“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7) We tend to admire people who are courageous. It could be firemen, policemen, or warriors. Courage often forms the backbone for movies and novels. We naturally root for...
Ephesians 3:20 says, "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen" You see, God wants to do great things in your...
"Take heart" -- the Greek word here means to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of adversity or testing. It means that your heart is resolute. It means to be courageous, it means to be bold! It means that you know what you know and that you're going to go forward...
I probably don't need to tell most of you that life isn't easy. That it is a challenge. That it is hard and that it hurts. But still by grace we have been given a choice.So I want to ask you: how are you going to live the next part of eternity?Broken down and giving up or rising up and trusting...
When Jesus walks into your life, your life is going to get totally and radically flipped upside down. If you haven't had the experience yet of Jesus showing up and having your life completely and totally flipped upside down, then you might want to ask yourself the question "Do I really know...
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7)
We tend to admire people who are courageous. It could be firemen, policemen, or warriors. Courage often forms the backbone for movies and novels. We naturally root for heroic figures such as those in the Die Hard series or Frodo and his fellow travelers in Lord of the Rings.
Biblical heroes include David (who slew Goliath) and Daniel in the Lion’s den. They stood tall in the face of imminent death, trusting in the God who would save them.
God told Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous” (Joshua 1:7) and Joshua boldly went forward to conquer Israel’s foes.
The apostles and early church – with boldness and courage – proclaimed the gospel in often hostile environments and at risk to their very lives.
As Paul wrote, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). That same Spirit resides in us. Will we be strong and courageous like Joshua, David and Daniel? Will we exhibit the boldness and courage of the early church? Will we trust in God?
Jesus encourages us, “But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Let us all be overcomers with Christ. It is what we have been called and equipped to do.
Take heart! Jesus has already overcome the world!
"Take heart" -- the Greek word here means to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of adversity or testing. It means that your heart is resolute. It means to be courageous, it means to be bold! It means that you know what you know and that you're going to go forward relentlessly!
Guys, I'm telling you that loyalty to Jesus and basic courage in life really matter to God! So, whether you're a super masculine man who's 6'8" or whether you're a petite 4'11" young lady, you're called to courage and loyalty to live the message of Jesus at any cost.
Matthew 10:34-36 tells us that our life is lived in a war zone and so we shouldn't expect it to be easy. Remember where you are. Remember that in the movement of all human history, in the movement of the universe, it is a movement of four parts:
Creation - The Fall - Redemption - Restoration
This is the battle for redemption, you are NOT in the Restoration part yet!
So, the health and wealth gospel that tells us that God is going to bring all this good into your life, it is true...in the next chapter!
But in the restoration of all things you will live in a time when everything is perfect. You will live in a time where there will be no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev 21:4). But Jesus said in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
That's not a very popular message, I'm a consumer, I'm an American, I want more stuff and I want happiness!
Jesus said, "In is world you will have trouble, but take heart...(have courage, show some spine) because I have overcome the world." In the same way Jesus overcomes the world, I'm telling you He expects us to overcome as well and to live the message at any cost!
"Do not suppose I have come to bring peace on earth, I did not..."(Matthew 10:34). I did not come to make your life on earth easy in this moment. I'm calling you into the battle for the redemption of the souls of men and women, and boys and girls! I'm calling you to make a choice in your life to leave behind this world and its lies and its seduction and to invest your life in a new kingdom and a new life that's coming! (Paraphrased)
I didn't come to make 'this world' a place of your happiness. I didn't come to give you a nice bed on the Titanic as it sinks down below the waves -I came to rescue you! I came to lead you to the life boat so that I can take you to a new land, a new country - to where everything would be whole again! Take heart. -Dr. Drew Shofner
I probably don't need to tell most of you that life isn't easy. That it is a challenge. That it is hard and that it hurts. But still by grace we have been given a choice.
So I want to ask you: how are you going to live the next part of eternity?
Broken down and giving up or rising up and trusting God?
Right now, where you are may seem so long and hard and overwhelming, but I just want to remind you that it's just one part of eternity. It's just one next in a long series until we begin the next part of eternity in the presence of God, or apart from God if we didn't want His love.
In Matthew 9:1-8, we read the story that took place in Jesus' home town. Here's a picture of Jesus, on the road, out in life, going after people and revealing the love of The Father in His own life in the power of an unseen Spirit in a way that changed everything!
Jesus stepped into a boat and crossed over and came to His own home town. Some men brought him a paralytic lying on a mat, and when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic something unexpected and something strange. Jesus said, "Take heart son, your sins are forgiven…" then He said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home!" And the man got up and he went home. No longer stuck in dead religion, no longer stuck in the realities of life, now the Kingdom of God had come and now the unpredictability of the love of God was let loose on planet earth - and everything changed!
What if, more than we need everything that is frustrating us in this moment. What if, not having them is what depresses us and discourages us?
What if we just needed to celebrate our forgiveness and from this point forward, just live joyfully toward home knowing that this earth isn't it?
What if we trusted that God is giving us, from His goodness, all that we need and that we can live joyfully on our way home?
We've basically got a choice, we can follow sin: Sin means that we're all deeply broken like the layers of an onion at successive and concentric ways. We're all deeply broken all the way to the core of our being. It's all fractured, it's all broken, it's all leaking life! And you and I can live our lives in ever-increasing sin and brokenness to where the darkness continues to increase and the sadness is growing and the loss is adding up for the rest of this part of eternity - or we can follow forgiveness all the way home to joy!
You see, that's what Jesus did.
We just celebrated Easter, and the scripture gives us an insight into what Jesus was thinking every step of the way. With every blow to His jaw, every time the whip was laid on His back...and every time the hammer drove the nails in...the scripture tells us what was on Jesus' mind. The scripture tells us in Hebrews 12:2, "Let us look to Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross scorning it's shame." He was heading home and in spite of that agony of the moment, He trusted God and lived courageously toward joy!
You and I need to live courageously grateful for the forgiveness of our sins, and if nothing ever happens in our life that we call good, we have the gift of the forgiveness of everything that leaks life, that tears us apart and destroys us in this part of eternity! We're coming to a part of eternity where there is going to be joy, if we will have it. But in this part of eternity where we're still on the ground and where it's hard, we are called by God to live courageously grateful for the gift that matters more than all the other stuff that we demand from God and put before it, and it's all found in this one phrase, "Take heart my child, your sins are forgiven."
Despite what you believe, God does not have a bad attitude toward you. No, He says, "Take heart my child your sins are forgiven." -Matthew 9:2 (Take heart- The Greek word here means to have confidence and firmness of purpose in the face of adversity or testing.)
I want you to imagine the man paralyzed in Matthew. His day began bad like every other day...but in the presence of the freedom of Jesus, everything changed. I want you to follow my forgiveness in a way that transforms your sorrow into joy and I want you to live gratefully from this point forward and be courageous so take heart my son get up off of the broken place where you are and walk home!
Can you imagine the joy his parents felt? Guys, that's you and that's me!
How many of us are laying on the ground and letting life pass us by? You don't have to hate yourself - you're free! We gotta make a decision. We gotta ask for forgiveness and until that day we gotta head home healed and live courageously. This is the life that we are invited to - accept forgiveness and live courageously toward joy! -Dr. Drew Shofner
When Jesus walks into your life, your life is going to get totally and radically flipped upside down. If you haven't had the experience yet of Jesus showing up and having your life completely and totally flipped upside down, then you might want to ask yourself the question "Do I really know Jesus?"
If you haven't been radically transformed in a way where you understand that what He is trying to do is make you different, then maybe there is not a real relationship with Jesus!
Because that's just what Jesus does when He shows up - Jesus changes everything!
If you've experienced change after following Jesus, there is a good chance that you're following Him. If your life is no different after following Jesus, then there is a good chance you are not really following Him!
Jesus changes everything, and can I just tell you what 'Jesus change' takes? Jesus change takes courage! Change takes walking into situations you don't want to be in, change causes you to have to be different than you are today! Welcome to Jesus change. He's gonna take you to some scary places and He's gonna ask you to do some scary things! If change is going to take place in your life, it's gonna take some courage!
Jesus change takes courage; Jesus change means that you're gonna have to give up everything if you want to know Him! There is nothing in your life that is off limits for Jesus to touch and do something with!
When Jesus change comes, it will alienate you from some people, it will take some people away from you quite frankly that you may love. If you're dating someone and they don't love Jesus the most and you're trying to love Jesus the most and you're trying to convince them over and over to love Jesus. By the way, you can't convince them to love Jesus, only the Spirit can do that. In fact, often times you will just enable them to keep from loving Jesus!
So, can I just go ahead and tell you that unhealthy + unhealthy does not equal healthy. Unhealthy + healthy does not equal healthy. Only healthy + healthy coming together will be healthy! When it's all said and done, Jesus is going to alienate you from some people when He changes your life.
Here's the deal folks, what are we gonna do with Jesus? Maybe it's a real life change, deciding to accept Him into your heart and start a real relationship with Him? Maybe you've been a follower for a while but you've just got some things that need to change. It could be in your finances, it could be something in your family or in your relationships or your job?
There are a lot of times I don't like what Jesus says to me, but when you're confronted with the real Jesus, you have to either say "Yes, Jesus, change whatever it is you want to change about me" or you have to look at Him and say "go away." There is no in-between! Jesus change takes courage! -Pastor John B. Smith