A Christian Journey

Archive for July, 2015

Only Trust Him

“And a furious storm of wind, of hurricane proportions, arose and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled. But He was in the stern of the boat asleep on the leather cushion, and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do you not care that we are perishing?”   Mark 4:37-18   Amplified

Even though we are studying to be like Jesus, here He is telling us how to be like Him.

We all know or have heard how powerful a hurricane can be, how destructive its winds and water are, and what devastation it can cause. The Amplified version of today’s verse tells us that’s how powerful this storm was. We each have had and weathered storms that have come into our life, a momentary crisis like a flat tire, or the loss of a job, a house or worse a loved one. Like the disciples we tend to ask Jesus why these things happen and if He really cares. What is His reply? How is it that you have no faith, no firmly relying trust?

As “believers” we have trusted Jesus with our eternal salvation, yet we can’t trust Him to see us through our storms? No matter what happens in our lives God will always do what’s best for you if you will only trust Him to.

Which Do You Feed The Most

“For if you love those who love you, what reward can you have? Do not even the tax collectors do that?” Matthew 5:46 Amplified

Jesus is telling the crowd during his Sermon on the Mount to love their enemies and pray for them. It’s in our human nature to only care for people who treat us right, but we are not of this world and our human nature only cares about itself. We must be children of the King and show love to all. It IS possible to not like what someone is doing, yet still love them out of a heart of compassion knowing that they are only hurting themselves. We must begin to see people through the eyes of Jesus, how He sees them. When we act in an unloving way toward those who aren’t nice we become like them and allow the carnal man to defeat the spiritual man.

I heard a story about a man who had two dogs that used to fight, someone asked him which one wins, his reply was, whichever one I feed the most. So it is imperative that we feed our spiritual man with the Word of Life, God’s Word to strengthen us to be able to walk out what is pleasing to Him, AND best for us.

Not Enough Righteous Indignation Today

“And having made a lash of cords, He drove them all out of the temple enclosure, both the sheep and the oxen, spilling and scattering the brokers’ money and upsetting and tossing around their trays.” John 2:15 Amplified

Today’s verse is the only time we see Jesus become angry, some think this justifies anger, but it doesn’t. Anger is an emotion which we feel as much as sadness, happiness, guilt or shame, we’ll feel them, but we must never let them control us.

Jesus was in complete control when He went into the temple area and saw that there were people making a profit off the sacrificial animals that were needed. He had what’s called righteous indignation. It’s called that because He wasn’t angry about something done to Him personally, he was angry that people were treating something or someone else wrongly, in this case God’s house.

As believers we have no right to be angry when someone does something wrong to us because we’ve given up our rights to the Lord, HE will defend us. As believers, though, we have every right and should become angry when people treat God or others wrongly, especially the innocent. That being said bear in mind that in Ephesians 4:26 Paul tells us when we are angry not to sin, so we must be careful in our response even if we’re defending others. Proverbs 14:29 says “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is hasty of spirit exposes and exalts his folly.” Finally, James 1:19 says, “Understand this my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, a ready listener, slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.”

Again, Jesus was in complete control of His emotions, being human he had them, but He didn’t let them control Him. I pray and ask Him to help me control mine, self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit.

Those Who Are Sick

“And Jesus replied to them, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” Luke 5:31 Amplified

Jesus had just called Matthew, otherwise known as Levi a tax collector, into His group of disciples. Matthew was so happy and excited that he invited Jesus and all of his friends to a great banquet at his house. At that time tax collectors were considered great sinners because they stole from the people, by either overcharging them or saying they didn’t pay their taxes when they did.

As usual the Pharisees were nearby during this gathering and accused Jesus of hanging out with sinners. His reply is our verse for today.

We must remember that as believers Jesus has sent us out into the world to proclaim the gospel. We may not get invited to an IRS banquet, but we do go out into the world every day. While we don’t partake of sinful activity we can still show others, by our response to temptation, the gospel message. Jesus said we are to be in the world but not of the world.

Finally, Jesus replied to the Pharisees, “I have not come to arouse, invite, and call the righteous, but the erring ones, those not free from sin, to repentance, to change their minds for the better and heartily to amend their ways, with abhorrence of their past sins.”

Jesus showed love, but he also proclaimed repentance. He never told anyone in scripture that it was alright for them to continue in their sinful lifestyle.

We must show people love, but they should also know that we do not condone sinful behavior either. If they question us we must always point them to Jesus.

Blessed Are You When

“Blessed are the humble, those who mourn, those who are long-suffering, those who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness sake.” Matthew 5:3-11  Amplified

Jesus is teaching to all who would listen to what we know as the Beatitudes, these are the attitudes as a believer we should be or have. I like how the Amplified Bible interprets the meaning of blessed, it says – “happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous with life joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions.” Wow! That’s awesome. My understanding of this is if we allow God to work through us and BE in us the way Jesus lists these behaviors, then we will be blessed. It won’t matter what we’re going through, we will have life joy and satisfaction in God’s favor, knowing He will take care of us.

Let’s take a closer look at the eight attitudes that Christ tells us to have. 1. To be humble. Now that doesn’t mean you’re a doormat for everyone, you humble yourself to God. When we become a believer we trade our earthly life for eternal life, we give our rights to defend our self to Him. When you think about it I’d rather have Him defending me over me doing it myself anyway. 2. To mourn. I never really understood this one, are you mourning a loved one who has passed on or something else you’ve lost? I believe now He means, to be soft-hearted about the things that God is soft-hearted about, like the lost, the widows, the orphans, killing of innocent children. Are you sad about the spiritual state of other people. I believe that’s what He means. 3. To be long-suffering. Do you have patience? We have so little of that today, in our instant society we don’t like waiting much at all, even on God. One thing that may help us with patience is the thought of eternity, that’s a long time. 4. To hunger for righteousness. Do we seek to do what’s pleasing to the Lord and encourage other people to do so as well? Hunger is a desire, in this case a desire to do what makes God happy. 5. To be merciful. Don’t we all want mercy when we’ve done something wrong? The best way to receive mercy is to first give it and we do that through forgiving others of what they’ve done to us. 6. To be pure in heart. What are your motives? Why do you do what you do? Why do you say what you say? If your thoughts were put up on a big screen for all to see would they be pure? 7. To be a peacemaker. Are you known to others as calm and peaceful or always stirring things up? If there’s a dispute between two people are you trying to mend the fences or picking sides? 8. To be persecuted. We tend to think about this as someone picking on us. This was evidently a common thought as the Lord goes on to explain this one in greater detail later. Suffice it to say He means persecution for the sake of the Gospel, we may well see that more and more as our beliefs come under attack here in the U.S.

The great news of the Gospel is that Jesus tells us what the blessings are that we will get when we allow Him to live in and through us. The humble receive the Kingdom of heaven, those who mourn are comforted, the patient will inherit the earth, those who hunger for righteousness are completely satisfied, those who are merciful shall obtain mercy, the pure in heart shall see God, peacemakers will be called the sons of God, those persecuted have a great reward in heaven.

The Amplified Bible also describes the blessings Jesus gives as “a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace.” How beautiful!

Time Has Come

“Jesus said to her, Woman, what is that to you and to Me? What have we in common? Leave it to Me, My time, hour to act, has not yet come.”  John 2:4  Amplified

The story of Jesus turning water into wine is one that is well-known. Did you know His mother Mary was the one who asked Him to perform that miracle? They were at a wedding and she found out there was no more wine, she went to Jesus because she knew Who He was. We would have to think that this must have been a close family member getting married for her to go to Him with this request. Jesus had only just started His ministry and He told her in our verse today that His time had not yet come. We must assume He meant in performing miracles. Yet as we continue reading the story He performs the miracle, changing the water to wine, and of course it’s the best wine ever, divine wine.

So it makes me wonder, if He told her it wasn’t His time why did He do it anyway? For me this tells me that sometimes we’re asked to act on something or respond, but we’re hesitant because we don’t feel prepared. That’s when we must trust God, especially if the person requesting it is someone close to us. Mary knew Jesus better than anyone else, I don’t think she would have asked Him had she not been prompted by the Holy Spirit.

Too often we are afraid to step out of our comfort zone, I like to think of it as our boat in life, and step onto the water where Jesus is. If we’re prompted or asked to do something that will bring glory to God, we need to trust Him that He will hold our hand and guide us through it.

Not Welcomed

“Then He said, Solemnly I say to you, no prophet is acceptable and welcome in his own town.” Luke 4:24 Amplified

Do you ever feel like the people you want to reach the most are the ones you can’t seem to reach? Jesus knew how that felt. In our verse today Jesus has just begun His earthly ministry and He starts at home in Nazareth. He goes in the synagogue and reads from Isaiah verses describing the Messiah, He tells them the scripture has been fulfilled in their hearing. Then He proceeds to tell them our verse for today, that prophets are sent where they are needed which isn’t always their own home town. This made the people mad and they drove Him out-of-town, but He passed through the midst and went on His way.

When my son was growing up I can remember telling him some bit of information about something he was doing and he didn’t listen. Yet someone else would tell him the same thing and he suddenly had an epiphany. That’s what I got from our verse today about Jesus going to His home folks.

Often we can’t reach our own people because we’re not supposed to, they won’t listen to us anyway, but we can pray for them that someone else will speak to them about eternity and they’ll listen. We must not fret or worry over them, but go on our way speaking to others around us that we’ve been sent to.