Archive for May, 2009
May 28, 2009
It is the healthy, natural desire of parents to prevent trouble from coming into their children’s lives.
The problem with trusting such a strategy when it comes to our children’s well-being is that we can’t possibly prevent all the trouble our youngsters will face.
Particularly when the trouble is self-generated.
Yet, parent after parent attempts such to the extent that the parental life coach turns into a parental control freak manipulating the child into a glass bubble of isolation and insecurity.
That is, until the child becomes an adolescent or young adult and pops that bubble with a spirit of division and sometimes rebellion.
This is not good.
I’m glad that Jesus was wise and all-sufficient in this regard as He was in so many others.
I’m glad that Jesus knew what was best for preparing God’s children for the big, bad world.
I was reminded of my Savior’s great wisdom while reading John 17 this morning.
Verse 15 spoke very clearly to me about the idea of discipleship training AND the idea of parenting.
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”
Jesus knew that the Great Commission of evangelism would not happen if His disciples stayed behind the fortress walls of their church groups so that they wouldn’t have to encounter the Enemy’s attacks.
Jesus was not a control freak parent.
He knew that His task as a Messiah — in addition to being the atoning sacrifice for sin — was to equip His followers to become portable lighthouses in a world filled with pervasive darkness.
Jesus was sent by God into a fallen world in order to raise up a group of believers that He would send into a fallen world.
Jesus knew that God’s love, God’s power, God’s Holy Spirit and God’s Word had protected Him from the evil one.
He wanted the same to be available for His disciples.
He wanted them out in the fields, planting and harvesting, rather seeing them sitting in the barn, content to be unplanted seeds.
Are you praying for God to prevent the occurrence of difficulties in your life?
Are you hoping that you don’t face any hassles because of your faith?
Do you want those unsaved, anti-church rascals at work to stop picking on you? Or at least to stop alienating you as a social leper?
I encourage you to think again about what you are asking God.
Jesus didn’t ask God to prevent trials from happening to believers.
He DID ask God to protect believers from facing attacks beyond their ability to withstand.
God answered that prayer, of course.
Believers who were faithful to Christ did endure and did overcome, even when lions were turning their flesh into hamburger.
The enemy did not get what he wanted. He did not prevail.
God received the praise Satan wanted for himself and the believers received the promise of eternal life that Satan said was a lie.
I Cor. 10:13 says that God will not allow Satan to tempt us beyond what we can bear. And that includes the temptation of tormenting.
When things get really tough in your life, whether family problems or health problems or financial problems, remember that God is protecting you from the enemy’s knockout punch.
When you think you can’t take anymore without quitting your faith, KNOW that you can as long as you hold tightly onto God’s hand.
He is protecting your from the evil one’s worst attacks.
No matter how bad circumstances are, understand that it could be worse. The reason it isn’t is because God is protecting you.
If this message has equipped and reassured you, please share it with a struggling, unsaved person who needs to know that God will protect them, too, if they’ll become one of His children by obeying the gospel.
As always, I love you
No matter how difficult your life might become, you’ll always have the most important treasure one could possibly have — if you’re a Christian.
If your family abandons you, if your employer dumps you, if your body fails you, you’ll still be richer than the the world’s wealthiest non-believer.
Some of you reading this are deeply wounded just now. Your inner voice is wondering if anybody truly cares about you.
Perhaps your sense of abandonment is phobia-based. Perhaps the abandonment by people is real.
In either event, I want you to know that the ultimate abandonment has not occurred.
In fact, the cross of Calvary shows that God NEVER ultimately abandons any living human.
Let me repeat that.
God NEVER ultimately abandons anybody.
People often abandon God.
If one doesn’t repent and obey the gospel, the restoring power of God’s gracious love cannot remedy the consequence of a rebellious heart.
Even so, God didn’t withdraw His soul-seeking love for sinful man before the cross and He hasn’t withdrawn His soul-seeking love for sinful man since the cross.
Boy, this is a comforting thought.
Why this topic today?
In John 16, Jesus was with His apostles in the hours just before His arrest. He was explaining what would soon happen and how the apostles would not comprehend them until after the fact.
Jesus said that He would be abandoned by everybody — except God.
“You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (verse 32).
For eternity, Jesus had enjoyed unending fellowship with Jehovah. No matter how difficult the obstacles were during His ministry, Jesus had that peace that passes all understanding because God had not left Him or forsaken Him.
This is very powerful, my friend.
This also explains why children who have a solid, nurturing relationship with their earthly fathers are less likely to have emotional insecurity issues during adolescence and adulthood.
They know that their father is always with them, even if only in a legacy of love.
The incredible value to Christ of His Father’s presence explains why Jesus was so anguished in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Jesus knew that His Father would have to withdraw fellowship with Him for a time in order for the guilt of all man’s sin to be placed on His shoulders.
Please understand something.
I’m convinced that the pain of broken fellowship with His Father was far greater than the pain of the beatings, the crown of thorns and the nails.
Jesus endured this horrendous sequence of loss because of my sins and because of yours.
Jesus sacrificed that which He treasured most — the intimate presence of God — so that you and I could have that which we should treasure most — the intimate presence of God.
I pray that you’ll realize that an intimate relationship with God is the greatest treasure in all the universe.
I pray that you’ll realize that God has already decided that He wants such a relationship with you.
I pray that you’ll realize that God has made the way for you to have such a relationship, despite your sins.
Never forget that your decision to confess Christ with your words and baptism brought you into relationship with Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Jesus promised that people in this life might abandon us, but that He would NEVER leave us or forsake us.
Boy, am I glad that I’m a Christian.
I pray that you are, too.
As always, I love you