Thursday, July 13, 2017

God cares. Now what?

In the last couple of posts, I have tried to emphasize (from the Scripture) that God genuinely cares about you.  He loves you.  He is compassionate toward you.  He knows that you are weak and in need and He is right there with you to help you.  Jesus showed this throughout His earthly ministry as he met people where they were and helped them both physically and spiritually.  He came not to be served, but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for sinners.

So, now what?  I began talking in the last post about what we should do in response.  Once you recognize that God cares about you and has the power to help you, you should come to Him.  This only makes sense.  If you knew a doctor had the only cure to your deadly disease, you would be stupid to not go to him for help.  Well, it's the same with God.  He is the only one who can help you and loves you enough to give His own Son for you.  So, come to Him for help!  Pray to Him.  Ask Him.  Believe in Him.

And (to quote Journey) don't stop believing.  Keep on trusting Him even as you struggle through the difficulties of your life.  Even as you deal with pain and loss and suffering and disappointment and joy and love and EVERYTHING, keep trusting God.

NOW...bring others to Him.  This is exactly what Jesus taught when he transitioned from compassionate ministry in Matthew chapter 9 to collaborative mission in Matthew 10.  He gathered a special group of men together (we'll talk about them sometime in the future) and sent them out to bring others to Himself.

Honestly, if you really believe in the God who loves you so much He gave His Son for you, how can you keep Him to yourself?  How can you not tell others?  You don't need a degree in theology to bring someone to Jesus.  You just need to know people (who are sinners) and know Jesus (who is the Savior).  I'm not saying you shouldn't always be learning more of Christ, because you should.  But, it is not your knowledge that people need.  It is your God.

So, what are you waiting for?  If you know Jesus, share him with others.  Perhaps God will use you to bring someone to Him.

Monday, July 03, 2017

God cares. So what?

So, God cares.  If you've paid any attention to the sermons from chapters 8 and 9 of Matthew, you have heard this resounding chorus over and over.  Jesus showed the compassion of our heavenly Father.  In these 2 chapters, Jesus heals people; he touches people; he eats with people; he raises the dead.  In short, Jesus cares.

In fact, the passage we just looked at in Matthew 9:35-38 tells us that Jesus looked out at the crowd of people coming to him with a lifetime of problems and he was "moved with compassion for them".  What a statement!  The God of the universe, who upholds all things by the word of His power, cares about the every day problems people have.

In the last entry, I said we would look at why this matters and what we should do.  Well, I think the answer to the first question should be obvious.  What can you usually do about the situations you find yourself in that bring you pain?  NOTHING!!  Usually, though there may be little steps we can take to better ourselves if our problems involve finances or health, we have no way of actually changing the situation.  That is why we are so distressed when we find ourselves in these situations.

But, God can change it!  In fact, He is the only one who can completely turn a situation around.  He is the only one who can completely heal.  He is the only one who can completely solve any financial situation.  He is the only one who, when He chooses not to solve your problem, can help you persevere through the problem.  So, it matters greatly that He cares about you.

Now, what do you do about it? Well, there may be a lot of little (and some major) things that you can do about your specific situation. But, in general, there are only two things that you can and should do throughout the entirety of your life as you face problems. And those two things are found in every passage we have looked at in Matthew 8 and 9.

First - come to Jesus.  Pray to Him.  Plead with Him.  Tell Him what your problems are and how you feel about it.  Ask for His help to solve the situation.  Sometimes He will miraculously change what is happening in your life.  He did in each one of these cases in Matthew.  Sometimes, He will make you go through the problem because it is better for you in your quest for holiness and Christ-likeness to endure.  Consider that some of these situations in Matthew had been going on for years.  And, of course Jesus already knows what you're going through.  He's God!  But, remember, He cares about you.  So, come to Him with your doubts.  Pray to Him about your fears.  Plead with Him in your despair.  This is what about half of the Psalms are about!  It's good for your soul to do this.

Secondly - keep trusting Jesus.  One of the hardest things to do as your are struggling with your situation is to keep the faith.  It's easy to give up...particularly if it seems like God is disinterested in you.  But, don't give up.  Don't lose heart.  This is why Jesus gave the parable of the widow and the unjust judge - to teach us to continue coming to him with our needs and to keep trusting Him to do what is best for us.  Remember, God is faithful, even when we are faithless.  If you are His child, NOTHING happens to you but what is good for you.  And, God is a loving heavenly Father who only does what is right and good.  Remind yourself of the character of God and of His love for you.  Remember the cross and the love God showed for you as He poured out His wrath for sin on His Son.  Remember, that if God is for us, who can be against us?  Hold tightly to the truth that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

Romans 8:38-39 - For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.