Letters Of Encouragement

Jamie was visiting this weekend, and as we prepared to leave my parents’ home in Wichita Falls, I came across a large manilla envelope with my name on it. I had no idea what it was or where it came from. Since it had my name on it though, I went ahead and opened it. stamps

Inside were dozens of letters. They all came from team members and coworkers from my summer in Salt Lake City back in 2014. It was weird, eye-opening, enlightening, encouraging, and a little confusing reading letters written to my former self. I pored over them, laughing at old memories, reminding myself of the ways that God moved in me and others that summer in Salt Lake City (I also remember that I selfishly chose not to write anyone else letters. Boo hiss 2014 me).

On my 16th birthday, my dad gave me a supremely special gift. As a present, he had a couple dozen men write me letters about what it meant to be a man. In these letters were timeless truths from the experiences that they had been through. It was an honor (although at the time I didn’t realize this) to read handwritten letters from these men who told me what it looked like to walk with God in every area of my life whether that be in friendships, marriage, vocation, or family. Texts just wouldn’t have meant the same to me, not to mention they’d be automatically deleted off my phone after 30 days.

That’s an aspect of the Christian life that I think we miss in our current day and age. There’s nothing like a letter from a friend. There really isn’t. At least in my experience. There is something about receiving a letter from someone you love, taking into account the time they took out of their day to write you. Texts, e-mails, voicemails, Facebook messages. All of these forms of communication can be used for encouragement and strengthening the body of Christ for sure, but there is something about a handwritten letter that takes it up a notch.

I know that 2nd and 3rd John came long before our modern communication techniques, but they are indeed personal letters from John to the ‘elect lady and her children’ (possibly a local congregation of believers) and to ‘Gaius” respectively. These are personal letters. From a man to his friends. From one follower of Christ to others.

These are notes snatched from the every-day correspondence of an Apostle – G.G. Findlay

Some scholars believe that John introduced himself in 2 John as ‘the elder’ instead of ‘the apostle’ because it is a little bit more affectionate as a title. This is just a little more confirmation about the nature of these letters. This may show us that he is writing as a friend and fellow Christ-follower in these letters, more than he’s writing as an authority figure to the church (although he does address doctrine).

This blog is definitely not like what you may be used to reading from me, but I hope I can encourage you to follow in the footsteps of not only the apostles of old, but also countless ministers and Christ-followers who have made it a practice of theirs to write letters to churches and friends. If you’ve got the letter-writing bug as I do, here’s some places to start.

1. The Person/People Who Led You To Christ

Even if you’ve been vocal about your gratitude towards this person(s) in the past, it wouldn’t hurt to write them a letter and remind them just how thankful you are that they had the boldness and courage to share with you the good news of the gospel. Yes, the Lord drew you to Himself, but it took men and women who were instruments of His grace in your life to bring you to salvation. Thank them for what they did.

2. A Non-Believer You Want To Share The Gospel With

Yes, we should be vocal in our conversations with non-believers about our faith (I need to work on this one desperately), but why not write them a letter about how you’ve been praying for them and how the gospel has transformed your life? They may or may not read it, and they may or may not respond. But you can show them just how precious the gospel is to you with a heartfelt note.

3. A Missionary In A Foreign Or Not-So Foreign Land

Write a letter to a church-planter, a missionary overseas, or a missionary in your own backyard. When I worked in Phoenix, I read countless letters of encouragement and prayer directed towards the staff of the church which I was a part of. They were lights in the middle of dark and difficult days of ministry. A letter of encouragement, Scripture, and prayers can go a long way.

4. The Christian Who Is Struggling 

Be careful with this one. If you know of a follower of Christ who is walking through a difficult season, you can write them a letter of encouragement. I say be careful because it’s easy to spout out Scripture without showing compassion or concern for the person you are reaching out to. That being said, a letter of encouragement in the midst of trials can go a long way.

5. Relatives

Write a letter to a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling. Reach out to the family that the Lord has put you in. They may all be saved, or none of them may be saved. Find ways to encourage, equip, and evangelize through handwritten letters to the people who share your family heritage.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I encourage you to walk through it, as will I.

There’s not much gospel in this blog, but I encourage you to put the gospel in letters to family, friends, fellow Christians, and those who don’t yet know Jesus.

Write for His glory.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

– I appreciate any and all feedback and you can follow my blog via the menu.

 

 

Advertisements

BREAD MAN?

When you think of heroic men of valor, what comes to mind? For me, it’s images of Mel Gibson defending Scotland, Russel Crowe fighting for Rome, and Tom Hanks storming the beach at Normandy. It’s the image of a gun, a sword, an axe, or a horse.

When I hear the word hero, I definitely don’t imagine a loaf of bread. Facebook timeline

Yet this is what Gideon was envisioned as by his enemies in Judges 6-7. And in my humble opinion, it’s super fitting. Gideon was a man who was not courageous, not confident, and not strong, in his own power at least. I grew up being told his story, hearing of his character being worthy of emulation and imitation. Now, he was surely used by God in a great way, but God poured out grace and strength in his life.

Gideon’s story starts in a bleak and dark season of Israelite history. The book of Judges is set in a period of time when God’s people did what was right in their own eyes, there was little to no submission to God’s leadership of the people. Idolatry was rampant, and the people of God were not worshipping the Lord. In steps the Midianites, who oppress and overpower God’s people. They steal crops, women, and the general livelihood of the Israelites, who then flee to the mountains and caves.

The people of Israel cry out to God for deliverance (Judges 6:7) and God responds by sending a prophet, ultimately raising up Gideon to save them.

When we first see Gideon, he was hiding (Judges 6:11). Now this was likely a smart move since the Midianites were stealing crops. However, it is still a sign that he wasn’t the most bold dude around. Look at how crazy his calling is though.

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” – Judges 6:12

The Lord looks at a man who is hiding from the enemy forces and refers to him as a mighty man of valor. What a great reminder that God sees us for who we can be in His strength and grace. I LOATHE the cliche nature of what I’m about to say, but I think it is fairly true: “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” God obviously knew what Gideon would be able to do in His divine strength, and so he calls him what he knows he can be.

Now right off the bat, we see Gideon in doubt and fear. If you follow along with your Bible open, you will see that Gideon questions God’s presence with Israel and questions God’s call of him specifically. God tells Gideon that He will be with him in verse sixteen. You would think this would suffice, but Gideon still doubts. The rest of the chapter is three different tests that Gideon wants God to come through in before Gideon will believe in Him.

Here’s why I don’t see Gideon as a superhero of the faith. When God tells Gideon to destroy the altar of an idol in this chapter, Gideon did so in the middle of the night.

So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night. – Judges 6:27

What in the world. You’ve been approached by God. He has told you that He will be with you as you do what He commands. And yet you’re still afraid.

Look at chapter seven. Gideon is not done being afraid.

God takes Gideon’s army of 32,000 and whittles it down to 300, in order to be able to show that it is His power working through Gideon’s troops. Even after all of God’s promises and proclamations, God knows that Gideon is still afraid.

But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp – Judges 7:10-11a

Here’s the best part of the story:

When Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his comrade. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” And his comrade answered, “This is no other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp. – Judges 7:13-14

This makes me laugh so much. Gideon is envisioned in this enemy soldier’s dream as….. a loaf of bread.

Fitting.

Gideon hears this and worships, and ends up leading the people of God to victory over the Midianites.

Gideon isn’t a superhero of the faith however. Yes, he’s listed in Hebrews 11 in the ‘faith hall of fame’. But the story of Gideon is not the story of his amazing faith in God.

No, the story of Gideon is the story of the God who is patient in our doubt and present in our fear. STORY OF GIDEON

It may appear like I was taking shots at Gideon, but in all honesty I know that I am much the same as him, if not worse. God can speak to me through His word, reminding me of his promises, and I respond with doubt and fear. God can prove His presence in my life time and time again, and I’ll still feel like I’ll need proof that He’ll come through again.

Be. Encouraged.

God is patient in our doubt and present in our fear. He will walk you through any battle, any trial that you may be facing. Doubt and fear are normal emotions. We aren’t called to dwell in them but we can be encouraged that He will walk us through them.

He is patient in our doubt and present in our fear.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

– I appreciate any and all feedback, and you can follow my blog via the menu.

Prayer Changes Things

When I was in Phoenix, I had a job as an early morning janitor. 4-8 AM every day. It was the worst, and I only lasted a month. If you can do that, you have my utmost respect and awe.Psalms.png

Anyway, the store I worked at didn’t open until 9 AM, so I asked if I could wear headphones. The manager said I couldn’t. So for four hours every day I would sweep, buff, and vacuum in total silence. Let me tell you, the vacuuming was the best, because it was one of those Ghostbusters vacuums.

There was one morning when I was like, here we go, I’m going to try and pray this whole shift. I wrote out a list of prayer needs on a card and got ready to go. I clocked in and started sweeping. I prayed everything I could think of and looked at my watch. It was 4:06. It had been a whopping six minutes since I started praying. I kept trying to find my groove but I would get distracted. I was not very good at praying, and to be totally honest I’m still not adept at this spiritual discipline. Psalm 3 teaches us however that prayer truly does change things. Prayer reorients our perspective, and through our humble petitions, God is willing to move.

Let’s do it.

O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God. – Psalm 3:1-2

This is a psalm of David, and in this Psalm David is in desperate need. He is running from his own son who wants to kill him and take his throne. He is surrounded by his former men who have now sworn allegiance to his son Absalom who wants to kill him.

Not only is there the fear of physical death in this situation, David is dealing with the fear of God’s abandonment. The foes and enemies of David were proclaiming that there was no salvation for David in God. I’m sure this led him to at least momentarily doubt whether or not God was still for him.

Have you ever felt that way?

Have you ever felt like God had abandoned you?

I know I have, and I can tell you that there is great confidence, hope, and faith to be found in David’s response to this intensely bleak season of his life. Instead of caving to the lies and losing his trust in God (although there are other Psalms where he does begin to question God’s faithfulness, which should remind us all that that is an okay emotion to work through), David continues to have deep confidence in Him.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around. – Psalm 3:3-6

David is confident in the Lord’s ability to protect and provide. One of the greatest benefits of prayer for me is the opportunity to take a deep breath and remember that God has been faithful and will continue to be so. In this Psalm, David understands three crucial aspects of God’s character, and this leads to his confidence in prayer.

  1. God is his shield. This terminology is used all throughout the book of Psalms. It is warfare imagery, and it is a reminder for David and for us that God is able to protect us from anything that comes our way. He shields us from the enemy. This doesn’t mean that all will be perfect in our lives. Rather it means that God will not allow anything to hit us spiritually that He has not provided us the strength to overcome through His grace and mercy.
  2. God is his glory. David understood that anything in his life, any throne, any praise, and accolade, any glory, was ultimately just a shadow of God’s great glory and was a result of God’s gifts to him as his child. God is our glory as well. Anything we’ve got in this life is from him and for him.
  3. God is the lifter of his head. David knew that God would restore his countenance, that God would restore joy and hope to his heart, lifting up his head. When you and I get discouraged or down, our heads droop. But God lifts up our heads.

God answered David’s prayer. That is the beauty of verse four. Remember that this is after the Bathsheba incident. This is a wonderful reminder that God forgives, and that God shows great grace. God answered the cries of David’s heart.

Now in our lives, the answers may not come in the way or in the timing that we would ask for, but God still is in the business of answering prayers.

David then decides to go to sleep. This is the part of this passage that blows my ever-loving mind. David is being pursued by this enemy force and he is so confident in God’s ability to protect and provide for him that he takes a nap.

May we have equal confidence in God’s ability to provide for and protect us in every situation we encounter.

The Psalm closes with David praying total destruction upon his enemies, and for the sake of length I don’t have the space to tackle that today. I wanted us to take a look at this Psalm for the sake of being reminded that prayer truly does change things.

God hears our prayers and answers them. Prayer is vitally important. We don’t like to do it because it’s foreign and makes us slow down. But it is no less important. Because of Jesus’ death in our place, we can know God personally.

LET THIS SINK IN.

We can talk with God, we can share our lives and our worries with him. There is no prayer too big or too small for us to share with Him. We can ask for his help. We can give him the praise he deserves.

Tell God your worries.

Remind yourself how powerful and in control he is.

Ask God to help you.

Get some sleep.

You can rest in God’s provision and protection.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

– I appreciate any and all feedback and you can follow my blog via the menu.

 

Private Sin

There are countless stories each and every day of well-known politicians, athletes, pastors, and entertainers falling from grace in the eyes of their followers due to the exposing of private sin. Most recent in this list is comedian Kevin Hart, who had adulterous actions caught on camera. His apology has gone viral, as has his sinful decision. Now Kevin Hart is by no means a stand-up guy, and I’m by no means endorsing any of his comedy. Portrait of Kevin Hart

His circumstances are just another reminder that we live in a world inundated with cameras, and people carry around high-quality cameras in their phones everywhere they go. There is not really private sin anymore.

In light of God’s omnipresence, there truly is no such thing as private sin.

My sinful thoughts, words, and actions happen because of a myriad of reasons, one of them being my forgetfulness about God’s presence.

If we were truly to understand that God is ever-present with us, it would bring so much encouragement and joy. At the same time however, it would hopefully give us vigilance in our fight against sin.

There is nowhere that we can go to escape from His presence.

“Am I a God who is only near” – this is the Lord’s declaration – “and not a God who is far away? Can a person hide in secret places where I cannot see him?” – the Lord’s declaration. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” – the Lord’s declaration. – Jeremiah 23:23-24

God fills the heavens and the earth. There is no secret place for us as humans to hide from His presence. So much of our sin struggles would be crippled and ultimately defeated if we were able to meditate upon and get this reality of God’s omnipresence into our hearts and minds.

Pornography would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Domestic violence would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Deception and lack of integrity would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Private sin in general would hold no power over the lives of God’s people if we were to meditate upon the omnipresence of God.

Granted, it may not always be so black and white as this. Yet I truly believe that if we were to speak about, think on, discuss, pray through, and meditate upon the omnipresence of God, we would see the glistening vices of our various sin struggles become powerless against us. Would we slip-up in our thoughts and words and actions from time to time? Probably so. But the lifestyles and repeated offenses of private sins would be removed of their power if we remembered that truth.

May we be vigilant against sin.

Every single one of us would likely hate to have our sins revealed publicly and virally to the entire world. I do not envy Kevin Hart’s situation. I do know however that I am guilty of sins that I don’t tweet or post about. There are thoughts and words and actions that are grievances against God that are not public knowledge. Every single one of us is in that boat. We must understand not only the reality of God’s knowledge about our sin, but the amazing reality of God’s forgiveness for each and every one of our sins.

We should be overflowing in thankfulness. I’ll have Jen Wilkin say it better than me:

The fact that he sees all, yet, against all expectation, stands ready to forgive should awaken a gratitude of the deepest kind, a desire to be the same person in public that we are behind closed doors – a person who thinks, acts, and speaks as one who fears the Lord. A person who understands that the limitless presence of God leaves no allowance for a life of practical atheism – professing that an omnipresent God exists and then living as if he does not. 

You could take the omnipresence of God and use it in a not so good way.

If I’m fighting against sin just because of the guilt and fear of knowing that God’s watching at all times, then I’m treating Him like a divine Santa Claus who I want to impress in order that I can receive good gifts from Him.

God isn’t a divine Santa.

(I never thought I would type that sentence ever)

However, let the omnipresence of God strengthen and encourage you in your fight against sin. Let the omnipresence of God and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit lead you into battle against the flaming arrows of Satan’s temptations and tricks. When you are faced with temptation, you can cry out to the Lord WHO IS THERE WITH YOU and find the strength to fight back. Will you be perfect in your war against sin? By no means. But you can use the omnipresence of God as an encouragement, a resource, a weapon.

Brother or sister in Christ, there is no such thing as private sin. It’s a myth.

God is with you, so be vigilant and be confident.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

– I appreciate any and all feedback and you can follow my blog below.

 

Chuck. E. Cheese & The Gospel

Today I took my brothers to Chuck. E. Cheese. It was a fun experience, albeit it was a little crazy and hectic in this children’s casino. Caleb and Matthew each played their arcade games and tried to garner as many tickets as possible in order to get some prize at the end of our afternoon. Matthew came up with 121 tickets, and Caleb only came up with 84 (he was obsessed with the pure chance style games). We walked over to the counter to pick out toys, and they each laid eyes on their ideal toy. Caleb wanted an emoji glow stick (yes, it is as stupid looking as it sounds) and Matthew wanted a Rubik cube (Chuck. E. Cheese. themed).Chuck-E.-Cheese

Both of those toys were 400 tickets a piece.

They were way short.

Matthew may have done better in the arcade than Caleb, but they were both going home empty handed.

Now unbeknownst to my brothers there was a nifty little rule at the toy counter that allowed someone to purchase tickets for a penny a pop. So lo and behold, Matthew and Caleb both got their toys that will be broken or lost within the week (I got me one single Cherry Airhead for what seemed like a bajillion tickets, which was a tremendous rip-off).

Now, let me tell you, my sacrifice for Caleb and Matthew was puny. It was a handful of dollars. But it is a teeny tiny example of the gospel message.

Bear with me.

I have sickness. I have pain. I have rebelled against God. I have sinned against God. I have countless grievances committed against God.

Yet every ounce of that has been covered by the blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross. Every ounce of it.

While reading this afternoon, I came to the passage from Isaiah 53 that is likely well known to you if you have a church background. I was amazed by the consistent refrain of ‘He. . . Our.’ Look at the passage with me and see what I mean.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:3-6

How does that not evoke worship in your heart? I’m drawn to the edge of tears when I think deeply about this passage. I read it over and over again this afternoon, underlining and highlighting different aspects of it.

One thing that’s cool about this passage is that it reminds us that the Old Testament foreshadows Christ as being the sacrificial Lamb of God. This passage should also remind us that the righteousness that we are given by God came at an immense price. Look at the unfairness of this situation.

He bore our sicknesses

He carried our pains

He was pierced for our rebellion

He was crushed for our iniquities

The Lord punished him for the iniquities of us all

Jesus paid an incredible price for us to obtain forgiveness of sins and peace with God (v. 5).

What’s even crazier is that none of us could ever receive this righteousness, this forgiveness, this peace on our own. Verse six paints an immensely clear portrait of our tendency as humans. We all have strayed, we all have turned to our own way. Now this passage wasn’t written to us 21st century Christians, but I think it’s safe to say that we also are in the same boat of none of us being able to measure up to the perfect standard of God’s holiness. Romans chapter three makes this pretty clear, so take a look at that chapter if you are wary of my proclamation.

None of us could ever measure up. We all despise and reject Jesus when we fall into sin, and every single one of us has fallen into sin. Some of us may think we’re better than others in our pursuit of perfection, but even if that was the case, we would still all fall short. Just like Matthew performed better than Caleb and still came up short.

Every one of us comes up short.

How grateful we should be.

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

Christ lived the life I could not, and He paid the sin debt I was unable to pay.

I don’t want to belittle the gospel with this illustration at all, but I can’t help but think of entrance into heaven like that prize counter at Chuck. E. Cheese. The cost for the ‘prize’ of eternal life with God is an insurmountable debt that I cannot pay. I see myself holding in my hands the ragged tickets I’ve garnered in my life, realizing I don’t stack up at all with the cost of eternal life. I picture Jesus tapping me on the shoulder and telling me ‘I got this.’

The people who read this passage in the days of Isaiah were likely given a sweet and ferocious anticipation for the coming Messiah.

I know that He has come. Jesus Christ paid my debt. He took all of my sins, pains, rebellions, and grievances. He was my substitute sacrifice. He paid my debt.

You can either reject this gospel or you can receive it. You can either reject Jesus as your substitute sacrifice or you can receive him.

Receive what he has done for you.

Worship.

– In His Name,

Nathan Roach

– I appreciate any and all feedback, and you can follow my blog below

*The Christian walk is not one of achievement or earnings, this was simply an illustration.

 

 

Weaning

At some point we have to grow up.

I can’t believe I just typed those words to be honest. If you had talked to me a couple years ago I would have said I never want to grow up, I never want to lay my childishness down and replace it with with maturity and wisdom. The Lord however has been teaching me recently that at some point we are designed to grow up. 430H

This blog post isn’t about goofiness (I’m currently employed as a youth pastor and so I have a little bit of freedom to continue being just a little bit goofy). I hope I never lose my goofiness. It is instead about the call on the life of a Christian to lay behind immaturity and childish ways and grow into real mature men and women who love the Lord.

The Lord wants to grow us into the fullness of Christian maturity. Sometimes that’s painful, and sometimes that’s unexpected.

There’s a word that I refound recently, one that is not used often in our conversations.

Wean.

This is the definition of wean: accustom (someone) to managing without something on which they have become dependent or of which they have become excessively fond

God weans us often. He removes from our lives or from our passions those things that we have become excessively fond of or dependent upon other than Him. This is not unloving or abrasive, nor is it a mathematical formula where God immediately takes us from that which we’ve idolized.

For instance, there are times where I’m dependent upon Jamie, or excessively fond of her. She’s very clearly still in my life and hopefully always will be. However, God has often shown me that she cannot be that source of dependence for me. She does not have the power to save or rescue. Only Jesus has that power.

When our lives get out of focus, when our minds or hearts become way too focused on the things of earth, God will bring us through a process of weaning in order to draw our attention and affection back to the only One who can truly satisfy and save.

When I think about things in this light, it becomes abundantly clear that this weaning process is one of the most loving things that God can do for me and for you. He would not love us well if He let us live our lives with things out of focus, with our hearts being deceived by idols that cannot fulfill or free us.

Look at this dope J.I. Packer quote:

Still he seeks the fellowship of his people, and sends them both sorrows and joys in order to detach their love from other things and attach it to himself.

God doesn’t need our fellowship. He is not lonely without us. But in his love, he seeks out fellowship with his people. Fellowship with God comes through attachment, devotion, and reliance upon Him. When we are functionally worshiping idols in our daily lives, we can’t enter into intimate fellowship with Him.

To remind us of the fact that our idols don’t satisfy or save, God will send sorrows in the form of the idols we worship crashing down.

This can be an excruciatingly painful process that only a crazy person would enjoy. The experience itself is not enjoyable in any light from a physical or emotional standpoint, but the sorrows of idols being destroyed can be a joyful and amazing experience spiritually.

Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. – James 1:2-4

Trials can be joy if being like Christ is our aim.

Please do not misinterpret anything I have written. I am not asserting or even implying that tragedy is because of misplaced loves. The loss of a child, a relative, a job, or a dream is not always because that object was an idol in the life of the mourner. Not at all. Yet even these most difficult of trials can have a silver lining when Christ is our aim.

Being weaned isn’t naturally enjoyable.

However, we can be encouraged that the process is for God’s glory and our good.

God uses trials to wean us away from childish things. – Warren Wiersbe

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

– I appreciate any and all feedback and you can follow my blog below

He’s Still On The Throne

He’s still on the throne.

throne
I know Jesus doesn’t sit on a middle-earth throne, but this sure looks cool.

A couple years ago, my mom texted me this amidst a conversation about the trials and difficulties that were present in my life at the time. Certain aspects of the world as I knew it were spiraling out of control in some ways and my mom knew just what to encourage me with. Jesus was still on the throne, even in the midst of what seemed like chaos.

The second Psalm can be a source of great encouragement when the leaders and rulers of our world are prone to evil and wickedness, and when disaster strikes our world, our country, our city, or our family.

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and his Anointed One. “Let’s tear off their chains and throw their ropes off of us.” – Psalm 2:1-3

Here’s a pretty accurate illustration of the way that Jesus is treated in the minds and hearts of so many in our world. So many in our day take their stand against the Lord and his Anointed One. Now in the case of this Psalm, that Anointed One would be David. But in the case of our day, the one who holds all things together and rules over all is none other than Jesus Christ. The godly man or woman understands that they are submitting to the ultimate rule and reign of Jesus. The ungodly man or woman however is the one who sees submission to Christ as bondage and seeks to break the chains of God’s sovereign hand over their lives.

The one enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Then he speaks to them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath: “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” – Psalm 2:4-6

This is simultaneously one of the most encouraging and fear-inducing passages in the Psalms for me. The Lord laughs at those who seek to break free of His rule and reign. He isn’t scared, intimidated, worried, or anxious when the men and women of this world seek to break free of His rule and reign. Instead He just laughs. He finds it humorous that man would strive to buck up against His rule and reign. Then his anger and wrath are felt as He reminds the wicked of this world that He has installed His King on Zion, on His holy mountain. Jesus has been enthroned. He is enthroned over the cosmos, and He should be given His rightful place on the throne in each of our lives.

I will declare the Lord’s decree. He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance and the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with an iron scepter; you will shatter them like pottery.” – Psalm 2:7-9

This shows us just how powerful King Jesus is. The nations are at His disposal. The very ends of the earth are under His control. He can shatter the wicked with an iron scepter, breaking them like pottery. The picture of Jesus that is all too often portrayed and presented in our culture is the Jesus that is simply a lover. A guy who sprinkles grace onto our unrepentant sins and personal brokenness, inviting us into a moment of intentional worship and transparent fellowship. While Jesus certainly is a loving Shepherd of the broken, He is also the Victorious King, the One who defeated death, evil, Satan, and every wicked scheme of the enemy. King Jesus is powerful.

So now, kings, be wise; receive instruction, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with reverential awe and rejoice with trembling. Pay homage to the Son or he will be angry and you will perish in your rebellion, for his anger may ignite at any moment. All who take refuge in him are happy. – Psalm 2:10-12

Servitude, humility, awe, reverence, respect. When we come to terms with who King Jesus is, that should be our response. We should come to his feet and worship Him for who He is. Instead of following our sinful desires and bucking up against His rule and reign, we should submit to King Jesus and let Him have his rightful place on the throne of our hearts and our lives. The man who is happy is the man who takes refuge in Him, the man who submits to King Jesus.

In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John were imprisoned and tried for their outspoken faith in Jesus. Upon their release they went to the community of faith and shared with everyone what they had experienced. They used this very Psalm as encouragement in the face of pronounced and intimidating persecution from the governmental and religious leaders of their day.

I do not know what you are going through today.

Maybe you are facing persecution for your faith in and submission to King Jesus.

Maybe you are facing the aftermath of terrible destruction or disaster in your life.

Maybe you are fearful of the future, and the headlines of the news get you more and more worried.

The reality of evil can’t be avoided or run from. However we don’t have to meditate or dwell on evil. We can meditate on the fact that Christ has defeated Satan.

Brother or sister in Christ, may you be encouraged that King Jesus sits on the throne. May you be strengthened in your resolve, strengthened in your faith and trust that King Jesus is not frightened by the news articles that you see on your social media accounts. Brother or sister in Christ, may you be drawn deeper into fellowship with the Powerful King Jesus.

If you’re not sure where you stand with King Jesus today, tell Him so. One thing I love about the Psalms is that they are honest, full of cries to God and raw emotions.

Ask King Jesus to help you trust Him more.

In His Name,

Nathan Roach

– I appreciate any and all feedback, and you can follow my blog below