Choosing to Follow Jesus When Life Gets Hard

Below is a digest of the daily email messages composed by Pastor Stuart Nice for the third week of January. This week he is encouraging us to choose to walk with Jesus, especially if the way is unclear. Click the title of each to read the full article.

What Is Happening Behind The Scenes | January 18, 2016
God is always doing an amazing and mysterious work in the lives of his children. Though we do not understand the mechanics of his ways, he is working throughout our lives in a manner that is bringing about his purpose and blessing for us. 

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field."
“The kingdom of heaven is like leaven."
(Matthew 13:31, 33, NASB)

The Problem Of Familiarity | January 19, 2016
As we grow in friendship and familiarity with Jesus we can begin to take Him for granted, thinking that we know how He is going to act or think about something we are concerned about.

"Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “ A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.
(Matthew 13:55-58, NASB)

Going Beyond The Pain | January 20, 2016
When people are in grief and pain, give them some space to get their emotional needs resolved. Don't allow your pain to keep you from love. The Holy Spirit has empowered us with compassion and love beyond our emotions. Let love drive us past our pain and the feelings associated with them. 

Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; and when the people heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities. When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.
(Matthew 14:13-14, NASB)

Recognizing Your Brothers | January 21, 2016
We see what we are looking for. Our vision is influenced by our perspective, which enables most of us to have a particular way of excluding others.

But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him.
(Genesis 42:8, NASB)

The Danger Of Trusting Your Feelings | January 22, 2016
David has such an honest and raw way of expressing Himself in song. This psalm, like many others, begins with an honest emotional reflection and prayer. Though David usually works his emotions back to the truth of who God is and what He is really doing, he has no problem laying out the facts as he "feels" them. 

For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
     How long will You hide Your face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
     Having sorrow in my heart all the day?
     How long will my enemy be exalted over me?

5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness;
     My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
     Because He has dealt bountifully with me
(Psalms 13:1-2, 5-6, NASB)