The Cure for Worry

Are you worrying and anxious? What if I told you there is a cure for your anxiety and worry? Listen to Jesus:

…do not be worried about your life…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…

Matthew 6:25&33

When Jesus was giving his sermon on the mount, He was speaking to ordinary people just like you and me. In a moment of sincerity and understanding, Jesus addressed one of the most sinister aspects of the sinful condition – worry.

When He said, “do not be worried about your life,” He was not waxing eloquent and offering up an ideal that people should strive for – He was giving a command…a command that he would provide for. Let’s take a look at His next statement.

The Cure for Worry

Jesus commands us not to worry. In his very next breath, He gives us the key to walk in His command – “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” You see, Jesus knows that our lives are full of appointments, schedules and obligations. He is not calling us to abandon responsibility and our chosen fields of labor. He is simply offering us a new perspective.

When we seek the kingdom of God before all things, all things find their rightful place. Our gaze shifts to the eternal, to the will and concern of Jesus. This perspective gets our eyes off of the temporal and fickle and fixes our eyes on the eternal and never-changing. Imagine a life full of certainty and stability – this is the life offered to us by Jesus.

All Things New

When you were called to Jesus, you were called according to His purpose. You were never called into a life of worry, uncertainty, and instability. Remember, you have died, and your life is hidden in Christ. He never changes. He never falters. Align yourself with His purpose before all things and watch as he provides for His plan and purpose in Your life. Jesus never fails – we have nothing to worry about.

All to Jesus!

TJMcPherson

Embrace Him

Saul of Tarsus

Saul was an expert in the Law of Moses. Having been raised up in the Pharisaical teachings and traditions, Saul took care to adhere to every rule and regulation set forth in the Torah. According to his own testimony, Paul considered himself “faultless” in his observance of all that the law required (Phil. 3:6.) Circumcised on the eighth day, a pharisee of pharisees…Saul was the perfect example of a devout Jewish man.

Rising above his peers, the soon-to-be apostle sat at the feet of the premier Jewish rabbi of his time, Gamaliel. As he sat and listened to the teaching of his elders, Saul of Tarsus grew more and more zealous for the traditions of his people… “And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” (Galatians 1:14) This overwhelming zeal became the fuel for his persecution of the early Christian church.

As he was breathing threats against the Church of God, Jesus confronted Saul. Jesus, the one who Saul was persecuting, stepped into the darkness of Saul’s ignorance and revealed Himself. All that Saul had built his life on, every accolade, every tradition, every ancestral claim, came face to face with the Son of God. In an instant, Saul of Tarsus was forever changed.

Though the remaining majority of Paul’s life is recorded for us by Luke in the book of Acts, I am urged by the Holy Spirit to ask one question…What happened on the road to Damascus? How did a man like Saul, a zealous, well-educated Pharisee, become a man like Paul? The answer is simple; Paul met Jesus.

MEETING JESUS

You see, up until this moment, Saul of Tarsus had built his life around every good thing, yet never found the best thing. He had elevated his thinking, adhered to the most reasonable theology, and according to his religion, climbed the “ministerial ladder.” And yet, in all of this, He missed the Truth.

But Jesus did not leave him there. Jesus offered Saul the very thing his heart so desperately desired; love. Jesus was supremely interested in Saul, not his accolades. For once in his life, someone looked at Saul for who he was. Casting aside every achievement, Jesus grabbed ahold of Saul’s heart and loved him.

This became one of Paul’s most cherished moments. Routinely in the epistles, Paul uses this phrase, “[Jesus] loved me, and gave Himself for me.” And that was all he needed—to know and believe the love Jesus had for him.

RESPONSE

What about you? Have you stared into the eyes of Christ? Do you know the love that Jesus has for you? He desires to make you His very own. He sees you and loves you.

Can I encourage you? Leave all of the soul-weight that is hindering you from fully embracing Jesus. Leave the intellectual questions that are causing you to stumble. This is the moment. Embrace Him. Take a couple of minutes and ask Him to open your eyes to His love.

In the love of Jesus,
TJMcPherson

Life in Jesus

I hope you are enjoying this Christmas season! Ever since I came to know Jesus, this time of year has become such a special and sacred time for me. It seems that every December, Jesus draws me deeper into who He is…to the point that when Thanksgiving comes to an end, I find myself waiting and expecting a fresh encounter with God. Year after year, He has never disappointed me. 

Alone With God

As I have been walking with Jesus, He has reminded me of a truth that I have been taking for granted: Intimacy with God is cultivated in the secret place. I am becoming aware that true oneness with Jesus can only be had when I am with Him in secret. Only when I am before Him can I truly be transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2), for it is God and God alone who can circumcise my heart (Colossians 2:11). 

Jesus lived in this reality. Look at this verse from the Gospel of Mark:

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. 

Mark 1:35

This was natural for Jesus. I am convinced, this was not a spiritual discipline for Jesus; this was His life. He understood that His life flowed from the Father and that to be apart from Him, was to come to utter ruin… “I live because of the Father…” (John 6:57). He knew that the relationship He shared with His Father was the life-source of His being. 

How about you and me? Will we be obedient to the command of our Savior, “Come to me…take My yoke upon you and learn from Me…?” Hear His voice. He is not heaping up guilt upon us…He is simply opening Himself to us. Together, let’s answer his call and find our life in Jesus, He will not disappoint us…

Yours in Jesus,

TJMcPherson

– The Sifting of Peter – Restored

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Before we finish this little series together, I want to tell you that I love you. Knowing that I have brothers and sisters who are seeking Jesus and longing for His movement in their lives is one of the most encouraging things I can think on. Thank you for your constant encouragement!

Review

Over the past couple of posts, we have taken an in-depth look at the near demise of the Apostle Peter. For the sake of review and to awaken our hearts to engage with the text we will look at today, here is a brief synopsis of the last two posts:

Peter, a passionate Apostle of Jesus, experienced a great shaking of faith at the hand of Satan. Full of self-confidence and self-reliance, Peter openly rejected Jesus Christ three times.

Jesus, being rich in mercy, awakened Peter from his sin-induced spiritual slumber. With one look of His eye, the Son of God shattered the schemes of the devil and brought Peter to repentance…

Restoration

The last time we left Peter, he was rushing out of the high priest’s courtyard weeping bitterly (Lk. 22:62.) Jesus had awakened him to his indwelling sin; self-reliance. Let us now turn our hearts to the Gospel of John and see how Jesus finishes Peter’s restoration.

Fishing

In chapter 21, John tells us that some of the disciples, including Peter, have gone fishing on the Sea of Tiberius. They have fished all night and have come back tired and empty handed. Then, in the most wonderful way, Jesus conceals Himself and calls out to the tired fishermen from the shore. The disciples, unaware that they were talking to Jesus, let down their nets at the request of the “stranger” (Jn. 21:6.) The ensuing catch of fish was so immense, they could not haul their nets aboard. Immediately, John looks at Peter and says with absolute certainty, “It is the Lord.”

Can I just pause and giggle for a moment? This is one of my most favorite scenes in the Gospel of John. Look at how Jesus reveals Himself to His disciples (Jn. 21:4-8.) Rather than announce Himself from the sea shore, Jesus lets the disciples, specifically Peter, discover Him.

If you look back to Luke 5:4-9, you will find an almost identical miracle performed by Jesus. Guess who Jesus is sitting with when He does that miracle: Peter. This is the miracle Jesus uses to call Peter out of fishing and into Apostleship (Lk. 5:10-11.) Now, knowing this, look back to John’s gospel and see what Jesus is doing; Jesus is again calling Peter back into Apostleship. But He does it in such a wonderful way!

Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, allowed Peter to put the pieces together. Without a doubt, the moment Peter looked down and saw the amount of fish in his nets, he knew Jesus was on the shore. The memory lodged in the back of his mind rushed to the forefront and flooded him with images of His Lord. His response is fitting; he throws his clothes on and leaps off the boat to Jesus. Jesus used a past experience to reveal Himself to Peter in an intimate way. How beautiful!

One Question

After eating breakfast together, Jesus pulls Peter aside. Three times, Jesus repeats this question, “Peter, son of John, do you love me?” A lot can be said about the Greek here. However, I just want to draw our attention to the simplicity of Jesus’ question.

Jesus didn’t make any reference to that cursed night. He never brought up what was seared into Peter’s memory. Instead, He simply asked Peter one question, “Do you love me?” After Peter confirms his love for Jesus, The Son of God restores Peter completely. The simplicity of this conversation is staggering.

Simplicity & Response

How often do I dwell on my past sins and convince myself of my hopelessness? Praise God, Jesus never does this. He did not condemn Peter…He asked the question that really mattered, “Do you love me?

Are you making this difficult? Are you reliving the sins of the past in your mind? Know this with certainty, this is not your path to restoration. Rather, hear the voice of Jesus asking this question afresh, “Do you love me?” Drop everything and confirm your love for Him. You don’t need to relive or dwell on the past…He isn’t concerning Himself with that. He wants to know one thing; “Do you love me?

This is the simplicity of the Gospel: Christ is all and in all and has made a way for the ruined and damned to be restored. The burden of Calvary was enough; Jesus has won. Now, trust that His finished work is just that: finishedGive him yourself and declare your love for Him. He is our everything!

I love you,

TJMcPherson

(P.S. I would love to hear how the Lord has used this series in your life. If you would like, shoot me a message over the “Prayer Request” page or leave a comment below!)

 

 

– The Humble King – Humble Beginnings

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In my study of Jesus and His display of humility, I have been overwhelmed with a new sense of attraction towards Him. His humility is so inviting, so approachable. As I spend a little time over the next few posts looking at our Humble King, it is my prayer that you will be attracted to Jesus in a new and fresh way as well. Let’s jump in!

At the beginning of His earthly ministry, Jesus goes down to the Jordan river to be baptized by John the Baptist. Matthew’s Gospel reads like this:

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.

Matthew 3:13-15

What a beautiful picture. Can you place yourself in John’s shoes for just a moment? Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, the Anointed One of God, is walking towards you. All your life, even from the time of your conception (you’ve got to check out Luke 1:39-44), you have been waiting for this day with great anticipation and joy. Finally, the Messiah has come and will deliver Israel from her oppressors. Finally, the Anointed One will reveal His strong arm and destroy Rome with its oppression.

And this is where the picture unravels for John… Jesus is not coming as a conquering Messiah, ready to enact justice upon the enemies of God (at least not in the way he understood.) No. To John’s amazement, Jesus is among the crowd of sinners, awaiting His turn in line to be baptized. Can you here the surprise and bewilderment in his voice, “I need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”

Ah, but this is our Jesus. Always ready to identify with the sinner, ready to submit to the Father and fulfill all that has been commanded of Him, ready to humble Himself and let John, His creation, take Him by the hand and dip Him in the Jordan. Always ready to humble Himself.

This was the opening of His earthly ministry; a display of humility. This is who Jesus has revealed Himself to be; a Humble King

Oh, how this utterly defies the arrogance that I am so prone to walk in! When I see Jesus for who He is, I am immediately drawn to die to myself and to lovingly submit to Him. His humility attracts me like nothing else can. May He draw us deeper and deeper still!

Questions to Get You Seeking

When was the last time you were still and just embraced Jesus? How long has it been since you gave yourself over to Him, not in the name of duty or obligation, but in intimacy and with a desire to be one with Him? These are the questions I am asking myself.

“May this be life’s aim, still to explore the wealth in His name!”

TJMcPherson

Praying with Joy

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For the past couple of months, I have been memorizing Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Now, I admit, the memorization process has been rather slow…however it has been so rewarding! One passage that has really impressed me is Paul’s prayer for the Philippians.

In his opening statement to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul makes this statement:

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy…

Let’s hone in on what Paul is saying here. The word “making” is the greek word “poieo.” Though seemingly insignificant, this little word is the key to understanding what Paul is trying to convey to the Philippian church.

Poieo” is commonly translated into the English words, make, do, work, produce…etc. It carries the idea of someone or something producing something from their inner being. A great example of this is an apple tree. When an apple tree “produces” or “poieo’s” an apple, we are not alarmed or impressed in any way because apple trees ALWAYS produce apples. However, if an apple tree started bearing oranges, we would certainly take notice. In fact, we would begin to question whether or not the said “apple tree” was really an apple tree. The hanging oranges would testify against the “apple tree” and prove that the “apple tree” is actually an ORANGE TREE…the fruit of the tree must correlate with the innate nature of the tree.

The same can be said for us. Jesus tells us that from the abundance of our hearts we speak and act and therefore display the substance of our inner lives (Matt. 12:33-37.) Whether we like it or not, the true substance of our hearts will be displayed through our words and actions.

This is true for Paul. He tells the Philippians that he “makes his prayer with joy” when he prays for them. Knowing what we know of the word “poieo,” we can see that Paul is actually overflowing with joy when he prays for the Philippians. He is not working up joy or following a 5-step process to attain joy. He is simply revealing the true substance of his heart; joy.

Is this not the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus dwelling in Paul? (read Galatians 5:16-24) Oh, what freedom is his! Though he formally walked in the rigorous ways of devout Judaism, Paul now walks in the freedom of the Spirit of God. Being full of Jesus, Paul now overflows with the inner substance of Christ. 

What would it look like if you were so intimate and in-step with Jesus, that the fruit of your life was the fruit of the life of Christ? Would your prayer life reflect that of the Apostle Paul’s? Full of joy and abounding with love for your brothers and sisters, would your prayer life move to a whole new level?

Let’s drop every weight and take on His yoke, learn from Him, and be trees that bear His fruit. It will be our greatest joy.

Yours in Jesus,

TJMcPherson