Have you ever been troubled in your heart? Have you ever experienced a physical illness or the illness of a loved one? The problems of life and daily living can many times overwhelm us to the point of being discouraged and even despondent.
When our Lord was in His human state upon this old earth, He was readily sensitive to the pain people experienced both mentally and physically. When Jairus’ daughter died, Jesus cared (Matthew 9:18-19; Mark 5:22-24; Luke 8:41-42). When our Lord came to the tomb of Lazarus and stood in the midst of Mary’s consoling friends, the shortest text in the Bible says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). In anticipation of His own suffering, and death upon the cross, our Lord found time to reach out to His apostles in loving reassurance. He was aware of their impending sorrow and lovingly said to them, “Let not your heart be troubled….”(John 14:1).
How does the Lord, who deeply cares for each one of us (1 Peter 5:7), instruct us how to deal with the troubles of this life? Does He recommend denial, a type of dishonest pretension that “all is well?” Does He urge us to escape the trials and problems of this life in drugs, alcohol, pleasure, or even suicide? Does He tell us to be pessimistic, even cynical about life becoming bitter, critical, caustic, and blaming? The answer, of course, is no! We have a loving Savior who can take the troubles that His children experience (John 16:33) and providentially work everything out for their good and benefit (Romans 8:28). Let us as the Lord’s people receive and believe Peter’s instructions to “cast all of your care upon Him, for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
The Bible has a lot to say about decisions. The great men of the Bible were great because of the choices they made. There was Joshua. He called on Israel to “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Then added emphatically, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15) Then there was Moses. He chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” (Hebrews 11:25)
There are many decisions we must make in life. We must choose a mate. This very important decision can determine the whole course of our lives. We must choose an occupation. Remember to make it an honorable one. We must choose our friends. Be very careful here. Remember: “Evil companionships corrupt good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)
We must never forget that decisions determine destiny. This is true not only of the big decisions but of the little ones also. Our eternal destiny will be determined by the total of all our decisions.
The church at Thessalonica got off to a rocky start. The two missionaries, Paul and Silas, who first preached in their city had to flee by night because of persecution. Later Paul wrote to them and mentioned their “having received the word in much affliction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:6) And again, “Ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen.” (1 Thessalonians 2:14)
But even though the Thessalonians suffered persecution for their faith, they still sounded forth the word of the Lord. Paul wrote, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad, so that we need not to speak any thing.” (1 Thessalonians 1:8)
We enjoy much greater religious freedom in our country so that we need not fear persecution. That being the case, it should be much easier for us to sound out the word of the Lord in our community. Let’s imitate the church at Thessalonica in spreading the gospel message.
Join us in prayer for Ukraine, Russia, the European nations and the U.S. The message of Christ continues to set us free and people are seeking Him amidst the geopolitical crisis that is currently going on in Ukraine.
We have heard that prayers are being answered and many are seeking Christ. A local minister in Ukraine sent us this photo of a baptism taking place, while tanks and armed soldiers occupied the streets and buildings surrounding their church and small arms fire and explosions could be heard just a few hundred yards away. Their faith is being played out on a very real battlefield and we are humbled by their resolve.
Please continue to pray for these nations and that God’s light will continue to shine in the dark places. For more information about EEM, please visit us at eem.org/about.