Jesus Loves Worriers

I love Jesus. For so many reasons. There is no one like Him. This morning I am sitting here thinking about how I love the way He loves us when we are anxious and afraid. Perhaps some of you need to be reminded of this as I do. Unlike the world, Jesus doesn’t mock us when we are afraid. He doesn’t become impatient or get angry at us when we are worried or anxious. He doesn’t tell us to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and toughen up. No, Jesus understands our battle and He loves us in the midst of it. How comforting this is to troubled, weary and worried souls. And yet, He doesn’t stop there. In His deep care and compassion toward us, He refuses to let us stay in that place. In that place

We Are Not As Strong As We Think We Are

We need God. We need Him desperately. The thing is, not everyone believes this is true. Maybe you, or someone you know and love, falls into this camp. Not long ago, I was visiting with a young guy who would strongly disagree with me on this. He had once claimed to be a Christian but had recently walked away from God. When I asked why he chose to walk away, he simply said he didn’t believe he really needed God at this point in his life. He honestly felt he was just fine without all of that “church and Jesus stuff,” as he put it. Of course, I have had this same sort of conversation with many men and women over the years, so nothing he said surprised me. But as I listened to him, it sure made m

Let’s Not Miss The Point Of Christmas

If there is one aspect of Christmas our culture can get on board with it is this: The “stuff.” The “stuff” of Christmas. You know what I mean by the “stuff.” Watching Elf, putting up lights, drinking hot chocolate, decorating the tree, listening to Bing Crosby, buying tons of gifts for one another. I mean, the “stuff” of Christmas is fun, right? And here’s the thing…you don’t need Jesus to enjoy the “stuff” of Christmas, do you? I mean, not really. This is why Christmas remains so popular to so many who really have no interest in Christ at all. Don’t get me wrong. I love watching Christmas movies and decorating the tree and listening to Bing as much as the next guy. I love to buy my wife and

How To Fight Against Anxiety

We live in an anxious age. In fact, many studies over the past several years have shown that anxiety is “snowballing” in the United States. In fact, in August of 2018, Barnes & Noble announced a surge in the sale of books about anxiety...a 25% jump from the previous year. Many of us know the battle with worry and anxiety far too well. I know I do. I have personally battled anxiety fairly significantly from the time I was in the 5thgrade. This cancer journey with my son has caused this battle to resurface in some new, unexpected and unpleasant ways. My guess is that you also battle worry and anxiety. At least on some level. Perhaps you are someone who often feels paralyzed by your anxiety. He

The Matchless Compassion of Christ

When we are hurting deeply, we need to be reminded of the heart of God. God’s heart for his hurting children. In these times when our stomach is sick, our mind is confused, and our fear is crippling, it is in these times that we need to be reminded that God’s heart is filled with deep compassion for his hurting children. The compassion of God. Think about it for a moment. When the Scripture speaks of “compassion” it refers to showing mercy, feeling sympathy, having pity on someone. To be compassionate is to have a strong desire to alleviate the suffering of another. We know that God is “a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 103) We know

Reflecting on Psalm 23: Our Good Shepherd

Alongside John 3:16, Psalm 23 may well be the most famous and most often quoted passage in all of Scripture. This is true for both Christians and non-Christians alike. Over the years of leading funerals as a pastor, I can tell you that Psalm 23 is by far the passage most often requested to be read. By far. And rightly so. It is a passage that points us to the goodness of God. It is a passage that reminds us that our Maker loves us and is with us, even in the deepest and darkest of valleys. It is a passage filled with words of truth, hope and comfort for those of us making our way through a world that is broken. A world where things are not the way they are supposed to be. The author of this

When We Need Clarity

There is power in clarity. Especially when things are chaotic and confusing. This is particularly true when we find ourselves in the midst of suffering. In the midst of heartbreak. In the midst of a life storm that has made it seemingly impossible to see clearly. If I’m honest, this is where I feel like I’ve been living for the past month journeying with my sweet boy. In these times it can be difficult, even scary, to move forward. To put one foot in front of the other. Confusion reigns. Anxiety is high. Peace is nowhere to be found. What do we need in these times? When confusion reigns? When we have no clue where we are going or what next step we need to take? When the offers of direction a

How God Uses Suffering To Mature Us

There is a passage of Scripture I’ve been meditating on. A passage that is packed with truth pertaining to God’s desire to use pain and suffering for our good and His glory. A passage that clearly lays out how God desires to mature us and grow us up through the pain and suffering that comes at us, at times completely unexpectedly, in this life. I say “God desires” because you and I have a role in this. You see, there are many folks who instead of approaching pain and suffering with a heart of humility and surrender to the Lord and His sovereign purposes in the midst of suffering, will instead run away from Him in these times. Or stop trusting Him in these times. Or choose to stop believing i

We Are But A Mist

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow...” – James 4:14 How true is this statement. We think we know what tomorrow will bring. But in reality, we have no clue. Four weeks ago today my healthy, energetic 13 year-old son, Eli, got back from a weekend Middle School guy’s retreat with our church youth group. As you can imagine, it was a weekend full of pranks, junk food, paint ball, little sleep, tons of laughter, and some great men of God pouring into my son and other young men, helping them grow closer to Jesus. Without going into great detail, Eli came home having had an absolute blast. The weekend was an amazing experience for him. But as soon as he got home, he mentioned that

What Are You Thinking About?

What we think about matters. This has been on my mind, alot. What do you think about? What do you fill your mind with? Do you ever stop and think about it? The truth is, you and I are filling our minds with all kinds of thoughts all the time. Good thoughts and bad thoughts. Thoughts filled with truth and thoughts filled with untruth. Thoughts that comfort us and thoughts that disturb us. Thoughts that fuel joy in our hearts and thoughts that awaken anger and bitterness. Thoughts that draw us more closely to the Lord and thoughts that drive us away from Him. What we think about matters. It really matters. Especially when we are in the pit of pain, fear, and despair. Consider these words from

Praising God In Our Pain

Spending time reading through the Psalms the past several weeks, I’ve been daily reminded that the pain and anxiety our family is experiencing right now is not uncommon. It is not unique. In fact, as much as I hate it, it is quite normal in a broken world like ours. It was something King David and the other Psalmists faced continually throughout their lives. With these writers, the experience of suffering is a reality for each of us this side of heaven. And yet, what continues to grip me day in and day out as I study the Psalms is how the writers of the Psalms, even in the face of great pain and anguish, time and again, choose to lift their eyes and their hearts to the Lord in worship. They

Fighting Anxiety with Thankfulness

If you are like me, I battle fear and anxiety far more often than I would like. Nothing good ever comes from it. Ever. It just wears me out and steals my joy. Which is why I often find myself going back and meditating on these verses from Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” When we are anxious and fearful, thankfulness is not our automatic response, right? In fact, thankfulness is typically our last response. But according to the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-

How God Works In Our Pain

We live in a beautiful but broken world where things are not the way they are supposed to be. Pain is real here. Suffering is real. Sickness and disease and tragedy are real. But so is hope. So is healing. So is grace. So is God. As I continue to wrestle with the topic of pain and suffering in our world and in our lives (in light of our son’s fight against cancer), I find myself constantly asking God to help me. To help me respond rightly to the painful journey we are currently walking. To respond in a way that fuels hope and peace and even joy in my son and in my family. To respond in a way that encourages others. To respond in a way that honors and brings glory to Christ, my King. I don’t

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