Jesus probably won’t ask you to leave your business (as Peter and Andrew did) to follow him full time. He will, however, expect you to let him be involved in all aspects of your life—including your business.
As a spiritual explorer, it’s important for you to understand that you can’t just add Jesus into your life by fitting him into your schedule somewhere. Following Jesus requires a complete life commitment. He is your God and king, your forgiver and leader and comforter.
Taken from NIV The Journey Bible
The Bedrock of Your Assurance
God chose you from the beginning to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Dozens of passages in the Bible speak of our final salvation (though not our election) as conditional upon a changed heart and life. The question arises then, how can I have the assurance I will persevere in faith and in the holiness necessary for inheriting eternal life?
The answer is that assurance is rooted in our election (2 Peter 1:10). Divine election is the guarantee that God will undertake to complete by sanctifying grace what his electing grace has begun.
This is the meaning of the new covenant: God does not merely command obedience, he gives it. “The LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deuteronomy 30:6). “I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes” (Ezekiel 36:27; 11:20).
Election secures that “those who are justified will be glorified” (Romans 8:30), so that all the conditions laid down for glorification will be met by the power of God’s grace.
Election is the final ground of assurance because, since it is God’s commitment to save, it is also God’s commitment to enable all that is necessary for salvation.
Jacob is quite old and nearing death. The time has come for him to give his final blessings to his sons.
Joseph moved the boys, who were at their grandfather’s knees, and he bowed with his face to the ground. Then he positioned the boys in front of Jacob. With his right hand he directed Ephraim toward Jacob’s left hand, and with his left hand he put Manasseh at Jacob’s right hand. But Jacob crossed his arms as he reached out to lay his hands on the boys’ heads. He put his right hand on the head of Ephraim, though he was the younger boy, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, though he was the firstborn.
When Joseph became a slave, Jacob thought he was dead and wept in despair (Genesis 37:34). But eventually God’s plan allowed Jacob to regain not only his son but his grandchildren as well. This dramatic turn of events shows that circumstances are never beyond God’s reach. Jacob regained his son. Job got a new family (Job 42:10-17). Mary and Martha regained their brother Lazarus (John 11:1-44). We need never despair because we belong to a loving God. We don’t yet know what good he may bring out of a seemingly hopeless situation.
Jacob included Joseph’s sons in his blessings. These verbal blessings were very important, carrying the weight of a “last will and testament.” Jacob surprised Joseph by giving Ephraim the greater blessing, even though he was younger. When Joseph tried to correct his father, Jacob refused to listen because God had told him that Ephraim would become greater. Then Jacob blessed Joseph, the son he thought he would never see again.
God often works in unexpected ways. He certainly did when he restored Joseph to his family. And when God chooses people to be part of his plans, he always goes deeper than appearance, tradition, or position. He sometimes surprises us by choosing the person that human reasoning sets aside.
God can use you to carry out his plans, even if you don’t think you have all the qualifications or face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Look for how God can work through you and for you in every situation, even those that seem hopeless.
Streams in the Desert – May 25
So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God, that they too may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory. (2 Tim 2:10)
If Job could have known as he sat there in the ashes, bruising his heart on this problem of Providence—that in the trouble that had come upon him he was doing what one man may do to work out the problem for the world, he might again have taken courage. No man lives to himself. Job’s life is but your life and mine written in larger text….So, then, though we may not know what trials wait on any of us, we can believe that, as the days in which Job wrestled with his dark maladies are the only days that make him worth remembrance, and but for which his name had never been written in the book of life, so the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live.
Who does not know that our most sorrowful days have been amongst our best? When the face is wreathed in smiles and we trip lightly over meadows bespangled with spring flowers, the heart is often running to waste.
The soul which is always blithe and gay misses the deepest life. It has its reward, and it is satisfied to its measure, though that measure is a very scanty one. But the heart is dwarfed; and the nature, which is capable of the highest heights, the deepest depths, is undeveloped; and life presently burns down to its socket without having known the resonance of the deepest chords of joy.
“Blessed are they that mourn.” Stars shine brightest in the long dark night of winter. The gentians show their fairest bloom amid almost inaccessible heights of snow and ice.
God’s promises seem to wait for the pressure of pain to trample out their richest juice as in a wine-press. Only those who have sorrowed know how tender is the “Man of Sorrows.”
Thou hast but little sunshine, but thy long glooms are wisely appointed thee; for perhaps a stretch of summer weather would have made thee as a parched land and barren wilderness. Thy Lord knows best, and He has the clouds and the sun at His disposal.
“It is a gray day.” “Yes, but dinna ye see the patch of blue?”