Hi, this is Bernie Dake. Welcome to the Salvation Army's Words of Life. Love doesn't discriminate.
It doesn't pick and choose. When there's so much to fight against, love fights for. When others flee, love runs to ward. And when darkness prevails, love remembers its strength.
For 156 years, the Salvation Army has loved all who feel lost. With your help, we'll never stop. Hi, welcome back to Words of Life. I'm Cheryl Gillum. And I'm Bernie Dake. We're glad that you're here.
Yeah. Last week we started our Easter series with Major Ruth Neu. Throughout this series, she is studying God's long-term plan. How Christ's life and sacrifice were no accident, but part of God's plan since the Garden of Eden. And on this episode, Ruth is sharing some hard truths about being a Christian.
This walk with Jesus was never promised to be easy. I'm a Christian, and I still have bad days. There are days where I have questions about why God would let something happen. Death and grief, these things, they make my heart hard, in a sense. I've heard a story that Mother Teresa lived so long because God knew she had a lot of questions. He wasn't ready for her to come to Heaven. Now that, of course, is just a story.
God has a plan for all of our lives. But I think it's okay. I want to encourage any of our listeners to hear these words.
It's okay to have a bad day. The beauty of a Savior who's willing to listen is that we can release that to Him and let Him bear the burdens for us. If you're enjoying Words of Life, we want to invite you to check out another show brought to you by the Salvation Army. The Holiness Podcast is a monthly Bible study with Lt. Col. Vern Jewett. This show is a deep dive into the Scriptures, studying what the Word of God says about holiness. If you're enjoying Words of Life, we want to invite you to check out another show brought to you by the Salvation Army. The Holiness Podcast is a monthly Bible study with Lt. Col. Vern Jewett. This show is a deep dive into the Scriptures, studying what the Word of God says about holiness.
With each episode, there is also a corresponding study guide. Listen wherever you get your podcasts or visit salvationarmysoundcast.org. The Christian path is not one covered with roses. In describing the kingdom of God, Jesus teaches us the price of following Him. In Luke 9 23, Jesus says, He also said, No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God. In Matthew chapter 10, verses 34 to 37, we read, More than me is not worthy of me.
Anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. The Christian path has never been easy. Jesus called it narrow, challenging, and full of obstacles. To teach us how to persevere amid the difficulties of the way, He gives us His example as found in the Gospels. Today's reading is quite lengthy, so we will only read a few select verses, but we can read the whole portion in Matthew chapter 26, verses 47 to 68. This passage shows that Judas, the disciple, has just betrayed Jesus. After a moment of violence that Jesus denounces, He immediately surrenders to the soldiers, and the disciples flee.
A few hours later, Jesus stands before the council, and lying witnesses accuse Him. I believe the first thing we have to learn is that on the Christian path, many will betray us. The Gospel message is complex for the world to accept. Christ teaches sacrifice, and the world teaches personal satisfaction. Christ exalts service, and the world promotes fame. Christ exhibits humility, and the world shows greed. The Gospel offers freedom, and the world offers licentiousness. Christ preached against adultery, love of money, and mistreatment of the poor, and we still find those sins around every corner. So, if the Gospel proclaims the exact opposite of what the world teaches, of course, there will be people who will betray us when we put kingdom values above world values. Perhaps you think I can have friends who are not Christians, and you can.
But stay alert, because light cannot coexist with darkness, and if they show you affection, take care that it is not as false as the kiss of Judas. They may even say that they are Christians because they go to church. Still, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 5, verse 11, But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister, but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.
Do not even eat with such people, says Paul. When the road gets rough and tough, these false Christians will betray the church to save themselves. What is the Bible's advice, then? The author of the letter of the Hebrews writes, And let us consider how we may spur one another on to our love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day approaching.
This is found in Hebrews chapter 10, verses 24 and 25. On the Christian path, many will abandon us. The end of verse 56 says, Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. What a sad scene. Let us imagine for a moment the emotions of Jesus. On the same night, he had one last supper with his friends, prayed for them, secretly left the city so as not to be arrested, crossed the Kidron Valley while meditating on his upcoming sacrifice, and prayed until he sweated blood. Amid so much anguish, Christ finds his friends asleep and therefore unable to share in his pain.
And then after his arrest, they leave him. Perhaps you have been through similar times, moments when you most needed the company and encouragement of friends, yet you have felt abandoned. Maybe you're going through a moment like that right now. God's encouraging word for you today is that in abandonment and sadness, there is a faithful friend who never leaves you, and his name is Christ. There are so many promises in his word that he will never leave you, that I don't have time to read them all, but I'm going to share a few.
In 1 Chronicles 28, 20, David also said to Solomon his son, Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God my God is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished. 1 Kings 8 57 offers this prayer. May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors. May he never leave us nor forsake us.
Then a couple of passages from Deuteronomy 31 verses 6 and 8. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
The Lord himself goes before you, and he will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Again, do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Then in Joshua chapter 1 verses 5 and 9, no one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, says the Lord, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.
Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. And finally, our Lord Jesus says to us in Matthew 28 20, And Charlie, I am with you always to the very end of the age.
If you feel lonely or abandoned today, claim these promises, repeat them in your heart and mind, and you will receive God's comfort and care today. Finally, on the path of the Christian, many will accuse us. The Bible tells us that during Jesus' trial, the council brought false witnesses to accuse him. These were people who accused him of things that were not real. And since the stories were not true, they used Jesus' own words against him. When Christians decide to confront sin head on, they are often accused of many things that are not true. The world condemns us by describing Christians as intolerant, hateful, prejudiced, and fanatical, when in reality, all those adjectives describe the treatment we often receive. In 2016, Time magazine published an article titled, Regular Christians Are No Longer Welcome in American Culture.
In this article, author Mary Eberstadt described the current situation in this way. Some of the faithful have recently paid unexpected prices for their beliefs. The teacher in New Jersey suspended for giving a Bible to a student.
The football coach in Washington was suspended for saying a prayer on the field at the end of the game. Atlanta Fire Chief fired for self-publishing a book defending Christian moral teaching. The Marine that was court-martialed for pasting a Bible verse on his desk. And other examples of the new intolerance. Anti-Christian activists smear Americans with traditional beliefs about marriage as bigots, and haters, and accuse anti-abortion Christians of waging a so-called war on women. All those lies and accusations can discourage you in your Christian walk.
Don't be discouraged. Jesus Christ's faith charges in slander with fortitude, knowing that his future was secure. You too can trust that even though this path is full of accusers, it leads us to a tomorrow with God. And he will greet us with joy and these words, Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things.
I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness. Matthew 25, 23. The Christian's path is full of trials and pain mixed with moments of victory and joy. But despite persecution, abandonment, betrayal, and accusation here on earth, if we are faithful and strong, we will inherit an eternal land where there will be no more crying, no more suffering, or no more pain.
May God fill you with his blessings today and always. The Salvation Army's mission, Doing the Most Good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to The Salvation Army. Visit salvationarmyusa.org to offer your support.
And we'd love to hear from you. Email us at radioatuss.salvationarmy.org. Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.
Box 29972, Atlanta, Georgia, 30359. Tell us how we can help. Share prayer requests or share your testimony. We would love to use your story on the air. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store. And be sure to give us a rating. Just search for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Words of Life. Music
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