If you are reading this, then you are not at that place yet, but if you are a believer, you will be. You are included in this promise. If you belong to Jesus, then eternal life in Heaven belongs to you. It is God’s gift to you in Jesus.
In Heaven, there will be no east and west, there will be no north or south. No mean words will be heard when we are there, no bitterness or sin from the mouth. Surrounded by love that will never end; that is the life we will be know. In God’s kingdom of Heaven all sorrows will end as onward through glory we go.
Reflections on worship service this morning –
“Come Just as You Are”
Powerful moments in worship this morning
The invitation this morning at church tied several things from the worship service together. It was a powerful service that emphasized our need for Jesus and His willingness to receive us. The song Karen and I did interpretive movement to was “People Need the Lord” and the sermon was on asking the Lord these questions – “What do you want from me? What do you want me to do, Lord?” For the rich young ruler, it was to give up his property and possessions. For some, it might be to give up our time, our talent, our energy, or our strength to serve Him.
The point of the message was that Jesus deserves our heart-felt commitment to Him since He willingly gave Himself for us at the cross. I will remind us all that He did all this for us out of love. Let’s let our response to Him be done the same way. “We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
In this chapter Jacob arrives at his relatives property and meets Rachel at the well. As he spends time with them he falls in love with Rachel. But when it comes time to marry her he is tricked and ends up with Leah. I am not really sure what was meant by saying Leah had bad eyes. Maybe that she was not as pretty as Rachel? Does not matter though because we see here that she is feeling unloved by husband.
But God sees this, how she is being treated unfairly and He blesses her. The blessing may not be an easy blessing for her to live with. After all God cursed women with painful childbirth. Then raising all the children while Jacob is out in the fields. One thing that gets me though, if Jacob did not love her then why did make it so that she could have so many children? What was his thinking? I guess maybe it was that in culture back then they did not have a way to divorce yet. He was just doing his duty as a husband.
Feeling Unloved by Husband
If he was just doing his duty just think of how devastating it was to Leah’s ego, her self worth. God knew she needed comfort. He also knew the bond between child and mother. To give her the love she yearned for, to show her that God sees her, He gave her many children.
I know when I felt unloved by my husband, even by the world I yearned for a child. I felt like at least that way someone would love me. But, the truth of the matter is that kids are hard work! Giving birth hurts more than some of the worst physical pain that is out there. Then raising them to be responsible adults takes every inch of energy out of a person.
What kind of blessing is that then? It is one of the best blessings I think. I feel I need to acknowledge those who cannot have children though. I know He has blessings for you that are beyond what anyone could imagine. He has a plan for everyone who believes in Him.
Feeling unloved by husband
Let’s go back to Leah though. She has not suffered through child birth and has all these kids to raise. I am pretty sure as she is human that at times she wondered if she could really make it through some days. She already was self conscious I am sure because of her looks and how Jacob complained about marrying her. Now her husband only sleeps with her out of duty and these kids are underfoot all the time. Even resenting her as I am sure all kids go through those feelings at times.
feeling unloved by husband
Even through these struggling circumstances the Bible says God kept blessing her. He did not change the situation, maybe He even compounded it. But, because He had a plan and He saw she needed someone in her life to love her. He gave her child after child.
What I take from this chapter is that sometimes God’s blessings can add more responsibility. When that happens we may turn to grumbling against God. But if we can be like Leah and see each and every new child as God’s blessing what better attitude could that give us. Maybe God has you living in some poor conditions. If we look past the circumstances and see even the small blessings can help make things more bearable.
Are you able to look past your circumstances and see some positive. Something, some how see God’s hand is there with you still? If you need someone to pray and talk with you I am here for you.
Isaiah 53:3-9 3 He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all. 7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
Mark 10: 34 34 They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”
It makes me sick to my stomach to think of the pain Jesus went through on Good Friday. The name for this day is deceiving. What is pleasant about what happened to Jesus on this day. Yes, ok, I know it had to happen. I understand if He was not treated so He would not have risen on the third day. We would not have a way to be made right with God. But, let’s really reflect on what happened on this day.
They whipped Him until He was barely recognizable. Romans are known for their forms of inhumane torture. All this because the Jews were afraid of change, afraid people would side with Jesus and not them? This painful interruption multiplies joy. But, put yourself in the crowd. What feelings come up?
If I was there at the time and not knowing what I know now. Just a person in the crowd, I would have been angry. Knowing me I would not be out in the streets following the crowd. I would be hiding in my house trying to not know what is going on. That is normally how I react to tragedies going on around me. If I do not know the person I stay home, I pray for them, and move on with my life.
How callous of me, or is it fear? Fear of being involved, fear of not being able to do anything about it? Tell me the truth, how would you have reacted if you were in the crowd with Jesus carrying the cross? What would you have done on that first Good Friday Holiday?
But, what we do know now. We know God’s purpose in Jesus’s pain. We can experience joy God can only give. What guilt though that can bring up. For us, Jesus was tortured and died. Because of our evil nature Jesus was punished. How selfish we can be. Because we needed more than the perfect garden God gave us.
This Holiday lets reflect on our part of Jesus’s death. Ask for forgiveness. Really let Jesus search your heart. Let Him and what He went through change you from the inside out. If He has the power to go from that torture to bring in joy God can only produce, He has all the power to kill the sin that is holding us back today. I believe this is God’s purpose in putting the sins of the world on Jesus as He was crucified. So that our sins died right along with Him.
In James 1:19, we are instructed as follows: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” It goes on to say that our human anger does not produce the righteousness that God requires. (verse 20). We are to be quick to listen.
God is love, and in that love He is giving us this instruction to listen. Our listening to each other reflects His love. Listening is God’s design. (Maybe that’s why He gave us two ears and one mouth – we will listen twice as much as we talk. Well, I’ve heard that anyway.) I digress. God wants and expects us to listen. But why? I can think of two reasons off hand. You can probably come up with more. If you do, comment below this post.
One reason we are instructed to listen is because it is very effective. Not just listening for information, but listening to each others’ hearts – listening to show compassion. It is very healing to have someone listen to us.
One study I read about did an experiment with people in counseling. Half the group did the professional counseling, which itself can be very healing. Get hold of a Christian counselor, and it will help. I know it helped me. The other half just had someone listen to them. In the end, they measured the results, and the study found that both groups showed equally positive results. Both were very effective. It helps us a lot when people listen to us.
Yes, listening reflects God’s love, but it also reflects His character. He wants us to be like Him, and God listens. I said God listens. I need that reminder. Not only that, I think it is fair to say that God is quick to listen. He wants to hear us. He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him and to come to Him with confidence. Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
God is ready to listen right now. I want to be that way too. I’m going to get started with this – “Heavenly Father, it is a privilege to write these words that hopefully reflect Your word. I pray for whoever reads this right now, that they (and I) will listen to You, even as you are always ready to listen to us. God bless the readers of these words. In the strong name of Jesus, who makes all this listening connection to you and to each other possible. Amen.”