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Monthly Archives: April 2012

I Will See You Again

John 16:22  And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. 

In John chapters 13-16 Jesus is speaking to his disciples, preparing them for his death, resurrection and ascension back into heaven. No doubt he notices several times during his speech the frowns, scrunched eyebrows and uncertainty on the faces of his men as he explains to them he must leave and they must finish the work.

These disciples were already doing some amazing things on their own. They were preaching, casting out devils and healing the sick; the work was not the issue, it was being without Jesus that was the issue. They loved Jesus, they trusted Jesus and they were constantly learning from him in their day to day walk. They couldn’t stand the thought of being without him. They for so long had walked by sight, that to “walk by faith” scared them to death.

If we were to be honest, we often feel the same way. It is easy when times are good and blessings are abundant and it seems like Christ is sitting right beside you. The fears & sorrow come when we must walk by faith and not by sight. We can write encouraging letters to a brother of sister that is struggling, but we have trouble living that same advice when it is our turn to mourn.

There are three things I would like you to see in this passage of scripture. These are things that Jesus told his disciples in their times of sorrow. Think of this, you’re reading the personal advice of Jesus Christ! You don’t get more spiritual counsel than this.

1. The Present Sorrow: Jesus said “ye now therefore have sorrow” this means that his disciples were currently experiencing thoughts and feelings of sorrow because Jesus said he was going to go back to heaven. Sorrow is an uninvited guest who often shows up unannounced. We don’t usually get a fore-warning of when sorrow is coming to our house, but we always know as soon as he shows up. You will face difficulty in your Christian walk. Jesus said in John 16:33 “In the world ye shall have tribulation” not maybe have tribulation, but shall have tribulation. We must understand that God knows our state. He knows every fear and thought in our heart. He knows exactly what we are going through, when we are going through it. He reassures his disciples that he knows when they are in trouble, and what they need from him. Trust that Christ knows your state and will help us in his time.

2. The Promised Rejoicing: Jesus said “your heart shall rejoice” He promises his followers that there will come a time for rejoicing. In John 16:21 Christ uses the picture of a mother giving birth to her child to explain his thought more clearly. The mother does not enjoy the pains of labor but as soon as the baby comes, joy replaces sorrow. She forgets all about the present sorrow she is in and now focuses on her new gift from God. As Christians, we to have a time of promised rejoicing coming, and that is when we see Jesus coming in the clouds to take us to be with him forever in heaven. Whether by grave or rapture, one day I will be with Jesus. GLORY! Jesus speaks these wonderful words, “I will see you again” WOW! How personal is that.  Not an angle of heaven or a great hero off the Bible pages will come for us, but Jesus says I will see you again, I will come for you. He wants us to know we are special to him. We are his precious bride that one day he will introduce to his father. We are the apple of his eye and the smile in his thoughts. Keep fighting forward, the beauty of heaven awaits us.

3. The Permanent Joy:  and your joy no man taketh from you.” The joy that Christ gives is permanent. You say “I don’t always feel good” or “I m not always in a happy mood” feelings and situations will change. Whereas happiness is based on our situation, our joy is based on our Savior. Have joy in your salvation, in the fact that because of your relationship with Christ you will never see the flames of Hell. Have joy in heaven that awaits you, the eternal life he gives to you and your saved relatives and friends. Have joy in his daily blessings and provisions…..Through Christ, it is possible to have abiding joy even in the most unfavorable situations. The joy of Christ is rooted deep into the spirit of a believer. It may become obscured by temporary sorrows, but Christ promises that it will always be there and no one can take it from you, NO ONE!  Seek this joy now. Ask God to raise it up in you, ask him to renew and restore this blessing inside you. Nehemiah told a tired work crew as they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem “the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  The joy of Christ will keep you serving, loving, giving and singing long after the strength of your flesh is gone. Your marriage, church and relationships will be more satisfying when you walk in the Joy of Christ. Seek to live in this joy, and remember, it is permanent.

Whenever sorrow comes your way, remember these three things. After all, they are the very advice of Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Devotional Reading

 

What Changes Our Children? Part 5

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

9. Weed the garden: there will be times when you have to “pull out the weeds” or negative influences from your children’s lives. They may not be your best buddy at the time you’re pullin’ weeds, but you will be considered the better parent by God because of it. This may mean taking things from their room, surprise inspections of their text messages & pictures, regularly checking their computer internet history, taking a certain set of clothing, forbidding them to associate with certain people ect. Parents that care will love their child enough to “hurt” them today, so they can help them for tomorrow. They will be better off in the long run because of your protection; they will become better people because of your structured discipline. Weeds choke out the good plant, and in Mark 4:7 the weeds choked out the good seed of God’s word to the point of the person missing salvation. The weeds of negative influence will rob your children of the nutrients that God’s precious word would provide. All the Sunday school lessons, sermons and spiritual talks you have with them will be choked away by these worldly weeds. The Gardner takes care of the plants and the parent takes care of the children. The child is not responsible to remove his negative influences any more than the plants are able to remove the deadly weeds that surround them. Weed the garden now and you’ll get better fruit later; neglect it now and suffer loss later.

10. Give them room to move: this may sound contradictory in an article like this, but it is a necessary balance to raising children. We all mess up and we learn from those mistakes, but some lessons are best learned the hard way. We have to let our children make some decisions, or they will grow up mindless and without the ability to reason and solve problems. So how do we do this without giving them too much liberty that may hurt them? Do it the same way God does to us, it’s called “Limited Free Will”. God allows us to choose and make decisions but he sets the boundaries of how much we can decide. For example, I can decide what car to buy, but I cannot decide to grow wings and fly. God made me with feet to walk, not wings to fly. I am limited in my choices. It’s like this: Imagine a fenced in backyard filled with toys. I tell my child he can do anything he wants in the back yard. He now feels freedom to play with any toy, run anywhere and do anything he wants. He is having a good time making his own choices, but all along I have set the boundaries….remember the fence? I gave him free will to make his own choices but I set the boundaries for those choices; thereby limiting his free will and as his protector, I guaranteed that his choices would be safe ones. Part of parenting is helping your children make the right choices by putting them in positions where they have good choices to choose from. But, knowing they will one day have to make decisions for themselves, we must teach them the right processes for making good decisions. Teach them to read their Bible, pray and seek Gods direction when making decisions. Teach them to consult the spiritual counselors God has put in their lives (parents, pastors & teachers); the Bible says “there is safety in a multitude of counselors.” Because of this kind of training, as they grow up, they will be wise in their decision making process, producing better choices and living a happier more productive Christian life.

What parent would not desire this for their child? Parents, lead with courage, grace and faithfulness. Your children and their generation are counting on you.

 

 
 
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