When Jesus talks about faith the size of a mustard seed, what does He really mean? Are we meant to measure our faith in mustard seeds, or is there a more important message behind the illustration? In this blog, I talk about the importance of choosing to walk in faith as we believe the Word of God and apply it to our lives. When God speaks to you, are you willing to use the faith He has already given you?
Monthly Archives: May 2017
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
If you have some pretty big challenges in your life, many of you have reason to be afraid. Being afraid is not a sign that you lack faith, it says you’re human. God knows you’re human. However, notice that every time God instructed Joshua to be strong and courageous he didn't just stop there. He didn't just say, "Come on Joshua take it like a man!" No God promised to be present each step of the way. Joshua could be strong and courageous because he knew that God went before him and no matter the struggles and the pain, God would never leave him or forsake him.
These verse let us to know that it’s normal to be scared to feel nervous, unsure, concerned, at times even tormented by the pressure, but we can’t let those feelings decide anything for us. We must stir ourselves up to be strong and courageous! And unlike Joshua, we have the Greater One living in us (1 John 4:4) “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” We can be strengthened from the inside out! (Deuteronomy 31:6) “Be strong, courageous, and firm; fear not nor be in terror before them, for it is the Lord your God Who goes with you; He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:7) “Only you be strong and very courageous, that you may do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you. Turn not from it to the right hand or to the left that you may prosper wherever you go.” When you feel scared and overwhelmed, God wants you to be strong and courageous! Look how many times God had to tell Joshua to be strong! If you’re going through a potentially fearful situation, read them again and again to build your faith.
If you’re tempted to be overwhelmed or afraid when you’re in over your head, tell the devil, “It doesn’t matter if I cry every day, I am going to stand here, and stand and stand and stand (Ephesians 6:13) “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand”.
For the Christian, there is every reason to be courageous, no matter how dark the external situation may be. We can be strong and courageous! Remember there are no pain and no mistake that God cannot fix if we are walking with God. But just like Joshua had to move into the place of promise, so too we have to be strong and courageous to keep walking and keep doing those things God has called us to do.And that my friends are the promise that each of us has today. Trust God! Life may be painful and I know it is for many of us but God is with you and God is faithful.
This video shows us that we all have the potential to make a difference in someone’s life.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower". This expression 'the name of the Lord' - what does it mean? Well, 'the name of the Lord' is the Lord Himself as He has revealed Himself to us in His holy Word. 'The name of the Lord' means: everything that God is in and of Himself. So 'the name of the Lord' begins by meaning His glorious Being, His divine essence, His eternal unchanging substance. Now you know that God, according to the Lord Jesus Christ, is a Spirit. Jesus said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). And so God, we are told in the Word of Scripture, is a Spirit who is infinite, eternal, unchanging in His being and in everything to do with His persons. 'The name of God' includes God the Father, and God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit - so that when we are blessing the people of God we bless them in the name of God like this: the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you (2 Corinthians 13:14). So 'the name of God' involves His essence, and His three glorious Persons: the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit ever proceeding from the Father and from the Son - One in essence, three in Persons. This is the God of whom we say that His name is a strong tower.
The righteous run to it and are safe when he puts his trust in God. Look at what is said here, "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous run to it and are safe " meaning those who believes and put his trust to our Almighty Father is safe; God is a tower of refuge for those who put their trust in Him! During ancient times, strong towers were built to hold huge amounts of food and supplies. Even in the midst of warfare, these fortresses housed great storages of provision. “Blessed is the man that feared the Lord that delighted greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endures forever” (Psalm 112:1-3).
When the storms of life are raging, heavy rain is pouring, waves are rocking, the trees are whistling and the sea of our lives appears not to cease, run to Jesus for He promises to be your “Strong Tower”. The Lord has not promised us that we would not have storms, but He promises to be a shelter in the time of them. (John 16:33) “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.”
What is love again? This simple, emotional video asks us to rethink that question by imaging life without it. Great for a sermon starter or for preceding a call to worship which includes a passage that describes true, biblical love (e.g., 1 Cor. 13:4-8). Also appropriate leading into teaching about Valentine's Day or marriage and family life.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3
For generations many have taken comfort in the message of Psalm 46:1-11, and we can certainly understand why: it clearly expresses God’s sovereignty over the earth and His presence among His people. The message remains quite compelling in terms of our expectations of God. Many expect God to act like a magician, to wave a mighty wand and make everything better. Others expect God to work as the ultimate 911 service: to come and save the day in times of distress. Some expect God to provide them with a comfortable existence. Still others seek after safety and look to God to preserve their present way of life. These are not the types of expectations we see set forth in Psalm 46:1-11, and for good reason: these are not realistic expectations. They are rather self-serving, perhaps even to the detriment of others, and entirely confuses the reality of who God is and our standing before Him.
These verses should be the reason why you need to reflect on the book of psalm for comfort when the seas were and skies were troubled. The psalm opens with a categorical statement that God is our safe place and the source of our strength, and that he is abundantly and always available in times of trouble. After this comforting introduction, the psalmist states that even if the earth were removed (Revelation 21:1) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Or that the mountains were carried into the middle of the sea (Matthew 21:21) Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. That God would be present for His believers. This is an immensely comforting thought, and one reason Psalm 46 has endured and been so widely recognized for its comforting purposes.
We do well to make our expectations of God align with what He provides, for He is willing to give us something that is more powerful and valuable than our feeble expectations: His presence. (Psalm 46:7) The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. In His presence we can obtain His strength which can allow us to overcome any difficulty in our lives (Ephesians 3:14-21) for this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen. Ethan R. Longhenry
We can take refuge in His presence, but we must never confuse refuge in His presence with refuge in the world. We have every reason to trust in God and have confidence in whatever we place in His hands.
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
In today's promise, we are reminded that God is our hiding place. He is a refuge for us when we need to be safe from trouble. What challenges are we facing today that we need refuge from? God is inviting us to run to Him so that He can be a place of safety and security for us and ultimately the place where He will deliver us from all our troubles. When times feel tough, we find that we can retreat to the pages of God’s Word. The Bible is like that hiding place because we can hide ourselves in the pages of God’s Word. At the same time, God Himself becomes our Hiding Place. He can be a Person who we can confide in and receive comfort from during time of trial and difficulty. He becomes our security and comfort when we feel trapped or discouraged. When we feel like everything is falling apart, God Himself provides a place where we feel protected.
God wants to be that Hiding Place for you as well. He wants you to take refuge in Him. He wants you to look to Him for protection and care when life is hard. Jesus said to go into your prayer closet and talk to God in private. “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5–6)
What is that reward that God will give you when you come to Him in secret? Not just forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
The joy that comes with forgiveness is the reward. How do I know this? Because this psalm is related to another psalm that David wrote. Psalm 32 is when David is struggling with the guilt of his sin and how he overcomes it with forgiveness. Psalm 51 is David after he has confessed his sin. “Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:12)
Psalm 32 shifts from a cry about guilt to the joy of forgiveness. Do you see the change that happens in this psalm? David goes from guilt to glory, from frustration to forgiveness, from silence to shouts of joy. It changes his outlook and the way he approaches God. God never changed. It’s David that changes. God never changes. It’s us that change.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15
When your friends are happy, rejoice with them. If your friend gets a good score, if she celebrates a birthday, if he gets a promotion, if they have a baby, if their daughter graduates from high school, if their grandson scores two touchdowns, laugh with them, cheer with them, smile with them. Share their joy. Don’t be a party pooper or a Negative Nelly or a Sulking Sam. Life is hard enough for all of us. When those moments of victory come, share their joy. And don’t mutter under your breath, “They don’t deserve it.” Of course they don’t. None of deserve any of the blessings we receive from the Lord. It’s all of grace. Rejoice with those who rejoice.
When our friends weep, take time to weep with them. Often the tears of others frighten us. Real emotion, raw emotion, scares us so we tend to run away from it. Or we offer empty platitudes "Things will get better.” “God will take care of you.” “Everything is going to work out." It’s certainly true that God will take care of those who suffer. Mourn with those who mourn, says the Word of God. We should stand together with one another having compassion and understanding; mourn with those who are mourning. We do not need to know anything about those who died nor any details to those people who are suffering but think about this, man alone was made by the image of God. Anytime we have loss a human life, it is tragic. All who are victims, the families and all those affected by the terrible tragedy in Manchester, Jesus died to everyone that was affected to these tragedy. As (I Corinthians 12:24-26) “But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice it.”
Our thoughts and prayer goes out to the victims, their families and all those affected by the terrible tragedy in Manchester, England.
Let’s pray together:
Our world is hurting and broken. We pray for those who have lost loved ones this week, please comfort them in their grief and loss, cover them with your peace and presence, as only your Spirit can do. We know that in whatever we face, you are our Peace and Refuge, a very present help in times of trouble. Thank you that you remind us throughout your Word, we do not face the storms alone, but you are always with us. Whispering calm. Speaking peace. Bringing rest to our souls.We confess our need for you. We ask you to forgive us for trying to figure everything out on our own, for not trusting that you are more than able and powerful to work on our behalf. Forgive us for picking back up what we already determined to lay down at your feet. Give us the ability to trust you more, give us a heart that finds rest in your presence, give us the wisdom to seek peace and pursue it, remembering it’s only to be found in you alone.Thank you that your yoke is easy and your burden is light. Thank you that you care for us. Thank you that the peace of your loving and strong presence guards and protects our hearts and minds in you. Thank you that we do not have to walk in fear or live in overwhelmed cycles of worry and stress.Thank you for your voice that breaks through the greatest wind and storm swirling around us, and whispers “Peace, be still.”Thank you that you sent your One and Only Son to set us free.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus,