Does Jesus Know You?

UnknownMany of us have heard the question posed to us, “Do you know Jesus?” It’s a very important question that we all must ultimately answer either yes, or no to. It is very easy to assume that Jesus knows us. “Why of course Jesus knows me. He knows everything and everyone, right?”  In one sense, yes, that is very true. God is omniscient, but what does it really mean to know someone?

Suppose one were to dedicate a large part of their life learning everything there was to possibly know about the President of the United States. You would learn when he gets up, what he does during the day, all his accomplishments, where he was born, how many children he has, his wife’s name, his education, even down to minute details like what foods he may like and the friends he invites over for dinner. You could spend so much time and energy learning absolutely everything there is to know about him that you could almost say, “I know the President”. Now just imagine that someday you were able to find your way uninvited into the Oval Office of the White House in Washington DC. The Secret Service grabs hold of you as you inform them, “It’s OK, I know the President!”  By chance if he is there, they are going to ask him if he knows you and should you hear him say: “No, I don’t know this person,” your future would quickly be determined. Unless you would have met him, spoken with him, sat with him, and spent time with him, he could never say he knew you at all. Let alone call you his friend. Knowing all about someone does not constitute a relationship.

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

In the above verses we see that not everyone who claims to know the Lord Jesus will find that He will claim to know them. The word “know” as used in verse 23 is from the Greek word “Ginosko”, meaning “to know absolutely.” What’s even more profound is that the Greek word for never, as used in verse 23, “Oudepote,” means, “not even at any time, never at all.” So,  we can we spend our entire life learning everything there is to know about this one called Jesus, reading the Bible, going to church, even doing all the works and signs of a follower, and still have Him say, “I never knew you.” Jesus Himself said that MANY will find themselves in that position of being shut out (Matthew 7:21-23).

We would find ourselves in the same predicament as being in the Oval Office again, and not being recognized by the President. Actually infinitely worse off. So how can I be assured that He knows me? A beautiful illustration comes from The Lord Jesus Himself saying to us:

 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me (Revelation 3:20, ESV)

When we are invited to dinner at a friend’s house it is still as great an honor now as it has been for thousands of years. You enter into someone’s home that has possibly worked for quite some time preparing a meal for you in hopes that you will greatly enjoy the fruits of their labor prepared for you. Not only that, but you share details about your lives, your jobs, your children, your hopes, your dreams, etc. You certainly at this point have a relationship one with another. How much more so that the Creator of the heavens and the Earth and all that is in them, is knock, knock, knocking at the door of our hearts asking to come in and dine with us! To have a relationship with Him.

In the 3rd chapter of the book of John, a man named Nicodemus; a Pharisee; a Ruler of the Jews, comes to Jesus at night. He says to Jesus: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (John 3:2). Jesus gives a most interesting answer in verse 3: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” That is the key: “You must be Born Again.” He knew exactly what Nicodemus, and every person who ever comes to Him needs to know. He then proceeded to explain to him (and us) how to enter into His kingdom and thus enjoy having a personal relationship with Him.

A bit further on, in one of the most famous verses in all the Bible we read: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever lives and believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The word “believes” is from the Greek word “Pisteuo,” meaning “to entrust, commit, put in trust with.” It is far more than just accepting a stated fact as being true. So in conclusion, when a person comes to Jesus and truly “believes” in Him by trusting in Him, committing their hearts and minds and lives to Him, and repenting of their sins, they then become Born Again; thus entering into a personal relationship with Him and receiving all the rights and privileges of a child of the King of Kings. Their names are then written down in “The Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 3:27).

Dear ones, if you have never entered into a personal relationship with The Lord Jesus, before it is too late, we urge you with every fiber of our being to come humbly at His feet, admit you are a sinner, and accept the free gift of salvation that was so completely secured by Him alone at a very great price.

Mike Engel

Come; For Everything is Now Ready!

banquet16But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’…(Luke 14:16-18)

I was separated from my wife and two children for nearly three months in the year 2000 when I left them in England to start work as one of the pastors in a large mega church in Cincinnati, Ohio (I was born in England).  You bet I was counting the days for our reunion! How lonely I was without the ones I loved. It brought me to tears a number of times.  As the time grew closer for their coming and our reunion, I began to prepare everything for us to be close again.  I checked the flight times again and again, I planned where we would eat on the way from the airport, I cleaned the house meticulously where we would be staying, but most of all, I prepared myself. My time was spent in the days before their coming in much preparation.  What joy I had when they arrived, we hugged and kissed repeatedly.  I was so excited to show them around Cincinnati, the city where we would now be living.  My girlfriend (my wife of 35 years) and my two children were coming home to their own country after 18 or so years of serving God in England.  You cannot understand the joy I felt to bring them back to their family and country.

If you are a Christian this world is not your home.  Like me longing for my family, our Lord is longing for our reunion.  He has spent nearly 2000 years preparing a place for us so that where He is we shall be also (John 14:1-3).  What joy will flood His heart upon our reunion, how he longs to show us where we will be living together. It must be disappointing to Him that some would not even be watching for their reunion day–their hearts are not beating with the same passion that is in His.  There are some who are just not aware of the days in which we are living; they are asleep and are not lovingly watching for His return. These are days of preparation. Before Passover and deliverance from Egypt the Jewish people went through days of preparation (they still do) as the Passover lamb was brought into the house for four days before it was slaughtered (Exodus 12:3-6). The houses of the Israelites were swept completely clean before Passover because it was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and every crumb of yeast or leaven was swept up and gotten rid of. Yeast or leaven speaks of sin. In the preparation time before our deliverance we are to get ourselves ready to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). We are to be ready and watching for His return. This is no time for sleeping spiritually. Turn off the TV! Forget the sports! People are dying without knowing the Savior! We must do what we can to reach them with the truth! Prepare yourself for eternity!

Prayer: Father, keep me awake in the midst of a world that wants to drug me to sleep.  I really want to be wide-awake and sensitive to you so that I may walk in eager anticipation for that great reunion day. Amen!

Keith Thomas

Angelic Help for Servants of God

UnknownIf you are a Christian, you are a servant of the Living God, and as such, you have angels that watch over you and serve you.

14Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

How much do we avail ourselves of heaven’s help when we are in need? The Word of God says that angels are sent to serve us even before we come to faith in Christ, and of course, afterwards too. Notice that the scripture is written in the future tense. Angels are sent to help and protect us who will inherit salvation. That means that God is working on our behalf even before we make the choice to follow Him. In fact, even when we are babies, scripture indicates that we have an unseen protector, an angel that watches over us:

10“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven (Matthew 18:10).

We do not pray to angels; we trust in God from whom the angelic beings take their direction. I believe that every one of us who are Christians has an angel watching over us.

Sundar Singh had angels help him as he ministered the gospel. He traveled all over India sharing the good news of the finished work of Christ to redeem mankind. He felt a call to go to the unreached people across the Himalayan Mountains in Tibet. This was a difficult call and very dangerous, but his heart was moved by Tibetans with their superstitious chanting of “Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum,” over and over again when they crossed the mountains in the summer to trade in India. He deeply desired for them to know God and the inner assurance and peace that only Christ can give.

For several years he crossed the treacherous mountains to share Christ in the villages and marketplaces of Tibet. He related stories of angels that had helped him on numerous occasions. On one occasion, having been directed along a forest path that eventually led to a river, he saw that it was too wide and swift flowing for him to cross. Night was already falling, and with the sound of wild beasts in his ears he wondered if the end of his life had come. He faced death alone in that isolated spot miles from any village or town. His eyes filled with tears at his hopeless position when, looking across the river he saw a man warming himself by a fire. “Don’t worry, I’m coming to help you,” the man called out, and stepping down into the water he came across fearlessly and said to Sundar, “sit on my shoulders—don’t be afraid.” Perched on the man’s back Sundar found himself carried through the river and up the bank, thinking to himself, “He must live near here, and so be used to crossing, I must tell him the Good News about Jesus…” On arrival at the other bank Sundar slipped off his rescuer’s back, and turned around to speak to him—but the man had disappeared. Neither was there any trace of the fire.

Then there was the time when he had preached in a place called Kanyan all day, only to be interrupted again and again by men who were bitterly opposed to him. Disappointed at their rejection of the gospel, he departed to a deserted spot where he fell asleep, thirsty, tired and very hungry. About midnight he was awakened by a touch, and a voice told him to get up and eat. There beside him were two men holding out food to eat and water to drink. He took the refreshments gratefully and when he was satisfied, he looked up to speak to the men—but they had disappeared.

Prayer: Father, grant us to trust you and call upon you when we are in need.

Keith Thomas

Taken from the book, Sadhu Sundar Singh, by Phyllis Thompson, OM Publishing, page 74.

A Place for Each of God’s People

the last supper1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

It was the night of the Last Supper, before Jesus was to be crucified. Jesus had just told his followers that He was going to be leaving them through the door of death. As Christ looked around the table at His disciples, His heart went out to them. When our hearts are troubled, stressed, fearful and uncertain, when it seems as if our world is caving in—we are to remember what Jesus said here in this passage: “my Father’s house has many rooms” (John 14:2). No matter what is going on in your mind and heart, no matter how broken you are, no matter what you are going through, there is a place in the Father’s house for you. He’s saying it to Peter and the disciples, but He is also saying it to us.  Deep down within the very soul of each person born into this world is a yearning for a better place:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

It is said that Professor T. H. Huxley, the famous agnostic (who, by the way, invented the term “agnostic” and applied it to himself), reversed his views prior to his death and came to believe in God and a future life. As he lay dying (so his nurse reported), he raised himself on his elbows and gazed into the distance as if surveying some invisible scene, then dropped back on his pillow and murmured: “So it was true! So it was true!”[1]

Yes, it is true. In the Father’s house there are many rooms. Perhaps you have read the King James Version, which translates the Greek word monai as mansions, but the term really means dwelling places or rooms. The picture is that we will live with God in His house—that His house has many rooms for us to abide with Him. For those of you that have lived with the insecurity of moving from place to place, and in dismal circumstances, take hope! We are talking about having an eternal house in the heavens where we will be at home with God forever! When Jesus said; “I am going to prepare a place for you, we should not think in terms of Jesus the carpenter building each of us a physical home. The Greek word that is translated ‘prepare’ is hetoimazō, the word that is used of an oriental custom of sending a person before kings on their journeys to level the roads and make them passable. The word was also used to describe the disciples going to prepare the Upper Room for the Passover feast (Luke 22:9, 12). The sad departure of Christ was for the way to be prepared for the disciples and us to follow Him to the Father’s house. He went ahead of us to make the way to God “passable” for us.

So that we get a picture of what heaven will be like, the scriptures tell us of a time when a heavenly city will come down from heaven to earth—a city that is prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. Notice who we will be living with:

 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).

How wonderful it will be to live with God—the pain of this world will be dried from our eyes by the gentle touch of the Lord Himself. I think He has purposely not told us much about heaven, because many of us would want out of this world before our time. In another place Paul the apostle tells us:

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

In our wildest dreams and imaginations of heaven we cannot imagine how good it will be for those of us who walk with Christ on this earth. If your heart is troubled by the way this world is, and what you are going through, let your mind and heart be fortified with the fact that you will one day be with God Himself in His holy house. How that must have encouraged Peter, especially after he had denied Christ, that there was room for even him after he had denied his Lord. Will you be in that place with Christ? You can be! Ask Christ to come into your life and forgive your sin—receive the free gift of life—I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

If you would like to read more on this topic, this meditation was taken from the study, found on this page under the Book of John studies, John 14:1-14—Jesus the Way

Keith Thomas

[1]  Every Day With Jesus, May-June 1996 edition, Crusade for World Revival.

Sundar Singh’s Miraculous Release from Prison

de932e7bb6547ac87f4dcbc4884b3d28Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Paul writes to the church at Corinth that they should give themselves fully to the work of the Lord. What is meant by the work of the Lord? It is the stewardship of the gospel—the most powerful thing on planet Earth! If we had discovered a cure for cancer, there would be a responsibility to get it to the world to save lives. We have a cure for the cancer of the spirit—the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cure for the disease of sin that ravages our planet. The propagation or furtherance of the gospel and the edifying (building up spiritually) of the saints (the people of God) is the most important work of the Lord in the world.

We have been thinking in the last few days about the life of Sadhu Sundar Singh, the godly Indian Christian. This is what Sadhu Sundar Singh gave the rest of his life for—the furtherance of the gospel. He crossed the Himalayan Mountains often from India into Tibet, called by many the Roof of the World because of its altitude, to share the gospel with the Tibetan people. God was with him as he would go into the market places of Tibet and just start preaching the gospel to the poor.

On one occasion, in a Tibetan town called Rasa, he was arrested for preaching a foreign religion. He was sentenced to death by being thrown into a pit, the bottom of which was covered with dead men’s bones and rotting flesh. The stench was overwhelming. He had come alone and was in a country where he was unknown so there was no possibility of help from any human source. He was in that pit for two days, suffering painfully with a wrenched arm from when he was thrown in. On the third night, he heard a noise from above, the cover of the well was being unlocked and lifted off. A rope came down and a voice told him to slip the noose under his arms, upon doing so he was slowly drawn up to the top. As he breathed in the fresh air he was strangely revived and the pain in his arm had gone. On top of that, his rescuer had disappeared. You’d think that Sundar Singh would have left Tibet at being released from death, but no, not this man of God. He went back into the village and started preaching at the market again! He was arrested again and brought before the head lama, the religious leader of the village. The man wanted to know who had stolen the only key to let him out. A search was made for the key only for it to be found still on the head lama’s belt. This was alarming to the head lama; some superior power was evidently at work. There was spiritual power accompanying Sundar Singh’s message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He gave no further order for Sundar to be arrested but asked him to leave the village. Sundar had no option but to leave and come back at a later date.

We need the power of God to be working with us as we communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us pray that, like Sundar Singh, we will share the gospel of God, no matter what it costs.

Keith Thomas

Taken from Phyllis Thompson’s book, Sadhu Sundar Singh, published by OM Publishing, Page 76.