Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
MT 8:24 SUDDENLY A FURIOUS STORM CAME UP ON THE LAKE, SO THAT THE WAVES SWEPT OVER THE BOAT. BUT JESUS WAS SLEEPING.THIS IS A RARE GLIMPSE OF DIVINITY.
MOST TIMES JESUS IS MOVING ABOUT IN HIS WORK CLOTHES, BUT IN THIS EPISODE HE IS SNOOZING, IN “LA LA LAND,” OBLIVIOUS TO WHAT WAS HAPPENING ALL AROUND HIM.
THE STORM CAUGHT HIM NAPPING AND THE DISCIPLES FIGHTING THE WIND AND WAVES FOR THEIR LIVES.
THIS WAS “MAY DAY” AND SOS ALL WRAPPED UP AS ONE, BUT JESUS NEVER OPENED AN EYE OR MOVED A MUSCLE.
HE DID NOTHING AND SAID NOTHING.
HE WAS DORMANT OR HORIZONTALLY CHALLENGED.
AT BETHLEHEM, HE WAS DIVINITY IN A DIAPER.
BUT NOW, SNUGGLED UP IN THIS SHIP, HE IS SOVEREIGNTY TAKING A SIESTA WHILE THE DISCIPLES TREMBLED IN DESPAIR.
MYSTERY OF MYSTERIES.
W WHY DIDN’T HE WAKE UP SOONER? HE DO SOMETHING QUICKER?
I MUST CONCLUDE THAT SOMEHOW IT WAS FOR THEIR BENEFIT.
GOD WAS ABOUT TO TEACH THEM A LESSON THAT THEY MIGHT NOT LEARN OTHERWISE.
STORMS BRING OUT THE BEST AND THE WORST IN US.
WE CAN BECOME BOLD IN FAITH OR FOLD.
LORD KELVIN TAUGHT HIS STUDENTS THAT WHEN THINGS DON’T GO THE WAY YOU WANT THEM TO GO SOMETHING WONDERFUL CAN HAPPEN. “GENTLEMEN,” HE SAID, “WHEN YOU ARE FACE TO FACE WITH A DIFFICULTY YOU ARE UP AGAINST A DISCOVERY.”
THIS TERRIBLE STORM BECAME AN ACTUAL FIELD TRIP OF DISCOVERY.
1. 1. FOLLOWING JESUS DOES NOT KEEP US FROM STORMS BUT THRU THEM.
MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT. THESE MEN WERE NOT ON SOME WILD GOOSE CHASE AND RECKLESS FASCINATION WITH TEMPTATION. THEY WERE FOLLOWING JESUS.
MATTHEW 8:23 DECLARES, “AND WHEN JESUS WAS ENTERED INTO A SHIP, HIS DISCIPLES FOLLOWED HIM.”
THEY WERE NOT RENEGADES OR REBELS RUNNING FROM GOD OR FIGHTING AGAINST GOD.
THEY DIDN’T BOARD THAT SHIP TO HIJACK IT AT SEA AND RUN OFF WITH THE LOOT NOR WERE THEY PIRATES BUT PATRIOTS OF THE KING AND HIS KINGDOM.
THEY WERE FOLLOWING JESUS WHEN THEY RAN HEAD ON WITH A STORM, BUT THEY QUICKLY DISCOVERED THAT STORMS CAN NOT BLOW US AWAY FROM GOD.
THEY MAKE US MORE CONSCIOUS OF HIS NEARNESS AND NEED FOR HIM.
HE STUCK WITH THEM UNTIL THE STORM WAS OVER.
HE DIDN’T KEEP THEM FROM THE STORM BUT THRU IT, AND HE CAN KEEP YOU THRU YOURS AS WELL.
2. 2. DENIAL DOES NOT AVERT OR ALLEVIATE A CRISIS IN TIMES OF STORMS.
THEY MADE A POSITIVE NEGATIVE CONFESSION!
VERSE 24 TELLS US THAT THE SHIP WAS COVERED WITH WAVES, AND VERSE 25 RECORDS THE EXACT WORDS OF THEIR POSITIVE NEGATIVE CONFESSION. “WE PERISH.”
T THE WAVES WERE REAL; WIND WAS REAL; DANGER WAS REAL AND THEY DID NOT DENY IT.
JESUS DIDN’T DENY THAT DEHYDRATION MADE HIM THIRSTY AS HE DIED ON THE CRUEL TREE OR CLOAK IT IN SOME GARBLED RELIGIOUS JARGON.
HE SAID, “I THIRST.”
DENIAL CAN BE THE PROSTITUTION OF FAITH AND THE CLOAK OF DISHONESTY.
THE BLIND MAN WHO CAME TO JESUS DIDN’T SAY, “MAN, EVERYTHING IS GREAT. I JUST WANT A BLESSING.” HE POURED HIS GUTS OUT. “I’M BLIND” HE SAID, “HEAL ME.”
DON’T DENY YOU HAVE A PROBLEM THAT YOU CAN’T MANAGE.
TELL IT TO JESUS AND HE WILL WAKE UP IN TIME TO HEAR IT AND DEMAND THE ELEMENTS TO OBEY HIM.
THE STORM DID NOT DEVASTATE THEM. THEY OUT LASTED THE STORM AND LIVED TO TELL OTHERS THAT IT’S POSSIBLE WITH GOD.
3. 3. DON’T JUMP OUT OF THE BOAT WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH.
COLUMBUS WOULD NEVER HAVE DISCOVERED A NEW WORLD HAD HE BAILED OUT AND TURNED BACK WHEN HE ENCOUNTERED HIS FIRST STORM.
STORMS ARE TO BE EXPECTED IF YOU SAIL.
THEY ARE THE RULE NOT THE EXCEPTION.
DON’T JUMP OUT OF THE SHIP OF MARRIAGE BECAUSE YOU HIT A STORM AFTER THE HONEYMOON IS OVER.
THE STORM WILL PASS. YOUR MARRIAGE CAN LAST AND YOUR LOVE BE A BLAST!
THE DISCIPLES DIDN’T JUMP OUT OF THE BOAT.JESUS WAS STILL THERE AND THE SAFEST PLACE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD TO BE WHEN STORMS COME IS TO BE IN THE SHIP, FACING THE STORM WITH JESUS BY YOUR SIDE.
4. 4. DIFFICULTIES ARE MADE TO ROUSE NOT TO DISCOURAGE US.
“THEY WOKE JESUS UP…” (MATTHEW 8:25)
DIFFICULTIES REMIND US OF HOW WEAK WE ARE AND HOW STRONG HE IS.
THEY ARE A LETHAL WEAPON IN THE HAND OF THE DEVIL TO DISCOURAGE AND DISMAY US, BUT PAUL PROCLAIMED THAT IN OUR WEAKNESS, HE MAKES US STRONG. (II CORINTHIANS 12:9)
IT’S A MISTAKE FOR SATAN TO ASSUME THAT DIFFICULTIES WILL DESTROY US.
THEY JUST MAKE US MORE DETERMINED TO GIVE JESUS A “WAKE UP CALL”.
PSALMS 50:15 EXPLAINS IT CLEARLY. GOD SAID, “CALL UPON ME IN THE DAY OF TROUBLE; AND I WILL DELIVER YOU.”
THE DEVIL JUST DRIVES ME CLOSER TO GOD WHEN HE THROWS DIFFICULTIES IN MY PATHWAY.
THE DISCIPLES LEARNED THAT LESSON WHEN THEY WERE IN A STORM AND JESUS WAS TEMPORARILY ASLEEP.
5. 5. GOD MAKES OPPORTUNITIES, BUT HE EXPECTS US TO HUNT FOR THEM.
WHAT BETTER OPPORTUNITY CAN THERE BE FOR GOD TO INTERVENE FOR US THAN IN ONE OF LIFE’S STORMS?
JESUS DIDN’T SHOW UP. HE WAS ALREADY THERE. HE JUST SPOKE UP.
VERSE 26 DECLARES, “THEN HE AROSE, AND REBUKED THE WINDS AND THE SEA; AND THERE WAS A GREAT CALM.”
THE DISCIPLES FOUND AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GOD TO DEMONSTRATE HIS POWER AND WISDOM IN THE MIDST OF A TERRIBLE STORM, AND HE DID.
OPPORTUNITIES WILL MOST LIKELY SHOW UP IN DISGUISE AND MAY BE MASQUERADING AS IMPOSSIBILITIES, BUT THAT’S WHEN THE GRACE OF GOD SHINES BRIGHTEST.
GIVE JESUS A “WAKE UP CALL” AND WATCH HIM GO INTO ACTION FOR YOU.
THROUGH EVERY STORM
Pastor J & Bob
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I know. I have been there. I know what it looks like, feels like and smells like. I have had a bloody nose, bruised ego, bitter disappointments and blinding set backs.
When you hit bottom, your dreams are decimated, joys turn to jitters, faith flounders, and wishes wastes away.
One dear lady hit rock bottom and decided to seek professional help from a psychiatrist. The recovery process was not easy, but the psychiatrist finally decided she had made it. It was with a great deal of pleasure as well as a smidgen of professional pride that he invited the woman in for one final session. “You know that we seldom use the word “cured” to our patients, but I can tell you that you are 100% CURED.”
To his surprise, an unhappy look came over the woman’s face. “What’s wrong,” he asked, “I thought you would be thrilled.”
“Oh, it’s fine for you,” she snapped, “but look at it from my point of view. When I began seeing you a few months ago I was Joan of Arc. NOW I AM A NOBODY.”
That says it all. When you hit rock bottom, regardless who you are or who you think you are, you suddenly feel like nobody!
The Bible tells us that the woman in our Scripture verse for today came to Jesus from behind. Nobody’s do not feel worthy to make eye contact. They settle for scraps from the Master’s banquet table rather than to accept the His best. The famous Prodigal Son is a classic example of a person who has hit rock bottom. He pleaded, “I am no longer worthy to be called thy son. Make me a hired servant.”
This was not false humility. It was an admission of the distance that he had fallen. He knew that he didn’t deserve a break, but that’s what grace and mercy are all about. The Bible explains it like this in Hebrews 4:16. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of GRACE that we may obtain MERCY, and find GRACE to help in time of need.” No one needs mercy and grace more than those of us who hit rock bottom and found no way to recover without the grace and mercy of God.
The Gospel as written by Mark records the story of a woman who had hit rock bottom and explains what she did to BOUNCE BACK. Look at it with me carefully, please.
#1: She bounced back from trying to succeed without having just one success story to tell.
(Mark 5:26 – “And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years…was nothing better but rather grew worse.”)
Her track record is easy to calculate. It looks like this. 12 years she tried. 12 years she failed. The net result is ZERO. That’s about as rock bottom as you can get. ZERO self image. ZERO tolerance and understand of her peers. ZERO bank account. Nothing was coming up roses. Everything was coming up ZERO, and ZERO won’t pay your mortgage or buy you a hot dog at a baseball game or get a great, big welcome at the next church you visit.
But she became a ZERO and bounced back to become a HERO of faith. It all started when she heard of Jesus. He gave her status and recognition for the ages. God makes ZEROS heros, and you can be God’s next one.
#2: She bounced back from a catastrophic illness that left her broke.
(Mark 5:26 – “Spent all that she had…”)
Thousands in America are suffering as the result of the same problem. Medical bills mount so quickly that savings and solvency are wiped out. According to a study published by the Journal Health Affairs a short time ago, illness and medical bills caused one half of 1, 458,000 personal bankruptcies. Families hit rock bottom financially in attempting to deal with a physical catastrophic illness.
Some of us can relate to her as her finances were in complete disarray, but the poor woman in our text found something that money cannot buy. She found love that would not languish, hope that could not be harnessed; Bread of Life that would never grow stale and the Water of Life which could not and would not every go dry. When her money ran out, her faith bridged the gap and made up for the difference. Money will never take the place of mercy, acceptance, and faultless love.
When she was broke, she found the boundless blessings of God. May you make that discovery as well.
#3: She bounced back from resigning to a life of hopelessnessto recovering wholeness.
(Mark 5:34 – “Daughter, thy faith has made you whole; go in peace, and be whole of your plague.”)
She never gave up hope. She had to give up money, social engagement and quality of life, but she never, ever gave up hope. Hope is what keeps us alive and kicking when all seems to be lost. It sees the invisible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible. It keeps fighting when the battle appears to be lost. It is what puts faith to work when doubting would be much easier.
As long as there is God, there is hope. Don’t give up. Take courage from the words of Psalms 42:5, 11. “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him…”
Jean Kerr said, “Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.” The difference between hemorrhaging to death and hope could be spelled out in 5 letters from the alphabet. They are J E S U S!!!! Don’t look down, or around or back. Look up. That’s where hope comes from.
Pastor J & Bob
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Purity is not a popular subject when applied to our relationship with God. It does little to interest the public, sell books and tapes and draw crowds to seminars.
Popularity and purity just don’t seem to go together. What’s popular isn’t always right, and what’s right isn’t always popular.
Mahatma Gandhi proposed that there are 7 deadly sins that will ultimately lead to decay and destruction. They are all part and parcel of a culture that is driven by what’s popular rather than what’s right.
The 7 deadly sins are:
- Wealth without work
- Pleasure without conscience
- Knowledge without character
- Commerce or business without morality / ethics
- Science without humanity
- Religion without sacrifice
- And politics without principle.
This note from God is given to us in Psalms 24:3-4. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place? He that has CLEAN hands, and a PURE heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.”
This is what the Word demands of us in I Timothy 5:22. “Keep thyself PURE.”
We talk about purified water and clean air, but God talks to us about clean hearts. That’s not what we are hearing because it does not pass the popularity contest. Promos and marques scream with glittering teasers of:
1. Success not surrender to God
2. Prosperity not purity
3. Self sufficiency not dependence upon God
4. Self confidence not God confidence
5. Capturing the American Dream but not capturing a vision of God.
A true vision of God will make us conscious of our sins and short coming in the sight of God. I am moved when I read Isaiah’s response of catching a vision of God. This is what he said. “Woe is me for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips….for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”” (Isaiah 6:5)
Getting close to God and seeing God for who He is and where He is made him realize he needed to get his act right, and he did.
Purity has a promise. Jesus explained it best in Matthew 5:8 when he said, “Blessed are the PURE in heart for they SHALL SEE GOD.”
Study that word “PURE” carefully. It’s the key to seeing God show up in all His power and glory. It means: free from anything that adulterates, taints, etc. It means it is not dirtied by sin, sullied by animosity and contaminated by deceitful motives. It means your doctrine is not diluted, your convictions have not been compromised, your love is has not waxed cold and your character is above reproach.
The PLEDGE made to us from God for living a life of purity is fantastic. (Matthew 5:8 – “BLESSED are the pure in heart…”)
The word blessed is as big and boundless as God. It means to have sufficiency, satisfaction and security as a gift from God. In a true sense, it means that God has promised the pure in heart to prosper and have God like joy. Lloyd J. Ogilvie suggests that blessed means to belong to God, be loved by God and to have absolute trust in God. Or to be truly blessed is to be called, chosen, loved, forgiven, cherished by our God who is, who was and who will forever be.
I did a quick look to see how much we are blessed, and I made the following discoveries.
- Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful…He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does will prosper.” (Psalms 1:1, 3)
- Blessed is he whose transgressions is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (Psalms 32:1)
- Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust… (Psalms 40:4)
- Blessed is the man that fears the Lord…wealth and riches shall be in his house…(Psalms 112:1,3)
Verbalize this to God even as you read these words….I am blessed!
The CONDITION for receiving this illimitable blessing from God is clearly explained. (Matthew 5:8 – “THE PURE IN HEART…”)
Purity must be foremost in our minds. The use of the word pure in the Old Testament takes on the following connotations. It describes liquids without admixtures, metals without alloys, armies without defectors and sacrificial animals that were to be offered up to God.
We want power, but God wants to see our purity before he gives us his power. My prayer is the prayer that David prayed in Psalms 51:3, 7, 11. “I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me…wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow….Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Purity is the hinge upon which the doors open into the vast resources of God.
The REWARD he offers to us for living a life of purity is breath taking. (Matthew 8:8 – “they shall SEE GOD.”
This is what we long for. We want to see God show up to prove His presence and existence to an unbelieving world, demonstrate his dominion over sin, sickness, disease and poverty. We want God to show up to reveal the reality of miracles and the actuality of his authority. The doors will only open to the pure in heart. I trust we will choose the pathway of purity. It will have its rewards. God promised.
Pure In Heart!
Pastor Jimmy & Bob