Archive for February, 2008
February 29th, 2008 | 3 Comments | Posted in » Bible in a Year
We’re back in the gospels today… Matthew 8-10 to be precise.
Matthew 8:2 (NIV)
2A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”
Matthew 8:10 (NIV)
10When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”
Matthew 9:2 (NIV)
2Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
Matthew 9:22 (NIV)
22Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
Matthew 9:29-30 (NIV)
29Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith will it be done to you”; 30and their sight was restored.
Jesus performs a number of miraculous healings in Matthew 8 and 9. The common element? Whether of the afflicted, or of those who care for the afflicted, it’s faith.
I wonder, do we REALLY have faith that God will provide answers to our prayers? Whether healing, blessings, needs to be met, intercessions on behalf of our friends, I wonder… in what kind of faith do we offer our prayers? Do we truly believe God will answer?
I’ve probably written on this subject before, but I think it’s worth revisiting. If faith is the common element in answered prayer, shouldn’t we be sure we offer prayers with every ounce of belief that God will answer as we’ve requested that we can muster?
This isn’t to say God’s answers are based on our strength of belief, of course… God’s will trumps all. But if faith is required for an answer in the affirmative, should we really offer prayers that are, in a way, wishy-washy? Maybe it’s easier to provide an example…
Dear Lord, I’m deeply concerned about so-and-so. They’re [in this situation], and I really think [they need this]. I know you can provide that answer Lord, and I pray you would do so. Of course, I know your will is most important, so please, if [this need] isn’t your will, let yours be done. May you be praised in all things, Father. Amen.
What do you think?
Matthew 9:9-13 (NIV)
9As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
10While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?”
12On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
This is a pretty challenging passage to me, personally. Why?
I’m like just about every other person that’s been a Christian for longer than a year or so… my friends are pretty much all Christians. I don’t hang out with “tax collectors and sinners” very often, even though that’s who Jesus came to save.
How are we, as Christians, supposed to shine the light of Christ into the lives of those who need it most if we rarely associate with them?
February 28th, 2008 | 3 Comments | Posted in » Bible in a Year
In today’s passage, I really didn’t seen any particular verses that jumped out at me begging to be written about.
I will note, however, that there’s a pretty common theme in these prophecies that leads me to ask the following question:
I wonder if we take our sin as seriously as we should?
Here in Isaiah we see peoples and nations constantly turning from God or positioning themselves against Him from the start… sinning and suffering dire consequences. Do we see our sin in the same light, or do we take God’s grace for granted… failing to recognize the seriousness of our trespasses?
February 28th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
My baby is growing up… Allison is one year old today!
It’s hard to believe she’s getting so big!
February 27th, 2008 | Comments Off | Posted in » Bible in a Year
It’s Wednesday, our weekly day to focus on Biblical poetry, so we’re back in Job.
Job 7:11-16 (NIV)
11Therefore I will not keep silent;
I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep,
that you put me under guard?
13When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint,
14even then you frighten me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
15so that I prefer strangling and death,
rather than this body of mine.
16I despise my life; I would not live forever.
Let me alone; my days have no meaning.
I love Job’s honesty here. He’s hurting big-time due to the testing God has allowed, so he cries out with this brutally honest expression of his pain.
Ever been there? It’s good to let this kind of thing out before God. After all, He’s the source of all healing, and he does still answer prayers.
Job 8:2-3 (NIV)
2How long will you say such things?
Your words are a blustering wind.
3Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?
You’ve gotta love the response of Job’s friend, Bildad. Had to have been a bit of a wake-up call to Job.
Everyone needs a friend that’s not afraid to speak truth.
Job 8:11-15 (NIV)
11Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
Can reeds thrive without water?
12While still growing and uncut,
they wither more quickly than grass.
13Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.
14What he trusts in is fragile;
what he relies on is a spider’s web.
15He leans on his web, but it gives way;
he clings to it, but it does not hold.
This is a wonderful passage that ever so poetically describes the predicament of those outside a relationship with God. Good stuff, for sure.
February 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Christian Living
I saw this clip from E.R. today, and found it to be one of the most powerful dramatizations I’ve seen of the futile hope of a generic, namby-pamby, anything goes faith in God… a faith where God is love theology is stretched to the point that our interpretation and understandings of God are all that matter… where God is whatever we want or need Him to be… where specific answers to deep questions of faith are simply not available…
It just doesn’t cut it.
When faced with the fact that we are mortal… when faced with the fact that we have done things that clearly have crossed God’s standards for right behavior… when we have sinned, and know we need forgiveness…
This kind of faith just doesn’t cut it.
You need to watch the following clip. While from a fictional show, it presents a realistic picture of how this kind of faith just doesn’t measure up.
Did you catch what the cancer patient said?
I don’t want to go on! Can’t you see I’m old? I have cancer. I’ve had enough. The only thing that is holding me back is that I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what comes next.
No! I don’t need to ask myself. I need answers, and all your questions and your uncertainties are only making things worse!
I need someone who will look me in the eye and tell me how to find forgiveness.
Christianity… real Christianity, that is… provides these answers.
Yes… they start with God’s love…
- He loves us enough that He extends grace to us, forgiving us of our sins and washing us white as snow… separating our sins from us as far as east is from west.
- He loves us enough that He offers us an eternal life in heaven with Him.
- He loves us enough that He sends us His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us as we live our faith journey here on earth.
There a hundreds of others I could list.
But the most important answer originating in God’s love?
That He loves us enough that He gave us the gift of salvation by sending His only son Jesus to die an atoning death for our sins, because we simply can’t afford the just price required to attain it on our own.
All He asks is that we accept the gift by placing our faith and trust in Jesus.
Do that, and we need not fear death, for God will welcome us into His house with open arms when our time on this world is over.
February 26th, 2008 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Bible in a Year
It’s Psalm Tuesday again… today we’re in chapters 9-11.
Psalm 9:1-2 (NIV)
1I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonders.
2I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
This Psalm of David pretty clearly expresses the response of those who truly love God… praise and proclamation.
If God has done wonders in our lives how can we offer anything else? Isn’t it natural to offer praises of thanks and worship in response? Isn’t it natural to want to tell others about the great things He has done?
What does it say about our level of faith and commitment to Christ when we fail to offer these kinds of worship?
Psalm 9:9-10 (NIV)
9The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
10Those who know your name will trust in you,
for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
The Psalms are full of wonderful promises and reassurances of God’s love and faithfulness. This is another gem for us to hold on to when difficult times come our way.