Nothing stirs the heart of our God more than the soul that is overcome with grief. Grief is defined as “deep sorrow” or “sadness caused by extreme distress.” Isaiah tells us the Lord himself is acquainted with this most wrenching emotion: “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).
Even in judgment God grieves over his children. The Psalmist makes an incredible statement regarding Israel: “For their sake He remembered His covenant, and relented according to the multitude of His mercies. He also made them to be pitied by all those who carried them away captive” (Psalm 106:45-46). When God sees his children hurting, he not only grieves over them, he makes their enemies pity them!
Perhaps you are burdened with some sort of heavy grief. It could be over someone dear to you who is suffering, in trouble, or hurting. It could be a son or daughter who is backslidden, slowly sinking into the death of sin. Or it could be a loved one facing a severe, looming financial crisis. I say to all: Jesus Christ is moved by your grief.
It is wonderful to have Jesus walking with us through our pain; yet even when a miracle is on the way, there can be delays. Consider the woman who suffered with chronic hemorrhaging and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment for healing. For twelve years she had bled nonstop and she was literally dying a slow death. Luke, a physician, wrote that she “had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any” (Luke 8:43).
“[The woman] came … and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped … Jesus said, ‘Somebody touched me, for I perceived power going out from Me’” (8:44-46). Jesus felt this woman’s pain and he met her need when she reached out to him!
Sadly, multitudes of people today are doing just what that woman did — running from place to place looking for answers. They explain their problem again and again, hoping this time they will find relief. All they want is for someone to stop the bleeding in their heart.
When the suffering woman reached out and touched the man Jesus, merely making contact with the hem of his garment, she was instantly healed! The compassion of Jesus flowed out to her and made her whole.
If you ever truly loved and followed Jesus but now are cold and indifferent, the Holy Spirit is speaking to you, inviting you to come back to the merciful arms of Christ. Please listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says” (see Revelation 2:7).
Spiritual coldness leads to hardness of heart. Paul refers to this when he says that prior to Christ’s return, “That Day will not come unless the falling away comes first” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Those who “did not receive the love of the truth” (2:10) will fall under a great delusion; they will believe lies rather than truth.
Hebrews offers this warning: “Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:12-13).
This present generation has lost their fear of him, and when there is no fear of God left in the land, destruction follows. Scripture speaks again and again of the fear of God: “Fear the Lord and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:7). “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (8:13). “In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (16:6).
We have been given a great hope. Here is the invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
The world may cast aside the Bible and reject the real Jesus, God’s own Son. The world may even deny there is a heaven or hell. But Jesus himself said that after death there will be a day of judgment. The Holy Spirit is calling us to wake up and surrender all to Jesus — now, today!
You belong to Jesus and he has a claim on you. I urge you today, right now, to just come to him and find rest for your troubled soul. God promises to meet you.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6).
As Christians, we believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is resurrection love when God’s Spirit goes into the streets and reaches the destitute sinner, changing him. Today many people are living on the streets — some are homeless, some addicts, some prostitutes — and Jesus wants to touch them with new life — his resurrection life.
Throughout the world in congregations large and small that preach the gospel, new life in Christ is changing sinners. Spiritually dead people are changed, because in Christ all things become new: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Events arranged by the Holy Spirit are often referred to as “divine appointments.” What caused you to first go inside a church? What did you expect when you first attended a church service? Did you go with an open heart? Were you hoping something would penetrate your soul and speak peace to you? Were you hoping to be touched deep down and given comfort?
Wherever you were when you heard the message of salvation was not just happenstance. The merciful Spirit of Christ led you there. In fact, he had you on his radar for some time. As God tells us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16).
Our Lord is sovereign. He does not trifle with the lives of men. He can move heaven and earth to accomplish his purposes, and he put you right where you are, both to save you and to set in motion his plan for your life.
How wonderful to know he loves us so much that he would choose us to live with him for eternity if we respond to his call.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31).
These are powerful words from the prophet Isaiah. Right now the world seems to be shaking and the people of God need to know how to maintain their strength in the midst of it all. Drawing near to God in times of crisis is necessary in order to sustain stability and effectiveness.
The psalmist David says, “Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the plots of man; you shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).
This is profound! David is telling us, in essence: “All true strength comes from drawing near to the Lord. Indeed, the measure of our strength is proportionate to our nearness to him.” Simply put, the closer we are to Jesus, the stronger we are going to be. In fact, all the strength we are ever going to need will come through our secret life of prayer.
The enemy of your soul wants you drained of all strength and he will use anything he can, even “good” things, to keep you from spending time alone with Jesus. He knows your time with the Savior enables you to endure fear and anxiety, even in this worrisome season. We are facing difficult times and are headed for incredible changes.
Each one of us must ask, “How near am I to Jesus in this hour?” Spend time alone with him daily and seek his face in prayer. He promises to hear your every cry and meet your every need.
We cannot serve Jesus properly unless we know the depths of his love for us. As John writes, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19, ESV). We absolutely must receive the Lord’s love into our hearts — and it’s vital that we love him back.
This is beautifully illustrated for us in the story of a woman who showed up at a dinner Jesus was attending. “One of the Pharisees asked [Jesus] to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner … brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment” (Luke 7:36-38).
This is one of the most moving scenes in all of God’s Word. This “woman of the streets” had apparently crashed a dinner party hosted by an upstanding religious leader. It was an awkward moment, yet it had everything to do with John’s statement, “We love because he first loved us.”
“When the Pharisee who had invited [Jesus] saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.’ And Jesus answering said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to say to you.’ And he answered, ‘Say it, Teacher.’
“‘A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?’ Simon answered, ‘The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.’ And he said to him, ‘You have judged rightly’” (7:39-43).
Jesus’ point to Simon is clear. He explains, “I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven — for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little” (7:47).
This woman, emotionally ravaged by the life she led, felt God’s loving grace so powerfully that she had to love Jesus back. So, she initiated a sacrificial act of love — one that cost her a lot. She gladly paid the price not just in terms of the expensive ointment, but also her own dignity. The others at the table may have been embarrassed, but she is celebrated for the ages for her profound tenderness to the Savior.