Some say no pain, no gain! Is it true? Is it worth it? Is there a purpose? Is there a reason? Is there hope? We know that in this world we will face troubles, but that we can take heart because Jesus overcame it. We know that we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds because it develops stuff in us and will make us complete and lacking nothing. How about everything that Jesus went through? He took it all so that we could be redeemed! He took it all so that we could be reconciled! He took it all so that there would be a way! We can’t get there or do it on our own, so He made a way! We are saved by face through grace! Not because we are so good or we deserve it, but because of what Jesus was willing to do!
1Then Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. 2The soldiers made a crown out of thorny branches and put it on his head; then they put a purple robe on him 3and came to him and said, “Long live the King of the Jews!” And they went up and slapped him. 4Pilate went back out once more and said to the crowd, “Look, I will bring him out here to you to let you see that I cannot find any reason to condemn him.” 5So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Look! Here is the man!” 6When the chief priests and the Temple guards saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “You take him, then, and crucify him. I find no reason to condemn him.” 7The crowd answered back, “We have a law that says he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 8When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid. 9He went back into the palace and asked Jesus, “Where do you come from?” But Jesus did not answer. 10Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Remember, I have the authority to set you free and also to have you crucified.” 11Jesus answered, “You have authority over me only because it was given to you by God. So the man who handed me over to you is guilty of a worse sin.” 12When Pilate heard this, he tried to find a way to set Jesus free. But the crowd shouted back, “If you set him free, that means that you are not the Emperor’s friend! Anyone who claims to be a king is a rebel against the Emperor!” 13When Pilate heard these words, he took Jesus outside and sat down on the judge’s seat in the place called “The Stone Pavement.” (In Hebrew the name is “Gabbatha.”) 14It was then almost noon of the day before the Passover. Pilate said to the people, “Here is your king!” 15They shouted back, “Kill him! Kill him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Do you want me to crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “The only king we have is the Emperor!” 16Then Pilate handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.
–from John 19
Ever been through so much and wondered if it could get any worse? Ever been through so much and wondered is there a purpose in this? Ever wondered what the benefit and outcome will be? God is good and His plans for us are good! His plans are for us to be able to have a hope and a future! So don’t give up!
The Two Beasts
1Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads; on each of its horns there was a crown, and on each of its heads there was a name that was insulting to God. 2The beast looked like a leopard, with feet like a bear’s feet and a mouth like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave the beast his own power, his throne, and his vast authority. 3One of the heads of the beast seemed to have been fatally wounded, but the wound had healed. The whole earth was amazed and followed the beast. 4Everyone worshiped the dragon because he had given his authority to the beast. They worshiped the beast also, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?” 5The beast was allowed to make proud claims which were insulting to God, and it was permitted to have authority for forty-two months. 6It began to curse God, his name, the place where he lives, and all those who live in heaven. 7It was allowed to fight against God’s people and to defeat them, and it was given authority over every tribe, nation, language, and race. 8All people living on earth will worship it, except those whose names were written before the creation of the world in the book of the living which belongs to the Lamb that was killed. 9“Listen, then, if you have ears! 10Whoever is meant to be captured will surely be captured; whoever is meant to be killed by the sword will surely be killed by the sword. This calls for endurance and faith on the part of God’s people.” 11Then I saw another beast, which came up out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb’s horns, and it spoke like a dragon. 12It used the vast authority of the first beast in its presence. It forced the earth and all who live on it to worship the first beast, whose wound had healed. 13This second beast performed great miracles; it made fire come down out of heaven to earth in the sight of everyone. 14And it deceived all the people living on earth by means of the miracles which it was allowed to perform in the presence of the first beast. The beast told them to build an image in honor of the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15The second beast was allowed to breathe life into the image of the first beast, so that the image could talk and put to death all those who would not worship it. 16The beast forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, slave and free, to have a mark placed on their right hands or on their foreheads. 17No one could buy or sell without this mark, that is, the beast’s name or the number that stands for the name. 18This calls for wisdom. Whoever is intelligent can figure out the meaning of the number of the beast, because the number stands for the name of someone. Its number is 666.
–from Revelation 13
Don’t give up! Don’t grow weary in doing what is good! Develop your relationship with God! Invite Jesus into your heart! It may not be easy, but in the end, it will be worth it!
1-2Be patient and listen a little longer to what I am saying on God’s behalf. 3My knowledge is wide; I will use what I know to show that God, my Creator, is just. 4Nothing I say to you is false; you see before you a truly wise man. 5How strong God is! He despises no one; there is nothing he doesn’t understand. 6He does not let sinners live on, and he always treats the poor with justice. 7He protects those who are righteous; he allows them to rule like kings and lets them be honored forever. 8But if people are bound in chains, suffering for what they have done, 9God shows them their sins and their pride. 10He makes them listen to his warning to turn away from evil. 11If they obey God and serve him, they live out their lives in peace and prosperity. 12But if not, they will die in ignorance and cross the stream into the world of the dead. 13Those who are godless keep on being angry, and even when punished, they don’t pray for help. 14They die while they are still young, worn out by a life of disgrace. 15But God teaches people through suffering and uses distress to open their eyes.
–from Job 36
Let the joy of the Lord be your strength! Let it be about more than just emotions! Let God’s wisdom and discernment lead you and guide your every step!
The Lord’s Case against Israel
1Listen to the Lord’s case against Israel. Arise, O Lord, and present your case; let the mountains and the hills hear what you say. 2You mountains, you everlasting foundations of the earth, listen to the Lord’s case! The Lord has a case against his people. He is going to bring an accusation against Israel. 3The Lord says, “My people, what have I done to you? How have I been a burden to you? Answer me. 4I brought you out of Egypt; I rescued you from slavery; I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you. 5My people, remember what King Balak of Moab planned to do to you and how Balaam son of Beor answered him. Remember the things that happened on the way from the camp at Acacia to Gilgal. Remember these things and you will realize what I did in order to save you.”
What the Lord Requires
6What shall I bring to the Lord, the God of heaven, when I come to worship him? Shall I bring the best calves to burn as offerings to him? 7Will the Lord be pleased if I bring him thousands of sheep or endless streams of olive oil? Shall I offer him my first-born child to pay for my sins? 8No, the Lord has told us what is good. What he requires of us is this: to do what is just, to show constant love, and to live in humble fellowship with our God. 9It is wise to fear the Lord. He calls to the city, “Listen, you people who assemble in the city! 10In the houses of evil people are treasures which they got dishonestly. They use false measures, a thing that I hate. 11How can I forgive those who use false scales and weights? 12Your rich people exploit the poor, and all of you are liars. 13So I have already begun your ruin and destruction because of your sins. 14You will eat, but not be satisfied—in fact you will still be hungry. You will carry things off, but you will not be able to save them; anything you do save I will destroy in war. 15You will sow grain, but not harvest the crop. You will press oil from olives, but never get to use it. You will make wine, but never drink it. 16This will happen because you have followed the evil practices of King Omri and of his son, King Ahab. You have continued their policies, and so I will bring you to ruin, and everyone will despise you. People everywhere will treat you with contempt.”
–from Micah 6
What way will you go? What plan will you follow? Do you have a north star, a compass for your life? How do you know what to do and where to go? How do you know if you are going the right way?
Israel’s Moral Corruption
1It’s hopeless! I am like a hungry person who finds no fruit left on the trees and no grapes on the vines. All the grapes and all the tasty figs have been picked. 2There is not an honest person left in the land, no one loyal to God. Everyone is waiting for a chance to commit murder. Everyone hunts down their own people. 3They are all experts at doing evil. Officials and judges ask for bribes. The influential people tell them what they want, and so they scheme together. 4Even the best and most honest of them are as worthless as weeds.
The day has come when God will punish the people, as he warned them through their watchmen, the prophets. Now they are in confusion. 5Don’t believe your neighbor or trust your friend. Be careful what you say even to your husband or wife. 6In these times sons treat their fathers like fools, daughters oppose their mothers, and young women quarrel with their mothers-in-law; your enemies are the members of your own family. 7But I will watch for the Lord; I will wait confidently for God, who will save me. My God will hear me.
The Lord Brings Salvation
8Our enemies have no reason to gloat over us. We have fallen, but we will rise again. We are in darkness now, but the Lord will give us light. 9We have sinned against the Lord, so now we must endure his anger for a while. But in the end he will defend us and right the wrongs that have been done to us. He will bring us out to the light; we will live to see him save us. 10Then our enemies will see this and be disgraced—the same enemies who taunted us by asking, “Where is the Lord your God?” We will see them defeated, trampled down like mud in the streets. 11People of Jerusalem, the time to rebuild the city walls is coming. At that time your territory will be enlarged. 12Your people will return to you from everywhere—from Assyria in the east, from Egypt in the south, from the region of the Euphrates River, from distant seas and far-off mountains. 13But the earth will become a desert because of the wickedness of those who live on it.
The Lord’s Compassion on Israel
14Be a shepherd to your people, Lord, the people you have chosen. Although they live apart in the wilderness, there is fertile land around them. Let them go and feed in the rich pastures of Bashan and Gilead, as they did long ago. 15Work miracles for us, Lord, as you did in the days when you brought us out of Egypt. 16The nations will see this and be frustrated in spite of all their strength. In dismay they will close their mouths and cover their ears. 17They will crawl in the dust like snakes; they will come from their fortresses, trembling and afraid. They will turn in fear to the Lord our God. 18There is no other god like you, O Lord; you forgive the sins of your people who have survived. You do not stay angry forever, but you take pleasure in showing us your constant love. 19You will be merciful to us once again. You will trample our sins underfoot and send them to the bottom of the sea! 20You will show your faithfulness and constant love to your people, the descendants of Abraham and of Jacob, as you promised our ancestors long ago.
–from Micah 7