Jesus Presence For Your Despair.

When Feeling Desperate Jesus is Near

Daily Spirit & Word, 489: Jesus Presence For Your Despair.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 4. Jesus Presence For Your Despair.

John 20:10-14 (NIV)
10  Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11  but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12  and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13  They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14  At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus.

Good morning my friends, we live in a world of deep despair. People are going through stuff every day and many are so troubled they give up any hope of ever being free from these desperate feelings. The reasons for our despair are many; for some it’s the daily struggle to make ends meet and provide for the family. For others it’s unhappiness at work or the fear of loosing one’s livelihood. For others it’s the break-up of significant relationships with loved ones and close friends.  Like Mary Magdalene mentioned above you may have also lost a love one. It might be that there’s nothing in your life right now to cause you to despair, but you are feeling as if something is missing, there’s an inner emptiness and restlessness.

The impression we get from reading John 20:10-14 above is that Mary is in deep despair, standing outside the tomb of Jesus weeping, she is so upset, heartbroken and grieving, that in her despair she fails to see or notice that God is showing her something to encourage her. Even the presence of Angelic Beings from Heaven should have indicated to Mary that God had something to do with the disappearance of Jesus’ body. It’s like that for many people in desperate times; no matter how hard you try to encourage them, because they are hurting, their soul focus is upon the hurt.

Try telling a man with toothache that the daffodils or forget-me-nots look lovely and the sunrise was awesome; he’ll not even want to entertain the idea of beauty until he gets relief from the pain in his teeth.

It’s the exact same for those who are suffering emotional pain and torment, sometimes even though there’s lots to be encouraged by, they cannot see it because something else has their complete attention, they are absorbed in their grief. This is hard for those trying to help them, because we cannot see their pain.

My friends, if Angels couldn’t help Mary, then don’t think you are going to be able to lift someone out of deep depression either. It takes a supernatural effort to life them for the deepest pits of despair. Jesus was standing right behind Mary, but she didn’t realise. Many people who’re going through tough times don’t realise that Jesus is right there with them. He’s loving them, because that’s part of His DIVINE NATURE. God is LOVE. Even when she turned around and saw Jesus, her grief was so intense that she didn’t recognise Him. She was still looking for Jesus dead body and even asked Jesus where the his body was. Oh my friends, when we’re desperate, sometimes even though it’s right in front of our face, we don’t perceive that Jesus is with us, that He’s trying to show us something to encourage us and build us up again.

Mary Magdalene really loved Jesus and that’s why she was grieving, her grief had blinded her to the reality of Jesus being right in front of her nose. For everyone who’s in despair today, Jesus is with you by His Holy Spirit. No matter what the cause of your despair is, know that he’s consistent and faithful to His Holy Promises. “He’ll NEVER leave you or forsake you”, “He’s with you and in you”, Jesus said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age”.

Listen afresh to the Divine promises of God in Isaiah 43:1-3.

Isaiah 43:1-3 (NIV)
1  But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 2  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 3  For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead.

For all of us, no matter what our emotional state at this moment in time, the above passage is medicine for our soul. God want you to know my friends just how much He loves you. His is an everlasting love. We all experience love from people and have been let down when they didn’t love us like we expected, right? Well my friends, God’s NOT like that, He’ll never let you down and when you pass through the troubled waters of grief His Holy Promise is “I WILL BE WITH YOU”.

Mary Magdalene didn’t see it until the Lord Jesus called her name, look at the Isaiah passage above, “I have summoned you by name”. When God called you into a relationship with Jesus, He called you by name, you are His, He chose you, He’s calling your name again this morning and He wants to be with you and heal you and help you.

Points to Ponder

  • Are you in deep despair? Do you believe that God’s love can overcome any pain or hopelessness you are facing? Is there someone you could ask to come and pray with you?
  • Have you noticed any patterns in your life where similar circumstances consistently cause you to feel down or depressed? How can you increase your awareness of the presence of Jesus? I’d suggest some of these things, they work for me every time: Prayer, Praise, Worship, Bible Reading and Study, Fellowship with fellow saints regularly, Fasting, Getting alone with the Lord and talking through my problems with Him.
  • Finally, do you know anyone who is currently in despair? Take some time to pray for them and ask the Lord if He wants you to be His hands and feet to be with them and to show them that Jesus really cares.

Prayers For Day 4 of 40 Days With Jesus.

Dear Lord Jesus, I want to reaffirm my commitment to You. I choose to put my trust in You today despite what I am facing or how I am feeling. You know every broken place in my life. You are immediately aware of my hurts and you keep track of all my sorrows. (Psalm 56:8). Lord Jesus, because you became a human being just like me, fully human in every way (Hebrews 2:17), I know that You identify with what I’m going through. Open my eyes Lord to recognise You in the midst of my brokenness, I’m trusting and believing today that if I seek You with all my heart, I will find You (Jeremiah 29:13). Now, I thank You that You are looking for me too. With Your tender love, so come and lead me from despair into hope, from anxiety into peace and from brokenness into wholeness. Amen. 

40 Days With Jesus Home Page.

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40 Days List.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 4: Jesus Presence for Your Despair.

The Light Overcomes The Darkness

Daily Spirit & Word, 487: The Light Overcomes The Darkness.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 2.

 

Good morning my friends, our first meeting of 40 Days With Jesus was last night and it was amazing. God was showing us through those who came and testified that there are indeed many different ways to come out of the darkness and into His marvellous light. Each of us shared our Spiritual journey and how we came to be where we are today. It was good because most admitted they knew about Jesus, but wanted to go a bit deeper with Him. This little course will enable anyone to do that and we’ll all experience new light in our lives by coming to the Lord on purpose.

Some shared their experiences of recent hardships and in coming to Jesus holding onto the hope that there really is some little chink of light at the end of the dark tunnel. The trials we go through can vary in degree of hardship and duration. They can vary in nature too; some shared last night about relational conflict (how we can forgive), some ill-health, some financial pressures. When we’re going through troubled times it can sometimes seem that there’s no hope at all. Just recently we’ve met a few people who’ve actually contemplated suicide.

 John 20:1 “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”

When John tells us that Mary went to the tomb of Jesus on that first Sunday morning, there’s much more the the DARKNESS than the fact that it was just before dawn. He’s indicating that evil seemed to have triumphed, that darkness had overcome the light. However, even before Mary reaches the tomb, the LIGHT of the dawn had approached and the stone had already been rolled away from the tomb allowing the light to flood into the inner darkness.

In John 20:1-18, that we read yesterday, I think I read it through about six times, but I’m going to be reading it every day this week, we seen in this portion of God’s Word an indication of a theme that’s woven throughout John’s Gospel: Light & Darkness. Darkness representing the kingdom of evil and Light representing the Kingdom of good.

Many movies have this theme running through them; Star Wars, Superman, Batman, X-Men, etc… Even the good old Westerns with the good and bad. I’ll never forget that Clint Eastwood introduced a third term “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” 🙂

In Star Wars the battle is the forces of good combating the forces of evil, represented by the Dark Side of the Force. So John’s Gospel is interwoven with this theme of LIGHT representing Good and God; and DARKNESS representing Evil and Satan.

Let’s just briefly take a look a how John does this:

In the beginning of his Gospel John introduces us to this theme immediately:

John 1:5 (NIV) “The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

John 1:9 (NIV) “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”

We know from the context that the LIGHT is the LORD Jesus. Mary would have been devastated that the LIGHT that delivered her from the darkness of evil oppression and possession was now dead and gone. She’d witnessed his cruel death upon the cross and was grieving so much. Perhaps there was a deep-seated fear that now that Jesus was gone, she’d once again become prey to the darkness of evil and demons, that she’d be plunged into the darkness all over again.

Also in John’s Gospel we see the theme again, John 3:19-21 “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

We see here some awesome truths concerning the darkness of evil and the brilliance of the pure light of God. Sin keeps us away from the LIGHT, because we’re afraid when we sin. Remember Adam running and hiding in the Garden of Eden when He first sinned against God. Sin will keep you away from God and plunge you into the deepest darkness.

John 8:12  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So when Mary arrived at the tomb it must have seemed to her that the DARK SIDE had been victorious; evil deeds, evil forces and evil people had seemingly triumphed over the light of the Lord Jesus. However, nothing could be further from the truth as Mary was about to experience when she finally met the risen Lord Jesus. Her darkness of night was about to explode with the brilliance of the first new day of the RESURRECTION of the Lord Jesus.

My friends, in coming to Jesus, we’re also brought from Darkness into His marvellous Light. We’ll experience a new hope within our being and like Mary our griefs and feelings of despair from our trials and tests will turn to the deepest joy. Jesus is with everyone who trust in Him until the end of the age. That’s HIS promise, let’s grab hold of it today and be encouraged by believing and trusting that these trials are momentary and soon we’ll be delivered from the darkness to triumphant light of God’s glory.

My friends, when Mary Magdalene reached the tomb of Jesus, all must have appeared darkness and gloom, but the LIGHT burst forth into her life when she met the risen Saviour. You can experience that same JOY today.

 Points to Ponder:

  • Can you think of moments in your own life when you were delivered from darkness into the light? What were the events leading up to this point? Take some time to thank God for His grace and mercy towards you during those times.
  • Are there any areas in your life where you know that you are still living in the darkness?
  • Are there any places in your life where the light is on but it’s dim? How would your life change if you began to walk fully in the light of Jesus in these areas?

 Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the Light of the world and I take hold of the promise that I never have to walk in the darkness when I am following You (John 8:12). Thank you for calling me out of the darkness into Your wonderful Light (1 Peter 2:9). I reject any lie that may try to convince me that my breakthrough is not possible or will not be long-lasting. Freedom from sin and darkness is mine through You Lord Jesus Christ. I know that Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my paths (Psalm 119:105). Lord Jesus, please direct my steps and show me how to walk in the light. Lead me into the freedom you won for me on the Cross and keep me there Lord. Amen.

40 Days With Jesus: Day 2 The Light Overcomes The Darkness.

Come back tomorrow for Day 3.

40 Days Home Page: Don’t forget you can watch the Video anytime you like during the week. I’ve watched it a few times now.

 

 

Love One Another

Love Like Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word, 484: Love One Another.

It’s our LOVE for one another that is one of the tests we can use to discover if we’ve passed from death to life. In other words, to know if we’ve been born of God’s Holy Spirit and are true followers of Jesus Christ, if we’re living in obedience to His commands to LOVE Him first and LOVE one another.

Good morning my friends. Don’t you just LOVE Sundays? I do because I can gather with brothers and sisters in my eternal family and we can worship our Lord Jesus Christ together.

Yesterday I took my grandchildren Aminata and Leila to Bockett’s Farm Park in Surrey, what a great day out it was. They had fun on the tractors, fed the little lambs and the sheep and goats and petted the rabbits and horses. There was pig racing and castles to explore. Then they enjoyed the awesome children’s play areas and we all sat down for some sandwiches that my wife had prepared for us.

When I paid for entrance to Bockett’s Farm they gave us a yellow wrist-band, this shows that we’re paid up and allowed on all the rides and can enjoy the whole of Bockett’s Farm. WOWzer! What a gift of a sermon Illustration: Imagine if God gave every single one of us an Yellow Bracelet to show that we’re Paid Up Members of His Kingdom Family? And we can have access to all the rights of the Children of God in the Kingdom? It would be easy for anyone to recognise that we belong to the LORD.

Well, we do have a kind of wrist-band and He’s revealing it today: It’s Called LOVE.

1 John 3:11-24
11  This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
13  Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
15  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
19  This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20  whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21  Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22  and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

The Steps to Faith and Trust In Jesus:

When you come to faith in Jesus Christ: It involves definite steps: Those steps can sometimes be instant and for others a much longer journey.

The Steps to Faith and Trust in Jesus Are:

1) An awareness of our NEED of a SAVIOUR: The Holy Spirit draws us to God the Father and Faith in Jesus Christ, by first producing a hunger for Righteousness: The NEED to be right with God.

2) The Holy Spirit makes us aware that we’re NOT Righteous in ourselves, because of our Sin. He convicts the world of guilt… That’s one of His functions as God The Holy Spirit. It’s His task from Jesus and the Father. (This is the process that can either be instant or can take some time, because people confuse Religious Activity with Righteousness. They get involved with ‘church’ and begin to do the things that real believers do, thinking they are saved because of it.)

3) The Gospel Shows us God’s Solution for Righteousness: That He sent Jesus Christ to die on the Cross in our place to make us right with God: Righteousness Satisfied: We’re RIGHTEOUS when we’re in Christ.

4) We’re convicted and moved to REPENT of our sins and put our faith and trust in God’s revealed solution to our righteousness problem. We then comply with the Spirit’s call and respond to Jesus invitation to RECEIVE Him as both LORD and Saviour.

5) We’re SAVED: We begin a New Life in Jesus Christ: He gives us New Life by sending the Holy Spirit into our hearts and bringing about the New Birth: We’re born again, Regenerated, Renewed by the Holy Spirit. (The Washing of Rebirth)

6) When the Holy Spirit comes into our life: Some things happens to us:

  1. a) We no longer view the Commandmentsas a threat: i.e. “You must do this” “You must not do that”, but as promises; “You will not want to tell lies, steal or lust” “You will want to Love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and Love your neighbour as yourself”.
  2. b) Those changes come as we’re filled with God’s LOVE by the Spirit He gives us. (Verse 24).
  3. c) The Holy Spirit Begins to Transform Us: Sanctification: Into the Likeness of Christ: Producing the Fruit of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. That’s what Jesus was like and is like today. That’s what we’re being transformed into: The Likeness of Christ.
  4. d) The Holy Spirit Gifts: Tongues, Word’s of Knowledge, Healing, Discernment, Administration, Prophesy, Service, Hospitality, LOVE. The Greatest Gift Being LOVE.

Death To LIFE: Verse 14.

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.”

So we can know today if we’ve passed from death to life (Verse 14) if we LOVE our brothers. i.e. Our neighbours, our fellow Christians, our workmates, our own family members. If we’ve got hatred in our hearts instead of LOVE, then we’ve NOT been born again by God’s Holy Spirit (Verse 24). Though we may want or even demand to be viewed as Christians because of everything else we’ve done; our religious devotion, our church activity, our charitable acts, etc, etc, but if we don’t LOVE others all these things are like a Clanging (Very Loud: Cymball). 1 Corinthians 13.

Cain Vs Christ.

Cain and Jesus are examples of the extremes between hating and loving.

Let’s Compare and Contrast: Cain and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Cain: 1 John 3:12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother.

Jesus: 1 John 3:16 16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Cain TOOK LIFE:
Jesus GIVES LIFE.

What was their MOTIVATION?

Cain: Angry and Jealous and Bitter: Because God accepted Able’s offering.

Jesus: Love: Love motivated Jesus to offer His life. 1 John 3:16 and John 3:16.

How Can we KNOW if we are LOVING our Brothers and Sisters or NOT?

Well, our reading gives some indication: 1 John 3:16-18. (This is HOW we KNOW).
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. (Are we laying down our lives for others? Self-Sacrifice: Greed = wanting the biggest slice, more money than others, better houses than others. Avarice, The need to have so much that you can dominate others. The need to win arguments???)
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? (How can the LOVE of God be in us if we don’t respond to need? Some people ask us when we’re out sharing Jesus, “How can there be a God of Love when He allows so much suffering of innocent people; perhaps God allows this suffering to show his love through the Saints He’s called into His family: I.e. God has no hands but our hands, He has no feet but our feet, He has no mouth but the Christian’s mouth in this world…)
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (God wants us to DEMONSTRATE that we’re actually LIVING IN OBEDIENCE to the Commandments of Jesus Christ).

Let’s look at that great chapter on LOVE:

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
2  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
(WOWzer! You’d think that a person who did all these things was really good, loving and kind, wouldn’t you? But the Bible tells us that even though we are doing these things, we can do them in a LOVELESS WAY.).
Now let’s continue in Corinthians 13:
4  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
9  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10  but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.
11  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
12  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Respond: 

My friends, what can you do this week to show that you have passed from DEATH to LIFE?

How can you love each other more?

Examples: How can you help the homeless? How can you help the widow, the single parent, the refugee, the alien and stranger, the lonely, the depressed, those who are suffering, the poor, the weak, the strong, the rich, the proud, etc… How will you help?

  • First: Don’t be overwhelmed: That’s what stops a lot of Christians from doing what they know they should do.
  • Second: Don’t be afraid: Fear can cripple our LOVE. It’s actions speak louder than words.
  • ThirdTrust: Trust again in Jesus and receive His LOVE into your own heart. Know that He really loves you and then be filled afresh with His LOVE. Ask for His Divine Help and Power to do what you know you should.

Be FULL of LOVE and Act in LOVE towards EVERYONE.

Conclusion: 

My friends, The WHOLE of God’s WORD is filled with this awesome message: God IS LOVE. John 3:16, Romans 13:8, John 13:34-35, 1 John 3.

Those who say they LOVE God will PROVE their love for Him by how they act towards others in the world.

We won’t just SAY we love others, but we’ll actually feel it, we’ll want to lay down our lives for others, that’s the fullness of LOVE, that’s why God has said it in so many different ways in His Word.

The Greatest Gift of the Holy Spirit, the Greatest Gift that God can and will give us is LOVE.

This is how we know if we’ve passed from DEATH to LIFE.

We’ll show it by our ACTIONS  and ATTITUDES towards one another.  We’ll actively LOVE One Another.

My friends, is there a want of love in your heart today? This is how we know if we’ve passed from DEATH (God’s curse upon a sinful person is Death for sin) to LIFE (New Life comes when we REPENT and TRUST God’s SAVIOUR: Jesus Christ).

Then you can know if you’re truly Born of God’s Spirit.

If you have got the Spirit of God and you are less loving than you should be; REPENT and receive and be filled with His Holy Spirit afresh today.

May the LORD bless this reading and insight into His Word Today. Amen!

I’m praying for everyone who says they really love Jesus today, and those who truly want to follow Him every single day, that we’ll know the wrist-band of LOVE. We’ll wear it with pride and we’ll get more love into our hearts when we become aware that we’re not being as loving as we should be. Let us LOVE One Another. Amen!