I know i can trust Him but can Jesus really trust me? Since He is the all powerful God of the universe does it really matter anyway?
“Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.”
This is a very sad verse to me because we are seeing the beginning of Jesus' ministry and He is doing miracles like crazy and crowds of people are beginning to throng to Him. Jesus knew that people were only following Him because of the miracles not because they wanted to change their lives. He knew that eventually they would turn on Him, when the nature of His purpose, kingdom and the requirements of being a true follower would come to light.
This story causes me to ask the question: "Does Jesus trust me?" He knows what is in my heart, he sees my actions, hears my words but even more - He knows the secrets of my heart. Does what He see cause Him to trust me? Or am I like one of those followers who just hang around because they want to get something from Him or because there’s nothing better to do for right now? What would Jesus be looking for in the heart of a man that would cause Him to trust him? Here are a few thoughts.
1. Honesty. David cries out to God in Psalm 51 saying: "You desire truth in the inward parts.” So often we try to hide or color as beautiful our ugliness. Honesty has to do with humility. I know the truth about myself, not just what I want others to see or even the version of myself that I desire. Honesty sees what currently is according to the revelation of the Holy Spirit and His Word, and then in humility cries out to God for grace to be transformed to the image of Jesus. Honesty has the ability to admit where I am and yet declare in faith where I am headed.
2. Integrity. Jesus blasted the pharisees because they acted spiritual but in reality they were selfish and evil. He called them "whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27) outwardly beautiful but inside they were full of corruption and death. Integrity is being the same inside and out, in private and in public, at home or with “church people”. We are strong on the inside and don’t cave in to pressure or persecution. We keep our word even when it hurts and our word is our bond. None of this shifty, crafty double talk that keeps people guessing what we mean and keeps our options open in case we change our minds. Can we be trusted?
3. Sincerity. This reflects a heart that is pure. Jesus said that the pure in heart were blessed and that they would see God (Matthew 5:8). Sincerity of heart has no secret agenda or hidden motive. A “what you see is what you get” kind of a person. You never have to wonder when their real agenda will surface. They don't love you to your face and tear you apart in secret. They live through their heart and love is their motivation. These are the kind of people that you never have to second guess where they are coming from, you already know because they are who they appear to be.
4. Sacrifice. These are the kind of people that you can depend on. Jesus told His disciples repeatedly that if they wanted to follow Him they would have to leave everything else behind. Salvation is free - but it will cost you everything. He told us that if we weren't willing to forsake everything to follow Him, then we aren't worthy of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 10:37-38). A follower of Jesus understands that the prize is worth the cost and the reward outweighs the risk. We understand that Jesus is advancing His kingdom here and invites us to join the cause. This person sees the Church as the Bride of Christ and is willing to do whatever is required to make her beautiful and win for the Lamb the reward of His sacrifice.
5. Faithfulness. Proverbs 20:6 says: "Many claim to have unfailing love, but a faithful person who can find?" This is so true. As conventional wisdom says, "Talk is cheap.” When the smoke clears, who is still standing with you in the battle? This faithfulness gets tested on a regular basis. Jesus will put us in situations where we are disappointed and discouraged and where He seems distant and our prayers don't seem to be answered…these situations test our faithfulness. Do we follow Jesus for what we can get from Him or because we are devoted to Him and in love with Him?
6. Surrender. We want to follow Jesus but keep our rights. Over and over again the Apostles called themselves "slaves of Jesus.” They were slaves by choice not by compulsion. A surrendered person is honest about where they are at (sincerity) but they yield to the plan of God and say "not my will but Yours be done." Surrender is where we come to the place that we love and trust Jesus so much that we give Him absolute control over our lives, our hearts, our stuff - yes, even our time. Surrender means we desire God to be glorified more than our own success.
7. Intimacy. This should be the ultimate goal for a follower of Jesus. Like Paul said in Philippians 3:8-11 "Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ...I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death…”
The most important thing in all of life is to know Jesus, not just know about Him, but to really know Him. To talk to Him and have Him talk to me. The relationship Jesus wants to have with us is a deep, trusting friendship, where He tells us His deep, secret things. "I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn't confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me." (John 15:15). John 2:23-15 says it this way, “Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.”
Can Jesus Trust Me?
Lets do our part to be a follower that Jesus can trust. I desire to have Him share with me His secrets, to be trusted by him to such a degree that He invests in me for the good of His Church and His kingdom and He is confident that He will get a good return on His investment. “Friendship with the LORD is reserved for those who fear Him, and He makes known to them the secrets of His covenant.” That is what I want!
Lets do our part to be a follower that Jesus can trust. I desire to have Him share with me His secrets, to be trusted by him to such a degree that He invests in me for the good of His Church and His kingdom and He is confident that He will get a good return on His investment.
Peace left at my door?
You might be asking… are these the kinds of gifts one receives from strangers living in Bend, Oregon? If so maybe it's time to move to Bend! Before you book your moving truck let me explain.
Peace, “Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility…” the dictionary says.
“I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” This is said by Jesus in John 14:27 NLT
The MSG version says it this way, “I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you are used to being left-feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.”
This time of year is filled with a lot of “want to’s” and a lot of “to do’s”. Sometimes the list starts to drive me (and you?). It can be easy for me to slip from being one who is enjoying the season and the people that are gifts all around me, to managing the people so that the list can be accomplished more efficiently.
Taking Time To Reflect.
Several times in the last couple of days I’ve stopped myself to just think and reflect on the people around me and why I enjoy them. A week ago we had several tragic events hit our lives very quickly. We don’t have a guarantee of tomorrow. We don’t have a guarantee of the next breath. We don’t have a guarantee that we will have the chance to say, “I love you!” again…
In light of this, I want to remind us all to take a quick moment to speak peace to our surroundings; speak peace to our lives, hearts and families; maybe say NO to a couple of nonessential commitments; enjoy the intangibles that are in our hand - the gifts of life, friendships, joy, love, etc. … to name just a couple; and enjoy the gift of peace in the midst of managing our many, many blessings. And maybe, just maybe, sit back and meditate on how to position ourselves to RECEIVE this gift that has been freely given. It’s not earned. It’s given. I must receive peace.
Peace - The Gift Left At Your Door
Yes, peace is a gift to me today. Peace is a gift to you today. You may not live in Bend, OR, we may not even live in the
same state or experience the same circumstances but we can all choose the instructions of Philipians 4:6-8 MSG,
“Don’t fret or worry;” (reminds me of the song, “Don’t worry…Be happy!”) “Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Or, the NLT version of the same verse…
“instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. THEN you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Jesus, be the guard over my heart and mind today. Let peace pervade the atmosphere where I live. I choose your gift. I choose PEACE. I choose PEACE that transcends. Take all the weights…I receive peace. Peace is the gift I cherish this Christmas! Thank you, Father.
There is quite a bit of hullabaloo among Christians out there about whether or not Christians should be celebrating Christmas. Really!! What could be wrong with celebrating the day in which the God-Man Jesus Christ entered into our world to redeem mankind from the ravages of sin and Satan? Are these the same ones who are irate over a coffee cup sans a tree, Santa or snowflake? I wonder...
Generally speaking, there are 5 reasons why these ill-tempered folk refuse to rejoice on the second happiest day in history. (The first being Easter of course where our Lord Jesus triumphed over death and the Devil and sealed the deal for our freedom by rising from the dead!) These reasons being:
So, here are 10 reasons why, as a Christian Pastor, I love Christmas.
I love Christmas because:
As we gather with family and friends over Christmas, we are able to share our love and appreciation for each other in some very meaningful ways. In our frantically busy culture, we have as a nation set aside a time when we can celebrate love, family, sharing and remembering what is important. These are important values and traditions. Let's remember that Jesus IS the reason for the season and celebrate it as such.
As Christians we have the unique opportunity to not just observe a national holiday but to give thanks to our great God and Savior Jesus Christ for loving us enough to "lay aside his mighty power and glory" (Philippians 2:7), become one of us, and bring us into relationship with the Father. We are able to experience a depth and joy at Christmas time that many others don't. As the angel said; "Good tidings of great joy that is for all people..." Rather than getting bent out of shape by all the misrepresentation, use it as an opportunity to share the reality of the celebration and the truth of God's message of love for His prodigal sons and daughters. Merry Christmas!
"Don't be afraid!" the angel said. "I bring you good news of great joy for all people everywhere! The Savior - yes, the Messiah, The Lord - has been born tonight in the Bethlehem, the city of David!" Luke 2:10,11
Pastors Phil Harris of Epikos Church in Bend, Oregon.