Sunday, August 16, 2009

Unexpected Faith

Jesus was surprised when He heard this; He turned around and said to the crowd following Him, "I tell you, I have never found faith like this, not even in Israel." Luke 7:9

No two people were more different. Jesus was an itinerant preacher, poor and without social position...a carpenter with miracles in his hands. The centurion was a Roman army officer who oversaw the work and training of one hundred soldiers. He was one of the Roman conquerors who held Israel in their tight fists.

The centurion was different. Beneath the breastplate of his armor beat the heart of a man who respected the Jews, built a synagogue for them, and cared for his servants, including one who lay sick and dying. Despite his high social rank, he was too humble to approach Jesus to ask for help. He sent others in his place. Jesus saw this as great and unexpected faith.

Someone said, "Faith is not believing that God can, but that God will!" The centurion ran the risk of ridicule from his peers and rejection by Jesus but sent for Christ's help anyway. That's how strong his love for his servant was; that's how great his faith in Christ was.

One of the great hymns is "Trust and Obey" by John Sammis. As the song was being sung in a church, a children sometimes do.... misheard the title and sang the chorus incorrectly as "trust and okay." Maybe he wasn't so far off.

Faith is the application of belief to life. It is not an academic principle; it's a tool for daily living. Like the centurion, you need to trust Christ with your problems and with your life....even if it seems to everyone else an unexpected and unlikely thing for you to do. Whether you're an outsider or an insider, Jesus is the one to turn to. Trust and okay.

One final thought.......Jesus saw a powerful man's request for help as a mighty display of faith. Nothing has changed. The most courageous thing you can do is approach Jesus in faith and belief.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by believing and not by seeing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Useless Thing

Luke 12:25
Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Anxiety is self-torment, and it gripped the people who listened to Jesus. The word Jesus used means to "examine minutely," to stew over something. People dwelled on how and when their lives would end. Such thoughts ate at them, and such concerns swallowed up the better thoughts of life.

Jesus made sure His listeners understood that such anxiety was a destructive waste of time. No matter how anxious they became, no matter how much they troubled themselves over such things, it made no difference. Anxiety couldn't extend a life, put food on the table, or drive away disease. Anxiety made things worse. It was time they let go and let God deal with matters out of their reach.

When Ann Landers was writing her popular advice column, she received an average of ten thousand letters a month. When asked if she saw a trend in the letters, some problem that seemed more common than others, she replied that most of the letters dealt with some form of fear. People were afraid of losing their health, wealth, and loved ones. In short, people were afraid of life itself.

Impossible is a hard word for many to swallow, and learning that some things are beyond your control is unnerving. No one can control aging, world events, or decisions of loved ones, and that is unsettling. People fall into anxiety; they worry, they fret, they even lose sleep. And when it is all over, nothing has changed.

Anxiety is the most useless thing in the world. Like worry, it achieves nothing good but can cause great harm. The solution is simple. Change what you can and leave the rest in God's hands......The opposite of anxiety is trust; not trust in self---good as that is--but trusting God's love and ability. Anxiety is useless; faith is everything.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Our God is faithful

Good morning. It is my prayer that people see God in a real and authentic way today. We talk about God, we pray to God, we say we are Christ followers and we go to church like good church folks do....Right? Sound familiar? Yet as we follow Christ, it becomes painfully obvious that many of us are following Him from quite a distance. We can barely see Him from that distance. We long for holiness yet we won't allow the holiness of God to get too close to us. Many times we say that we have been trying and waiting and wanting God to do amazing and cool things in and through us......but He just hasn't yet. Stay with it. Don't give in or give up.

1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 says, "Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful."

Please know that God loves you and is working in your life to make you like His Son....Jesus. Let Him be God. Let Him be the King. Let Him be The Lord of your life. God bless you today....or should I say, He already has blessed you?