I AM With You Always | Matthew 28:11-20

"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
"...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Mat 28:11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. Mat 28:12 When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, Mat 28:13 saying, "Tell them, 'His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.' Mat 28:14 And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure." Mat 28:15 So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. Mat 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. Mat 28:17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Mat 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Mat 28:20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

The End of the Journey Through Matthew

I have been writing about the book of Matthew for quite some time now. In fact I started back on April 12th, 2010 with my very first post. Today is December 10, 2012 which means I have been doing this for approximately 32 months. Here is the very first paragraph that was written...

There are many reasons that I have started this blog, the most important being that I want to get to know my Savior Jesus Christ more personally. I believe that the only way I can do that is to really spend time in His word. However, the world has many distractions; many paths leading away from Him. So, to take control of a portion of my life, I am dedicating time each week to writing down my thoughts and feelings on a bible passage. I am doing this on the web in hopes that others will gain from this personal journey.

The intent of this blog was to bring me closer to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, did it? I must answer with an emphatic YES! I highly recommend to anyone that wants a closer walk with Jesus; that they read and then write about what they have "seen". It is good to do it from the perspective of telling what you know to someone else so that they to can see what you have seen. This drives you to make your points better and to understand things more clearly before you put them down for others to read.

This journey was purely a selfish one. My main intention was to grow closer to my Savior, but if others benefit from my sharing I praise God that the Holy Spirit can work through such a broken vessel.

The journey has been exciting, frustrating and inspiring. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I have grown closer to Christ and this has made this trip well worth it.

Using the analogy of a "trip" or journey was very appropriate. There were times when the road was clear and the travels were easy, and other times when it was extremely hard to start the car and get moving (writing). I needed a lot of fuel (prayer) and my GPS (Holy Spirit) got dropped under the seat a few times along the way..though it never actually left the car. I hit bumps, rough roads, and even stopped in some places for weeks on end trying to really understand which direction the GPS wanted me to go. Jesus spoke to me sometimes like a passenger in the car helping to guide me to our next destination and at other times like police officer reminding me of the rules of the road. Most importantly, He was with me the whole way.

It is appropriate that the book of Matthew ends with the statement "...lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." He was with me and I have no doubt that He will continue to be with me to the very end. Why do I believe this? Because He had been there and because He said He would be. His Word has power....power to change men's hearts. Dear reader, know and trust that the Lord is Good. He proved it on the cross, leaving no doubt about how much He loves you. Don't let your journey end without allowing Jesus to become your navigator. Pray with me...

Prayer:

Dear Father in Heaven,

Thank You so much for giving us Your only begotten Son, Jesus. Your word is truth and life and love. Your love is everlasting and You have promised to be with us always. It has been Your goal from the beginning. You want to know us...help us to want to know you. Give me today Your Holy Spirit so that I may live, because living with You is all I want. Forgive my sins Lord. Cleanse my unclean heart and show me the narrow road that I must follow to stay safe in Your arms. Thank You for providing my daily bread. Thank You for watching over my family and friends. I love You Lord. Amen.

The End of the Journey?

Now that I have reached the end of my journey through Matthew the big question becomes...where to go from here? The car is all gassed up and tuned up, but I need to know where to take it? The road map (Bible) is massive with many different roads leading to new and exciting discoveries. Maybe you, dear reader, have a suggestion? Please leave a comment below and recommend a destination...

The "Joy" That Life Brings | Matthew 28:1-10

Christ-has-risen
Christ-has-risen
Mat 28:1 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.Mat 28:2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.Mat 28:3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.Mat 28:4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.Mat 28:5 Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.Mat 28:6 He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying.Mat 28:7 And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you."Mat 28:8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel's message.Mat 28:9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him.Mat 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid! Go tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see Me there."

The Joy that Life Brings

Consider the act of birth. A new life comes into the world bringing with it all the implications of future joy, future worry, and future expectation; all bundled into this crying wriggling package. The nine month process of bringing this new life into existence caused much pain, discomfort, worry and strife; but along with that hope, expectation and joy of what this new life will mean.

We celebrate the birth of a child as a happy experience even though we know that there will be much pain involved. Not just physical pain but mental pain and stress. There will be a lifetime of work involved and none of it easy, yet we move forward with celebration.

Why? Why does new life bring so much joy wrapped up in so much misery? 

Any parent will tell you that if you looked at the whole process of raising a child from a purely logical perspective, you would have to pronounce yourself mentally unstable for choosing to have one. Who would enthusiastically raise their hand if I asked this question...

"Who wants to bring a completely helpless life into this world. Worry about it, stress over it, be hated by it, cry for it...with it...and about it. Give it much of the money that you work hard to earn, only to have it disdain you for 'not ever giving it what it want's'. It will poop on you, barf on you, pee on you and rarely say thank you for what you've done. And this is only the beginning of the sorrows..."

Well, did you raise your hand? If you were being purely logical I would venture a guess that you wouldn't have raised your hand...but then again love is rarely logical.

As parents we are invested in our children in a way that makes no logical sense at all. It's called love and with love comes hope.

When I look at my children I see only what they could be. I hope for them to be happy, satisfied, joyful and most of all alive with their true purpose. I want them to know the love that I have for them is deeper than they are even able to comprehend. I am willing to do whatever is in my power to help them. I make the tough choices and exercise the tough love that will bring them around to what will save them all the while knowing that they can choose to do whatever they want. They may even choose to rebel against me or hate me but I don't care. I can quickly forgive that. All I want is for  them to have this gift of love that I have to give. They don't even understand the treasure that my love is...how can I show them? How can I make them understand? Do I have to prove it somehow? Show it?

Jesus' death and resurrection

Jesus' death showed us the depth of His love for us. It brought us to the understanding that even though we were still sinners, sinners who were willing to spit in the face of love....He was still willing to die on our behalf. He did it to show us His character of love. He wanted us to see the real treasure. Do you see it?

However, our experience in this sinful world tells us that the death of something is the end of the line. None of the disciples would have ever come to the realization of the loving act that God performed at the cross if they had not seen the resurrected Christ. Instead they would have ultimately sulked away, thinking "Well, I guess Jesus wasn't really the Messiah we thought he was," and that would have been the end of the story. But the resurrection happened and it changed everything. This gave them hope! Now, they had a living Savior who was willing and able to save them. His new life brought with it hope of a future with a loving Father in Heaven who has not only shown that He loved them to the point of death on the cross, but that He has the power to save them and guide them and direct them as a loving Father.

If you are a parent you have undoubtedly had this thought: "If only my children could know how much I really love them, it would change the way they see me and respond to me." Well, maybe this is a universal truth? God needs us to see just how much He loves us so that it will change our attitude toward Him. And beyond even that, He has given us the demonstrated hope of the resurrection. A hope in His power to change us and form us into His loving image again.

Prayer:

Father in Heaven,

Thank You so much for doing everything possible to show us how much You love us. It is incomprehensible to my sinners mind, yet when I compare what you've done to how I feel about my own children I get a glimmer of understanding. Thank You for the trials and thorns of life that have brought me closer to You. I want to love You in a better way Lord. I want to love You the way that You loved me. Give me that strength...please. Help me also to see my "siblings" in the same way that You see them. Help me to desire their salvation as much as You do, and then give me the power to act upon that desire. Forgive me for all the times I did not return Your love.

Be with my family and my children in the way that I cannot. Protect them and lead them back to You Lord. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today. I give You my life. Amen.