Monday, September 22, 2014

90 Different Titles For Jesus!

90 Different Titles for Jesus!

Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13)
Amen (Revelation 3:14)
Anointed One (Psalm 2:2)
Apostle  (Hebrews 3:1)
Atoning Sacrifice for our Sins (1 John 2:2)
Author of Life (Acts 3:15)
Author and Perfecter of our Faith (Hebrews 12:2)
Author of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)
Beginning and End (Revelation 22:13)
Blessed and only Ruler (1 Timothy 6:15)
Bread of God (John 6:33)
Bread of Life (John 6:35; 6:48)
Capstone (1 Peter 2:7)
Chief Cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20)
Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4)
Christ (1 John 2:22)
Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
Eternal Life (1 John 1:2; 5:20)
Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6)
Faithful and True (Revelation 19:11)
Faithful Witness (Revelation 1:5)
Faithful and True Witness (Revelation 3:14)
First and Last (Revelation 22:13)
Firstborn From the Dead (Revelation 1:5)
Firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15)
Gate (John 10:9)
God (John 1:1)
Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
Great God and Savior (Titus 2:13)
Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14)
Great Shepherd (Hebrews 13:20)
Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2)
High Priest (Hebrews 2:17)
Holiness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Holy and True (Revelation 3:7)
Holy and Righteous One (Acts 3:14)
Hope (1 Timothy 1:1)
Hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27)
Horn of Salvation (Luke 1:69)
Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)
Jesus (Matthew 1:1)
Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42)
King of kings (Revelation17:14)
King of the Ages (Revelation 15:3)
Lamb (Revelation 13:8)
Lamb of God (John 1:29)
Lamb Without Blemish (1 Peter 1:19)
Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45)
Life (John 14:6)
Light of the World (John 8:12)
Living One (Revelation 1:18)
Living Stone (1 Peter 2:4)
Lord (2 Peter 2:20)
Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
Lord of Glory (1 Corinthians 2:8)
Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14)
Master (Luke. 5:5)
Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews. 9:15)
Messiah (John 1:41)
Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6)
Morning Star (Revelation 22:16)
One Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5)
Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Precious Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6)
Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Prophet (Acts 3:22)
Rabbi (Matthew 26:25) 
Redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
Righteous One (Acts 7:52)
Righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Ruler of God’s Creation (Revelation 3:14)
Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (Revelation 1:5)
Savior (Ephesians 5:23)
Son of God (John 1:49)
Son of Man (Matthew 8:20)
Son of the Most High (Luke 1:32)
Source of Eternal Salvation (Hebrews 5:9)
Spiritual Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4)
Stone the builders rejected (Acts 4:11)
True Bread from Heaven (John 6:32)
True Light (John 1:9)
True Vine (John 15:1)
Truth (John 14:6)
Way (John 14:6)
Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24)
Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)
Word (John 1:1)
Word of God (Revelation 19:13)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Favorite Miracle

This is the tale of a collision between two processions. One of the processions was a funeral march coming out of the city of Nain, and one was a procession of Jesus and His followers approaching Nain.

"Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him." (Luke 7:11)

For some time, there had developed a multitude of people following Jesus wherever He went, as was the case here. And as it worked out, at the exact point in time when Jesus and His followers arrived at the gates of Nain, they met up with a funeral procession leaving the city.

Back then, with few exceptions, it was unclean for Jews to be buried inside the city walls. So they would take the corpse outside of the city gate to their designated burial ground. The dead were embalmed with spices, wrapped in cloth, and brought out on a bier, which was something like a stretcher. This practice of being wrapped in linen can be seen in the example of Lazarus as well as Jesus Himself.

"As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her." (Luke 7:12)

Notice the two important points found in verse 12. First, it says that the dead person was an only son, and secondly, that the mother was a widow! In the culture of the day, when a husband died, the son would take care of his mom. But in this case, not only did the mother lose her husband, but now, she lost her only son. And with her only son dead, she was left alone, with no one to care for her. 

Yes, two large crowds meet. Not for a dispute, not for a protest, not for a reunion, but for something unplanned, unforeseen, unimaginable - an astonishing miracle by Jesus. Jesus did a lot of miracles - most were to demonstrate His deity - His power - His authenticity - and to instill belief. However, the primary reason that Jesus performed this amazing miracle was not for any of those things, although all of them were sort of secondary spin-offs. The prime motivation for this miracle was strictly compassion.

When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” (Luke 7:13)

Of all the people assembled that day, notice who Jesus immediately focused on...the mother who was grieving. He wasn't focused on all the people. He wasn't even focused on the dead person. When Jesus saw the mom mourning, he saw her heart, and therefore, in response, His heart went out to her. And look at what Jesus says to the mom..... "don't cry". This says volumes about who Jesus is.

Moved by sympathy and compassion, Jesus not only comforts the mother, but He acts. What He does next is not the result of the mother's request, for she didn't request Him to do anything. And it's not the result of what the mother expected Him to do, because she didn't expect Him to do anything. For all we know, she didn't even know who He was! And I suppose that's why this is my favorite miracle of Jesus. It's a miracle strictly driven by compassion. Now Jesus did many miracles of compassion, but for me, this one demonstrates it the best.

This particular miracle was unprecedented by Jesus because it's the first time that Jesus raises someone from the dead. That's right, He raises the dead son back to life! Wow!

Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” (Luke 7:14)

Jesus speaks directly to the dead young man, and commands him to come to life! What power and authority! And as with all of His miracles, they override the laws of nature, they are without failure, and they are totally complete. The young man not only sits up, but he immediately begins to talk! Jesus restores the son to his mother. Can you visualize the scene? Can you hear the mom's reaction? Can you imagine the crowd's response?

The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (Luke 7:15-17)

Talk about a feel-good miracle! And you can be sure of this...."Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8) That means that Jesus is just as compassionate today. That's the type of King we have. That's the type of God we have.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

The lesson here is that God is a God of compassion, He's the Father of compassion, the originator of compassion, the source of compassion, and the example of compassion. We should therefore be compassionate also, and comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. Let's put that into practice.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Can God's Mind Be Changed?

Can we alter what God has planned? If God decides to go ahead and do something, can we make Him stop? If the answer is yes, then it would imply that that we, as humans, as mortal creatures, as small as a grain of sand relatively speaking, have the power to change the mind of the Almighty, All-Powerful God! Could this be possible? Isn't there a so called "destiny" that is laid out for us? Or do we have a part to play in how our journey through life unfolds?

First of all, is there any documentation that this idea, changing the mind of God, has ever happened throughout history? Well....let's stop with all the questions, and start looking for answers! Actually, there is documentation! Changing the mind of God has happened, and therefore can happen even now!

Let's look at the story of Jonah. God sent Jonah, the prophet, to warn the people of Nineveh that God planned to destroy their city because of their wickedness. Jonah relayed God's message to the people of the city, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” That was God's plan, and the city would have been wiped out, but something changed God's mind and altered the destiny of the people of Nineveh!  The reaction of the king and all the people caused God to rethink His plan.

"The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust." (Jonah 3:5-6)

The Bible describes that even the animals were made to fast - not permitted to eat or drink anything. Not only that, the animals were also dressed in sackcloth (a coarse, black cloth made from goat's hair that was worn together with the burnt ashes of wood as a sign of mourning for personal and national disaster; as a sign of repentance; and as a sincere request for deliverance)!

Here is the result of their obvious, sincere actions: "When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened." (Jonah 3:10)

Amazing! They changed God's mind! And it was done by their actions, by their repentance. Because the nation turned from their evil ways, God showed mercy toward them and backed away from His original plan.

Another example of a man altering God's plans is documented in the book of Genesis. Here, in Genesis chapter 18, we find God ready to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sin and corruption.

Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? (Genesis 18:24)

Notice how God responded.  The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” (Genesis 18:26)

What's amazing here is how Abraham negotiates with God! Abraham knew how corrupt the city was, but he also knew his nephew, Lot, lived there with his wife and two daughters. So, he tires to get God to change His mind about destroying everyone in Sodom, and spare the city instead, if only 50 righteous people are found. God agrees.

But even more amazing, Abraham continues to negotiate (knowing that there are probably not even 50 righteous people in the whole city). He convinces God to agree to spare the city if only 45 righteous people are found, then 40, then 30, then 20, then 10. Wow! Of course, as the story goes, not even 10 people could be found righteous, so God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah anyway, but not before Lot and his family were rescued.

God was definitely influenced by Abraham's requests, and that's more confirmation that God's mind can be changed, or at least influenced. Because of Abraham's persistent pleas, God showed Him grace and gave in.

So in the above two examples, both mercy and grace are displayed by God. And both are His response to man's interaction with Him. And that's the key. We can actually interact with God! Perhaps the best and most powerful way is through prayer.

Here's the point....God interacts with us in real time. You could say He is a "real-time" God. He is relational. He listens to us and intervenes when He chooses to. He has an open ear, and we have the privilege of making our requests to Him.

And what's really comforting is the fact that whatever our requests are, God will at least consider them. And if He considers our payers, that means He will do what's best for us in the long run as far as how He answers them, or if He answers them, or when He answers them.

So keep on asking, keep on praying, and know that God is listening. And you never know, through His mercy and grace, you may convince Him to take action!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Ransom Of Captain Charlie Spade

The story of Captain Charlie Spade is similar to what happened to Captain Richard Phillips, the ship captain who was taken hostage by the Somali pirates in 2009 in the Indian Ocean, off the dreaded northeast African coast.

Picture this... the Estonia Emperor, with Charlie Spade at the helm. A 950 foot cargo container ship, cruising in the dark of night off the coast of Somalia, Africa. Things were going fine until they made a foolish mistake. They tried to make better time by taking a shorter route that brought them dangerously close to the shoreline, a practice that the shipping company prohibited. Nonetheless, Captain Charlie Spade and his crew took their chances, thought they could get away with it, and gambled that in the dark of night, while at full speed, they could avoid any possible pirate attack.

Sure enough, the worst case scenario unfolded. A small blip showed up on the radar, closing in fast. Armed pirates were chasing them down with the intent to board the ship, take the crew as hostages, and hold the ship until a large ransom was paid. Captain Spade tried to outrun them, but the huge vessel could only max out at about 28 knots. That's about 32 mph, no match for the pirate speed boat. 

The pirates reached the ship in no time. The crew had been alerted and was ready to try some evasive tactics such as turning on high power water canons which blasted water from the top of the ship toward the surface of the sea. However, the pirates were able to maneuver around that, and successfully throw hook and ladders to the side deck. Unlike the crew of the Estonia Emperor, who had no weapons on board, the pirates were heavily armed with machine guns, grenade launchers, and rifles. The crew had no recourse but surrender with their hands up as soon as the pirates spotted them. 

The pirates ordered Charlie to slowly bring the ship in close to the shore, anchor it, and wait for a ransom to be paid for the release of the ship as well as the crew. They were in trouble, not only because they were being held hostage, but also because they disobeyed company policy. The shipping company ended up paying a very large ransom...7 million dollars. After receiving the payment, the pirates released the ship and its crew, and they were set free. And even after discovering his illegal route, the shipping company reconciled their relationship with Captain Charlie Spade, and he continued to serve as a captain, convinced to never disregard any shipping company policy ever again. 

The story of Charlie Spade is an illustration of Biblical redemption. Charlie's disobedience got him in trouble, similar to how our sinful nature, early on in our lives, gets us in trouble. Charlie was held hostage. Similarly, we are held hostage by sin which can entangle us, shackle us, take us captive, and separate us from God. 

There's no way Charlie was going to be released by the pirates unless either force was taken or a ransom was paid. The definition of a ransom is this....."money that is paid in order to free someone who has been captured or kidnapped". In a sense, we are captured or kidnapped by sin, become separated from God, and there's no way to be released from sin except by God's own doing. 

The shipping company paid the high ransom price which freed Charlie Spade. Likewise, God paid our ransom price - the price to free us from the bondage of sin. It cost God a lot. This payment that freed Charlie redeemed him. To redeem is essentially to 'buy back' or better yet, to 'trade for payment', like redeeming a coupon at a department store. That coupon is as good as money.

Regarding the ship, the captain, and the crew, the shipping company said to the pirates, "They are mine!" And the company was willing to pay the price. Regarding us, as sinners, God says, "You are mine!" And He is willing to pay the price.

God must see every person as extremely valuable, even when it may seem that we are undeserving, unworthy, and sinful. That's proven by the astronomical price that He is willing to pay. The price God is willing to pay is the life of His one and only Son. But we must accept God's offer of the 'payment'. That's done through faith and obedience in Christ, committing our life to Him as our Redeemer, Savior, and Lord. If we accept the offer, Jesus trades His life for ours! The sacrifice of Jesus redeems us, frees us, forgives us, and reconciles us with God.

We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. It's true of every human. Still, because of His love and His grace, God's payment of ransom, through Jesus, is available to anyone. And just as Charlie Spade needed to be rescued, and just as his relationship with the shipping company needed to be reconciled, we can be rescued, and our relationship with God can be reconciled. Have you accepted God's offer to be redeemed, to be bought back? If so, walk faithfully. If you haven't yet, will you accept His offer to pay your ransom?

"For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God." (1 Peter 1:18-23)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Christian Zombies

Warning! - there may be Christian zombies in your midst! Even worse, you may be one yourself! What is a Christian zombie? Well, first of all, what is a zombie? It can be defined as "the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose". In other words.....the walking dead!

So how does this apply to Christians? Well, as Christians, we are supposed to die to our 'old self', our 'sinful nature', our selfishness, our worldly ways. Christianity is all about new life - a new life of forgiveness and grace through Christ. So a Christian zombie is a Christian whose old self, the pre-Christian person you once were, the self-centered sinful-natured person you don’t want to be, keeps trying to come back. And as a Christian, we are supposed to bury our old self, not bring it back! There's no better picture of this than Christian baptism, especially baptism by immersion.

"Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives." (Romans 6:3-4 NLT)

At our baptism, our old self dies and is buried, and we rise to walk in a new life, joined with Christ, united with Him. Over the years, I’ve seen dozens and dozens of people, hearing and understanding this concept for the first time, become so convicted that they are compelled to be baptized - many for the first time, and many re-baptized for the right reasons.

“For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12 NLT)

This new life is only possible because of the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, and our belief and obedience to Him. New life = New start. 


"This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT)

To illustrate further, when we decide to become a Christ follower, not only are we to undergo a spiritual death, burial, and resurrection, but we also go through a spiritual crucifixion! That’s right, we crucify our old life style, our old self. You see, it's one thing to believe in the crucifixion of Jesus as simply a historical event, it’s another thing to personally identify with it! 

''We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin." (Romans 6:6 NLT)

So what does being crucified with Christ look like? It’s a process of transformation from living for self into living righteously for God. It’s becoming not just a “Christian”, but a Christ follower - not just believing, but learning from Him and walking with Him, for life.

“Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” (Galatians 6:14b NLT)

So....if we crucified our old self, why would we want to resurrect it? Well, we don’t!! - at least intentionally. It’s when we slip up, yield to temptation, and fall back into our old ways, that our old self tries to return. That’s why we need to be on guard. When we have a tendency to resurrect our old self, it makes you wonder if Satan has his hand in it. Remember the definition of a zombie?...."the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, by a supernatural force, usually for some evil purpose". I would bet that supernatural force is Satan tempting us, trying to convince us to resurrect that old self. But don't do it!

Some horror movies depict a grave yard scene where during a dark, rainy night, in the solitude of a lonely graveyard, a hand pops up from a grave, usually with some freakish music! Yikes! If you find this happening, spiritually, to you, stomp that hand back into the ground!

There are some ways to avoid becoming a Christian zombie. Below are five:

1. Stay Connected with the Word (the Scriptures)
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Romans 12:2a) 

2. Stay Obedient to God's Commands
"If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love." (John 15:10)

3. Stay focused on Jesus
"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:1-2)

4. Stay in tune with the Spirit
"Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives." (Galatians 5:24-25)

5. Stay in fellowship with other Believers.
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:7)

Keep doing those 5 things, and you will never need to worry about becoming a Christian zombie!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Man Who Astonished Jesus!

I'm sure Jesus experienced all kinds of people while He was on earth. People who surprised Him. People who disappointed Him. People who even made Him angry. But there's a particular man who astonished Him -  in a good way! 

You see, Jesus, while He was on earth, was specifically looking for something. He was searching intensely. He was always on the lookout it. Everywhere He went, and every moment He was awake, He was searching and searching, trying to pick it up on His radar screen. And unfortunately, most of the time, it wasn't there. Time after time, He was disappointed. Yet, He kept on anxiously looking. 

Before I tell you what it is that Jesus was so earnestly desiring to find, let me introduce to you the man who had it. Jesus was well into His ministry when He met a Gentile man, an unlikely one to have what Jesus was looking for. That's because you would think that Jesus would find it among the Jews, His people, the chosen people. But no, it was a Gentile man, a non-Jew.

This Gentile man was a military commander in the Roman army. This, however, was not what impressed Jesus. And it wasn't that he was a man of authority. That didn't impress Him either. What astonished Jesus was what this Gentile man possessed....great faith! That's right, Jesus was astonished by the degree of faith he had. That's because Jesus had not found anyone in Israel, not anyone among what was supposedly God's people, who had such great faith as this man! This Gentile commander, called a centurion, absolutely believed that Jesus had the power of God, and that Jesus was able to do all things. Here's how the story goes:

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. (Matthew 8:5-10)

There are at least 4 things that must have certainly impressed Jesus about the centurion.

1. He was a Gentile but still believed in Jesus, regardless.
Of all people, it was a Gentile who turned out to have great faith! Impressive. Jesus was a Jew, and came into the world as the long awaited Jewish Messiah, but as a whole, was rejected by His own people. So for a Gentile to have such great faith was amazing. He may not have understood that Jesus was God in the flesh, but he knew that Jesus was an authentic man of God, regardless if he was a Jew or a Gentile.
2. He was humble. 
The centurion could have been one prideful person considering the position he held. Yet, he displayed humility. He obviously regarded the authority and sovereignty of Jesus as much greater than his. He told Jesus that he did not deserve to have Him come to his house. This statement reveals that he was underserving of the miracle he was asking for. He was totally relying on the Lord's grace, and was at the mercy of Jesus.
3. He was a compassionate man
The centurion was so sincerely concerned about his servant, that he didn't just send a messenger to Jesus, but he personally went to plead with Jesus himself. It shows his love and compassion for those around him, including his servant. And he was relying on the love and compassion of Jesus for healing.
4. He was absolutely confident that Jesus could do it.
The centurion knew all about authority, and all about giving commands. He believed Jesus, without a doubt, had the power to heal. Not only that, the centurion was so sure Jesus had the power to heal, he believed all Jesus had to do was say the word, from a distance, and his servant would be healed immediately without even Jesus being at the house where the servant was. And that's exactly what happened! "Then Jesus said to the centurion, 'Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.' And his servant was healed at that moment." (Matthew 8:13)

The centurion, in the eyes of Jesus, had great faith. Jesus, while on earth, was always looking for great faith. Unfortunately, He was disappointed time and again. Remember when Jesus calmed the sea, and the disciples were scared that they were going to die? "He replied, 'You of little faith, why are you so afraid?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm." (Matthew 8:26) Or the time Jesus walked on water, and Peter began to go to Him but took his eyes off Jesus? "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. 'You of little faith,' he said, 'why did you doubt?'" (Matthew 14:31)

There are many more examples of doubt and lack of faith, however, that doesn't mean there were not any examples of people who did have faith. There were many. As a matter of fact, Jesus even performed several healing miracles as a response to a person's faith. There's one other example of 'great faith' besides the centurion, and it's by a Canaanite woman in Matthew 15, a Gentile! (The 2 examples of 'great faith' were by Gentiles, not Jews!)

Jesus was always looking for faith when He was on earth. But it doesn't stop there. Jesus asked a question that should rock you:  "....when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (The words of Jesus in Luke 18:8b) Jesus is still looking, even today, and until He comes back, for people who have faith.

I suppose the real question is whether or not He sees faith in you and I. Even if we start with faith a small as a mustard seed, it can grow if we water it. He is always searching, looking for those who have faith, hoping to find it. Will He?

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

5 Ways God Still Shows Up

Have you taken time lately to reflect back on how God has worked in your life? Maybe you should, because when you look back, you can see more clearly His intervention. And as you reflect on it, maybe you should take a moment to praise and worship Him for it.

God is alive and well. He is an interactive God - a real-time God. His involvement in our lives can be explained under the umbrella term: “Providence”. Providence can be defined as divine intervention, made possible by the authority and sovereignty of God. In other words, God is in control.


I know for me, many things have happened, and continue to happen, that go far beyond coincidence. And I always give God the benefit of the doubt when it comes to who is responsible for the things that fall in my favor.

Hopefully, you also recognize and experience the hand of God moving in your life. When God decides to intervene, here are five ways that He does it. 

1. Timing
Through His providence, God can arrange certain things to happen at just the right time. This might be done in microseconds, or it might be done in years. And sometimes God’s timing is nowhere near how we would have arranged things to happen. In other words, our timing is not always the same as God’s timing. One thing is for sure, God is a God of timing, and His timing is perfect. We need to trust in that. Consider this verse:  "But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law." (Galatians 4:4)

2. People
Sometimes God's use of timing involves people. Through providence, He can line up people with people, and line up people with opportunities.  For example, sometimes He lines you up with another person, perhaps for the purpose of encouraging or witnessing or serving. The problem is that sometimes we miss the opportunity, don’t recognize it, and therefore don’t take advantage of it. I’m sure it’s not hard for you to look back at situations in your life when you ran into someone just at the right moment. Or sadly, in retrospect, when you've seemed to have missed an opportunity that God may have lined up. In that case, I can just imagine God saying, "I'm trying to help you out, can't you see? Oh well, maybe next time. I'll try again soon."

3. Angels
Ever have any close calls? It could be that an angel was involved in helping you out! Angels certainly can be one of the means by which God intervenes in our lives. Yes, angels are for real, it’s just that we can’t see them. Or can we? I love this interesting verse: "Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!" (Hebrews 13:2). Not sure if this still happens today, like it did in Bible times, but it does make you wonder. One thing is for sure, God has used angels ever since man was created, and continues to use them even today. "Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" (Hebrews 1:14)

4. Physical Nature
I believe that if God is creator, and if He calmed the raging sea, and did all sorts of miracles (altering the laws of physics, science, and nature), then He can still do miraculous things in this world today. Sometimes during a storm, I pray that God will change the course of the wind, or calm it. I believe He is able to do that, as well as being able to alter the physical realm in any way He chooses. He is able to do all things if He desires. Think of this example...if a car had loose wheel lug nuts, do you think that God can hold the loose tire on the car, not letting it fall off, but allowing it to be noticed before it's too late? I say yes. Can He heal physical sickness and disease if He wants to? I say yes. He is able.

5. The Holy Spirit 
I believe in the Holy Spirit, and if you do too, then you must believe the Holy Spirit is active in our lives. It’s another way how God is with us, and how His intervention works. I like to think that the Holy Spirit affects our conscience, as well as our intuition. The Holy Spirit can guide us. And if we try to be perceptive to it, the Holy Spirit can give us nudges to do something, or say something. Or perhaps, not to do something or not to say something. 

To summarize, God still moves in our lives. He does it in many ways -  through timing, through people, through angels, through altering the physical laws of nature, and through influence by the Holy Spirit.  

Sometimes He intervenes as a response to our prayer. Sometimes He initiates the intervention Himself simply to work things in our favor. Sometimes He intervenes for purposes that we can't understand or see - things that are in accordance with His will or plan. Regardless, all I can say is thank You Lord for your providence, and that You are in control!! I live by it, and I rely on it!  And I hope you do too!