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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Matthew 28

October 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 28

Jesus died a horrible death on the cross for us. His sacrifice means we have been saved from eternal death. But the story doesn’t end with Jesus dead and buried in a tomb.

On the third day, Jesus came back to life. But why?

The work had been done, right? He made the sacrifice. Our sins had been paid for with his death. So why did Jesus need to come back to life?

First, it is final proof that Jesus is who he claimed to be. If he had just died and been buried, he’s just some guy who died a tragic death. How are we to know that he was the Son of God who died for our sins? By conquering death, he shows that he truly is the Son of God.

Second, by displaying his power over death, Jesus shows us that he has the power to raise us from the dead. His resurrection gives us hope that death will not be the end for us either. We believe that we will be resurrected because Jesus was resurrected.

When the women discovered the empty tomb, they were filled with such joy, they had to tell everyone. They hurried back because they couldn’t contain their excitement. They wanted everyone to know that Jesus was raised from the dead.

Does Jesus’ resurrection fill you with such joy and excitement that you have to tell others?

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I am so glad that you conquered death! Your raising back to life gives me hope that you will raise me back to life. Your resurrection shows me the power you have to work in my life. I don’t want to keep this a secret. Give me the words to tell others this incredibly good news. Thank you for your death and your resurrection! Amen.

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (1 Peter 1.3)

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Matthew 14

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

surfingMatthew 14

I love to surf. If you’ve never been, you have to go surfing before you die. It is one of the greatest feelings ever. I can’t explain the feeling when that wave catches you, and you pop up onto your board. Gliding across the water, you’re doing something you shouldn’t be able to do, because it’s not natural to walk on water. Yet it is very natural because it’s just you and that wave. It’s exciting, invigorating, and even somewhat spiritual.

And that is what a relationship with Jesus is like, except multiplied times a billion. I can’t even begin to explain the feeling of truly walking with Jesus. The closest I can come is “walking on water.” And since surfing is the closest anyone can come to walking on water, and chances are you have never surfed, you can’t really understand it. That’s why I want you to go surfing. Then you will understand what it’s like to have a relationship with Christ.

Let’s just say it is completely awesome. I know it sounds cliché, but it is a rush. When you surf, you completely rely on the wave’s power to move you. Sure, you have to paddle to catch that wave, but when that wave catches you, it’s all about the wave. The wave is what moves you. There is no one pulling you behind a boat. There is no engine. It’s you relying on the power of that wave. It’s like you become one with the wave.

That is how it is with Jesus. Jesus is this huge wave of power and energy and excitement. He catches you, and the rush is on. You walk on water. You experience life at its fullest. You become part of something hugely powerful. When you put your trust in Jesus, you become one with him, and he leads you into a life of meaning, adventure, and pure joy. You walk on water.

But some of you are still in the boat. My high school English teacher would say I’m mixing metaphors, but I think you get it. You’re like the other disciples. You’re too afraid to get out of the boat because you don’t trust Jesus. And you miss out. Peter experienced something truly awesome, but the others were too afraid to walk on water.

Some of you are drowning. You were like Peter and decided to jump out of the boat. It was great trusting Jesus at first, but then it got a little scary. You took your focus off Jesus and started looking around at all the difficulties in your life. You think that walking on water is hard, and you begin to sink.

But that’s part of what makes it so exciting. Surfing is exciting because there’s a chance of wiping out. And believe me, sometimes you do! But if it were safe, it would be boring. Following Jesus is messy and scary and sometimes dangerous. But it is also the most exciting thing in life. And if you trust Jesus, he’s not going to let you drown. He is always right there to pick you back up.

Don’t miss out on the adventure. Put your trust in Jesus, allowing him to guide your life. Jump out of the boat and walk on water.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I want out of this boat! I want to trust you. I want to experience the excitement and joy of a relationship with you. I admit it is scary, but you say you will be there for me, that you will never let me down. Help me to get over my fears so that I can walk on water with you! Amen.

 

“Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2.6

Matthew 9

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 9

Again we have more of Jesus’ healings in Matthew 9. First he heals the paralytic and forgives his sins (and gets into a spiritual throwdown with the Pharisees). Then the woman with internal bleeding is healed just by touching his clothes. After this, Jesus raises a little girl back to life. Next he heals two blind men, and wraps things up by healing the demon-possessed man who couldn’t speak.

But tucked away in all these healings is one sentence spoken by Jesus which you may have missed. Honestly, I’ve read it countless times without really catching it. But this time it finally jumped out at me and smacked me across the face. (Figuratively speaking, that is. Though, it is cool to imagine scriptures actually jumping off the page and slapping someone. Try it sometime.)

The two blind men ask Jesus to heal them. He asks them if they believe that he can heal them. They say that they do. Then, Jesus says something crazy: “According to your faith will it be done to you,” (verse 29). In other words, the level of their faith in Jesus’ ability to heal them will determine how well they are healed.

Both of them must have had great faith, because verse 30 says their sight was restored. I wonder though, what would have happened if their faith hadn’t been that strong. Like, let’s say that on a faith scale of 1-10, their faith had been a 5. Would one eye have been able to see, but the other one still be blind? Or maybe both eyes could see, but they’d be really near-sighted, or maybe color blind.

It’s kind of scary when you think about it. Does God do this with us? Does he help us based on how much faith we have? If I ask God to remove my cancer (hypothetical), but I believe there is a 30% chance he can’t or won’t, will God only remove 70% of my cancer? I don’t know, but it is definitely something to think about.

These two men had great faith, and Jesus opened their eyes because of it. I really think there is something to learn here. The more faith we have in Jesus, the more he will open our eyes. The more we will be able to see him. The more we will be able to make sense of the world and our own lives. The more we will see his incredible love and his plans for us.

You can’t put your faith in someone you don’t know. That’s why it is so important to spend time with God by reading his word and praying to him. The more time you spend with him, the more your faith will be able to increase, and the more God will be able to do in your life.

 

Prayer for Today

Father, open my eyes. I believe you have the power to work miracles in my life. I want to know you more. Help me to trust you more. Amen.

 

“O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Psalm 84.12

Matthew 8

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 8

Matthew 8 contains five of Jesus’ miracles—four of which are healings. The last one he casts demons out of two men and sends the demons into a herd of pigs. I have to admit, this is one of the strangest stories from Jesus’ life.pig-fly

Why did he send the demons into pigs? I have no idea. The demons asked him to, but I don’t know why. I also don’t know why Jesus did what the demons asked. And I don’t know why the demons made the pigs leap to their death.

Maybe Jesus had been teaching some really hard things, and one of the disciples said they’d believe that “when pigs fly.” I don’t know. But it happened nonetheless.

But something else weird happens after this. The entire town comes out to see Jesus, but instead of asking him to teach and heal, they beg for him to get out of town. They’ve just witnessed this awesome display of power, healing these two men who had been suffering (and causing everyone around them to suffer), and they want Jesus to leave.

Maybe they were ticked because Jesus had just ruined their barbeque. Maybe they were afraid of the power Jesus had. Either way, they didn’t want to have anything to do with Jesus.

Sometimes we’re like that. We want Jesus to save us from hell, but we don’t really want him messing with our lives. We want everything to be the way we like it, and we don’t want Jesus coming in and changing stuff around. We’re afraid of his power. We’re afraid he might get rid of some stuff we like.

But you can’t have it both ways. Jesus is God, and God isn’t safe. (Think Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia.) The Bible calls him a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4.24) and a lion (Hosea 5.14). He’s powerful and dangerous and mysterious. And when you invite him into your life, it’s not neat or safe. It’s messy and scary. But it is also wonderful and exciting.

Continue to explore this dangerous mystery who is God. I promise your life will never be the same.

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I don’t always understand you. You are much bigger than my mind can understand. And that is scary, but it is also exciting. Help me to have deeper faith in you. Help me to trust all of you with all of me. Help me to have enough faith to let you change me completely, no matter how messy it might get. Amen.

 

To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.” Exodus 24.17