Sunday, August 28, 2016

Believing God is our work

“What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
John 6 28-30 ESV

Here is the background to this scripture. Jesus fed 5000 people by the Sea of Galilee. The next day, these people looked for Jesus and his disciples. Jesus recognized that these people were looking for Him, not because of the miracle He performed, but because He gave them food. Jesus told them that it was important to work for food that will give them eternal life. These people were the ones who asked the question "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?"

Jesus answer is so simple. To do the work of God, we must believe God. We must believe that God performs miracles, not because we have been doing the right things or praying the right prayers, but because we believe that God can. God CAN easily perform miracles such as feeding 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. It certainly was a spectacular miracle. However, it seemed to be very short lived. Instead of praising God and trusting Him for their future needs, these people wanted to know what they needed to do so that Jesus would perform the miracle again.

Believing that God will get us through a tough time in spite of great obstacles always brings the greater miracle. It may not be the spectacular miracle, but trust always brings the greater, lasting miracle--the miracle of a heart focused on God.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

All things are possible with God

26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Here is the story surrounding this verse. Jesus has traveled from Galilee to Judea. I am not exactly sure how many miles he traveled on foot, but possibly 60. After all of that walking, Jesus was followed by large crowds and he healed them. Then the Pharisees came to him and questioned him about divorce, which was a legal question that was debated by many teachers. Next, the children, probably rambunctious and crying, came to Jesus for blessings. Then a rich young man came to Jesus and said, Look how good I am. I obey the law and do everything I need to do to be saved. The young man expected Jesus to bless him, but instead, Jesus told him to sell his possessions and give to the poor. Although Jesus did not tell the man to sell all of his possessions, the young man still seemed to think that his possessions were more important than eternal life.

The verse above follows all of these happenings. Jesus must have been overwhelmed. I don't know that all of these things happened in a single day--certainly Jesus could not have traveled 60 miles on foot in one day-- but the time frame for all of these events is close. If Jesus had to remind himself and his disciples of God's incredible power in the face of being overwhelmed, then we most certainly need to remind ourselves as well. The circumstances of our overwhelmed feelings generally have to do with relationships (work, home, social), expectations of people in those relationships, and money or lack thereof. We have an impossible amount of work for one person to do, and we are at a loss as to how to take care of everything and take care of ourselves and our children as well.

Jesus says that if it is impossible for man, it is possible for God. Remind yourself of this today. All things are possible with God.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Danger of doubing

James 1: 6-8 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

When Adam and Eve sinned and ate the fruit, it was because satan had put doubt in their minds.

Genesis 3:1-5 "He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You[a] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

God does not mind when we question Him, but He does mind when we listen to satan's questions. Any time that we have low self esteem or our problems seem greater than we can handle, it is because we are listening to satan's constant questioning. We are allowing satan to plant doubts in our mind about God's ability to carry us through. I want to encourage you to learn to recognize when satan is whispering doubt in your mind, and to continually remind yourself that God is in control of every situation, no matter how hopeless it seems.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Our value in Christ

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:6-7 NRSV

I have always found this verse so comforting. It is not explained in the scripture why the sparrows (small seed eating birds) are sold, but it was probably either for a poor person's sacrifice or for food.

We do not put a monetary value on wild birds today, but the meaning of this verse is still is very clear--no matter how insignificant a life may seem, it is all a part of God's plan. Each and every sparrow that has ever lived or ever will live is a part of the grand scheme, and if God has taken care to plan a purpose for each and every small creature, He most certainly has a wondrous plan for our lives because He values us and loves us so much. No matter what bad things happen to us, God will use it for good--always, always, always. It is a promise that He will never fail to bring about if we have faith in His goodness.