Thursday, March 31, 2011

April 1, 2011

"Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6

I remember my first funeral. Elmer Larson was a very gentle elderly man who loved God and loved his family and his faithful witness quietly shouted faith. When he crossed over from this life to the next and I was called on to comfort the widow and the rest of his tight-knit family I felt totally inadequate and unprepared. Since then I have been involved in hundreds of similar situations and find that experience doesn't make it any easier. I have no way of comforting them except pointing them to THE WAY. My words mean nothing but THE WORD does! My presence helps but it is HIS LIFE present through me that matters.

What better way to comfort people than with the very words Jesus used to comfort His closest followers. When death cruelly steals someone precious to you and rips the heart out of your chest, you wonder, "How will I make it? How can I go on?"

God knew that in the valley of the shadow of death you would need a way! So, when He sent Jesus to die for your sins He made a way! When Jesus arose from the dead three days later He provided a way! Because Jesus walked through that fearful valley by Himself, and because He walked out the other side, He can walked through the valley with you! Not only did He find a way HE IS THE WAY! When that stoned rolled away on the first Easter morning, God guaranteed that no one else would ever have to face death alone - your death or the death of a loved one.

Jesus is the WAY to be delivered from the guilt, the shame, the power and the penalty of your sins! Jesus is the WAY to a personal relationship with His Father. Jesus is the WAY through the pain and problems of life. And, not only is He the WAY into spiritual life, He is the out of physical life into eternal life. He is the WAY out of fear. He is WAY bigger than death! He beat it on the cross! He defeated it in the tomb!

After death has stolen a loved one and steamrolled those who lost him, these grieving people don't need poems, platitudes, philosophical statements or pat answers - they need truth! Real pain needs real perspective! I refuse to patronize those who have just had their hearts crushed. Death exposes empty speculations.

God sent Jesus to make sure that you would never have to settle for empty answers again. Jesus came to show truth so you can know truth! And this truth is not simple concepts or ideas it is A PERSON! When you are confronted with death you don't have to settle for perspective or principles you can have a POWERFUL PERSONAL PRESENCE! Jesus doesn't just know truth. He doesn't just teach truth. HE IS TRUTH - THE TRUTH!  

One reason you fear death is because you think it is the end of life. That is only true if you have not given your life to Jesus. If you are not in His way and if you are not committed to His truth, not only will you not be prepared for death, you will be overwhelmed by life! 
Jesus is not only the way to life - HE IS LIFE! He is life because He is God! You cannot have life if you do not have Him. As long as you have Him you have LIFE. His LIFE is more powerful than your death. His LIFE begins when you commit your way to Him and becomes the abundant life He promises! When the abundant life comes to an end and you body gives out, ETERNAL LIFE begins!

I am sharing with you how you can choose to not fear death!

Yesterday I shared that God is bigger than life - fear not!

Now you know that God, through Jesus, has beaten death! Fear not!

You may be thinking, "No way!"

Jesus says, "Way! Truth! Life!"

March 31, 2011

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me." John 14:1

The first thing I notice in this Scripture verse is the clear and simple statement that fear is a choice. "Do not let your hearts be troubled", He says. Why would Jesus make that statement if it were not possible for you to choose to not allow fear to dominate your emotions?

If you can choose not to fear, how does that happen?

You believe in God and you believe Jesus is the Son of God. You must believe that God is greater than what you fear! You must fear God more than you fear death. By believing that God is greater than what you fear and if what you fear most is death, then you must believe that God is bigger than death.

Doesn't that make sense?

Jesus admits as much when you understand the context of this portion of Scripture. He has just told his disciples that He is going to be dying on a cross to atone for the sins of the world, and THEN He will be going to Heaven to prepare a place for them to enjoy when they get there. Certainly, Jesus would not have promised His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them if He believed that He would not arise from the dead. Jesus knew that God was bigger than death. He was confident that after His death on the cross He would again be alive and returning to Heaven.

Choose faith in Life over the fear of death and your heart will not be troubled! Jesus was not afraid to go to the cross because He knew Who His Father was and how powerful His Father was! Jesus feared being separated from His Father, as would necessarily happen when He took the sins of the world upon Himself. Dying as a sinner would cause Jesus to be separated from the Father. That is something He had never experienced and greatly dreaded - as you can imagine.

You fear being separated from life and that is why death holds such fear for you. But what if you were to believe that being separated from this life means being united with God and with Jesus? What if you believed that the God you love and trust is bigger than death? What would it do for your level of fear if you dared to believe that God is bigger than life itself? And not only is He bigger than life - HE IS LIFE!  Death perishes in His presence!  It is in Him we "live and die and have our being" as Acts tells you.

Let not your heart be troubled! Choose to not be fearful over death! Believe in the God Who is bigger than death because He is bigger than life!