Tag Archives: belief

Things are never as bad as they seem!

Things are never as bad as they seem. Challenges always first appear overwhelming. Even if challenges come in as ferocious as a hurricane or tsunami, still challenges are not as bad as they seem. Now this is the testimony of the person who believes in God. Things are not as bad as they seem because we have a God who is accessible to us through prayer.

Jehoshaphat discovered this to be true when he was challenged with being overthrown by his enemies. Not just one enemy but a coalition of the sons of Lot came against him. Their armies outnumbered and were better equipped than those of Judah. But Jehoshaphat remembered the power of prayer.

Listen to this snippet of his discourse with God: “If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you— for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.” And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20:9-12 ESV)

Jehoshaphat said “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” That’s the strength of the believer, our eyes are watching God in times of challenge and distress. Because our faith is in our God and not our selves we have unseen resources working on our behalf. God answers prayer and God intervenes in human affairs. That encourages me in discouraging situations. I hope and trust that you too will keep your eyes on God when challenges arise in your life. Remember, things are not as bad as they seem. You have a God waiting to help you when you call. Amen.

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God Demands a Response to Jesus

Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. (John 1:35-37 KJV)

In the Movie, Deliver Us From Eva, LL Cool J is hired by three men to woe a woman away from her sister.  Her brother-in-laws have described her as a devil from hell.  Before meeting her, LL agrees to woe Eva, played by Gabrielle Union and take her away from her sisters so the brother-in-laws can have more influence over their wives.  However, when he actually meets Eva, LL is awestruck. He cannot deceive her because he finds her altogether lovely and now wants to spend his entire life with her.  So immediately, the plan is foiled because LL Cool J has made a decision to love Eva.  It was a radical, costly decision, not logical, critical, or methodical.  His heart and head joined together to attain the woman of  his dreams.  That was an irrational move.

This passage illustrates clearly how irrational following Jesus can be.  Here we have two disciples of John the Baptist upon being made known who  Jesus is immediately walk away from John to follow Jesus.  They move without forethought, without going on a retreat, without having to pray about it, they move without consulting anyone else, they simply walk away from their past life and begin to follow Jesus.  There is something to be said for people who have a sense of when to move forward and do so with clarity of purpose.  These two disciples wanted to know Jesus in a more personal way and so they left John’s ministry to go with Jesus.  They didn’t even know where Jesus lived or what Jesus was about.  They had not even heard one message from Jesus to justify their actions.  When John the Baptist identified Jesus as the one promised in the scriptures, the Messiah, something in their heart resonated with that proclamation and they responded in radical fashion.

The fact of the matter is some of us are just  too cautious about changing when clearly the time for change has come.  We procrastinate just because procrastination is what we do.  But when you meet Jesus, Jesus calls for action, immediate, swift, decisive action.  Either you love him or you don’t but you can’t just sit around and think about it.  This morning Jesus is looking for radical disciples, those who will throw caution to the wind and follow him with their whole hearts.

Critical thinking has its place, reasoned thought has its place, but when the gospel is preached, when you meet The Lord Jesus Christ, your mind and heart births faith to believe or reproach to reject Jesus.    Paul put it this way in Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16, 17 KJV).

God’s salvific action is revealed “from faith to faith” from person to person.  What Jesus needs is somebody like John, somebody like Andrew who will witness as to who Jesus is.  Andrew  first concern was his brother  and  goes looking for  Simon and exclaims, “We have found the Messiah” and then brings Simon to Jesus. By the preponderance of the scholarship regarding this statement John also finds his brother James and brings him to Jesus.  Thus, John brings his brother James, Andrew brings his brother Simon and the first four disciples begin to follow Jesus.

God demands a response from each one of us when Jesus is proclaimed as the Messiah.  It is a response based on faith not logic, not critical thinking, not being persuaded by scientific inquiry, but being instantly converted by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  God demands an instant, unequivocal, irrevocable response, either I will follow Jesus or I will not follow Jesus.  All who try to procrastinate, put off, or reason, end up not following Jesus.  But when you follow Jesus, you become a new person.  I want to ask you, what will your response be to the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The Power of Hope

Hope is not a strategy” ~ John Maxwell

Hope

But don’t you just love it anyway.  Hope is an outstretched neck poised with anticipation of what will happen.  You know something wonderful, something adventurous, something new is coming.  It is not frivolous; it’s based on a plan that you’ve implemented and you’re working diligently to see come to fruition.  You hope inwardly, silently, and then with outward jubilation because you just know.

Hope is powerful indeed; it chases depression, attacks despair, and exterminates doubt. What are you hoping for based on what you’re working toward?  Promises have been made, collaborations have been formed, all that remains is accomplishment of the dream.

Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.”  I’m singing because I just believe something good is about to happen!  Can’t you sense something on the horizon?  Sing a new song; it’s 2014 – hope, believe, dream, let it capture your soul!

The rainbow shouts, “It’s not over yet!  Sunshine is coming!”  So perk up, dance, and sing.  You’ve got another chance. Barbara Kingsolver said,  “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”  I totally agree; live in hope based on faith that your work will reap a great harvest.  Dare to Hope in 2014!