The Encourager

The Encourager

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Comfort for Troubled Hearts - Jeff Curtis

Friday, March 01, 2024

Comfort for Troubled Hearts

By Jeff Curtis

 

Jesus had revealed to His apostles that He would be leaving them, for the time had come for Him to return to the Father (John 14:12). This news was shocking to them. They had grown to trust in His earthly presence. With Him, they were confident, without Him, they were confused. Breaking the silence that must have followed, Peter asked, “Lord, where are You going?” He was told, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow later” (John 13:37). “No,” said Jesus, in effect, “you will not. You will deny Me before the night is over.”

 

The darkness of that night had entered their hearts. They needed some reassuring. How did Jesus calm their fear? We can believe that what He gave to them, He also gives to us.

 

Jesus offered them a faith to embrace. He asked them to believe – in God and in Him. He gave them two essential things: “Believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). This was not a time for them to doubt; it was instead a time for them to trust. What had been promised to them had been fulfilled. God and Christ had provided them in the past and would continue to do as they were going through the nightmare that lay ahead of them.

 

When the shades of a dark night gather around us – when answers are few and the future is blurred because of tears in our eyes, we must continue to believe. God knows the way through the wilderness that comforts us, Jesus will hold on to us as we hold on to Him.

 

Jesus showed them a future to envision. He told them to anticipate living in the heavenly realm. He pointed to the beautiful future that the believe has. He said,

In My Father’s house are many [a]mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself” (John 14:2,3).

 

Difficult times should remind us that this world is not our eternal abiding place. We are pilgrims, workers who are here for a while and then gone. It has been said that “we are not citizens of this world trying to get to heaven, but citizens of heaven trying to get through this world.” We are unable to face our earthly woes and foes until, we have the image of our eternal home implanted firmly in our minds.

 

Jesus gave a fellowship to expect. He said to rejoice in the reunion that is to come. He reminded His apostles that their separation wouldn’t last forever. It was only temporary. He would bring them to the very place He was going, so that where He was, there they could be also (John 14:3).

 

The hope of heaven becomes even brighter when we remember the fellowship that it contains. We are not just going to a place; we are going to a reunion. The value of a reunion doesn’t lie in where it’s held, but who if there. Heaven contains a beauty that minds can’t comprehend, but the fellowship that will be enjoyed there doubles and redoubles its beauty. John wrote: “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4).

 

When the days are dark and our hearts are weary and confused, where can we go for the encouragement that our spirits crave? Jesus invites us to come to Him, saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” He wants us to believe in His faithfulness, anticipate the future He has in store for the saved, and rejoice in the wonderful fellowship that is to come.

 

Meditate on this:

Proverbs 17:27

He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.

"There They Crucified Him" - Jeff Curtis

Saturday, February 24, 2024

“There They Crucified Him”

By Jeff Curtis

 

As long as this earth has existed, people have died, but in Luke 23 and Matthew 27, there is a death recorded for us that is different. In spite of the magnitude of this death, it is summed up in four words in Luke23:33; “There they crucified Him.”

 

“There”

Where was Christ crucified? He was crucified at a cruel place; Golgotha, Calvary – “the place of the skull.” It was a shameful place; between two thieves. However, it was an appropriate place; outside the city walls (Hebrews 13:11-12; Acts 7:58). Finally, it was a conspicuous place; beside a well-traveled road (Mark 15:29-30).

 

“They”

Who was responsible for the death of Christ on the cross? First, the Jews were responsible for His death. They planned his death (Matthew 27:1-2), and they demanded that He die (Mark 15:12-14). They crucified Him because of envy and prejudice. Second, the Roman soldiers were responsible for the death of Christ. The soldiers actually did the deed of placing Jesus on the cross. They crucified Him through ignorance (Hosea 4:6). Finally, we are responsible for the death of Christ. Our sins nailed Him the cross; “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6); “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:3); “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2Corinthians 5:21).

 

Did the people have enough political influence to make Christ go to the cross if He didn’t want to go? Did the Roman soldiers have enough legionnaires to force Him to the cross? No! (John 10:17-18; Matthew 26:52-53).

 

Our sins caused Him to cry out (Matthew 27:46). Sin separates people from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). To be forsaken by God is the most terrible punishment of hell (2Thessalonians 1:9), and Jesus suffered the pangs of hell for us.

 

“Crucified”

Christ died on the Roman cross; the cruelest instrument of torture ever devised. But the cross was just the climax of the physical suffering of our Lord. Let your mind go back to His sufferings (Matthew 26:39; Isaiah 53:4).

 

“Him”

On that cross died the Son of God. The once cruel instrument of torture is now the symbol of all that is good, noble, inspiring, and holy. Why? Because of the One who died there. The influence of Jesus lives on. He is indeed the Son of God.

 

“He Preached Right at Me”

by James Hahn

I have heard this statement made many times by individuals who have just heard a sermon presented which exposed some wrong in their lives. Did you ever wonder why anyone would feel that the preacher had “preached right at” him?

Suppose the preacher has just preached against lying. Who in the audience will feel that he has preached right at him? It could only be one who is guilty of lying. The same would hold true on any other subject.

What we need to do is examine the things taught in the light of God’s word. If we find them to be true, we should accept them. If they expose some wrong in our life we need to change and thank God that there is someone concerned enough about our soul to teach us what we need to hear.

Meditate on these things:

Proverbs 17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

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