And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Affection for material possessions, comfort, ease, relationships; following Jesus requires the readiness to forsake all these. In the culture's mindset that is foolishness, but from the viewpoint of eternity, it is the most logical decision to make.
Peter was sleeping. Herod was over the local government, James had been martyred, Peter had been arrested and placed under heavy guard with the understanding that public humiliation, torture, and death awaited him. In verse six we find Peter in the cell, bound with two chains to the two guards, asleep. Peter was sleeping. The angel that God sent to rescue him had to wake him. The kjv says that the angel smote Peter on the side indicating that Peter was in a deep sleep. The point is that for Peter to have been that deep in sleep he must have been at peace. This is a type of peace that can only come from being at peace with God, knowing that you are right with Him and that He loves you and is in complete control of what is happening.
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
There is no more wretched words in all of human language as these. To be forsaken by God means no hope, at all. There is only one man that could rightly say that He was truly forsaken by God, that Man is Jesus. He was forsaken by God on the cross, He experienced the deepest of all pain for one reason, He was forsaken by God so we would be embraced by God. But when Christ cried out these words, they were not original with Him, He was quoting David's words from this psalm. David was expressing great distress in the middle of a great trial, I honestly do not know what this trial was, I just know that he was in great suffering. If you read the next twenty verses you will find just how deeply he felt forsaken by God, but,,, he shows later on in verse twenty four that he knew God hadn't truly forsaken him, and God was hearing his prayers, but because of his circumstances, he was having a hard time recognizing the caring hand of God. If you go back and read verse twenty two, you'll find there is a dramatic shift in attitude or mindset. David begins to look forward to God's deliverance, knowing that God was going to bring him out of this suffering. The fact of this psalm is this, for those who have a relationship with God, meaning that they have understood that they are sinners facing God's wrath on their sin, which is Hell, and they have responded to the loving grace of God by trusting Christ to save them because He lived a sinless life, died on the cross in their place being judged by God for their own sins not His, and rose again the third day, if they have surrendered to Christ as Lord and Savior, this psalm holds for them the promise of hope no matter how great the difficulty. The promise of hope found in this psalm does not mean that one will never face painful times, but it does mean that within those painful times, they will have a Companion who will be the source of grace that they need.
Romans 5:1-5 -- Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulations worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
I am a Christian. Not trying to boast, just stating a fact. What does that mean? Well it means a few things, first, I have a relationship with God because at six years of age, He showed me His holiness and my sinfulness and that He loved me enough to suffer on the cross in my place and invited me to ask Him to forgive me of my sins, I did and He did. Secondly, it means that from that day Jesus has been my Lord, meaning that because His bloody death paid for my sin, and He rescued me from the effect of my sins, (which was going to be Hell), He now is the One who is to be directing my life. Thirdly, it means that my life is to reflect Him, because He is holy, and then because I am His child by the new birth of the Holy Spirit or Ghost, I am holy and am to live out that holiness. Fourthly, because l am a Christian I have hope, hope that no matter what I face, no matter how bad things get in this life, my circumstances will never be able to separate me from God's active, passionate love. And fifthly, I have hope, which is actually a promise from Truth Himself, that because I am His and He is mine and that He knows me on a personal level, I am guaranteed a life in a place in His presence for all eternity where there will be no reason to be afraid of anything, no pain, no suffering, no stresses, no pandemics, no anything but His continuous love. This is a beautiful promise isn't it? Why am I sharing all of this? The other day I was struggling with some discouragements amid all of everything that is going on and I asked that one worded question that we all ask God at some point in our lives, "why?" He gave me this thought, 'you state that I am your hope, do you really mean that?" We claim that our hope is in Christ, we sing songs that make that claim, but so many times when we go through difficult times, we tend to allow the stresses of our circumstances to rob us of the joy of our hope. I really believe that part of the reason that God allows or even directs these difficult times is simply to open the eyes of His saints to our own need to grow in faith, so that we can sing with sincere passion and state with all conviction that our hope truly is in Christ.
10 April 2020
March 27, 2020.