Vol. 8-14 – 04-02-2023 – On the Way
Thus says the Lord: In a time of favor, I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages saying to the prisoners, “Come out!” to those who are in darkness, “Appear!” They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for He who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them. And I will make all My mountains a road, and My highways shall be raised up. Behold, these shall come from afar, and behold, these from the north and from the west and these from the land of Syene. –Isaiah 49:8-12
It is odd, is it not, how God chases us with His love, grace, and mercy. We who are so undeserving. He never gives up. God tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. God is a chasing God.
God desired us to be restored and reconciled to Him. So much is this in His heart that when humanity was not responding, He already had a plan in place. He would send His Son, Jesus, to pay our penalty on the cross by sacrificing His life so that we might choose to come to Him for salvation. Today is a time when the church gathers to worship Him in remembrance of where he was headed exposing His love, grace, and mercy. It is called Palm Sunday. He is on His way to Jerusalem to die for us.
Did you notice the extent that God went to in that Isaiah passage, to chase after and restore the people? He has not stopped.
I remember as a small child going to church. It is what we did. That is not to say that our home was a perfect Christian home. I did have a God awareness. However, the extent of religion for me was attending church, being in the choir, and spending time in the youth group. I learned a lot of biblical stories, memorized some verses, and generally fooled myself regarding faith. We were there whenever the doors of the church were open.
I met a very cute young lady while in college. We married. We went to church—occasionally. More than just Christmas and Easter. Then we were invited to come to church by my father-in-law. If you had known me then, you would not have imagined me responding to the invitation of my father-in-law. We did.
Several weeks went by. Donna was carrying our second child (there were complications with his birth—life-threatening complications). One Sunday morning, the preacher, Mason Cooper, preached a message on the reality of hell and how it is where people would go who did not have a personal relationship with Jesus. He even included in the message that there would be good mothers in hell. A personal relationship was required.
I gave that some thought while standing singing the invitation hymn. My thought was that I need to work on this issue. I resolved to give it some attention.
On the way out, it was customary for the pastor to be at the exit door. When he greeted me, he said you need to talk to me don’t you? It was a statement, not a question. I did not know how he knew, but he did. I definitely know how he knew today.
That Sunday morning, in his office, Mason Cooper led Donna and I to receive Christ as our Savior. God was chasing us. Life has forever been markedly differently.
Jesus was sent to our world to heal the sick—those with sick hearts, and sinful hearts. Palm Sunday speaks of His travel to Jerusalem to complete the mission for which His Father sent Him. He is on His way to the cross. For you and I. When He completed His journey, He made complete His sacrifice for you and me. There is no other sacrifice like His in the history of the world. It never has to be revised in a do-over fashion. It was finished. We will note how that worked in our next blog.
Over the years I have learned much about this chasing ministry. I pray that you have as well. I have met some odd folks. That is not surprising, I am an odd person as well. I used to order tracts by the hundreds; no sense in not being prepared. The folks I was chasing got a tract. They went into Christmas cards, and Halloween candy bags and I made sure they were available in my Bible study groups. They are most effective when accompanied with time—of sharing one’s testimony.
People want to hear what is different about your life. Jesus, who traveled to Jerusalem to die for me made a difference in my life.
Donna and I are older now, but we have not lost our zeal to chase after people. Our neighbors, the servers at Reveille (our favorite place for breakfast or brunch), and the people we meet. We do ask what their relationship with Christ is because time is of the essence.
I rarely give out tracts today. I wrote two books. I give them away. One contains stories of people God has allowed me to influence. Stories of how they came to Christ and the result of their changed life. It has an odd title—Under the Broom Tree. The second book God led me to write—Echoes from the Belly of a Whale—intends to reach folks that are not avid readers. The chapters are very short. Both books have a section to help readers contemplate their relationship with Christ. To respond to Him.
Books are expensive to print, thus pricey to give away. It is amazing what happens when you place a book into another’s hand. You no longer think of the cost. While we prayed over people receiving our tracts, praying for people reading the books took on an intense prayer approach. Both tracts and books are an investment in people’s lives. For eternity.
I have written a blog since 2016. It is sent out weekly. At first, it was once a month. Now it is weekly. It takes a lot more thought. But I am on a journey. What is left behind is a prayer that they will draw people to Christ. I reach several hundred people each week with this blog. Some who receive the blog pass it on to others to read. I am thankful that they do. We really do not know in this life of ours how many we will touch. God knows. In fact, He crosses our path with them.
When God called me into ministry, I promised to give away what He taught me. So, the blog teaches me before it reaches you.
Can you imagine what it is like to have the privilege of touching hundreds of lives each week with a blog? And then to receive emails that ask questions relating to their spiritual needs. Some of you are connecting with people just by forwarding the blog. So, I pray for those who I do not know receiving the blog.
I wonder how many people Jesus named in His prayers as He traveled the road to Jerusalem to die for you and me.
A significant contemplation.