March 24, 2009
Faith like a child
Yesterday, we spoke of the spiritual life that our Messiah calls us to. Today Jesus teaches us how to seek and find Him and then to achieve a peace and rest in Him. I think this is what many in the world are looking for…a life with less stress, more peace and rest!
The key to faith and growth in Jesus is childlike faith. A big problem in the Church is our constant wrestling over and obsession with complex theology. This blog is no exception. We posted an interview with brothers of the Chinese Church a week ago, and what we see of them who are experiencing an incredibly rich walk with the Lord is the simple faith and trust of a child to his parents. The complex theology does not bring us close to Him, the absolute devotion and commitment of our lives does. Read the rest of this entry »
March 18, 2009
17″But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; 18and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 19″But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. 20″For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matthew 10:17-20)
Do you depend on God as fully as a child depends on his father?
We spoke yesterday about the need to be innocent as the dove in our dependence on God as we move through Jesus’ teaching on how to go out into the world which we started here. This scripture is really a great relief! He tells us that we do not need to worry about what to say when we find ourselves in a critical situation representing our Messiah. The Holy Spirit will step in and speak for us. Read the rest of this entry »
March 17, 2009
“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. 15″Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of
Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.” (Matthew 10:11-15)
Innocent as a dove
God’s sending of His Messiah was the greatest blessing that God had given the world since it turned against Him. Through Jesus we can have Life! He offers us true peace as we discussed yesterday. But this comes with a catch. God is restoring the world back to Him through us as His servants and as much is given to us, much is expected. Read the rest of this entry »
March 12, 2009
A dedicated heart receives the new wine God is pouring out
Part 1 of Mt 9 looked at the faith aspects of the chapter and how we can block God’s blessings in our life. Today we look at what kind of person God is looking for to be His emissary on earth. If you feel like you are not holy enough or in some other way feel that you are not the type of person that God likes to use…Today we will focus on the fact Jesus teaches us that you are exactly the type of person that He wants to use! He is not looking for the person who fits the “religious” mold that many of us think about when we think of “holy” men.
Ch.9 begins with Jesus healing and the crowd being amazed that God “had given such authority to men” and ends with Jesus saying, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” He is looking for people He can hand this authority on earth to: for those willing to be the sons of God after He left so that they could represent Heaven on earth as He had.
The Pharisees asked why Jesus ate with the tax collectors and sinners (v.11) and John’s disciples did not understand how such a man of obvious Godly stature could have disciples who did not follow the customs of the religious elite as they did (v.14). Jesus was breaking the mold. He wanted those who were truly spiritually hungry, not those who practiced empty religious rituals. Read the rest of this entry »
March 11, 2009
Do you believe He can work miracles in your life?
Two main themes strike me as I read this chapter and after I wrote them out decided to break this into two separate posts. The first is the importance of Faith in God’s ability and willingness to transform our circumstances in order for Him to do that work in our lives. Since we covered that yesterday, I will only make a couple quick observations at the bottom. Feel free to make more that I have missed. Tomorrow, we’ll show that Jesus is not looking for the “religious types who seem to live their perfect “holy” life, but instead wants those who are hungry for more of Him.
Jesus heals one paralytic, a group of blind men, a woman who had bled for 12 years, and raises one girl from the dead in this chapter. In each case, the faith of those he ministered to seems to be crucial to His healing them. He specifically said this (v.2 & v.22), He asked to verify their faith before healing the blind men (v.28), and in the one case where the girl was dead and it was impossible to determine if she had faith in Him, He cleared the room of all the people who sneered at Him (thus demonstrating their lack of faith, even though her father had had the faith in Jesus to ask Him to raise her)(v.25). We spoke yesterday of the importance of you exercising faith in your day to day life, but this last point shows us that we should be careful about who we allow around us when we are at the work that God calls us to. When God calls you to something great, it will almost always be something that many of those around you think is impossible and a waste of time.
When Jesus encountered this situation in the room with the dead girl, He cleared them out so that the room was only filled with those who believed in God for this miracle before He asked God to raise her from the dead. This is similar to when He said that He could not perform miracles in His hometown because there were so many there who did not believe in Him. This is an amazing thing. Jesus, the living embodiment of God on earth, was constrained by a lack of faith in those He wanted to bless! Read the rest of this entry »
March 10, 2009
Everyone who is in Christ has been bought by the blood of Christ. You are His. Everything you own has become His. You are only a steward over your money and possessions. Without this, eternity is a curse, and with it, a blessing. He grants you ever increasing love, joy, peace & blessing (this does not mean life is always easy as noted before when discussing testing).
Tithing opens our eyes to God as the One who blesses
Even though everything you own is His, He only gives strict commands on the first ten percent. As you follow Him, He will lead you to give more and more free-will offerings above this. When and how will be readily apparent at that time.
There is a progression that one goes through as a tither. At first we tithe out of duty because it is commanded of us. Next, we live it and begin to realize the supernatural blessing that God gives us as we are faithful. Finally, we love to tithe, and become more attuned to His heart as the One who blesses. We begin to live life step-by-step with God and an eye towards where we can next bless someone over and above our tithe with the surplus He has blessed us with. Let’s look at these. Read the rest of this entry »
March 10, 2009
Faith can calm the storms of your life
We finished the Sermon on the Mount yesterday here. My original thinking to do a bible study with a focus on Stewardship and Calling was not to go into minute detail, but instead to read a chapter a day and share my reflections on that chapter as it related to Stewardship and Calling. You can read about this original idea in the posts on 1/9, 1/12, 1/14, 1/16, 1/20, & 1/22 introducing this study. However, I felt the S.O.M. was important enough for us to dig deeper. Today, we’ll return to the study of a chapter where I’ll share my thoughts and hope that you fill in your thoughts and revelations on this chapter so that together we can produce a complete study on Stewardship and Calling for anyone in the world who wants to access it.
Matthew tells several stories of Jesus’ ministry and several things stand out to me; most of them are about Faith. Faith is not only the key to accepting the grace of God through Christ for salvation. It is also the key to accepting His grace into our lives in greater and greater capacity that it can transform every area of our lives. If we want more and more of God’s blessing to show up in different areas of our life…Faith in Him for this is a very important ingredient. Read the rest of this entry »