Friday, March 24, 2017

Trusting God Beyond Reason

God doesn't need my help to figure out how to take care of my needs.


John 4:46-50 As he traveled through Galilee, he came to Cana, where he had turned the water into wine.

There was a government official in nearby Capernaum whose son was very sick. 47  When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and begged Jesus to come to Capernaum to heal his son, who was about to die.

48  Jesus asked, "Will you never believe in me unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?"

49  The official pleaded, "Lord, please come now before my little boy dies."

50  Then Jesus told him, "Go back home. Your son will live!" And the man believed what Jesus said and started home.

Who was this government official that was so humble that he didn't send for Jesus but rather he inconvenienced himself and made the journey to Cana?

This guy has a plan and he is determined to make it happen. He believed in his plan enough to make the trip to Cana so that he could have Jesus come to his home and perform a miracle. He had faith that Jesus could heal him but then Jesus tested his faith and told him to go back home with nothing but a promise.

Imagine going home empty handed without Jesus. This guy's plans didn't work out, he doesn't have Jesus coming back to heal his son, all he has is Jesus promise that it is handled.  If I were there I probably would have wanted a house call from Jesus, something tangible that I could use to explain how my request was going to be fulfilled, but this guy took Jesus at his word and walked away with nothing.

Wouldn't that be a long walk back home? What would he say to his friends and family as he got closer to home? Faith steps into the unknown because Jesus said so. I would probably wonder if I did the right thing when I walked away from Jesus or if I should have insisted that he come with me.

Sometimes we ask God to work but we also want to tell him how to do it, we try and take control or give God some advice on some of the options that are available, we have to remind ourselves that God is God and he is going to do things that are beyond our reasoning and if he says that he has taken care of something then it is done. 
With the opportunities that we have of knowing the whole life of Christ, and understanding the doctrines of the gospel as they are revealed to us in the New Testament, with many years of observation and experience, our faith ought to be much stronger than it is.
- Charles Spurgeon
It is a shame that we have so much revelation about Jesus and yet we find it difficult to trust him. The people of Jesus day didn't have a bunch of Bibles on their shelves at home, they didn't have the fellowship of believers and they didn't have the death and resurrection to strengthen their faith in him, we have so much more reason to believe today and yet we have weak faith.
Jeremiah 17:5,7 This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence."
I need to live by faith and not by sight, not in the things that I can figure out on my own, not in telling God how to do it but allowing him to have complete control.

Help us to have faith and trust in you every day for every detail of our lives, I want to trust you even when it doesn't seem reasonable.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Got Saved

The chains of the past are broken at last, I got saved!

 Video: "I Got Saved" by Selah

There is a river of gladness
That pours from Emmanuel’s veins
This sinner was plunged
Beneath the flood
And got saved

Since then I walk in forgiveness
All of my guilt was erased
The chains of the past
Are broken at last
I got saved
I got saved

I’m undone by the mercy of Jesus
I’m undone by the goodness of the Lord
I’m restored and made right
He got a hold of my life
I’ve got Jesus
How could I want more

I’ve received nothing but goodness
I’ve tested and tasted Your grace
I was so lost
till I fell at the cross
and got saved
I got saved

The love of God
gave me His pardon
The love of God
won’t let me stay the same
The love of God
pulls me up higher
His will is stronger that’s
why I got saved
God's Children Overcome
1 John 5:4-5  For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.  And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Big, Big Love

The love of Jesus is too great to fully understand.


Ephesians 3:18-19  And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is.

19  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.

1 Timothy 1:12-14 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, 13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.

14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

Most of us lose the excitement of new found love eventually. A few disagreements is all that it takes to realize that the newly loved person is truly a human that has flaws. Thankfully there is love that is so much more incredible than that.

God's love is so overwhelming that Paul prayer that we would be able to understand it, he never got over the big, big love that he experienced from God. A man that was going against God's will so aggressively by persecuting the people that were doing God's will.

The world that we live in doesn't understand big love that is perfect, we are used to small love that has strings attached and easily fades away, our imperfect minds cannot understand the extent of God's love.

God loves us so much!

John 3:16  "For God loved the world SO much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
There isn't a better lover in all of the world than God, he loved his creation so much that he was willing to be separated from his Son and watch him endure the difficulties that he faced on earth. Jesus was willing to be beaten and crucified so that Satan's plan would be destroyed.

That just blows my mind that I have that much value in God's eyes! I don't know if we can possibly know "how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is" and why it is that big. How could somebody that is so perfect love something that is so messed up?

Thank you Lord for putting such incredible value in me! I am glad that you have made it easy to experience your grace so that I can spend eternity with you!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Go Where?

Are we willing to go where he says go despite the circumstances? 


Numbers 14:34-42 "Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years--a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have Me for an enemy. 35 I, the LORD, have spoken! I will certainly do these things to every member of the community who has conspired against Me. They will be destroyed here in this wilderness, and here they will die!"

36 The ten men Moses had sent to explore the land--the ones who incited rebellion against the LORD with their bad report-- 37 were struck dead with a plague before the LORD. 38 Of the twelve who had explored the land, only Joshua and Caleb remained alive. 39 When Moses reported the LORD's words to all the Israelites, the people were filled with grief.

40 Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. "Let's go," they said. "We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the LORD has promised us." 41 But Moses said, "Why are you now disobeying the LORD's orders to return to the wilderness? It won't work. 42 Do not go up into the land now. You will only be crushed by your enemies because the LORD is not with you.

Here is one of the biggest "ops!" ever in human history, the Lord told the children of Israel to pack their bags and prepare to move into their new homeland, but instead of being passionate about what God was telling them to do they choose to be scared of what God told them to do.

It has been a long trip and God has done amazing things to reveal himself to his people. They have spent a lot of time in the wilderness, they have complained about the wilderness, but now they decide that it would be better to stay put and maintain the status quo.

God's Children Won't Go

Just a year ago they had watched the Lord work all kinds of miracles as he brought the Egyptians to their knees. The Lord proved that he had complete control over the Egyptians and that he was strong enough to save his people. These are the same people that saw God bring about plagues against the Egyptians and kill there babies.

It seems like that instead of believing that God would be just as powerful against these new people they decided that they should go back to Egypt where God was more able to help them.

God's people have spent a lot of years in the wilderness but they decide that it would be better to stay put and maintain the status quo, that is until they get word of the cost of their disobedience and then all of a sudden it looks like going to the Promised Land is a pretty good idea after all.

God listened to Moses prayer and did not destroy his people but he didn't ignore their sin. God let the people have what they asked for, if you don't want to go into the promised land then you can stay here in the wilderness and die, you said that was a better option didn't you? (Numbers 11:1, 14:2)

Don't look down on God's people because staying is our favorite option too. We like to settle for good enough as we gaze into the promise that God has given us. Instead of looking at how easy it would be for God to overcome the obstacles we decide to sit it out and enjoy the wilderness that we used to complain about. (Exodus 14:11-12, 15:22, 16:1-4, 17:1-4 just to name a few.)

God's Children Won't Stay

I guess seeing the ten guys struck dead will make you change your mind. Like little children that realize that they have made their parents mad, the people decide that late obedience is better than the consequences that they deserve, now they are ready to believe that they can do it. God has told them that they are staying and they say "hold on God, now we want to trust you."

First they won't go, now they won't stay, from one rebellion they progress to a second, now they want to conquer the land even though God said he wasn't on their side. We love the verse that says "If God is for me who can be against us?" but the opposite is also a harsh reality "If God is against us who can be for us?"
Faith is acting like it is so, even when its not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so.
-Tony Evans
We all like to spy out the land to manage risk, without realizing it, we constantly access situations to minimize the possibility of embarrassment or injury. Following God is scary stuff sometimes but we have to realize that God isn't here to make us comfortable and Jesus did not die for our sins so that we can be comfortable. The lifestyle of the New Testament church has been lost through that ages.
New Testament disciples are soldiers (Philippians 2:25; 2 Timothy 2:3–4; Philemon 1:2), athletes (2 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 12:1–2), and crucified new creations (Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We run (Hebrews 12:1), fight (2 Timothy 4:7), and take up arms (Ephesians 6:10–18) so that we finish well and accomplish God’s purposes while we live.
-Ryan Lister on DesiringGod.org
There isn't always any human logic behind what he is asking, but if we listen to the wrong people or we let our fears put us in a box that looks safe there is a good chance that God is going to reprimand us and we will miss out on being a part of his work.

I need to be obedient in everything that I do, if I decide to wait and do it later in my timing then the Lord may not be with me. I need to have faith to move forward with passion about what God has asked me to do even if there are people around me telling me how difficult or dangerous it is going to be.

Help me to know your will Lord and give me faith that lead me to obedience.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Doing God's Will

God receives glory when his children step out in faith.


Live by faith
John 17:1-5 After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You. 2 For You have given Him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one You have given Him.

3 And this is the way to have eternal life--to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to You here on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring Me into the glory We shared before the world began.

When we hear somebody mention the Lord's Prayer we think about the prayer that Jesus said when his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray. Maybe you never thought about it but Jesus didn't actually pray that prayer, Jesus wouldn't have asked God to forgive his sins, he spoke that prayer as an example for us. (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4)

The prayer in John 17:1-26 is the longest prayer of Jesus that we have recorded in the Bible. It is our best opportunity to listen in as Jesus talks to his Father, it shows us the courage that Jesus had to stay with God's plan despite the great sacrifice that it would require.

Jesus begins this prayer completely surrendered, safety and comfort are not on his mind, he is only thinking about God's will and timing in his life. The giver of life who would never have to die, willingly submits in obedience, he will choose to be subject to the curse of death. (Philippians 2:8)

God's Timing In Jesus Life

 John 2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20, 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:32

Jesus never lost sight of his mission and purpose for being here. Imagine knowing that you came for a purpose and having to wait thirty-three years for God's timing so that you can complete your mission. We can learn a lot from Jesus about how we handle delay in our lives, we get anxious and want God to hurry up, Jesus left the timing of events up to his Father.

Now the time is right and the shame and the pain would not keep him from completing his work. Jesus shows us that if we are going to do God’s will in this hostile world then we need to submit without hesitation to God’s sovereign plan to glorify Himself. We need to be willing to give up our plans and desires for his even though we don't know the what will happen as a result.

You will be inconvenienced and you will get dirty, you may have to go toward dangerous situations, live with uncertainty, or embarrassment. Life is full of risk, but the life that is lived for Jesus is even riskier, the side effect of living in the rescuing power of the gospel and being willing to rescue someone else is that you will have to live by faith.

Risk It All To Glorify God

 1 Samuel 14:1-23 / 2 Samuel 10:12 / Esther 4:15-16 / Daniel 3:16-18

Jesus surrendered to the cross and we must do the same, He told us to pick up our cross daily and follow him, that certainly involves risk. God's people have always been called to take risk, that's the very nature of living by faith, we cannot see the outcome or the pathway but we step out because we are told to do so.
When we risk losing face or money or life because we believe God will always help us and use our loss, in the end, to make us more glad in his glory, then it’s not we who get the praise because of our courage; it’s God who gets the praise because of his care. In this way risk reflects God’s value, not our valor.
-John Piper "Risk Is Right"
God is most glorified in my life when I step out and rely on him no matter what is going on around me and how foolish my obedience looks to the rest of the world. The glory goes to God when the world sees me trusting him with absolutely everything.

It is difficult to value our forever life that we cannot see over our temporary life that we can see. The ability to put our lives completely into God's hands and follow no matter what is a real struggle that most of us avoid. Very few people in our safety minded culture come to the point that the disciples came to.
But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus--the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.
-Apostle Paul
How radical am I for God's will? We pray a lot about knowing God's will, but few of us really want to know what that looks like. The number one prayer request from Christ followers living in the safest country on the planet is for safety. I don't know of anybody praying like that in the Bible. God's people chose to do God's will despite the risk that was involved and they prayed that they would have even more boldness. (Acts 4:23-31)

In every life that is lived for the Lord there will be a moment when a radical step of faith is required in order to please God. I need to be willing to allow God to achieve his agenda through my life and I need to be okay with being uncomfortable and insecure when God shows me his agenda.

Dear God, help me to know your will each day and give me more faith to be obedient.
RELATED ARTICLES
Faith Means Taking Risk (pastorrick.com)
Risk Is Right (desiringgod.org)

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

What A Glorious Day!

You called my name and I ran out of that grave!


 Video: Passion - "Glorious Day"

I was buried beneath my shame
Who could carry that kind of weight
It was my tomb
Till I met You

I was breathing, but not alive
All my failures I tried to hide
It was my tomb
Till I met You

Now Your mercy has saved my soul
Now Your freedom is all I know
The old made new
Jesus, when I met You

You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day

I needed rescue
My sin was heavy
But chains break at the weight of Your glory
I needed shelter
I was an orphan
But You call me a citizen of heaven
When I was broken
You were my healing
Your love is the air that I'm breathing
I have a future
My eyes are open
Celebrate Resurrection Day
Daniel 12:1-3 “At that time Michael, the archangel who stands guard over your nation, will arise. Then there will be a time of anguish greater than any since nations first came into existence. But at that time every one of your people whose name is written in the book will be rescued."

"Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace. Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever."

Friday, March 03, 2017

Great Turn Arounds

These guys needed to be saved from politics, philosophy and religion.



The Ethiopian meets Philip

Acts 8:30-31 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
Philip was making disciples in Samaria and with great results, the crowds were amazed at the message and the power that Philip had. Philip enjoyed great success there but instead of moving on to another town and doing it again God tells him that he has an appointment in the desert. (Acts 8:4-13, 8:26)

The Ethiopian was a government official from North Africa, he was reading from the Old Testament, he feared God but he didn't understand the teaching about the Messiah. (Acts 8:26-40)

Saul meets Ananias

Acts 9:3-5 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!
Saul was a very religious man, born in Tarsus and moved to Jerusalem, he was trained in Judaism by a famous Rabbi. (Acts 22:3)

Saul has been zealous in his efforts to get rid of the Christ followers, he thought he was doing God a favor until he meets Jesus in a beam of light shining down from heaven.

Cornelius meets Peter

Acts 10:21-22 So Peter went down and said, “I’m the man you are looking for. Why have you come?”

They said, “We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer. He is a devout and God-fearing man, well respected by all the Jews. A holy angel instructed him to summon you to his house so that he can hear your message.”
Cornelius was a military man in the Roman army, he was a good guy that believed in God, prayed and did nice things for those around him. In response to Cornelius faith God had a plan for him to meet Peter. (Acts 10:1-8)

Three very different guys with very different backgrounds. A man of politics, a man of philosophy, and a man that is very religious all have the same need. They all share the same heartache that is caused by sin, they all have a hunger for more in life and they all need help dealing with their situation.
1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
There is hope! These guys were not stuck on a road to disaster without an escape, they have been given an opportunity to make a U-turn.

All three men were told about the hope that had just recently been revealed, hope that is rooted in Jesus and his work that he did on the cross, hope that is secure because they saw him come back from the grave.

Repent And Be Refreshed

Acts 3:19-20  Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.  Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.
These three men from totally different backgrounds were impacted by the message of hope. When the gospel reached them they were caught up in the politics, philosophy and religion but they realized that their thinking was all wrong.

Their belief systems could not bring them to the satisfaction that comes from the living hope that we have in Jesus. All of them were open to the gospel message and the results of their faith helped take the gospel to the nations.
1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
Thank you Lord!

Monday, February 27, 2017

It Is Well

The sky, not the grave is our goal!


 Video: It Is Well With My Soul - BYU Vocal Point

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18  That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever
Have you known that kind of peace in the midst of chaos in your life? Have you felt God’s love when you’ve walked through a tragedy?

In Christ, it can be well for you whatever the circumstance. He died for you. He sympathizes with your pain. He stays with you. And he promises to deliver you to himself, where he will forever guard you perfectly from sin, death, suffering, and grief.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Overcome The World

Our Savior has overcome and he promises that we will too.

 
John 16:29-33 Then His disciples said, "At last You are speaking plainly and not figuratively. 30 Now we understand that You know everything, and there's no need to question You. From this we believe that You came from God."

31 Jesus asked, "Do you finally believe? 32 But the time is coming--indeed it's here now--when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving Me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with Me.

33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

The fact that you have the technology to see this blog post and choose to read it or click away to something else says that you probably have a very comfortable life. The odds are that you probably live in a culture that offers you a comfortable lifestyle, beautiful stuff at your side, and instant everything that requires little effort.

But there are some of you that have had a miserable existence, I am not talking about people that have first world country problems, these people have nothing easy or comfortable about their life. People that you loved and trusted have let you down, friendless, beat up and unloved, you find yourself all alone and hopeless.

That is the kind of people that Jesus had around him during his stay on earth, his people were beat-up and tired, they had been raided by foreign governments and their own religious leaders didn't have anything to offer.

Jesus Was A Man Of Sorrows

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.
Imagine living here after being in heaven for all of eternity past, imagine starting life over as a child, a child that is fully God but also fully man. You get cold, feel pain and you require sleep just like everybody else yet you are also God.

Imagine leaving the perfection of the best place ever to come to a broken world so that you can go head to head with your worst enemy. What would it be like to know that you were here for the sake of dying for people that don't like you and for friends that would turn their back and run. (John 13:37-38)

Jesus gave up a lot to come and be "God with us" but he didn't show any sorrow about what he lost by leaving heaven. The main source of his sorrow was for the condition of man and the fact that they rejected the only hope that could ever help.


Jesus Had The Best Friend

I am not alone because the Father is with Me.
The disciples’ faith was strengthened by Jesus’ words but it wouldn't be enough to pass the test that was coming. In a few hours they would scatter in fear but Jesus said that he had a close friend that was better than his earthly friends that he could count on.

Jesus had confidence in God and he was dedicated to God's plan. At his time of death he was able to say, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

Jesus Best Friend Can Be Mine

I have overcome the world.
The victory that Jesus had over Satan makes it possible for me to become friends with God. Jesus worst enemy is also mine but thankfully Jesus closest friend can also be mine as well. I can have a close intimate relationship with God through my faith in Jesus as my substitute for the punishment that I deserved.

Since Jesus overcame I know that I will overcome, I can rise above this evil world and I can live without the horror of death, I can have the same confidence that Jesus had that death is not the end.
We can be encouraged by five aspects of God’s love and grace:
1. There is always hope in Christ for future spiritual growth. (John 16:25)
2. Be encouraged by your privilege in prayer. (John 16:26)
3. Be encouraged by the Father’s special love and grace. (John 16:27)
4. Be encouraged by God’s sovereign plan of salvation. (John 16:28)
5. Be encouraged that ultimately your peace is in Christ, not in your performance. (John 16:29-33)

Jesus Disciples Overcome

Every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.
God is still governing this world, don't let the daily battle get you down and cause you too much grief, there aren't any term limits on God's reign. He is in charge of the circumstances around us and he always will be. What we see as chaos isn't a surprise or a source of concern to him.

This is not my home, and I will never feel perfectly at peace and perfectly comfortable here but I must continue to the the good works that he has planned or me to do until the day I die and overcome this world just as Jesus did.
RELATED ARTICLES

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

A Bad Day

The worst day in history is the source of our greatest joy.

 
John 16:16-24 "In a little while you won't see Me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see Me again." 17 Some of the disciples asked each other, "What does He mean when He says, 'In a little while you won't see Me, but then you will see Me,' and 'I am going to the Father'? 18 And what does He mean by 'a little while'? We don't understand."

19 Jesus realized they wanted to ask Him about it, so He said, "Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won't see Me, but a little while after that you will see Me again. 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to Me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.

22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. 23 At that time you won't need to ask Me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and He will grant your request because you use My name. 24 You haven't done this before. Ask, using My name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

Have you found yourself enduring a bad day? Maybe a week or a month or even a longer season of life that was incredibly difficult. No matter what the length of the trial, getting through it can seem impossible, without hope you can get so caught up in the situation that you become stuck.

Jesus is speaking to his disciples, it is Thursday night just after a rather eventful supper, first there was a confusing situation with Jesus acting like a servant, then there was the departure of their friend Judas, followed by the prediction that Peter would deny Jesus.

Jesus keeps talking about leaving them, where is he going? They were supposed to be governors in his kingdom! If he is going to die then how will we see him again in a little while? Why isn't Judas back yet?

The disciples are at the beginning of the worst days in their life, soon they will see their best friend be brutally beaten, none of them can see that this dark moment is going to be the best thing that could ever happen. I cannot imagine seeing a friend die in such agony. We like to think that we would have done better but I doubt that we would given the confusing and desperate situation.

They couldn't understand that the cross that brought them so much grief was going to be their greatest source of hope. Jesus spent a lot of time letting them know what was coming and encouraging them to refuse to give up hope.

Why does he give us joy?

He is a sensitive Savior (Psalm 103:13-14)
He is a suffering Savior (Hebrews 4:15, 5:7, 12:3)
He is a risen Savior (1 Corinthians 15:17)

The apostles were transformed from fearful, defeated, confused men into bold witnesses who were willing to suffer and die because they saw the risen Lord Jesus.

How does he give us joy?

Showing us the glory of the cross (Acts 2:23; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30)
Giving us an eternal perspective (Psalm 73:1-28)
Being our mediator (John 16:23-24)
Showing us a risen Savior (1 Peter 1:8)

Your grief will be temporary, your joy will be timeless!


Jesus doesn't minimize their sorrow or tell them to man up. The same love and compassion that brought him down here to live in this dark world is the same love and compassion that wants to ease the sorrow as he prepares his closest friends for his departure.

There is no way that they could understand that the bad days that are coming are nothing compared to the joy that is on the way. (Romans 8:17-18) They will soon realize that the very event that brought them all of this sorrow is the source of their eternal joy.

My worst day is nothing compared to the days that were coming toward the disciples.  I need to remember that Jesus is just as compassionate about my bad days as he was to his disciples. He would tell me that I will see him soon and all of my sadness will be turned into joy.

The disciples excitement and joy after the resurrection is nothing compared to the joy that we will experience when we step into heaven and see Jesus in our forever home. Think about that when life gets hard.