Some mornings after I wake up I switch on my radio to hear the National news. On the hour the announcer begins “Here is the news read by ….” whoever is on that morning.
On reflection it seems most of the news these days is bad or troublesome, however I am going to remind us in this article of some really good news which is worthy to embrace.
Surrounding ourselves with good news is very much the will of God.
Reading Paul’s epistle to the Philippians 4:8-9 (LNT) “ … fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and dwell on the fine good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about … and the God of peace will be with you”
Now here is the Good News …
If you have made a definite act of commitment inviting Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Saviour and are attempting to walk in God’s ways, you have Everlasting Life.
That’s got to be good news !
As you are reading this you may want to pause and say, “Amen, thank you Jesus”. That’s an affirmation and indication that confirms you are on God’s greatest journey.
Some think this great Journey is cut short by death, but that’s not so for the Believer.
When we have an understanding of death being opposite to birth, it helps us see God ‘s overall plan for our journey more clearly.
Death is not opposite to life.
God created us and allowed us to be born, and in His time He allows us to die. If we know Christ as our Saviour we go back to Him, and again in His time, forward in His further purpose.
Jesus spoke in John 11:25-26 (LNT) “I am the one who raises the dead and gives them life again. Anyone who believes in Me even though he dies like anyone else, shall live again. He is given eternal life for believing in Me and shall never perish”
Death is the opposite to birth. E Stanley Jones, missionary in India said “Death is just the anaesthetic God uses while he changes bodies”.
It’s been said that John 3:16 is probably the best known scripture in the Bible “God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”
If we look into this verse, short as it may be, it gives an indication that there are stages in life that lead us forward in this Great Journey.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son”
In one word – Appreciation.
We should have great thankfulness through the gift and sacrifice of Jesus who alone has removed our sin and we are now redeemed back to fellowship with our Creator by the salvation Jesus accomplished for us. No longer living just physically and intellectually but a spiritual dimension of truth, realisation and revelation has opened before us.
“That whoever believes in Him”
In one word – Association.
The word ‘whoever’ shows me that I am not alone but there are others whom I join with on this Great Journey. We’re called the Church and we’re all going forward with unity and passion endeavouring to embrace and demonstrate God’s goodness by word and deed.
“Should not perish but have everlasting life”
In one word – Anticipation
I am looking forward with hope, expectancy and dare I say excitement, to what is guaranteed to all who have begun this journey of faith with Jesus.
Paul also covers these 3 points very clearly in his Epistle to the Colossians.1: 3-5 (LNT) “For we have heard how much you trust the Lord (Appreciation) and how much you love His people (Association) and you are looking forward to the joys of heaven (Anticipation) ever since the Gospel was first preached to you”
In recent months circumstances have caused me to look with a little more interest at this area of anticipating the joys of heaven and life everlasting, and I have not been disappointed as I have discovered Scriptural encouragement.
Hebrews 13:4 (LNT) “For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our everlasting home in heaven ..”
John 14:2-3.(NKJ) In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also”
Encouragement on this Journey is found in another well known Scripture. Psalm 23:4 (NKJ) “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and staff comfort me.
Note the word shadow in that verse – not substance.
There is a big difference between substance, and a shadow
If I’m fearful that a dog might bite me and one day see what looks like a big animal coming, but on closer look I see it’s only a shadow – then I say “hey, it can’t harm me”.
If there’s a rifle leaning against a wall and I see a disturbed individual walking past and I think, “what if he picks it up”, but even if he tries to – it’s only a shadow – it can’t harm me.
Shadow of a dog can’t harm me
Shadow of a rifle can’t harm me
Scripture says that I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
Jesus died on the cross to redeem us back to God and when He rose in the resurrection He destroyed once and for all death’s substance. That’s why we can clearly look at that Scripture and say that if the Lord is “my” Shepherd, then what applies to me is firstly that I am passing through and not staying in the valley, and secondly that valley is shadow only, with no substance of death to harm me.
Also if there’s a shadow, then I’m reminded there must be a bright light somewhere nearby and in John 8 :12 (NLT) Jesus said “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life”
Growing up we were taught that every story needed an interesting beginning, a meaningful middle, followed by a good ending.
Well the Story Book we follow has no ending – but 3 great components –
Appreciation of Jesus Christ as Saviour
Association with like minded travellers
Anticipation of a glorious life eternal
John Owen, that great Puritan, lay on his deathbed listening as his secretary wrote on his behalf to a friend .. “John is still in the land of the living” when he called out “stop .. change that and say I am still in the land of the dying, but I hope soon to be in the land of the living”
True, how gloriously true.
1 Corinthians 15:55 (NLT) O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
It’s good to leave your dying day to a living & loving God as He takes us on Life’s Greatest Journey