27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, crying loudly, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” 28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him; and Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to him, “Yes, Lord.” 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you.” 30 And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly ordered them, “See that no one knows of this.” 31 But they went away and spread the news about him throughout that district. Matthew 9:27-31 (NRSV) 12 Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:12, 13 (NRSV)<
In the passage above from John, Jesus tells us that we have access to the power to do greater miracles than He did because He is going to the Father. In the passage from Matthew, he asked the blind men if they believed that He was able to heal them. Their response was “Yes, Lord”. Simple, childlike faith and Jesus responded by touching their eyes and they both could see. As He touched their eyes, Jesus made this statement: "According to your faith let it be done to you". We say we believe the Word of God is inerrant and infallible. If that is true, then why don’t we see more miracles performed today? Perhaps we need to look deep inside ourselves and see what we really believe. In verse 13 above, Jesus made a statement that has only 1 condition to it, "ask in My Name and I will do it". Are you having any kind of problems this morning? Do you believe the Bible is inerrant, immutable, and infallible? Jesus also said "you have not because you ask not". Commit yourself totally into the Father's hands, ask in the name of Jesus, without doubting, and you will receive. If you can't believe it, then ask God to help your unbelief. Humble yourself under His mighty hand, believe it and receive it.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40 and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41 and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Matthew 5:38-41 (NSRV)
As Christians, how do we respond when we are deliberately mistreated? Are we to be negative or positive in our responses? We should always strive to be positive and let God show His love through us. Jesus forgave His persecutors and we are to do the same. Was that forgiveness a show of weakness or was it unbelievable strength? Who was the actual winner at the Cross? If we respond in the same manner as Jesus, it is really a show of our strength and our faith in Jesus Christ. In the times of the early church, being struck on the right cheek with the back of the right hand was something that a superior did to someone of less stature as an insult. That gesture was acceptable, but that was the most he could legally do. So, if someone at that time, turned his left cheek to the offender, the offender would not be able to strike the person in the same way again. If the offender struck him in any other way, it would be an escalation of violence and totally unacceptable in that society. By “turning the other cheek”, the person offended has now taken control of the situation and the offender must either walk away or escalate. So, the expression really means to find a peaceful, loving solution to the mistreatment. We are promised that we will be offended, it is our duty to find a way to lower the level of violence and show the love of Jesus through our actions.
7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 9 Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? 10 Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! Matthew 7:7-10 (NRSV)
We hear a lot of opinions on how we should pray. Some say you should only ask once and God will answer when and if He wants to. Some say you should only ask for certain things. What does God say about it? In the original text of the Bible, the Greek verbs were verbs that indicated this was a continuing action. Jesus concurs with this in the parable of the woman who kept bothering the unjust judge until he gave her what she wanted. In James, we are told that “all good gifts come down from the Father above”. Furthermore, God has said that He is our provider and that means more than spiritual salvation. When Jesus healed people, He used the term “made whole”. That means physical as well as spiritual. The simple truth is that we can ask God for any and every thing that doesn’t violate His Word and we can keep on asking Him. Think about what He said to Paul. Paul had asked Jesus 3 times for healing and God said “my grace is sufficient”. That was God’s answer to Paul’s prayer. Unless God has answered your prayer (and that doesn’t always mean that He gives us what we want, but He does give us what we need) keep on asking. Look again at verse 8 above: “For everyone who asks receives……
Philippians 4:4-7 (Voice)
4 Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice! 5 Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us. 6 Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come. 7 And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.
God inhabits the praises of HIs people, so we should enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter His courts with praise. After we have praised Him, He also instructs us to ask and keep on asking. He is longing to bless us when we are obedient to Him. And never forget to be grateful for what He has done, is doing and will continue to do for you. Worry will not accomplish anything useful, so just rest in the arms of Jesus and enjoy the “now”. He gives us a peace that passes all understanding, even in the worst of times.
1 O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
2 Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
3 Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly Psalm 5:1-3 (NLT)
Anytime of any day is a good time to bring our requests before the Lord, He is always awake and waiting to hear from us. No, more than waiting, He is waiting expectantly wanting to hear from each of His children. Just as any good parent wants to talk with their children, God is the same way. We have such a great honor bestowed upon us to be called “the children of God”. We should never be hesitant to talk with Him about any subject that is on our mind. After all, He already knows what we are thinking, but He created us for companionship and worship. We should talk with Him daily. Morning is the best time to talk with God because our minds are not yet cluttered with all the worldly stuff. It is truly amazing how smooth a day goes when we start it with directions from our Father, our King, and our Friend. We have plans, but they might not be the same plans He has for us. His will be much higher and better than ours. Before you leave home today, spend some time with our best Friend.
9 That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 So we decided to leave for Macedonia at once, having concluded that God was calling us to preach the Good News there. 11 We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. 12 From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days. Acts 16:9-12 (NLT)
In earlier verses, Paul had wanted to go into the province of Asia and preach the Gospel. It doesn’t seem like there would be anything wrong with that, but God had other plans for Paul. This is a good example of how God works. He has a specific plan for each of us. That plan includes the what, the when, and the where. He has prepared certain hearts to hear and respond to His word. That word must be spoken at the exact time and place He has prepared. As we are told in the Psalms 127:1 Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good Unless, we follow God’s plan, our work is in vain. Yes, God will honor it because His Word does not return void, but it won’t produce the harvest He had intended for you to produce. Complete obedience is the difference in 30 fold, 60 fold, or 100 fold.
13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” 16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. 18 But I ask, have the people of Israel actually heard the message? Yes, they have: “The message has gone throughout the earth, and the words to all the world.” Romans 10:13-18 (NLT)
We, who have been chosen by God and saved by His gift of Jesus dying on the cross, have a great responsibility to carry the message forward. As one anonymous writer stated: “The Gospel has come to you because it is on its way to someone else”. We have received the commission and we must go forth. Not everyone will be glad to hear the Good News and not everyone will accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But that does not relieve us of our responsibility to tell it everywhere we go. We are told that the angels in heaven rejoice greatly when a lost soul comes home. So, let’s make it our goal to keep the angels rejoicing continuously by leading people to Jesus Christ. Then when Jesus welcomes us home, we can just join in the festivities.
1 Timothy, my dear son, be strong through the grace that God gives you in Christ Jesus. 2 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. 3 Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. 5 And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 6 And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. 7 Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. 2 Timothy 2:1-7 (NLT)
Jesus commissioned us to go and make disciples starting at home and working our way out to the rest of the world. Making disciples requires more than just the plan of salvation. We are to spend time with new converts teaching them the discipline of the Word of God. We must show them by example that we have to spend time with the Word and talking with God on a daily basis. We also must show them that it is necessary for us to spend time together as Christians. We are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We need the encouragement and help of those around us to endure in our walk with God. There is the old example of removing a red hot ember from the fireplace and setting it out by itself. It is soon black and cold. You can put it back in the fireplace and it is soon red hot and giving off warmth again. Our spirits are the same way, we need that “togetherness” to keep our passion and compassion flowing for Jesus. Learn all you can and take the time to teach what you have learned to those around you. That is the way each of us can fulfill the commission that Jesus gave to the disciples and to us.
4 So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. 5 When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. 6 But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit. Romans 7:4-6 (NLT)
Before we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, we were in bondage to our fleshly desires. After we accepted Jesus we wanted to do better but we were unable to do so in and of ourselves. Our physical and mental addictions had a real stronghold on us. Self-help courses helped us to stop doing some of those things temporarily but the effects were not permanent. The end was worse than when we first started. God tells us in Isaiah 50:11 (NLT)
11 But watch out, you who live in your own light
and warm yourselves by your own fires.
This is the reward you will receive from me:
You will soon fall down in great torment.
What this means is that we can’t change our bad habits. We have to allow God to do it through us. We are not sinners one moment and perfect the next. Accepting Jesus is not some magic incantation that removes all of our bad habits immediately. Though satan would like us to think that, so he can condemn us when we fail. We are to strive toward perfection knowing that we won’t reach it here on earth. Our new life with Christ is a journey. It is not a quick sprint, it is a life-long marathon. Just like a physical marathon, it takes discipline and daily training. Spend time each day meditating and conversing with God and you will find that when we allow Him to change us, the results are permanent and bring us great peace and joy. Once you have prayed, meditated and talked with God, be sure to give Him the praise He so richly deserves.
1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)
As Christians, we are so blessed to be able to meditate on God’s Word and have a conversation with God any time of the day or night. If we love Him then we will delight in obeying Him and pleasing Him. From the times that we spend with Him, we will receive Joy and grow stronger in His word. As long as we continue in this lifestyle, we will be able to draw strength, wisdom, and boldness from the Lord. then we will truly become like strong trees planted by the water and we will bear fruit each season. We will not wither, but prosper. But if we choose not to delight in God and meditate on His Word, we will become weak and bear no fruit. Does this mean that we should avoid unbelievers? Absolutely not. Jesus spent time with them in their homes and along the roads as He traveled. That is the example we should follow, witnessing as we go about our daily tasks.