Have you ever had someone come up to you and say "I have some good news and some bad news-which one do you want to hear first?" Usually I say "the bad news" so we can get it over with and I get apprehensive. If someone says something like that I always think that the bad news will always negate the good news.
My mother is very pessimistic. She always seems to expect the worst. Perhaps she thinks that if you always expect the worse sometimes perhaps you will be pleasantly surprised when things don't meet your bad expectations. Maybe she got that way from her parents-who went through the Great Depression.
I have received a lot of bad news in my life and have had to live with sorrow-as we all have. I worked as a teacher with special needs children before. Working with children who were slowly dying. All these children will ever know is a life of suffering and pain. Think of the sorrow that their parents endure.
Some of us may have looked at receiving orders to some here as receiving bad news. Perhaps others came wanting to serve but problems here or problems at home have developed that have caused you to regret being here.
Sometimes it seems that people are more interested in hearing bad news than good news. Sometimes I think that if there was a news program that broadcast only good news that it would be quickly cancelled for low ratings.
Perhaps people find bad news more interesting and exciting than good news. When the war was going badly it was all over the news. When things were or are going well, as they seem to be going now, the news media doesn't seem interested in reporting it. Also, there was and is very little reporting of the positive things we have done and are doing here.
Think about all the bad news we have been hearing lately-economic collapse, famine, earthquakes in diverse places, false prophets, persecution of Christians, wars, rumors of wars (signs of the end of days that we are warned of in the Bible (Matthew 24:4-14)). We have seen earthquakes in diverse places: Haiti, Chile and Turkey. This week about 500 Christians were slaughtered by Muslim extremists in Nigeria. But bad news is often an opportunity to do good things, such as help the poor, needy and suffering. Especially as we have seen in Haiti.
In these difficult times we need some "Good News," like the message Jesus preached. But what exactly is the Good News? I once worked with a gentleman that believed that Christians don't have good news for the world-we have bad news. God is angry and will judge the world! But he is wrong! The New Testament talks about Jesus preaching the "Gospel of the Kingdom of God." (Matthew 4:23, Mark 1:14).
Well, you may ask, "What is the "good news" and how does it apply to me?
The message is that God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life!
The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11,
"For I know the thoughts that I have toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find me, when you search with all of your heart."
In this life we endure trials and tribulations and they are a weariness unto our soul. It is difficult when we work long hours doing monotonous work-in a hostile work environment subjected to constant stress with seemingly little reward. Sometimes we carry such a heavy burden. But Jesus calls out to us:
Come unto Me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest-take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls-for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)
Sometimes when I look at myself, I see my inadequacies, my failures and my limitations. But God sees in me, in you, in all of those about us, a person of inestimable value-a person to whom is bestowed the Lord of God, we being undeserving and unworthy of it. 1 John 3:2 declares, "BEHOLD WHAT MANNER OF LOVE THE FATHER HATH GIVEN UNTO US THAT WE SHOULD BE CALLED THE SONS OF GOD!" (1 John 3:1)
The Good News is that you matter-you are known to God-your life is precious to him, and of such a value that Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of the Father, came down from heaven and suffered on the cross so that you can have everlasting life.
To me the most important aspect of the death and resurrection of Christ deals with the deity of Christ. Jesus Christ is God Incarnate and ye he identified with man. God as man suffered shame and humiliation and ridicule. He suffered pain, torment and even death-and he conquered and has given us the power to conquer as well. The Bible says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible an undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by god through faith in salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3)
The Apostle Peter declared, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us, not
willing that any should
perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus came for everybody! This is the everlasting gospel-it is good news-it is always new and it is always good-as John wrote in Revelation: "Having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell in the earth-to every nation, tribe, tongue and people-saying with a loud voice, "Fear God and give glory to Him!" Jesus preached this His GOOD NEWS-and he commanded his disciples to preach the Good News.
Even when it seems that the world is going to pieces around us, when we struggle in our relationships, when work doesn't go well, when our plans fail, when our friends forsake us, when it seems that no one cares, we still have this Good News. Since we have this Good News we should rejoice, praise the Lord and be joyful and share this joy and happiness that we have received as a gift from God with others!