Grafted In

Grafted In

Illness has a way of changing one’s perspective and at times, it happens in an instant.  Recent events witnessed in the life of a friend of mine have my spirit reflecting and in this case the context relates to circumstances that had left him having to face a new world and a new way of living.

Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 12, his life had to change from one of free living; do what you want, eat what you want; to that of structure and routine if he was to keep the illness in check.  Unfortunately though, when he got older, an addiction gripped him and it was only a matter of time before his body would start to fail.  A life of hard living and neglect, both physically and spiritually had taken its toll and the illness he was diagnosed with as a youth now started to take over.

Diabetes is a devastating disease that can often wreak havoc on the body resulting in all kinds of problems and in the case of my friend, he was no exception.  Of all the things those living with Diabetes face, tissue alteration and poor circulation are a few of the more visible, destructive and painful to deal with.  Amputation is often the remedy; despite ones best efforts taken to prevent it.  For my friend it started with damage done to an already suffering foot, leading to the amputation of a few toes.  From there it was more of the same foot which led to the final and most recent amputation of his leg below the knee resulting in whole new way of life for him going forward.

You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, how much does a person have to go through before they realize they need to change?  Thankfully for my friend it wasn’t long after his diagnosis that he found himself in recovery.  He would say, “That was the Lord’s doing”, as he was restored physically in the overcoming of his addiction and spiritually in his relationship with God through Christ in the meeting of a Godly women who would become his wife.

During a recent visit with them to offer prayer and encouragement, I asked him how he felt.  He indicated that he could tell his leg was gone and that it was more than just a visual thing.  His body could sense that a part of him was missing and it wanted it back; something he knew for man was not possible.  But, as is the case with Christ, what is impossible for man is never impossible for God.

In Romans 11 v 11 – 32, God speaks metaphorically through the Apostle Paul to the Israelites and the Gentiles regarding his power and authority to graft in or amputate out those who accept or reject his offer of grace in Christ.  He says following in verses 22 – 24:

“Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.  And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!”

From these verses we understand that it is God, our creator, who is the surgeon operating at the table on the body.  And like a surgeon, he has the eye for that which is dangerous and needs to be removed as well as that which is healthy and can be attached or put in.  And, what are we attached to you might say?  That answer can be found in verse 18 taken from the same chapter which states:

“do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.”

It is the root we are attached or grafted into that provides us life.

Now speaking plainly, what or who is that root?  The answer is found in John 14 v 6 when Jesus says:

 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The answer is Jesus!  The answer is and always will be Jesus!  The final question is, will he be the answer for you?

Coming back to my friend, even though a part of him is now gone, who he is hasn’t changed.  In Christ, he is a son of God and a worshipper of the only true King.  The evidence is found in the life he now lives and who he is living it for.  I’m even so bold as to say that God could give him his leg back and believe this based on what Jesus was able to do for those suffering with Leprosy.  But in saying that, I don’t believe it necessary in light of the finished work of Jesus on the cross and the empty tomb.  We would only be focused on the temporal when God in Christ, through the indwelling power and presence of His Holy Spirit, leads us to embrace the eternal.  I pray that as you read you would be grafted in as one referenced in Ephesians 2 v 13:

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

To the betterment of our body and His kingdom.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

PS: Special thanks to my friend for the permission to write this.  You know who you are.

A Good Student

A Good Student

Of all the things I would have been known for growing up, being a good student was most certainly not one of them.  In thinking about why, I can’t honestly come up with an answer to explain it.  If asked, I’m sure most of my teachers would say that I just didn’t try but to me that still doesn’t explain it.  I could certainly come up with excuses but I’m sure they would only point the finger at someone else instead of myself, where the responsibility really rests.

All through my middle and high school years my mother would continually remind me that I would regret not doing better and as most moms usually are, she was right.  I will remind her that I did pass every grade but for many, it was by the skin of my teeth; a fact highlighted by a stint of summer school I endured to get through my grade 10 year.  But in the end, her words rang true the day I graduated and even more so when I started University as I was not at all ready.

My university career didn’t last a year and nobody, including myself, was surprised.  I knew the importance of an education but had chosen the hard road and it cost me in the short term; as it often does for others.  Everything from education to employment, parenting to marriage, so often the reality is that many are not ready; not ready to take on the roles and responsibilities either placed in front of them or as a result of their actions.  Truth is that we handicap ourselves in our lack of preparation and examples are always readily available.

The Christian faith has never been immune to this problem and this issue of readiness, or lack thereof, is one always to be dealt with head on.  For the person seeking encouragement, it can often be found in the witness of others.  A great example for me is found in an encounter Paul has with Peter regarding something Peter should have done or at least been ready to do.  But, as is the case with fear, it can compel a response in one person and the exact opposite in another.

Galatians 2 v 11 – 13 outlines a time where both Peter and Paul found themselves in a place called Antioch.  When Peter arrived he would eat with Gentile, uncircumcised believers.  In laymen’s terms, this is referring to people who were not Jewish.  But when friends of James showed up, who insisted on circumcision as necessary to the faith, he would no longer eat with them.  Fear had crept in resulting in action and as is the case with actions, they often influence others.  In Peter’s case, there was no exception as many believers, including Barnabas followed his lead.  Paul, recognizing the problem responds with the following in verses 14:

“When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas (Peter) in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?””

Only from a position of readiness was Paul able to act and from there, effectively ministered the truth to the betterment of all around him.

In trying to understand what it takes or what it looks like to be ready I’m fearful some would want to respond by quoting Jesus from a verse found in three of the Gospels where He was speaking to his Disciples.  In the interest of this write up I will go with the account found in Luke 12 v 11 – 12 where Jesus states:

“When you are brought before the synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say.  For at that time the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say.”

On the surface, the verse appears cut and dry.  The Lord of all creation is providing us with another road and an easy one at that.  And, being honest, who wouldn’t want the easier road anyway? But believing this to be reality would be to wrongly interpret the scripture.  What is the danger in doing that?  Misinterpretation always leads to incorrect application.  For the person, whose desired position is one of readiness, it will require investment and relationship resulting in the clarity needed to minister the word.

In the case of Jesus’s words found in Luke one would be wise to understand the context of both the people and the times.  The audience in question had hearts to know and be filled with his word, both at present and historically from the Old Testament.  For to them, to be filled with the Word was to be filled with true life, the life of Christ and for reference, see John 1 v 1 and v 14.  They also had the desire to be in community with the Father, by Him, through the Spirit resulting in a strong prayer life.  It is from this position that the truth of the scripture rings true and the fear, the worry Jesus refers to, is replaced with eyes that see and ears that hear, allowing us to respond in correspondence with and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

To close I can thankfully say it wasn’t long after I had left university that God drew me to himself and saw fit to educate me both secularly and in my spirit.  My mother’s warning had been supplanted by Jesus’s call to repentance and new life.  A call that, decades later, continues prepare me and those God puts in my path while knowing and living in the truth of Psalm 119 v 105 which states:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.”

I pray this to always be the case for myself and my family as Disciples of the King and pray this to be the case for you as well; both in the world today and the one to come where we will all meet Jesus face to face.

God Bless – Sean Bosse


Wake Up O Sleeper

Wake Up O Sleeper

It was very late at night that I, at 7 or 8 years old, found myself standing in the hallway of the apartment building my family lived in.  Disoriented, confused and scared to death, I tried to get my bearings which was not easy.  But, thanks to my mom, it was not long before I realized where I was and how I got there.

If you have hadn’t guessed, I was sleeping walking and it was another one of the many times my mom had come to my rescue.  My mom is always quick to remind me that she was far more afraid than I was, with me getting through a locked door and half way down the hall.  But, whether I was found under a table or in a closet; using our tub or the nearest flower pot as a urinal, my mom was always there to wake me up, comfort and get me back where I was supposed to be.

When I reflect on this, it really can sound like a parallel in life.  One minute you wake up, dazed and confused, wondering what happened to your life and how you got there.  The same can be said for us as a society, leaving us asking questions like:

How did we get here?

How did it get to this point?

It is at that point where we are in most need of a wakeup call.  To continue sleep walking through life would be dangerous, if not deadly; especially considering the times.

The apostle Paul shares this reflection with the people of Ephesus in Ephesians 5 v 13 – 16:

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible–and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.  This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”  Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

I always remember how mom would handle the situation when she found me sleep walking.  Despite my screams, followed by a good cry, she would be quick to let me know she was with me, where I was and what had happened.  Sometimes she would be scared herself but often laughed while comforting me.  In comforting me, she always reminded me of the truth of my circumstances and back to safety I went.

God’s word also calls us to wake up; to understand our times and how we live in them.  He also salts his words with comfort and great encouragement.  Knowing that there is nowhere we could go that God could not find us; Psalm 139 v 7 – 12; when he finds us, despite our cries and fears, when he wakes us and we walk in the light, we can be sure that Christ will shine on us.

One of my favorite verses’ God has placed on my life as a tool to enable me to overcome and shine has been Romans 12 v 2:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

That verse is the key to waking up from the slumber or hibernation the enemy of the world would be happy to see us continue in.

What does a renewed mind of a Christ woken sleeper looks like?  Philippians 4 v 8 is the answer,

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Let us wake up and be found in Christ as we come to another season of harvest.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Starting From The Beginning

Starting From The Beginning

With two children, ages of 14 and 10; and 21 years of youth ministry now under my belt, I have been to more birthday parties and youth events than I can remember. In all those parties and events, my mind often goes to the time when the food and cake were brought out.  I can already hear the hecklers saying, “No surprise there Sean”.  Parties and events where pizza was the main course are of particular interest to me.  Wanting to be a gentleman, most times, I would wait for everyone else to go first before I would take my turn and it was always funny to find what was left in the box.  It never failed that the only pieces left most times were the outer edges.  The opposite was true when the cake would be cut as all the kids would be clamoring for the pieces on the end, or the prized corner piece.  Can’t say I blame them either as who wouldn’t want the piece with the most frosting … right?  Whether it is a pizza or a cake, we instinctively gravitate to what we perceive to be the best part, as if what is left was of no value, or of less valuable.

Gravity seems to work the same way with regards to the Bible, creating problems for some when it comes to God’s word. Problems that I have dealt with myself as well as discussed with family members, friends, peers and strangers.

One issue deals with those areas of scripture that leave us uncomfortable, insecure or shamed.  Those areas we would wish were not in God’s word for one reason or another.  Scalpel in hand, there are those in society today who daily operate on the body scripture in an effort to remove what they deem cancerous, threatening or of no use; an issue seen and dealt with by early believers in Jesus’s day.

Another problem for some is in the area of the Old Testament.  For some it is intentional but for others it is more complicated than that.  Complicated may be the best word to describe the issue for many.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked the question of “Where should I start?” when it comes to the Bible; as if it is some big meal to eat or massive problem to solve.  The reality for us is that the Bible is complete and in consuming Genesis to Revelation we see the entire gospel of our savior; God’s hand of grace working throughout the course of our history to present day.  It is in solving this problem that I believe we can see the church, the bride of Christ grow and for his glory.

In D.A Carson’s book “The Scriptures Testify About Me”, a compilation of messages from pastors, including D.A, focus on preaching Christ from the Old Testament; an ability that seems to be lost in many a pulpit today. Of particular interest to me is the breakdown of 1st Timothy 4 by Pastor James MacDonald.  He expounds the scripture with a focus on verse 13 which reads:

“Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”

With the New Testament not in existence, where would one think Paul would be referring too? It was the knowledge he along with the early believers had of Old Testament scripture that enabled them to understand the times they were living and ministering in.  This sheds new light on my understanding of what Jesus meant when he told his disciples not worry when the time came for them to speak.  For reference on this see, Matthew 10, Luke 12 and Mark 13.

For me it is clear that the knowledge and command of scripture was not a burden to the early church. As they immersed themselves in its truth, they were in fact deepening and strengthening their relationship with their creator.  1st John 1 v 1 states:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The book of Acts also reveals that the power to command and interpret is from the Lord, in the Spirit. Acts 4 v 13 states the following regarding Peter and John’s encounter with religious leaders when defending their actions in the name of Jesus.

When they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Never being a strong student and a self-perceived slow learner growing up, I’ve always been encouraged with what God can and often does with those whose hearts turn to him. It delights the Lord to raise up the humble and to humble the prideful; a power manifested in Moses and Aaron as well as the early believers all the way up to the present day church.

When it comes to the scriptures, losing sight of or veering away from the truth of the gospel, could in affect punch the ticket of an earnest seeker to a destination of judgment, or worse see a professing believer fall away from the truth that leads to salvation, to the lie of a false gospel and its result; if that could even happen.

With all the noise and perceived variability in the world today, truth and wisdom appear to be needed now more than ever.  For the seeker who finds themselves asking the questions of, “Is there a true gospel?” and if there is, “Where can it be found?” the answer is a resounding yes.  With the word gospel translating to mean good news, it is found in the receiving of the word in its entirety; and in that receiving the fullness of Christ himself.  For the believer today we need to, as Paul warned Timothy, guard our lives and the truth we live by closely if we are to under to understand the times we are living and ministering in today.  1 Timothy 4 v 16

In closing I refer Paul Harvey’s famous radio show quote, “The rest of the story”. After taking time to intro a particular subject, he would share with his listeners the vital information needed to complete their understanding; always finishing with his famous quote of “And now you know the rest of the story”.  When it comes to the gospel, the opposite is true.  John 17 v 3 states the following:

Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.

It is in the knowledge of the scriptures, Old Testament scriptures to be specific, that we see and know him and whom he sent. As said by Jesus in John 5, these scriptures testify to who he is.  You can’t know the rest of the story without knowing the beginning, the history that lead to the cross that then lead to the resurrection and will finish with the work of the Holy Spirit.  From there we see the birth of the church that lead us to the present day and will lead to our glorious future.  We just need to know the first of the story.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Mountain Climber

Mountain Climber

It was the summer of 2012 and we as a family were away with our youth group as well as another group from another local church in our area on a white water rafting trip in Jackman, Maine. A lot of great ministry was done.  With memories ranging from me almost drowning in the rapids to paint ball in torrential rain; the week wasn’t short on laughs.  Of all the things that happened that week, what I remember most was a mountain climb that almost didn’t happen with my daughter Mackenzie.

During a day where we had the opportunity to decide what it was we wanted to do, we as a group had decided to climb a mountain; the challenging Bald Mountain with a top elevation of 3,640 feet.  I know…. I hear you…. of all the things to do, we choose to climb a mountain.  Now I’m sure a hike like this is something that could really bring a scout troop together; but for us, at times I’m sure it was doing the exact opposite.  About half way up I was certain that it would be this physical mountain rather than a spiritual or imagined one that would tear us apart.  But, in the end there was a triumph with a powerful moral lesson for my daughter.  Maybe you can relate in an effort to make me feel better about myself.  Have you ever done something as a family you thought at the beginning would be a great bonding moment, only to have it create more frustration than you could have imagined?  Good…. I’m already feeling better now that we are on the same level as I describe the climb.

With our guide with us, we all stood optimistic and energized as we stood staring at the great challenge in front of us. In starting out I can remember feeling this might be relatively easy as the first quarter or third of the hike involved walking steadily up an old dirt and wooded road.  That thought left my mind the moment we made a left into the woods, confronting a steep incline that was now in front of us.  The plan in the beginning was to climb the mountain and have a celebratory lunch together at the summit.  A good half an hour or more into the hike, it was apparent that not all of us were going to make the summit; a story many a mountain climber has to tell.  I remember the concern I had, standing in my new and muddy sneakers in heavily a wooded area known for its moose and bear, for those turning back; one of whom I was certain was going to be my own daughter Mackenzie.

Facing a steep incline, some had decided it best to turn back, leading to the first of three meltdowns for Mackenzie and I can’t say I blame her. With sore backs and aching legs, the option to turn back was mighty attractive and Mackenzie, through a show of tears was pressing hard to be one of them.  With encouragement from those continuing on, as well as some tough love on my part, we were able to persuade her to push on.  Approaching the summit, Mackenzie had the second, short lived melt down, where I was blamed for everything an eight-year-old mind could come up with.  But, with the thrill of the summit just in front of us, there was no turning back.  Whether she realized it at the time or not, she was going to make it to the top and, we did.

In making it to the top Bald Mountain I was again reminded that people do cry tears of joy. In the face of a tough mental and physical battle, we were now standing on the top of the mountain and the outcome was the final of the three meltdowns for my daughter.  As the tears flowed down her face, as well as the faces of a few present, we all celebrated.  I remember how encouraged we were, not so much for ourselves but for Mackenzie who learned a life lesson that I know she will be able to look back on as a source of strength and encouragement when facing another mountain in her life; spiritual, mental or physical.  Thinking on this, I can’t help but reflect on my life as a Christian and the mountains my savior Jesus has lead me to climb.  I think of the many starts and stops, the turning back and the pressing on, the tears; the joys, the successes, the failures and how God has used them all to mold me into the man I am today.

In the truth of the gospels we see how faith can impact our view of the mountains we face and our ability to climb or even move them. Jesus states the following in Matthew 17 v 20:

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

In reading the above one can believe that we have the power to move mountains and I do believe this to be true. But, knowing what is outlined in Ephesian 6, the mountains or battles we are most likely to face are not physical ones but are of the spiritual kind; both here and in the heavenly realms.  Ephesians 6 also indicates that God has made it possible for us to be prepared to win the battles and summit the mountains, giving cause for us to take heart and be encouraged.  Romans 8 v 37 – 39 states the following when considering those things that could separate us for God:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The key to living the above scriptures is found back in the words of Matthew 17 v 20, “If you have faith”. If you don’t have faith or don’t know where to get it, I have good news.  Faith is a gift from God, as found in Ephesians 2 v 8, so all that is needed is too ask for the greatest portion one can receive and it will be given; with Matthew 7 v 9 – 11 confirming this.

In closing, I pray that in the face of your next mountain, or maybe a mountain you are currently facing, that you will be brave; climbing without hesitation and without fear, with the promises of God and presence of the Holy Spirit secured in your heart. After all, as seen all through the old and new testament, mountains have often been the best place to meet and see the power of God.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

First Pick

First Pick

“I’ll take him! … I’ll pick him! … What about him??”

Ah, so many great memories from the eighties. Not even a teenager in that decade, when looking at the music, movies sports, it truly is my favorite decade to date.  It is remarkable what comes to mind when thinking about a particular decade; as was the case recently when reading and reflecting on a section of scripture found in gospel of Matthew.

The introduction line of this write up was taken from a commercial that ran quite frequently in the 80’s to promote youth membership with the YM-YWCA. The commercial showed a row of kids being picked, one at a time, for a game of who knows what by unidentified team captains.  As they came to the last kid to be chosen, there seemed to be a struggle over who would take him; and not because he was the most popular or most talented.  Sensing the struggle, along with the fear of being left out, the boy looks on in dismay.

Of all the things one remembers, often what comes to mind most are those things we find ourselves identifying with and this commercial was no exception. I never forgot this commercial for one reason, I was that YMCA kid growing up.  I was always the last or 2nd to last person picked when it came to games in school or at the local kids club.  I remember how frustrated I would get as it was never based on skill as much as it was based on popularity and reading Matthew 9 v 9 – 13 took me right back to those days.

Believed to be the author of the gospel bearing his name, Matthew tells of the time Jesus first called him. At the time Matthew was probably one of the most repulsive and unattractive people one could keep company with and it had nothing to do with looks.  In verse 9 we learn that Jesus found Matthew at a tax collectors booth. I’m not sure how he found himself in that vocation but it is evident that once called, he follows Jesus without question.  One gets an idea of what was really thought of the position in verse 11 when it states:

When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

As we see the position of tax collecting was put right on par with the actions of a sinner and was highly offensive to those, including the religious, of Jesus’s day to be found in their presence. To me there is a sadness found in the perception of Matthew, specifically because ones identity is often found in what they do.  Regardless of whether or not Matthew did his work honestly and rightly, he is instinctively labeled a person of interest; a sinner.  From there the disciples are questioned, if not chastised for the company Jesus kept.

At the time, those encountering Jesus, including the religious elite, were still at the discovery stage. With loyalties still in question Jesus was held with somewhat modest esteem; mainly due to his actions; something I find sadly humorous as it was those same actions, miracles as they were known, on which they would later crucify him.  Questions like “Who is this man?  How is he doing these things?  Who does he favor?” surely swarmed in their minds.  When it was found that he kept with tax collectors and sinners, they were greatly offended as they had hoped he would be one of them; that he would drive their agenda which included the avoiding of those deemed less or worthless.

In hearing the murmurings going round the room and more than that, knowing the hearts of those saying them, Jesus responds beautifully and so encouragingly in verses 12 – 13 when he states:

“On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””

In this we understand what it means to know Jesus and more than that the purpose those around him were missing; that of Messiah, Saviour.

As I meditate on his response I find myself frozen at Jesus’s ask, if not challenge, found in verse 13:

“But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’”

I can say that I have gone, I have learned and discovered a few things. You see, not only was I a YMCA kid so to speak; but I was also Matthew.  I know what it is like to feel the shame of my sin.  I know what it is like to feel so undeserving; that my eyes should only ever look down.  But I’ve also learned that there is a great physician and his name is Jesus.  In meeting him, in being called by him, I have received his much needed mercy and have been made well and now walk not just head up but head high.  I so pray for all to not just learn but to experience Christ’s grace as I have; to be a first pick and made well and righteous before a loving father.

Coming back to the YM-YWCA commercial again, the young boy smiles as he is finally selected; leaving one with the impression no one is left out at the Y. I’m so thank that this is a guarantee in Christ.  As was with the conversation with Abraham found in Genesis 18, if there were a few righteous God would spare. In Christ, the Father sees the righteous and many have been saved.  I am proud to say that I am one of them and that the revelation of the empty tomb is at work in the saving of many more.  In Christ we are made right and to Christ, the cost was eternally worth it.  I pray you would see Christ, confess and repent of your sin and receive his offer of grace in living for him today and know that you are more than a YMCA kid but a son or daughter of the most high.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Forward Thinking

Forward Thinking

As an IT professional and working in the industry for the past 18 years, the one thing I have always become accustomed to has been change. There doesn’t seem to be anything like technology and its constant moving forward.  On more than a few occasions I have found myself investing time training to improve my skillset only to find myself behind still.  As a recent example, I had certified in an industry standard network infrastructure course only to find out, once completed, that an update to the certification was coming the next year.  If I’ve learned anything from the industry is that one must always be thinking ahead, if not one step ahead.

This reality has me thinking of Jesus; as I find circumstances in life often do. In the reading of the scriptures and in particular the words Jesus himself spoke, it is evident that as he faced the present his perspective was that of a forward thinker; this thought of how the present could or would impact the future.  Knowing that this thought process would take into account all of us who have ever lived I, as stated in Psalm 38 v 8, “Stand in awe of God.”

In looking at much of what Jesus had said, two messages come to the forefront as priority; that of a future in store for the unbeliever and the future secured for those who place their trust in Him. In looking at these two specifically it becomes apparent that He has more to say to the unbeliever than to the believer.  Matter of fact, 13% of all of what Jesus said was in regard to the fate of those who die outside of his grace and this should come as no surprise.  In light of any present danger, the priority is always given to those exposed.  That said, for the believer Jesus has some great things to say to remind and encourage the believer who is thinking if not forced to look to the future.

In the face of an uncertain future Jesus was quick to remind his disciples as well as us of his purpose. In John 16 v 7 Jesus states:

“But I tell you the truth, it is for your benefit that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”

And who is this Advocate you say? It would be the Holy Spirit; the presence of the Living God inside of the believer as a source of guidance and comfort.  And what will Jesus be doing from his place in Heaven you say?  The answer is found in John 14 v 2- 4:

“My 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? And 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. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

If doing all this work were not enough, Jesus still puts the needs of us all ahead of his own when praying for us as outlined in John 17 v 20 – 23.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

In placing this in my heart I hear the love He has for me. Even more than that, I see it in all that he has done for us on the cross and in the empty tomb.

Another forward thinker that comes to mind when searching for encouragement in the face of an uncertain future was the Apostle Paul. In spite of all he had faced, he seemed to welcome it in light of the secured future he had in Christ.  In 2 Corinthians 5 v 7 – 9 Paul boldly states the following:

“For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it”

Wow is all I can say. When one’s priority is Christ’s glory, Paul shows that the method of God’s glory is of no concern.  As a precursor to this revelation, Paul was willing to and had become whatever was necessary to save lives by the power of the living gospel.  For further reference to Paul’s freedom in this regard, see 1 Corinthians 9. I simply and humbly pray, “Owe God, that I would have such faith.”

In closing, I refer to the reminder found in Ecclesiastes 5 v 1 which says:

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to myself after a conversation, “I wished I had listened more and spoken less”. If you are standing in the midst of a storm or a trial, it is my prayer that in you’re searching the scriptures, in your prayers and meditations that you would have ears to hear.  And in the hearing, all the joy the future holds for those who call on his name would be revealed.  As you to think ahead, that you would see and rejoice.

God Bless – Sean Bosse