Browsing "Faith"
Oct 28, 2014 - Faith, Worship    4 Comments

WHAT CAUSES YOU TO CELEBRATE?

While I was studying the book of Matthew, for my last two posts, I was struck by something I hadn’t noticed before. As I read the account given by Matthew, of Jesus’ baptism, I was somewhat puzzled by the people’s reaction or should I say lack there of?

Matthew 3:16-17
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like imagea dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.

This portion of scripture ends chapter three of Matthew and then we go right into chapter four where Jesus is lead into the wilderness to be tempted. I don’t know about you but it seems like this was a great occasion to worship almighty God. And yet, there is no mention of anything resembling worship in this account from Matthew, or for that matter, any of the other gospels.

Let me see if I got this right, I said to myself as I was studying this out. You mean to tell me that … Jesus rises up out of the water and the people witness the Holy Spirit descending upon Him as a Dove … the heavens open up to acknowledge it … and the very voice of Almighty God speaks … yet there is no mentioning of anybody falling to their knees in awe of God? There is no mention of John or anyone else’s reaction to this miraculous event? Did the crowd of witnesses just go on about their merry way as if this was no big deal?

Now, perhaps the people there were confused by all they had just seen. They thought that John the Baptist might be the Messiah. Luke 3:15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.

But even so, to see something so powerful, so supernatural, and not be taken over by the sheer awe of it … how can that be? How do we miss what’s right in front of us? Oh! How we would all do well to read the scriptures with the fullness of heart so that we may truly know what to celebrate and when to celebrate. Maybe if one or two people had fallen on their knees others might have followed suit. I say this because isn’t that just what happens for most us? We wait to see what others will do. Or, we miss what’s right in front of us. Let’s take a look at an Old Testament scripture from the book of Jeremiah.

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Oct 18, 2014 - Faith, Hearing From God    2 Comments

ARE YOU CHRIST -CENTERED OR CRISIS- CENTERED?

As a Biblical counselor and pastor, I am seeing crisis-centered people’s relationships, marriages and families fall apart during a crisis. I remember as a young man growing up seeing people unite during a crisis. They would seek the Lord and pool what little resources they had together to overcome hopeless situations and press forward. So I asked Jesus, “Lord, what has changed so much that people have become so fainthearted.” By fainthearted I mean showing a lack of conviction or boldness or courage when it comes to trusting Jesus during a crisis. Christians are being paralyzed by what they consider to be a crisis. They have forgotten what centered them in the first place, God almighty. Don’t get me wrong I’m not referring to those times when we need a bother or sister in The Lord to come along side us and pray with us and encourage us. I’m talking about those whose faith has been shaken at the very core and who allow their circumstances to paralyze them.

I’ve noticed a common thread when it comes to dealing with personal struggles … easily loosing your center. People who are crisis-centered tend to focus more on the imagecrisis than on finding solutions. Or should I say, The Solution – Christ! In fact crisis-centered people anticipate bad things will happen as if these bad things are just around the corner. Operating under Murphy’s Law: if anything bad can happen, it will! Now, when you live crisis to crisis and you have no center to ground you, you are like trees that are easily uprooted. When the wind and the rain beat up against them they are washed away. They lack the deep root system needed to weather the storms that come.

TO BE CHRIST- CENTERED

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

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Sep 5, 2014 - Faith    No Comments

OH, WE LOVE TO TEST THE WATERS

I recently had the most amazing conversation with a friend and fellow Christian about how The Lord will give us the desires of our hearts. My friend shared with me how he was trusting The Lord to bless his spouse with a job in the field she had gone back to school for. He admitted to feelings of frustration after watching his wife apply for jobs in her field for years and getting turned down. There is a definite struggle between the flesh and the Spirit whenever we are faced with waiting on The Lord regarding an answer to our prayers.image

I was reminded of the time that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He brought three friends Peter, James and John along with him to pray. Jesus had walked a stones throw away and prayed. Matthew 26:39 Going a little father, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “my Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. ” Jesus, being all-knowing, knew of His eminent crucifixion and in His humanity was wishing the cup of death would pass. But ultimately He wanted the will of His father to be done. Further along in Matthew 26:40-41 we read, “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping”. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

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