Thursday, July 23, 2015

Take Heart!

Dealing with disappointment is not easy and definitely not fun, but we have to deal with them because they are as much a part of life as breathing. Jesus tells us very plainly in John 16:33 (NIV) “In this world you will have trouble…” Are disappointments not a form of trouble? But if we continue reading that same verse we’ll see that Jesus goes on to say, “take heart!” Now how are we supposed to take heart when we have trouble? Again, in John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “I have overcome the world.”

Please note, when Jesus spoke these words He was not speaking to everyone. The conversation recorded in John 16 actually begins in John 13 during the “last supper.”  Jesus begins by washing His disciples’ feet and explaining to them the things that are about to take place – His arrest, “trial” and crucifixion. It is during this discourse that Judas Iscariot leaves to betray Jesus. When we come to chapter 16, they have finished the meal and have left the room. (See the end of John 14:31)

The point is still that Jesus is not out teaching and preaching publicly. He is having a conversation with His disciples – those who have committed themselves to follow Him. So when we finally come to John 16:33, Jesus is not giving a word of encouragement to the masses. He is speaking to a specific group of people – His people.

Therefore, when we face trials, tribulations and disappointments, we – who are called by the name of Christ – can take heart! Jesus has overcome the world along with all of the problems we find in the world. If Jesus has overcome and we are in Him through faith, then we too have overcome the world.

But let’s be real. It doesn’t always look as if we have overcome and it certainly doesn’t feel like it – especially when we are in the midst of a trial. But there is yet another promise to encourage us. Romans 8:28 tells us, “…all things work together for good to them that love God…” (NIV) The KJV says, “…in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” Again, I have to point out this is not for everyone – only for those who love God. And Jesus makes plain in John 14:21 that the one who loves Him is the one who keeps His commands.

So if you are a disciple of Christ, you are a Christian in your heart and not just by a church’s membership roster, the disappointments of life that are sure to come your way are nothing to lose heart over. Take heart! Jesus has overcome and through faith in Him so have you. But more than that, those disappointments are a part of the “all things” found in Romans 8:28. If you love God, He will take those disappointments and work them for your good. You may not be able to see it but He does and He’ll bring you to it.

If you are not a disciple of Christ I beseech you now – become one! Pray this, “Jesus I am a sinner in need of a savior. I believe you are the Son of God who came in the form of man and died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins. I believe that on the third day God raised you up from the dead conquering death, hell and the grave. I ask you now to forgive me of my sins and come into my heart. Make me a new creation in you.” If you prayed that prayer and believe the words you prayed, the promises above are now for you.

All of your problems will not suddenly disappear; Jesus promised we’d have them. The good news is now as a follower of Christ, you don’t have to carry them on your own.  You can rest assured God can and will take it all and work it for your good. Stay in the Word of God for there you will find strength and encouragement to overcome. Find a local body of believers who preach and teach the word of God. And finally, forsake not the assembling of yourself with them (Hebrews 10:25) so that you may be exhorted and trained up in the ways of God. If you allow Him, He’ll blow your mind!

Note: I encourage anyone who is going through to read the stories of Job and Joseph from start to finish. They went through but when they came to the end…wow! (Job is found in the Old Testament book of Job and Joseph can be found in Genesis 37-50.)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

What An Honor

As I came before the Lord in the early hours of the day, the Holy Spirit reminded me what a privilege and honor such a time was. I thought of the excitement I felt when introduced to men and women of greatness and authority – men and women of power and distinction. I have not met a president of this (or any) great country, but what an honor that would be. How much more the honor of coming – invited – into the presence of not just a great and mighty god, but the only true God, creator and sustainer of all that is. I am His and He is mine and He loves me with a never-ending love. Spending the opening hours of the day with Him is not a chore or an item to be checked off my to-do list. It is not something I have to do, but something I get to do and I pray I never take that privilege or my God for granted.

Precious Father
so holy and wise,
what am I
to your all seeing eyes?

When you look down
upon my humbled form
what makes you cover me
and keep me from harm?

What do you see
when you look on my face?
Am I just another
of this pitiful race?

I think not;
I believe you see more.
You see your beloved –
the one Christ died for.

When you see me
I pray see the blood –
covered and transformed
So much more than just mud.

Filled with your Spirit –
humble and true,
when you see me –
I pray you see you.

Precious Father,
so holy and wise,
thank you for seeing me
with love in your eyes.

Written by Dutchess Horton
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