Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Authentic Church: Love you can rely on



[Text: 1 John 4:13-16]

Our text today tells us four things about abiding in God:

First,  that it can only come by the Holy Spirit living His life in us.Second we must come to know and testify of the truth.Third, that there must a life confession of who Jesus is.Fourth, we must abide in his love which is a result of the first three things.

or

Be filled, testify, confess, love

First,  abiding in God can only come by the Holy Spirit living His life in us.  This however can only come about when one has truly been born again.  This seems to be a no brainer for most of us, but nonetheless it is a vitally important point.  Many false teachers today are teaching a different gospel and trying to convince people, including Christians, that one can have a relationship with God and not be born again.  

I recently read an article where the author, I believe a Wesleyan, was trying to make a particular point and started off by arguing that much of the bible was morally reprehensible and should be ignored.  He went on to further argue that the only real standard of biblical truth should be human reason and the guidance of culturally accepted standards.  This is actually quite a popular teaching in the Church today.  This is important because if we can’t trust the Bible then we can pretty much define born-again as anything we want.

However, Christianity isn’t a cafeteria plan.  You can’t just pick and choose what you want.  There are things in the Bible that are hard to understand and most of the confusion we run into is certainly due to the fact that God is God and we are not.  The bible strives to show us this throughout its pages and if we don’t grasp that fact we will always be trying to invent a god, made in our own image, that suits our tastes.  Tastes that are based upon  a capriciousness that is so inherent in sinful man.

If you don’t want to accept the entire picture that God has given us of Himself that is fine. You don’t have to.  But do everyone a favor and don’t call yourself a Christian either.  You simply cannot be.  I am so fed up with running into people who call themselves followers of Christ and do whatever they want, whenever they want, as much as they want to whomever they want all the time claiming the Bible isn’t really the Word of God, that Jesus wasn’t really who He said He was, attempting to rewrite history and redefine the meaning of Church and the body of Christ. When God offers the gift of Salvation it is an all or nothing proposition.  Period.

When we are born from above we are given the gift of God Himself living inside of us as the Holy Spirit.  And this is where things get interesting.   We are told that we know we are abiding in God and He is abiding in us by this Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.  

Let me take just a second to say something about the Holy Spirit.  He (not it or she) is God Himself.  We don’t worship three gods, but One God that is, at the same time, three persons.  How is this possible?  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  I know it is the truth because the bible tells me so.  The same bible that tells me that God is so much bigger, better, greater, and more awesome than I am and as such may actually be able to do things that I don’t understand and so I just need to get over it.  Some people aren’t going to like that answer.

It has been taught for a long time in churches, thanks mainly to the influences of the 17th century and what erroneously has been termed the Age of Enlightenment, that human reason is king and we must be able to make a full, intellectual, logical, scientific assent to the message of the gospel before we can be born again.  This is a lie. Bristle all you want at this, but it is simply not true.  

No, I don’t believe you have to commit intellectual suicide to follow Christ (as I have mentioned before), and there is a place for intellect, logic, science, etc., when it comes to the bible and God’s message.  I would hate to have a bible translation based on what the translator “felt” it should say as opposed to what the texts really said based on solid translation work which itself is based on the sciences of linguistics, philology, archaeology, sociology and others.   

However, let us not forget what the bible itself says about the gospel.  It is foolishness to the rest of the world.  In fact, we are told that the method God uses to draw people to Himself is through the foolishness of preaching.  So we have a foolish message presented through a foolish method to convince people to be fools for Christ.   Enlightened?  Sure, but not by any standard of this world.

So we must be born again, the Holy Spirit living inside of us, all this based on the truth of the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit will confirm our abiding in God and God abiding in us. Yet in our text John doesn’t appear to be simply talking about some sort of confirmation, a deep knowing that we are living in God and God in us.  This certainly may be a part of the idea, but I don’t believe it is the main part.  Turn with me to Romans 8:16:

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God...” 

Here we see that through the interaction of the Spirit of God with our own spirits we have some sort of confirmation that we are the children of God.  But let’s rewind a bit and and grab some context for this verse starting in verse 12

This witness is a real witness, not simply a word or acknowledgement.  It is a witness that can be seen, felt and heard.  It causes our hearts to cry “Abba! Father!” where once we cried, “Me, what about me?!”, it causes us to want to do the right thing where once we rejoiced in doing the wrong thing; It causes us to seek, love and bask in the light when once we wallowed in darkness and loved it.  It fills us with a love for God and our neighbor where once we only had, ultimately, love for ourselves. The witness here is something real that starts on the inside and exudes and pours out of us.  I am reminded of the words of Jesus:
Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:38 ESV)

To emphasize this turn with me to another passage.  Galatians 5:14-25.
 Just like the passage from Romans we see here that the Spirit confirms in us His presence by who we are not just by who we say we are.  Do you want to know if you are abiding in God and God abiding in you?  Then what is the witness of the Spirit?  Are you walking after the flesh or after the Spirit?  Do you love God and His kingdom or do you love the world and the things that are in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life?   

Judge yourselves by the perfect and holy standard of the Word of God and not by your reason, intellect, culture, friends or family.   2 Corinthians 10:12 warns us: “...when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”  God, not man, is to be our standard and this is what the Holy Spirit will witness to.

This leads right into the second point, we must see and testify of the truth (v 14).  Here John doesn’t appear to be talking about just himself or his contemporaries who physically saw Jesus, but rather that he along with everyone who has the Spirit of God living inside of them are certain of the truth they are proclaiming with their lives.  But this testimony isn’t just verbal.  It is practical.  It is lived out. 

There is an expression, “You are what you think”.  There is a lot of truth to this expression.  The bible puts it this way, 

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.(Luke 6:45 ESV)

We can make all the grandiose, flowery confessions we want, but what you are inside will eventually make it to the outside.  Jesus called out the religious leaders of His day out on this account.  He said:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.”  Matthew 23:27 (ESV).

If our testimony is going to be true it will have to manifest itself in our love for God and for one another.  There simply is no other way.  

A lot of effort is being made by churches today to reach out to a culture that does’t know God and doesn’t want to know God.  The problems I see developing in Churches, however, is based on an assumption that this is somehow a unique situation.  Our culture has ALWAYS rejected God and has ALWAYS not wanted anything to do with Him.  That is what the bible AND experience teaches us.  The bible tells us that even so we must continue to preach the word of God to a wicked generation.  However, many churches are taking the approach that the best way to deal with the situation is to become like the world and try to convince them how cool the gospel is.  What I see as a result are churches that don’t look a whole lot different then the world.  

I have nothing against hanging out with the world.  Jesus hung out with religious leaders, prostitutes, farmers, fishermen, tax collectors, insurrectionists and drunkards.   But mark this: he did not become like them.  He told them exactly the way it was.  He did not stop preaching the message God had sent Him to preach.  And frankly, these people he hung out with were just as responsible for His crucifixion as the religious leaders were.  

The testimony of the Holy Spirit living in us and we abiding in Christ will and must set us apart from the world around us.  Yes, reach out, love, care, listen, laugh and cry with a culture that hates God and is dieing to go to Hell, but never forget, God lives inside of you and that testimony will set you at odds with a World that does not know Him.

Third, we must confess that Jesus is the Son of God.  This, like the first point, may on the surface appear a bit trite.  After all, what sort of Christian does not confess this? But making this confession honestly, from the heart, involves a lot more than pushing air from our lungs, through our throats and out of our mouths.  We are told by Scripture: “None is righteous, no, not one;  no one understands;  no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;  no one does good,  not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12 ESV)

None of us, not a single one of us would be making this confession without it being revealed to us from above.  Now by this I mean an honest confession and not through deceit.
This is something that scripture clearly teaches us. Turn to Matthew 16:13-17.  Jesus knew exactly where Peter got this information and He told him so.  It was not from Peter’s amazing intellectual and reasoning capabilities. It was from God, completely outside of Peter.

This shouldn’t surprise us for Scripture teaches us:

 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:63-65 ESV)

Do you see what our Savior is saying?  If God the Father had not said so, if He had not revealed himself to you, I would even say, if He hadn’t changed your heart, replacing your old stony one with a new heart of flesh, you would not be making any such confession as “Jesus is the Son of God”.  You would still be living in your sins.

What a great privilege it is for us to be allowed to make such a confession.  What a great and wonderful privilege to even say the beautiful name “Jesus”.  The name that is above all names by which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess!  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
It isn’t just a phrase or a bunch of words, it is a reflection of what God has done in our hearts, minds and lives.  It is who we are now as opposed to who we were then.  We are children of God, new creatures who, although once God haters, are now God lovers and confess with all the other believers throughout all of heaven and history: Jesus is the Son of God!
That’s what this passage means.

Fourth and finally we must live in the love God has for us.  Our recognizing what God has truly done in our lives, that we would not even be here if it weren’t for His awesome grace and mercy, our (literally) God given ability to testify through our lives that Jesus is our Savior and the Saviour of the World and to confess that Jesus is Lord, all of this should propel us into His arms afresh every single day. 

 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;  his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;  great is your faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

 This knowledge should fill us with so much love for God that we would gladly give up everything and anything to follow after Him.  It should lead us to actually want to be Holy just as He is Holy.  Do you have this desire, brothers and sisters?  Is this what you want?   

When  you hear someone use the Lord’s name in vain, the name of our precious Savior who called us when we would not nor could not even listen, does it wound you?  

Do you see  R or even PG-13 rated movies, and see people are in bed together or happily talking about subject matter that no child of God should ever be listening to, and do you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

 I will not set before my eyes
  anything that is worthless.
 I hate the work of those who fall away;
  it shall not cling to me.
(Psalm 101:3 ESV)

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. (Ephesians 5:11-12 ESV)

Does the sound of the game or the T.V. drown out the sound of the Holy Spirit’s gentle, still voice calling you to your prayer closet?

Do you reach for that magazine or book, no matter how godly you may think it, over the very Word of God?


“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalms 119:103
When you are called to go worship with the rest of God’s saints, a privilege denied millions upon millions of people who have not been called, do you grumble and complain.  Is Church for you just another thing to do?  
The psalmists writes:
 I was glad when they said to me,
  “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” (Psalm 122:1 ESV)

Is this your heart today?

This love for God should also lead us to love one another.  We spoke last week about Jesus’ example and how He died for us even while we hated Him.  How is our love for one another?  The bible tells us that without holiness no one will see God.  Let me tell you that without love for your brothers and sisters you will never see holiness anymore than you could claim to be holy while at the same time not loving God.   

Let’s pray.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Posting Sermons

I am attempting to post my sermons so that people interested can have them.  I am also attempting to backdate them to the day they were actually preached.  I realize that they may be lacking in a lot of areas. Keep in mind that I am relatively new to this.

Most of the sermons were composed to fill a thirty minute time slot, but some may be closer to forty minutes.

Feel free to comment if you like.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Resurrection Reality


[Text: 1 Corinthians 15:1-8]

There was once a Russian communist leader named Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin who traveled from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a large crowd. His goal was simple: convince this group of people that atheism was true and Christianity false.


He attacked Christianity with vigor and argued well. By the time he was through he was fairly certain he had convinced this crowd to forsake Christianity and embrace atheism. The priest even complimented him on his eloquence. The priest then dismissed the crowd with one simple benediction: “Christ has risen!” And the crowd, as one man, responded with passion, “He has risen indeed!”

A 2010 survey polled people concerning their belief in a literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.


78% of Americans believe that Jesus rose from the dead.
Just under half of those who rarely or never attend church, believe Christ rose from the dead.

Of Evangelical Christians, 97% believe he rose from the grave.

87% of Catholics believe in the resurrection of Christ.

So what’s the big deal? Did it really happen? If it did happen, what does that mean? What should our response be to the resurrection? What does it mean to me; the way I think, the way I act and the choices I make?  


Let me start today by talking to you about the reality of the resurrection. Then I will finish by answering the second question: what does it mean for you and me.

In Paul’s day, more than 2000 years ago, like some today, there were those who were skeptical of the resurrection. Yet in 2 Peter 1:16 Paul writes:


“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

The reality of the resurrection is serious business and it cannot be simply passed over or ignored and I’m going to show you why. Paul, in our text today, tells us two things:
1. Jesus really died,
2. Jesus really came back to life
After covering this I will conclude by answering the following two questions  
a) What does it mean for you and me if He did not rise from the dead.  
b) What does it mean for us if He really did rise from the dead.
First, Paul points out that Jesus really died. None of this nonsense about Him faking his death. This idea that he wasn’t really dead has been floating around for many, many years and you will still hear it on T.V. or in an issue of Time magazine or what have you. Turn to John 19:31-35. A couple of things to note here:

1. In verse 35 we are told that the recorder was an eyewitness to these events. This is important and we are going to talk more about this later. It is enough here to note that we have a witness and we are going to have to make a choice about this witness. He is either lying, deceived, mentally ill or telling the truth. We have to choose. And the choice we make here will affect everything else we know about Jesus’ claims, those of his disciples and other eyewitnesses.

2. We are told that when the guards came to break his legs they found him already dead. You may conjecture that these guards, like the eyewitness, made a mistake. If you and I, who don’t see death very often, who never have participated in an execution, who have never had to, or rarely had to, handle a dead body, had been there we could have made a mistake. However, these men were guards in charge of executions. They did this on a regular basis. It is to be expected that they would know a dead body when they saw one - their jobs sort of depended on it. It certainly would have been easier, in my mind anyway, to simply break all their legs and be done with it. However, they were fairly positive that this one man was dead and therefore the extra effort need not be expended. Could they have been mistaken? Possibly, but I don’t think it very likely.

3. One of the soldiers, wanting to be absolutely sure and to remove all doubt, shoved a spear into his side. He shoved it so far in as to break through the pericardial sac surrounding His heart because we are told blood and water flowed out. If Jesus was still alive he wouldn’t be for long. Some might argue that even this may not have killed Him but rather relieved a buildup of excess fluid around his heart or lungs allowing him to live. Perhaps he was dying of congestive heart failure and this somehow helped Him.

The ridiculous extents people will go to in order to deny the obvious never cease to amaze me. But even if I were to grant that Jesus was not really dead yet; even if I were to grant that he had a buildup of fluid that would eventually have killed Him unless relieved; and even if I were to further grant that reliving this buildup of fluid would allow Jesus to survive and trick everyone around Him into thinking He was dead while in fact He was the whole time playing possum; this argument fails on one point: The soldier wasn’t a surgeon.  


It wasn’t a surgeon’s needle he was carrying that day with which he used to pierce our Lord’s side. It was a spear! It is difficult for me to believe that by driving a roman spear, a spear long enough to reach up to the person hanging on the cross, a spear strong enough to shove into the man’s body, would not have left a rather large hole in the victim's side?

Could it be possible that after Jesus had his body torn to shreds by the Roman whip, after being beaten and a crown of thorns smashed on to his head, after nails were driven through his hands and feet, after He hung by those nails on a torture and execution device, after having a spear driven into his side, that He, after all of this, was not really dead? You tell me.

Second, Paul demonstrates that Jesus really rose from the dead. He does this pointing out that there were many eyewitnesses. The way he does this is important to note.

1. There were many of them. If just one person or maybe two or three had witnessed this miracle we could claim they were in cahoots. That they had just devised a myth in order to control people or start their own religion. Many false religions have been started this very way. However, we are told that over 500 men saw the Lord alive at one time. Since it has already been established that he was dead, we can only conclude that he came back to life and that these people claim to have seen Him.

2. There were different groups of people from different walks of life. He didn’t just appear to a crowd of people. If this were the case we might assume some sort of mass hysteria. This has also been known to happen. However, Jesus appeared to individuals, to crowds, to men and women, to believers and nonbelievers, to disciples and none disciples, to the church leaders and to the man and woman on the street. This wasn’t something that just happened in a secret place somewhere, in a tent or house or some isolated mountain retreat. This also happened in the open, publicly, many times and to many people.

3. Could we conclude that all of these witnesses, including the several whose testimony we have in writing, been mistaken, deceived, perhaps a part of some sort of massive, subversive plot to take over the world and control the weak minded? We could, but if you were to do that you would have to conclude the same thing for every witnessed event that has every happened before the invention of audio and video recordings and photographs. In fact, considering how easy it is to fabricate evidence made with modern technology, I would argue that you would have to disregard all the evidence through all of history of every human event that has ever happened. You would, for all purposes, have to become a world class cynic and, perhaps, even doubt your own existence.

The point I am making here is that God has given us enough verified, factual evidence to draw a right and justified conclusion concerning the claim. We don’t have to commit intellectual suicide when we become Christ’s disciples. If we deny the resurrection, it is in the face of abundant evidence to the contrary.

Now these two arguments by Paul force us into a corner of sorts. We find we have only two choices:

1. We can deny what Paul is saying in its entirety. Take a look at 15:16-19. What Paul is saying here is this: If there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ did not rise from the dead, and we are, therefore, believing a lie. Now don’t underestimate the import of this conclusion. He is not just saying that concluding there is no resurrection means none of us will rise after we die. That is a part of it, but it goes much deeper than that.

Matthew 16:21 says the following:From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. (NIV)

If the dead cannot come back to life, then Jesus did not come back to life. If Jesus did not come back to life then Jesus was something other than what he claimed to be. He was either lying, or insane. Or perhaps Paul and all the eyewitnesses were lying, or insane, or deceived. Anyway you look at it, if Jesus did not really rise from the dead everything Jesus said, did and taught was and is a lie. Not just any lie though, but one of the worse kinds of lies ever told. The worse kind of lie is the one that gives false hope. Think about it, if this is a lie then:

Every person that ever lived thinking they were going to see Jesus and loved ones after they died were and are deceived.

Every man, woman or child that ever died standing up for their faith in Jesus, refusing to bow their knees to persecutors that demanded, “Deny Jesus or be executed”, died for nothing.

Every person that gave up house, home, family, careers and dreams to follow the carpenter from Galilee who claimed to be God, into the mission field in order to love the lost who have never heard of the saving gospel were following nothing, into nothing, for nothing.

And ultimately we are still living in our sins.

This is what Paul is trying to tell us. If Jesus did not rise from the dead then you and I and millions of people for the past 2000 years have been the victims of the world’s most horrid practical joke played by some jerk from some Middle Eastern redneck town and perpetuated by a bunch of his cronies.

Please don’t fool yourselves into thinking you can deny the real, factual, flesh and blood resurrection of Jesus Christ and claim to be a Christian at the same time. You cannot. Either Jesus really did what He said He was going to do, or he did not. Either He was a liar or a madman, or He is God, Lord and Savior of the world. We are not allowed any other choices.

2. For my part, the evidence is clear. I have no valid, substantiated reason to doubt the claims made by eyewitnesses to His resurrection.

So you too can choose to make the second choice. You chose to believe the evidence. You choose to believe that Jesus really did rise from the grave. What will this mean?

If we are going to believe that Jesus really did rise from the dead we are going to have to make some decisions. Jesus was all about forcing decisions, and even after 2000 years He is still doing just that.

When Paul, on his way to arrest some Christians, was met by the resurrected Jesus his life made a 180 degree turn. At one time he was arresting christians, having them jailed and even killed. But now the believers were hearing a different story: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." His life was radically changed. Now he was willing to gladly suffer persecution, pain, hunger, beatings and rejection for the name of Jesus. One day Paul would even die for that name.

When Thomas, who refused to believe Jesus was alive, came face to face with the resurrected Savior he too was changed. Read John 20:24-28. When Thomas was confronted with the reality of the resurrection of Jesus his response was to fall to his knees and cry out, “My Lord and My God”.

Now you may say, “Well I must see him too, or I won’t believe”. But Look what Jesus says in v. 29:

Jesus said to him,“Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

You have the evidence. As much as God thinks you need right now, to make a choice. But the next step will take faith. If you don’t have faith nothing will ever convince you, even if someone should rise from the dead.

The resurrection is a game changer. Whether you are here and have never been born again, have never trusted and believed in Jesus, or you have been following Christ for many years, our responses are all the same: We need to fall on our knees and confess with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”

This day, the day Jesus Christ rose from the grave, the day when time ran backwards and death was conquered, should be our New Year, not the first of January. Today is the day we should make our New Year’s resolutions.  


Resolutions that are of real, lasting and eternal significance.
Resolve to confess Jesus as Savior. Resolve to follow Him from now on to the end of this life into eternity. Resolve to consecrate ourselves wholly to Him for His service. Resolve to make little of ourselves and much of God. Resolve to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength. Resolve to love our neighbors, inside this building and all over the world, as ourselves.

I declare that this Easter, this resurrection day to be our new year, this is the day we say no more sin, no more guilt, no more me, as for me an my house, we will serve the Lord and only the Lord.

He has risen!





Friday, April 06, 2012

He was in the garden

This is the sermon I preached on Good Friday 2012.  There were three of us preaching that night, each of us taking ten minutes to present a theme based on the Lord's Passion.

[Text: Mark 14:32-42]


Gethsemane, Aramaic for “Olive Press” probably so named for the abundance of olive trees in this isolated garden that was a favorite haunt of our Lord.  Whatever comfort it may have afforded on previous visits, it appears that Jesus received little comfort on this night.


We know, from Scriptures, that Jesus was deity, filled with the fullness of the godhead.  He was, in fact, God Himself who took on human form.  The proofs of this great mystery were evident: the crippled walked, the deaf heard and the blind regained sight through a simple touch of his hand. His voice literally raised the dead and set the legions of hell to flight.  In so many ways we can see that he was more than a man.


But at this moment we can see that he was man and, to the uninformed, he appears to be something less than God now.  Now he appears to us so...human.  Sorrow, tears, despair, grief and doubt are some of the words that come to my mind while reading this text. Even from so great a distance as 2000 years the picture is painfully crystal clear.
What can we learn from such a tragic parade of words and pictures?  Jesus was just about to be betrayed, tortured and executed for the sins others including mine and yours.  We all get the big, theological picture, at least in part.

But what about here...in the garden.  What does this tell us?  What happened here was more than mere condescension.  It was identification and empathy taught through experience in its rawest form.

We all will, at various times in our lives, find ourselves in our own garden of Gethsemane and like its name suggests, we too will be pressed on all sides.  But because He was in the garden first, He can and will stand with us.


Scriptures tell us: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses...

Are you alone today?  He knows.
Are you in pain today?  Jesus understands.
Have you been forsaken by friends and family?  He understands.
Does the darkness of despair and depression threaten to engulf you? Jesus knows.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with recent (or not so recent) tragedies?  Jesus has been there.
Are you fighting a battle with doubt?  Jesus understands.
Do you grieve?  So did Jesus, He understands.

You can come to me with all that concerns you and everything you are going through, you can rave, complain, vent, rage and weep and for my part I would try hard to sympathize.  But Jesus...O! Jesus.  How he knows.  He has been in our shoes and he understands. Therefore go to Him. Don’t walk, run to him today, right now.  I’m reminded of a hymn that goes something like this:


What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear.

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Come to Him as Savior, come to Him as God, come to Him as Teacher, Master and Lord.  But also come to Him as Friend; compassionate and sympathetic.  Jesus understands because He has been in the garden.