“Pretending to be happy when you’re alone is an example of how strong you are as a person.
Take care of your thoughts when you’re alone. And take care of your words when you’re with people. We are all so much together but we are all dying of loneliness.”
– Albert Schweitzer
The struggle I face the most is the loneliness of living alone. I remember in my thirties thinking I just want to be alone. Life was chaotic and I just wanted peace and quiet. Solitude was what I thought I wanted. Be careful what you wish for right?
Loneliness happens when you realize the relationships in your life aren’t fulfilling to you. When sudden life changes leave you going to bed and waking up all by yourself. You become lonely. All you begin to hunger for is just someone to enjoy the day with. Someone to talk to. Somebody to go to an event with. A companion to travel a cruise with. Someone to go watch a movie or shop a flea market with. Someone to come over for dinner and a movie. All your heart wants is someone to talk to and share your life with…but there is no one there. Not one person for you.
The reality is most times weeks will go by and not one conversation even happens outside of you and your furr baby. You give invites to friends and family even offering to pay their way only to be told sorry we are busy and can’t make it. Perhaps even worst is you get no reply back from them at all. Ouch! A simple “No” would have been considered a conversation to you. Afterall, it would have been interaction you had not had in a while.
You begin to isolate yourself even more. You go further into depression…further into feeling unloved. You sense rejection at every turn. Yes, living alone hurts and it is no joke.
A recent study from the HRSA.gov website says 1 out of 3 people today live alone. That’s staggering when you think about it…
Loneliness effects health and mental well being. When you begin to have health issues that hinders you from being as active or even driving places alone you feel defeated. A loss of your independence to living life has happened. We want to live life like everyone else. We want to go out and enjoy a concert or movie but no one you know is available to assist and attend with you.
That’s the moment when your mind starts lying to you telling you that no one wants to be with you. No one really cares about you. You could die in your sleep but would anyone care? These become the familiar voices you hear in your head day after day. Night after night as you eat alone. As you crawl into bed alone. Some days you don’t want to shower or dress because you don’t see any reason too. Afterall, you aren’t going anywhere. No one will see you. Day after day there is no one who checks in. You begin to fear the “what if’s”…”what if” a medical emergency happens, and “what if” no one finds you until it’s too late. “What if” I fell and broke my hip or “what if” I suffered a stroke and I couldn’t talk or move? How long would I lay on the floor before I died or how long before I was rescued? Will the floor be my final resting place where I take my last breath? These are not feelings of self pity here these are the “what if” feelings of the fearful reality for seniors and singles who live alone every single day. The 1 out of 3 who don’t have regular close relationships with family and friends for whatever reason.
If this is you like it is me…now is the time to grasp your truth. We’re in a season of loneliness and there is not a dern thing we can do to immediately change it. Trust me I tried. Go back up a few paragraphs to the place I said I’ve given several invites out and no responses. It’s just a lonely hard fact: we are alone! We are the 1 out of 3 lonely.
It’s the Lonely Port place I call it. It’s the time we must look deeply within ourselves to realize our joy isn’t made complete by the relationships of others. It’s time to find the joy that can only come from our Lord. His promise is to never leave us nor forsake us. There is a special joy He has just for those who know Him. We just have to seek it and find it.
His Joy doesn’t require there to be another human soul in it’s existence. His Joy is made complete in Christ alone. It can fill and satisfy that emptiness of being single. We are made to be in relationship with others He designed us He knows this. That first most important and lifegiving relationship begins in Jesus Christ. If you don’t personally have a relationship with Him it is simple to get. Just ask Him He says. Call upon the name of The Lord and you will be saved. Admit you tried doing life without Him and you were wrong. You need Him to enter your heart and become Your Lord. When you do this your loneliness will change. You will still struggle but you will never struggle alone again. His hope now lives in you and me.
When your hope has been thrashed. And your thoughts have become lies. It’s time to put on the Joy of the Lord and wear it. Time to put on a spirit of praise and gratefulness. Make sure everyday we dress up in the whole armor of God and be filled completely by His Spirit.
We can choose to put away that spirit of loneliness. Change our perspective mindset and trust that when we have a relationship with Jesus Christ then we are never ever alone.
Let us give thanks today for He is good and His love and mercy endures forever. Let us relinquish our pain and sorrow and allow the Lord of our life to turn our mourning into dancing.
He never responds with I am too busy. He will never ignore your request. He will always answer. He is always there.
Oftentimes, I have discovered that it isn’t my own words that can communicate what I need to say or hear. I find the message I desire comes from the Bible. God always makes everything right and He always has the hope I need. The following passage is just one example. May God richly bless you with His love and make everything come out right for you…Psalm 103:6-18 The Message (MSG)
6-18 God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up his plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth,
so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset,
he has separated us from our sins.
As parents feel for their children,
God feels for those who fear him.
He knows us inside and out,
keeps in mind that we’re made of mud.
Men and women don’t live very long;
like wildflowers they spring up and blossom,
But a storm snuffs them out just as quickly,
leaving nothing to show they were here.
God’s love, though, is ever and always,
eternally present to all who fear him,
Making everything right for them and their children
as they follow his Covenant ways
and remember to do whatever he said.
It is reported that more people attend Church on Easter Sunday than any other time of the year. In 2018, a National Retail Federation study indicated about half of Americans plan to go to Church on Easter Sunday. The current population of the U.S. on April 17, 2019 was 328,608,560. Half of those people will attend Church on Easter Sunday according to this poll. You do the math! That is a lot of people who will have their eyes focused on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No wonder pastors all over the world stress and jump for joy at this holiday. That population number is really mind blowing isn’t it? Of course, the glass half-full perspective will celebrate the large number who will be in attendance, while the glass half-empty perspective will be concerned for the number who aren’t present. Regardless, of which perspective you hold, it is for sure Americans can get excited at Easter time.
During Easter, the question most Pastors, Theologians and Christian leaders focus on is, “How do we get people to attend Church and worship God all year long as much as they do at Easter time?” It really is an age-old question that remains unanswered. We know this to be true because the question is still being asked among leaders today. I recall serving on numerous Leadership Committees where this question was discussed. Of course, I heard those who said that is the way it will always be because of the sin that exists in the hearts of man. In which there is validity in that fact. But what I have discovered in serving for 30 plus years in ministry, is that often it is not as simple as the sin in man’s hearts as the cause of hindering their worship. I have discovered that many times the cause is more so a need of stewardship. We focus on the need for salvation and we should equally focus on the need for worship. I have found through my years in ministry that people need to be discipled in their knowledge of the Truth and what it scripturally means to Worship God.
I believe the number one place to begin discipling on worship is to start with answering why we should worship God in the first place. The simple answer is we were created specifically to worship Him. But we leaders need to disciple deeper and teach others that not only were we created for worship, but we absolutely have a need to worship. Our life and joy and spiritual walk literally depends on it. We must help people grow in our knowledge of worship and understand that God doesn’t need us because absolutely and completely He is enough on His own. However, we must grasp and help others see God desires our worship of Him and more than that we have a deep dark unseen need to worship Him.
God loves us and wants us to know Him not just at Easter but at all times. He teaches how to worship Him. He wants us to spend appointed time focused on Him. He wants us in an intimate, that is a close and familiar relationship with Him. A relationship that is based solely on worship to a Holy deserving God. It is a fact that our soul thirsts for God. The scripture tells us in Genesis 2:7, “…the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;”. Did you catch that? The bible just said God was the original inventor of CPR! Who knew that right? God’s very breath is what gave us life. Are we teaching others how to worship and where the heart of worship begins? God just laid it out for us. Don’t miss it. The first reason to worship our God is His breath became our living soul. Without His breath we would still remain dust.
That deep yearning began once sin entered through Adam. We had a separation from our Creator when our worship was broken from God. that is when our longing became a deeper and a black hole need for God. We needed a Savior to restore us back to Him. When you are away from a loved one you yearn for them. In the same familiar way, we also yearn for our God. He is our Father, and whether we realize it or not we have need of Him. The scripture tells us like a deer pants for water we hunger for God. What we need to understand is this yearning for God can only be filled through our continual worship of Him.
“O, God you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So, I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; In your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth
will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:1-8
That beautiful passage of scripture my friends, depicts our yearning our need to worship God. He is the only true God who is worthy to be praised every day of every year. For an eternity, our lips will sing praises and we will for an eternity worship him. It is the only way to satisfy the hunger that lives in our souls. Not just at Easter should we hunger for Him, No! We should hunger for our Lord everyday with every breath we exhaust. We NEED to worship God. It is a longing from deep within our being. It exists in the deep realm of our soul. We are nothing but dust if we can’t worship our Creator. Worship is why He created us period! This is what people should know about worship.
People also need to understand God not only desires our worship but He requires our worship. In scripture God gives us the requirements of worship. Scriptural worship of God requires we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The bible says in John 4:23-24, “but the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for the Father is seeking such people to worship him, God is spirit and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” God desires our authentic selves our authentic and heartfelt worship. Not just a worship of prayer, attending church or reading your bible; although these are very good spiritual disciplines necessary for our growth and understanding of God, this is not all that God wants from us. God wants us to worship Him in spirit as He is spirit and in truth as Jesus Christ is Truth. From the depths of our souls and to the core of our strength. From the deepest thoughts in our minds, to the strongest desires in our hearts, God wants us to worship Him there. He doesn’t want us holding back anything in our worship of Him. Worshipping God is how we draw near and get to know Him on an intimate personal level. And worshipping God is also how we can learn more about ourselves and our purpose. That is how God designed worship to be for us. There is no other acceptable way except an authentic heartfelt worship of God in spirit and in truth.
This Easter Celebration, as we reflect upon His sacrificial death, His burial and His resurrection, let us do so with a heart and attitude of gratitude toward worshipping Him. Let’s teach others why we worship God every day not just at Easter time. Our Lord is worthy of all our praise! I encourage you to take time to get alone this week and dedicate some time of just worshipping God in spirit and praising our Savior in truth, Jesus Christ. Teach and disciple others of the importance to worship God.
If you still wonder why we should worship God, then take a moment and read Psalm 111 and let scripture speak to you. The Psalmist is crystal clear on why we should offer praise and worship to God, the Creator of this universe…
“Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is His work, and His righteousness endures forever.
He has caused His wondrous works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear Him; He remembers His covenant forever.
He has shown His people the power of His works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever, to be performed in faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is His name! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
All those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!”
Don’t you just love the Psalms? I know I do. The words there always hit me right in the center of my heart felt emotions. These last few years have been challenging for me, but I wouldn’t change one thing that has happened. Through my challenges in life, I have learned to praise God on a larger plane of worship. A plane of worship like none other that I have ever seen or experienced before now. God redeems and He restores my soul faithfully every time I stop and dedicate my worship of Him.
My hope on this Easter Sunday, is that ALL 328,608,560 will flock the Churches in the U.S. My dream is to see 100% of Americans, as well as all the rest of the world stop and learn the value that comes to us as we worship The One…The True… Almighty God. Imagine what a celebration we could have, not just at Easter, but on every day of every year, if we committed to a continual worship of Him. That is my hope but, if we can’t celebrate 100% of the world worshipping God this Easter Sunday, then I will hope and wait upon the Lord. For the bible says there is day, a near time, when every knee will bow, and every mouth will confess Jesus Christ is the Lord of this world! When that moment happens, then we will truly celebrate the Author of Easter…the best thing about that day is it won’t require colored eggs.
Isaiah 61:3 New International Version (NIV)
…and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
It was five months ago, when we all sat in front of our televisions and watched the most out of control wildfires ever recorded in history. We watched the horrifying pictures on the news of a once beautiful valley known as Paradise burn to the ground. We watched in horror the people trapped on top of their cars with fires raging on both sides of them. We watched helplessly while their town was being decimated by a ravaging campfire. Most of Paradise, was dead end streets and only four roads could lead you out of town. People were trapped and sadly, 86 people lost their lives and over 13,900
homes were reported destroyed. Paradise quickly became a town that was seemingly without hope. Today, there are only ashes and remnants remaining of homes that once were. That is until one man of faith, saw a picture online, of one single chimney standing alone in the ashes of ruins.
When artist Steve Grammar, saw that chimney online, he saw something no one else had seen. He saw a blank canvas and a picture of hope to be shared. Steve, with the permission of the owners, went and painted a beautiful mural on that white brick chimney. He saw an opportunity to give the people of Paradise some renewed hope. Steve Grammar wanted them to have something beautiful in the place where their ruins remained. After painting the one mural, the people of Paradise saw the artwork’s splendor and they asked Steve to not to stop painting. The mural was so beautiful, and the people of Paradise were so encouraged by Steve Grammar’s God-given talent they felt hope was alive in them once again. They found themselves rejoicing in the artistic abilities of his painting with the cans of spray paint.
They felt such joy from the murals that they wanted more from him. So, Steve Grammar, did just that, he painted them more murals. He painted them on the ruins of partially standing walls. He painted one on a church baptistry that remained sitting on the ground surrounded in scraps and ashes. Then he painted some of them on the abandoned and burnt vehicles that remained. His artwork was mostly paintings of women. Steve said he thought of the love story from the book of Solomon that is written in the Bible. Steve, with his artistic talents, found a way to bring the beauty of hope from the ashes of despair for the hurting and devastated people of Paradise California.
In a similar way, as the artist Steve Grammar, looked and saw a blank canvas on that lonely chimney, a canvas that no one else could see; God, in the same way sees us as His blank canvas. He sees something in us that we or no one else can ever see. When God looks upon us, He doesn’t see our lives as ashes of ruins. No, instead God, our Creator, the greatest artist of all time, also sees a beautiful blank canvas of hope. When he looks at us, he doesn’t see our created failures standing in the tragedies and ruins of our lives. He sees only the beauty of hope that can rise from the ashes left standing there.
When we surrender our lives to the One True God of this universe, He will reach down and artistically paint a masterpiece from the fire ravaged ruins of sin in our lives. He takes our mess and He shapes it into something so magnificent and so beautiful. No one except God can do that. Only God can trade beauty for ashes. I know this is true because I am one of those messes He picked up from the ashes of ruins. God has taken my sin scorched life and turned it into His masterpiece of beauty. He restored my soul and I now have hope in the place of my ashed ruins. I have peace in the place of my sorrow. I have joy in the midst of my pain. I have love living in the place where only death once lived. Only God by His Son, Jesus Christ, can take our lives and restore them to a place of love and hope and real beauty.
Some people say, that the town of Paradise was not prepared for the fires that swooped in and destroyed homes and lives that day. Others say that they were prepared because of the drills they had practiced and the number of lives that were saved. The people of Paradise had practiced drills, and they believed they were ready to escape in the case of a fire emergency. The only problem was they had never practiced or prepared for a fire with the gale-forced winds and the rapid pace of embers that blew and spread so quickly. I want to ask you, are you prepared for that day? Are you ready for the unknown time of His rapid return? When we see Jesus coming in the clouds, in the blink of an eye, to take His children home will you be prepared? That is what the Bible describes will happen. In the blink of an eye Jesus will return to take His children to their eternal home.
I Corinthians 15:50-52 ESV
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For thetrumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
The Coming of the Lord…I Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Only those who have accepted Christ in their hearts can be called His children. And only His children will be saved from the fire and eternal destruction. Will you be one of His children? Do you have hope of an eternal future with Christ? If you are not sure, then please email me and let me help you settle your doubt. It is never too late to give God, the ashes of your life. That means that today is the day of salvation. The Bible says it is appointed once for a man to die. So, if you still have life and breath it is not too late to surrender your will over to God.
The artist Steve Grammar understood where hope lies. He knew the love of God and he wanted to share it with the hopeless people in Paradise California. I also know where hope lies. I also want to share that hope with you and tell you that God has a plan for you. He wants to give you an eternal future of hope in Jesus Christ. His desire is to paint on your blank canvas and create beauty from the ashes of your life. My hope lies in Him. My hope is that you will be ready.
For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them?
In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
I Corinthians 2:10 NIV
In God’s Holy inerrant Word lies all the answers and mysteries to life. Everything we shall ever need can be found within the pages of the 66 books that comprise the oldest living book known as The Holy Bible. In order to find the answers, first thing required is to seek the wisdom of God through His Holy Spirit.
No one can know your own thoughts except you. We may say, I know what you are thinking, but what we really are saying is that you must be thinking the same thing I am. We can never truly know what lies in your thoughts only you can know that. In the same way, no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit.
The Holy Spirit of God is our interpreter of scripture. All scripture is the Truth and wisdom of God spoken to men through the Holy Spirit of God. We are saved by grace through faith by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. When we receive Christ into our heart, we also at that point receive the Spirit of God. It is the gift God left to those of us who love Him.
New American Standard Bible
“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. —John 16:7
Jesus told the disciples that He had to leave them in order that The Holy Spirit could come. He explained to them that His physical death and resurrection had to happen in order for God to gift us with His indwelling Holy Spirit.
It is only through The Holy Spirit, that we can know God. This is not gained through our knowledge. The Truth of scripture can only be revealed in us by the Spirit of the Living God.
Scripture tells us about this in I Corinthians 2:10-12,
New International Version
these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.
New Living Translation
But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
English Standard Version
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
I always like to use three versions of printed scripture when I am studying. I do this for a clearer understanding of what the Holy Spirit is teaching us.
Vocabulary and printing have nothing to do with the interpretation of the Holy Spirit of God. God’s words are God’s words not man’s words. Vocabulary and the printed words of scripture came to man through the Holy Spirit of God as God revealed himself to them. He spoke to the disciples in their language insuring without error what they wrote down was what He revealed. We know this because of all the fulfillment from The Bible. What was first recorded or written down was not their thoughts but it was the thoughts God spoke to them.
Throughout history, Christian scholars have come along with their language vocabulary expertise to carefully transfer without error the Hebrew and Greek texts into the English language. The most prestigious translation we are familiar with was The King James Version in 1611. Now, I really hate to be the one who bursts the bubbles of thousands, but the King James Version was not the first translation. In fact, it also was translated from another version known as The Bishops Bible of 1568. These early scholars took serious the privilege they had to put scripture into the English language for others to gain a clearer understanding of its meaning.
The Bible is not intended to be read like any ordinary book because it certainly is not any ordinary book. It is the Word of God! Even though we have so many versions of scripture in print, and in so many different languages, we still require The Holy Spirit of God to be our interpreter. It is God’s thoughts we need to understand in scripture. We cannot know God’s thoughts without His Spirit dwelling in us.
We are greatly blessed to have God-breathed scriptures in a vocabulary we can understand today. Now, please don’t do what I have done and like many others get caught up in legalism. For a while I believed the King James Version was the only accurate Bible there was. It is true, it is accurate but also accurate are the other literal interpretations we have available to us. And because we want to clearly understand the literal written word, it is a good practice to use more than one version when studying.
All scripture is God-breathed and useful according to 2 Timothy 3:16…
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Berean Study Bible
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
Berean Literal Bible
Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for instruction, for conviction, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
New American Standard Bible
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
King James Bible
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Remember…Whatever version you prefer is just tha…t it’s your preference. God by His Holy Spirit has protected the integrity of His Word. We can trust this not because scholars say so. We can trust this because we trust the Holy Spirit’s interpretation to say so.
Next time you sit down with your Bible, do so knowing that God will use His Spirit to teach and guide you into His wisdom. Invite God to open the eyes of your heart and speak to you by His Holy Spirit. Then and only then can we find the answers we need from God and begin to unravel some of His mysteries.
God’s promise of scripture:
“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever”.
—Isaiah 40:8 New American Standard Version
The most popular verse in the Bible is found in the Gospel of John, chapter 3 verse 16… Let us all say it together from the King James Version. That is most likely the version you first learned…”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.KJV
Not only is this the most popular verse in the Bible, it is the greatest “LOVE” verse ever written. Let’s take a look at this verse in three different Bible translations to get a clearer understanding of its meaning:
New International Version
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
King James Bible
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
International Standard Version
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not be lost but have eternal life.
It does not matter which translation you prefer, it tells of God’s great love with every interpretation. It is within this simple verse that the complete story of the Gospel can be found. Knowing this truth, transforms this verse from the simple to the complex.
In this popular verse, we not only find the definition of God’s love, we can read the depth of how God loves us. Not just some of us, but all of us. We see the depth’s focus through the biggest little word in the Bible, “SO”…For God “SO” loved the world. Try saying it without that tiny adverb. It completely changes how God’s love of the world is emphasized. Dr. David Jeremiah says it this way:
The biggest little word in the Bible may be the word “so”. Included in “so” are all the agonies of the cross, and all the riches of God’s grace, all the depths of my sins, and all the beams of his mercy. The cross is bound up in that adverb “so”. God so loved the world that he went to extraordinary lengths to express it. His love is beyond comprehension, for we cannot fathom a God who would willingly, self-sacrificially create the set of conditions we call “Calvary”.~~Dr. David Jeremiah
No one could ever love us the way God “SO” loves us. John 3:16 sums everything up in a way our human minds can perceive it. It doesn’t take anyone by surprise that this verse is the most popular well known verse of all time. We have seen it posted everywhere across the world. The very fact that this verse has it’s own Wikipedia page is validation of its popularity. Wikipedia speaks of the popular culture of John 3:16 in this way:
Some people (such as the Rainbow Man) display the reference in large letters at sporting events, seeking the attention of fellow fans, the staff controlling the venue’s giant video screens and, if the game is televised, the television audience. The Heisman-winning American football player Tim Tebow printed this reference (among other Bible verses) on his eye black, notably during the 2009 BCS championship. Exactly three years later on January 8, 2012, was the game that would become known as “The 3:16 game”, where Tebow threw for 316 yards in a playoff upset against the Pittsburgh Steelers; a game in which measurements of 3, 16 and 31.6 were also noted, “John 3 16” became the top Google search in the US. Professional wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin‘s marquee catchphrase (“Austin 3:16”) originated as a reference to John 3:16.~~Wikipedia
To meet the most popular verse of all time, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.. is to have the introduction to the greatest love verse of all time.
This Love is not like any other kind of love we can define. In fact, when this verse was written, the Greeks had to come up with a new word to describe this kind of love. That word was Agape. Agape love is the highest form of love that originates from God to man. This love is not romantic nor sexual in nature. It is a self-sacrificial kind of love for fallen man and humanity by a Holy God. This love is immeasurable and never ending. It does not harm or disappoint us. It never abandons or abuses us. It is the only kind of love that can redeem and restore us. Heal and comfort us. It is the beginning and the end of all love. This great love only originates from God and yet is available to the entire world for free. It costs mankind nothing because Jesus paid the price for us. It is a beautifully wrapped gift He offers to the world. And all mankind must do is simply receive this gift and proclaim it as their own. How are we to do this? Let’s take a closer look to what scripture says…
New International Version
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe ivn your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
New Living Translation
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
English Standard Version
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
The greatest love of all is more than a Whitney Houston song. More than a Wikipedia page. And certainly more than any human type of love possible. It is God. God IS Love. It is available to each of us and simply ours for the taking. Let’s go to scripture and see how we are to accept this free gift…
New International Version
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
New Living Translation
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
English Standard Version
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.if we just confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts Jesus Christ is Lord the Bible says then He will save us.
Save us from what you may ask? Let me remind you of the Gospel of John 3:16, the most popular verse in the world…God wants to save us from perishing so that He can give us eternal life with Him. We must believe the Truth that Jesus died to save us because God first “So” loved us….If you want to know “real love” you have to reach out to where the greatest Love of all begins…with God.
This last year, was one of the hardest years in my life. I couldn’t see through the dark cloud of depression surrounding me. I wasn’t sure what a future looked like or if I even had a future. I could not look ahead when everything I knew as normal had been ripped away. Thank goodness that my God is good. He is full of promises and of love. He was not caught off guard like I was with the circumstancial changes that led me to start life over at 57 years of age.
God knows clearly the plan He has for my life. He is ready for me at every corner even when I am not. He is Ever-Present on the corner of despair. He is the Ever-Present light on all the darkened avenues. He awaits there patiently holding the roadmap of my life. All I have to do is seek Him. Meet Him there. Follow His plan and His directions instead of my own. It is not always an easy road to travel down. But it is for sure the most rewarding journey I have ever been on.
In Jeremiah 29:11 His beautiful promise for us is revealed…For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope…He promises us a future full of hope at every age and every station of life. Upon every corner Jesus is waiting to lead us. He is a great God who loves and cares about the things in our lives. He is that personal with His children.
If you doubt or are unsure whether you are a child of God or if you know Christ intimately and personally; then most likely the answer is no, you do not know Him. More importantly than if you know Him is whether He knows you. If Jesus doesn’t know you then you are at risk of hearing Him say to you, Depart from me for I never knew you.
It is never too late to begin that relationship as long as you still have life and breath. Simply, stop right where you are pray and ackowledge to God that you need Jesus to direct your life. As the song goes, you need Jesus to take the wheel. Profess to Him you need Him to rule and reign as the Lord of your life. The Bible says, ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and that while we were still sinners Christ died on the cross to save us from our sin nature.
Being a sinner does not stipulate that you are a bad person, it simply stipulates you are a person who has yet been righteously restored. Sin entered mankind through Adam and Eve and gave us a sin nature that separates us from having a relationship with God. This left mankind in need of reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ. We do not have to do anything wrong we are born with that sin nature. Jesus told Nichodemus, we must be born a second time outside our mother’s womb with a spiritual rebirth. That is the reconciling relationship mankind needs to be restored and enter into a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.
We spend a lifetime searching for something to fill our lives. We try all the ways we know of and can never feed the longing we have for God. If you’re unsure where you stand, then take the time right now and admit to Jesus you realize you are a sinner in need of Him. Ask Him to come into your heart and give you that rebirth, that new life in Him.
I may struggle and get in God’s way sometimes, by taking my own turns in life. I never doubt where I stand in relationship with Jesus Christ. You can have a confident certainty of a personal relationship with Jetsus Christ. I know the very moment in 1986, when I surrendered my life to Jesus. In the blink of an eye He changed my heart and gave me the certainty of where I would spend my eternity with Him. I never doubt He is active and present leading my life by His Holy Spirit. I could never have survived the hardest seasons in my life had this not been true.
I pray when you have those dark moments of circumstances, when your life is seemingly at a dead end; you will stop, look up and see the direction from where your hope comes from. Then you will see and believe that you do have a road ahead that will lead you to a future full of hope.