A Christian Journey

Archive for September, 2015

Do You Understand

“And Jesus repeatedly and expressly charged and admonished them saying Look out, keep on your guard and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod and the Herodians. And they discussed it and reasoned with one another, it is because we have no bread.” Mark 8:15-16  Amplified

We have a tendency in modern-day Christianity to think that we would have more faith if we had walked with Jesus. Today’s verse though points out that this was not necessarily the case with the disciples. Jesus had just fed 4,000 people, but the Pharisees wanted Him to perform a miracle! He then asks them and His disciples, “Why does this generation demand a sign? The disciples realized they had no more bread and He tells them in the verse today to not require physical signs like the Pharisees do. They were still focused on the bread.

How often do we only have faith or have our faith strengthened when we see God move in a mighty way? When we do this we are letting the leaven of the Pharisees invade our thinking. Faith is believing what you can’t see. Trusting Jesus no matter what our physical eyes see or don’t see is true faith.

Finally Jesus told His disciples and us, “Do you not yet understand?”

If You Are Willing

“And behold, a leper came up to Him and, prostrating himself, worshiped Him saying, Lord if You are willing, You are able to cleanse me by curing me.” Matthew 8:2  Amplified

Jesus has just come down out of the mountains with a great throng of people and this leper throws himself down in front of Him. I love this scripture because the man is asking for God’s will to be done, he tells Jesus “if You are willing.” I think we would all agree that this man wants to be healed, leprosy was one of the worst diseases of its time. A person with that disease was considered an outcast and other people would even throw stones at them if they tried to enter society. Yet this man humbled himself to ask Jesus to do whatever was best for him.

We need to follow this lepers example when we go to Jesus with our problems, whether it’s a physical ailment, relationship issues, or financial needs, we need to say Lord if you are willing. I believe the Lord is always willing for us to be healed – spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and financially, but the key is leaving it up to Him. If we trust Him for eternal life, we can trust Him with our everyday life.

Jesus did heal the man and then told him to go and show himself to the priests and present the offering that Moses commanded, which is found in Leviticus 14:2-32. If you have a moment I recommend you go back to the book of the law and read what was required. It’s very lengthy, very specific and to our way of thinking would seem a bit absurd, but that’s what was required at that time. Remember though, God was not trying to make them look foolish, He was looking for obedience. We have to be careful though, to make sure our obedience and the things we do for God don’t become a god in themselves, the Pharisees let that happen to them.

In looking back at the verses in Leviticus I noticed a verse that hits home for me, it says, “If the cleansed leper is poor and cannot afford so much, he shall take one lamb for a guilt or trespass offering to be waved to make atonement for him.” When we come to Jesus for salvation we are poor, naked, and blind, but by His atoning blood, the blood of the Lamb, we are made right with God.

Why

“His disciples asked Him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?” John 9:2 Amplified

We always want to know why something bad happens, what was the cause. Today, Patriot Day, we pause and remember what happened 14 years ago in New York city. At that time some asked that question. In our verse today the disciples are asking Jesus about why a man was born blind. The prevailing thought in the Jewish community was that either he had sinned or his parents had. Now obviously since he was born blind it couldn’t have been his sin, but Jesus tells them that it was neither one. He tells them the man was born blind in order that the workings of God should be manifested in him.

Some people believe 9/11 happened because our country had turned from God and was in sin – that could be compared with the disciples question regarding sin. Look at what happens next in our story, Jesus spits on the ground and makes mud, He then puts it on the man’s eyes and tells him to go wash it off in the Pool of Siloam. Once the man did that he received his sight. Regardless of what caused the man’s blindness, his obedience healed him. Think about it, Jesus could have spoken a word or touched the man to heal him, but He wanted the man’s obedience.

Remember after 9/11 how all the people flocked to churches and prayed. Even ALL the members of Congress joined hands and prayed together to God for help. That was a wonderful thing, but what happened after that? Nothing. Some believe 9/11 was a warning to America to turn back to God and be obedient, like they were on that day. We haven’t, and so our blindness continues. This can change though, if we will turn back to God and humble ourselves before Him, in order that the workings of God can be manifested in us.

Springs of Living Water

“Now on the final and most important day of the Feast, Jesus stood, and he cried in a loud voice, If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink! He who believes in Me, who cleaves to, trusts in, and relies on Me, as the Scripture has said, From his innermost being shall flow continually springs and rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 Amplified

Are you thirsty? I think we’re all thirsty right now for some peace and joy in this world, but it’s hard to find. It seems like there’s nothing but bad news day, after day, after day. Jesus says in our verse today that if you’re thirsty come to Him and He will give you peace and joy. That doesn’t mean that all the bad news in the world will end, but it means all the bad news won’t rob you of the peace and joy that comes from Him. He goes on to say that if you believe in Him you will have a well springing up inside of you that will flow continually into your life.

If you’ve turned to Jesus before, but don’t feel that peace and joy you once did maybe you’ve let your pipes get clogged up. Sin, worries and the troubles of this world can do that. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and this time cleave to, trust in and rely on Him to take care of all of that. Let that sweet tasting, living water flow continually in your spirit so that you can know the joy of Jesus.

Love Much Forgive Much

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, many as they are, are forgiven her – because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Luke 7:47  Amplified

Today’s verse comes from a visit Jesus had at a Pharisee’s house while He was having dinner. A woman came up from behind him while He reclined and began pouring oil on his feet, crying and wiping His feet with her hair. The most interesting part was that she was “a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner.” Of course when the other Pharisees saw what was happening they were highly offended that Someone claiming to be a Prophet of God would allow this unclean woman to touch Him. So Jesus asks the host, Simon, a question, if there are two debtors and one owes much but the other just a little which one would be more grateful. Simon replies that he would think the one whose debt was greater would be more grateful. He then turned to the woman and said, “Your faith has saved you, go, enter into peace, in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin.”

We who have grown up in church and have known the Lord for most of our life sometimes tend to look down on those who have lived a life of sin and its consequences. What Jesus is telling us in this story, though, is that we are all debtors and sinners, we all need forgiveness. Though we have been forgiven little we tend to not be as loving as we should be to others. Ultimately, what you have said and done is between you and God, and what I have said and done is between me and God. The important thing is that we seek God for forgiveness and wholeness. He loves all those who come to Him in true repentance, we all look the same to Him. We should love others as He does love much.

Attitude is Everything

“And He said, What comes out of a man (person) is what makes a man (person) unclean and renders him unhallowed (unholy).”  Mark 7:20   Amplified

In our verse today Jesus is repeating to the disciples what He had just told the Pharisees. His followers were having a hard time understanding what He was saying, though. The confusion appears to arise from the fact that He told them what they eat doesn’t make them unclean or unacceptable. Traditional Jewish law had told them what they could and couldn’t eat and now Jesus is telling them it doesn’t matter. He was trying to drive home to them the point that what we do and say comes from our heart, not what we eat or drink. The heart, which is our mind, our conscience, the point from which all we do comes from, is what is evil or good. Jesus goes on to list all the things that people do to others and against God.

In our society today we tend to look at the things that people do and credit their background or ethnicity for their actions. Jesus clearly says here that actions come from the heart and the way a person thinks. No matter what restrictions you try to put on people, if they want to do wrong, they’re going to do wrong.

When you’re making a decision about acting or reacting to a situation, take a moment and check you heart, your attitude, as to why you are leaning toward one course of action versus another. Our compass should always be the Lord, seek His guidance and ask Him to help you with the decisions in your life.

Your Foundation

“And the rains fell, the floods came, the winds blew, and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:25  Amplified

In reviewing our verse for today it seemed appropriate that just a few days ago we remembered Hurricane Katrina and the devastation it wreaked on my home town of New Orleans ten years ago. For those who went through that it may have been tough to relive all of that destruction again, most have tried to put it behind them. Many people were forced to leave that area and after resettling elsewhere never returned.

Storms of all kinds come into our life and how well we weather them is based on our foundation. In our verse today Jesus is telling us, “everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them, obeying them, will be like a sensible, prudent, practical, wise person who built his house upon the rock.” Conversely He goes on to say, “everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid foolish person who built his house upon the sand.”

Your house, the spirit man, is built on the foundation of what you believe in, whether it be yourself or others. Please listen to Jesus words and make Him the foundation of your house to help you weather the storms that come into your life.