When things go wrong, and they sometimes will, Jesus tells us, “My peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27). Timothy writes, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7). Hebrews 13:6 reminds us, “So we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper; I will not fear what man can do to me.”
David, in his Psalm, said, “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 same. 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 annointest 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.” (Psalm 23)
Only the wise know that it is often better to say nothing than to speak at all. Jesus said, “My ways are not your ways, neither are my thoughts your thoughts.” I try to remember that no matter what the weather, it is always sunny and bright if Christ lives within us. Let us always work as if we are going to live forever, and live as though this is our final day on earth. Near the end of his life, Emerson said, “All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen.” God is good. I claim that for my own.
Never forget that God is bigger than all your troubles and his grace and mercy are greater than all your sins. There are no perfect people in the world. All have sinned according to Romans 3:23, and come short of the glory of God. We do not need to understand God, we only need to trust and obey him. That will bring us to a victory the world cannot take from us.
The Bible tells us there is faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. In response to the question, “Which is the greatest commandment?” Jesus said, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” He also said, “If you love one another, by this all men shall know that you are my disciples.”
We have a choice, we can sit down in self-pity and feel sorry for ourselves, or we can get up, use the talents God gave us, make something out of ourselves, and the world will applaud us. The choices we make determine our destiny. We will reap what we sow. That is nature’s law. Be ye sure your sins will find you out. We are our brother’s keeper. There is a judgment day. God will not forgive my sins unless I forgive those who have wronged me.
We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. What shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul? It’s not what we save that makes us rich, it’s what we give away.
There is in each person potentially either a saint or a sinner. By our own choices we become one or the other. It is neither circumstance nor environment that determines our destiny. We choose the path we travel.
I cannot think of a time in my life when we have had as much hate in the world as we do now. Let us pray that God is in the heavens, and soon all will be right in the world. We must love one another.
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.