A Forever Fortune

Have you ever had dinner at a Chinese restaurant and been given a fortune cookie at the end of your meal?  When you opened it up and read your fortune, were you excited or disappointed?  Perhaps it left you scratching your head.  It may have read, “You will experience great friendships and abundant wealth.”  Or it could have said something nonsensical like, “Growth is not an attitude but action.”  While it may be fun to break open these special edible message vessels, the papers inside are printed in massive quantities and the fortunes received are simply obtained by chance.  Unlike the fortune cookies, there is one treasure that has been offered to every man, woman, boy, and girl.  This treasure was not one given by chance, but through God’s divine plan since the Creation of this world.  Jesus Christ gave His life for us, so that we could have eternal life.  That, my friends, is the ultimate forever fortune.

Fortune cookies are given as a way to thank you for your patronage and leave you on a sweet note, both literally and figuratively.  But what if someone gave you a gift even when you spit on them, cursed them, and wished them dead?  That’s exactly what Jesus Christ did.  The soldiers “struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.  Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.  And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him” (Mark 15:19-20).  Even though the soldiers treated Jesus in this horrible manner, he died for every single person on this planet.  That means he even suffered and died for the very people who killed him.

God gave his only Son because he loved the world, knowing that they would crucify him.  I John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  God didn’t send his Son to die just for the rich or poor, the tall or short, the men or women.  God gave his only Son for every single person on earth.  It wasn’t by chance, like the fortunes in the cookies, but it was by the grace of God that Jesus Christ gave his life for us.  He gave his life as a living sacrifice, so that we could have our sins forgiven and be granted eternal life in Heaven.

But wait, there’s more.  Jesus didn’t just die, rise again, and return to his Father, leaving us to fend for ourselves on earth.  Romans 8:34 says, “Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”  Jesus is praying for us.  Imagine.  The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is praying for me, and you, and every single person on this planet.  That’s how much he loves us.  He never stops thinking about us!  That is unconditional love that is only found through Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you are reading this blog and you feel you are in a hopeless situation.  Maybe you feel as if no fortune cookie, prayer, or anything else could possibly save you from your current circumstances.  I am here today to tell you that nothing is too big for God.  I was born lifeless.  Jesus restored my life.  My heart broke in two when my mom passed away.  Jesus restored my joy.  So many times, it may seem that all hope is lost.  But there is one rock on which we can stand, even when it seems the walls are crashing in.  Jesus Christ is the only lasting hope that can be found in this world.  He will always see us through.  Jesus loves you more than you could ever comprehend.  Cast all of your cares on him, for he cares for you (I Peter 5:7).

It’s not a myth, a fairy tale, or a message in a fortune cookie.  Jesus Christ is alive and well today.  He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf.  Call on his name today.  Jesus will be the anchor for your soul, the light in your darkness, and the refuge to which you can run.  Don’t fret over the daily worries of this world.  The greatest treasure is not one that can be deposited into a bank account.  The most valuable fortune is one that is stored up in Heaven (Matthew 6:20).  Put your trust in Jesus Christ today.  Only then will you begin to realize the greatest gift this world has ever received.  For the greatest fortune is not a fleeting thought.  The most valuable treasure is the love of Jesus Christ and his love will last forever.

In Christ’s Love,

Tackling the Giants

Take a look at the television schedule, the Twitter feeds, or the daily newspapers.  If you haven’t noticed already, football season is in full swing.  Everyone is rooting for their favorite team.  Whether or not you are an avid football fan or not, I want you to consider the fact that life is a lot like a football game.  We run interference, we may even fumble the ball, but with God’s help, we will ultimately find ourselves on the winning team.   And before we victoriously make every touchdown, we can rest assured that God will help us tackle the giants we encounter along the way.

David knew firsthand that God would help His children overcome the giants in our lives.  And in his case, he went up against a real, live giant named Goliath.   Other people doubted this young man’s ability to defeat Goliath, but David knew that God was on his side.  David said, “‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’” (I Samuel 17:37).  David didn’t read a book on how to slay a giant.  He didn’t Google what weapons he needed to attempt to fight such an enormous man.  He simply relied on God to provide a way when there seemed to be no way.  David knew in his heart that all things are possible with God.

Moses encountered a similar problem.  He needed to lead a large number of people to the other side of the Red Sea.  There was one major problem though.  They did not have even one boat.  There wasn’t a large bridge spanning the distance either.  To make matters worse, they were being pursued by the Egyptians, so time was of the essence.  Moses turned the problem over the God, and raised his hand.  The Bible says, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided” (Exodus 14:21).  Moses didn’t use his GPS to find the nearest ferry station or use his cell phone to call 911.  He put his trust in the One who is able to do abundantly more than we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

David and Moses are not the only ones who have faced giants in their lives.  I have encountered my share of trials and tribulations as well.  When I was little, my two baby brothers passed away as infants.  At ten years of age, I lost my first grandparent.  Since then, I have lost three of my grandparents.  I’ve spent months in the hospital, including the weeks when I was born premature and lifeless and the weeks I nearly lost my life when I was a teenager due to a perforated colon.  Most recently, I lost my Mama.  This was the most difficult thing I have ever had to face.  But through it all, one thing has never wavered.  That is my faith in Jesus Christ.

Life is not always easy.  The news is filled with giants that threaten our health, our finances, our environment, and so much more.  But even with the uncertainty in the world, I find sweet rest in the fact that Jesus is always with us.  He will see us through.  I am reminded of a song I sing with the Florida Worship Choir and Orchestra: “No matter the storms that come my way, No matter the trials I may face, You promised that You would see me through.  So, I will trust in You.”  I do not put my trust in secular entities, religious and political figures, or any other thing on this earth.  I put my trust in Jesus Christ, the Truth, the Life, and the Way.  He is the only hope we have in this world.

What or who is the giant in your life?  Is it a pile of financial burdens or a severe illness that has you bedridden?  Could it be a job that has you overstressed?  Perhaps it is a friend or family member who constantly torments you with negativity.  Whatever circumstances you may find yourself in, rest assured that God is with you.  He is aware of the giant you face.  Just as he provided David with smooth stones and a slingshot, Moses with a staff, and me with peace in many heartbreaking and uncertain situations, He will also provide you with the means to face your giants.  Put your trust in Jesus Christ.  He will restore your joy, fill your heart with peace, and help you tackle the giants in your life!

In Christ’s Love,