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Category Archives: Faith

Using Life’s Greatest Resource

  

You do not have, because you do not ask God. James 4:2-3 (NIV)

 Minister Bob Russell wrote about a father who watched through the kitchen window as his small son attempted to lift a large stone out of his sandbox. The boy was frustrated as he wrestled with the heavy object because he just couldn’t get enough leverage to lift it over the side. Finally the boy gave up and sat down dejectedly on the edge of the sandbox with his head in his hands.

The father went outside and asked, “What’s wrong, Son? Can’t you lift that rock out?”

“No, sir,” the boy said, “I can’t do it.”

“Have you used all the strength that’s available to you?” the father asked.

“Yes, sir,” the boy replied.

“No, you haven’t,” the father said. “You haven’t asked me to help you.”

 I wonder how many of us can identify with that little boy when it comes to dealing with life’s difficulties? We try everything within our power to deal with the situation but we can’t quite muster up enough strength to remove the burden. We end up tired, frustrated and beaten to the point of giving up. The whole time we are grappling with our situation God is waiting for us to ask him for his help.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. James 5:13(NIV)

The next time you weighed down with a life problem remember you have a Father in heaven that is willing to lift that burden for you; all you have to do is pray.

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NCAA Tourney and Being a Christian

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This is a great time of the year as 64 teams from across the nation are all vying for the chance to be crowned the National Champion of college basketball. At this point it doesn’t matter what their record was during the year, what conference they played in or the size of their school. Each team as a chance of winning the championship. The games are excitinig and fun to watch.

One of the great blessings of becoming a Christian is it is open to all! It does not matter if you are male or female, rich or poor, the color of your skin, past successes or failures because in Christ we are all given a fresh start we are all children of God. We will all win the prize of heaven.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-27

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1

Show Me A Sign!

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Remember the scene in Jerry Maguire where a phone conversation is taking place between the sports agent Maguire (Tom Cruise) and wide receiver Rod Tidwell (Cuba Gooding Jr.) where Tidwell kept shouting, “Show me the money?” Yesterday as I was reading Mark 8:11-21 I couldn’t help but think of that scene.

In this passage the Pharisees weren’t asking Jesus for money but they were asking Jesus to show them sign. I thought, “Are you kidding me, show you a sign? What about all the incredible things Jesus has already done in the last seven chapters?” I like Jesus’ reaction in verse 12 “He sighed deeply…”  Show them a sign? He healed a man with leprosy, healed a paralytic, calmed a storm, healed a demon possessed man, don’t forget about the demon possessed girl and He didn’t even see her, raised a twelve year old girl from the dead, feeds crowds of 5,000 & 4,000 people, walks on water and the list goes on. They want a sign! Ha!

If we keep reading we see Jesus will tell the disciples what the problem is with the Pharisees. Jesus and his disciples got into their boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. The disciples had forgotten to bring bread and I am sure they began to play the blame game. Jesus warns them to be careful or they will become like the Pharisees. The Pharisees had seen or at least heard about all the miracles of Jesus but in verses 17-19 Jesus explains that their hearts have been hardened, their eyes have failed to see and their ears have failed to hear. How sad is that? There was no way they were going to let Jesus change their life. The Pharisees were so bent on killing Jesus they couldn’t see and hear all the signs demonstrating that He indeed is the Son of God. They wanted a sign; all they had to do was open their eyes and ears and they would have seen and heard plenty.

Let me encourage you to keep your heart soft and not to be afraid to let Jesus change your life. Open your eyes and ears because there are still plenty of signs today. Reflect for a moment on your day and how many signs did you see and hear? The rising and setting of the sun, birds chirping and flying through the air, a new born crying, a beautiful landscape, all the people who crossed your path, etc… Go ahead and make a list and be sure to thank God for showing you His signs.

In the words of Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign!”

Spiritual Building Supplies

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When it comes to building projects I am a better go-pher than a foreman. I am a little short on construction talent but I do know enough that when one builds a house it needs to be on a solid and square foundation. After my second year in college I spent the summer working construction and I was surprised at how much work goes into laying a foundation.

In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 Paul mentions he has laid the perfect foundation as an expert builder for the people of Corinth to build their lives which is Jesus Christ. Paul then continues the construction theme and talks to them about what kind of building supplies are they going to use gold, silver costly stones or wood, hay or straw? The Day is coming when the supplies will be brought to light and they will be tested by fire.

What Paul is referring to is the doctrine/teachings they will use to build their faith. He is encouraging them to build their faith with the pure teachings of Jesus. Jesus will add the most value to your faith. The problem in Corinth was there were some who were cheapening the teachings of Christ by imposing Jewish traditions onto the Gentiles and some of the Gentiles were trying to incorporate their humanistic teachings on others. Paul is reminding them all they need is God’s word to build their faith.

The same holds true for us today. All we need to build our faith is God’s Word — the Holy Bible. It is the blueprint for our life. If you build your life and faith on God’s Word then your life and faith will be complete. 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17 is very encouraging to me: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” NIV

Let me encourage you to keep building your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ and to use the Bible as your blueprint.

Keep running for the prize!
Mike

Mother’s Day – Not Your Usual Story

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Hey guys a little heads up: Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday! You still have time to get your mom a card and some flowers or a little gift.

Mother’s Day is a special day where we get a chance to honor and pamper our moms for all of the things they do or have done for us trough the years. They deserve every bit of it and a little more. After watching my mom and my wife it is not a easy job being a mom

This coming Sunday there will be a wide variety of sermons preached encouraging Moms on their special day. For the most part the sermons will be centered on stories such as Hannah (1 Samuel 1-2), the Noble Woman in Proverbs 31, or  Eunice who was Timothy’s mother (2 Timothy 1:5). These are all great examples but today I want us to take a look at a lesser known woman and her story is found in Mark 7 and Matthew 15.

We do not know her name or her background. All we know she is Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia and has a daughter who is demon possessed. In the first reading of the text it appears Jesus is being hard on the woman but in reality he is using her faith as an example to those who are following Him.

As Jesus was passing by she came to Him, begging to help her daughter. Jesus pretends to ignore her plead and keeps walking. She then turns to His disciples and kept crying out to them for their assistance but they became annoyed by her begging. They go to Jesus and tell him to send her away.

He stops and turns to her saying, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” One would think that would discourage her and she would go back home. Not this mother. She knelt before him and cried, “Lord, help me!”

Jesus finally answers her but again on the surface it is not your typical response you would expect from him. He says, to her, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” Wait a second, did Jesus just call this woman and her daughter dogs? Why would he say such a thing? He calls her a dog not because of her looks but because she is a Gentile. Remember, Jesus knows her faith.

I would think most mothers would of been devastated and left in tears. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised that she was hurt and tears were running down her cheeks but she didn’t give up. She is persistent and answered Jesus right away. “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” What a reply! This unnamedwoman demonstrated a beautiful spirit of faith and humility. In essences she is saying, I may just be a poor Gentile and I am not begging for the loaf of bread but just the leftover crumbs that fall on the floor. That is all I need for my daughter to be healed.” (Side note: Made me think of the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19).

Jesus smiles and looks into her eyes and answers her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” The demon has left your daughter.” She goes home and finds her daughter lying on the bed, and the demon is gone.

There is only one other occurrence when Jesus refers to someone as having a “great faith” and that is the Centurian’s servant in Matthew 8and Luke 7. It is also interesting to note in both occurrences the person he is referring to is a Gentile.

In our story today we see a mother with a great love for her daughter and has a great faith in Jesus. This is the kind of mom’s who need to be honored this Mother’s Day.

More than A Good Teacher

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While Jesus was visiting his hometown of Nazareth he taught in the synagogue and did a few miracles. The town people were amazed at his teaching but ended up taking offense at him because they thought he was just one of the guys from the neighborhood instead of being the Son of God. As a result they had little faith in him and according to Mark 6:6 Jesus was amazed at their lack of faith.

We must recognize Jesus as being more than a good teacher who helped people but He is the Son God who is the way to God our Creator and Father in heaven. When we do have faith in Jesus there will be no limit of what he can and will do in our lives.

Drowning in Life’s Problems part 2

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In my last post I shared a story found in Mark 4:35-41 where Jesus calmed a storm while he and his disciples were in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee.

Here is what I want you to notice and to think about today and that is the questions Jesus asked his disciples after the wind died down and the sea was calmed. In verse 40, He said to them “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 

How do you imagine Jesus asking those questions? What tone did he use? I imagine he asked this in an affirming way. I don’t think he was being critical or belittling. In essence Jesus is saying, “Guys, I am right here with you and you’re safe. Everything is going to work out.”

The second question is a little stronger. Why do you still have no faith? Personally, that question would hit me a little hard. I believe with that question Jesus is reminding them they have been following him for some time now and they should know he is going to take care of them. He is saying, “After all you have heard me teach and after all the miracles you have seen me do you should trust me by now.”

As believers we can have the assurance that with Jesus, he is going to work all things out (Romans 8:28). Secondly, some have been following Jesus for quite some time and yet their faith is still shallow. It is time we put our full trust in Jesus.