Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Be of Good Cheer

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (NKJV)

One of the phrases that Jesus used several times was “be of good cheer”.  In the above verse, he said it while speaking to his disciples, to remind them that though they would encounter trouble, He had already overcome this world and its troubles.
Matthew 9:2 says “Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Imagine that man, having been paralyzed and carried to Jesus by others.  Imagine hearing, “be of good cheer”, and knowing your sins were forgiven.  The next thing Jesus says to him is “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he did just that.  He walked away, carrying his own bed.

Later that same day as he passes through a crowd of people a woman who had been sick for twelve years struggled and got to Jesus to touch the hem of his garment.  In her faith, she knew that if she could only touch His garment, she would be healed.  Jesus says to her in Matthew 9:22, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.”  She was made well that very hour. 

Days later as the disciples are all in a boat heading to Gennesaret.  Night came, and Jesus walked on the water to them in the middle of the sea, with the wind blowing and waves tossing all around Him.  When His disciples saw Him, they were afraid, thinking He was a ghost.  But Jesus said to them in Matthew 14:27, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”

The Greek word for cheer is tharseĊ (G2293).  It means to have courage and comfort.  In all these situations, one thing is present: fear.  Fear of sickness, fear of death, and simply fear of the unknown.  Fear can become a crippling, sickening disease if we let it.  It can lead to depression and anxiety.  It can affect not only our health, but even our social life. 

Jesus wants us to live this life with comfort and courage, without fear creating barriers and borders that we will not cross.  The freedom He has given is for this life as well as life after death.  He said to his disciples something we all need to focus on from time to time.  He said “I have overcome the world”.  What does that mean to you?  Nothing you will encounter is too great for you to bear, too hard for you to walk through, or can break you.  Because He is with us always (Matthew 28:20), because he says he will even pass through the fire with us (Isaiah 43:2).  We are OVERCOMERS, through our faith in Christ.  There is nothing here to fear, nothing that should discourage us or cause our faith to despond.  So friends, be of good courage!

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” – 1 John 4:4

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” – 1 John 5:4

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fervent Love

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

There are a lot of valentine’s cards being exchanged today.  Undoubtedly, some will be exchanged in the middle of an argument, in the middle of hard feelings and anger.  When that happens you’re faced with a decision.  Do you want to hold on to your anger, or express and accept love? 

Go ahead.  Give grace.  Accept love.  You’re not so perfect yourself!

If you want to live a life based on love, without grumbling and frustration, you have to forgive every situation that presents itself to frustrate or anger you.  Forgive it.  Don’t roll it under the emotional rug, and try to forget it.  FORGIVE IT. 

Toothpaste cap left off?  Coffee stains on the rug?  TV turned up too loud?  Dishes left in the sink?  Whatever frustrations you have with your spouse can easily become a wall between you if you don’t let go of it.  Love allows you to let go of the frustrations and anger before they build up.  There is no more powerful emotion for the human heart than love. 

When those moments arise and you want to retain your anger, or worse, express it loudly, remember your own idiosyncrasies and mistakes.  Remember when you burnt dinner and smoked up the entire house?  Remember leaving out the milk?  How about the time you ruined their favorite shirt?  Remember that you have been forgiven by the same person you wish to be angry at.  Then give as you have been given the forgiveness that you both deserve. 

Life is what you make of it, and so is marriage.  If you choose to continually hold on to anger, you’ll live angry.  If you choose to express love, you’ll live a life filled with love.  So open that Valentine’s Day card, and accept the love.  Move past your frustrations, and realize what a wonderful gift it is to have someone love you, and love them in return. 

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” – 1 Colossians 3:12-15