Serving Jesus through discipleship

Archive for the tag “Lord”

The Faith to Follow

Jesus Walks on the Sea

Jesus Walks on the Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a rabbi, Jesus prepared His disciples for everything. The way used to prepare His disciples was that they followed Him everywhere. They lived with Him, they watched as He met with friends, acquaintances, officials and enemies. It was the disciple’s (singular: talmid; plural: talmidim) responsibility to watch everything that the rabbi did in order to emulate him. The disciples consuming passion was to be like his rabbi.

An example of this can be found in Matthew 14:22 – 33 where Jesus walks across the sea of Galilee. You will recall that when Peter discovered that it was his rabbi walking on the lake, he said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.” Do you believe that Peter thought he could walk on water? Peter, after all, was a fisherman. He had been in and around the sea all his life and every time he got in the water he sank like a stone. Yet, he wanted to be like his rabbi so much that he was willing to risk drowning to walk on water like his rabbi. So when Jesus said to Peter, “Come”, he had the temerity to get out of the boat. Peter actually succeeded in walking on the surface of the sea. But, seeing the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He cried out to Jesus to save him. Jesus reached out His hand, took hole of Peter and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Who did Peter lose faith in? He was walking on the water; he did it! Did he lose faith in Jesus? I submit that is not the faith that Jesus was talking about. After seeing that he could walk on water, Peter’s faith should have increased. I submit that Peter lost faith in himself. He did not trust that he, a lowly fisherman, could have the ability to walk on water. And so he began to sink.

I believe that we are like that. God has promised that His power is perfected in our weakness. So why don’t we see displays of God’s power in our daily lives. It is because we are even too afraid to get out of the boat. We have been called. Jesus has told us “Come”. Still we are too afraid of the embarrassment of failure, or even more of success. What will people think of me if I behave in this manner?

“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Think about this. The Jews in Galilee generally had access to the Scriptures only in their local synagogue, so they memorized Scripture throughout their lifetimes because they were determined to know and live by the word of God and pass on their faith to their children. They were intensely spiritual people, and even those who did not advance to further study and interpretation of the Torah and the Prophets already had memorized far more Scripture than most Christians know today.

Because of technology, we do not need to memorize Scripture. We can carry printed versions of scripture with us. We can put the Bible on our smart phones so that it is with us all the time. We do need to be familiar enough with Scripture so that we know what it says and where to find it. We have all had that moment where a certain passage applies and we can’t find it. Remember, Satan deceived Eve by questioning the word of God; “Has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” He also tempted Jesus by misapplying Scripture. Keep in mind God’s command to Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

Remember also the words of Jesus in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” You can say, “I will not be a disciple of Jesus.” But Jesus believes in you and your potential to be His disciple. That is why He chose you!


Where is God?

It seems that throughout recorded Jewish history, God‘s people have been asking this question, “How long O LORD will you remain silent?” This question has been asked in many different forms. The one I read today is from Habakkuk. “How long O LORD will I call for help, and You will not hear?” I think we would do well to ask that question today.

English: Habakkuk, the Biblical prophet, water...

English: Habakkuk, the Biblical prophet, watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The answer is always the same. God will not hear us until we wholeheartedly turn to Him. What does that mean?

To wholeheartedly turn to God means serving Him even when things are going well. No, especially when things are going well. We tend to turn to God only in our darkest hour. When we lose control over our circumstances, when we’ve tried everything we know to escape the consequences of our actions, that is when we turn to God to rescue us. For you Bible readers out there, the Israelites throughout history did the same thing. They abandoned God until they found themselves on the horns of a dilemma. It was then and only then that they remembered that they were God’s chosen people. And when they did remember, they asked the question. That is where we find the children of Jacob in the opening words of the prophet Habakkuk. The people of Judah continue to sin with impunity and justice is perverted. God’s answer to Habakkuk’s question is that he is raising up the Babylonians as His rod of judgment. The Chaldeans will come against Judah swiftly, violently and completely! The coming storm form the east will be God’s answer to Judah’s crimes!

In twenty-first century America, who is God raising up to exercise His judgment. Al-Qaeda? Iran? Egypt? Venezuela? Syria? The United States of Islam?

How long O Lord, will you allow us to profane your name? How long will we be allowed to execute our children as if it were a God given right and then call it a women’s health issue? How long will You remain silent as people abandon the natural use of their bodies for the abominable pursuit of carnal pleasure? How long must the people who are called by Your name be allowed to do nothing before we are called to judgment? How long?

Remember, God’s judgment will rain upon the evil as well as the righteous. Joseph was a slave and a prisoner for years before he was exalted. I have no recollection of his pleading to God for deliverance but serving and exalting God through his suffering. All of his actions, even while in prison, honored the God he served.

We are called to serve God! It appears that we believe that God is supposed to serve us. Really?

Seek the Lord

“He did evil because he did not seek the LORD.”

Evil Inside

Evil Inside (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These words from 2 Chronicles 12:14 Jumped out at me this morning when I read them. Does this sentence mean that not seeking the Lord is evil or that Rehoboam’s actions were evil and if he had been seeking the Lord his actions would have been different?

After thinking about it, I believe both of those statements are true! Not seeking the Lord is evil because man is made for the glory of God and to serve Him. To do otherwise is evil. Also not seeking the Lord (and His righteousness) leads to all sorts of evil because man’s heart is totally corrupt. We sin because we are in rebellion against God, our maker.

So, how do we seek the Lord? According to online pastor Trevor Lund, there are seven ways to seek the Lord.

  1. Call upon God and pray to Him.

    Jeremiah 29:12-14a (New International Version)
    Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back from captivity.

  2. Serve God with a wholehearted devotion and a willing mind.

    1 Chronicles 28:9 (New International Version)
    And you my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and a willing mind for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.

  3. Cast your cares upon the Lord

    Psalm 55:22 (New International Version)

    Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you, He will never let the righteous fall.

  4. Keep your tongue from evil, turn from evil, do good, seek peace and pursue it

    Psalm 34:12 – 16 (New International Version)

    Whoever of you loves life
    and desires to see many good days,
    keep your tongue from evil
    and your lips from speaking lies

    Turn from evil and do good,
    Seek peace and pursue it.

    The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
    and His ears are attentive to their cry;

    The face of the Lord is against those who do evil
    to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

  5. Forsake evil ways and thoughts

    Isaiah 55:6 – 7 (New Living Translation)

    Seek the Lord while you can find Him.
    Call on Him now while He is near.
    Let the wicked change their ways
    and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
    Let them turn to the Lord that He may have mercy on them.
    Yes, turn to our God, for He will forgive generously.

  6. Have clean hands, pure heart, don’t lift your soul to idols, don’t swear by what is false.

    Psalm 24: 4- 6 (New International Version)

    He who has clean hands and a pure heart
    who does not lift up his soul to an idol
    or swear by what is false,

    He will receive blessing from the Lord
    and vindication form God his savior.

    Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
    who seek your face, oh God of Jacob.

  7. Doing what is right and live humbly

    Zephaniah 2:3 (New Living Translation)

    Seek the Lord, all who are humble
    and follow His commands.
    Seek to do what is right
    and to live humbly.
    Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you –
    protect you from His anger on that day of destruction.

While Reverend Trevor has sound biblical advice, I think this falls short. Many of the passages contain the phrase “Seek The Lord”. Isn’t that what we are trying to learn to do? It seems to me that when seeking the Lord we look for Him where He is. God is, Jesus is, in Holy Scripture. It is in Scripture where He may be found. All of scripture, the entire word of God. Jesus fulfilled the entire scripture of His day!” Read the Scriptures and live according to its principles.

“And the Word was made flesh.”

The Wisdom of Solomon

God promised king David that his son would rule Israel, and God kept that promise through Solomon. Shortly after assuming the throne, Solomon prayed to God for the wisdom to rightly judge God’s people. Because Solomon did not ask for riches for himself but asked for the wisdom to serve God, he was granted great wisdom as well as the riches that he didn’t ask for. The wisdom of Solomon was legendary throughout the middle east. In 1 Kings 10, we find the story of how the queen of Sheba visited Solomon just to determine for herself if the stories of his wisdom were true.

English: The Gates of Paradise-Solomon

English: The Gates of Paradise-Solomon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is from Solomon that we have the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. At least sixteen times in the book of Proverbs, Solomon speaks about the benefits of the fear of the Lord. “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, “fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”, “fear of the Lord is the fountain of life”, and so on. In 1 Kings 11, we find that Solomon disobeys God by loving “many foreign women”. Because of his disobedience, the kingdom of Israel was removed from his house.

What happened to Solomon’s wisdom? What happened to “the fear of the Lord”? I believe what happened is the same thing that happens to us; the lust of the flesh and pride. I believe Solomon let his fame go to his head. He probably started thinking that the wisdom he had was his own rather than a gift from God. Because of his wealth, he felt he was entitled to the things of this world. He forgot that the wealth that he had was not his but God’s and was to be used for God’s purposes. Because of this, the kingdom was removed from him.

Is it any different for us? How much of God’s time, talent and treasure, which He has given to us to manage, are given back to Him and used for His glory? How much of God’s riches do we selfishly squander on our own pleasure incurring His displeasure? How long will He tolerate this before removing His Kingdom from us? Is Jesus your Lord? THINK ABOUT IT!

A Lesson Repeated

Gifts of Fear of the Lord and Piety. Fresco No...

Gifts of Fear of the Lord and Piety. Fresco No. 21, Most Holy Trinity Church, Fulnek, Czechia, Europe. Esperanto: Donacoj de Timo antaŭ Dio kaj Pio. Fresko n-ro 21, kirko de la Plej Sankta Triunuo, Fulnek, Ĉeĥujo, Eŭropo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week the words “fear of the Lord” have been jumping out at me. That phrase is everywhere in Proverbs. Why have I not seen it before? God, are you teaching me a lesson?

“The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.”

“In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.”

“The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death.”

I Delight to Do Your Will

Русский: Скрижали Завета

Русский: Скрижали Завета (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have been raised to gratify our desired. It is not so much that our parents have raised us this way, but the culture has inculcated this attitude through various media. We have accepted the taking of innocent life since the early nineteen-seventies. Our children are being taught that not only is it ok to engage in an act that God calls an abomination but that act is encouraged.

We live in a culture where the mention of God’s name is forbidden unless it is used as an imprecation. To follow God is to be laughed at and mocked. there is no discernible difference between God’s people and those who hate Him.

When we read Psalm 40, it is as if a foreign language is being spoken. The words sound so right but the concept is so strange!

“Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired;
My ears You have opened;
Burnt offering and sin offering You have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation;
Behold, I will not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.”

I lament that our culture is antithetical to God. It pains me when I realize that the words of the Psalmist are so strange to my ears.

Forgive me O Lord, let my soul be healed and let your Law reside within my heart. Let me take pleasure in You! Let me not hide Your righteousness, but proclaim Your faithfulness and Your salvation.

Who will join me in Glorifying our God?

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