You Of weak Faith . . .

When should we doubt our faith in God? The answer is never right. . .regardless of where we are or what has happened; whether we think God should of answered our prayers or not, our faith SHOULD not waiver, but are you like me and it does. Does it get thinner as life challenges get thicker?

I can think of a few stories in the Bible where faith was tested. The first one of course is with Joseph. His brothers sold him to be a slave. He rose to prominence, then was thrown back into prison, not once did the Bible record his rant of anger, if he ever had one. The other is of course, JOB. A detialed story of his drama, but never lost faith.

I also think of David, here he was promised to be King, yet he was stalked by his King for years and years, yet truly had done nothing to deserve it, other than Saul being jealous of David.

When, as I do now, not feeling confident in the future, not feeling deserving of what is to come, not because I don’t deserve good things to come, it’s because I feel stuck with where I am and therfore, am not doing enough to get out. I grow confused and bewildered, but then I come back to my love and faith in Jesus Christ.

I grow weary because of what I am missing, but in the end, it is not of this world I am to be of, but the next. But, right now, I don’t feel as though I am doing either any honors. So, if you happen to read this, simply put in a prayer for me, a prayer that I will hear God’s words and I will be obedient and I will be able to serve both worlds in recognition of my Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ. God Bless and Amen!

Jesus Calms the Storm

Matthew 8:23–27 (NIV)

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 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.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Matthew 16:5–12 (NIV)

The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees

5 When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”

8 Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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Job 7:14

How I am feeling right now, scared, this word is not used in the NIV Bible and only once in the ESV Bible JOB 7:14.  In verses 11, he talks about how he wants to express his hurt and the bitterness of it.  And they, his friends want to scare him with visions, those that would scare him to death, than life.  He speaks of how he is being tested at every moment and won’t they leave him alone.

 

I am scared, things have happened to me and they have not gotten better.  In so many ways, if I was to tell you all, I am sure many of you would be like JOB’s friends and not in a bad way.  But, I know myself and ask myself, how am I still in this situation, why have I not improved and that acknowledgement and understanding makes me even more scared.

 

The realization is I cannot do it by myself and I have accepted that and relied on God.  Yet, I wake up each morning with eagerness, faith, love and hope, yet I go to bed each night knowing, I am in the same circumstances I have been.  I don’t feel one day closer to a solution, in fact, as each day goes by, I have started to feel, I am one day further away from one.  Like a current taking you away from the shore, but you can see the shore, the people on the shore, the fun, delight and happiness of them all.  I can’t scream out, I cannot seem to swim in, I am naked to the current and it scares me.

 

I have put it in God’s hand, I have prayed and prayed, and hoped and prayed.  I get exhausted, not from praying, but from the tunnel getting darker.  More things go wrong, more speed bumps to go over, more corners to go around, more ditches to climb out of.  I know, God did not promise me a Rose Garden, I accept that, but I know he answers prayers and it is my hope, his use of me is not to live isolated as I am.  That the speed bumps will become less an the corners less sharp and some events, any events go well. 

 

I have been stripped of so much, been given a lot too, but my life is nothing of value, at least to me.  And I don’t see how I have value to God, because living isolated does nothing to give to him.  I hope God still has a plan for me, and if his plan is for me to be where I am, I like Job, don’t really want to weather it, I am scared.

 

I don’t tell you, because I am scared.  Because there is really nothing you can do.  Telling me what to do is like telling an overweight person to eat less or exercise more, and most of us, have tried.  You can’t do anything – you can only hope and pray that SOMETHING comes up, someone decides to throw me a bone. Yet, I don’t share all that hope.  I sent out over 2000 requests for being a trainer, not one person responded back with, yes we have something, or we viewed your resume on LinkedIn and we have something for you, not one.  This makes me even more scared, because there has to be something I am doing wrong, but I don’t know and that scares me too. 

 

I am scared God does not hear me, I am scared I will not ever be a significant part of my children’s life, I am scared that I have wasted this life, that it amounts to no more than an empty seat in an arena. 

 

I question my faith, but sometimes, it just seems like I have not heard from God, I know God is in my boat, and maybe like the disciples, I have little faith.  But, they – the disciples were scared and afraid and Jesus was there, I have to admit or ask, is Jesus here with me? 

 

I guess I have provided value, without having value, then nothing would have been taken from me, so I guess I had the value of having something.  Maybe those that took it did not have value, so they stole it to have their own value.  It’s false value though, you stole it.  It’s like stealing a million dollars and saying you are a millionaire and laughing at the people you stole it from – even be willing to lend of it back to them with interest.

 

My feelings are not without merit.  All the disciples did not lead lives of luxury.  They all left immediately whatever responsibilities they had and followed Jesus, only to be persecuted throughout their lives and die violently.  But, they also had value, they did not sit idly, they spread the word of Jesus, the Good News.  I think if I was being used like that, my fear, being scared would not be developed.  That’s it in a nutshell, I feel scared because I don’t feel like I am adding value – to anyone. 

 

I heard on the radio from a Pastor, he dared those listening to pray for God to use us, he dared us to pray so, I have and I pray he will.  God Bless!

 

Job 7:11–21 (ESV)

11  “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;

I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

12  Am I the sea, or a sea monster,

that you set a guard over me?

13  When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,

my couch will ease my complaint,’

14  then you scare me with dreams

and terrify me with visions,

15  so that I would choose strangling

and death rather than my bones.

16  I loathe my life; I would not live forever.

Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.

17  What is man, that you make so much of him,

and that you set your heart on him,

18  visit him every morning

and test him every moment?

19  How long will you not look away from me,

nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?

20  If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?

Why have you made me your mark?

Why have I become a burden to you?

21  Why do you not pardon my transgression

and take away my iniquity?

For now I shall lie in the earth;

you will seek me, but I shall not be.”

Child Like . . .

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

Matthew 18:1–5 (NIV)

18:1–5pp—Mk 9:33–37; Lk 9:46–48

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

The Cost of Discipleship

This has several long verses from the Bible.  I wanted to try and put together in one place, the elements of being a disciple of Christ.  I know we struggle as Christians, but in my view, being a Christian is focusing on what it is to be a disciple of Christ.   Paul expresses it, what being a disciple is eloquently in 1 Corinthians 4:9 (NIV)

For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.

Another characteristic of being a discipleship is one I’ve heard of often, but am not as good as I want to be, it is obedience.  In (Luke 14:25-33), (Matthew 4:18–22), (Matthew 9:9), (John 1:43–51), (Mark 2:13–14), Jesus calls his disciples to follow him.  In each case, they immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus.  There were two cases (Luke 9:57–62), where two people ask to complete something first before they will follow Jesus, he rejects their request.

Jesus shows in the story of the Rich Ruler, the request to part with all things you have placed above the love of Jesus or before serving Him, needs to be dealt with.  The Rich Ruler is not just about beng rich, it’s the Rich Ruler placed his fortune above what he was willing to give to Jesus, it is designed for us to ask ourselves, what do we put as more important than our relationship with Jesus.

I know I want to have a “blessed” life here on earth.  One that I feel I can brag about one that makes me feel good among man; however, reading Paul’s view of being a disciple and that where Christ tells us we will be persecuted because of him and the fact, none of the disciples lead a life of any luxury, should give us an indication and understanding that maybe the plan God has for this life is not the plan we keep asking for.

Jesus in Luke 10:16 states: 16 “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

I hope you’ll read all these verses and comment on where you are in your discipleship and if you agree, disagree or have something to add.  God Bless You for being here!

Luke 14:25–33 (ESV)

The Cost of Discipleship

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

The12discipleslist of death

Matthew 4:18–22 (ESV)

Jesus Calls the First Disciples

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Matthew 9:9 (ESV)

Jesus Calls Matthew

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

John 1:43–51 (ESV)

Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael

43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.

Mark 2:13–14 (ESV)
Jesus Calls Levi

13 He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. 14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

 

 

Luke 9:57–62 (ESV)
The Cost of Following Jesus

5As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” 60 And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:18–30 (ESV)

The Rich Ruler

18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’ 21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. 24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.

 

Matthew 10:16–11:19 (ESV)

Persecution Will Come

16 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles. 19 When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21 Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Not Peace, but a Sword

34 Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24–28 (ESV)

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

The Second Beast

Revelation 13:11–18 (ESV)

The Second Beast

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.

 

Verses 11–18
Those who understand the first beast to denote a worldly power, take the second to be also a persecuting and assumed power, which acts under the disguise of religion, and of charity to the souls of men. It is a spiritual dominion, professing to be derived from Christ, and exercised at first in a gentle manner, but soon spake like the dragon. Its speech betrayed it; for it gives forth those false doctrines and cruel decrees, which show it to belong to the dragon, and not to the Lamb. It exercised all the power of the former beast. It pursues the same design, to draw men from worshipping the true God, and to subject the souls of men to the will and control of men. The second beast has carried on its designs, by methods whereby men should be deceived to worship the former beast, in the new shape, or likeness made for it. By lying wonders, pretended miracles. And by severe censures. Also by allowing none to enjoy natural or civil rights, who will not worship that beast which is the image of the pagan beast. It is made a qualification for buying and selling, as well as for places of profit and trust, that they oblige themselves to use all their interest, power, and endeavour, to forward the dominion of the beast, which is meant by receiving his mark. To make an image to the beast, whose deadly wound was healed, would be to give form and power to his worship, or to require obedience to his commands. To worship the image of the beast, implies being subject to those things which stamp the character of the picture, and render it the image of the beast. The number of the beast is given, so as to show the infinite wisdom of God, and to exercise the wisdom of men. The number is the number of a man, computed after the usual manner among men, and it is 666. What or who is intended by this, remains a mystery. To almost every religious dispute this number has yet been applied, and it may reasonably be doubted whether the meaning has yet been discovered. But he who has wisdom and understanding, will see that all the enemies of God are numbered and marked out for destruction; that the term of their power will soon expire, and that all nations shall submit to our King of righteousness and peace.  Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), Re 13:11.

Ministers of the New Covenant

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (ESV)

Ministers of the New Covenant

3 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Verses 1–11
Even the appearance of self-praise and courting human applause, is painful to the humble and spiritual mind. Nothing is more delightful to faithful ministers, or more to their praise, than the success of their ministry, as shown in the spirits and lives of those among whom they labour. The law of Christ was written in their hearts, and the love of Christ shed abroad there. Nor was it written in tables of stone, as the law of God given to Moses, but on the fleshy (not fleshly, as fleshliness denotes sensuality) tables of the heart, Eze 36:26. Their hearts were humbled and softened to receive this impression, by the new-creating power of the Holy Spirit. He ascribes all the glory to God. And remember, as our whole dependence is upon the Lord, so the whole glory belongs to him alone. The letter killeth: the letter of the law is the ministration of death; and if we rest only in the letter of the gospel, we shall not be the better for so doing: but the Holy Spirit gives life spiritual, and life eternal. The Old Testament dispensation was the ministration of death, but the New Testament of life. The law made known sin, and the wrath and curse of God; it showed us a God above us, and a God against us; but the gospel makes known grace, and Emmanuel, God with us. Therein the righteousness of God by faith is revealed; and this shows us that the just shall live by his faith; this makes known the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ, for obtaining the forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The gospel so much exceeds the law in glory, that it eclipses the glory of the legal dispensation. But even the New Testament will be a killing letter, if shown as a mere system or form, and without dependence on God the Holy Spirit, to give it a quickening power.

 

Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), 2 Co 3:1.

The First Beast

Revelation 13:1–10 (ESV)

The First Beast

13 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10  If anyone is to be taken captive,

to captivity he goes;

if anyone is to be slain with the sword,

with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

Verses 1–10
The apostle, standing on the shore, saw a savage beast rise out of the sea; a tyrannical, idolatrous, persecuting power, springing up out of the troubles which took place. It was a frightful monster! It appears to mean that worldly, oppressing dominion, which for many ages, even from the times of the Babylonish captivity, had been hostile to the church. The first beast then began to oppress and persecute the righteous for righteousness’ sake, but they suffered most under the fourth beast of Daniel, (the Roman empire,) which has afflicted the saints with many cruel persecutions. The source of its power was the dragon. It was set up by the devil, and supported by him. The wounding the head may be the abolishing pagan idolatry; and the healing of the wound, introducing popish idolatry, the same in substance, only in a new dress, but which as effectually answers the devil’s design. The world admired its power, policy and success. They paid honour and subjection to the devil and his instruments. It exercised infernal power and policy, requiring men to render that honour to creatures which belongs to God alone. Yet the devil’s power and success are limited. Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the book of life. This powerful motive and encouragement to constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation.

Matthew Henry and Thomas Scott, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1997), Re 13:1.