Beliefnet
We Wait He Works

quotes of encouragement

If you were a disciple of Jesus, what would you feel? How would you feel if you heard Jesus say that He was going to die? Would you feel terrified, sad, overwhelmed? What thoughts would go through your mind? Would you think that it was some kind of sick joke that He said that He was going to die? A number of his disciples didn’t want Him to die. Peter was even the one who denied that Jesus would ever die, and told Jesus to His face, “Never Lord! This will never happen to you.” Would you be in deep denial when it came to Jesus telling you that He was going to die? How would you feel about Him saying that even though you may not understand things that are happening right now, eventually you will understand? All of that information can be pretty hard to swallow.

His disciples found out, He really did die for the sins of the world. He really did go to Hell and then go to Heaven, and raise to life three days later. The love that He had for everyone on Earth must have been overwhelming to His disciples. What would you feel if you realized once and for all that He is the true Messiah? How would you feel after witnessing Him perform many miracles? Would you feel honored, skeptical, fearful or would you be put in awe at the realization that He was true God and true man?

What must have gone through the disciples head when Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him? What would you feel if someone told you that they knew that you were going to betray them? Of course, you’d probably stick to the ultimate denial and say that you won’t betray them right? The disciples must have looked at one another over and over. Fear must have crept into their hearts and their minds. To hear that one of them was going to betray Jesus must have made them second guess each other and second guess themselves completely.

Some of the questions they may have asked themselves might have included “Did I not follow Him everywhere?” “Wass I, not a good enough follower?” “Did I miss something?” “Did I miss one of His crucial points in His teachings or in His sermons?” “What have I not been listening for?” “Why didn’t I listen more closely to His sermon’s?” “What did I miss?” “How could He not tell me or any of us this sooner?” “Which one of us will hurt Him?” “Betray Him? Ha, me? Yeah right. I’m one of His disciples. Someone else might betray Him but not me.” “There’s no way He could say any of us could betray Him.” “Oh my gosh..what if it’s me that betrays Him?”

The list of thoughts in their heads could go on and on. I’m sure it could go on and on in our heads if we were ever in that situation too.

What about when Jesus tells the disciples that someone will deny them? That someone was Peter. He didn’t want to believe that he would be capable of such an atrocious act. He denied that he would deny Jesus and then as soon as the rooster crowed three times, he knew exactly what he had done and he ran away and hid in shame. You really can’t blame him for hiding in shame though, either.

What must have the disciples felt when the guards and Judas showed up to take Him to Pontius Pilate? Look at Peter. He was angry enough at the guards for taking Jesus that he cut off one of the guards ear in a sword fight and was prepared to kill the guards until Jesus told him to put his sword down. The disciples must have been in complete shock as the realized that Judas who used to be one of them, betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Some of the thoughts that may have been going through their head during that time might have sounded like this. “How could he betray Him like this?” He used to be one of us. He not only betrayed Jesus but he betrayed us too!” “Jesus knew Judas was going to betray Him?” “I gotta get out of here before the soldiers arrest me for being a follower of Jesus too.” “Why are they arresting Him? I gotta help Him But, how? What do I do? I can’t go against the Roman soldiers or Pontius Pilate. If I do, then I’ll wind up arrested or worse.”

The word fear was very real in those times leading up to Jesus’ death on Good Friday. We know Jesus was so afraid that He sweats blood. No other human being has been so stressed out that they actually sweat blood. So, the next time you think you’re stressed out, remember, you aren’t the one who sweat blood. Your situation, even as dire as it may seem is nothing compared to what Jesus went through. Your situation is almost nothing compared to what the disciples heard and witnessed that week leading up to Jesus’ death on Good Friday.

pontius pilate

Have you ever wondered what Pontius Pilate thought about when Jesus was set before him during his trial? Have you ever wondered why they chose him to choose who to sentence to death, either Jesus or Barabas?

In John 18:28-40, the story of Jesus coming before Pilate is told.

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”  Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected.

 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.  Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this, he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!” Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.”

In John 19: 1-16, the story continues.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe  and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.  Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.”  When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.” The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God.”  When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid,  and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaicis Gabbatha).  It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.  Finally, Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

You can bet Pilate was stressed during it too.  He must have bee almost as distressed as Jesus was with everything that was happening. He told the crowd before him “I see nothing wrong that this man has done.” Because of this Pilate literally washed his hands of the mess of it because he couldn’t take being the man that was responsible for turning Jesus over to be crucified. He didn’t want to see Jesus be condemned by the people and put to death. He didn’t want to be the one that handed over an innocent man to be crucified for no reason.

He thought he had made a terrible mistake by handing Jesus over to be crucified. He washed his hands of the mess and retreated after that. To think that the people were counting on him to be the one that handed Jesus over to die must have been overwhelming for him. Maybe some of his thoughts were, “Why would they want me to condemn this man when he hasn’t done anything wrong?” “What is this game their playing?” “Why release a hardened criminal like Barabas instead of releasing an innocent man like Jesus?”

But think about this too. If Pilate hadn’t handed Jesus over to be crucified, then His story and everyone’s story would have turned out differently. None of us would have our sins forgiven. Jesus had to take them upon Himself, so we could all live. Even though Pilate didn’t know it at that time, he was doing the right thing for all of us. If he wouldn’t have said to crucify Jesus, then none of us would be saved.

the realness of anxiety

Living with anxiety is not an easy thing to do. It is a daily struggle. Anxiety can make us second guess ourselves. For anyone struggling with anxiety, you know this struggle all too well. It’s not an easy thing to deal with every single day. But how about for those living with someone who has anxiety. This poses new challenges too. For someone who doesn’t have anxiety, it can wear them down when their significant other is constantly worried about different aspects of their life. The person suffering might get mad at their significant other for not being there for them enough. Think about it though too. The other person might be struggling to figure out how to best help them. They may not know what to do for them. It takes a long while to figure out the best ways to deal with anxiety as the sufferer, and as the person watching the person suffering.

What some people suffering from anxiety probably want you to know is that we need people to be there for us. We need reassurance about some or all of our insecurities. Please don’t come down on us like it’s an inconvenience for you to see us or hear us in an anxious state of mind. Don’t get angry at us for our anxiety. Sometimes, you don’t even have to say anything to us to try and fix it for us. Just be there for us and hold us. Sometimes a hug is all we need to be able to push through the anxiety spell. Some days we have to walk away from what we were doing or cancel plans with you. Don’t take it personally. Don’t think we are avoiding you. Sometimes anxiety takes a toll on us for longer periods of time.

We want them to remember that an anxiety spell or an anxiety attack can come at any time or anywhere. If you see us not talking to you or spacing out in the middle of a social situation, then ask us if we are doing ok. If we say no or shake our head no, then, by all means, get us away from the crowd or wherever we might be. Get us outside to catch our breath. Give us a hug and remind us to focus on the good things of the day instead of focusing on the anxiety attack itself.

Reminding us to focus on anything but the anxiety is a great way to distract us and to make it disappear faster. If we are at home when an anxiety spell or anxiety attack occurs, just hold our hand or hold us in your arms without saying anything. If we don’t want to talk about what is giving us anxiety, then respect that. Don’t keep pressuring us to tell you exactly what’s wrong. That only causes us to shut down and not want to talk about the anxiety attack in the first place. Sometimes we don’t always want to voice exactly what’s causing our hearts to race, while other days we actually can’t put into words how we feel because the anxiety is so great within us. Other days we will want to talk openly about our anxiety.

Pray for us and with us when you know we’re in the middle of an anxiety attack. Sometimes prayer is the exact medicine that is needed at that moment. Prayer can be and is the greatest weapon against anxiety, but sometimes our minds are so clouded over that there is no way we can think clearly. We need you to help take the first step and just pray a simple prayer for us and over us and especially with us if we don’t know where to start.

Remind us that everything is ok and help us see the good things in our lives instead of focusing on the anxiety. Sometimes we just need a gentle push back to reality. After all, anxiety causes us to think irrational thoughts at times and causes us to think our worst fears are coming true. Remind us that everything is okay and that we are safe. If we need to cuddle, then just cuddle with us. Just be there and help us feel better. You don’t even have to say anything. Just being there for us is more than enough.

Remind us of everything good that we have been able to accomplish. Remind us not to focus on the bad. Remind us that no matter how bad the anxiety feels, that you will be there with us. Remind us that God is with us too. It might seem like we’re asking a lot, but any of these things will help us get through our anxiety easier.

Man-Praying

We all have had days where we just want to vent and complain about everything that is going on around us, and even within us. Some days it’s harder than others to remember just how blessed you are because of God. When you’re down in the dumps, it can be harder than ever to remember to think about the blessings God has placed in your life. When all you feel like doing is complaining, you normally can’t focus on even the tiniest detail of good that God brought into your day. As said before some days are harder than others and we’d be lying and fooling ourselves if we didn’t admit that. If you are struggling right now in any aspect of your life, I encourage you to get it off your chest in any way that you can.

Whether it is through venting out loud, praying out loud or blasting any type of music. Whatever you need to do to get those feelings of “man my life is tough,” or “poor poor pitiful me,” or “my life sucks, and it’ll never get any better” out of your system, do one of them or even all of them. Get those feelings out. Then take a few minutes to relax. Close your eyes and rest. It took a lot of energy to vent that way, didn’t it? After you regain some of the energy you need, try listing your blessings. Maybe write them down on paper or on your computer or even on your phone. Do you have a place to live? Do you have a car or any more of transportation to get to work? Do you like your job? Do you actually love your job?

Do you have a computer or a phone to write down the way you feel? Do you have a family that loves you? How about naming some true friends that you have. Are you able to pay all of your bills? That’s yet another blessing. Do you always have food on your table or in your refrigerator? How about being able to provide for the basic needs of your family? Even if your job is hard at times, it can help to realize how much your job helps both you and your family daily.

Think of it this way, if you didn’t have the job you have then you wouldn’t be able to have the roof over your head or the food in the refrigerator. Without the job, you wouldn’t be able to provide the way you do for yourself and your family without that job. If you didn’t have the car to drive to work, you wouldn’t be able to have the job that you have either. There are so many people out there that want a job and can’t get one. There are also other people out there that can’t get a job because they can’t afford the commute to and from work.

The bus is some people’s only option of getting to work because they can’t drive. Some people have to walk in blistering conditions both hot and cold, for miles just to get to work. Does your employer pay for your benefits? So many people have to pay their own health insurance out of their own pocket, and it’s not easy.

Another blessing is the fact that you live in the United States of America. You live in a free world. “The land of the free and the home of the brave” is not just song lyrics for many of us. At times you take living here in the U.S for granted. We all have done that. But remember there are so many people in third world countries that would love to be where we are right now.

There are people that long to have the food and provisions that you take for granted, the work that you complain about, someone in a third world country would love.
What about other blessings in your life? Do you have friends who would drop everything just to see you through a rough situation? Do you have prayer warriors in your life that you know you can turn to at any time? Who besides God do you know you can turn to in both good times and bad?

There are so many blessings in your life. All you have to do is start reminding yourself of them. Speak of them out loud to remember how good your life is. If you concentrate on the blessings in your life instead of the burdens of your life, it will be easier if and when the burdens come across your path.