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Author: Pastor Joyce Roth

Joyce Roth has been on a journey for more of God for most of her life. She believes that following God should be exciting. Not necessarily easy, but stimulating & inspiring! Her passion is first, to understand & walk in “all the fullness of God” and then to pass that understanding on to anyone who will listen. She grew up in rural southern Alberta & has worked alongside her husband in the ministry for the last 25 years. Together they pastor the Victory Church in Red Deer, AB.

The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Struggling through tough times can make it hard to see the big picture.  Isn’t it remarkable that in Jesus’ time of greatest turmoil, His focus wasn’t on the pain but on the gain!

In Luke 22:15 , “Jesus said to them, “I’ve had a deep desire to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.“” Why would Jesus have a “deep desire” to have this meal with His disciples? As I checked into this verse, I realized that it was because Jesus was looking past His suffering and was focused on the results it would bring. Even this close to enduring utter humiliation, torture and death, He was seeing the bigger picture! Amazing! He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him.” (Heb.12:2)

So what was this big picture He was focused on?

  1. His obedience would bring glory to the Father

Wasn’t that what Jesus was all about? His life wasn’t about Him, it was about fulfilling the Father’s plan. He never said or did anything except what His Father told Him. He was obedient to death. His obedience brought much glory to the Father!

 

  1. The redemption of man

Jesus allowed his blood to be shed so our sins could be forgiven and we could therefore come boldly into the Father’s presence! The restoration of a “Garden of Eden” like connection between the Creator and His creation was in the heart of Jesus when He ate that Last Supper with His disciples.

 

  1. The beginning of a New Covenant

Through Jesus death and resurrection the rules and rituals of the ceremonial law or Old Covenant were made obsolete. Remember how the thick, heavy curtain that separated and protected the Holy of Holies was torn in two the moment Jesus died? God wanted everyone to know that because the penalty for sin was now paid, the way was open to have a new, close, personal relationship with Him. This relationship was so close and personal that His Word and will would be in us. (Jer. 33:31) His presence wasn’t just in the Holy of Holies. By faith He would live in us! How much closer and personal can you get?

 

So what does this mean for us today?

  1. No matter what we’re going through we need to keep our eyes on the big picture. We know that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives (Jer. 29:11) and we need to trust Him to carry it out!

 

  1. Let’s remember the incredible price that Jesus paid so we could be free from sin and enjoy an intimate relationship with our Father God. Let our remembering lead us to truly walk in the freedom He paid for. Because when we do people will be drawn to us and we will be able to share the Good News of the gospel with them and we will bring glory to the Father!
It’s no wonder that Jesus fervently desired to eat the Passover meal with His disciples! Let’s be like Jesus and always keep our eyes on the big picture!

 

THE POWER OF LOVE

THE POWER OF LOVE

As I read the gospels I am always amazed at how everywhere Jesus went crowds followed Him. People were drawn to Him. I wonder how come people aren’t drawn to His church or to us, His followers today?

Maybe we’re not as much like Jesus as we think we are?

 

In Luke 7, John the Baptist sends some of his disciples to find out if Jesus really is the Savior. Jesus response is clear, “Go back, and tell John what you have seen and heard: Blind people see again, lame people are walking, those with skin diseases are made clean, deaf people hear again, dead people are brought back to life, and poor people hear the Good News.”

 

Jesus provided exactly what the people needed. He healed their physical diseases and drove out evil spirits. And He preached the Good News to the poor. Yes, people were attracted to Him because of what He did for them, but I think there were a lot of people who saw past the “stuff” and were drawn to Jesus because of His genuine compassion and concern for them. He loved people! There was something about this Man that caused hope to arise in them.

 

As Jesus’ followers, I believe we’re called and anointed to love people, meet their needs and bring hope to a hopeless society! In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus says, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,  because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Jesus read this in the temple that day and then He went out and did it! I believe we are called to do the same thing. The same Spirit has anointed us to do it. It’s time for us to step out in faith and walk in this anointing.

 

We need to make an effort to connect with people around us, recognize their needs and trust God to use us to meet those needs! It doesn’t matter where we are.  Whenever we’re around people, at the mall, in a medical or professional office, on social media, or in our neighborhoods, we should be asking God how we can connect with someone around us. It may be as simple as being available to listen, being a friend or providing some food or cash. It may be to pray for a sickness or disease to be cured or an evil oppressing spirit to be gone. It could be sharing the hope within us that will bring new life and courage to the discouraged and frustrated people around us.

 

If we are willing to step out and love people, they will be drawn to us and we can point them to Jesus. We will be ministers of life, truth, mercy and the power of God. And God’s glory will be seen around us!

 

Let’s step out in faith today, intentionally desiring to connect with people and then as their needs are revealed, to meet them thru the power of God alive in us!

HAVE YOU SEEN JESUS?

HAVE YOU SEEN JESUS?

I was challenged and inspired as I read these musings from my brother-in-law, Jim Roth. He has agreed to let me share them with you. I’m sure you will be equally as challenged and encouraged as you read these thoughts based on Jesus appearance to a couple of His disciples on the road to Emmaus from Luke 24.

 

Did you ever wonder why the disciples were “kept from recognizing Him” when He came along side?

  • Maybe they weren’t ready.
  • Maybe they needed to understand first the veracity of the OT prophecies.
  • Maybe they wouldn’t have really listened if they recognized Jesus right away.
  • Maybe their emotional state at seeing Him needed to be grounded in the Word
  • Maybe they might have missed the deeper meanings of the resurrection when they faced a skeptical church audience later.

 

Jesus met them where they were. Disappointment, consternation, confusion, maybe even unbelief. Jesus gave them space to express that all. He listened carefully as they told Him the events of the past few days.

  • Maybe He knew they also needed to restate their earlier well founded hope and their amazement at the earlier reports of His resurrection.

 

Then as Jesus began to teach and instruct them as to what the Scriptures said about Him, their hearts were warmed. How often we too are warmed by our latest understanding of a new scriptural truth. Or when we read his Word in private devotions.

 

But they were not yet content with that experience. Somehow the Holy Spirit prompted them to seek more. They begged Him to stay with them even though they didn’t yet know who they were with.

  • Maybe their faith was sufficient to believe God is indeed “the rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him.”

Even though Jesus acted like he had a different agenda they convinced him to stay and when they did and He served the bread, they saw Him…their eyes were opened and their joy complete. They became motivated witnesses at that point.

  • Maybe we need to see HIM before we will be effective messengers.
  • Maybe if we asked with passion He would be revealed in all His glory to us today.
  • Maybe He would gladly modify his agenda to meet our real need.

 

Where are we in that story? Obviously on this side of the death and resurrection of Christ!  But…

  • disappointed with our situation/circumstances and dashed hopes?
  • disappointed because our experience has not lined up with our expectation?
  • discouraged by the incompleteness of our own experience or failures?

 

When will we be satisfied?

  •  When our hearts are warmed by a fresh revelation of scripture?
  •  or the promise of more fellowship…?
  • or when our minds are renewed and the eyes of our heart are opened?

When we see Jesus we can’t help but be more inspired messengers and we will know we have a message!

All Is Not Lost!

All Is Not Lost!

Alll is Not LostALL IS NOT LOST!

It’s easy to lose hope, be discouraged and frustrated because of circumstances in our lives. Life doesn’t always happen the way we expect and things can seem to build up until the “light at the end of the tunnel” is pretty dim. You need to know that this is not a new concept and you’re certainly not the only one feeling that way. It’s an oft used tactic of Satan. Check out this verse from Psalm 129:2  

   “From the time I was young, people have attacked me,  but they have never overpowered me…”    

Satan & his cohorts work hard to wear down and ultimately wipe out those who believe in God. But they have never prevailed.  And that’s not going to change anytime soon. It may look like it and it may even feel like it, but the fact is the power and plan of God has not changed and will not change.

 

Be encouraged today! Get your focus back on God; His love for you, His power to help, His plan to take you where you need to be. Do you trust Him to meet your needs, to look after you? Often when we’ve been struggling for a while we lose sight of His care and His plan. When He doesn’t do what we thought He should have done. When He doesn’t seem to respond to our cries for help, it’s hard to continue to trust Him wholeheartedly. We start trying to make things happen ourselves.

 

Don’t go there, change the way you think and act. Return to Him! He’s on your side. He never left your side! The enemy is not going to win! Jesus is your Cornerstone! Like it says in Isaiah 28:16

I am going to lay a rock in Zion,  a rock that has been tested,  a precious cornerstone,  a solid foundation. Whoever believes in him will not worry.

Jesus is a rock, a cornerstone, a solid foundation. This incredible stability and strength is for you! He can easily bear the whole weight of what’s going on in your life and hold it all together. You can trust Him with everything, with anything, with all things!!

 

One of my favorite songs is Lauren Daigle’s  “Trust In You”. It speaks to the heart of this issue, that even when things aren’t going the way you think they should and your prayers aren’t being answered as soon as you’d like, you can trust God. Why? Because He is everything you need and He understands what you’re going through! This song is encouraging and faith building. It will help you to get your focus back on God. On who He is and what He’s done, is doing and will continue to do for you. And, best of all, it will cause you to be able to encourage those around you who may be struggling!

 

Life is tough at times but our God is tougher! He will not let you be taken out of the game! In fact, He says, I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11

 

Will you trust Him today?

A Reason to Celebrate

A Reason to Celebrate

The Best is Yet to Come

Christmas, a time of celebration! Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth to save us from our sins. It was all part of God’s plan from the beginning of time!

This child, born in a manger, in a barn in Bethlehem, would someday give His life so we could have life! An incredible concept that challenges me every day. Through belief in His death and resurrection, I can walk in newness of life! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come.”

And that’s not all, when Jesus died He restored our ability to have an intimate relationship with the  Father, God. This desire is built into each one of us but can only be attained through faith in the work of Jesus. It’s wonderful to be in relationship with our Father. He created us, knows us personally and cares and loves us like no-one on earth.

So we have freedom from the past, including all sin and shame, and a renewed connection with our Father. Yes, we really do have reasons to celebrate!

But again, that’s not all, the best is yet to come. You see just before Jesus returned to heaven, He promised to come back, get us and take us to be with Him. (John 14:3). Yes, we have hope for today, but we also have a great hope for the future. Today, life isn’t always easy. Bad things happen to good people. It’s in times like these that knowing there is something more, gives us hope.

You see, Jesus is going to return. But this time it will not be as a baby in a manger. He’s coming as the King of all Kings and Lord of all Lords! He’ll be riding a white horse. His eyes will be like flames of fire. He’s coming as a conquering King, to make things right and to take what’s His! What a day that will be! The Bible says there will be no more crying or pain. No sorrow or grief. We’ll have new bodies, no more sickness or death.  Great reasons to celebrate. Wonderful hope for the future.

But I think the best part of heaven is going to be the reality of God’s presence. The radiance of His glory that we cannot comprehend while here on this earth. Yes, we experience His presence here and can know He is with us always. But our earthly minds cannot comprehend the wholeness and perfection of who God is. That’s why our new bodies are going to be so wonderful. Our capacity for understanding will be increased so we can truly see and know God in all His glory, in all His holiness!

As followers of Jesus we have many reasons to celebrate today.

I challenge you to keep all this in mind as you celebrate the birth of your Savior and let’s take every opportunity to share the hope we have with those who need to hear it!

*If you don’t feel you have any reason to celebrate this season. Just pray. Talk to God and tell Him how you feel. Tell Him you want to celebrate Him this Christmas. He’ll hear your prayer and meet you right where you are! Then come join us at Victory Church of Red Deer on Sunday morning or find a church near you. Let me know so I can pray for you and help in any way I can.