Archives For faith

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Matthew 14:28 (ESV)
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

Long before you and I were born, Peter stood on the edge of a fishing boat in the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a storm. He had a decision to make, one of the greatest decision of his life. Would he step out of the boat at the command of Jesus or stay in the boat and wait?

In 1444, Conrad Witz painted this scene found in Matthew 14. The question arises, what is so unique about Witz’s Fifteenth-century painting? It is reported, “he is credited with creating one of the only true “great paintings” of this scene.

But why?

It’s a very simple and remarkable answer! Peter was called the “rock” of the church. No painter would ever show the failure of such a great leader of the early church. Peter sank like a rock; therefore, the brush strokes of great painters remained undirected to capture this scene until Conrad dared to show warts and all.

Like all people who find themselves on an edge – a decision has to be made. Do you step out of the boat or wait? You see, no one wants to be painted a failure. It could go without saying- we certainly don’t want our failures showing up on a great painting for the entire world to see. But when you are answering the call of God and fail, is it failure? I would contend that the answer is no. Fear caused Peter to sink and yes, in a classic definition, we call it a failure.

But never forget!

When Jesus calls us to do something, He will not ultimately let us fail. Jack Canfield once said, “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” Jesus was on the other side of Peter’s fear and Jesus is on the other side of your fear also.

Choose Grace

January 27, 2014 — Leave a comment

grace

Jesus doesn’t stand separately from life calling humanity unto Him; He emerges in the midst of life offering the lost of the world a way to the Father through simple faith. He left all of glory to dwell among us. In human form, the bible tells us he humbled himself through obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)

He lavished His preventive grace upon humanity as the greatest offer of all times. It is by His offer of grace we are saved through faith. Grace is not our own doing. Grace is a free gift received by placing your belief in the finished work of Christ. God’s grace is not a spiritual enhancement; it’s a radical rescue, calling you to walk the kingdom path of good works.

God’s gift of grace calls upon the sinner, inviting a choice. You can choose His offer of grace. You can reject His offer of grace. However, you can’t ignore His offer of grace because it pursues you constantly. The greatest gift to man was, is and will always be Jesus, but I contend that the second greatest gift was the gift of choices.

Choose grace; it is the only path that leads home. Choose grace; it is the only path that leads to heaven and earth coming together where those found in Christ will live for all eternity. Choose grace; the Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes. Choose grace; and you will discover the new way of life walking out the good works God has prepared for you.

Choose grace and you’re on the path to becoming fully human as God has always desired for His creation. Choose Jesus and allow all the old to pass away and embrace the new. Allow me to repeat myself as I end this devotion. Jesus doesn’t stand separately from life calling humanity unto Him; He emerges in the midst of life offering the lost of the world a way to the Father through simple faith.

heart-centred

1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

It has been said that, “Love alone is credible; nothing else ought to be believed. This is the achievement, the “work” of faith…to believe that there is such a thing as love…and that there is nothing higher or greater than it…”

When heaven and earth come together, and all things are put to right, It’s my conviction we will not need faith or hope anymore; we will only need and partake of God’s love which is eternal. That is how beautiful and powerful the love of God is.

In this present world,  we need faith. In this present world,  we need hope. In the world to come we need neither faith nor hope, for God’s love will be complete and all consuming. Death, hell and the grave will be  cast away forever.

How powerful and beauty is God’s love I’m referring to? Jesus left all of glory for you and me because of His love. He lived among humanity because of His love. He washed the feet of His disciples showing love that was indescribable. He died upon a cross demonstrating His love for all that will repent and turn to Him for rescuing from their sins.

I think of the beautiful words in Zephaniah 3:17, where the Lord is said to be in their midst, and a mighty one who will rescue them. It goes on to say that he will even rejoice over them with gladness and will quiet them by His very love. It even declares God will gloat over them with loud singing.

Yes, God’s love is great for His children and His love is credible. Even though, the world around you may fall apart, His love will always pull you close to His heart. You are His. If you have been crucified with Christ, you no longer live, but it is Christ who is living on the inside of you.

That’s right my dear friend! God loved you so much when you turned to Him in repentance and faith, He moved in! Yes, God’s love is credible, and that love lives on the inside of you. He choose to love you eternal for His glory alone.  There is coming a day, Faith and Hope no more will give way to His eternal love and we will be with Him and the body of Christ forever. Think on that today and know you are eternal loved.

 

nofaithDo you need faith for God to break into your life and do the unexpected? If you read all of Luke chapter 7, you will find the answer. Luke Chapter 7 is a beautiful portion of scripture of both faith in the heart of humanity and the absence of faith. God works in both situations.

In Luke 7:1-9 Jesus heals a Centurion’s servant. I post about it here. A short review revels that Jesus is sent for in order to heal the slave of a Centurion. As Jesus is on the way to perform the healing, the Centurion sends another word for Jesus not to even come, but to speak the words of healing only, and it will be done.

The Centurion confesses that he is not even worthy for Jesus to come under his roof. Along about verse 9 the Bible says that Jesus was blown away at that kind of faith. In other words, Jesus was astonished! That is something powerful to think about in and of itself.

However, the very next miracle begs the question, where is the faith? In the healing of the Centurion’s servant we see the faith, but here Jesus moves and does the greatest of miracles without the faith of anyone. Jesus is not tied to the faith of man. He never has been tied to the faith of man, and he never will be tied to the faith of man. It’s a beautiful paradox because on one hand without faith it is impossible to please God, and yet on the other hand he moves without any faith exercised by anyone in the crowd that day. That is simply breathtaking and beautiful to me.

The whole miracle is even more beautiful when you realize that Luke would have us to hear the future echo of the death and resurrection of Christ in the present story. Here in Luke 7:11-17 the widow and her dead son are being carried outside the gate to the burial ground to rest in death. Think ahead with me to the Jerusalem. Jesus is followed by a crowd also, and his mother, as he is on his way to death and a grave. The only difference is unlike the boy who he raised from the dead and had to die again physically, Jesus will rise to never die again. He is alive forevermore.

Put yourself in the crowd the day Jesus raised the young man from death. Professional mourners and wailers were making noise as they did in the 1st century. The mother could cry without embarrassment with those around her doing the same. The family would have been carrying spices for the body, and they would have been heading for the family cave where they would place the young man’s body.

Suddenly in the middle of all of this, a stranger and his disciple appear along side of them. Jesus walks up to the crying mother and whisper in her ear, “Do not weep.” Then he turns and touches the coffin and speaks, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”

Everyone is shocked! A miracle requiring no faith on their part has been done. They glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has risen up among us”; and, “God has visited His people.” They would have been thinking of Elijah and Elisha. They found themselves standing along side God between the echoes of Eden and the cross and resurrection to come. God was with them. The resurrection and the life was standing right in the middle of death.

Now, what are you worried about today? What life problem has you worried that your faith is not strong enough to make it? Yes, faith is important. Yes, faith is a gift. Yes, faith at times can even astonish God himself. However, what about when you have no faith? Can God still move in your life? YES! Just ask the young man raised from the dead.

Let God whisper in your ear today, “Do not weep.”

 

 

 

 

Can God Be Astonished?

April 24, 2013 — 5 Comments

wow

Would you like to have the kind of faith that astonishes God? Is it even possible to have astonishing faith? After all, God who created all things, include you and me, would be hard to astonish I would imagine.

Getting a prayer of faith answered by God isn’t what validates astonishing faith. Astonishing faith is validated when God see’s the belief of your heart that He can do anything. In other words, you completely believe God can do.

In Luke 7:1-10 the Bible tells the story of the healing of the Centurion’s servant. The Centurion has a servant who was sick, and he loved and cared for his servant greatly. Understanding how authority worked, due to his military career, he called for Jesus to heal his servant with perfect confidence.

He sends some Jewish elders to ask Jesus to rescue his servant from death. When they approach Jesus, they begged him eagerly. At this point,  there is no indication of astonishment by Jesus.  They are asking for Him to do something, but faith doesn’t seem to be the motive they are using to move Him to answer.

Instead, they appeal to what the Centurion has done for the Jewish people. It almost like they are using the old appeal and thought of, “He has done good things for us; would you now return the favor and answer his prayer?”

Regardless, Jesus goes with them anyway. As He nears the house, the centurion sent friends to meet Jesus and give Him another message. The message was, “Master, don’t trouble yourself. I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof. That’s why I didn’t think myself worthy to come to you in person. But-just say the word, and my slave will be healed.”

At this point,  Jesus was astonished at what He had just heard. One theologian said, “Jesus is astonished at the second message, and we are astonished at His astonishment! Normally in the gospels Jesus does and says things that surprise people; this is one of the few places where Jesus himself is surprised.”

That’s right! Jesus can be astonished at your faith in Him. You don’t need a big background of religious facts in your faith bag to give to Jesus to try and impress Him when you ask. You just need to believe He CAN! You must believe He is the sovereign one and Lord of heaven and earth. The centurion had grasped what many of the Jews had missed, the one true God was present, personal and active in Jesus and was walking among them.

Jesus is still walking among us today. He is still active among us today, and He lives on the inside of you. Ask Him in faith without regard for a yes, no or a maybe answer, and you will astonish Him, or at least come close trying.  God reserves the right to answer in any way He wants, but you should never hesitate to ask.

Now go and try to astonish God with your faith today.

faith

Is there such a thing as unshakeable faith? I sure hope not because trusting God most often comes with some shaking. After all, we are human. We are not God. To deny that we don’t shake just a little is to deny our humanness.

A little shaking on the inside doesn’t’ intimidate or dishonor God. The only thing that dishonors God is not obeying Him in spite of the shaking. Shaking should never be equated with not having faith. Faith is a gift given to us by God anyway. God wants us to exercise faith that honors Him. We honor Him by obeying no matter the feelings to the contrary.

He never called us to be unshakable. Don’t get me wrong, there are times you will not shake at all, but there are times you will shake a lot. Shaking should never lead to retreat. Shaking should become a stepping-stone forward and onward with God.

After all, He promises also to never leave us or forsake us. You can’t get better than that!

Great faith is not unshakable. Great faith is placing your trust in an unshakable God!