Monday, March 31, 2014

April 1, 2014

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:1-3

In this very well-known and well-loved portion of Scripture Jesus shares a secret for how to overcome anxiety: TRUST!

It is hard to trust and be troubled at the same time!

What troubled the disciples in this instance was the news that Jesus was going to be leaving them.

That is easy to understand!

Who isn't troubled by the thought of losing someone very dear to them?

I find that troubling. But I refuse to let that troubling thought overwhelm me. I will choose to trust Him in my anxious thoughts!

Here's why I know I can trust Him.

I can trust Him because he cares for me!

How do I know He cares for me?

In the context of these statements Jesus is staring at the shame and suffering of the cross, but rather than being concerned for Himself he cared for His disciples so they would not worry.

If He cares like that, I will trust Him with my troubles!

Not only does He care for me, He prepares for me!

In these verses He promises to go and prepare a place for me in "His Father's House". I like that! I like thinking about Heaven as "the Father's House" and I like that Jesus is preparing a place JUST FOR ME!

If He prepares for me He must really care for me! I can trust Him with my troubles!

Why should I let my troubles overwhelm me when I can trust a Savior who cares for me and prepares for me?

Do let your heart be troubled!

March 31, 2014

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."  Matthew 7:21-23

This is one of the tough and troublesome sayings of Jesus.

Before we wade into tackling this troublesome theme, let's set the scene.

Jesus is teaching on the Kingdom of God and painting word pictures to illustrate it. This new Kingdom will be a spiritual kingdom based on a new faith relationship and not on religious practices.

He warns of false prophets who were prevalent then and would multiply exponentially as the end of the age approaches.

Prior to this statement, Jesus has presented Himself as the door to the Kingdom. There is no back door or side door into the kingdom, only the main Door - Jesus! If you want into the Kingdom you enter through Him!

Paradoxically, the way through the Door to the kingdom is to open the door your YOUR soul to Him! The Kingdom consists of those who live in a dependent faith relationship with King Jesus!

The struggle has always been between religion and relationship.

Religion rests on the premise that you can keep rules and perform rituals to earn your way into God's favor. Honestly, Jesus mentions some impressive works performed by these professed followers - prophecies and signs and wonders!

How many signs and wonders have you performed? How many have you witnessed?

Can you understand how people can be fooled?

Relationship rests on the promise that God has already provided a the way into the Kingdom for you. He has accepted you, just accept Him!

Religion says, "It's about what I have to do!"

Relationship says, "It's about what He has already done!"

Trust His provision and reject your puny efforts. Stop trying and start trusting!

One more thing!

How powerful is the Name of Jesus that even religious people can claim the name and drive out demons! 

So, how much more powerful should we be who rest in relationship with Him?