Knowing Jesus is the Most Spectacular Gift Now and Forever!

One word occurred to me last week that explains a lot about the disturbing results of the pandemic. Within a dark, supercharged veil hanging over our nation and our world, we are often living in an atmosphere of GRIEF. We grieve the far-reaching changes in our personal and national life. Our radically altered daily lives and losses in the pandemic have produced deep-seated loneliness. Increased suicides, drugs, and alcohol usage, and family members dying alone in hospitals have taken a national toll. The shock of fast-moving totalitarianism we could have never imagined has created anxiety and a sense of helplessness.
These two bible passages have served as a secure stake in the ground for me. First, Isaiah 5:20 describes our upside-down world in ancient and modern times saying, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
Living in what I call a "Five-Twenty world," (Isaiah 5:20) the Lord has bestowed hope and blessings on me with His presence. Thankfully, in facing the realities of Isaiah’s words, Psalm 23 is a frequent touchstone encapsulating the beauty of our Lord’s unconditional love, comfort, trustworthiness, and sovereignty. I prefer the King James bible for this profound passage:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
With these and other verses, I remind myself that we are all passing through this world on our way to another. Our eternal citizenship is in heaven. Our Lord Jesus stamped our permanent passport with His shed blood on the cross freeing us from sin’s destination when we recognize Him as our Perfect Sacrificial Lamb Who threw off His graveclothes and rose up under His own power on Resurrection Day! Our confessions, repentance, and asking Him to rescue us with His forgiveness and unmerited grace, open the door for His Holy Spirit reside in our hearts.
For those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ-and for those that I pray will consider Him as Savior-here is what God promises us when we arrive in Heaven, our final destination. Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

I hope my thoughts offer comfort and encouragement in whatever challenges you may face.
Photos by Ned McNair, Mr. Sunrise

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