Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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11 Trust in the uncertainty Part II

John 14:1-34

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

As we get ready to celebrate Easter this weekend I want to remind you of the simplicity and yet the beauty of our faith, Christmas is the Promise, Good Friday is the Payment and Easter is the Proof. Continuing on in John 14 we are reminded of Jesus words of comfort to His disciples at a time of great worry and tribulation and we are reminded not only of His Presence but also:

•             His Promises

Throughout the bible God gave many promises, in the Old Testament He promised the children of Israel a land flowing with milk & honey. It took a while for the promise to be fulfilled, but it was fulfilled. He also promised a Messiah, and even though that seemed to take a long time, in the New Testament it was fulfilled through the birth and death of His son Jesus the Savior. Now in John 14 we are promised that He is coming back for us, someday we’ll be with Him forever & ever. Sometimes we grow impatient as we await His return. Sometimes in the tribulation of this life we are tempted to doubt but the scripture says, “You can trust the promises of God and this promise will be fulfilled too.”

This Easter would you take time to reflect on the promise of heaven? The Bible uses a lot of different words to describe heaven. In one place it is called “a country” indicating the vastness of heaven. In another it is called “a city” indicating the community of heaven. It is called “a kingdom” indicating that there is a governmental structure to it all. It is called “paradise” indicating its beauty and desirability. But here it is called, “My Father’s house,” & that is another way of saying, “It is home.” Home is a place where you can be yourself, where you can kick off your shoes and relax, where you’re always accepted & loved. Home is a place where you are not just a guest but a resident because you live there. Jesus reminds us that in His Father’s house are many rooms, the King James Version says, “many mansions.” and as much as I like that word the real meaning has its focus on a dwelling place. Home is that place where you dwell, where you belong. Jesus is saying, “I’m going to take you to My Father’s house and it will be your home too. You’ll be a part of the family. You’ll be home where you belong.”

When I think about the reality of heaven made possible for me through the cross of Christ, I am reminded that much of me is already there. My name is written there, my citizenship is there, my God is there, my Savior is there, my inheritance is there, and many of my loved ones are there. So much of me is already there, soon His promise will be fulfilled, and I will be in my Father’s house.

We can trust in His presence and His promises but He also says we have to Trust in:

  • HIM

Jesus is saying, “Trust in Me.” In verses 4-6 Jesus says, “`You know the way to the place where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, `Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Jesus answered, `I am the way & the truth & the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”

What a wonderful promise, He is the way. He is saying, “I’m not just going to show you the way, or tell you the way, or write out the instructions on how to get there. I’m going to come & take you by the hand to My Father’s house. Then you’ll be home.” Do you have burdens that you think you cannot bear? Are you troubled? Are you worried or anxious? Do you feel empty inside? Do you feel lonely? Do you feel lost? Are you confused? Whatever your burdens the solution to a troubled heart is still the same, to trust, to trust in Him. “I’ll never leave you,” He said. “I’ll always be beside you.

Have you found the way? Have you found Jesus? This Easter God offers you eternal life through the payment of Good Friday and the proof of the resurrection. When we believe and receive the free gift of eternal life He turns our tragedy into triumph.

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10 Trust in the uncertainty Part I

John 14:1

“Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me.”

Jesus had just washed His disciple’s feet and reminded them that not only was He the Messiah, but that he would be crucified and that they would be scattered. So in John 14 Jesus calls the disciples to trust God through any and every circumstance of life, even when they did not understand and they could not see Him at work. Have you ever had one of those weeks when everything seems to go wrong? When it doesn’t seem to make any difference how hard you try, everything seems to backfire on you? The harder you try, the worse it gets and then your whole world seems to crumble around you leaving you wondering where is God in all of this is? How do you think the disciples were feeling? Their week had begun gloriously with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the people were waving palm branches & shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!”  But Jesus had not come to establish an earthly kingdom, He refused a temporary crown of glory and the fickle crowd began to change. As their dreams of a Jewish kingdom with Jesus as their miracle working king began to dissipate their praise turned to persecution. Jesus knew exactly what the next few hours would bring, after eating the Passover meal together, He knew Judas would betray Him. He knew about the false trials of the night, He knew of the cross and the borrowed tomb and how troubled the disciples would be. So He begins to prepare them for all that is to come with words of comfort. Today that is exactly what some of you need, His words of comfort. Maybe you have recently lost loved ones, a job, your health, or a relationship that has left you lonely & depressed. We all experience difficulties and Jesus says that part of the solution to a troubled heart is trust.

Jesus tells His disciples to trust in 3 things:

  • His Presence

Jesus begins by saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me.”  The word “troubled” means to be disturbed or agitated. On three previous occasions this word was used to express Jesus’ deeply troubled feelings: when He faced Lazarus’ tomb (11:33), when He contemplated the cross (12:27), and when He reflected on the betrayal of Judas (13:21), now the disciples will face the same feelings. When we read the words “Let not your heart be troubled” most of us would put the focus on the word troubled. But an equally if not more important word is the word “heart”. Jesus is saying that the heart can be clothed in serenity even when hell is clashing at its very gates. Inner peace does not come from tranquil circumstances but from an untroubled heart that is trusting in Jesus. Are we spending more energy trying to avoid difficulties or letting them grow us as we lean on Christ and get to know Him better? When we put our focus and energy simply into trying to change our circumstances we will be headed for frustration and failure.  When Jesus told His disciples “Let not your heart be troubled” He was preparing them for the dark day of His crucifixion. He knew they could weather the storm only by trusting in Him in spite of the apparent triumph of evil. Through trust in God the Father and Jesus the Son, we can not only find peace but be sustained through our coming tests. We can focus on the trouble in the world and in our lives, or we can focus on the victory we have in Christ because His death was eclipsed by His resurrection. Jesus wanted His disciples to focus on Him not their circumstances because He didn’t want them to miss the resurrection. This wonderful fact gives new meaning to His words, believe in Me. Jesus was saying “I know you trust in God, & you also trust in me, now remember, when you can no longer see me, don’t stop trusting in me.” We all find it easier to trust in things that we can see & touch, we are prone to walk by sight. Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands & put my finger where the nails were, & put my hand into His side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25). There is a little bit of Thomas in all of us. Jesus showed Thomas and he believed. “Then Jesus told him, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen & yet have believed” (John 20:29). When we go through the troubles and tribulations of this life we need to fix our eyes on what is eternal not the temporary. Jesus has promised, “I will be with you always. I will never leave you nor forsake you.” There are many uncertainties, opposition, and even doubt along the road of life and those who lived with Christ when He was on earth faced the same difficulties. His answers and assurances for the disciples are meant for us as well. Jesus is God’s solution to our troubles, the question is will we trust in His presence?