29
Jul
14

Lord, I Want To See

Sometimes when we pray, we think that we need to use flowery language and a bunch of “Thees” and “Thous.”  We have to beg and plead for God to hear us and that the more fervent and lengthy our prayers, the better chance we have for God to answer them.
In Luke 18:​35-43, Jesus was walking toward the city of Jericho.  A blind beggar was sitting by the side of the road.  He wondered what was going on and someone says, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by” (Luke 18:37, NIV).  The man cries out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:38, NIV).  They tell him to keep quiet, but he won’t.  In desperation, he cries out again.  Jesus stops and calls for the man and asks him a question:

“What do you want me to do for you?” – Luke 18:41​a​ (NIV)

​His five word response – a sort of prayer – is simple:
​L​ord, I want to see.​ – Luke 18:41b (NIV)​
​Luke records that Jesus restored his sight immediately.
Simple faith + simple prayer = Jesus’ power revealed in this man’s life.
Don’t trust in your prayers to make things happen in your life.  Trust in the One to whom you are praying.  Surrender your circumstances and your situations to Him.  He is not stingy.  He is not mean.  He is not hard-hearted.   Your Heavenly Father is kind and good.  He delights in giving good gifts to His children.  Whatever your need today, do not try to impress God with your prayers.  Cry out to Him in simple faith, believing that nothing is impossible for Him.  Then know that the God of the universe who loves and cares for you will do what is right and best for you.
Luke 18:35-43 (NIV)

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
28
Jul
14

Not Ready For It

Do you ever wonder why you can’t understand something right away?  Do you ever get frustrated when things that are plain to others don’t come easy for you?  It is like someone has placed a veil over your eyes and you just can’t figure out what everyone else has understood for a while.
In Luke 18:31-34, Jesus clearly explained to His disciples what was going to happen to Him.  He spelled it out event by event what was going to happen and they just didn’t get it.  Why?  How could they have not understood something that He made so plain and clear?  It was hidden from them.

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. – Luke 18:34 (NIV)

Could it be that the thing you’re just not getting isn’t for you yet?  There is a time when you will understand, but now is not that time.  When it comes to discerning God’s will and plan for your life, perhaps He hasn’t revealed it to you yet because the time isn’t right for you to understand it.  Your level of spiritual or emotional maturity isn’t right for you to handle the full weight of what God has for you.  I think that the key to spiritual growth is patience and work.  You must be patient for the growth process to continue.  You must also work to grow as a believer.  You have to put in the time and effort to read God’s Word.  You have to put in the time to pray and listen to God.  You have to spend time with fellow believers in Christ to encourage and exhort one another.  You have to put in the effort it takes to mature in your faith.  How can you handle the meatier portions of God’s plan for you if you’re still drinking spiritual milk?
God will reveal His plan for your life when He knows you’re ready to handle it.  Until then, be patient.  God’s not finished with you yet.  Continue to do the things it takes to grow and mature as a follower of Jesus and God will bring understanding to your heart, soul and mind when the time is right.

Luke 18:31-34 (NIV)

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

27
Jul
14

Dealing With Enemies

The sermon from July 27th from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.

24
Jul
14

What Has Following Jesus Cost You?

There are two very interesting things to note about this passage in Luke.

First, is in verses 18-19.  This wealthy ruler asserts his belief that Jesus is God by calling Jesus “good teacher” (Luke 18:18, NIV).  It was believed that no one was good, except God (Luke 18:19, NIV).  We throw the word, “good” around quite a bit.

  • That was a really good movie.
  • That was a good meal.
  • This is a good show.
  • I really enjoyed that book.  It was really good.
  • She is a good person.

The Jews of Jesus’ day believed (rightly so), that only God was good.  Why?  Because only God is always good.  We’ll use the phrase, “God is good.  All the time.  All the time.  God is good.”  That’s true!  God is good all the time.  Nothing and no one else is good all the time.  

The second interesting thing to note is that Jesus has high expectations of His followers.  Kyle Idleman, in his book Not A Fan, says that the problem wasn’t that this wealthy ruler had money.  His problem was that money had him.  There is probably something that has each of us that keeps us from fully surrendering our lives to Jesus in full devotion.  What has you?  Is it your job?  Is it your family?  Is it your checkbook?  Is it your time?  An addiction?  A relationship?  What is the one thing that you keep to yourself and won’t give to Jesus?  You may say, “I surrender all…except this one thing.”  What is your one thing that is preventing you from saying, “All to Jesus I surrender?”  That is the one thing that Jesus wants you to give up and follow Him.  Following Jesus always costs us something.  To fully surrender your life to Him means that you’ll have to give something (or some things) up for Him.  Jesus isn’t mean.  He doesn’t want you to not have a house or a car or a job.  

  • But what if Jesus is asking you to give up an hour of television a week to go and volunteer at church?
  • What if Jesus is asking you to give up a few lattes a month in order to sponsor a child in Haiti?
  • What if Jesus is asking you to give up your job to go to Bible college and get into full-time paid ministry?
  • What if Jesus is asking you to move out of your boyfriends’ or girlfriends’ house to honor Him in your relationship?
  • What if Jesus is asking you to invite someone to church though it may feel awkward and weird?
  • What if Jesus is asking you to give up an hour of Facebook each day to spend that time in prayer for your church or missionaries?

Following Jesus isn’t easy.  There’s a reason that the road and the gate are described as narrow.  There is a reason that the road to destruction is described as wide.  Jesus knows that not everyone will accept His terms of what it means to follow Him.  Will you?

Luke 18:18-30 (NIV)

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”

21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

22
Jul
14

Little Children Are Believers

Little children are believers.  Their wide-eyed innocence allows them to see and believe things that are so hard for adults to accept.  SPOILER ALERT: If you are a believer in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, the next sentences might ruin your day!  Children will believe that a jolly fat man can deliver billions of presents in one night or that a magical fairy brings them money for their teeth.  Why don’t we believe these things as adults?  It is because as we grow in knowledge and maturity, we just know that such things are impossible.  Do we do the same thing with God?
Little children are believers.  They believe in God.  It isn’t until we reach our teen years and God is no longer “cool” that the first bits of doubt creep into our minds.  Something tragic will happen in our lives and we’ll start to doubt whether or not God exists.  We’ll question and we’ll wonder if any of it is true.  Is there anything wrong with doubting or questioning?  I don’t think that there is, as long as we’re willing to do the hard work of researching the answers for which we’re looking.  It’s one thing to doubt whether or not something is true and another thing entirely to search for the truth.
Little children are believers.  They’ll sit in Sunday School classes and hear stories of men being swallowed by fish and 5,000 people being fed with loaves and fishes and they’ll believe it.  Even if they’ve never seen it, they believe it.  Even though they haven’t seen God, they believe in Him.  Even though they’ve never met Jesus, they believe that He loves them.
And He does.
And He loves you, too.
Even when you question and doubt.
Especially when you question and doubt.
God is merciful to us when we doubt.  He gently and softly whispers, “I AM and I love you.”
Perhaps today is a day to set aside the questions and doubts for a few moments and with simple, childlike faith say, “I believe.”
Luke 18:15-17 (NIV)
15 People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
21
Jul
14

The Joy Giver

The sermon from Griffith First Christian Church (www.gfcc.net) in Griffith, Indiana from July 20, 2014.

21
Jul
14

You Think You’re Better Than Me?

Jesus often turned the tables on the conventional thinking of His day.  The Pharisees were honored and looked up to and the tax collectors were despised and looked down upon.  People don’t know what goes on in the hearts of other people.  You and I cannot see what is going on in the souls of those around us.  I love the way that Luke describes the Pharisees in verse 9.  They…:

were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else​… – Luke 18:9 (NIV)​

So Jesus tells them a story.  Two men go to the temple to pray.  One is admired by men and the other is loathed.  God knows the heart, though.  The Pharisee boasts about himself and his righteous acts.  The tax collector throws himself upon the mercy of God, knowing that he is unworthy to be in God’s presence.
When we get to the point of thinking that we’ve somehow earned grace by our good deeds or righteous acts, we’ve missed the mark.  When we get to the place where we believe that we are better than anyone else because of our righteousness, we are pridefully sinning.  Our job is not to judge others based on outward appearances for God knows the hearts of us all.  Let God be the judge and let us throw ourselves on His mercy for we all are in need of it.

Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”




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