“Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Mark 16:14-18
A few things have been on my mind the past few days and have influenced this message. First, a friend posted a photocopy of the hymn ‘Let us ever walk with Jesus’ on Facebook last week and at the men’s Bible study on Saturday we tossed around the things of this world that we worship. And when leaving that group Chris stopped and asked me how I was doing and I said ‘okay’ and didn’t give him a full disclosure on what had been working on me this week. I’ve been praying for a Haitian Lutheran Pastor whose outward appearance reflects the presence of a man being attacked by and under the spell of an evil spirit sent by a vodou priest to discredit this servant and bring shame upon his family.
This pastor is having a difficult battle fleeing and resisting this demon. He is not alone in his battle with the liar of this world as we too struggle with our own demons and at times feel abandoned we seemingly are growing weaker and weaker under the weight of this world where too many do not keep God above all else. This world would have us forget all of the Commandments to the point that we don’t recognize or even understand that very first Commandment; “You shall have NO other god’s before Me.” May this day be a really good starting point for your week and take an inventory of your ‘gods’ and intentionally strive to ‘Walk with Jesus’ wherever you happen to set foot this week. Please include Pastor Isaac in your prayers. I am closing today with the words from the hymn ‘Let us ever walk with Jesus’ that were written by Sigismund von Birken in 1653.
“Let us ever walk with Jesus, follow His example pure, flee the world, which would deceive us and to sin our souls allure. Ever in His footsteps treading, body here, yet soul above, full of faith and hope and love, let us do the Father's bidding. Faithful Lord, abide with me; Savior, lead, I follow Thee. Let us suffer here with Jesus, to His image, e'er conform; Heaven's glory soon will please us, sunshine follow on the storm. Though we sow in tears of sorrow, we shall reap with heavenly joy; and the fears that now annoy shall be laughter on the morrow. Christ, I suffer here with Thee; there, oh, share Thy joy with me! Let us also die with Jesus. His death from the second death, from our soul's destruction, frees us, quickens us with life's glad breath. Let us mortify, while living, flesh and blood and die to sin; and the grave that shuts us in shall but prove the gate to heaven. Jesus, here I die to Thee there to live eternally. Let us gladly live with Jesus; since He's risen from the dead, death and grave must soon release us. Jesus, Thou art now our Head, we are truly Thine own members; where Thou livest, there live we. Take and own us constantly, Faithful Friend, as Thy dear brethren. Jesus, here I live to Thee, also there eternally.”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay