Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Trouble is normal.”
In John 16:33, on the night before He was to be crucified, Jesus assured us that in this world we will have trouble. Well boy did He nail that one! This is a world filled with trouble. And it always has been. Jesus spoke those words almost 2000 years ago. They were true then and they have continued to be true every day since then.
And yet, on this side of the cross we are empowered by the Spirit of God to have peace in the middle of it all. Jesus conquered the world, and by means of our faith in Him, so can we. We don’t have to live in fear, nor should we be discouraged and defeated by the challenges we face. I have often said that life with Jesus is always better than without Him, and that’s true regardless of the circumstances of your life. Whether your life is lived in a mansion in Beverly Hills, or in a hut in a remote part of Africa; whether the circumstances of your life include good health and prosperity, or sickness and poverty; whether the nation is enjoying peace and a strong economy, or if worldwide pandemic has plunged us all into isolation and a recession. Whatever the circumstances, life is always better with Jesus than without Him.
And also, the stronger your relationship with Him is the better equipped you will be to deal with whatever those circumstances are. That’s why we place so much emphasis on good discipleship practices as an integral part of the practice of the Christian faith. And it’s why, during tough times, we all need to lean into our relationship with Christ and rely on Him even more.
I began this series “Life on this side of the cross” with the intention of preparing us for our celebration of Easter. I wanted to help us better appreciate what a monumental shift in human history the death and resurrection of Jesus was. At that time, I had no idea we were about to be engulfed in a worldwide pandemic that would dramatically alter our lives as it has. Therefore, understanding the difference Jesus makes in our lives, and how it is that we are to live on this side of the cross as His faithful followers, is even more important now than it was just four short weeks ago. That being the case, I have decided to continue this theme into April. There’s much more we can learn about “Life on this side of the cross”, and I think we need those lessons now more than ever.