But Take Heart!

Fire
Fiery Trials and Tribulations

Based off John 13-16

Tomorrow I will turn 70 years old, Lord willing. It is hard to believe that I have lived that long. And, the next day will be the year 2020, which is also so unbelievable, too. It seems so futuristic. It brings back memories of old SCI-FI movies I watched as a child or as a young adult which tried to depict what life would be like in the 2000ths. And some of those projections must have certainly come to fruition, although I would guess that they didn’t all.

Seventy years is considered a lifetime. So, I have lived a normal lifespan. I have seen a lot, and I have experienced a lot over my lifetime. Some of it was good, and some of it was bad. But, God allowed it all in my life to make me who I am today doing what I am doing for his praise, honor and glory. So, even the bad times God used to work good in my life, so I praise him.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

Jesus knew that his hour had come for him to depart out of this world to the Father, so he talked for a long while with his disciples in order to prepare them for what was coming, so that they would not be taken by surprise when, what he said was going to happen actually did take place.

So, he taught them how to be humble and how to be servants, one to another, and he taught them the gospel of our salvation, too, that it is not just a one-time cleansing, but that it is a daily walk with the Lord, and a daily cleansing of sin, and a daily dying to sin and self and walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

He also told them that one among them would betray him, although they didn’t get it. They didn’t understand what he was saying.

Love One Another

And, then he instructed them in how to love one another as He has loved us. He said that this would be the sign to all people that we are his disciples, if we have love one for the other. And, the way in which he loved us was that he humbled himself, became a servant, and he gave up his reputation and his life on a cross so that we can be free from our bondage to sin and so that we can be free to walk righteously before him.

So, if we are going to love others as Jesus loved us, then we need to humble ourselves and be willing to give up our reputations and our lives in order to tell people the truth about sin, salvation, and eternal life with God. For, when we do tell them the truth, many will hate and reject us just like they hated and rejected and killed Jesus Christ because what he told them was the truth, and they didn’t like the truth.

Then, he went on to tell them, to tell us, what it truly means to believe in him as our Lord and Savior. He said that if we love him, we will obey his commandments, and he will show himself to us. And, he said that if we love him by keeping his commandments, that God the Father will love us and that they will come to us and make their home with us. And, he said that if we don’t walk in obedience to his commandments, that we don’t love him.

Abide In Christ

From there he went on to talk about how he is the vine and that we are his branches, and that we can only bear fruit (outgrowth, produce) for his eternal kingdom if we abide in him and if his word abides in us. And, this word “abide” means to live, to have our life, our existence in him and in his word. And, it means to endure without yielding to the enemy, and to accept him and his word without objection. And, it means to remain stable and fixed on the truth of God’s Word in practice in our lives, not just in theory.

But, with that he gave a warning that if we do not abide in him and his word in us that we will be in danger of being cut off from the vine and thrown away into the fire. For, we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24).

Hated and Persecuted

From there he went on to talk about how we can expect to be hated and persecuted for righteousness’ sake if we truly do walk in obedience to his commands, and if we do truly abide in him and his word abides in us. He said that if the world hated him then it will surely hate us if we are truly walking in his love, and if we are truly his followers.

And, who was the world who hated him? It was the people of his own family, his own community, his own faith, his own race, and his own ancestry. And, it was the religious leaders and rulers within the temple of God.

So, this would be like our family members hating and persecuting us, and us facing persecution from people of our own race within our own communities. But, it goes beyond that, for this includes others who profess faith in Jesus Christ who are within the gatherings of the church, and this especially includes people in positions of rule and authority within the church, too.

And, I can attest to that having been a lot of the bad that I went through in my life, too, beginning with being raised by an abusive father and a good mother, but one who was emotionally neglectful. And, then it went on to being rejected and mistreated by church people and church leaders and by a husband who was an addict (publicly confessed), and more. For, when we take a stand for the Lord and for the truth of His Word, Jesus said we will be hated and mistreated as he was, so it should not surprise us.

So We Don’t Fall Away

And, then Jesus went on to say that he said all these things to keep us from falling away. For, if we get the idea that faith in Jesus Christ is easy street, and that obedience and repentance are not required for our salvation and for eternal life with God, we may fall away because we are convinced that our conduct will not affect our eternal salvation.

Also, if we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and we don’t understand that this is all part of the Christian walk of faith, and that it is something that we should expect, then we may fall away when persecution comes, because we will feel it is too hard, so who can bare it?

But, a correct understanding of this realizes that this is all part of God’s plan for our lives and that there is a purpose for it all, and that God will give us all the strength we need to endure, and he will turn it all around for our good and for the good of others.

So, to keep from falling when the bad things come our way, which they will, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and we need to keep our minds and our hearts fixed on his purposes and his will for our lives. And, we need to trust in his absolute sovereignty over our lives, and trust him in all things, and in all circumstances, through it all.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 ESV

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

20 thoughts on “But Take Heart!

  1. Happy Birthday Sue! I saw the pictures of the cookies so I know you have that covered and of course the menagerie of pictures of all your grandchildren that Rick put together. Sincerely hope you have a GREAT DAY! God’s grace and blessings to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Sue,
    my new years message to you from Amplified version-John 16:33
    I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

    Therefore,everything you need to smash in this new year You are starting is on the other side of FEAR. FEAR NOT!

    Love
    Cynthia💖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy birthday, Ms. Sue! as you begin not only a new year but a whole new decade with all its up and downs. God is our strength and Jesus is our conqueror! As long as we have them in our hearts the new year looks prosperous. Even if mishaps happen, we face it head on, for inner peace carries us forward. God bless this new stage of your life.

    May the peace of the Lord be with you always.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you much for all these encouraging words. As a Christian we are to live differently in the world, but not of it. And you laid that out quite clearly here. HOPE you have a BLESSED NEW YEAR! Keep writing for the LORD! Any way we can spread HIS word and love is a good thing!! Blessings on your family too!

    Liked by 1 person

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