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LIfe's Expectations - The Cross

John 16:16-20

16 "A LIttle while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father."  17 Then some of His disciples said among themselves, "What is this that He says to us, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'; 'and, because I go to the Father'?"  18 They said therefore, "What is this that He says, 'A little while'? We do not know what he is saying." 19 Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'?  20 Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy."

Life doesn't always go as we expect it to. We see this every day in others' lives and sometimes in our own, Life takes a drastic turn in an instant. It could be a school shooting, and automobile accident, a suicide, or an unexpected diagnosis at the doctor. You know that we live in a dangerous and volatile world. As I reflect on this fact and I think about the situations people are going through, I am reminded of the cross. The cross is a wonderful example of expectations gone awry. The disciples had been living with and experiencing the awesome power of the Messiah. They each had their own ideas about how Jesus would set up his kingdom. They even jockeyed for position in this new kingdom. They failed to realize what Jesus was explaining to them. They just didn't get the fact that Jesus was going to be taken and beaten beyond recognition. He would be mocked and humiliated. He would be nailed to a cross for everybody to see- this "King of the Jews". Then Jesus died. Jesus DIED! How could this happen? It doesn't make sense; it doesn't fit the storyline the disciples had in mind. How can Jesus really be the Savior and King if he is dead? Get the picture? The cross is the reality of the sacrifice Jesus taught about. The cross is the necessary evil that would usher in Jesus's eternal kingdom. The disciples just didn't comprehend Jesus's teaching, and we are like the disciples in so many ways. When life takes an unexpected turn we too become shaken and rattled. We scurry looking for answers to help us make sense of what we are experiencing. We cry out, "It isn't supposed to be this way" and "This isn't supposed to happen". Yes, we are so much like the disciples. Then Sunday came. There was more to the story. Jesus would overcome death! He would rise to victory just as he said he would. Jesus remained faithful to his word. The resurrection of Jesus brought hope to the disciples, and it should bring hope to us. Jesus is faithful to his word and his plans. When life throws you unexpected troubles turn to King Jesus. Each of us are in the middle of a story and we need to trust in Jesus. He knows how our story will develop. He is never caught off guard. Jesus is always able and always available. He is ready to pour His strength and peace into our lives. Remember HE WROTE THE BOOK! HE IS THE BEGINNING AND THE END- and he is able to care for us if we will just let him.

The old testament prophet Habakkuk had it right when he wrote: Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls --Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation, The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, He will make me walk on my high hills.

Remember the sacrifice on the cross and celebrate the Savior - His name is JESUS!

God Bless,
Pastor Chuck

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Resolutions

Philippians 3:12-14

 12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

January is over and many folks have already broken and left their resolutions for 2018. The New Year is always exciting for many because it is an opportunity to start fresh and new. It is discouraging though to realize that we can't even "keep up the new" for the entire first month. Paul has a good lesson for us to reflect on as we "press forward" in 2018.

1. Realize that you are not perfect- Paul says he is not perfect, but he does not use that as an excuse to be satisfied with his current state.  He is not perfect, but he presses on.  Many times people look for excuses to quit.  God will give us the strength to continue and endure our race in life.  We are a fallen people and mistakes will occur.  When we mess up we need to fess up.  God promises to forgive us as we seek Him and confess our sins.  Don't hold on to your past failures.  Learn from the past and let it go.

2. Keep things simple-Paul says, "this one thing I do". Many Christians are burned out because they try to do too much.  Do you feel overextended?  Evaluate your activities and make sure that you are putting your time and effort into those activities that Jesus desires for you.  You cannot be all things for all people.  God has a plan for you.  Seek to follow God first!  We miss out on the "God things" for our life when we are too busy chasing the "good things".

3. Move forward in Christ and for Christ- Paul was living to be like Christ and to someday be with Christ. He lived his life with intent and purpose. The purpose was to glorify Jesus in all he did. That is a goal we should adopt! Paul says- I press on, I reach forward, I press toward the goal!

Spend time with Jesus so you can run the race He has for you. Don't allow your past failures to keep you on the sideline. Press on to know Christ better and to make Him known.

God Bless,
Pastor Charles Mills

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