Articles from Christian teachers and leaders. Designed to help you as you follow Jesus here in Nauru
Now what? That’s something that all of us have said to ourselves at one time or another. In his new message, ‘When All Seems Lost’, Pastor Jeff Vines covers the topics of marriage and keeping relationships strong. Jeff offers encouragement for those of us who are struggling with chaos and feeling lost.
God does not give His law arbitrarily. When God tells us He wants us to live in certain parameters and by certain precepts, He does it because He loves us. If He’s the creator and sustainer of the universe, He would know the kind of life we should live and how we should live it.
Living the Abundant Life
‘The Bible says once you get out of those parameters,’ says Jeff, ‘there’s a great risk you’re taking. But the reality is, most of us have violated all of the Ten Commandments at some point in our lives. We’ve also violated commandments or principles within each relationship of our life.’
If we violate principles in any area of our relationships, we’re given no guarantee that we will live the abundant life. But what if your life’s already in chaos? What if you’ve already been through a marriage and a divorce? What if you’re children have left and you don’t know if they’re coming back? What if you’ve already got an addiction?
‘Christians are notorious for telling people how to live,’ says Jeff. ‘But not so good at telling people what to do after they’re already in a mess. Until you understand the core of the gospel and what it really teaches, there’s no way you’re ever going to have any hope for the chaos in your life.’
A God of Mercy and Grace
God is a God of mercy, a God of grace, and a God that says, now that you’ve done this, let’s move on. Wouldn’t you love to have seen Jesus healing all those people in the New Testament? Imagine watching as he took the clay and put it on the blind man’s eyes. What about raising Lazarus from the dead?
‘God is perfect in every way in every relationship,’ says Jeff. ‘He has the greatest capacity for love, infinitely greater than you and me. Which means He also has an infinitely greater capacity for pain and suffering. At the crucifixion, Jesus is beginning to feel what it’s like for the Father to turn his face away. But the Father turns His face away from the Son in order that He would never have to turn His face away from you and me.
Jesus is anxious. The writer in the book of Luke goes on to say Jesus turns and Judas meets Him in the garden and kisses Him. Judas doesn’t even greet the other disciples. It’s a direct statement. Judas says to Jesus, I am equal to you. I don’t need you. I can live my life of independence away from you.
‘The writer tells us the story because he wants us to recognise Jesus’s suffering,’ says Jeff. ‘Judas betrays Him in a sense of independence, but he also betrays Him in a sense of the intimacy he’s had with Jesus. If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it. But what if it were a close friend? The deeper the love, the more painful the betrayal.’
Breaking God’s Heart
It’s easy to become desensitised to the kind of violence we see perpetrated against Jesus. He’s being stuck with closed fists and open hands. He’s bleeding and He’s sweating drops of blood. He’s being mocked and His friends have betrayed him. The reason all this happens is so that Jesus might become incoherent and not able to answer the questions of the trial, so they bring false accusers.
‘The Bible says He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,’ says Jeff. ‘Jesus did not open his mouth. But if He did open his mouth, there’s so much He could have said. He could have prophesied who it was striking Him. Which action did they want to kill Jesus so desperately for? Healing the lame man? Causing the blind to see? There was such selflessness in the life of Jesus.’
What the Bible wants us to understand through the cross and through intimacy is that every time we stay away from God, there are serious consequences. Not only have we broken the law of God, but more importantly, it wants you to see that you’ve broken His heart.
‘He’s not going anywhere,’ says Jeff. ‘He’s right there. But you’ve broken His heart.’
This article was inspired by Jeff Vines.
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How do we respond to someone’s need? Love is experienced in what we say…. But love becomes extravagant in “what we DO”
‘I have taught you in the way of wisdom.’ Proverbs 4:11 NKJV
Every day we are bombarded with messages from the media, employers, co–workers, people we meet, books, music—and from our own thoughts. Satan works in two ways.
First, he tries to feed you with stuff like temptation, depression, and worry.
Second, he tries to keep you from noticing what you’re putting into your mind.
A healthy mind feeds on healthy thoughts. Jesus said He came to give us ‘life more abundantly’ (see John 10:10). Instead of constantly striving for self–worth, peace of mind, joy and happiness, your mind can overflow with these things. But first you must pay attention to what your mind is focused on. Jeremiah said, ‘When Your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight.’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NIV)
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is Scripture—but we frequently turn it into a burden. ‘Do I have to read the Bible every day?’ That’s the wrong question. You need to ask, ‘What can I feed my mind on today so that it will grow and flourish?’
The psalmist said that when you delight in God’s Word, you will prosper in whatever you do (see Psalm 1:1–3). In order to have what successful people enjoy, you must first do what successful people do. And according to the psalmist, successful people delight in the Word of God, day and night.
SoulFood: [bible passage=”2 Cor 5–8, Mark 14:53–65, Ps 34, Pro 21:14–16″ version=”esv” heading=”H3″]
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright ©