Archive for September, 2010

Becoming as a little child


             At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Mathew 18: 1-5.)


                Humility is the acceptance of helplessness.  The plan for salvation through Jesus Christ is not something that can be earned; it is something that must be received.  A child inherently realizes their own helplessness, and so they look to their parents for the fulfillment of their fundamental needs.  The disciples didn’t realize that those who were the most helpless, also were the ones who honored their God the most.  Those who are lowly, push themselves down, and lift up the one who provides for them.  So humility is the result of honoring God, and lowliness is the best way to know and love God, who is all powerful.  Children are inherently accepting and trusting of their parent’s provision; Jesus used this illustration to say something about how human beings need to relate to God; He is the provider, and his true children accept his provision.

                In nature, birds are very curious animals.  Their young sit in nests, and the parents go out to hunt.  They bring food back to their young.  No chick would know how to provide for itself; most can’t even fly.  They instinctively understand and know their own limitations, and in turn, they understand the value of their parents.  They wait eagerly as their parents venture out to catch fish, or worms, which they eat, and when they return they regurgitate the food in to the mouths of their chirping young.  The chicks stay in the nest, and receive their nourishment as little children.

                Today, God has sent his son to us, that we might eat eternal food.  Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  This eternal food is always filling.  We are in this world, which is our nest for a short time, and those who venture out to achieve righteousness for themselves find only death.  We have to receive salvation directly as a gift from God.  We must instinctively understand how powerless we are to become right with God outside of His provision.  How have you accepted God’s message?  Have you accepted it as a gift and not a wage?  Have you become helpless enough to understand that God provides you with all that you need?  Make yourself lowly, and be grateful that God has made a way for you to know Him, and you will have a relationship with Him.  Become as a child, and you will know and walk in relationship with the Living God.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we lift You up.  You are such an amazing, powerful, and awesome God.  You are Holy and righteous and we thank You for all that You have done for us.  We ask and pray that You help us to be humble, and we ask that You lead us in to a lowliness of heart; help us to seek Your righteousness and not our own.  Feed us with Your Spiritual food, and make us like little children.  We love You lord, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

The demand for a Miracle


             ‘Then the Pharisees came out and began to dispute with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, testing him.  But he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?  Assuredly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation”’ (Mark 8: 11 & 12.)


             Jesus had just finished feeding 4,000 people with only seven loaves of bread.  After this miracle, he and his disciples got into a boat and arrived at Dalmanutha, another town along the coast of the Sea of Galilee.  The crowds had been following him around from place to place, and as a result they had seen many miracles; these Pharisees demanded a miracle before they would follow him, and as a result they saw none of the amazing works of God.  Jesus loved even these men who were testing him; he sighed deeply, and I might add, remorsefully within himself before telling them they would not receive a sign.  (God loves even those who reject him, and it hurts God to know one of His children has chosen eternal separation from Him.)  They demanded a miracle in order to have faith; but God wanted them to have faith, and they would have seen so many miracles.   They wanted God to jump when they said ‘jump.’  However, God does not answer to man; nor does he serve or obey the desires of men.  Rather, those who truly love God will seek to obey and serve Him.  These men were under the influence of Satan, because Satan attempted to use this exact form of manipulation on Jesus while he was fasting in the desert:  The scripture reads, ‘Then the devil took him up into the Holy City, set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him,, “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down.  For it is written:  ‘He shall give his angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’  Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”’  In other words, it is evil to demand that God prove anything.         

             I was speaking to an ex-pastor one day, and as we talked he became agitated and angry and he blurted out, (roughly) “If Jesus came here, right now, and appeared to me, I would believe in him.”  He even motioned to the ground right next to him as the spot where he wanted the Lord to stand.  The man wanted God to jump when he said ‘jump;’ he wanted God to appear where he wanted him to appear; he wanted God to do his will, instead seeking to do God’s will.  This was much like what I used to do as a child when I demanded something from my mother in the grocery store.  I would stomp my foot, shake my head, and throw a tantrum until I got what I wanted.  My mother would many times give in, and I would get what I wanted (in which case I became the parent and she became the child); but sometimes I would get disciplined instead (ouch.)  God never switches places with his children.  He never becomes the child, and his children never become God.   God does not bargain; He does not give in; and He certainly is not affected by manipulation or attempts at persuasion; He is in control, and those who come to know Him, realize their role as servants and not masters, children and not parents, followers and not leaders.

             Miracles don’t often bring us to a faith in God.  Those who experienced the miracles in the days of Jesus were those who began to follow him as he journeyed.  They experienced healings; they saw the dead raised; they saw Jesus walk on water; they saw things that only God himself could do, but never once did Jesus allow any who followed him to dictate when, where, and how he performed his miracles.  Today, many people are like the Pharisees.  They want a miracle to occur so they can know and believe that Jesus is who he says he is.  But, even today, the miracles are the result of following Jesus.  Those who open the bible and follow the teachings of the Lord have begun their journey with God.  The closer they follow, the greater the miracles often become.  They see things they never thought possible coming to pass right before their eyes.  Won’t you open the scriptures today and begin to follow him?  Won’t you make him a close companion as you travel through your day?  Will you gather up his words in your heart as a person of wealth gathers up gold and silver?  If you do, you will experience more miracles than you can count, and your life will be transformed by His Power.

             “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today, and we ask that You allow us to follow You.  Give us the faith to make You and Your Son the center of our lives; be our leader Lord and guide and direct us, that we may follow You in this world, and do Your will here in this place, as it is done with You in Heaven.  Help us to be servants, and to be guided by Your Holy Spirit.  We Love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

How important are God’s words?


             And it happened, as he spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!”  But he said, “More blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it” (Luke 11: 27-28.)


                The word ‘blessed’ basically means ‘happy.’  A woman filled with reverence for Jesus proclaimed how happy his mother must have been for having bore him as her child.  Mary was chosen to bear the Messiah, the Son of God, and for that reason she must have been one of the happiest people on the planet.  Yet Jesus said that anyone who kept the word of God was happier than Mary.  The word here for ‘Keep’ meant to guard, protect, keep an eye on, or to observe.  Keeping God’s word consists of two parts; the first is keeping God’s commandments in the front of the heart and mind; the word of God should become a continual focus of one’s attention.  The second is the physical manifestation of His word in a person’s actions.  The believer begins to behave in a manner consistent with what is in their heart, and the word of God comes to life.  Jesus said, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  If good things begin to happen in a person’s life, it is because God and His word have found a home within them.  In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites saying, “And these words witch I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6: 6-9.)  God’s word was, and is supposed to be the central focus of every believer’s life.

            A while ago, a roommate of mine became ill.  We weren’t very close, but when I had heard that he was in the hospital a scripture came in to my mind.  The scripture referred to the eternal reward owed to those who had done the work of God.  Jesus made it known that doing kind things to others in need was the same as doing kind things for him.  He said concerning those who would come to follow him, “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me.”  My roommate had no one to care for him; he was estranged from his family and had isolated himself from most people; he also had very little money.  After remembering this scripture I went to the hospital to visit him because he was sick; I brought him some underwear, socks, and sweats because he needed some clothing; I took some food and drink for him at his request because he was ‘hungry and thirsty.’  Why did this good thing happen?  It didn’t happen because I was good or because I was special, but simply because the word of the Lord had come to life in me, and God had accomplished his works through me.

            Today, a question needs to be asked; how important is the word of God to you in your life?  Do you seek after it like it is Gold, or attempt to attain it like fine silver?  Are doing God’s commandments a priority in your life, or does the scripture collect dust on your shelf, and in your life.  Daily bible reading continually reveals a person’s willingness to be transformed by the word of God.  Make His word important, make His word a priority, and you will experience miracles in your life, and in the lives of those around you.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You give us Your word and bring to our remembrance all of the things that You have said.  We desire that Your truth would manifest itself in our lives and in our actions.  Give us a desire to read Your word, and to study it, and to observe it.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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