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Walk With Christ on Water

Posted on June 6, 2018 at 7:42 AM Comments comments (2)
Jesus Walks on Water

Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.

Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”

But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”

“Yes, come,” Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.

Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”

When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.

Matthew 14:22-32 New Living Translation (NLT)

We often feel it takes lots of faith to follow Christ.  What would our reaction be if we were invited to join Jesus walking on a lake?  First, we would have to believe in Him if He bid us to "come."  The disciples saw Him walking on the water and thought He was a ghost.  Just the sight of it scared them silly! Impetuous Peter, always the one ready to jump in a lake for Jesus, trusted that if our Savior could walk on water, so could he! He did walk on that water until he looked away from Christ toward the storm and began to fear and doubt.  However, Peter didn't doubt that Jesus could save him, and Jesus did just that — "immediately."

There are many steps we take in life that require our faith in God.  It may not be walking on water, but our desire to do something we don't think we can do can often be paralyzing.  Sometimes we reach goals we thought impossible and sometimes we don't.  Yet, God is there in either case to help us.  He can become so pleased with our faith in His help that He grants us the favor to accomplish anything that we set out to do. He will also pick us up if we fall and save us if we fail.  However, we will never know the extent of Christ's ability to help us if we doubt Him and don't try.  It wasn't until Peter took His eyes off Jesus that he began to sink. As Peter trusted that he could walk toward Jesus on that water, he did.  It should make one wonder how much we can do if we do not doubt but believe and trust God for everything. 

For I can do everything through Christ,who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

Last Days

Posted on June 5, 2018 at 7:47 AM Comments comments (1)
You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. They will be hardheaded and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good. They will betray their friends; they will be hotheaded, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that.

But they won’t get away with all this forever. Someday their deceit will be well known to everyone.

2 Timothy 3:1-5, 9 Living Bible (TLB)

In this passage of Scripture, Paul told Timothy what would occur in the last days.  As the time of the end of the enemy of our souls draws near his desperation will be clearly evident. Things just won't seem right because they won't be right. We don't like to think about it, but that doesn't it make it any less the truth.  We may not want to believe this part, but that does not mean it's not going to happen. Some of what Paul told Timothy has already happened because the last days began when Jesus came to save us.  What do we think He was saving us from?  Yet, we must not be discouraged because God is still on the Throne and His plan will prevail.  We just have to believe in His plan.

The Word of God reveals much truth to those who believe.  We are assured of God's love for His children.  We are promised a future and a hope.  We are told not to fear anything, not even death. Jesus took care of death when He died on the cross and rose from the grave. However, we are also warned in the Bible what to look out for as we live in this world and await the return of Christ.  We are called to be discerning and to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15). Why are Christians waiting for Jesus to come back? Are we waiting because it's such a wonderful world?  We must fight the good fight of faith each day of our lives on this planet as it is.  Even for those who don't believe, this world is not always a happy place. As believers in Christ, we can live through anything as we embrace the joy of our salvation. We can share the gospel with those who don't believe so they too can share in this joy. We are not to be a bunch of "Chicken Littles" running about shouting that the sky is falling, even as we live among people who are just as Paul describes in this Scripture.  We are to live with confidence that one day things are going to be completely changed for good. According to God's Word, this will happen when we least expect it and it will be for the good of those who follow Christ. And everyone will know the moment it happens, whether they believe it or not.

One thing is certain:  Everything will be all right in the end for those who put their trust in God.  If it's not all right now, it's not the end yet. Get ready.

Just Ask

Posted on December 28, 2017 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)
Jesus was matter-of-fact:  “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you.  This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done.  That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large.  Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything.  And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking.  If you have anything against someone, forgive — only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”

Mark 11:22-25 The Message (MSG)

It is hard to imagine the power that is ours in Christ.  That's probably because that power is only ours through Christ.  The "name it and claim it" principle only works when we are in line with God's will.  As we embrace God's will for our lives, we learn to ask for what He already desires for us.  Then we get what we ask for because it pleases Him to give us the desires of our hearts.  He gave us the opportunity for abundant life through Jesus.  God is not stingy with His love and provision!  But He's not pleased when we are.

Many things we need are provided before we even ask for them.  Our lives were given to us before we were even born.  We didn't ask for a Savior, but God gave His Son to save us from the sin He knew we would have to fight every day of the life He gave us. These particular gifts from God came straight from His love for the world He created and not because of anything we did.  Yet, He still welcomes our requests and by His grace He honors many of them, according to His will.

According to His will . . . .  That's where we get stuck.  Are things we pray for actually what God wants for us?  Will receiving everything asked for in prayer keep us focused on our Giver?  Will we, like children sometimes do, take these things we've asked Him for and toss them aside for something else more alluring?  God already knows what we will do and encourages us to ask Him anyway.  He will determine if what we ask for in prayer will help or hurt us.  Our part is to trust Him and accept His answer.

As Believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to forgive because His greatest gift to us is forgiveness.  So, as we bow our heads in prayer and ask God, in Jesus' name, for our heart's desire, we must remember that He wants that heart to be clean.  We can't go to Him hating someone and asking for His love.  It is by grace that we receive anything good, whether we asked for it or not.  Being gracious and forgiving to others, as God is to us, gives us Christ's power to make that mountain move! 

Turn on the Light!

Posted on December 14, 2017 at 9:24 AM Comments comments (1)
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.  So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.  But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

1 John 1:5-10 New Living Translation (NLT)

When we enter a dark place, we look for the light switch or light a candle or find some way to illuminate the darkness because our sight is diminished.  We stumble in the dark because we need light to see where we're going.  This world gets very dark but God is light and He gave us His Son, Jesus, to show us the way and lead us to His light as we follow Him.  Even the blind can see through God's light because His light shines in our hearts.

We are all sinners saved only by the grace of God.  That grace provides our ability to be forgiven of sin.  God already knows our sins.  He sees clearly into the darkness.  He knows what we will do before we do because He created us in His image and loved us into being.  He wants us to confess our transgressions and our need for His help to come out of the darkness and live in His light.  God gave His Son to die on a cross to give us this freedom from sin.  By the blood of Christ we are reconciled to our Heavenly Father when we believe in what He did for us.  We just have to admit when we fall short and ask for the forgiveness that is available through believing and following Christ as we try to turn from our sinful ways.  He also gave us help to do that too.  The Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts to guide us through the darkness when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and invite Him to shine in our lives.

Let's walk in God's light.  No utility company can ever turn it off because it's free.

Conquer Evil With Good

Posted on December 13, 2017 at 9:17 AM Comments comments (2)
Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.

Romans 12:15-21 The Message (MSG)

It is so much easier to love than to hate because God is Love.  Being kind when someone is unkind only requires a smile.  That smile will often disarm those who come against us because they are looking for a fight.  And we all know it takes two to tango.

We are commanded to bless our enemies.  We are to feed them when they are hungry and provide them with a drink if they are thirsty.  This is what God expects from His children because it is how He treats His children.  No one has done anything that makes them worthy or deserving of God's grace, but He gives it freely out of His love for us.  None of us are righteous but we are covered by the righteousness of Christ Jesus as we follow Him.  God knows when someone needs checking and He will not be mocked.  There's no need to get in the dirt with anybody since our sovereign God can take care of any conflict with a mere blink of His eyes and His eyes see everything.

When we spend our time laughing and crying with friends we truly love and care about, we won't have any time to waste hating haters.  Bless them and leave them to God.  When we do this, those haters are left to examine themselves and who they really are.  They could even change because of our reaction to them.  After they finish wondering what is wrong with us, they may begin to see what is wrong with them.  And our bonus is this:  we have just overcome evil with good.

Smile and conquer evil with good. It works every time because it is what God has instructed us to do and gave us Jesus to show us how to do it.

The Rich Man

Posted on December 12, 2017 at 8:58 AM Comments comments (1)
Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”

“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied.  “There is only One who is good.  But to answer your question — if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.”

“Which ones?” the man asked.

And Jesus replied:  “You must not murder.  You must not commit adultery.  You must not steal.  You must not testify falsely.  Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

“I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied.  “What else must I do?”

Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”

But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  I’ll say it again — it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Matthew 19:16-24 New Living Translation (NLT)

Someone once told me that a person who was rich was truly blessed by God.  Jesus tells me something different.  In the Beatitudes (specifically Matthew 5:3), Christ disputes this belief.  Having many possessions is not a bad thing.  It's what we do with our wealth that honors God since everything we have belongs to Him.  I've never seen a hearse pulling a trailer full of stuff to a grave.  Have you?

As Believers in Christ, we are joint-heirs to the Kingdom of God.  We are rich beyond our understanding because the Most High God is our Heavenly Father.  When people hold onto material possessions without concern for those who have little, God is not pleased.  He calls us to give and share what we have.  He promises to give us more to give and share when we follow Christ and show love through our selflessness. 

The man in this Scripture could not see beyond his earthly possessions enough to even gain what he asked Jesus for:  eternal life.  He had so much that he could not imagine selling it all and helping the poor.  Today, we live in a world where money and stuff are worshiped as gods with no thought given to what comes after this life.  It is the heart of those who do this that God sees.  Sometimes they talk a good game but God examines their hearts for motive and intent, and He always makes provision Himself for His children in need.

When we begin to covet the wealth of others or esteem those who have so much, we must remember we are already rich because our Father owns everything.  Our treasures are eternal and will last forever as we follow Christ.

Continuous Praise

Posted on December 11, 2017 at 9:41 AM Comments comments (0)
I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear of it and be glad.  Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.

Psalm 34:1-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Creator of Heaven and earth does not need us.  He wants us.  He wants our praise, He wants our devotion, and He wants our trust.  He wants our love but He created us to love Him by choice.  It is we who need Him.  In spite of all we are not, we are loved by our sovereign God without condition.  Because of this great love, I will bless the Lord at all times! 

Continuous praise can be difficult as we live in a fallen world where troubles are many.  The enemy of our souls loves to see us miserable because, as the saying goes, "misery loves company."  Yet the attempts of our adversary are futile because even death lost its sting when Jesus died on that Cross and rose from that grave.  As we truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and follow Him, we have a blessed assurance that we will receive eternal life in God's Kingdom.  Our faith tells us we have nothing to fear.  We have deliverance from evil through our belief in His sacrifice and constant intercession.  Is this not worthy of continuance praise?

Magnify the Lord with me!  Let us exalt His name together!  Give Him praise for who He is.  Give Him glory for whose we are.  We are children of the Most High God.  Whatever our circumstances, God is still on the eternal Throne of Heaven, yet a very present help to all who call to Him in truth.  We can trust Him to complete to perfection the good work He began.

Fight for Faith!

Posted on December 7, 2017 at 9:02 AM Comments comments (1)
Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  In the presence of God who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this will be made manifest at the proper time by the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion.  Amen.

1 Timothy 6:12-16 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

While the world seems to be going crazy, we who believe have an Anchor.  As we are tossed and thrown about by life, we have to take hold of what we confess that we believe.  One battle in which we must take part in is the "good fight of faith."  It takes faith to believe in God, whom no man has ever seen face-to-face.  So we must engage in this struggle to believe and trust that God is indeed in total control.  Jesus came to teach us this and left His Spirit to remind us of what He taught us.

History has revealed that Jesus walked the earth, declared that He was the Son of God and stated His purpose for being here.  Our Heavenly Father has given us the means to access instant information these days.  Yes, God gets the glory for our intelligence as well as our ability to use a computer.  He created everything!  All it takes is a bit of research to figure out that we have been provided with proof as a basis for our belief.  Our fight now is to keep believing in Christ and the promises He makes in His Word in spite of the trouble we are seeing in this world.  This fight is with our own hearts and minds.  This fight is with our doubt and fear and unbelief.  This fight is within ourselves.  We are fighting for our faith.

Let us honor God and hold fast to our confession of faith that He is our sovereign God and in full control.  In due time, we will reap a harvest from these seeds.  He who promised is faithful!

The Lord is Our Shepherd

Posted on December 6, 2017 at 9:14 AM Comments comments (0)
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 New King James Version (NKJV)

Having been a shepherd boy, King David knew sheep.  When he penned this Psalm, he was very aware of the helpless state in which his flock existed because his job was to watch over them.  Yet, he described himself as one who required the same kind of guidance as the sheep did. And his Shepherd brought him a mighty long way.

We all "want" things - especially this time of year.  Children are encouraged to make a list of things they want for Santa to bring.  Adults declare what their special desires are to those who care enough to give them gifts they have not purchased for themselves.  Many of these acquisitions bring joy for a time in this season.  Some people are disappointed when they don't get what they "want."  David, who eventually had everything of material value he may have wanted, gave glory to God for shepherding him through life as he looked forward to dwelling in the Lord's house forever.

With God as our Shepherd, we have all that we need and even some of the things that we want.  God knows the desires of our hearts.  But He also knows that we fear and doubt.  He sees us as we worry and fret.  Yet, He watches over us with loving eyes that know and see everything.  He protects us.  He provides goodness and mercy, peace, restoration and comfort to us, His sheep.  He fills our cups to overflowing with hope and the promise of forever in His Kingdom.  This is where we will want for nothing. 

The Lord is our Shepherd.  Oh Great Jehovah, feed us till we want no more.


Posted on December 5, 2017 at 9:22 AM Comments comments (0)
If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?  Who shall bring any charge against God's elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is to condemn?  Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-35, 37-39 English Standard Version (ESV)

Confidence.  As we believe God's Word and trust in Him, we can be confident.  We are assured of our Savior's help and blessings because God is sovereign and it is He who gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to be our Savior.  Nothing in all creation can come against us if God is for us because He is the Creator.   Nothing exceeds this power and it is ours through Christ.  Nothing can change this or take it away.  I am convinced!

Yet, we often despair when we experience trial and tribulation.  The world is broken.  There is trouble everywhere in this fallen land!  So we must daily pick up our crosses and follow Christ.  Jesus' life was given to demonstrate God's love for us when we did not deserve it and because He did this, nothing can separate us from that love.  We only need look to Him and know without doubt that He gives it freely.  We must trust Him.  Nothing can keep us down as we follow our Savior.  We may stumble, but He keeps us from falling or picks us up if we do.

Jesus makes us winners no matter what our circumstances may be!  While believing and following Him, we are more than conquerors because of who He is.   Come boldly to His Throne of grace!  We can be confident of His love.  It does not fail!