distracted, looking around us and becoming fearful that our storm is too great to overcome.
Instead, we must keep our eyes solely fixed on Jesus. Our faith and trust must not waver, for Jesus will see us through our storms.
And yes, there will be many storms that will come our way.
One way or another, Jesus will calm the troubled waters.
One of the most quoted verses for inspiration to the believer is Philippians 4:13;
Philippians 4:13 English Standard Version
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me. This shouldn’t be construed as saying we can do ANYTHING we want through Christ.
No, it means that with Christ as our Lord, we can get through whatever storm comes our way.
Christ will see that we get through it.
God has told us that He would not place on us more than we are able to bear.
The most-saintly person I have ever known, faced storms in her life.
Her final storm was blindness and several years in a nursing home. Even though she was unable to get out of bed, unable to see and often soiled, she was never heard to complain. NEVER.
When found in a bad state, she would tell the visitor “honey, don’t say anything; they are busy and will get to me when they can.”
She continued to influence everyone that saw her, as the brightest light of the world I have known.
She glorified and magnified God in what looked like a poor and pathetic state.
You see, God did not place on her more than she was able to bear.
When you face the next storm in your life, focus all attention on Jesus. He will come to you. Focus with steadfast and unmoving faith. Don’t glance at the crashing waves but keep your eyes upon Him. Surrender to Him and depend on Him.
The promise that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” means I can get through whatever storm I face.
Christ will see us through whatever storm or valley we face and will see us through to our eternal home with God.
When we are on the mountain top, it is easy to have and express faith and trust.
We don’t realize how strong or weak our faith is until we face a storm or valley.
In fact, God uses our storms and valleys to teach us lessons that we need to learn.
It may seem difficult or hard to do, but we should thank God daily for all things. For the mountain tops AND the valleys. For those storms of life.
Why? They make us stronger. They refine our faith. They cement our trust. They help us to realize that we are not in as much control as we thought. They help us develop tunnel vision, focused solely on God.
God ran to us when we prayed the prayer of belief and repentance.
Jesus will come to us when we are in need.
The lyrics of the gospel song “He Will Calm the Troubled Waters” say it better than I can;
“He will calm the troubled waters of your soul.
Take your broken heart and make you whole.
and If the storms of your life grow dark and cold,
He will calm the troubled waters of your soul.”
Yes, Jesus will come to us in our time of need, just as He did for the disciples and we have the assurance that we can get through all things, because of the strength we receive from Him.
Furthermore, God will not place on us more than we are able to bear and He has promised that His grace is sufficient for all our needs.
As we grow spiritually, we should live with assurance, peace and contentment knowing that Jesus will help us through the storms of life that will surely come and at the end will safely see us to our eternal home with God.