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Green Pastures and Still Waters

Do you ever feel bad about feeling bad?  Maybe you are in the middle of a spiritual battle or a physical trial.  Maybe you are living in relational tension.  Maybe you are super frustrated with this COVID mess and just want to be “done with it!”  All of the aforementioned bring fatigue, frustration and stress…this affects our emotions.  We feel bad.  Then, in light of all we know, we start to feel bad about feeling bad.  We think about all we have learned about joy and peace and eternal life and think, “I am the worst Christian in the world.”  Or, “If I was a good Christian, I would be living the triumphant life, rising above my circumstances to the glory of God.”  It’s not wrong to aspire to such ideals and we could probably live “there” more than we do but even the Perfect Man endured the afflictions of this life and was “sorrowful and deeply distressed.”  We know that He was a Man who understood sorrow and was acquainted with grief.  Some of us try to hide our emotions and/or deny their reality.  To be fully human is to be healthy emotionally and to be healthy emotionally is to recognize and confess our emotions.  “It’s fine, I’m fine, everything is fine,” is not a verse from the Bible, it’s from a T-shirt.  If you are fine, don’t look for a reason not to be.  However, if you are struggling, maybe you need to confess it to someone.  Maybe you need to talk about your struggle.  Perhaps you could bring it to the throne of grace where you will find mercy and His active assistance in your time of need.  The struggle is real, He knows!  More about this on Sunday… 

 

What if you could?  What if you had 30 minutes with our Governor?  What would you say?  Given that she is the Governor, she would probably set the agenda; you might not have a chance to direct the conversation at all.  What if she asked you questions concerning “the faith in Christ?”  Would such a thing ever happen?  It did.   After Paul’s trial in Caesarea, the Governor and his wife made an appointment with Paul to talk about what he had said in the public court.  Paul discussed faith, righteousness, the importance of self-control and the judgment to come.  How’s that for an agenda?!  I wish it had resulted in a glorious conversion story, rather, the Governor “shuddered” and told Paul to go away until he had a more convenient time.  We don’t know for sure, but it seems that the convenient time never came.  Imagine hearing the gospel from the Apostle Paul himself and walking away.  Paul was a success; it was Felix that failed.  He failed to listen to the Spirit’s conviction and to the explanation that came from Paul’s loving heart.  Why couldn’t Paul “close the deal?”  Because we can’t make decisions for other people!  Felix is the only one who could make the decision to let Christ in.  We’ll be studying this story in Acts 24 on Sunday.  I hope to see you then.