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December 11, 2018

Open Your Heart: Part 2

“I Jude, am a slave to Jesus Christ and brother to James, writing to those loved by God the Father, called and kept safe by Jesus Christ.  Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!” Jude 1:1-2 (MSG) 

If we are to experience life in all its fullness as Jesus promised, we must open our hearts to God. Jude offers practical counsel for how we do that, especially when our hearts have been wounded.  Jude must have spoken from experience.  He was the half brother of Jesus, and the Scriptures tell us that his own brothers questioned Jesus’ Messianic claim.  In fact, it wasn’t until after the resurrection that they opened their hearts wide to His love.  John’s Gospel tell us,

For even (Jesus’) own brothers did not believe in Him.” John 7:5 (NIV2011)  

Mark adds,

“When (Jesus’) family heard what was happening, they tried to take Him away. ‘He’s out of His mind,’ they said.” Mark 3:21 (NLT2)

Talk about having a closed heart!  It must have been difficult for them to accept that their older brother was the promised Messiah.  Like James, Jude eventually opened his heart to Jesus and showed us how we can open our hearts as well.  In his brief one-chapter letter, Jude wrote,

“Rest, everything’s coming together….”  Jude 1:2b (MSG)

If I’m to open my heart wide to God, I must affirm the goodness of God’s heart!  In 1 Chronicles 16:34, the Bible says,

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!”  (ESV)

God is good all the time!  All the time God is good.  His goodness is forever!  Sometimes, circumstances would lead us to believe that God is not always good.  The problem with judging God’s goodness from circumstances is that we don’t have a complete understanding.  We can only view the circumstances from our limited perspective.  Like Jesus’ earthly family, we might have concluded that He was nuts.  It reminds me of the grandchild who was watching his grandmother cross-stitch.  From his perspective, all his little eyes could see was the back side of the pattern which didn’t look good at all.  With childlike honesty, he said, “Grandma, that looks really ugly!  It’s all full of knots!”  She laughed and told him, “That’s because you are looking at the wrong side.”  Then, she turned it over so that he could see the beautiful pattern she was making.  When we judge what God is like from our circumstances, we are looking at life from the wrong side.  Our life here is preparation for eternity!  One day in eternity, it will all make sense!  Jude reminds us to rest – stop stressing; everything’s coming together!  Rest in the goodness of God’s heart!  Even when the circumstances are confusing and painful, we can open our hearts wide to God and rest in the confidence of knowing that He is at work.  One day, everything will come together.

The prophet Zephaniah gives us an even more intimate picture of the goodness of God when our hearts or wounded and our life is full of knots.  He writes:

“For the LORD your God is living among you.  He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”  Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

Take the first step toward opening your heart wide to God by resting in His goodness!  Trust Him to make everything come together in His time and His way.  Make a decision now to quit stressing and start resting!  Let Him do the work.  Ask Him to give you an eternal perspective and listen to the song He is singing over your life.