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In the Midst of the Mess – Joy!

March 28, 2016

Horrendous terrorist attacks. Wars and rumors of more wars. Radical Islamists developing nuclear bombs and missiles. An ugly, contentious presidential primary process. A true National Debt that is greater than all the assets of our nation. Riots in major cities fomented by hate groups. Yet, today, in the midst of all of that, unbelievably a large portion of the world’s population is joyous!
Who are these crazy people? What secret do they possess that is hidden from the rest of the world? They’re happy about an empty grave!
Now, to most people an empty grave is nothing more than a hole in the ground. But to the crazy people, also known as Christians, it represents hope. You see, the former inhabitant of that grave is the Prince of Peace. So we have hope that He will one day bring peace to the world.
The Bible says He will be a righteous Ruler. So we won’t need politics any more! He is our Provider, so there will be no debt. He is Mighty; no army or bomb can defeat Him. He is Love – all hate and dissension will vanish in his presence.
The Bible tells a story in Luke Chapter 8 of Jesus and His disciples crossing a lake. Jesus was below decks sleeping when a tremendous storm threatened to swamp the ship. The disciples woke Him, crying, “Master, we’re about to drown!”
I imagine Him looking at them with disappointment for a moment before He went up and spoke to the wind and the waves. As soon as he rebuked them the wind stopped and the sea became calm. Then He expressed his disappointment with the men He had trained. “Where is your faith?” He asked.
The real lesson here is not that Jesus had the power to calm a deadly storm. It is that in the midst of the storm, He was at peace. He was actually sleeping inside that storm-tossed ship.
We’re like that ship. There are storms all around us. Storms of fear, anger, danger and even death. But because Jesus is inside us, we have His peace. We can be at rest in Him when all those around us are overcome by fear and confusion.
And it’s all because of the Cross – and the empty grave. When Jesus was crucified on the Cross and placed in His tomb, His disciples were heartbroken. That is understandable; they loved him dearly. What is not understandable is that they lost hope.
These were the same disciples who were on that ship. They had experienced His mighty power. They had seen many other proofs of His Lordship, including watching a dead man come to life. And He had TOLD them He would rise on the third day.
But still they were downcast. Still they were bereft. Still they wallowed in their unbelief. Until He rose from the dead!
When they saw that empty grave suddenly everything made sense. Suddenly they had hope. If Jesus could rise from the dead and live eternally, so could they. And from that hope sprang Joy!
Don’t focus on the storm around you. Don’t let all the craziness of this world get you down. Christ is risen! The grave is empty! Join the Joy!

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Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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